It's been a long time since my last entry but I was struggling to get a better understanding of this format for a while. One if the first things that caught my attention was the fact that rain was still available because Politoed, Kingdra and Ludicolo weren't banned. After some practice I found out that Politoed was usually a dead slot on my team for two reasons:
- it didn't have almost any offensive presence
- it could be easily beaten by Mega Tyranitar, Mega Abomasnow and Mega Charizard due to their ability to set up their own weather by megaevolving after Politoed made it rain
Both of these problems can be solved by properly using Eject Button paired with fast sweepers able to Volt Switch or U-turn to bring Politoed after the opponent megaevolves, which often let me gain a lot of momentum early in the game. Let me show you a few implementations of this strategy. My own Politoed set:
Politoed (M) @ Eject Button
EVs: 244 HP / 124 Def / 76 SAtk / 4 SDef / 60 Spd
- Ice Beam
The spread was made early in the season and was designed to OHKO 4HP/4SDef Noivern with Ice Beam. Now, as Noivern isn't popular anymore, I probably should change it a bit. 60 Speed EVs are to outspeed other base 70's and a bit faster Tyranitar, but it rarely came in handy, as much more Pokemon are now sitting in the 106-138 Speed tier, a bit over bulky Politoed. But nevertheless, this spread came out to be really good in taking hits, which is the main role of Politoed on fast rain teams.
How does it work?
The goal of fast rain teams is to strike opponent as fast and as hard as possible and to gain momentum by using Volt Switch and/or U-turn. Let's say that on the first turn one we have Manectric and other fast Pokemon out with Kingdra and Politoed in the back. Let's Protect Manectric and switch the other Pokemon out for Politoed. The opponent ends up attacking Politoed, which switches out for Kingdra, so in the beginning of the second turn we have Kingdra and Manectric out in rain, a really scary combo to face. Eject Button lets you switch up to three times (!) on a single turn - switch a Pokemon for Politoed, Volt Switch with Manectric and let your opponent switch out Politoed for Kingdra or whatever you want. That sequence can obviously be modified, but I wanted to give you an image of how good this strategy can get. Considering the fact that rain sweepers are usually frail, Eject Button helps with switching your Pokemon with Politoed getting all the damage instead of Kingdra, Manectric or Talonflame who really don't enjoy doing this.
Good partners for EB Politoed
Kingdra is one of the most common and dangerous rain sweepers that with proper support can destroy entire teams. Although its main stabs in Muddy Water, Draco Meteor, Dragon Pulse and Hydro Pump got nerfed in this generation, it is still extremely dangerous with Life Orb or Choice Specs. I have been using Kingdra a lot in this generation and here's my personal, tested set for it:
Kingdra (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 4HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
- Muddy Water
- Dragon Pulse
- Hydro Pump
I almost never needed Substitute or Draco Meteor, probably two most common Kingdra's moves in VGC 2013. Dragon Pulse with Life Orb OHKOs dragons and Muddy Water deals spread damage that's very often crucial late game. Hydro Pump is my personal favourite on this set as it allows to KO Kangaskhan after a Volt Switch or U-turn before she knows what hit her. The EV spread is really basic and I used to speed creep one of my friend's Pokemon, so it's a personal issue but I think it's pretty reliable, so I'd recommend it to everyone.
VI generation made life harder for Ludicolo by introducing Talonflame, but who said that a single Pokemon can influence such a good rain sweeper? Ludicolo can take on Rotom-W easily and, thanks to the newly introduced Grass-types' immunity to Spore and Rage Powder, Amoonguss is not a problem anymore. Even though it lacks spread moves other than Surf, I can see Ludicolo being an amazingly effective rain sweeper in this format.
Probably the most common Mega on rain teams. Mega Manectric can reset rain using Volt Switch and has an incredible firepower with Thunder combined with its base 135 Special Attack and Speed. Thanks to Intimidate it can survive Garchomp's Earthquake and Kingdra can survive Garchomp's Dragon Claw in case it is holding a Focus Sash. Overheat and Flamethrower are both viable options, as they help with Ferrothorn and other Grass-types. Hidden Power Ice is great to deal with Garchomp, which threatens both Kingdra and Manectric out of rain. I think that Thunder+Volt Switch+Protect is the best combination for MegaMan on this kind of team but the last move is really situational and depends on how the team is built. In my opinion Choice Specs build is a vailable option too.
Probably the most popular Mega right now. Fake Out helps in gaining momentum while Sucker Punch can bring opponents into Muddy Water or Hydro Pump range for Kingdra. I have been using Mega Kangaskhan for a while on a rain team but I had some problems with Aegislash and other Steel-types, so I switched to Mega Manectric, though if the team is well built I think that Kangaskhan can work in rain pretty well too.
Another Pokemon that's seen everywhere. In my opinion Talonflame is deadly on rain teams, due to its ease in dealing with Grass-types. Let's take a look at 2013 Kingofmars' US Nationals 2013 winning team. It was considered to be able to handle rain really well thanks to Amoonguss and Ludicolo. But Talonflame takes countering rain onto a different level, as it's able to outspeed and OHKO Ludicolo even in rain if any defensive item isn't present. Its access to U-turn makes it easier to reset rain and Talonflame can ruin Venusaur+Charizard setup on its own.
Amoonguss is by no means an offensive Pokemon but synergy-wise it's probably the best supporter on fast rain teams and I cannot imagine this kind of team without it. It resists Grass and Electric-type moves, shuts down Rotom-Wash completely and thanks to Rage Powder can create win conditions when other Pokemon are at low health. It also helps in countering Trick Room, a strategy that can be deadly for fast rain.
Steel-types were always good on rain teams due to their multiple resistances and ability to handle both Tyranitar and Abomasnow. Their Fire-type weakness isn't present in rain and most of them can beat Kangaskhan, or at least weaken it. Amoonguss can Rage Powder away Fighting-type attacks that they are weak to, as well as rain boosted Water-type moves, like Rotom-W's Hydro Pump, that can be dangerous due to their low Special Defence.
VI generation brought us even more toys to use in rain than we expected. In my opinion this strategy can get really scary when played well but it's not an easy one to use. You have remember to preserve each of your sweepers as they can get crucial for removing threats to other Pokemon on the team. There are plenty of combinations available to be used and I deeply encourage everyone to try them, you will not be disappointed.