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.
Today I'd like to show you my last VGC 2013 team. I started building it a few weeks before WCS 2013 when I was trying to figure something out on my own other than my Nationals team. At first nothing worked for me so I decided to try someone else's team. My attention was caught by Peter Seo's Australian top four team that didn't win him a Worlds invite due to a Crunch miss caused by Muddy Water accuracy drop. I found it on Nugget Bridge but I didn't know anything about it other than Pokemon. Here's what I ended up with:
Cresselia @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 220 HP / 56 Def / 156 SpA / 76 SDef
- Ice Beam
- Trick Room
- HP: minimizes weather damage
- SpA: lets Ice Beam OHKO 4 HP Landorus-T
- SpD: Cresselia gets 2 points more than with 68 EVs
Cresselia was my main support Pokemon on this team. It let me control Speed with Trick Room, hit genies, dragons and fighting types pretty hard and had a good synergy with Tyranitar. I originally used Helping Hand instead of Safeguard but Amoonguss was pretty annoying. It also can help against Thundurus that spam Thunder Wave and Swagger. Because I really like Helping Hand it was a tough decision to make but I think it was worth it.
Tyranitar @ Chople Berry
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Att / 100 Def / 144 SDef
- Rock Slide
- Low Kick
- HP + Def: Survives a non-boosted Jolly Terrakion Close Combat 100% of the time, Ground Gem Landorus-T Earthquake 50% of the time, has a chance to survive +2 Scizor Bullet Punch after it got rid of its Steel Gem.
- Att: OHKOs 4HP Latios with Crunch
I developed this EV spread earlier in the season and never looked back. Tyranitar was definitely my MVP, with sand up its bulk is unbelievable. It switches into any special attack extremely well. There's not much I can say about the moves though: I previously had Stone Edge instead of Rock Slide as it can OHKO some Thundurus even after being intimidated but Rock Slide is more reliable and is my only spread move that can be used in Trick Room. Low Kick deals damage to enemy Tyranitar, so if I want to use Trick Room against some teams, I don't have to bring Conkeldurr. Chople Berry is a very standard item but the idea of Bulktar would've been destroyed if my Tyranitar could be OHKO'd by a non-boosted move. Some people may think that this Tyranitar lacks offense but it's got a fantastic base 134 Attack. I really don't get why almost everyone puts so many Attack EVs on Tyranitar. It doesn't score any significant KO's with those while it could be bulkier.
Conkeldurr @ Fighting Gem
Trait: Iron Fist
EVs: 84 HP / 212 Att / 12 Def / 196 SDef
- Mach Punch
- Hammer Arm
- Ice Punch
- HP + Def: survives Metagross' non-boosted Zen Headbutt
- Att: OHKO's 4 HP Thundurus/Tornadaus-I
This spot was previously occupied by Escavalier but I after a lot of practice I switched to Conkeldurr. It deals a lot easier with genies and has a priority move which always comes in handy. Fighting Gem is a fantastic item for Conkeldurr, in my opinion superior to Life Orb. It doesn't cost me HP so I can maintain bulk while hitting extremely hard. With 45 Speed Conkeldurr outspeeds minimum Speed base 30's (and obviously 33's) like Amoonguss and Bronzong after one Hammer Arm. I had a few problems with Gyarados and Jellicent and I was considering Thunderpunch but priority saved me so many times that I couldn't drop it for a very situational move.
Rotom-W @ Leftovers
EVs: 236 HP / 84 Def / 4 SpA / 180 SDef / 4 Spe
- Hydro Pump
- Pain Split
- HP + SDef: survives Timid Latios Dragon Gem Draco Meteor
My replacement for Gastrodon. At first I was running a Choice Scarf Tyranitar because I wanted to have three slow Pokemon able to abuse Trick Room and three a bit faster able to outspeed most of the metagame outside of it. Why did I mention Scarftar? Because Gastrodon is a slow 'mon and my slow trio at that time was Gastrodon-Cresselia-Escavalier but I really wanted to use my bulky Tyranitar set on this team, so I dropped Gastrodon for Rotom-W which, thanks to Levitate, helped me use Landorus-T a bit easier and is able to outspeed most base 70's (most notably Hitmontop and Metagross to burn them before they can attack). I discovered how good Will-o-Wisp was a long time ago but I didn't really have a chance to put it on a team. In my opinion burn is the best status condition as it completely shuts down Pokemon like Tyranitar, Metagross and Scrafty (my favourite WoW target) against Rotom. Thunderbolt and Hydro Pump have a surprisingly good coverage. Cybertron's Rotom convinced me to use these two simulantainously as in the past I picked Hidden Power Ice over Hydro Pump. Pain Split is a trick in my sleeve as nobody expects it. After Cybertron's success at worlds many people would very predictably lead Cresselia-Rotom and Pain Split completely ruins their setup as it bypasses Light Screen and lets me take advantage of Cresselia's high base HP. Leftovers make up for sand damage and are a decent item on any bulky Pokemon.
Landorus-T @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Att / 252 Spe
- Stone Edge
- Spe: outspeeds neutral natured base Speed 100s (and 102s) and Pokemon EV'd to outspeed them
I haven't mentioned it yet, but this team has a fast mode and here's its first part – Landorus. This set is yet again very standard. The only difference from most Focus Sash Landorus-T's is the nature. I chose Jolly to jump on Volcarona, Salamence, Thundurus-T, Hydreigon and other Pokemon around base 100 Speed. As you can see all these mons can KO Landorus pretty easily, so Speed advantage was crucial. Intimidate helped my team a lot, as well as access to a powerful STAB spread move in Earthquake. Stone Edge hits Thundurus for huge damage, also dealing a meaningful amount to Rotom-W (more than U-Turn and Rock slide anyway). I like how Landorus works with Tyranitar even though they share a weakness to Water.
Tornadaus-I @ Flying Gem
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Att / 252 Spe
- Att: OHKOs 4 HP Latios
- Spe: outspeeds max Speed Latios
Second part of my fast mode. Previously I had Calm Mind Latios in this slot but Defiant Tornadus turned out to be a lot better, mostly because it outspeeds and OHKOs Latios and hits a lot of different stuff harder (Amoonguss, Conkeldurr etc.). I tried using Smack Down for a while but Substitute is just too good on such a powerful and fast Pokemon. I probably should've kept both and remove Superpower which was good against Bisharp, Heatran and Tyranitar but still rarely used. Smack Down would help me handle Rotom-W and Thundurus, ironically both not pleasant to face with such a bulky team (even though my team is 4/6 physical, so not Swagger-friendly). Tornadus came out to be one of the most important Pokemon on this team mostly because it prevented my opponents from leading with intimidate or if they decided to do so, punish them.
Even though this team looks like many late VGC 2013 teams, I started building it a few weeks before worlds, so I wasn't really “inspired” by Cybertron's team (which IMO lacks fast Pokemon and relies on Trick Room a bit too heavily). I know this team heavily resembles his but mine is bulkier and faster but obviously less successful. I already explained what I started with and I have to admit I was very reluctant to make the last major change – switching Excavalier for Conkeldurr but it clearly paid off (I had to learn to use Tyranitar a bit better and not lose it until late game in order to win, as it was my only counter to enemy Cresselia). Feel free to use any spreads or sets, or even the team as a whole if you decide to get back to VGC 2013 some day. Hopefully new rules will be announced soon, I'm hoping for National Pokedex but I'm sure I'll have a lot of fun in any format.
Japan vs. Korea finished a few hours ago, those who missed it or didn't even know it took place can check out R's blog. We were able to see some interesting teams today so I decided to make a list of them. I didn't watch every game and can't get access to some of the past broadcasts, so I'll leave the list incomplete, if you can help me finish it please write a comment :)
1) Viera: vs. Cheol:
2) Syaron: vs. Keewan:
3) Yuuchi: vs. Jii Hoon:
4) Yamacya: vs. Jin Woo Lee:
5) Yuzuki: vs. Krel:
6) huuuyru: vs. Chang
7) R: vs. In Jin Yang:
8) Gebebo: vs. Sejun:
9) Yamamoto vs. Chehwan - I didn't watch this one.
A few things that I noticed:
- Landorus-T was more popular even than Cresselia (!!!)
- 14/16 teams had weather Pokemon (Tyranitar, Politoed, Abomasnow)
- Dragons aren't cool anymore.
- Scizor was really popular compared to other Steel-types.
I enjoyed the broadcast a lot, it was really fun to watch. It's always great to see top players battle and take a look or two on their teams and plays.
If I made any mistakes (players' names/Pokemon they used) let me know and I'll correct it asap.
EDIT: I just added a few Pokemon. Unfortunately the game between Yamamoto and Chehwan is still unavailable to watch but I've heard that @tatsuya2246 is going to put some battles on his Youtube channel so maybe I'll be able to complete the list in a few days. Also thanks to @araluen7 for helping me with this.
I know it's been a while since the European Nats but recently Nugget Bridge posted my report so I'd like to say a few words about the team here. Click HERE to see the aricle.
This is not my first competitive VGC team, nor it's my last one. Compared to other teams that I used at that time I've been really successfull with it on Pokemon Online as it let me get into top 40 without much effort. I feel like Trick Room was a very good call because hardly any Europeans used it, so many teams were totally unprepared for facing it. Feel free to use any EV spreads, movesets or even the team as a whole. The last month of VGC 2013 has juststarted but maybe someone will be able to have some fun with it. If you have any thoughts on the team please let me know.
Hi, I'm Szymoninho, Polish VGC player. I decided to set up my own blog after following some Japanese ones. I don't want you to get me wrong - this is not supposed to be a place where I want you only to look at some teams or where I'd post some stories from my life. Everyone please feel free to say anything about any of the teams/things I post here - I believe that this way all of us can learn something about the game. I'll be very happy to see some Japanese players comment here or on Twitter because they're the ones who inspired me to start posting. I hope this doesn't end on a single post. You can find me on Twitter - @szy_justice even though I don't use it often.