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Surfin' GBU: 2012 Autumn Friendly Team Analysis

blog-ludicolo_byryuzaki.png

Hello. I believe most people here don't know me and still won't after reading this article, so I'm keeping the introduction short: I'm called Fatum, I'm way too old for Pokémon and I'm a native of Germany -- home country of people like Albert Einstein, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and Ludwig van Beethoven, but also of the first Pokémon World Championship runner-up Edwin Krause (2000 in Sydney, Australia). As the title might have one guess, I'm writing a team analysis related to the Global Battle Union, i.e. the 2012 Autumn Friendly. I have finished that with 102 recorded wins, 17 inofficial ones, 11 losses and 1934 points as my best and final score. I achieved that using a Rain Dance team which in team preview looks like this (in a less obvious order though):

tornadus.png

Motivation and Team Building Process

First, disconnect marathons GBU tournaments without Japanese involvement tend to get very exhausting in the long run, especially with me almost never meeting people I know. Instead, I would be fighting in-game teams half of the time and the better part would still be mostly barely "good" people, so I saw no point in running some boring cliché Cresselia/Metagross/Thundurus/X/Y/Z standard good stuff team in another Friendly. In fact, I've already used a fun heavy-offense team of Whimsicott/Hydreigon/Garchomp/Rotom-H/Abomasnow/Hitmontop in the 2012 Spring Friendly, which had Whimsicott disrupting people with Encore and setting up surprise knockouts with Fake Tears, and the rest, well, destroying stuff. I had a good time then, I did even manage to beat 2 out of the top 3 of the final ranking in the process. While I do not reject bringing the usual stuff against the Japanese to put it to a real test, opting for something out of the picture against the rest of the world again should be the best way to jolly oneself along and progress in team building at the same time.

The starting point for this team project lies somewhere around this year's Spring Friendly. I was certain that Rain teams could do very well in our metagame, where most people are "countering" them just by tacking on an "anti-weather" Pokémon that didn't really fit their team. So I figured, I might build one with a lone Fire type in it to punish them (yes, only few threaten Tyranitar, but Tyranitar alone should be no real problem -- it hates Water, Steel and much else) and also to address especially hard counters like Ferrothorn, Virizion etc. My first idea was Infernape, which beats both Tyranitar and Abomasnow and is also a pretty neat supporter (Fake Out, Feint, Encore, STAB priority and whatever else it learns, four moveslots are obviously a disgrace to it). I just didn't get around to it and then, at the Spring Friendly, I became aware of R Inanimate's Surf-oriented Rain team (it can be found here).

Well, when I theorymonned with Infernape before, I wasn't even taking Surf into account because I hated how it is both rather weak and an obstacle for fellow team members at the same time. (Fun fact: Even in Japan, where I also get a good share of my inspiration from, Surf is pretty unpopular with less than 10% of their Politoed using it, according to the Japan Cup statistics on Global Link.) Even hitting double-resistances like Ludicolo or Kingdra with it wasn't inviting, as I would still eventually critical hit my own resources to death instead of the opponents'. For actual Water immunity, I would need obstructive mons like Musharna or something, which wasn't appealing either. Of course, this was all before I became aware of Gastrodon's greatness. (Gastrodon's actually a story on its own... I have never touched it until this March, but used it in more than half of the teams I've built since then.) So, R Inanimate's success was basically fuel I needed to give Surf a chance, and of course Gastrodon would play a role in this project as well. I also liked his Scarf Politoed, probably because I always like to have one Scarf mon in my team and it's somewhat similar to the Scarf Tyranitar that I kinda fell in love with at the time. You see, personal preferences do matter.

So, I basically picked up the Politoed/Ludicolo/Gastrodon trio then -- there would be no point in diverting from that too much. The next step was to include a Steel Pokémon as insurance against Dragons. Metagross, Scizor and Ferrothorn are the popular options for that, with Metagross being the overall most solid of them, Scizor being a qualitatively similar attacker with better support options, and Ferrothorn being... completely useless against itself. I went with Scizor out of personal preference. It would also make a good combination with Gastrodon and support the speediness of the concept with the best Bullet Punch of the game.

Now for the weird stuff; I still wanted to test a Fire Pokémon in a Rain environment. My inspiration probably had a similar idea, as he used Arcanine in his team. It sure does lack the great supporting movepool Infernape has, but on the other hand it's more bulky, has access to Intimidate and can actually Flare Blitz without committing suicide. In the end, I kind of copied that instead of sticking with Infernape because Infernape really doesn't work well with Surf at all.

The sixth slot was the most difficult one. I could either do more Surf abusing just as my source did or I could try to include another counter to this concept's worst enemies. I decided to do the latter to avoid getting too similar to the original, but I also thought another offensive Water Pokémon would be overkill and thus worsen some of my matchups while not adding much new to the mix. So I somehow remembered that Tornadus actually exists und customized his pranks in order to meet a Rain team's needs.

So, now for the sets. IVs are always 31/31/31/31/31/31 or 31/0/31/31/31/31; the RNG made it easily possible for everyone except Tornadus (that would be a 22 in the unused attack stat).

A Look through the Magnifying Glass

politoed.png

Politoed / Quaxo / Edenspring

Modest, Drizzle, ♂

4 HP, 252 SpAtk, 252 Spe

@ Choice Scarf

~ Surf

~ Ice Beam

~ Hydro Pump

~ Perish Song

Surf is, just as the title suggests, the move I used the most as it is accurate, hits both foes and powers up two team mates. Hydro Pump is used when Surf is not an option because of Politoed's partner or when I don't want to be Choice-locked into Surf. (Random fact: I didn't miss a single Hydro Pump in the Friendly. I used it only on two days if I'm not mistaken, but multiple times each.) Ice Beam is the rather generic coverage move that helps in dealing with Dragons and occasional Grass Pokémon not named Abomasnow or Ludicolo. Perish Song is nothing too surprising again, as Politoed's movepool doesn't have much to offer. Because I just didn't get around to using it until a late match on day 4, I was toying with using a suitable Hidden Power over it, but those now just have to be thoughts of the past -- Perish Song saved me once and has thus justified its place on the set. On another note, I seem to have a special relationship with weather-summoning Scarfers for some reason... While they do have a clear disadvantage in weather wars, they tend to be comfortable as super-fast attackers.

Politoed's nature is the one thing I'm really not sure about. I thought I would be fine with Modest for the extra power, and I do believe it has won me some matches indeed. On the other hand, I've met way more Jolteons and the likes than I ever expected, which was quite annoying since I had only Ludicolo to outspeed them and a bunch of Pokémon that (except for Gastrodon) get 1-2HKOed by STAB Thunderbolts.

ludicolo.png

Ludicolo / Kappalores / Kokolores

Modest, Swift Swim, ♂

4 Def, 252 SpAtk, 252 Spe

@ Absorb Bulb

~ Fake Out

~ Surf

~ Giga Drain

~ Ice Beam

Just ripped that off my inspiration, pretty standard offensive Ludicolo otherwise though. Absorb Bulb is a one-time-use item that yields +1 special attack when hit by Water (i.e. Politoed's Surf), Fake Out buys me time and disrupts opposing Fake Out setups, and the three attacks give Ludicolo good coverage: Surf and Ice Beam are just as obvious as for Politoed and pretty much any special-attacking Water Pokémon, while Giga Drain gets STAB and beats most other Water Pokémon, which resist the Water/Ice combination in one way or another. Additionally, it can be very annoying if it hits something for good damage, as the healing effect can save a damaged Ludicolo from impending knockouts. Of course I would have liked Protect against Trick Room teams, but the offensive coverage is way more important to be actually able to sweep. If there were an item that does nothing but give a fifth moveslot (here's something you might do for Gen VI, Game Freak), I would use it without hesitation.

Nevertheless, I'm in fact one step away from changing the item to a straightforward Gem (might even go for the unusual Ice one to hit those Dragon pests harder...) or a Lum Berry, because Thundurus is nothing short of a major nuisance, or even a Life Orb to go all-in from scratch. If I were to keep Absorb Bulb, I would need to add more Surfs to the team for better means of activation. Using Politoed alone for that turned out to be a little clunky against people who are not easily beaten anyway.

gastrodon-east.png

Gastrodon / Tritonus

Calm, Storm Drain, ♂

252 HP, 108 Def, 4 SpAtk, 140 SpDef, 4 Spe

@ Rindo Berry

~ Earth Power

~ Ice Beam

~ Recover

~ Protect

"So, who is that Hitmontop guy everyone talks about anyway?" While I do like Hitmontop for his utility, Gastrodon is without any doubt the most impressive old-gen discovery of the metagame, in my opinion. If there are still people who seriously don't know about it, Cassie's article should be a good starting point. Well, Storm Drain (just as Lightningrod) has become an insanely cool ability in Gen V, as it not only redirects Water attacks but also grants immunity to it while even boosting the Pokémon's Special Attack by +1. Surf abuses this fact because as a field move it both hits everything out and at the same time pumps up Gastrodon. So basically, while Gastrodon is also a valuable Pokémon in standard good stuff, Trick Room and whatever, Surf-oriented rain teams like this one are actually using Gastrodon to its full natural potential.

As for the set, it's again pretty standard and straightforward, but a fully defensive variant. The team in total is pretty frail after all, so I figured I'd want at least my Gastrodon to eat hits for breakfast rather than death. With this EV spread, it's nearly impossible to 2HKO Gastrodon without Grass, very powerful attacks or the occasional critical hit. Speaking of the offensive side, I don't care about investing into special attack at all, since I would be boosting it with Surfs most of the time anyway. In addition, I'm not even using a Water-type move, so this Gastrodon is definitely not the born Rain sweeper. (Actually, it would never really have a shot at sweeping without proper speed control.) So, Recover and Protect are both in the set to maximize Gastrodon's longevity, while Earth Power is the one compulsory STAB and Ice Beam is, again, the best coverage move out there.

arcanine.png

Arcanine / Arkani / Hasso

Adamant, Intimidate, ♂

188 HP, 252 Atk, 4 Def, 4 SpDef, 60 Spe

@ Fire Gem

~ Flare Blitz

~ Close Combat

~ ExtremeSpeed

~ Protect

That's pretty much what one would/should come up with initially after viewing Arcanine's data on their Pokédex site of choice, I guess. Flare Blitz hits anything without resistance like a truck™ outside of rain (especially with the Fire Gem still available) and checks the team archetype's arch nemesis Ferrothorn inside of Rain. ExtremeSpeed hits for the rare +2 priority, outspeeding Bullet Punch, Ice Shard, Sucker Punch etc. Close Combat is what I believe to be Arcanine's best coverage move, as it hits most Rock Types super-effectively (especially Tyranitar), threatens Heatran, also hits Hydreigon hard and is the best last-ditch effort against most things that are slower but resistant to Fire. Of course, this set can't do a single point of damage to Flash Fire Chandelure, but really, who would even want to pick that against any Water-heavy team? The EVs are again focused on attacking, but also provide some bulk to be able to use Intimidate well and Flare Blitz more than once. Outside of Rain, this Arcanine outspeeds Ludicolo by one point, though I actually might add some more, because I've just found out that the rare Jolly Tyranitar is still one point faster.

There's another story about Arcanine that might be interesting: Back in 2009 when VGC was introduced to Europe, many German top players enjoyed using Arcanine as a solid anti-metagame Pokémon in their good stuff teams, with three of them playing in the national semifinals. Then, when the generation transition occured, I noticed that Arcanine received Close Combat as a new egg move (we used Will-o-Wisp, Iron Head, Charm or other situational stuff for this filler slot before), which made me breed Arcanine as my first old-gen Pokémon on White. It has been a prime choice on many different teams in different modes for me since then.

scizor.png

Scizor / Scherox / Eisenfaust

Adamant, Technician, ♀

252 HP, 4 Atk, 36 Def, 204 SpDef, 12 Spe

@ Steel Gem

~ Bug Bite

~ Bullet Punch

~ Swords Dance

~ Protect

This was obviously inspired by the American National champions, though I chose a more defensive route, as I lack the Thunder Wave / Icy Wind support that lets this lil' bug do the awesome things we've seen in the first place. The purpose of it in this team is rather to check threats like Dragons or opposing Ludicolo and give me, together with Gastrodon, a defensive backbone to work from when the aggressive way isn't working out at the time. Besides, Swords Dance is also nice to put pressure on Ferrothorn users, since Ferrothorn itself has absolutely no way except insane "parahax" to stop it. The low attack isn't hurting too much (it does sometimes annoy me, but the additional bulk has fully paid off), Bug Bite still OHKOs most Ludicolos, 2HKOs most Cresselias and Bullet Punch never really OHKOs anything anyway. Apart from that, Intimidate disrupts all variants the same as long as they have no attack boosts.

Yes, until Worlds I've definitely preferred Scizor over Metagross in general, but with everyone and their mother being like "I'm throwing random Fire moves on any mon jajaja," my love has since faded. Plus, no matter what EVs I use, Scizor never ever reaches Metagross in terms of bulk. Another problematic thing is the quirky coverage: as I've already mentioned somewhere, I'm having a hard time versus Electric mons, and especially the Flying ones of them laugh at Scizor's attacks. I really might have enjoyed a nice, hard-hitting Zen Headbutt there, but who knows.

tornadus.png

Tornadus / Boreos / Random Orc

Jolly, Prankster, ♂

4 HP, 252 Atk, 252 Spe

@ Flying Gem

~ Acrobatics

~ Rain Dance

~ Taunt

~ Protect

Yeah, you've read right, I'm using physical Tornadus in a Rain team. I actually did want to use a special one with Hurricane, but can't be bothered to restart my Black, and I'm not too fond of trading my teams together, so physical it is. Turned out, this "choice" was not naïve but prudent: I can't always assume I'll have Rain available, and 70% accuracy is something I prefer to completely refrain from relying on. So, it's just less power for more reliability, of course, and usually still does enough damage. The "Rain vs. no Rain" issue leads me to the next choice, which is manual Rain Dance as backup weather. As I have pointed out, Politoed loses at weather wars, and because of its frailty, it really isn't a weather summoner that would guarantee my field effects. So, once Politoed is absent or is in fact still on the field, Tornadus can easily fix the weather because of Prankster, and five turns are usually enough mid-game. As for the negative side of things, his lack of bulk is probably what I like the least about him -- I actually had no choice there, since I wanted something that outspeeds Latios and hits him hard at the same time.

Taunt was supposed to prevent Trick Room, but this was indeed a naïve assumption. Especially if they're offensive summoners like Reuniclus or something, they would just attack for free and still get the setup later somehow. Mental Herb is another issue, because it just renders the first Taunt useless (and most importantly, it is in fact used by people!), which is enough to force me onto the defensive. Thus, I should just do it like I do it most of the time with random good stuff teams: let them have their Trick Room and then disrupt their game under it. It's tempting to just use Amoonguss or something... whatever. If I were to still use this exact team in B2W2 (which I won't), I would try Superpower over Taunt to make Tornadus more valuable to pick against Sand teams and improve coverage in general.

Combinations

gastrodon-east.png

Politoed + Ludicolo + Gastrodon

These three are obviously the core of the team -- I might call it "WWW", to parody the magical buzzword that FWG (Fire - Water - Grass) is. Out of the 132 matches I have played during the Autumn Friendly, there have been only 15 where I didn't pick all of them, and of those only 2 where I picked only one of them, which was Gastrodon. They have been surfing GBU, after all! What exactly they are doing together should be intuitive after reading the movesets, but for the record once more and at a single place: Politoed's Drizzle summons the rain to activate Ludicolo's Swift Swim and boost the power of their Water-type moves. Politoed is also the one to eventually trigger Ludicolo's Absorb Bulb by using Surf on it. Independently from that, both Politoed and Ludicolo can use Surf on Gastrodon any time to activate Storm Drain. If I were to average the number of boosts Gastrodon got per battle, I'm pretty sure it would be at least +2.

While it isn't much, they also have a minimum of defensive synergy: Gastrodon's Ground typing helps to absorb Electric moves of any form, be it the Thunder(bolt) threatening a Politoed knockout, the Thunder Wave attempting to cripple Ludicolo or even the Volt Switch, effectively denying the opponent a switch without the use of Mean Look. To a lesser extent, Gastrodon also helps Ludicolo avoid random Poison attacks. The other way around though, there is nothing of value. Politoed and Ludicolo just don't want to take hits -- they just want to flood everything and Gastrodon's their sponge in both offensively and defensively.

As for the actual foursome construction, Politoed and Ludicolo have also turned out to be my favorite lead. Gastrodon, on the other hand, was in the back or not used 100% of the time -- I did see other people opening with the sea slug somehow, but I don't know. I don't like such a slow and unable-to-do-much-on-its-own starter, and I need it to switch into stuff I don't want other mons to suffer. Well, back to Politoed and Ludicolo, or just Policolo in short. While this duo looks rather straightforward and simple in theorymon, it does have versatility. First, I just would not be doing Fake Out / Surf mindlessly just for the setup if I know the time has not come yet. (Random fact: The second-place girl of the German Junior Division National Championship 2012 used this as an autopilot setup, but with Toxicroak and Kingdra in the back, and all four in their ugly shiny versions to top that off. It's a sad thing that German juniors appear to have no real understanding about the game at all. Well, at least we finally have some talented seniors...) ...But, I digress.

This is what I mean: the purpose of Policolo against more competitive players is not to set up but to pressure them by the mere appearance of the infamous Rain duo. They have to fear a Fake Out combined with any powerful Water attack, they have to fear even two powerful Water attacks, they need to apply some countermeasures (i.e. anti-weather or status infliction) instantly or they might just get overrun etc. Sometimes I'm activating the Absorb Bulb, sometimes I'm not. If I am activating the Absorb Bulb, there is also a possibility to attack with Ludicolo the first turn instead of using Fake Out. Because Politoed is Scarfed, both mons are usually moving before the opposing ones, so I might put a severe dent into their teams before they can even hit back. This aggressive approach is even more interesting when they are using Tyranitar: Usually, they will not be opening with it but instead with something that plainly loses to Policolo on their own. That's why they need to bring Tyranitar to steal the weather before they get too far behind -- this is when Tyranitar is in for some super-effective damage which will definitely matter in the future. On the one hand, it's simply adding up with Tyranitar having no means of recovery, and on the other hand, it's setting up the usual bulky Tyranitar for a Bullet Punch knockout or threat thereof. Switching one part of Policolo to Gastrodon while Surfing with the other also boosts the slug which doesn't care about the weather but is a completely new threat on the field.

Well, in general, as long as they don't find a way to knockout or disable Policolo or a decisive part thereof, they always have to live in fear of the fatal downpour. Gastrodon's defensive role makes conserving them for later easily possible. Dedicated counter Pokémon like Ferrothorn, Amoonguss, another Ludicolo etc. though should be handled by the team's supporting Pokémon in a suitable way. One implementation is...

ludicolo.png

Arcanine + Ludicolo

Not a duo with particularly noteworthy synergy but another useful lead. As Arcanine doesn't like Rain in general, having it open without Politoed is a way to get at least one full-force Flare Blitz off. Ludicolo's Fake Out helps with that -- the idea is not much different than the common Latios/Hitmontop or stuff like that. Usually, this lead is chosen if the opponent has some Grass Pokémon but doesn't seem to have much to keep Arcanine at bay. So, if he then is also starting with the Grass mon, I have just created myself a favorable field situation. If he is not, well, most times there would still be another nice target for the strong hit. Nevertheless, especially because of Intimidate, this lead can also be used in an entirely different way: switch to Politoed while using Fake Out, so Ludicolo will have its Rain. This approach appears to be particularly useful against dedicated Sand teams, as they tend to be heavily leaned toward physical attackers, while there is still a good chance that Arcanine will have favorable weather mid-game.

ludicolo.png

Tornadus + Ludicolo

This is another lead combination which I happened to use often, but I actually don't like it -- maybe because I don't really like Tornadus at all... Nevertheless, the purposes are simple: 1) Again, they can be used just as aggressively as the other duo (except that Acrobatics is a good chunk weaker). 2) Because Tornadus packs Taunt, they can prevent setups that are played a bit too carelessly. I do hate this tactic, as it's way too easy to punish and therefore rather ineffective. 3) Tornadus can set up surprise rain, of course. This is best done when the opponent's weather changer is right on the field, so he needs to switch it out and back in to stop Ludicolo from raging. A big problem with that though is Tornadus's frailty -- sometimes he winds up as mere cannon fodder; summoning rain with Politoed is much easier and better, in general.

scizor.png

Gastrodon + Scizor

Or short Gastrozor. Actually, they are a combination that I have discovered in a good stuff environment this spring. I was always somewhat paranoid about playing against rain, and once I got around to use Gastrodon, I quickly found that it basically walls rain stuff except for Ludicolo. This can be handled by Scizor then, which also appreciates Hydro Pumps and Scalds being redirected. This way, they also happen to counter Calm Mind Suicune, which can be pretty annoying on its own. Well, back to the Rain counter thing: If they use Electric Pokémon like Rotom, this block can still be broken easily, so actually Gastrozor need a helpful third or even fourth team member to really beat Rain -- an element that was greatly missed during the Autumn Friendly, as I have learned... Anyway, Rain paranoia of course isn't their only selling point. First, they cover each other's weaknesses in general. Second, while Gastrodon does have some bulk, it still greatly prefers not to be double-targeted -- that's where Scizor's unmatched Bullet Punch comes into play. Third, because of they overall bulk, they don't care too much about field conditions. Be it Trick Room, weather other than my Rain, Icy Wind or whatever, they are hardly incapacitated by that. It's no wonder that they are working well with good stuff, too.

arcanine.png

Gastrodon + Arcanine

Well, this is actually quite similar to Gastrozor but a tad more intuitive. As long as the opposing Pokémon don't know Surf or Muddy Water, Arcanine loses one of its three weaknesses just by Gastrodon's presence, while Arcanine is an even bigger threat to Grass Pokémon. Besides, Intimidate increases Gastrodon's longevity. If we put both Gastrozor and Gastrodon/Arcanine together, the result is somewhat resembling the common Gastrodon/Salamence/Metagross core. Sadly, Gastrodon and Arcanine didn't have much fun together during the Friendly, because I was heavily focusing on my Rain mode.

Problems and Future Work

The team as I've introduced it is what one might call version 1.0 (apart from that, it's my first time playing Rain seriously since Gen III) -- I have played not more than 15 matches with it before the Friendly, so it is only natural that there are some flaws. Most notably, it has some consistency issues in multiple regards. For example, if I'm choosing Politoed for battle (which I do most of the time), I'm required to also choose at the very least one of Arcanine, Scizor and Tornadus, who all obviously do not enjoy Surf. Usually, I can avoid them being hit by it by releasing the Scarf lock with a timely switch, or if not, at least Scizor isn't 2HKOed by it and all three carry Protect. Though, this mere fact has led me into lose-lose situations sometimes, where I had to either switch Politoed out to give my opponent a free turn to attack or just let it stay in, in both cases have the partner faint by an attack to then replace it by my last Pokémon -- the one who hates Politoed's ultimate bond with Surf.

Another problem is the fact that 4/6 Pokémon have rather weak offensive coverage on their own: Politoed is useless against Water -- ok, we can't be perfect. Scizor is useless against Fire, pure Steel and some popular mixed Flying-type mons -- fine, even Big Boss Metagross doesn't hit everything. Arcanine is useless against Fire, Dragon and Water -- now it's getting rough, as there are already a good number of other team members that are experiencing difficulties with certain Water Pokémon. Tornadus, for the last one, is useless against Rock, Steel and Electric -- this is obviously what a pure Flying attacker gets, but we do know that there are not few teams of Tyranitar/Rotom-W/Metagross/X/Y/Z or even worse roaming about. It might not be too big of a matter for each of them on their own, but because too many are sharing this predicate, it does add up in the end. By mentioning Wash Rotom, I have already painted the devil on the wall: I have no reliable way but Ludicolo to beat it. As for "adding up" in general, sometimes I have felt as early as team preview that "I do not want to use this Pokémon in battle, but I'm forced to bring it." Ironically, other Rain teams are the matchup where this has happened most often, though there it wasn't even only because of bad attacking options... Anyway, all of this could very well be mitigated by adding more Pokémon with better overall coverage to the team (it's an offensive team after all), and while I'm at it, I should also deal with the slight Electric weakness.

So, in a nutshell, this team has some issues, and I advise no one to copy it only to make the same discoveries. The core and each single mon on its own are working fine but the synergy could be better. Therefore, I will most likely keep the core while trying out a few different supporters. This experience has brought me many ideas for them, some even by my opponents in the tournament.

Conclusion

Although the Autumn Friendly still consisted of steamrolling casual players for a big part, I have learned much about both my team and also Rain concepts overall. With Politoed, Ludicolo and Kingdra dominating the picture, one cannot be blamed for thinking of Rain as being rather limited, but in fact I have found it to be about just as versatile as "Master Good Stuff" himself, and I'm amazed by that. It starts with questions like "do you intend to run full Rain or keep it just an option?", "Which Water-type moves do you want to employ?" or "Do you want to include Trick Room and if yes, to what extent?", and the result will always be an individually customized team -- sometimes resorting to standard Pokémon which have been proven to work and sometimes doing things the rogue way.

Thus, I did my best, I have no regrets and I'm looking forward to when I'll be Surfing GBU again!

Article image created by ryuzaki for Nugget Bridge. See more of ryuzaki’s artwork on deviantART.


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      Jolly Nature  
      IVs: 27 SpA  
      - Fake Out  
      - Low Kick  
      - Return  
      - Sucker Punch  
      Once again, here is my staple mega Pokemon that has become as necessary as ever, since the metagame seems to always call for a mega Pokemon like Kangaskhan. It still knows the same moves as before, including Low Kick for heavyweights. I've seen one opponent whose Kangaskhan knows Drain Punch, and I might consider replacing Low Kick with that. But, another part of me says not to, because many opposing Pokemon I've run into are heavy enough to sustain immense damage from Low Kick.
       
      Kyogre @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Drizzle  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD  
      Quiet Nature  
      IVs: 25 Atk / 0 Spe  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Origin Pulse  
      - Protect  
      - Thunder  
      This is one of two essential uber-legendaries in my team, thanks to Primal Kyogre's Primordial Sea. This ensures protection for Ferrothorn, as well as preventing Groudon and Fire-types from using Fire-type attacks. (I know Groudon is a Ground-type, but it's still a threat with Desolate Land and a Fire-type move.) Instead of Water Spout, however, I decided to teach Kyogre Origin Pulse. As you know, Water Spout is a Water-type equivalent of Eruption; so, I asked myself, "What if Kyogre is hit before it gets to attack?" I'm also aware this Kyogre is as slow as it can possibly get. This may be advantageous against Trick Room teams, but should I still ask for a newer Kyogre with faster speed? Or does Speed truly matter?
       
      Ludicolo @ Assault Vest  
      Ability: Swift Swim  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 148 SpA  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 17 Atk  
      - Fake Out  
      - Giga Drain  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Scald  
      Ludicolo, too, gains support and synergy from Primordial Sea, thanks to Swift Swim. Ludicolo's job is also to Fake Out opponents, as well as take a shot at the likes of Groudon with Giga Drain and Ice Beam. Not much to say beyond this point, as far as Ludicolo is concerned.
       
      Lugia @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Pressure  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 212 Def / 20 SpA / 24 SpD  
      Calm Nature  
      IVs: 15 Atk  
      - Aeroblast  
      - Calm Mind  
      - Recover  
      - Tailwind  
      Here is my other uber-legendary. With a Calm nature, lots of Defense EVs and IVs, Calm Mind and Recover, Lugia can prove to be a wall. Unfortunately, I need to give Lugia some PP Ups and/or a PP Max for Aeroblast. I am also somewhat concerned on whether or not I should teach Lugia another attack. Someone once said Psyshock, but Calm Mind is to help Lugia deal more damage and better endure Special Attack damage; Recover to restore HP when things get serious; and Tailwind, to help give my team a head start. Suggestions for changes are greatly appreciated here, too.
       
      Thundurus (M) @ Mental Herb  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 228 HP / 100 Def / 76 SpA / 88 SpD / 16 Spe  
      Calm Nature  
      - Swagger  
      - Taunt  
      - Thunderbolt  
      - Thunder Wave  
      Lastly, here's Thundurus. This time, it comes equipped with a Mental Herb, in case it gets Taunted by other Prankster Pokemon. I did try Role Play before, but I just didn't see the need for it. So, I've taught Thundurus Swagger again. It helped me win matches like one opponent's Garchomp first used Swords Dance then got Swaggered, only to end up hitting itself. (I know that was pure luck, but my point is I think I will stick with Swagger.)
    • LF (Cloned) Genesect FT Various Shinies
      By LilBluePenguin
      I was wondering if anyone would be nice enough to trade a clone of their Genesect for me? Shiny would be awesome but I'll take a non shiny too.
      I have a couple of things on offer:
      Timid 6IV Shiny Gengar with megastone level 100
      Timid 4IV Shiny Palkia (I can throw in a Life Orb too) level 100
      Timid 6IV Shiny Tornadus level 100 
      Adamant 6IV Shiny Cubchoo with Rattled, came to me nicknamed as IcyBear level 23 
       
      And I can throw in one of these too if you want:
      Boneita (not my nickname), Level 32 Lax
      Trollinja (not my name), Calm Level 100
      Zigzagoon, Timid, Level 100 6IV (great for lil cup)
       
      I also have a Naive 3IV Rayquaza if anyone's interested.
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • LF: Timid Tornadus
      By SamuelTemple2
      I need a Tornadus ASAP. I can offer what you need, especially if you can clone
    • Fun in the Sun
      By DumbJokes
      Hello Nugget Bridge, I would like to get some opinions on the team I have been using since the VGC 2016 rules were announced. 
      Some backstory on this team: Around the middle of 2015, I began experimenting in some of the Smogon Doubles formats after watching some Kyle Cole videos. After some brief messing around, I found a real love for playing Doubles Ubers. The team above is based of one of my better teams from that tier, which centered around a Choice Scarf Togekiss with After You along side a fully Special Attacking Groudon with Eruption, while Taunt Mega Mewtwo Y along side Shaymin-Sky was used to check common Hyper Offense and Geomancy/Psych Up team, and Geomancy Xerneas alongside Assault Vest Dialga was used as stall break. The one thing I loved about this team was that their was a duo prepared for almost any scenario, which is the main thing I tried to emulate with the team shown above.
       
      I started with one of my favorite Pokemon:
      Scizor
       
      Scizor @ Life Orb  
      Ability: Technician  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Adamant Nature  
      - Bullet Punch  
      - Bug Bite  
      - Swords Dance  
      - Protect
      Most Common Partner: Cresselia
      Scizor was chosen because of its ability to two of the more common Pokemon in the format, Xerneas and Cresselia, with ease. Xerneas can't OHKO Scizor after a Geomancy, while Cresselia usually has either Ice Beam or Psychic (sometimes both) which do very little to Scizor. But the problem with Scizor is that its base 65 Speed leaves a lot to be desired. This is what causes it to be partnered with Cresselia most of the time. In tandem, Cresselia and Scizor are hard for teams to deal with due to their natural bulk and how I make the two operate, which will be explored in more depth during my description of Cresselia. Back onto Scizor, having a priority attack in Bullet Punch allows for it to serve as both a stand-alone attacker against the likes of Xerneas, Cresselia, and Mega Gengar (Shadow Tag in this format is amazing), and a support Pokemon that can get quick chip damage on an opposing Pokemon to ensure that its teammate knocks it out with a high-powered attack like Double Edge or Earth Power. Swords Dance is for the instances that Scizor is in no real immediate danger and allows for it to become extremely threatening. The EV spread is not optimized as I find it extremely hard to do so for Scizor. 
       
      The second Pokemon added was:
      Xerneas
       
       Xerneas @ Power Herb  
      Ability: Fairy Aura  
      EVs: 140 Def / 180 SpA / 188 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Geomancy  
      - Moonblast  
      - Grass Knot  
      - Protect
      Most Common Partner: Kangaskhan
      Xerneas was the first restricted Pokemon to come to mind when I heard the VGC 2016 rule of only having 2 Ubers per team. I chose Xerneas because of how easily it can sweep team with only one turn of setup, surprisingly varied move pool, and solid natural toughness in the form of 126 HP/ 95 Defense / 98 Special Defense bulk. Most often partnered with Mega Kangaskhan to almost always ensure a Turn-One Geomancy, Moonblast was chosen over Dazzling Gleam due to both my dislike of spread moves (there is only one on the team) and having seen the knock outs it misses out on (Specifically Kangaskhan after a Geomancy), while Grass Knot was chosen because of how it can OHKO both Primal-Groudon and Primal-Kyogre after a Geomancy, and do a massive chunk to both without the Special Attack boosts. The defensive investment is the minimum amount of EVs needed to survive a Dragon Ascent from Life Orb Mega Rayquaza while the speed investment out-speeds all neutral-natured Max Speed Base 90 Pokemon such as Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre. The remaining EVs were placed into Special Attack to make Xerneas not dependent on getting the boosts from Geomancy.
      The third Pokemon added was:
      Primal Groudon
       
      Groudon @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Drought   
      EVs: 108 HP / 4 Def / 140 SpA / 252 SpD / 4 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Earth Power  
      - Flamethrower  
      - Eruption  
      - Protect
      Most Common Partner: Liepard
      Primal Groudon was chosen due to me not wanting to have to work around any potential rain teams, especially those that feature Ferrothorn (Which bar Scizor after a Swords Dance, nothing on the team deals well against). I chose to run a Special Attacking Groudon due to my experience running the exact same move set on my Doubles Ubers Primal Groudon, seeing that Earth Power can OHKO opposing Primal Groudons, and knowing that the only decent STAB physical Fire-Type attack Groudon gets is the lack-lusting Fire Punch. Flamethrower was chosen because I felt that if I had Eruption as its only STAB Fire-Type attack would leave me extremely weak to late-game Fire-Weak Pokemon. Eruption was there purely to be able to nuke opposing Pokemon when partnered with either Kangaskhan or Liepard. The EV spread allows it to survive a Modest/Quiet Max Special Attack Earth Power From opposing Primal Groudon, have the minimum amount of Special Attack needed to have a 50% chance to OHKO opposing Primal Groudon with Earth Power, and the last 8 EVs were put into Speed and Defense to fully utilize all 508 EVs.
      The fourth Pokemon added was: 
      Liepard

      Liepard @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster   
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Role Play  
      - Encore  
      - Foul Play
      Most Common Partner: Groudon
      Liepard, along with Cresselia, had the role of supporting the team and gaining board control. Liepard was chosen because of both its natural quickness and ability to subdue targets. Fake Out and Encore are two moves that should be on almost all Liepard, due to Fake Out temporarily subduing any Pokemon lacking Inner Focus while Encore punishes any type of set up or if an opposing Pokemon using Fake Out, meaning at least 1 free turn where that position on the board is useless. Role Play was a tech that I found while looking for a final move on Liepard (IK its position does not reflect that). Role Play allows for Groudon to keep its weather up and force out Primal Kyogre. Foul Play punishes any Pokemon with a high base Physical Attack stat such as Kangaskhan, Groudon, and even Thundurus and Kyogre. The EV spread is very basic, Max Speed and Max HP is so that Liepard can get the most out of Prankster without getting Taunted by out speeding most bulky Taunt Thundurus. Focus Sash is due to Liepard being extremely frail, thus allowing Liepard to get at least two turns of shenanigans unless attacked by Kangaskhan or being double targeted.
      The fifth Pokemon added was:
      Kangaskhan

      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Inner Focus    
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Sucker Punch
      Most Common Partner: Xerneas
      Odd to see Kangaskhan as the second to last Pokemon added. The reason for that was that I knew that Kangaskhan was a given to be one of the most popular Mega Pokemon, but I wanted to be different... which I then realized was a load of bull and chose the best non-restricted Mega Pokemon. Inner Focus may look odd to some of you, but the reason behind it was that I annoyed by getting Faked Out by opposing Liepard, Weavile, and other Kangaskhans. Inner Focus allows for me to let Kangaskhan stay in non-mega form and neutralize a threat such as Geomancy Xerneas, Calm Mind Cresselia, and Dragon/Swords Dance Mega Rayquaza, in the face of faster Fake Out Pokemon. Double Edge was chosen over Return because I believe that higher damage output on Kangaskhan is worth the recoil that Double Edge causes. Low Kick is for Dialga and opposing Kangaskhan as it has an over 50% chance to OHKO opposing 4 HP Mega Kangaskhan. Sucker Punch is for either getting "chip" damage in the same way that Bullet Punch from Scizor was used, or to pick off a weakened faster Pokemon such as +2 Speed Xerneas with around 20% HP left. The simplistic EV spread is due to my belief that in such a Hyper Offensive metagame, adding bulk to a Pokemon such as Kangaskhan, whose job is to heavily chunk, or just outright KO most Pokemon, is inefficient in the long run.
      And the final Pokemon is:
      Cresselia

      Cresselia @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      EVs: 228 HP / 180 Def / 4 SpA / 92 SpD / 4 Spe  
      Calm Nature  
      - Moonlight  
      - Helping Hand  
      - Thunder Wave  
      - Psychic
       Most Common Partner: Scizor
      Cresselia was chosen because the team lacked proper speed control and another way to check Xerneas after a Geomancy due to its natural bulk allowing it to take a hit from +2 Special Attack Xerneas and Thunder Wave it back. Thunder Wave was chosen over Icy Wind and Trick Room because of Thunder Wave lasting the entire game while the other two have limitations to their lasting effect. Helping Hand was put on when I decided to invest in more bulk on Primal Groudon so that Groudon can OHKO other bulky Primal Groudon, and help other teammates pick up important knock outs on Pokemon such as Primal Kyogre, Xerneas, and Bulky Thundurus. Moonlight was chosen due to Primal Groudon's Desolate Land allowing for it to restore 75% of it's HP, along with just making Cresselia have greater staying power. Sitrus Berry was put on Cresselia to increase longevity, especially during slower-paced games. Psychic was put on Cresselia to have a good attacking move that can get consistent damage. The EV spread is optimized to get max Sitrus Berry recovery while also allowing Cresselia to survive a Dragon Ascent from +1 Life Orb Mega Rayquaza. The remaining EVs were placed into Special Defense to make it even more of a mixed "wall", while the last 8 EVs were put into Speed and Special Attack to fully utilize all 508 EVs.
       
       
      Thank you for any input on the team.
       
       
       
       
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