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Kicking Grass: An Overview of Grass-type Pokemon in VGC

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blog-chickterror.pngGrass-types don’t have the best reputation, and for good reason. Grass has the most weaknesses out of any type, totaling up to a whopping five (Fire, Flying, Poison, Bug, and Ice). It doesn’t help that Grass-type moves are typically geared towards support. Put that together with the fact that Grass-types have similar movepools and the typing almost seems to set itself up for failure.

However all is not lost! Grass is the only type to resist both Ground and Water, putting Grass Pokémon in a unique position in competitive play. A well played Grass-type can serve as a counter to both sand and rain, freeing up a team spot compared to the many teams that carry separate counters for each weather. But with so many Grass-types out there it can be very difficult to find the right one for the job, so let’s review a few of the better ones!

Ludicolo

ludicolo

Whether Ludicolo actually wears a sombrero or just has an extravagant lilypad on its head we may never know, but what we do know is that Ludicolo is one of the most used Grass-types in the metagame. Its Water secondary typing offsets Grass’ two main weaknesses of Fire and Ice, while also allowing it to dip into the Water movepool. The addition of Surf, Ice Beam, and Hydro Pump allow Ludicolo to become an offensive presence.

Offensive Ludicolo is a standard Pokémon found in rain due to Ludicolo’s Swift Swim ability. It’ll typically be running max special attack and often also a power boosting item such as Absorb Bulb or Life Orb. After the boosts and rain, its Hydro Pump becomes disgustingly powerful, even able to OHKO very bulky Pokémon like max HP Zapdos. This version of Ludicolo is quite good in the current metagame since it can take on the sand teams that have become so prevalent. Ludicolo also serves as a check to other rain due to its Grass moves. The Grass typing also allows it to counter Gastrodon, one of the best answers (potentially) to rain. This version of Ludicolo often carries Fake Out since, with Swift Swim and Speed investment, Ludicolo can outspeed any other Fake Out user in rain.

Defensive Ludicolo is less common than offensive Ludicolo, but arguably more dangerous. This version isn’t found exclusively on rain teams; in fact it is probably found more on goodstuff teams in an attempt to counter rain. Instead of Swift Swim this version likes to run Rain Dish. Rain Dish gives Ludicolo very nice recovery each turn, especially combined with Sitrus Berry or Leftovers. On top of Rain Dish, Ludicolo gets Leech Seed, which is arguably one of the best Grass moves in the game. Leech Seed is the key to defensive Ludicolo working; it allows Ludicolo to outlast several Pokémon, including the bulkiest of Cresselia. However, it doesn’t just stick around because of its recovery. It has a surprising amount of bulk to anyone used to the offensive version; I remember a time where it got a lot of play because it was one of the few Pokémon that could reliably bait, survive, and recover off the damage from a Latios Dragon Gem Draco Meteor. In addition to Leech Seed, this Ludicolo version also uses Scald to get burns for passive damage and pseudo-buffing its defense. Scald burns really help it dealing with sand due to the physical nature of most of those Pokémon, but can also help it in a mirror against another Ludicolo.

Support Ludicolo is easily the least common version of Ludicolo, but my favorite. This Ludicolo is really a wild card capable of ruining your day. One such wild card support Ludicolo was found on Toler Webb’s (Dim) World Championships winning team. We had been talking and I had mentioned how good I thought Sunny Day was going to be at Worlds. Later he came back with Sunny Day Ludicolo, which was absolutely brilliant. Ludicolo would have next to no problems operating in rain and could easily throw up a fast Sunny Day to completely wreck an opponent running rain. Obviously, the results speak for themself. A support Ludicolo set I never quite got working, but never actually gave up on was Sweet Scent Ludicolo. Rain buffs three low accuracy moves: Hydro Pump, Thunder, and Hurricane (Hydro Pump getting a power boost; Thunder and Hurricane becoming unmissable). The main reason the moves aren’t used more is because of how easy it is to take down rain. With Sweet Scent, the moves could be used without fear of missing due to lost weather. The idea is simple, use Ludicolo to get a fast Sweet Scent off, then hammer away with high power low accuracy moves. Though I doubt we’ll see any Sweet Scent Ludicolos winning competitions anytime soon, I encourage everyone to try it out!

Abomasnow

abomasnow

Abomasnow is one of those Pokémon that I really want to be good, but just never works properly for me. Abomasnow should be great. He should be able to come in, take down an opposing weather, resist sand’s Ground-type moves and rain’s Water-type moves, and hit a majority of Pokémon found in sand/rain super effectively. I've never been able to get him to work that way, though. I always seem to underachieve with him, either not having enough power or not having enough speed. The fact that Metagross is very likely the most used Pokémon further limits Abomasnow's usefulness. There have been a few successful teams this year which used Abomasnow in Trick Room to compensate for the lack of speed, but really I’m only mentioning Abomasnow due to Ice being a great offensive type and its ability to bring infinite hail.

Virizion

virizion

Virizion was my favorite Grass-type I used this year. It is extremely versatile, as it can be either special or physical and operate under any weather condition. Virizion also has a vast support movepool containing everything from Taunt to Reflect, allowing it to provide some support while being an offensive presence.

To me, Virizion’s biggest selling point is its ability to beat weather. It can outspeed and hit every weather inducer; it has Grass STAB for Politoed and Hippodown, Fighting STAB for Abomasnow and Tyranitar, and the ever inaccurate Stone Edge for Ninetales. It can also run Hidden Power Ice, allowing it to take on sand even more reliably alongside some of its counters. In addition to stopping weathers, Taunt and Safeguard help protect against Trick Room and Swagger respectively. Usually when a Pokémon tries to check so many strategies it gets spread too thin. Luckily for Virizion, it has just enough raw stats to support this. For instance, the Virizion I used at Nationals was designed to be 3HKO’d by max Attack Excadrill’s X-Scissor, Garchomp’s Dragon Claw, Life Orb Ludicolo’s Ice Beam, and more while still outspeeding neutral base 80s and scoring a 2HKO back most of the time.

Amoonguss

amoonguss

Anyone who’s ever played VGC ‘11 knows this Pokémon way better than they should. Considered one of the most dangerous threats in VGC ‘11, Amoonguss saw a large drop in usage once other Pokémon were introduced. Despite the drop, he remains one of the most threatening Grass-types; so much so to the extent that just by being on your team Amoonguss can convince your opponent to make poor choices.

Amoonguss trades his Ground resistance for a Fighting resist with a Poison secondary typing. This is both a blessing and a curse since it means Amoonguss won’t be as effective against sand teams, but can take on Hitmontop all day long. He’s also an oddity in that he inherently counters Trick Room. I don’t think it matters what kind of Amoonguss you are running, if your opponent is running Trick Room they’ll be very reluctant to set it up with an opposing Amoonguss around. However, this creates a situation where reverse speed creeping happens. Amoonguss can often be seen at lvl49 in order to out-slow other Amoonguss in Trick Room.

As far as sets go, the RestoChesto variant is probably the best Amoonguss in our current metagame. It can pull in a few hits from the opponent using Rage Powder and then recover off the damage. It always makes me smile seeing someone rage when they were about to kill off Amoonguss and Rests. Because it has a Chesto Berry, it can take on other Amoonguss in Trick Room without worrying about Speed ties (unless the other Amoonguss is RestoChesto as well). It doesn’t work solely in Trick Room, which is something I always look for.

Ferrothorn

ferrothorn

First off, let me say this: I do not approve of Ferrothorn. I think it is a subpar Pokémon that excels in bashing noobs. It is complete dead weight against anyone who is prepared to handle it. That being said, I feel Ferrothorn must be included due to Luke Swenson’s (theamericandram38) success with it.

Ferrothorn is one of the greatest answers to rain, thanks to its high Special Defense. Of course, it also suffers from the same fate as Amoonguss in that it loses its Ground resist thanks to its dual typing. One-on-one, Ferrothorn can take down nearly anything that doesn’t hit it super effectively by using Leech Seed and Iron Barbs. An effective team for Ferrothorn must focus on taking out the things that beat it early, so you can come in later and wall. Luke’s teams did this perfectly.

Whimsicott

whimsicott

Continuing with Pokémon I don’t particularly like we have Whimsicott. Generally I think Whimsicott just sits on the field, either being annoying or doing nothing. Occasionally though, Whimsicott does have a niche where it is the proper Pokémon to use. That’s the key to using Whimsicott effectively: it has to be used very specifically.  The team I won Athens Regionals with would be an example. Whimsicott wasn’t just filler, rather it had a well defined niche; I won two games due to it.

It’s pretty easy to see that Whimsicott’s strength lies in its Prankster ability. Nearly every Pokémon who has Prankster sees some use. It’s just that good. To set it apart from the competition Whimsicott has some tricks that are unique to it. The first trick is priority Encore. Locking your opponent into a move really eases prediction, especially if the move was Fake Out, Protect, or Trick Room. However, Encore’s real strength lies in an often overlooked mechanic: in a double battle, if the Encored Pokémon is locked into a single targeting move, the target will be chosen at random. Another trick Whimsicott gets is priority Light Screen/Reflect. Screens are rather underused in VGC, which surprises me. You sacrifice one moveslot to make your entire team ⅓ more bulky. That extra ⅓ turns OHKOs into 2HKOs, 2HKOs into 3HKOs, etc. Especially in a metagame like North America’s where there is a large focus on surviving specific hits, I cannot see why people don’t use screens more. Whimsicott is also the only Prankster Pokémon to get Safeguard. If you don’t understand why this is fantastic, you probably haven’t played a game where your opponents spammed Thunder Wave or Swagger. Speaking of spamming paralysis, Whimsicott also gets priority Stun Spore. Although not the most accurate paralysis move, the Grass typing means you get to paralyze anything that doesn’t have Limber or Sap Sipper. Notably, this lets you paralyze threats like Garchomp, Excadrill, Landorus, and other assorted Ground-types.

Exeggutor

exeggutor

Due to the recent endeavors of a certain Wolfe Glick (Wolfey), it would be a crime for me not to include Exeggutor on this list. In Wolfe’s Worlds report he talks about how much of an underrated threat Exeggutor is. I agree with this, as I also have experience with the sentient palm tree.

The main reason you’d want to use Exeggutor is its Harvest ability. With it you can have a potentially infinite amount of berries, translating to a potentially infinite amount of recovery, immunity to status, resistance to a type, etc. The build I have the most experience with is a defensive version with Sitrus Berry. I used it as a counter to rain and sand. It would resist their hits, recover using its berry if it needed to, then set up Trick Room so I could counter fast weather abusers without the need to have weather myself. Occasionally I ran Sleep Powder on it to stop opposing Trick Room from setting up, but 75% is a shaky accuracy to rely on. I could talk about how Exeggutor is surprising powerful and bulky, but Wolfe already did that in his article, so if you want to know more about Exeggutor I suggest you check that out.

Leaves on the Wind

The Grass type has always been one of my favorites. I’ve chosen the Grass starter on my first playthrough of every game (except Silver. Chikorita is terrifying.) because it seems like a relaxed type. I hope that if you were of the opinion that Grass-types were generic and bad that they have grown on you a bit. I hope to see a better variety of Grass-types in the upcoming season, rather than just Ludicolo!


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      Crobat @ Lum Berry  
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      The Battles from the PC #2  
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    • By MattDorrell
      How’s it going, Nugget Bridge?  My name is Matteo 'Matt' Dorrell, and I've been playing VGC since March.  I built a team on Pokémon Showdown and won a tournament there, so I bred the Pokémon in game. The team then got me close to a 1800 rating on Battle Spot. As a beginner I was quite proud of what I had achieved with this team, so I decided to really test its mettle at a real competition: UK Nationals in Manchester.

      When I first built this team, I had in mind a certain move: Rock Slide. Many people consider it to be the best move in the game, so I wanted to find a suitable user of it. I first considered the ubiquitous Landorus-Therian, but I came to think of it as an extremely overrated Pokémon. Many opposing teams had Bisharp or Milotic to counter Intimidate, and Landorus-T just didn't seem to have enough power to pick up the KOs I needed. I then switched to Terrakion for additional power, but I found that it was easily hit by a status move or knocked out entirely; I tried Aerodactyl too, but it played much like Terrakion. Finally, I found Kabutops, one of the coolest looking Pokémon available. Even though its stats were fairly average and its typing wasn't great, I found a way to use its strength and make my team work.

      Kabutops @ Life Orb
      Swift Swim | Adamant
      196 HP / 252 Atk / 60 Spe
      - Waterfall
      - Rock Slide
      - Low Kick
      - Protect
      OHKOes 4 HP / 0 Def Landorus-T with Waterfall at -2 Attack in rain half of the time OHKOes 252 HP / 0 Def Sylveon with Waterfall in rain most of the time OHKOes 4 HP / 0 Def Heatran with Low Kick OHKOes 140 HP / 0 Def Thundurus-I with Rock Slide Withstands Jolly Landorus-T's Superpower most of the time Withstands Adamant Mega Kangaskhan's Low Kick Kabutops's Swift Swim doubles its Speed in the rain, allowing me to delegate most of its EVs into HP instead. With minimal investment, it hits 216 Speed after the boost, handily outpacing every common Pokémon in the metagame. Kabutops's power is impressive, knocking out many threats with a rain-boosted Waterfall. The flinch chances of its STAB attacks also come in handy in tight situations. Kabutops also helps out greatly against Japanese sand, as it gains a ton of Special Defense and can take out Tyranitar and Excadrill in a single hit. I had considered Knock Off over Low Kick, but I would have lost a very significant coverage option.

      Politoed @ Choice Scarf
      Drizzle | Modest
      4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
      - Scald
      - Ice Beam
      - Rain Dance
      - Encore
      As the only legal Drizzle user, Politoed makes it onto the team for obvious reasons. Scald and Ice Beam are two very useful attacks; the former provides crucial chip damage that allows Kabutops to snag OHKOs on Zapdos, Aegislash, and Cresselia, while the latter takes out annoying Grass-types and Mega Salamence. Rain Dance gives Politoed a good surprise option against Mega Charizard Y and Tyranitar, allowing me to keep the weather in my favor; being Choice-locked into Rain Dance isn't a huge issue, as Politoed typically wants to switch out to preserve Drizzle anyway. I chose Encore over Hydro Pump in the last slot to pick up an advantage against Fake Out users; this didn't really work out in practice, so I probably should've used Helping Hand instead to make Kabutops even more of a monster.

      Talonflame @ Choice Band
      Gale Wings | Adamant
      4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      - Brave Bird
      - Flare Blitz
      - U-turn
      - Taunt
      This set is pulled from Alex Ogloza's 2014 US Nationals team. Talonflame just has an answer to everything; Trick Room, Tailwind, or sand up? No problem, priority Brave Bird takes care of every problem. Many people seem to have underestimated Talonflame, but it can turn a game around in the blink of an eye. The bird also handles Grass-types very well, threats that would otherwise doom this rain team. U-turn served as my counter to Perish Trap, but I rarely used it even when its intended use case occurred. Taunt was used as a last-ditch atempt to shut down Tailwind, Trick Room, or Aegislash, and it allowed Talonflame to occasionally masquerade as a Life Orb variant.

      Manectric @ Manectite
      Lightning Rod / Intimidate | Timid
      4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
      - Thunder
      - Thunderbolt
      - Hidden Power Ice
      - Protect
      Looking at the team so far, all three Pokémon are weak to Electric-type moves. Most opponents wouldn't think twice against bringing Thundurus against this team. Manectric allowed me to handily disrupt those plans with Lightning Rod, redirecting those attacks and picking up a nifty Special Attack boost in the process. Thunder dealt tremendous amounts of damage, especially after a boost, while Thunderbolt gave me a more consistent backup option. In retrospect, I should've used Flamethrower instead of Thunder, as I faced many sun teams and did not get many chances to actually hit targets with the stronger move.

      Ferrothorn @ Rocky Helmet
      Iron Barbs | Sassy
      252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
      IVs: 0 Spe
      - Power Whip
      - Gyro Ball
      - Curse
      - Protect
      OHKOes 252 HP / 212+ Def Sylveon with Gyro Ball at +1 Attack OHKOes 252 HP / 164 Def Rotom-W with Power Whip at +1 Attack OHKOes 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan with Gyro Ball at +1 Attack after recoil damage You might notice that this Ferrothorn is extremely specially defensive; I realized that Rocky Helmet and Iron Barbs would deter my opponents from using contact moves (mostly physical) against Ferrothorn, so I EV'd it to take the special attacks that would be inevitably thrown at it. In lieu of Attack investment, I put Curse on the set. It ended up being a great choice, as Ferrothorn was typically given free reign to boost while Kabutops and Politoed knocked out opposing Fire-types. After a single boost, Ferrothorn becomes extremely powerful, knocking out several common threats. It's always a great feeling when Ferrothorn switches in on a Mega Kangaskhan's Fake Out; however, as you'll see shortly, skilled players can sometimes make a smart prediction for a free attack.

      Serperior @ Leftovers
      Contrary | Timid
      252 HP / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
      - Leaf Storm
      - Glare
      - Taunt
      - Protect
      While Serperior might seem like an odd choice for the final spot, it covered several holes in my team. I needed a powerful special attacker, but I also needed a secondary Taunt user to deal with Trick Room and some form of Speed control. With Contrary, Serperior could take advantage of opposing Icy Wind and Snarl while boosting itself with Leaf Storm. Taunt allowed me to prevent Tailwind and Trick Room without forcing Talonflame to lock itself into it, while Glare provided much-needed paralysis support (and even had the bonus of being able to hit Ground-types). I invested into HP and Speed to allow Serperior to take hits while boosting up, as well as allowing it to outpace Thundurus.
      Day One (Swiss Rounds)
      Anyone who attended the UK Nationals will tell you that the tournament was an unorganised mess and had us all loitering around for 3 or 4 hours before any games even began.  Although for everyone else this was a nightmare, it gave me the opportunity to make new friends who supported me all weekend, despite never having met me.  I think the confidence boost this gave me had a part to play in the events that were to follow.
      Game 1 – Sergio Marcos
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
      Seeing his team, I thought Kabutops could do what he does best, as long as I could get rid of the Amoonguss with a Brave Bird and the Azumarill with Thunder.
      He led off with Gengar and Lopunny, and at the time I was pretty certain that his Lopunny was the Mega of the pair.  Expecting a Fake Out and Will-O-Wisp onto my Kabutops, I protected, and had Politoed target the Lopunny with a Scald.  As it turns out, the Gengar was the Mega as it sang the Perish Song.  *sigh*  Fortunately, I did predict the Fake Out correctly and left the Lopunny with only the tiniest bit of health or brought it down to its Focus Sash; it didn’t get knocked out, that’s for sure.  Politoed and Kabutops went down to Perish Song easily after the three turns, as I fell straight for the Eject Button Amoonguss.  Believing that the game was already over, my last two Pokémon, Manectric and Talonflame came out against what were his Mega-Gengar and Azumarill, which is when I started thinking.
      His win condition was to get off another Perish Song with either Pokémon and to then stall out the last couple of turns with the two extra Pokémon he has in the back.  The obvious play here was to Brave Bird the Gengar and Thunder the Azumarill, so all he had to do was switch in Amoongus for Azumarill and Protect the Gengar, while following up with redirection and Perish Song.  Was I overthinking my situation?  I probably was, but my prediction turned out to be spot on, as Amoonguss went down easily to a Brave Bird, while Thunder went into Gengar to knock it out too.  Lopunny and Azumarill come out from the back, but now it was his turn to believe the game was all over.  This doesn’t mean that he didn’t put up a good fight until the end, as Lopunny used Fake Out on Manectric while his Azumarill went for the Perish Song.  As his Lopunny had gone down to Brave Bird, he was left with his Azumarill against an on-point Talonflame and an angry Manectric.  In a last ditch effort, Azumarill went for the triple Protect, but fortunately for me, only got the double.
      Sergio Marcos ended making the top cut with a 7-2 record, coming 21st  overall, which is very impressive, considering he lost his first battle of the tournament.  Good game, Sergio!
      1 - 0
      Games 2 & 3 - Micky Orchard & Alex Monks
      Although I definitely won both of these games by leading Politoed and Kabutops, my memory is almost blank.  I know for a fact that both players used a Mega-Kangaskhan and I successfully lured both players into having them use Fake Out on Ferrothorn. Not to downplay their efforts, I'm quite sure that both games were close even if turn one went my way both times. Manectric won the game both times with Lightning Rod boosts and a lucky critical hit at the second game.  I'd have remembered if my opponents were nasty, so I can only assume they were absolutely swell people.
      Looking at the standings, my eyes spy that they both narrowly missed making the top cut with 6-3 and 5-4 records respectively.  Good Game Micky and Good Game Alex!
      3 - 0
      Game 4 – Matteo Gini (Matty)
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
      Fancy getting a game against someone who shares my name!  As our names suggest, I got to speak Italian with him, which was a pleasant surprise.
      He lead with Charizard and Sylveon, which I was comfortable with.  Having a strong suspicion that he would Mega-evolve, I had Politoed do his Rain Dance and protect with Kabutops.  Matteo did in fact Mega-evolve with the Charizard and had his Sylveon use Hyper Voice.  Politoed took a lot of damage, but didn’t faint.  Knowing that his Charizard was too valuable to him, he switched it out.  Kabutops really shone as he picked up knock outs on both Sylveon and Landorus-T.  I did also play quite recklessly as I did lose Politoed a little bit too early.  On the final turn, his Charizard was up against my low-health Manectric and Ferrothorn, with the sun up.  Manectric managed to knock out the Charizard in one hit with a critical hit, which Matteo said had mattered, as his Charizard was bulky enough to take a Thunderbolt from Timid Manectric.
      The critical hit might have set Matteo back a bit, but he still made the top cut with a 7 - 2 record, finishing 13th overall.  Good Game Matteo!
      4 - 0
      Game 5 - Harry Aurime (Adaranoy)
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
      Looking at his team, I made the schoolboy error of not thinking about Suicune's Tailwind, meaning I didn't lead with either Serperior or Talonflame to taunt it away.  Instead I lead with Politoed and Kabutops again, seeing as no Pokémon on his team particularly scared me and I had been leading the pair in every game to great success so far, as he lead with Suicune and Bisharp.
      This is when I realised that he could Tailwind and seriously diminish my chances of winning, even if I didn't feel that threatened by his team.  I decided to have Kabutops Rock Slide and hope for the flinch on Suicune.  I was going to Scald the Bisharp but realised that the only play that would make sense for him would be to Protect the Bisharp, so I went for the Scald on Suicune just to get free damage off and maybe hope for the Burn.  Thankfully, Harry is a calm and gracious player, because two critical hits, a burn and a flinch on his Suicune meant that his game plan was probably set back by miles.  But it did not stop there.  He had Sylveon and Kangaskhan in the back, but neither could make a significant impact on the game as Kabutops got even more flinches with Rock Slide while Manectric paralyzed everything it touched.
      The loss here unfortunately set Harry back a lot, as he narrowly missed making the top cut with a 6-3 record.  I had a friendly rematch against him after I got knocked out of the contest.  The rematch was just as eventful.  Good Game, Harry!
      5 - 0
      Game 6 - Matthias Suchodolski (Lega)
      His team:
          ( )
      I brought:
         
      Fun fact: When I was a kid, I was gifted Pokémon Gold Version in German, so that I could learn the language.  Being able to speak German at the Nationals with Matthias was another pleasant surprise.
      Being ecstatic with what I thought would be an easy match-up for my team, I lead with my five-win-streak pair of Politoed and Kabutops, because they had done me proud so far.  Just like in games two and three, I kept Ferrothorn and Manectric in the back to lure in Fake Outs from Kangaskhan and electric-type attacks from Rotom-Heat respectively.  He lead with Kangaskhan and Rotom, which made me very happy.  If I could predict Matthias’ moves to a tee, I would win the game easily.  My plans however, fell apart from turn one.  Rotom switched out for Amoonguss, which was to be expected but his Kangaskhan became the first of the competition to use Fake Out on Politoed instead of Kabutops.  Ferrothorn came in, but I was already disheartened.  The game was still quite close, as Ferrothorn managed to set up enough turns with Curse to knock out quite a few Pokémon, including his Kangaskhan which was burned from a Politoed Scald the following turn and doing significant damage against Amoonguss.  With Terrakion and Rotom-Heat in the back, Ferrothorn struggled to not get knocked out in one turn.  Kabutops would have had free reign if I had bought Talonflame for the Amoonguss.  I'd say this was my biggest mistake.
      For 9 Swiss rounds, Matthias impressively went unbeaten and came 5th overall.  Good Game Matthias!
      5 - 1
      Game 7 - Terence Dray (Ty Flowsion)
      His team:
      [mini name=reuniclus][mini name=staraptor][mini name=charizard-mega-y][mini name=scrafty]([mini name=breloom][mini name=sylveon])
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=serperior][mini name=kabutops][mini name=talonflame]
      The first thing that struck me seeing his team was Reuniclus.  I knew Reuniclus was a Trick Room setter, but I couldn't even begin to guess what its defensive stats were.  My guess was that it was a slightly less bulky Cresselia with higher offensive potential.  His Reuniclus was level 49, which made me assume that it had to be able to outspeed something in Trick Room to presumably beat it, my guess was Amoonguss (turned out I was right).  I was tempted to lead Politoed and Kabutops again as an attack from both could knock Reuniclus out, especially if it had to compensate defensive EV's for Special Attack to knock out Amoonguss.  But I saw other problems, namely Charizard-Y and Scrafty who could both severely hinder my plans to disrupt Trick Room.  I decided to lead with Politoed and Serperior, as Politoed could try getting a burn off on Scrafty or Rain Dance after Charizard Mega-evolves while Serperior could stop Reuniclus from setting up the Trick Room with Taunt.
      Terence led with Reuniclus and Staraptor.  I hadn’t even really considered him leading with Staraptor.  In a moment of bewilderment, I used Taunt on the Reuniclus with Serperior as planned, but completely forgot about Staraptor being able to use Final Gambit.  I lost Politoed, meaning that I had already lost the weather war on turn one.  The battle wasn't lost, because Kabutops had me covered with his Rock Slides.  I was also sure that Kabutops could outspeed his low Speed Charizard because I had prevented the Trick Room.  The only Pokémon Terence had in the back that could potentially cause me problems were Breloom and Scrafty, who were both easy pickings for Talonflame.  He switched in Charizard as my Kabutops came out.  Even if  I did lose my Politoed, I felt that I had the advantage.  Rock Slide was the most obvious move to go for with Kabutops, while I correctly predicted the taunted Reuniclus to switch out.  Charizard used Protect while Scrafty came in to a Glare from Serperior.
      I didn't know what to expect next, and I was also suddenly not so sure whether or not my Kabutops could knock out the presumably bulky Charizard, especially after the Intimidate and Fake Out from Scrafty.  I decided to play safely and switch to Talonflame.  I'd say that this was a misplay.  I would have been far better off stalling out the Fake Out with a double Protect and then switching, but I think I was afraid of the Reuniclus switching back in for the Charizard.  He fakes out the Talonflame and goes for the Heat Wave, putting Talonflame at about half health.  Knowing that Terence would risk too much with a Solar Beam prediction, I switched in Kabutops for Serperior.  I made Talonflame Brave Bird Charizard instead of Scrafty, just in case Scrafty should decide to do anything like Protect.  Having his Charizard at low health would also be good, as a Rock Slide from Kabutops would guarantee the knock out.
      Then came the play that won Terence the game: his Scrafty using Quick Guard.  I did no damage that turn and his Charizard managed to get yet another Heat Wave off, knocking out Talonflame in the process.  Out of options, I knew I had to commit to trying to getting lucky with Rock Slide flinches and the chance of full paralysis.  My Serperior went for the Glare on the Charizard, but Terence switched it out for Reuniclus.  Scrafty either flinched or got fully paralysed, it didn't move, that's for sure.  Next turn, I knew I had to get rid of the Scrafty as it was the only immediate threat to Kabutops, so I had Serperior target it down with a Leaf Storm.  But the unboosted Leaf Storm was nowhere near enough to knock out the Scrafty.  Scrafty overcame the Rock Slide flinch and the full paralysis to knock out my Kabutops with the help of both Pokémons' Life Orbs.  To add salt to the wound, the Reuniclus managed to set up the Trick Room, which decided the game.  Serperior did manage to get a knock out on Scrafty during the last few turns because of Reuniclus getting fully paralysed, but did not stand a chance against the Charizard in the back.
      Using this win, Terence solidified his chances and made the top cut with a 7-2 record, coming 12th overall.  Good Game, Terence!
      5 - 2
      Game 8 - Reece Timms (ChicoMono)
      His team:
      His team:
      [mini name=lapras][mini name=thundurus][mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=breloom]([mini name=sableye][mini name=landorus-therian])
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=talonflame]
      It struck me as odd that I was paired with someone who was at a 4 - 3 record and as such, already out of the competition.  I would discover the reason later, but I did joke about bribing him to let me win.  Being such a kind-hearted guy, Reece said he wouldn't mind losing and only planned to play for fun.  This did end up being quite a fun game as Reece brought an interesting team with him.  I didn’t struggle much in this battle, but I did have to do multiple double-takes when his Lapras dodged a Rock Slide from Kabutops, survived a Thunder from Manectric, and knocked Talonflame out with a Weakness Policy-boosted Hydro Pump.
      Even though Reece was knocked out of the competition, he still finished relatively strong with a 5 - 4 ratio.  Good Game, Reece!
      6 - 2
      Game 9 - Yohan Pagonakis
      His team:
      [mini name=charizard-mega-y][mini name=thundurus][mini name=conkeldurr][mini name=breloom]([mini name=weavile][mini name=landorus-therian])
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=talonflame]
      Another fun fact:  At the same time that I was gifted a German copy of Pokémon Gold Version, I was also gifted Pokémon Red Version in French, with the exact same aim: to learn the language.  Being paired up against Yohan and speaking French with him meant that I had spoken a total of four languages in one day, which I wasn’t expecting.
      Tensions were high along the 6-2 table, as everybody was mentally preparing for the battle that would decide their place in the top cut.  I didn't know at the time, but Yohan is a veteran player, having gotten 15th place at the German nationals a couple weeks before.
      I led Politoed and Kabutops as per usual and had Politoed do a Rain Dance, because he led with Charizard.  The game went pretty smoothly from there, because Charizard locked into Solar Beam allowing Kabutops to knock it out.  The game was decided when Talonflame picked up a KO on Conkeldurr at -1.  Good Game Yohan!
      7 - 2
      With this final win, I made the top cut, ranking 8th in Swiss being the highest ranked player with a 7 - 2 record, which explains why I was matched against Reece earlier.
      Day 2 (Top Cut)
      Arriving at the venue the next day, I seemed to be the only person who wasn't tired.  I had only gotten a few hours sleep that night because of how late we had finished the day before.  Obviously pumped with adrenaline, I waited with my breath held as my first opponent for the day was to be decided.  As it turned out, I got a bye round for doing so well the day before, and some matches were going to be played by people further down the ranking to determine who would get a place at the top 32.  Some really big names made the top cut, but there was a particular big name that I definately did not want to get matched up against.
      Top 32 – William Tansley (StarKO)
      For my top 32 match I was matched up against William Tansley.  Like me, William made the top cut with a 7 - 2 win ratio, losing only to big names Arash and Sekiam.  The stage was set for Kabutops to prove it was no one-trick pony.  My first ever best-of-three match was about to begin.
      His team:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash][mini name=volcarona][mini name=landorus-therian]
      Latios was the first Pokémon that struck me on Williams team.  This was the moment where I had wished I had Knock Off on Kabutops instead of Low Kick.  I would bring Kabutops anyway, because of Landorus-Therian and Volcarona being easy pickings for it.
      Game 1
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=ferrothorn][mini name=manectric-mega]
      He brought:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash]
      At this point, I think you can easily guess what pair I lead with, but I should probably mention it anyway.  Politoed and Kabutops were going to be perfect bait for any Fake Outs from the Mega-Kangaskhan or Thunderbolts from Rotom-Wash, as Mega-Manectric and Ferrothorn were lurking in the back again.  Things went wrong from turn one.  Just like against Matthias the day before, William correctly had his Mega-Kangaskhan Fake Out Politoed while his Latios went for the Tailwind.  I decided it might be an idea to take the Tailwind to my own advantage, I wanted Ferrothorn to get a strong Gyro Ball off against Latios.  But on the other hand Ferrothorn would be at risk from the Kangaskhan.  I decided to switch Kabutops in as a sacrifice, which was the best play I could have possibly made, as he double-targeted it with Low Kick and Draco Meteor.  Politoed Scalded Mega-Kangaskhan and got the burn too.  I switched Ferrothorn back in, as I knew that it wouldn't be taking that much damage from either Pokémon.  Knowing that one of his Pokémon would switch out, I had Ferrothorn use Curse.  Unfortunately it did take some damage from Low Kick.
      The Rocky Helmet reveal was important for William, as he had in mind to burn Ferrothorn in future games.  Rotom-Wash came in next along with Latios returning.  Thinking he could get rid of Politoed quickly, I knew it was Manectric's time to turn things around.  Gyro Ball from Ferrothorn did significant damage to Latios, almost knocking it out.  I wanted to stall out his Tailwind as well as my rain, so I could set it up again with Politoed in the back.  I needed Manectric to outspeed everything and launch those high-powered Thunders.  Protecting Manectric, I recall was also a fantastic play on my end, as William had identified it as a threat and double-targeted it.  This allowed Ferrothorn to hit the Rotom with a Power Whip.  The end of the game was easy as all I had to do was knock out the low-health Latios to stop it from setting up the Tailwind again, meaning that Aegislash was left to fight against my last three Pokémon.
      1 - 0
      Game 2
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=ferrothorn][mini name=manectric-mega]
      He brought:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash]
      A piece of advice that is often given to best-of-three players is to stick to what works if you win the first game and change things up if you lose it.  At first I thought William hadn't gotten that particular memo, but he would soon prove me wrong.  If the first game was heavily in my favor, the second was completely in his.  I didn't want to risk any more wrong Fake Out predictions, so I just made Politoed and Kabutops go for the Mega-Kangaskhan, as any damage was good damage.  This is possibly the only good play I made this game, because Tailwind became a real thorn in my side.  His entire team became unstoppable, as no Lightning Rod or Iron Barbs predictions could become a reality.  Aegislash sealed the deal for William as I could not read its movements at all.
      1 - 1
      Game 3
      It was back to the drawing board for me from here.  William was not going to fall for anything that I had revealed anymore, I knew that much.  But on the other hand I had dominated the first game with the element of surprise.  This time I had one thing in mind: Speed control.  I had to stop him from setting up the Tailwind, but I needed a backup plan just in case that idea were to fail.  Time for Serperior to shine.  Or should I say Glare?
      I brought:
      [mini name=serperior][mini name=talonflame][mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops]
      He brought:
      [mini name=kangaskhan-mega][mini name=latios][mini name=rotom-wash][mini name=aegislash]
      And so started the best game of the competition.
      Talonflame and Serperior were to lead and double-Taunt the Latios, because I knew that having one of the pair be Faked Out was no big deal.  He decided to Fake Out Serperior, which was probably to be expected, but there was no Tailwind for him this time.  I might actually have gotten really lucky there, as there might have been a speed tie between Talonflame and Latios. Serperior was the definite hero this game as it started running circles around William's team, Glaring and Taunting, Taunting and Glaring.  All the while Protecting at clever intervals to recover with Leftovers.  William did not go down easily however.  Although Serperior did go largely ignored, my other Pokémon had a hard time between trying to find a way to dent the correct Pokémon and not taking damage.  Talonflame however survived a Psychic from Latios to knock it out in one hit with Brave Bird.  Aegislash also failed to outpredict the combo of Politoed and Kabutops, going down easily due to Serperiors Taunt.  Mega-Kangaskhan and Rotom almost ruined the party as they had free reign because I had not taken Manectric or Ferrothorn with me.  The last turn came about and Serperior, with a Leaf Storm boost and at almost full health, was left against Mega-Kangaskhan and Rotom-Wash.  Mega-Kangaskhan had visible battle bruises, as it lay in low health almost from Double-Edge recoil damage alone.
      I think tiredness and hunger must have set in, because I suddenly drew a complete blank on what William had on Mega-Kangaskhan.  For some reason I was convinced it had Power-Up Punch.  I was also convinced that he was going to predict me to Protect to get Leftovers recovery and so would Power-Up Punch his own Rotom to get enough fire-power to knock out Serperior in one hit.  I had to prevent this from happening.  If my prediction turned out to be wrong, I knew that the chance of me getting knocked out from on Double-Edge was very low (around 10%).  Even if that did happen, there was no way that Kangaskhan wouldn't faint due to recoil.  Putting all my eggs in the snakes basket, I easily knocked out the Rotom with Leaf Storm.  The moment of truth came as Double-Edge hit Serperior.  Time itself slowed down as I watched the health bar fall down...
      to 4 HP.
      2 - 1
      There was no way that this game could have been any more tense.  This was the only other game Serperior was taken to, having lost the first one against Terence.  Not only did Serperior redeem itself, it also won me the game almost single-handedly.  This was my favourite match of the tournament, and possibly the best match I've ever played in my admittedly short VGC career.
      Great Game, William!
      Top 16 – Arash Ommati (Mean)
      If you had told me on the cold Friday morning when I left my flat to get to Manchester that I would be battling Arash Ommati, the former World Champion, for a spot in the top 8, I would never have believed you.  Here I was, with the matchup that I was fearing.
      I looked at his team.  It was very familiar.  Aaron Zheng had been playing a variation of it on his Road to Ranked series that week.  Arash brought a Japan Sand team.
      His team:
      [mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar][mini name=excadrill][mini name=aegislash][mini name=azumarill][mini name=amoonguss]
      I tried to keep calm, because I knew Kabutops could thrive in this battle.  If I won the weather war, Kabutops could get off fast Rock Slides and seriously threaten the sand core of Tyranitar and Excadrill.  On the other hand if I lost the weather war, Kabutops could tank the Mega-Salamence, Aegislash, Azumarill, and although I didn’t know this at the time, his Amoonguss.  I figured that I should take Ferrothorn with me, as it doesn’t take Sandstorm damage and was also immune to Amoonguss.  As long as I could get a few boosts with Curse up, I would be safe.  Arash recognised my win condition: Knock out his Salamence, and Ferrothorn could carry the rest of the game.   I didn’t.
      Game 1
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=ferrothorn]
      He brought:
      [mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar][mini name=azumarill][mini name=aegislash]
      In the first game I decided to lead with my trusted pair of Politoed and Kabutops with Ferrothorn and Manectric on the bench.  The idea was to hopefully find out whether or not Tyranitar was carrying a Choice Scarf, by bating out a Superpower.  Arash led with Salamence and Tyranitar, with Aegislash and Azumarill in the back.  Although I suspected as much, I was comfortable with the confirmation of Salamence being the Mega-Pokémon, as I knew Manectric could threaten it.
      My memory has faded on the details of this game, but I remember feeling that I played terribly.  I remember Manectric getting knocked out early, but getting Azumarill to low health at least.  Politoed also knocked out his Salamence quite early on with an Ice Beam.  Arash must have been playing worse, because I won the game in the end.  It might have had something to do with the fact that Arash targeted my Ferrothorn with a Shadow Sneak from Aegislash and an Aqua Jet from Azumarill after Ferrothorn had set up a Curse.  I remember having a miss-click this game too, but nothing as game-deciding as his.
      1 - 0
      We took a break after the first game, so that we could both have a breather and a think.   The difference between a veteran and a beginner really showed during this break, as Arash thought about whether or not his Azumarill was really worth bringing instead of Amoonguss, while I ran around the venue looking for as many people as possible to tell that I was one game up against the former World Champion.  Now that I’m no longer a fledgling player, I now know not to make this truly obnoxious mistake again.
      Game 2
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=talonflame][mini name=kabutops][mini name=ferrothorn]
      He brought:
      [mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar][mini name=amoonguss][mini name=aegislash]
      In the second game, I thought that Arash had maybe identified his Aegislash as a threat to me.  Not wanting to have the same Aegislash-related problems that I had against William, I decided to lead with Politoed and Talonflame.  I fealt safe leading with Politoed because I had a suspicion that he would drop sand altogether.  I’m not sure what he led with, but I honestly felt that I was playing better this game than the last.  I won the weather war, as Kabutops made Arash do a double-take by surviving a Superpower from Tyranitar and responding with a Low Kick to knock the it out.  If Arash hasn’t been at the top of his game, I would have won, because Amoonguss putting all of my Pokémon to sleep really prevented me from doing any other significant plays.  Talonflame was also having a tough time, because it couldn’t find the perfect opportunity to Brave Bird his Amoonguss.
      1 - 1
      Game 3
      I brought:
      [mini name=politoed][mini name=kabutops][mini name=manectric-mega][mini name=talonflame]
      He brought:
      [mini name=amoonguss][mini name=aegislash][mini name=salamence-mega][mini name=tyranitar]
      I cringe every time I watch this game.  I still have no idea what I was thinking that first turn.  When Aegislash was targeted by Kabutops I heard Arash groan quite loudly, which means he must have been relieved when I did not double-target it.  Even if I did get the flinch on Aegislash, I would have been at an advantage if I played recklessly as usual, as Arash kept predicting me to play it safe.  I genuinely thought I was going to win when I got both the critical hit and the paralysis on Salamence, but I just couldn’t capitalise on it.  Having Flamethrower on Manectric would have also been useful, as Amoonguss would have given me much less problems.  I believe that the tiniest bit of bulk on Politoed would have also helped it survive the Shadow Sneak from Aegislash, which sealed the game in his favor.
      1 - 2
      Good Game, Arash!
      The dream was over, but there was no way I could be bitter.  I was lucky to get that far in the first place and it was an absolute treat to get matched against Arash.  In the next round Arash faced Matthias and beat him.  This made me slightly disappointed at my loss as I would have really enjoyed a rematch against Matthias.  Arash got so close to winning it all, only to fall at the final hurdle, but his win against me had already solidified his place at the World Championships.  Hope to see you do well there, Arash!
      Conclusion
      As much as I love this team, I do have to admit that it relies a little bit too much on taking risks. I am happy about the fact that Kabutops proved to not be a one trick pony in best-of-three games. Does it need support? Yes, it does, but I still feel that it carried the team. Would I use it again?  Probably not. I assume that people will start to wise up about the prehistoric critter after reading this article, so it might possibly start seeing more use. Maybe someone could find an even better way to use it in the future!
      I want you all to know that you should not be afraid of going to official events near you, because the Pokémon community is so welcoming to newcomers and I did not meet a single person I disliked. Neither should you be scared of bringing your favourite Pokémon, especially if you can find a clever way to use it. Who knows, you might even make it further than I did my first time.
      Finally, I want to give some thank yous and shout outs to some people, because (and I don't want to sound silly) I would not have made it that far without the praise and support of the people I met that weekend.
      Matt Sheppard (KaSlaps)(high-fives galore), who was even more daring than me and top cut with a Kecleon, coming 35th overall. Gareth Buckley and his friendly friend Lee (or Leigh), who would praise me like a god for using Kabutops and just being the most entertaining person at the nationals with his extraordinary plays (successfully reading a Zapdos Roost with an Earthquake).  Still trying to find you on Nugget Bridge, buddy! Astronautical, who volunteered to make that really awesome artwork you see at the top. Various people on Pokémon Showdown who complimented me on Kabutops and set my decision in stone to bring it with me to the nationals. The lady at the stand who made the bacon butties which were a blessing between games. Every single one of my opponents, for giving me great games and still being supportive and gracious after being beaten or when beating me. Everybody I met at the nationals who I didn’t battle in the competition, including the people who went: “Oh, you’re THAT guy”, after I would tell them about my team. Everyone who helped jog my memories of the event, as they were quite fuzzy at the time of writing. And lastly you, for putting up with the ramblings of a novice and reading this article to the very end.
    • By VeganEdge
      Hi, this is my first time posting here! (sorry for my bad english)

      This is a team i made with Xerneas and Rayquaza, with good results, but the Gengar+Crobat combo destroys me. I have problems with Heatproof Bronzong too, but in general, this team is funny to use.
      So without further explanation, here is my team:


       

      Xerneas @ Power Herb  
      Ability: Fairy Aura  
      Level: 50  
      Shiny: Yes  
      EVs: 12 HP / 132 Def / 108 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Geomancy  
      - Dazzling Gleam  
      - Moonblast  
      - Protect
      Using this spread in a Big Six Team with good results (Top4 in one of Chile's Midseason).
      252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 12 HP / 132 Def Xerneas: 99-117 (48.7 - 57.6%) -- 93.4% chance to 2HKO
      252 Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 12 HP / 132 Def Xerneas: 88-105 (43.3 - 51.7%) -- 7.4% chance to 2HKO
      204+ Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (115 BP) vs. 12 HP / 132 Def Xerneas: 152-182 (74.8 - 89.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 12 HP / 132 Def Xerneas: 137-163 (67.4 - 80.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      I use a Timid Nature with 252 evs to tank an Eruption or Water Spout with the Geomancy Boost and VS Mirror Xerneas
      252+ SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. +2 12 HP / 4 SpD Xerneas in Harsh Sun: 88-105 (43.3 - 51.7%) -- 7.4% chance to 2HKO
      252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. +2 12 HP / 4 SpD Xerneas in Heavy Rain: 102-121 (50.2 - 59.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      Rayquaza @ Life Orb  
      Ability: Air Lock  
      Shiny: Yes  
      EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Naive Nature  
      - Dragon Ascent  
      - Waterfall  
      - Overheat  
      - Protect
      I like the RayXern combo, with Overheat can destroy Ferrothorn, Mega-Mawile and others Steel Types, with Waterfall can destroy or near kill Groudon in Desolate Land, and Dragon Ascent can 2KO Kyogre. The best part is i can use Rayquaza without mega and he can still be useful when I need Kangaskhan.
      252 Atk Life Orb Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 116 Def Primal Kyogre: 142-169 (68.5 - 81.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 116 Def Primal Kyogre: 164-192 (79.2 - 92.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 Atk Life Orb Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Primal Kyogre: 161-191 (91.4 - 108.5%) -- 50% chance to OHKO
      252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Primal Kyogre: 187-220 (106.2 - 125%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      252 Atk Life Orb Rayquaza Waterfall vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Primal Groudon: 177-213 (85.5 - 102.8%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO
      252 Atk Life Orb Rayquaza Waterfall vs. 4 HP / 4 Def Primal Groudon: 177-213 (100.5 - 121%) -- guaranteed OHKO

      Smeargle @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Moody  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD  
      Relaxed Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 29 Spe  
      - Dark Void  
      - Follow Me  
      - Crafty Shield  
      - Spiky Shield
      This is Satan. The Classic Smeargneas. I really LOVE Relaxed Smeargle, he can be a pain for Trick Room Teams. 29 IVs Relaxed is one point slow than Primals, so in TR i can put to sleep them. In Tailwind he outspeeds base 100, such as Kangaskhan.

      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Inner Focus  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Sucker Punch
      The Clasic Kangaskhan, the VGC queen. No explanation need.

      Talonflame @ Sharp Beak  
      Ability: Gale Wings  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Tailwind  
      - Brave Bird  
      - Flare Blitz  
      - Quick Guard
      BRAVE BIRD. My speed control, and using quick guard, Scizor can't touch Xerneas. Standar Set.
       

      Amoonguss @ Red Card  
      Ability: Regenerator  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 84 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe  
      - Spore  
      - Rage Powder  
      - Clear Smog  
      - Grass Knot
      This Amoonguss is like a glue for my team for now, TR counter, 2nd redirection. Clear Smog and Red Card are great against enemy Xerneas. Spore is...Spore.
       
      I'm open to opinions and ideas, this team is funny to use, so i want to make it better.
      Threats:

       (with heatproof)
      Crobat-Gengar can destroy my team without problems :(, the best lead against it is  , but it's like a 50%. Levitate Bronzong is killed by Rayquaza's Overheat, but heatproof Bronzong can setup without problems.
       
      I hope you can help me guys!
    • By TJD319
      Hello everyone, I have been an avid fan of the games for quite some time, and I also have been doing some battling outside of a major competition for quite some time.  This is my first time getting into the real competitive battling and although I have a lot of strategy understood, I just want some advice on how I am applying my understanding to creating my own team.
      So without further explanation, here is my team as follows:
       Kyogre-Primal  /  Kangaskhan / Mega-Kangaskhan  Crobat  Ferrothorn  /  Rayquaza / Mega-Rayquaza  Thundurus  
       
       
      Kyogre-Primal @ Blue Orb
      Ability: Primordial Sea
      Nature: Modest (+SpA, -Atk)
      IVs: 0 Atk
      EVs: 244 HP / 28 Def / 220 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
      Moves:
      Scald Water Spout Ice Beam Protect Move Decision Explanation:
      EV Spread Explanation:
      Damage Calcs:
       
       
        -->   
      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
      Ability: Inner Focus / Parental Bond
      Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA)
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Speed
      Moves:
      Fake Out Sucker Punch Double-Edge Low Kick Move Choice Explanation:
      I generally lead with Kang and Crobat, so having Fake Out on Kang allows her to handle the opposite opponent's Crobat in most cases.  This also provides Crobat a free turn to retain stability against the opposing foes.  Because Gengar is immune to my common lead (Crobat + Kang), having Sucker Punch comes in handy when I can taunt Gengar with Crobat to guarantee either a switch, or an attacking move allowing Kang to throw a nice SE Sucker Punch.  Often, Gengar will protect on the first turn to safely Mega evolve.  Usually, Gengar's partner in many cases has been Whims, so they will double-protect for safety on the Mega and to see what moves I will be using.  Because of this, I can often take advantage of setting up Tailwind on Crobat on the first turn, that way Gengar is outsped on the second.  Next, Crobat will attempt to taunt Whims (if not already being locked into Tailwind because of Prankster Encore), and Kang can proceed to through the punches.
       


      Crobat @ Lum Berry
      Ability: Inner Focus
      Nature: Timid (+Spe, -Atk)
      IVs: 0 Atk
      EVs: 20 HP / 236 Def / 252 Spe
      Moves
      Super Fang Taunt Quick Guard Tailwind Move Choice Explanation:
      EV Spread Explanation:
      Item Choice Explanation:
      Overall, Crobat has been a solid lead and a very good member to my team to provide support and protection, as well as shutting down opposing status setters, etc.  Crobat's high speed makes it very usable, especially with the Defense investment to often last more than 1 turn, if not longer.
       
       

      Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
      Nature: Sassy (+Sp. Def, -Speed)
      IVs: 0 Spe
      EVs: 252 HP / 52 Def / 204 SpD
      Ability: Iron Barbs
      Moves:
      Gyro Ball Power Whip Protect Leech Seed Move Choice Explanation:
      The idea with Ferrothorn is to be a bulky attacker.  I chose Ferrothorn over Amoongus because I felt that Ferrothorn can be a better offensive presence to my team, despite not having moves like Spore and Rage Power.  It was a trade off, but in the end, Ferrothorn hits fairys pretty hard and has quite a few resistance and less weaknesses than Amoongus.  That said, Ferrothorn idealy is in play when a Talonflame or Groudon are not present.
      If the opponent is successful in setting up a TR, Ferrothorn's low speed will allow it an advantage.  Kyogre having only 12 Speed EVs allows it to still be relatively effective under TR without the Tailwind active, but does require Tailwind for Speed support when TR is not up.
      Item Choice Explanation:
       
       

      Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
      Ability: Prankster
      Nature: Calm
      IVs: 0 Atk
      EVs: 252 HP / 116 Def / 112 SpD / 28 Spe
      Moves:
      Thunderbolt Hidden Power [Ice] Thunder Wave Taunt Move Choice Explanation:
      Nature & EV Spread Explanation:
       
       
       -->  
      Rayquaza @ Life Orb
      Ability: Air Lock
      Nature: Jolly
      EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
      IVs: 29 HP
      Moves
      Extreme Speed Dragon Ascent Overheat Protect Rayquaza pairs well with Kyogre as I have no means of re-establishing the rain if a Groudon is out aside from withdrawing Kyogre (I do not have a Skill Swap user on the team).  Therefore, it made sense to add Rayquaza in for the Air Lock ability to help Kyogre become more effective in a dire-need situation where weather is crucial to survivability and sustainability. 
      Rayquaza is my second mega option on this team.  This allows me to have a secondary plan in case M-Kang is not able to be used effectively as a mega, or I do not find using her Mega form that game useful.  Rayquaza is a mixed attacker because of the soaring Attack and Special Attack stats, therefore the moveset is of a mixed nature.
      Move Choice Explanation:
      Item Choice Explanation:
      EVs & Nature Explanation:
       
       
       
      The Final Team
                   
       
      After much back-and-forth, I am finally pretty settled-in with the current team.  I thought about switching a few members out for some other, similar, Pokemon who would serve a similar, yet different role (scroll near to bottom of thread for what I had though).  However, after some helpful advise, I decided I would really push this team to its limited and have had much success with the current team.
       
       
      Where I would like opinions or help:
      However, I am always open to opinions and ideas.  My EVs to some may not be ideal, and therefore, I may have opportunities to improve the current teams setup.  Right now, my biggest struggle is against Double-Primal + Mega + Support teams.  The Double-Primal has been rough for me, especially when there is another Mega (3 Mega counting the 2 Primal), then their support Pokemon.
      I also have a little bit of a tougher time in Trick Room.  My Kyogre has a minimal Speed EV investment for TR teams, but becomes extremely dependent upon Tailwind support or Thunder Wave control.  My Thundy has minimal speed to also work semi-decently in TR, but mostly to improve it's own bulk, while sometimes falling short to other Prankster/Priority users.
       
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