Published on July 16th, 2015 | by pyromaniac720


The Tree Thing in High Heels: A Spring Season Team Report

Hi everyone! My name is Stephen Brown III, or pyromaniac720. Today I’ll be discussing the evolution of a Sun team that I’ve been using all spring. I won’t cover every single revision (there were far too many), but I will cover every version of the team that I used at an event. There’s also going to be a bunch of videos at the end so you can see how the team functioned.

Teambuilding Process

The night after my 6-3 performance at the Virginia Regionals, I was brainstorming my next team. I wanted to find something that I could use throughout the following Premier Challenge season. At first, I tried some ridiculous teams, such as Kabutops with rain and Lucario with Riolu. Nothing really stood out, but then my friend Jake Miller (Araragii) suggested that I use Shiftry in sun. I disregarded the idea at first, but then I realized that Shiftry was surprisingly good: its base 100 Attack and Chlorophyll could allow it to be a threat. Obviously, sun teams require a Drought user; although Mega Charizard Y was tempting, the lack of sun on the first turn meant that Shiftry couldn’t get a speedy Fake Out, so Ninetales was chosen. I then decided to go as offensive as possible, so I gave Ninetales a Choice Scarf so it could spam Heat Wave. After adding a few pieces, including Mega Salamence, I started testing the team on Pokemon Showdown.

Evolution of the Team

I immediately fell in love with the team; its speed and power could quickly overwhelm opponents, which fit in well with my offensive playstyle. In February, I used the team at a Premier Challenge and during the International Challenge. The team looked like this:


The team did well in the International Challenge, reaching fourth place in the US. Swampert was a good addition to the team, providing much-needed Wide Guard support as well as an easy way to deal with Heatran. For a more detailed look at the team, check out this video. Despite its success, I felt that the team still had some untapped potential; I was winning games mostly due to Shiftry, Ninetales, and Mega Salamence. As such, I made a few revisions:


Life Orb Hydreigon gave this team even more firepower, while still dealing with Heatran due to Earth Power. Choice Specs Sylveon did lots of work, as opponents were hesitant to bring Steel-types thanks to the threat of sun. It also provided a shaky check to rain teams. At the Premier Challenge, I made it to top cut before losing to Tom Hull (TheGr8). The team had amazing offensive pressure. However, it had major issues—it was incredibly weak to Fighting- and Fairy-type attacks, and had few ways to deal with bulky Water-types such as Suicune and Rotom-Wash. After some revisions, I ended up substituting physical Nidoking in place of Hydreigon. With Poison Jab, Drill Run, and Ice Punch, it added some very important coverage. This variant of the team placed fourth at a Premier Challenge.

Still, even with Nidoking, the team’s issues with Trick Room, rain, and bulky Water-types persisted. Additionally, I became aware of an annoying weakness to Landorus-Therian, who could only be OHKOed by Ninetales’s Overheat. After considering my options, I went with Mamoswine and its powerful Ice-type attacks. Additionally, I added Life Orb Thundurus-Therian to deal with Water-types; it was fantastic at doing its job, so I kept it on the team. I tested a variety of attackers in the last slot, but in the end I ended up with Porygon-Z.


Porygon-Z brought a ridiculous amount of damage between Choice Specs and Adaptability. When boosted by Shiftry’s Tailwind, it was incredibly powerful. I also tossed in a quirk on this version of the team by giving Salamence Giga Impact, allowing it to finish matches in style. In back-to-back Premier Challenges, I finished in fifth and second. I was still unhappy with how the team played; Trick Room was essentially an autoloss, and Bisharp’s Sucker Punch was also a huge issue. As such, prior to the Georgia Regionals, I took out Porygon-Z for Sableye to cover the remaining threats.

Shiftry @ Focus Sash
Chlorophyll | Adamant
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Fake Out
– Leaf Blade
– Knock Off
– Tailwind

Shiftry was far better than I ever could have expected. When led with Ninetales, its incredibly fast Fake Out gave Ninetales a free Heat Wave or switch. Leaf Blade had solid coverage, hitting a good chunk of the metagame for super effective damage. Knock Off dealt good damage and could remove items right from the get-go; this was amazing for disruption and scouting. Tailwind, however, was certainly Shiftry’s best move. It gave Mamoswine the ability to outspeed and OHKO common Pokemon such as Thundurus and Landorus-Therian, and gave the team a fighting chance against opposing weather teams if sun wasn’t up. The combined boost of Chlorophyll and Tailwind could also cancel out paralysis, allowing Shiftry to outspeed many slower Pokemon even after a Thunder Wave.

Ninetales @ Choice Scarf
Drought | Modest
60 HP / 252 SpA / 188 Spe
– Overheat
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam
– Hidden Power Ground

Shiftry’s partner in crime. Although its Special Attack is underwhelming, sun allows Ninetales to still put out respectable damage with Heat Wave. Overheat had OHKO power and could avoid Wide Guard. The other two moves gave it coverage against Water-types and Heatran. Choice Scarf caught many opponents off guard, and could lead to quick KOs when combined with Overheat. Hidden Power Ice is unnecessary, as Mamoswine covers that niche well and Overheat can OHKO Landorus-Therian. I had contemplated using a bulky set with Will-O-Wisp, but I never got around to testing it.

Salamence @ Salamencite
Intimidate / Aerilate | Jolly
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Double-Edge
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– Protect

Salamence has become my favorite Mega Pokemon due to its raw power and Speed. Rock Slide brings useful flinches and gives me a good option against Mega Charizard Y and Talonflame. This set originally had Dragon Claw and later Giga Impact; on the final version, I chose Earthquake to give me an additional option against Heatran. I brought Salamence to every game, and it never let me down.

Thundurus-Therian @ Life Orb
Volt Absorb | Timid
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 8 Def / 30 Spe
– Thunderbolt
– Focus Blast
– Hidden Power Ice
– Protect

Thundurus-Therian is awesome. With Life Orb, its attacks hit extremely hard against most of the metagame; it can also bait out attacks from opponents expecting a Choice item. Except for Focus Blast, this set is standard; I chose to use it over Grass Knot because I already had two Grass-type attacks, and Focus Blast gave me an out against Kangaskhan and Heatran. Although I never ended up using the attack at Regionals, it was helpful in testing and during a few Premier Challenges. Thundurus-T was undefeated at Georgia, going 6-0.

Mamoswine @ Expert Belt
Thick Fat | Adamant
28 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Def / 4 SpD / 204 Speed
– Icicle Crash
– Ice Shard
– Earthquake
– Protect

This is a fairly standard Mamoswine set; Expert Belt was necessitated by Thundurus-T’s use of Life Orb. The EVs allow it to outspeed Bisharp (and Pokemon attempting to Speed creep it) and withstand a Close Combat from an Intimidated Terrakion. Although Mamoswine was usually helpful, I didn’t play against many genies in Georgia, so it wasn’t brought very often. I still don’t regret using it, though—I think it’s a very underrated Pokemon that should definitely be used more.

Sableye @ Mental Herb
Prankster | Careful
252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
– Feint
– Taunt
– Quash
– Will-o-Wisp

I chose Sableye to support my attackers. Prankster Will-O-Wisp was a fantastic tool, allowing me to neuter physical attackers and chip away at bulky Pokemon. Taunt and Quash went hand-in-hand; Taunt prevented Speed control moves such as Trick Room, Tailwind, or Thunder Wave from being used, while Quash negated them if they did go up. This team greatly appreciated going first, so Sableye’s role here was very important. Feint made predictions far easier, and could punish opponents attempting to stall out Tailwind or sun with Protect. As a bonus, it also broke Wide Guard and Quick Guard. Mental Herb gave it a crucial edge against opposing Thundurus attempting to Taunt first. I used Sableye far more than I had expected, and it did a lot of work—it only missed a single Will-O-Wisp!

Tournament Battles

I’ve uploaded a bunch of battles with this team from Premier Challenges and the Nugget Bridge Major. Those videos are in this playlist. Below are my games from Georgia Regionals.

Round 1: vs Karl Concepcion (Masakado)
Final record: 6-2

This is the only battle I didn’t record during the event. I was excited and nervous this game, as Karl had won Virigina Regionals. His team featured both a Tailwind and a Trick Room mode. Even though I was able to prevent him from using either, he was able to take out Mega Salamence, and I didn’t have enough damage to finish off his Suicune with Sableye. It was a close game that I would’ve won had I brought Thundurus-T instead of Ninetales, but that’s all hindsight. Karl ended up making top cut before losing in top eight.

Round 2 vs Cory Craven
Final record: 4-4

Round 3 vs Ellie Hols
Final record: 1-4 (dropped)

Round 4 vs Harrison Williams
Final record: 5-3

Round 5 vs Jake Hatch
Final record: 5-3

Round 6 vs Chet Daugherty
Final record: 6-2

Round 7 vs Ian Packer
Final record: 6-2

Round 8 vs Edward Glover (MinVGC)
Final record: 7-1

Overall, I had an amazing time in Athens. My final record was 6-2, which was good enough for 17th place; I missed top cut on opponent’s opponent’s win percentage, partially due to my round 3 opponent who dropped. However, I mostly have myself to blame—if I had won my last match, I would’ve easily made top cut. Both of my losses were to teams with bulky Water-types and I didn’t bring Thundurus-T in either game, so I definitely didn’t do a great job in team preview. I also got a bit headstrong in the last game: I assumed Ed’s sand team was bog standard, and his Lum Berry Tyranitar surprised me and gave him a huge advantage.

Shoutouts to everyone who helped me:

  • Jake Miller (Araragii) for giving me the idea to use Shiftry. Even though you meant it as a joke to bully me, it managed to put in some serious work and earn me my best regional finish ever.
  • Andy Anderson (TwiddleDee) for being my main support and team builder every step of the way. When I tested overly ridiculous things like Mega Houndoom, he’d help me find a Pokemon that would actually work well in that spot on the team. Also thanks for letting us stay at your house. Can’t wait to do some more team building with him for Nats!
  • Mitchell Davies (MissingNoL), Brendan Lewis (Mrbdog46), and Phil Nguyen (Boomguy) for giving me little tidbits of advice here and there that helped the team evolve into what it is today. I’m exciting to do some more extensive team building with Brendan for nationals!
  • Chance Alexander (Paragon), Tyson Gernak (Firefly), and Nick Borghi (LightCore). It was awesome meeting you guys and hanging out with you!
  • Brendan Lewis (Raptor) and Sohaib Muffti (Sohaib) for taking the trip with me. 18 hours alone would’ve been a nightmare but you guys made it super fun.
  • To anyone else I met or that helped me team build. I’m sure I’m missing a few people and I’m sorry if I missed you. Also, this report is getting kind of long and I need to wrap it up and mentioning everyone would probably take another page.

I hope you guys enjoyed the team—if you did, check me out on Twitter (@pyromaniac720) and YouTube. Thanks for reading!

About the Author

I started reading up on competitive battling in 2013 after I couldn't beat Ray in the PWT. I became addicted to the competitive scene in Feb 2014 when I found showdown and Nugget Bridge

17 Responses to The Tree Thing in High Heels: A Spring Season Team Report

  1. FlashSentry says:

    Congrats Stephen! it was great meeting and hanging out with you. I really loved the team (better than Lickylicky) and it sucks that you bubbled. Gratz again man!

  2. ProfShroomish says:

    where’s my shoutout for being myself and generally unhelpful

  3. Good read, but why is this in the simple requests?

  4. JackOfClubs says:

    Your round 5 opponent’s name is Jack, not Jake, and his screen name is Logilink. But other than that, pretty cool team. Was really fun to play when we were at nats

  5. mrbdog46 says:

    A summary of the “more extensive teambuilding” that Stephen and I did:

    Me, for months: “I think you should try Swampert Stephen, it fits your playstyle well and is pretty strong.”
    Stephen, for months: *tries to make Lickilicky work*
    Me: “Stephen you should really try Swampert.”
    Stephen, randomly one night: “Hey I just got a great idea, I’m going to use Swampert!”

    And thus, Stephen’s Nats team was born.

    In seriousness though, I think this report is a perfect example of a player being successful in playing what they know and something that fits their playstyle. A lot of players fall into the trap of wanting to be special snowflakes or playing Battle Spot special, but Stephen is a testament to the success that can be found in the middle of those extremes (although he does lean a little bit towards the special snowflake side).

  6. Clavito says:

    Small nitpick, but that Ninetales is running 500 EV’s instead of 508. I assume that should be 4 in each defense?

  7. Small nitpick, but that Ninetales is running 500 EV’s instead of 508. I assume that should be 4 in each defense?

     Actually, that spread is totally wrong. I think it was 68 HP / 4 Def / 248 SpA / 188 Spe. I needed 30 SpA for HP Ground which mean that 248 and 252 give you the same stat number. 

  8. Interstellar says:

    I like the sun mode. I was testing salamence, ninetails and sylveon myself a few days ago.

  9. Abarai says:

    Great report and love the use of shiftry, well done =).

  10. Astronautical says:

    Awesome, awesome, 100% awesome. I am using the same Sableye on my Rain team, and the Mental Herb really helps. Great team, and great read!

  11. DeeTrain says:

    Aye this is kinda funny but i played you at a side event and posted a battle with you on my channel then read this later today. Love your team dude

  12. mewmart says:

    Very unique team!

  13. Paragon says:

    Yeah boys! I got a mention! Hype! But yeah congrats on doing so well with such an interesting team Stephen, can’t wait to hang with ya at future regionals (And worlds if you will be there)!

  14. tfw I got all hyped up to play you for Dodrio Cup and you ended up bringing some random rain team with Mega Lopunny instead ;~;

    Nice team! Hope you have a good season next year too. :]

  15. Brady1225 says:

    Great report, pyro.

  16. Great report, pyro.

    You suck

  17. araragii says:

    pff I was all over the Shiftry plan from the very start when I thought it had Sucker Punch and then we found out it didn’t so then I was on the bullying plan <3

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