With the advent of of Black 2 and White 2, it may seem like sand teams have gotten the short end of the stick. Rain teams got many new toys to play with, such as Keldeo, Tornadus-T, and Thundurus-T in addition to old threats like Starmie and Gyarados. Although Sun teams haven't gotten nearly as many new things to play with, they've still received some noteworthy tools in the form of Pain Split on Ninetales and Giga Drain becoming compatible with Chlorophyll on Venusaur. Because of this, Drizzle, and to a much lesser extent, Drought teams have started to overshadow Sandstorm teams, leaving them with lower usage stats than before, although they havenít been forgotten.
Sand teams are far from useless, however, even with the pressure from all the new threats. Sand has even gotten a new abuser of the weather, which is the focus point of my team - Sandslash. Now that it has access to Sand Rush from the Dreamworld, Sandslash has become a powerful offensive spinner, revenge killer, and late game sweeper, getting enough power after one Swords Dance to rip through teams, and even beat OU's premier spin-blocker, Jellicent. This is an offensive team that aims to either sweep with Sandslash by removing physical walls and wearing down the opposing team with sandstorm and entry-hazard damage. The team has done well for me, but it can always use improvements. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, allow me to present my new team, Adrenaline Rush.
Obviously the key to Sandslash's success is Sandstorm being up. Tyranitar and Hippowdon both do this, but Tyranitar is the superior option in this case, as Hippowdon's typing is redundant with Sandslash's, and using Hippowdon wouldn't give me any benefits to make it worth it.
Next I wanted a good offensive partner for Sandslash. Salamence is good because it takes out several things that wall Sandslash, and appreciates its rapid spin support.
Scizor also benefits from Salamenceís wall-breaking capabilities, and checks threats such as Dragon types, which I didnít have a check for yet other than revenge killing with Sandslash.
The next thing I knew I wanted was a Spike user, as my offensive core loves entry hazard support. Ferrothorn is a great mixed wall, so it gets the spot.
I originally wanted to use Vaporeon for wish support, but it left me weak to Fighting types, so Slowbro took its place.
After taking suggestions from raters and my tutor, hereís the team in itís current state.
Tyranitar @ Chople Berry
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 120 Atk / 136 SDef
- Stealth Rock
The support Tyranitar provides for the team is absolutely crucial to its success. The most important, and obvious, is that it sets up sand. This is great because it activates Sandslashís ability, which it depends on to sweep. The passive damage is also very nice for wearing the opposing team down. It also sets up Stealth Rock, which is great for any team when it comes to taking down Rock weak Pokemon like Dragonite, or just wearing the opposing team down in general to increase the likelihood that a sweep will be successful. Finally, Tyranitar becomes a great specially defensive tank with the boost it receives from Sandstorm. This allows it to check many special attackers, most notably Latios, as itís scarf set revenges Sandslash. Tyranitarís EV spread makes use of its excellent special defense, while powering up its attacks to give it much more of a punch. Chople Berry is especially important for Tyranitar, since it has a crippling 4x Fighting weakness. With a Chople Berry, itís able to take fighting attacks more comfortably, which can be important when facing special attackers running Focus Blast. In addition to Stealth Rocks, this set sports a physical move-set over a mixed one, as the mixed set isnít particularly effective against rain teams. Crunch and Pursuit are powerful STABS, allowing Tyranitar to trap and take out Psychic and Ghost types. Superpower gets great coverage alongside Tyranitarís Dark attacks, and allows it to hit things like Ferrothorn and Blissey.
Thundurus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Volt Absorb
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
- Volt Switch
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Focus Blast
Thundurus-T is the teamís main revenge-killer, and also provides offensive momentum for the team. With its excellent attack and useful speed stats, it makes an excellent revenge killer, s itís able to outspeed and KO essentially the whole metagame. Itís ability to do this is greatly appreciated, as although Sandslash reaches a great speed level when Sandstorm is up, the opponent may have a weather inducer of their own, preventing Sandslash from outspeeding opposing Pokemon all of the time. Thundurus also appreciates the Rapid Spin support that Starmie provides. A Choice Scarf increases Thundurusí speed, allowing it outspeed pokemon such as Volcarona who use boosting moves to increase their speed. The EV spread gives it maximum power and speed, while the remaining 4 EVs are used to slightly increase its defense. Volt Switch is great on a Scarf user, as it reduces the need to predict if an opponent will switch Pokemon. Thunderbolt is the obvious STAB move, while Hidden Power Ice gives nearly unresisted coverage alongside it. Focus Blast hits Pokemon that resist or are neutral to the other moves, such as Ferrothorn, Tyranitar, and Lanturn, much harder.
Heatran @ Air Balloon
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
- Fire Blast
- Earth Power
As Scizorís replacement, Iíve found Heatran to be much more useful in its place, as it provides great offensive and support abilities to the team. The most important thing Heatran does for the team is beating Steel types. This is crucial for the team to function, as common Steel types such as Ferrothorn and Skarmory take a pittance from Sandslashís attacks. Due to its good bulk and typing, Heatran can also serve as a pivot, switching into resisted/immune attacks and hitting back hard or allow a double switch with prediction. Finally, the fact that itís most common moves for the last slots would provide redundant coverage freed room to utilize Heatranís support movepool, letting it take advantage of my entry-hazards, as well as its ability to lure Water types, but more on that later. Air Balloon is very useful for this Heatran set, temporarily removing its crippling Ground weakness, and furthering its role as a Water lure. The EVs and nature increase its special attack and maximize its speed, which is teh obvious choice for an offensive Pokemon. Fire Blast and Earth Power are crucial STAB and coverage moves, letting it hit Steel types and many other threats. Roar takes advantage of the entry-hazards this team focuses on, forcing the opponent to take more damage than they would like. Toxic is what allows Heatran to cripple in water types that try to come in to wall it. Although Toxic isnít particularly uncommon on Heatran, the fact that Air Balloon indicates an offensive set, and the offensive nature of the team, will have the opponent often assume it carries its standard offensive set. This assumption will make the opponent think that bulky waters such as Rotom-W and, most importantly, Politoed are safe to switch in, when in fact, they will be cripples for the rest of the match by Toxic.
Sandslash @ Life Orb
Trait: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
- Swords Dance
- Stone Edge
The teamís star and namesake, Sandslash is blazing fast under the sand thanks to Sand Rush, out speeding everything except base 110+ speed Choice Scarf users. This allows it to function as an effective revenge-killer, rapid-spinner, and late game sweeper. Although Sandslash no longer functions as a spinner for the team, its speed and offensive abilities are still appreciated by the team, especially when it has entry hazards to make getting KOs easier. This isnít too difficult to achieve thanks to the Ferrothornís durability and the switches Thundurus and Heatran force. Sandslashís speed makes it a good choice for revenge killing dangerous sweepers, as Volcarona is OHKOd, and offensive Dragonite is OHKOd after Stealth Rock damage. Once itís checks and counters have been removed by the rest of the team, Sandslashís good coverage and speed make sweeping the last few Pokemon on a team fairly easy. Life Orb gives Sandslash power it desperately needs due to its average attack stat, while itís attack and speed are maxed out so it can function properly as a sweeper. An Adamant nature could do things like guarantee a OHKO on Jellicent at +2 after Stealth Rock damage, but getting the damage anyway is relatively easy, and I become unable to outspeed Scarf hydreigon and +1 base 100 speed Pokemon, which contains several threatening sweepers such as Volcarona. Swords Dance is needed to boost Sandslashís attack, Earthquake and Stone Edge give it excellent coverage, and X-Scissor hits things like Slowbro harder.
Ferrothorn @ Rocky Helmet
Trait: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 88 Def / 168 SDef
IVs: 0 Spd
- Leech Seed
- Power Whip
- Gyro Ball
In addition to entry hazards, Ferrothorn acts as a mixed wall for the team, and pseudo-spinblocker. Although Ferrothorn shares a similar typing with Scizor, I used it over Skarmory because it just canít wall like it used to. Physical attackers have found ways around it, and I felt like Ferrothornís resistances and mixed bulk would be more useful to the team overall. Spikes are a very exclusive move, and this team loves Ferrothornís ability to lay them down ue to Sandslashís meh base attack and Scizorís ability to force switches. The combination of Rocky Helmet and Leech Seed makes it a force to reckoned with for physical attackers, as factoring in sandstorm and Life Orb damage, they lost almost half of their health every time they attack, while Ferrothorn can comfortably stall if they lack a super effective move. Rocky Helmet also makes it a nightmare for spinners to face, as the amount of times they can sue Rapid Spin increase drastically, and they canít do much of anything back. Gyro Ball and Power Whip prevents Ferrothorn from being complete setup bait, and gets decent coverage, most importantly hitting Dragon types for neutral damage, and Water types for super effective damage. The EV spread and a Relaxed nature give Ferrothorn good mixed walling potential, while minimum speed IVs maximizes damage from Gyro Ball.
Starmie @ Leftovers
Trait: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 32 Def / 224 Spe
- Rapid Spin
Although I loved Slowbro on the team, the new changes to the team made me much weaker to Breloom, and I needed something to address that. The only reasonable change seemed to be to replace it with Starmie, so it had to go. Altough Starmie fares worse against physical attackers in general, it outspeeds Breloom and hits it hard with Psyshock, allowing me some way to beat it. Basically, defensive Starmie can take some hits, though nowhere near as much as Slowbro, and it serves as the teamís new spinner. Although I do miss Slowbroís bulk, most of the threats it beat can still be checked due to Starmieís speed. The EVs allow it to serve as a defensive pivot while retaining its great speed, allowing it to outpace everything up to Incarnate Tornadus, whikle the rest is put into defense to take hits better. Scald is great for a bulky water type, having decent power while giving a nice burn chance. Psyshock hits Fighting types, most importantly Breloom for ood damage. Recover allows it to regain any lost health, and Rapin Spin clears opposing hazards from the field.
Conclusion and Importable
And thatís the team. I really have fun using this team, as Sandslash is an underrated threat currently, and I love any advice I can get. Any rates, or even luvdiscs will be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions for the team; your advice has made the team a lot better than it was originally. The importable for the team is below if anyone wants to test the team out. I was going to make a threat list, but decided not to since the notable threats to the team have been identified and taken care of already. Thanks for reading!