The HOutsiders - An OU Team
Hi everyone! When you first opened the thread and read the title, you probably inferred two things from it. First of all, my creativity sucks and I couldn't figure out a good name for it (and, trust me, you're perfectly right). Second, and more seriously, that this team I'm going to present you was first built to compete in Harsha's Outsiders Challenge
, and thus had to satisfy a basic requirement: no pokes used into it could exceed the top 10 in the most recent usage statistics. Also, Genesect, Thundurus-Therian and Tornadus-Therian weren't allowed for obvious reasons. That restriction made teambuilding kinda harder, but very interesting: it forced me to discover pokemons that I hardly ever used, and they often manage to impress me with their effectiveness.
The team managed to complete Outsiders Challenge, reaching a solid #27 on the PS! ladder. I also used the same team to do a speed run of Birkal's (et. al.) most recent edition of the Dark Horse Project
, reaching 1865 rating in less than eight hours. In both cases, I had the feeling that I could do better, but lack of time, concentration or motivation kept me from reaching superior results; even with that in mind, I'm very satisfied for the result, and I'd like to share with you this team and its creation process.
Team Building Process in short:
Everything started with Latios. I laddered a bit with a horrible version of a DragMag team, and the only positive thing was that Scarf Latios annihilated every single Genesect
out there. Having Genesect not in my way is always appreciated in any kind of team, so even before knowing what kind of strategy I was pursuing, Latios was added. And it was a great idea, looking back. Now, I decided to follow the HO path, since many things that compose a good HO team were "outsiders" and thus usable. I proceeded to add Lucario and Deoxys-D, both staples in many HO teams.
Now I know what you are thinking, but in the spirit of the Outsiders Challenge, I added Honchkrow. The thing is a boss behind a Substitute and the idea was to use it as a late-game cleaner, when most of the opponent's team has been weakened by several powerful blows. I also added Gengar since it's awesome, and I badly need a way to prevent spinning. Forcing switches also is sweet when you have two layers of hazards on the ground, and Gengar is a master of that.
At this point I added a random sixth member (don't ask me, I don't remember what it was) and went out to test a bit. Obviously Honchkrow immediately showed why it's down into UU and I almost never saw it onto the ladder. The team couldn't take a single blow, was generally slow apart from Latios and Gengar. Also, since Honchkrow's priority is not reliable at all, once Lucario was gone I was torn apart by basically any fast sweeper with a bit of power behind its attack. It was apparent that the weakest link was Krow, and it was readily removed for Keldeo. I also added Conkeldurr, since it can mantain offensive pressure while being able to tank a weaker hit, and also provided a quite useful Fighting-type priority.
At this point the team started to work well and I was getting used to it. However, using a poke like Deoxys-D was not much into the spirit of the Outsiders Challenge: of course, it wasn't used much, but still was a staple of HO teams. I decided to substitute it with the more obscure, unpredictable and unknown (at least to many OU-only players) Uxie!
Now, after making my way into the Hall of Fame of the Outsiders Challenge, Pocket suggested me an awesome Suicide Lead Mew set, which promply replaced Uxie. I was sad to remove that little evil Memento user, but the new addition was performing consistently better so I had to say goodbye to Uxie and go on without it.
Team Composition in detail:
@ Expert Belt
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
- Stealth Rock
This is my usual lead, we could call it my Deoxys-D replacement. It actually isn't true, since it does quite more. Deo-D's suicide set doesn't run Taunt, and is forced to rely on Psycho Boost to damage many spinners or common switch-ins. Mew, thanks to its consistently higher Speed and Special Attack stats, can deal with said switch-ins better and more consistently: it doesn't rely on HP Fire to kill Forretress, Scizor and similar, and can OHKO spinners like Starmie on the switch, while retaining the ability to 2HKO Tentacruel outside Rain. Also, Fire + Electric coverage is not bad to get some surprise, little sweep when the opponent already lost its faster team members. Taunt is awesome to avoid set-up, while Synchronize keeps things like Defensive Politoed from Toxicing without thinking about it. This set surprised me with tis effectiveness, despite the lack of Spikes, and I was glad to keep playing with it even when Deo-D was allowed.
@ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
- Swords Dance
- Close Combat
My main sweeper, wall breaker, and ass-saver thanks to priority Extremespeed. We all know what Luke is capable to do with a Swords Dance under its belt, and it never disappionted me. I learned to love Lucario's typing: even with those shitty defences, its three
4x resistances make setting up a SD not that hard at all. Justified is also a nice addition, being able to switch into predicted Crunches or Dark Pulses (possibly choiced...) and fire off a +1 LO Close Combat, that will probably cripple even things that resist it. Crunch is used to deal with Jellicents and Ghosts in general, since Gliscor is already handled nicely by Gengar. There's not much to say about Lucario: it does what I need it to do, and it's very good at that.
@ Life Orb
EVs: 252 SAtk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
- Calm Mind
- Hydro Pump
- Secret Sword
- Hidden Power [Ghost]
Okay, I really found injustifiable Keldeo's placement in the usage statistics. Keldeo is absolutely the heart of my team: it's usually sent out early, since it has a good set of resistances, passable bulk, and hits like a truck almost every single target in the OU environment. Okay, this is probably an exaggeration, but still, Keldeo blows things away with raw power, and opens holes into the enemy team for Lucario, Conk and Gengar to exploit. Life Orb gives flexibility, and while recoil is annoying and often cuts Keldeo's life short, it allows to open said holes, a result that cannot be accomplished with Leftovers or some other defensive item. Hydro Pump is the main attack, but Secret Sword is really invaluable since it gives a way to hit special sponges and to avoid being walled by those. HP Ghost rounds up the coverage, but it's not really much used, apart from Jellicent and predicted Starmie switch-ins (and in case of Jelli, I often prefer to just switch Conkeldurr in). Calm Mind is mostly a filler, and I considered swapping it out for Icy Wind, since Dragonite is a pain. I could use some feedback on that!
EVs: 120 HP / 252 Atk / 136 SDef
- Bulk Up
- Drain Punch
- Mach Punch
Conkeldurr is one of the pokes that could fit in almost every team out there. It is versatile, having an awesome combination of bulk, raw power, and very decent typing. It was added mainly to patch up the general squishiness of the team, and it does very well its job. Also, it handles pink blobs like nothing, Jellicent, and switches in onto every predicted status effect (well except Spore...) to take full advantage of it. Mach Punch is very handy, and while many things resist it, after a Bulk Up and a Guts boost (it's more common that what one may believe), or just one of the two, hits decently hard even resistors, contributing to chipping away the health of powerful threats even if Conk is going to be sacced that turn. Conkeldurr rarely sweeps, but it's an awesome team player, taking blows reserved for someone else, and enabling me to survive some tricky situations.
@ Black Sludge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
- Shadow Ball
- Focus Blast
Classic SubDisable Gengar, one of my favourite sets. Checks a wide range of threats with its three immunities, blazing Speed and high Special Attack. Gliscor stalling your whole team? No problem, it's set-up bait. BU Toxicroak just got +6 since your cat stepped onto your keyboard and played for you (not referring to anyone in particular...*ahem* XD)? Gengar can solve that. It's probably the best offensive spinblocker available, takes advantage of those rocks to rack up a lot of damage while forcing countless switches. Shadow Ball's trollish chance to drop SpD is the icing on the cake, giving Gengar the ability to kill even things that could stall out its attacks, if they dare to try. I never regretted playing him once, and I don't do it now. If not the MVP of the team (Keldeo usually is), it's quite close.
(M) @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
- Draco Meteor
- Hidden Power [Fire]
So the first member to be added is the last to be presented. Seems fair. Latios is my general "oh s**t" panic button; it's close to be the perfect Scarf user. Hugely powerful attack readily available, with no need to set up? Check. Awesome attacking stat and Speed? Check. Resistance to a truckload of things? Check too. It's also immune to 2 out of 3 kinds of entry hazards. You probably noticed the fact that I don't run Trick; apart from the obvious loss of coverage, the thing is that Latios works so well with the Scarf that I don't want to Trick that thing away, and always prefer to deal with walls in a different way. Draco Meteor is just obvious, kills dangerous Dragons and everything without a very decent special bulk. Surf and Psyshock are nice to have, especially the latter since it OHKOs opposing Gengars, Brelooms, and Modes Venusaurs in the sun. HP Fire fries Genesect; just Lead with Latios, click HP Fire as they try to U-Turn out, and enjoy playing 5v6. After countless matches, the grand total of THREE Genesects switched out of my Latios leading against them (one was banded, and one was Pocket...). Of course, it's weak to Pursuit which is quite annoying, but manageable with smart play and proper prediction. Still the most irreplaceable team member.
Threats and issues:
This team does not have a safe switch-in to every threat in OU, and it's not meant to have one. HO teams usually have to sacrifice something on their path to victory, no exception here. However, I'll give a short threat list to give you a rough idea of what troubles the team the most.
- Weather Abusers that can outspeed Latios: while Timid Venusaur is still not that common, it completely screws my team. The same is true for LO Jolly Stoutland, which is even less common, but still. Basically, everything that cannot be taken down by priority thanks to decent bulk and cannot be outsped by Scarf Latios. I must resort to wearing down techniques, and hope to bring them into Espeed's KO range. This can be difficult at times, but still is kinda manageable.
- Tornadus-T: if played intelligently, it can take advantage of the huge Flying weakness three Fighting type induce; however, most of them just go down to Draco Meteor while they expect to outspeed and U-Turn out. Also, thanks to weakness to SR, it's not too hard to bring them into Espeed's KO range and dispose with Lucario.
- Bulky Dragonites if Rocks don't stay onto the field: Parashufflers and SubRoost sets are a pain; if they are running only an attack, I can attempt to deal with them with Gengar, but still, they're almost impossible to take down bar some weird and unlikely coincidence that makes them take a Draco Meteor. Luckily these things are much less common thanks to Genesect, and my team takes full advantage from that.
- Lack of room for errors: even if HO is not that hard to play, most of my losses came from not-optimal switches, questionable plays and such. Having so much frail pokes can be troubling if you're not fully concentrated on the game, at least that's what I found out the hard way. This is kinda unfixable I guess, but still it's good to let you know.
Closing notes and thanks:
Well, that's it. Thank you everyone that endured that huge textwall, and thank you even more if you'll let your rate, advice, feedback, insult or whatever; everything is welcome. Special thanks to Harsha, Birkal, ginganinja, NixHex and all those awesome OU mods that are running so many great projects these days; a big thanks to Pocket, for that Mew set. Also my gratitude goes to Temp V1, Electrolyte, and many nice users for the ideas, the support and the awesome run we had in the CtP project; it gave me many great ideas and also motivation to keep myself improving and building better teams / playing better.
Sorry for grammar errors and things that may have survived my proofreading, I'm kinda tired and hope everything is understandable.