to stay alive you've got to kill your mind
Join Date: Oct 2011
Nothing against SK87 and SJ, but just briefly to clarify this before others start posting it without actually discussing anything itt: you do not need to tell me what your alts are right now. That is what the Alt ID thread (that I will post in four days) is for. If you fear that you will be entirely unable to make a three-second post over the course of the 23rd through the 26th, you may PM me your alt names before then. Otherwise, just wait for the time to come.
I've played some matches with hail, and its biggest problem is the fact that you have to be completely one-dimensional to be successful (or at least, no one's really found a better way to go about it yet!). Basically, the necessities of hail force it to fall into very specific builds or else it falters against most popular threats. Most hail teams you'll probably see are specially defensive Snover / CB Sawk / physically defensive Duosion / abuser (variants of Glaceon or Rotom-F) / Piloswine or Regirock / filler. There are obviously multiple other slight variations you can make, but most successful hail teams I'm seeing are of the bulky offense variety, and they aren't anywhere near as dominant as we might have initially imagined. Let's go into a brief example of the thought process behind building an offensive hail team to explain what I mean by "one-dimensional".
OK step one: you obviously have to have Snover on your team. Unless you're an incredible team builder that can somehow put together an offensive hail team that doesn't need permanent hail, Snover is absolutely essential to your team and it'll need to see the field of play at least once, if not more than that if your opponent has some kind of weather setter of their own (Sunny Day Exeggutor and Rain Dance Ludicolo come to mind, and neither require complete dedication of a team to said weather). Here's the kicker, though: while it does have its own unique traits that make it at least better than useless (example: it's a pretty good check to the aforementioned Ludicolo), it's still a very limited Pokemon whose only purpose is to set up your entire win condition, and its presence is easily taken advantage of. You need to carry a Pokemon that is slow, offensively inept (its Blizzard doesn't always 2HKO physically defensive Amoonguss, let alone things that are neutral to it), defensively challenged thanks to a plethora of common weaknesses including an SR weakness, and still manage to make it a valuable and useful member of your team. Specially defensive Snover is not bad, I'll admit, but it's still much, much more of a burden on a team than it is a boon. Something like Sawk can just double switch into it or just eat a Blizzard for 60% and spam Close Combat / Earthquake and tear through your team (hence the need for something like Duosion or multiple Sawk / Emboar checks). To summarize step one: add a dead weight to your team and hope your opponent isn't good enough to play off of your need to have it in battle at least once.
Step two: if you're trying to use hail offensively, you need to use Blizzard, the only move it actually affects. There are a number of decent Pokemon that can use it to good effect but the most notable ones are going to be Rotom-F and Glaceon. Rotom-F has the whole dual STAB BoltBeam going on, while Glaceon has raw power and that dumb SubProtect set that's quite annoying. Both of these are quite good, which is to be expected - it's why you're using a dead weight like Snover, after all! But the problem is that they multiply weaknesses. Specs Glaceon is fucking awesome, but then you have to deal with SR as well as having issues with the same Pokemon as Snover (Sawk Emboar etc, although obviously they cannot switch in at all). Rotom-F is similar but carries much less power and is incredibly susceptible to stuff like Piloswine, which is enormously popular right now. Of course you could outright avoid stacking weaknesses and not even use any of these guys (or use something like Blizzard Samurott), but then why the fuck are you going out of your way to use hail? Sure, the passive damage is nice, but it really doesn't compensate for the waste of space that is Snover. You can very well just use Ice Beam Samurott and stick something else that will actually do something important for your team in lieu of Snover (hazards, perhaps?)
So basically, you have to use our established dead weight, Snover, along with a Pokemon that shares weaknesses to the same general Pokemon. To not be ripped to shreds completely by Emboar and friends, you essentially need to dedicate the rest of your team to dealing with them, since you're using two Pokemon that are so susceptible to it. Considering that nothing can outright deal with both Emboar / Sawk anyway barring potentially Alomomola & Musharna (both of whom lose Leftovers recovery in hail, and the latter also having Moonlight being cut), you are pressured to have multiple options to avoid losing a Pokemon to them. Let's think it out: you have a Snover out while your opp has 100% Emboar, but you have Carracosta and Garbodor in the backfield. What's the proper thing to do here to minimize your losses?
If you thought "Protect to scout its move", you're probably right. You don't have to take unnecessary risks, right? Except suddenly that Emboar is actually Expert Belt and nukes your Flare Blitz resist in Carracosta. Better yet, it's actually a Sub + Special variant that just Subs on your Protect and proceeds to nuke the rest of your team while you scramble around trying to break its Sub since Snover can't do jack shit to it. Even when you are already pressured to go out of your way to carry multiple checks, it STILL has the ability to overtake an entire hail team. This isn't exclusive to Emboar, either; many other Pokemon have the tools to take advantage of Snover & friends and the options that hail gives you just cannot withstand the pressure.
There's also the issue of keeping SR away. Most hail teams have reverted to using CB Sawk since it puts enormous pressure on SR setters and is honestly excellent in the current metagame, but Sawk can't spin rocks away. Hail teams are crippled by SR more than any other since they have to carry at least two SR-weak Pokemon, if not more, and they can't rely on something like Sawk to keep them off the field unless you can perfectly read your opponent all the time. "Carry a spinner?" Sure, if I want more slow, dead weight on my team that can't deal with opposing Sawk or Ludicolo or whatever the fuck my opponent feels like using. Using Snover alone is a stretch, but when you have to dedicate a third of your team to dismally effective Pokemon, you're more than likely boned against the majority of the metagame. . .
I'll say that hail does exceptionally well against unprepared teams or stallier ones that are built around Alomomola + Amoonguss (when are you people going to grow out of that), but so does other shit like Gardevoir, and that doesn't even need multiple other Pokemon to be successful. I guess I should ask anyone else if they've actually been consistently successful with a different brand of hail, but nothing I've tried has even come close to making up for Snover, and BlizzSpam itself as a strategy is ineffective given that we have so many awesome checks like Regice and Piloswine that are really good atm.
Last edited by Zebraiken; Dec 20th, 2012 at 2:51:00 AM.
Reason: capitals look nicer in a longer post