Rest In Beats
This is a team I'm retiring with the soon-to-happen changes to the metagame, as I will no longer be able to use it. I used it in the last suspect test, and it has performed solidly in other matches as well. I've actually managed to include most of my favorite Pokemon in this metagame on this team, and oddly enough, they seem to fit together incredibly well. My team started off with a simple core that I wanted to use: Choice Specs Politoed + Choice Scarf Keldeo + Life Orb Tornadus-T. I wanted Choice Specs Politoed for its incredible power, as there are very few Pokemon that can safely switch into it. Choice Scarf Keldeo is one of the premier revenge cleaners in this metagame because it can revenge kill Pokemon easily with its resistance to Stealth Rock, and while it has very little coverage, the moves it has can pick apart opposing teams without much trouble, especially in the late-game. Life Orb Tornadus-T is easily one of the biggest threats because it packs a super powerful Hurricane, and if you predict correctly, it can get rid of counters by using U-turn on the switch, effectively giving you all the momentum.
With these three Pokemon, I realized that I wanted a few more things on this team. For one, I obviously needed Stealth Rock to ensure I can break Focus Sash and put a lot of Pokemon in KO range for Tornadus-T. I also wanted a bit of power on the physical side because as it stood, my team was in trouble against many special walls. I decided on bulky Stealth Rock Garchomp because I hadn't actually tried it, but I had seen it used effectively. It also provided me with an Electric-type immunity to bring into Choice-locked Volt Switch, though a lot of Electric-type Pokemon have started running Expert Belt sets, and Hidden Power Ice is always a staple there. With Garchomp, my team gained one bulky pivot. I now wanted a Steel-type and a bit more offense, so I settled on SubCM Jirachi. It provided a good switch-in for Tornadus-T due to its typing, and it is easily one of the best sweepers in this metagame due to the ubiquity of rain. Finally, I chose Toxicroak as my last Pokemon, as it absorbs Toxic Spikes. It's also probably one of the most underrated but effective sweepers in this metagame. It provides some useful priority too, so I can eliminate threats without worrying about the mediocre Speed.
I probably have around three versions of this team that I used consistently, as it seemed like any type of rain offense with Life Orb Tornadus-T and Choice Scarf Keldeo was bound to be good, but ultimately I've liked using Toxicroak better than Breloom or Terrakion, and Garchomp has been more useful than Dugtrio. There are probably other changes you could make to this team, but this is the variant I'm most comfortable with. By the way, if you're wondering why I chose the title, my laddering alt for this round was "cubchoo (°ᴥ°)".
Politoed @ Choice Specs
EVs: 220 HP / 252 SpA / 36 Spe
- Hydro Pump
- Ice Beam
- Focus Blast
- Hidden Power Grass
Choice Specs Politoed is definitely the best Politoed set out there. There are very few reasons not to use it. It provides a ton of pressure for opposing teams, no matter what the weather is. For instance, Politoed threatens any Pokemon on a sun team a lot under the rain, and Venusaur or Latias are generally the only common switch-ins that sun teams can afford to use. The former is still mauled by Hydro Pump, while the latter is fairly easy to react to. Sand teams likely will only carry Rotom-W, Jellicent, or Latias as switch-ins and while Jellicent is a bit problematic, I can use the obvious switch-in to my advantage by bringing in a Pokemon to swiftly KO it. Rotom-W is not a very good special sponge, and it's pretty much useless in the rain against Choice Specs Politoed. Considering the only options it has are using Volt Switch or Will-O-Wisp (or Thunder Wave), I can use the predictability to my advantage. People expecting specially defensive Jirachi to hold up are in for a big surprise when it falls to Hydro Pump.
If the opponent runs a different weather, I typically conserve Politoed's HP until I can safely spam Hydro Pump. However, if the opponent carries rain without Jellicent, Gastrodon, or Toxicroak, I simply use Hydro Pump repeatedly until the opponent can KO me. The investment in bulk helps a lot with tanking hits, ensuring Politoed sticks around long enough to be a thorn in the opponent's side. I've considered a spread of 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe with a Timid nature, but I don't really care about Breloom enough to use that. I also appreciate all the power that Modest brings considering Politoed can even 2HKO some variants of Chansey and Blissey after a bit of prior damage.
I run a pretty standard moveset on Politoed because there's not really anything to tweak. Hydro Pump is what I'll be using almost all the time, as its power is tremendous, and the pros far outweigh the con of the 20% chance of missing. However, Focus Blast can come in handy against Ferrothorn that I am sure will switch in. Of course, if the opposing Ferrothorn lacks Protect and it is switching in while I have Stealth Rock down, it will be 2HKOed by Hydro Pump, so the opponent does have to be careful even if I don't use Focus Blast. Ice Beam is solely to take down Dragonite that try and set up, but it can be useful against Breloom that overpredict. Hidden Power Grass is mainly used to catch Rotom-W and Gastrodon on the switch, but it can also hit Jellicent for respectable damage. I've considered Psychic solely for Toxicroak, but I am not sure whether the change is merited, as all the moves are pretty useful, and I can take down Toxicroak with Garchomp and Jirachi.
Garchomp @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 216 HP / 40 Atk / 252 Spe
- Stealth Rock
- Aqua Tail
Garchomp is an important member of the team, though at times it feels a bit replaceable. It's a really good Pokemon to set Stealth Rock for my team because it forces out a lot of common threats, grabbing me momentum. Stealth Rock lets me handle a boatload of threats much more easily, and it grabs some nifty KOs, such as +2 Ice Punch against specially defensive Hippowdon, Outrage against Thundurus-T, and many others that I can't name at the moment. I use maximum Speed on Garchomp because I need it to take down Thundurus-T before it sets up, and Outrage will bring it down to about 10% where I can manage with either Jirachi or Toxicroak (or Life Orb damage, if it carries one). I also need Garchomp to check opposing Toxicroak, as it outpaces the Ice Punch and won't take too much from Sucker Punch.
My team dislikes Rotom-W because while it can be overloaded by special attackers in the mid-game, early on I have a hard time switching into it. Garchomp is typically my primary answer to Rotom-W, and while the opponent may get smart and predict the switch to hit me with Will-O-Wisp, Garchomp isn't really necessary for the team to function. I generally just use Outrage and sac it if it gets burned, trying to do as much damage as possible.
Despite the little Attack investment, Garchomp is actually quite powerful. I have, however, considered pumping more EVs into Attack to ensure I OHKO opposing Thundurus-T, as those are always a pain. I'm sure Aqua Tail versus Gliscor would also be more effective with a bit more Attack, but the ability to sponge so many hits is really appealing to me. I always switch Garchomp into Scizor and similar attackers because once it uses U-turn, it automatically loses 29% of its health and has to take Stealth Rock damage the next time it comes in. Garchomp is also my lead whenever I see an obvious lead Terrakion, as while Terrakion is guaranteed Stealth Rock, I can take it down to its Focus Sash. Even if it lands a Close Combat, it will end up KOed the next turn thanks to Rough Skin.
When Princess Bri used this team, he used Swords Dance over Aqua Tail. It's a change I've never really considered, but it has its merits in that Garchomp can do major damage to slower teams right off the bat. I have used Gliscor in this spot in the past, but Gliscor is pretty much terrible in this metagame. I also have considered Mamoswine in this spot, and in theory, it provides a better answer to Thundurus-T, but I've never gotten around to using it. I would lose a lot of bulk if I did make the switch, but having a defensive backbone isn't necessarily as important as having a cohesive team in this metagame.
Tornadus-T @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Focus Blast
- Hidden Power Ice / Taunt
Tornadus-T is definitely a suspect for a reason! It's the only Pokemon on my team weak to Stealth Rock, and with Regenerator, Stealth Rock becomes a non-factor – this explains my lack of a spinner. Whenever Tornadus-T comes in, it's generally going to either spam Hurricane to KO something or U-turn out to gain momentum. While Life Orb in conjunction with U-turn may seem dumb, even after Stealth Rock, Tornadus-T only takes a net 2% damage every time it comes in. That's pretty outrageous considering the power behind this thing. U-turn is useful against Latias because Tornadus-T fails to OHKO when they're healthy, so I can simply U-turn to Jirachi and set up if I've won the weather war.
I've considered a Hasty nature, but in the end I decided on Naive because I still live Landorus's Hidden Power Ice and I can take physical priority moves better. I didn't want to weaken U-turn too much with Timid, so that's why I run a nature that hinders one of my defenses. I obviously need a Speed-enhancing nature in order to use Tornadus-T's ridiculous base 121 Speed to its fullest extent, and the EVs are standard for any special attacker.
Focus Blast is used when I'm feeling gutsy and feel like I can predict a Tyranitar switch. I don't like using Focus Blast in front of opposing Tyranitar because the threat of Chople Berry can ruin Tornadus-T, and if I miss, Stone Edge will simply OHKO. Hidden Power Ice was what I used at first, as it OHKOes Landorus and other 4x weak Pokemon and is usable outside of rain, but I've started using Taunt upon the suggestion of Jirachi because I can lead with Tornadus-T against Deoxys-D teams and prevent the opponent from ever laying entry hazards. Aside from that, Taunt really has very little use, but preventing the opponent from getting layers down helps immensely in that I can switch Pokemon into sweepers without having to be overly cautious with my HP.
Keldeo @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
- Hydro Pump
- Secret Sword
- Hidden Power Ice
Choice Scarf Keldeo in the rain is definitely one of the best – if not the best – cleaners and revenge killers, especially in the rain. Considering that the move Keldeo will use most often is one of its Water-type STABs, Surf and Hydro Pump get the equivalent of a Choice Specs boost in rain, while Keldeo's Speed gets a boost from its Choice Scarf. Keldeo was the Pokemon I was most interested in when building this team, as I wanted to experiment with its cleaning abilities given proper support. Because Tornadus-T is so fast already and Toxicroak has priority Sucker Punch, I don't have to solely rely on Keldeo for revenge killing, meaning that I can keep it healthy until the late-game so that I can take priority moves more easily.
One of the best things about Keldeo is that once Jellicent, Rotom-W, Celebi, or whatever rain check that sand teams have is sufficiently worn down, Keldeo can simply sweep without even needing rain up. Bar Jellicent, all of these checks will get worn down given repeated blasting of Hydro Pump, and Tornadus-T takes down Celebi with ease, so it's not a very good check. Jirachi, another common special wall, is easily removed under the rain. The only Choice Scarf users that Keldeo doesn't at least Speed-tie are Choice Scarf Latios and Latias, both of which are taken care of by my Jirachi. Keldeo outpaces Choice Band Stoutland (if it's running an Adamant nature), so even if I lose the weather war and my Jirachi to a Hippowdon sand team, I can still win the match with Keldeo.
The other moves on Keldeo are used fairly rarely, but they do have their uses. Secret Sword provides me with a STAB Fighting-type move, and it's useful against Chansey, Blissey, and Tyranitar if I cannot afford a miss. Hidden Power Ice is pretty much solely for Dragon-types, as it's too weak to do any noteworthy damage to Celebi. I have considered using Hidden Power Psychic to take down Toxicroak, as I have had some Toxicroak troubles in the past. I'm unsure if I would want to sacrifice the ability to revenge kill all Dragon-types, though.
Toxicroak @ Life Orb
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Swords Dance
- Sucker Punch
- Drain Punch
- Ice Punch
It's not hard to see why Toxicroak is such an amazing sweeper in this metagame – rain is so common that it has plenty of opportunities to set up, and its coverage grants it an easy time against sand teams as well. If I'm facing a rain team, I usually aim to sweep mid-game with Toxicroak so that I can weaken the opponent sufficiently. I can get an easy Swords Dance against Politoed and work from there, though I do have to be careful because Psychic is becoming more common. I can also send Toxicroak out once an opposing Choice Scarf Keldeo has revenge killed one of my Pokemon, as Toxicroak resists or is immune to almost all its moves bar Hidden Power. With a Life Orb, Toxicroak can actually OHKO most of the threats that it will face in this metagame, and Sucker Punch is actually pretty powerful.
If the opponent is using sand, I use Toxicroak to clean up in the late-game, as Jirachi will have far fewer opportunities to pull off a sweep. Drain Punch threatens most common Pokemon on sand teams, and for opposing Gliscor and Landorus, I have Ice Punch waiting. A lot of people bring in Landorus expecting me to switch out while they Rock Polish, but I use Ice Punch pretty frequently against Landorus, as one of my main policies when playing is to always limit Rock Polish Landorus sweeps. Prediction games aren't fun, so that's why I don't go for the Sucker Punch right off the bat. If I lose Toxicroak, it's not too big of a deal, as I'll have an opportunity to clean with Choice Scarf Keldeo later on in the game. I just have to make sure that I limit opposing setups, as with it's very hard to recover after you let a Landorus get a boost.
The main draw to using Toxicroak is its ability, Dry Skin. With Dry Skin, I get a net gain of 2.5% HP after each turn with the Life Orb recoil. This means that Toxicroak will stick around for a long time, and my Life Orb boosts are virtually free in the rain. It's not hard to see why Toxicroak has become so popular in tournaments!
Jirachi @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
- Calm Mind
- Flash Cannon
SubCM Jirachi is likely my favorite Pokemon in this metagame. The amount of times it has been able to save my ass when a game was getting out of hand is astounding. This is probably one of the most straightforward sets you can see. I bring Jirachi out early on to tank Tornadus-T U-turn (or Hurricane if the opponent is gutsy) and pretend that I'm running a standard specially defensive set. If I nab a free turn, I immediately try to paralyze a Pokemon with Thunder. I don't use Flash Cannon very often in the earlier stages of the game because it's a dead giveaway that I am running a SubCM set. When the opponent has been weakened sufficiently and I have won the weather war, Jirachi can come out whenever I see a safe switch. I sometimes have to sac a Pokemon to bring this in safely, but if I lose a Pokemon to set this up, it's generally worth it.
Once Jirachi sets up a Substitute, I just have to boost up with Calm Mind until I am sufficiently prepared to sweep. Thunder basically takes care of most Pokemon, and it has the added bonus of paralyzing the foe 60% of the time. A few lost turns can amount to a scarier Jirachi, as Calm Mind takes advantage of paralyzed foes. Once I manage to beat the Pokemon in front of me with a Substitute up, I can OHKO the opposing revenge killer, and then I can pick apart the opposing team. One of the nice things about Jirachi is that it has a lot of natural bulk, so it can tank uninvested moves fairly easily. This means that I can keep the Substitute up more easily. With a Timid nature and 252 Speed EVs, only the fast Pokemon in this metagame can outpace me, and they're generally all special attackers with the exceptions of Terrakion and Garchomp, which should generally be removed before I attempt a sweep.
I chose to run Flash Cannon over the generic Psyshock or Water Pulse because I figured that giving Tyranitar as few switches as possible is always a good thing. Psyshock does help me against Gastrodon, but I can usually take that down between one or two of my attackers, and at that point Jirachi can already sweep. Water Pulse has always been too weak for my tastes, and Flash Cannon has the added benefit of STAB, so it hits fairly hard and requires fewer boosts. If I manage to get the Special Defense drop, that's just icing on the cake, though usually I won't need it.
Like any team, this one is not without its flaws. Probably the biggest thorn in my side is Jellicent, as it doesn't fear most of my Pokemon, and it completely shuts down Keldeo and Toxicroak should it run Will-O-Wisp. Additionally, Politoed is Choice-locked, so while it has Hidden Power Grass, I can't necessarily use it to my advantage, and doing so requires a lot of prediction. My best bet here is to get Jirachi to set up early on so that it can take down Jellicent later. If it has Shadow Ball, I can just set up on Jellicent, though the Scald variants are the trickier ones. Besides Jellicent, Gastrodon is somewhat problematic, but I can generally run through it with all my attackers. I haven't had many more problems aside from these two, most other defensive threats are set up on by Jirachi, and offensive threats just have to be beaten down by my own team.
Stealth Rock Terrakion is pretty much guaranteed entry hazards against my team, though the opponent is always down a Pokemon because Garchomp brings it down to its Focus Sash with Earthquake and Terrakion will KO itself with Rough Skin recoil. Opposing Toxicroak can be troublesome, but Jirachi can generally paralyze them and take them on fairly easily. If I keep Garchomp alive, Toxicroak can't get past it either. It does get a lot of setup opportunities, though, so I have to be careful. Thundurus-T is a pain, so I generally try and eliminate it as soon as possible, else I have to resort to using Toxicroak's priority as a means of taking it down, and I hate prediction wars between Sucker Punch and Agility. Other than these threats, nothing actually is too hard to take down, but I have to make sure I play smartly.
That's really all there is to say. The team has served me well and with the old metagame behind us, I can't really do much with the team anymore. I've considered using Latios over Tornadus-T, but when I think about it, the thing that made Tornadus-T so good was its ability to conserve momentum with U-turn while posing a threat with Hurricane. I'll probably continue using the general formula I talked about early on, as it can be applied to a lot of good offensive rain teams. Thanks for reading, hopefully you enjoyed the RMT. Any changes you guys have in mind are appreciated.