Hi Smogon, muffinhead here. My favorite Pokemon are Combee and Scolipede. I love hanging out on IRC. I give Smogonites free RNGed Pokemon for VGC events and cheer them on. I have practiced VGC 2012 on both Pokemon Online and the Global Battle Union ever since the rules came out. This is the team that I took to Doswell, VA for the VGC Regional. The addition of an entire new generation of Pokemon, abilities, items, mechanics, rules, and Team Preview have completely changed everything about VGC teams. Unlike previous years, there is no way to have an answer to every single Pokemon, let alone every single combination of Pokemon. Instead, playstyles have settled down in to categories: weather, Trick Room, Tailwind, and goodstuff. I have tried time and time again to find the balance between having a team that performs well against all strategies and being able to actually work well together, and this team brings that idea to life. Strangely enough, this team has no Tailwind, Trick Room, or auto-weather Pokemon at all. So far, this team has no number one ranking anywhere. I am not a hardcore ladderer. I use the Skarmbliss server’s ladder to see what Pokemon are most common on simulators, if any new strategies have popped up, and to test out Pokemon I have yet to RNG. However, while laddering normally, this team got somewhere around 15th under the alt poof of the poffins. This climb had been occurring while I had still been refining the team. After I decided on most details, I started laddering again under the alt: com bee, which quickly shot up in to the top 50. I stopped battling on PO to test if my team could still win on the GBU (which is almost a completely different metagame), which it could. At Doswell, my team placed 9th with a record of 4-2, losing only to a miss and my ride, haha. Satisfied with the way my team works; I felt a RMT would explain my thought process better. Team Preview Right away, you can tell my team is a goodstuff team. No auto-weather Pokemon, none that function well in Trick Room, and no Tailwind users. I'm not quite sure how to do the teambuilding process for such a different team, because most of the team came together as a cohesive idea all at once. The reasons for using each Pokemon are listed below their pictures. The teambuilding for each Pokemon is explained in each description, linked to another Pokemon with anything from offensive synergy to supporting movesets. Details Cresselia (/me) ♀ @ Chesto Berry Trait: Levitate EVs: 252 HP / 84 Special Attack / 160 Special Defense / 12 Speed IVs: 31 / 31 / 31 / 31 / 31 / 31 Calm Nature [Thunder Wave] [Ice Beam] [Psychic] [Rest] Why Cresselia? I have always been a huge fan of Cresselia. It's one of the prettiest mons ever, but every doubles player can attest to how much they hate playing against it. It simply doesnt die. I began my search for looking for a supporting Pokemon that could also attack, but still be a little unpredictable. Cresselia was my first choice, with incredibly bulky, Psychic STAB, a huge support movepool, and immunity to Ground-type attacks. I tried out Icy Wind Cresselia, and it did work, but it put way too much strain on other Pokemon to deal damage. I was debating between changing a move to Calm Mind or going for all out offense (I was even debating Grass Knot, hahah...). Then, one day, I saw BiffsterPKMN using Cresselia with Thunder Wave along with Garchomp. I quickly changed a few moves on my Cresselia, added a 5th and 6th Pokemon, and tried it out on the ladder. It worked very well with just about anything on my team. Explanation of Moveset, item, and EVs Cresselia is partnered with a Pokemon dedicated to attacking. In order to support them, Thunder Wave slows down the opposing Pokemon. Thunder Wave cripples Latios, Latias, Zapdos, every weather sweeper, and every Pokemon that poses as an immediate threat to Garchomp or Volcarona. If I see a Tailwind user, Cresselia can Thunder Wave it to render it useless. I gave Cresselia Psychic to deal damage to Infernape, Hitmontop, Amoonguss, and Terrakion. This helps out Garchomp by damaging the faster threats (Infernape and Terrakion) while covering the defensive threats as well (Hitmontop with Intimidate and Amoonguss). Other Intimidate Pokemon are still pretty large threats, as well as Hidden Power Ice Thundurus. Adding 84 Special Attack EVs on to Cresselia guarantees a 2HKO on 252 / 0 Hitmontop and 4 / 0 Thundurus or Tornadus with Psychic and Ice Beam, respectively. Ice Beam hits the odd Krookodile for super effective damage as well. I had a lot of options in the 4th moveslot. The most obvious choice would be Trick Room, to reverse other Trick Rooms. However, I really wanted Cresselia to be able to outlast anything. As I slowly typed in R-e-s-t in the Pokemon Online teambuilder, my thoughts flashed back to Ninahaza's diabolical 2010 team. I chuckled to myself, threw on a Chesto Berry, and the moveset was finally complete. I value bulk on the Special Defensive spectrum higher than physical in double battles, if only for weather teams. I decided to use a Calm nature, 252 HP EVs, and put the rest in Special Defense. With all of this bulk, Cresselia can easily hold off repeated Heat Waves in the sun, Blizzards in hail, and Surfs in rain. Rest with a Chesto Berry really makes the opponent squirm. To think that my Cresselia would be at full health after paralyzing both Pokemon and living about 3 attacks can decide the game by itself. After consideration, I added a few extra Speed EVs to outspeed non-event Suicune, bulky Rotom forms, and other Cresselia. Garchomp (Unreality) ♂ @ Yache Berry Trait: Sand Veil EVs: 4 HP / 252 Attack / 252 Speed IVs: 31 / 31 / 31 / 0 / 31 / 31 Jolly Nature [Dragon Claw] [Earthquake] [Substitute] [Protect] Why Garchomp? I needed the perfect Pokemon to take advantage of Cresselia's Thunder Wave support. Physical attackers with a spread move are generally good teammates for Cresselia. I narrowed it down to Garchomp, Tyranitar, and Terrakion. I disliked how often Tyranitar and Terrakion died to priority attacks, so Garchomp it was. Garchomp made terrific use of paralysis support from Cresselia. Latios, Latias, Weavile, Yanmega, and huge weather threats are crippled for the game. Garchomp is a relatively fast Dragon-type Pokemon, so most matchups against Hydreigon, Haxorus, and Dragonite go well. It is bulky enough to survive the most common attacks in VGC 2012, so the offensive part of the lead combo is not limited to just offense. Sometimes Garchomp acts as a lure for single target attacks, allowing Cresselia to deal the necessary damage. The primary focus of Garchomp is to provide offensive momentum. This is accomplished two ways. Garchomp's STAB Dragon Claw and Earthquake attain amazing coverage in VGC 2012 and deal heavy damage to pretty much everything. Garchomp also provides offensive momentum by making the opponent see it as the "bigger threat." It's an idea I had been toying with for a very long time. Garchomp is the base 102 Speed, hard-hitting, dangerous looking monster. Cresselia is the pink floating space duck. The opponent usually classifies Garchomp as an attacking Pokemon and Cresselia as a supporting Pokemon. In order to make Garchomp a successful distraction, it needed a specialized moveset. Explanation of Moveset, item, and EVs Jolly max Speed Garchomp with a Yache Berry is hand down the best Garchomp set. It is necessary to use maximum this to fully take advantage of the above average base Speed. Dragon Claw, Earthquake, and Protect were set in stone from the very beginning. STAB Earthquake with a Levitating Cresselia is one of the most feared strategies in double battles (hi Mr. Ray Rizzo! hows that medal :D). Dragon Claw rounds out coverage against Flying-type Pokemon and other Levitaters. The most difficult decision I had to make was the last moveslot. Crunch was on the set for the longest time to hit other Cresselia harder. Rock Slide was useful for Yanmega and when facing two Ice-type Pokemon. I was going back and forth between these two moves, and I couldn't decide which one to use. I asked Human, a pro team builder known for using ridiculously bulky Pokemon to their maximum capabilities. He recommended Substitute on Garchomp. I was wary of losing a coverage move, but ended up loving it. Substitute gives Cresselia an extra turn to use a move, stops Amoonguss, sets up on double Protects, and even scouts movesets against slower Pokemon. Volcarona (Cassie) ♂ @ Focus Sash Trait: Flame Body EVs: 4 HP / 252 Special Attack / 252 Speed IVs: 31 / 15 / 31 / 30 / 30 / 31 Modest Nature [Bug Buzz] [Heat Wave] [Hidden Power] [Protect] Why Volcarona? Volcarona was one of the last Pokemon that I decided on. Looking back at my team so far, I noticed the synergy wasn't quite as good as it could be. Garchomp, Hitmontop, and Breloom resist Rock Slide. Adding a Pokemon that is incredibly weak to Rock Slide fixed my team. I actually added a Pokemon with a 4x weakness to a specific attack on purpose. Stone Edge is rarely seen in double battles, and Rock Slide is the most common way of defeating Volcarona. Volcarona is extremely similar to Garchomp in this way. It forces the opponent to use certain Pokemon to beat Volcarona. Breloom, Garchomp, and Hitmontop capitalize on turns that Pokemon such as Tyranitar are forced to use Rock Slide. On the other hand, if the opponent ignores Volcarona and does not bring a strong Rock Slide user with the rest of their team, Volcarona will become the threat (and not just fodder). Explanation of Moveset, item, and EVs Volcarona can really use only two items effectively: Choice Scarf and Focus Sash. Using Choice Scarf would prevent Garchomp from using Earthquake with Volcarona on the field, so Focus Sash it was. It is also a somewhat effective way of wasting a Draco Meteor from Latios or Acrobatics from Tornadus and Crobat. Timid nature is practically worthless on base 100 Speed Pokemon in VGC 2012. Most Zapdos have a neutral nature with less than 252 Speed EVs, and that is what I aim to outspeed. HP EVs are pointless on a Pokemon holding a Focus Sash. Modest Heat Wave grabs an OHKO on 252 HP Mamoswine, as well as dealing a lot more damage to Zapdos than a Timid nature would. Bug Buzz deals absolutely insane damage to Cresselia and Tyranitar. It also OHKOes Ludicolo and Abomasnow (in case I don't want to risk a Heat Wave missing). Hidden Power Ground give Volcarona a way to damage Heatran, in case Mach Punches can't KO it. Hitmontop (makiri) ♂ @ Life Orb Trait: Technician EVs: 244 HP / 252 Attack / 12 Speed 31 / 31 / 31 / 9 / 31 / 31 Adamant Nature [Fake Out] [Mach Punch] [Sucker Punch] [Wide Guard] Why Hitmontop? Hitmontop is a familiar sight in the Team Preview, and for good reason. Intimidate, Fake Out, and Wide Guard can create a perfect support Pokemon. It also has access to Technician and Mach Punch, capable of dealing incredible damage to many frail Pokemon in VGC 2012. I definitely wanted Hitmontop to be more on the support side of the spectrum, but still retain some offensive capability. In my mind, Scrafty would make a more solid choice for this team because of its secondary Dark-typing. However, I did not want to give up a 'fallback' option for faster Pokemon, nor possible the best support move in doubles. Hitmontop was used for the specific combination of moves I wanted. Explanation of Moveset, item, and EVs Fake Out does everything and then some for my team. Cresselia can get a Rest off on a possible double Protect. Garchomp can use Substitute on a double Protect. Fake Out stops Tailwind for a turn, messes up Trick Room teams, and deals a surprising amount of damage with Technician and Life Orb. Sucker Punch threatens Latios, who was becoming an increasingly scary threat. I didn't want to deal with Close Combat defense drops, so I gave makiri a Life Orb and Mach Punch. Unfortunately, VGC 2010 Hitmontop had no access to Wide Guard. Wide Guard was the selling point for me on Hitmontop. It helps out against Abomasnow, Chandelure, Terrakion, and Tyranitar. Most of these Pokemon have a Focus Sash or type-resist berry, so Sucker Punch or Mach Punch will never be able to OHKO. Wide Guard can protect Garchomp from a Blizzard while it freely uses Earthquake. It is a handy move in case Trick Room goes up and my team needs protection from the incoming Water Spout or Heat Wave. I use 12 Speed EVs on Hitmontop to beat out other Hitmontop. Tentacruel (Shii) ♂ @ Shuca Berry Trait: Rain Dish EVs: 252 HP / 252 Special Defense / 4 Speed IVs: 31 / 13 / 31 / 31 / 31 / 31 Calm Nature [Scald] [Ice Beam] [Hail] [Sludge Bomb] Why Tentacruel? Tentacruel is my go-to Pokemon for playing against weather teams. I have searched for a very long time to find a Pokemon that does well against most weather teams. Cresselia does the Paralysis support to stop quick sweepers. Now I needed a Pokemon to force the single target attacks because of its typing. Ludicolo immediately came to mind. Rain Dish, Leech Seed, Icy Wind, good typing, and decent bulk all work together quite well. However, it only resisted Water-type moves, and so sun and hail teams eventually wore it down. I moved to Empoleon with Icy Wind, Hidden Power Fire, and Hail. Empoleon worked much better than Ludicolo, but adding Fighting- and Electric-type weaknesses (two common rain support types). Empoleon also didn't really have a solid way to deal damage to Ludicolo. About one or two weeks before my VGC regional, I tried out Rain Dish Tentacruel. It had everything that I was looking for: resistance to many common weather attacks, decent bulk, and a way to hit the common weather Pokemon. Explanation of Moveset, item, and EVs Scald, okay.. Ice Beam, ok... Sludge Bomb, sure... Hail, oka- WAIT WHAT Right. Yes, you read it correctly. Tentacruel resists Heat Wave, Surf, Blizzard, Fighting-type attacks, and takes almost nothing from Giga Drain. Tentacruel has several free turns against weather teams in which neither opposing Pokemon can really do any serious damage to it. I took advantage of this by using Hail. Hail does several things for this team. If there is a backup dangerous sweeper that Cresselia could not Thunder Wave, Hail takes away the Swift Swim or Chlorophyll boost. Against sun teams, Scald's power is returned to normal base power (to deal more damage to Terrakion and company). Sludge Bomb 2HKOes Abomasnow and offensive Ludicolo. Ice Beam give Tentacruel a way to hit Zapdos and Garchomp, as neither Thunderbolt or Earthquake can OHKO (thanks to Shuca Berry). A Calm nature and maximum defensive EVs are used to ensure Tentacruel survives Thunderbolts, Surfs, Heat Waves, and Blizzards for as long as possible. Props to Shii for RNGing this. You rock. Breloom (Jibaku) ♂ @ Toxic Orb Trait: Poison Heal EVs: 4 HP / 252 Attack / 252 Speed IVs: 31 / 31 / 31 / 11 / 30 / 31 Adamant Nature [Seed Bomb] [Mach Punch] [Spore] [Protect] Why Breloom? I needed a Spore user to beat Trick Room and other Spore users. I hate Amoonguss with a passion, because most of the time people rely on the Effect Spore percent to gain an advantage. I prefer cooler Pokemon that can actually do damage after Sporing and take more than minimal skill to use (no offense 11 players). Breloom was the only Pokemon who fit the criteria I had in mind. Breloom is an interesting choice for a VGC team. It certainly has decent typing, resisting Discharge, Rock Slide, Earthquake, and Surf. The Blizzard and Heat Wave weaknesses really give it a tough time. Wide Guard and Fake Out support from Hitmontop help Breloom out a lot. Breloom has the added benefit of being one of the best sand counters in VGC 2012. To beat Breloom and Hitmontop, a sand team must have Chople Berry Excadrill with Aerial Ace or Landorus with Power Herb Fly. More information is in the team matchup threatlist. Explanation of Moveset, item, and EVs Breloom had to be able to beat other Spore users 100% of the time because of my paranoia of Amoonguss. Toxic Orb gives Breloom immunity against Spores, Will-O-Wisps, and Thunder Waves that can otherwise ruin its day. Protect can ensure Toxic Orb activation in case of Prankster abusers. Poison Heal really makes a difference on Breloom. It is so frail that any extra HP helps it out against sand or hail damage. Seed Bomb gets necessary coverage on Water-type Pokemon and Rhyperior. Mach Punch is useful priority to have on two Pokemon. If I need Mach Punch in a matchup but don't want to use Hitmontop, Breloom is there as an alternate option. Despite having Seed Bomb and Mach Punch, I prefer to Spore Gastrodon, Abomasnow, Jellicent, and Tyranitar before attacking. This works as insurance in case of type-resist berries or Focus Sashes. My old EV spread had heavy HP investment, but outspeeding and Sporing Cresselia, Suicune, and Rotom forms is extremely important to this team. Threat list of common teams and combinations Rain teams What I use: Cresselia, Garchomp, Tentacruel, Hitmontop / Breloom / Volcarona How I use them: The main reason for using Drizzle Politoed is to gain a Speed advantage with Ludicolo or Kingdra. I usually lead with Cresselia and Garchomp. The purpose of using Garchomp against a rain team is to give Cresselia 2 turns to use Thunder Wave against the largest threats. If Cresselia and Garchomp are up against Ludicolo and Politoed, Garchomp can use any attacking move. If Ludicolo goes for the Fake Out on Cresselia, Garchomp will attack before Politoed. Cresselia can then Thunder Wave the Ludicolo the next turn while Garchomp Protects. If Ludicolo goes for the Fake Out on Garchomp, Cresselia Thunder Waves Ludicolo and Garchomp gets a free hit in the following turn. If Ludicolo Ice Beams Garchomp right away, Yache still lets Garchomp attack at least once, and Cresselia gets a Thunder Wave off. If the opponent leads with a Pokemon that loves to spam Thunder, Garchomp has a field day with Substitute and Protect while Cresselia wears down the attacker. The important thing is paralyzing the enemy sweeper and getting a little bit of additional damage in there. I always use Tentacruel against rain teams. Tentacruel resists Water-type attacks and gets HP back from the rain. It also has a STAB move to deal with Ludicolo and incredible bulk. If Cresselia can’t get off any Thunder Waves, Tentacruel can set up Hail. After Garchomp is KOed, I have several options for my last Pokemon. Volcarona can come in and clean up paralyzed sweepers. Hitmontop gives Tentacruel an extra turn to do damage if Zapdos is on the field. Breloom is what I choose if I see Gastrodon in the Team Preview. Sun teams What I use: Hitmontop, Garchomp / Cresselia, Garchomp / Cresselia, Volcarona / Tentacruel How I use them: My leads change depending on what I see in Team Preview. If Jumpluff is present, Cresselia can always paralyze it thanks to Chesto Berry. Paralyzing a Chlorophyll Pokemon is one of the most important things to do for my team, similar to Ludicolo or Kingdra against rain. If there is no Shiftry, Hitmontop will pick apart the opponent with Fake Out and Wide Guard. Garchomp resists Heat Wave and has the all-important Earthquake to deal with sun teams. Garchomp and Cresselia also work well as lead Pokemon here, with Hitmontop to help Garchomp live a couple of extra turns. The last Pokemon is a tossup between Volcarona and Tentacruel. If the opponent has Cresselia or a similar bulky support Pokemon, I pick Volcarona. Sun helps Volcarona deal that extra bit of damage, and the STAB Bug Buzz demolishes Cresselia (and most other sun support Pokemon). Tentacruel is a risky pick even though it resists Fire-type attacks and takes neutral damage from Grass-type attacks. Nevertheless, setting up Hail does several things to sun. It removes Chlorophyll, stops Heat Waves from burning through all of my Pokemon, and returns Scald's power to normal. Tentacruel is a solid choice if the opponent has Hitmontop in the team preview, but no Cresselia. Sand teams What I use: Cresselia, Hitmontop, Breloom, Garchomp / Volcarona How I use them: Sand teams are the easiest and most difficult to overcome at the same time. Similar to playing against rain and sun, Cresselia is still important. Tyranitar and X-Scissor Excadrill are pretty common though, so Cresselia needs to Ice Beam the Garchomp or Landorus as soon as possible. Leading Hitmontop allows me to have a way of dealing damage to Tyranitar as well as force Protects on the Tyranitar. After either Hitmontop or Cresselia faint, I have a couple of options. If Cresselia is alive, Breloom or Garchomp are the best choices to send out. This is usually because Tyranitar has been KOed by Hitmontop and the main sweeper has around 50% health left because of a possible Yache Berry. Breloom is my biggest weapon against sand teams, resisting most main STAB attacks and having priority STAB Mach Punch to deal with Excadrill and Tyranitar. This changes the focus of the opponent's attacks to Breloom. Cresselia gets a Rest in, Hitmontop gets another Wide Guard in, and so the advantage tends to stay in my favor. The last Pokemon is the toughest to choose. Volcarona is the better pick when going against Musharna or Cresselia. Garchomp adds in another all-important Rock Slide resist. Garchomp has the added benefit of Sand Veil and Substitute. Certain Pokemon on sand teams can cause huge problems, which I talk about in the specific threatlist. Hail teams What I use: Cresselia, Volcarona / Garchomp, Hitmontop, Volcarona / Tentacruel How I use them: My goal against hail teams is similar to my goal against rain and sun teams: paralyze the biggest threats, send in Volcarona or Garchomp to clean up. If I see a Fake Out user such as Hitmontop or Infernape, Volcarona or Garchomp can Protect while Cresselia Thunder Waves a possible Choice Scarf Pokemon or Infernape. My own Hitmontop disrupts Blizzards with Wide Guard and provides support with Fake Out. Garchomp is a much more viable option against a hail team if Hitmontop can stop a Blizzard two turns in a row. Mach Punch does a tremendous amount of damage against Abomasnow and Glaceon. Sucker Punch hits Jellicent and Froslass hard. Just the presence of Hitmontop on the field changes the opponent's playstyle. They primary target changes to Hitmontop, which means Cresselia or Garchomp racks up additional damage. Tentacruel works insanely well against Infernape and Abomasnow, resisting both main STAB moves and 2HKOing whichever Pokemon I choose to target. The biggest problem when facing a hail team is taking out the bulky water. Suicune, Jellicent, and Slowking all pose pretty large threats to my team. If I see these Pokemon in the team preview, I am forced to choose Breloom no matter what. Tailwind What I use: Cresselia / Hitmontop, Garchomp, Cresselia / Hitmontop, Volcarona How I use them: Tailwind teams try to set up Tailwind as soon as possible. Garchomp takes advantage of this by setting up a quick Substitute. This works better with Hitmontop, who forces the double Protect. After that, it's just a matter of switching out Hitmontop to get a second use of Fake Out. Sometimes I prefer using Cresselia as a lead and Thunder Waving or Ice Beaming the Tailwind user right away. This pretty much makes Tailwind useless, as well as keeping the useless enemy Pokemon on the field to waste Tailwind. The real problem my team has when facing Tailwind teams is the individual Pokemon used by the opponent. I cover this in the specific threatlist. Trick Room What I use: Hitmontop, Breloom, Garchomp, Cresselia / Volcarona How I use them: This is what I use against full-blown Trick Room teams. They usually follow a very specific blueprint. A Trick Room user is partnered with a slow Fake Out user or incredibly hard hitter. With Hitmontop and Breloom leading, Hitmontop can Fake Out their Fake Out user while Breloom Spores the Trick Room user. Hitmontop is almost always faster than Hariyama / Scrafty, and Trick Room users (Dusknoir, Cresselia) will usually have Mental Herb or Sitrus Berry. If by chance the support Pokemon is holding a Lum or Chesto Berry and Trick Room going up, it's not over. Breloom's typing discourages phsyical hard hitters such as Rhyperior from doing any serious damage. Hitmontop can Wide Guard Heat Waves or Water Spouts, as well as Sucker Punch or Mach Punch the attackers. If Trick Room is not set up when Garchomp or Volcarona come out, it's almost always game over. Backup Trick Room Pokemon let Garchomp get a Substitute up, and most of them can't take a Bug Buzz from Volcarona. Goodstuff What I use:. How I use them: Thank you for reading this, hopefully I made sense a couple of times.