Personal Statement: “Because Baton Pass Teams can only use a specific subset of Pokemon, with an even smaller subset of moves, I believe there is clearly a best team out there and my goal is to find it.” About the Author / Credibility: Proof this team works does work (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Proof this team works does work (open) Proof this team works does work (close) Hello all, I’ve been playing Pokemon Online for about 3 years now and have been working on this specific team for roughly a year now. Since its earliest stages I remained within the top 1000, but now with the team in its final stages, I have maintained a ranking within the top 500. However, I rarely play Version 2, and mostly only compete in tournaments, of which I have won several with this team. My real success has been on the legacy servers, since I play primarily off my android device. I hold top 50 spots under several different aliases and have held the #1 spot for several weeks at a time. Each time I modify the team, I create a new username and climb the latter all over, resulting in several high ranking usernames. Please note that I am not trying to brag, but I am just showing that this team works at a competitive level and is proof that Baton Pass Teams can be a major threat in the current generation. Enjoy! Introduction to the team: When B/W came out I remember a lot of people saying that BP teams were a gimmick and no longer worked. The loss of trap passing was a tough hit on baton pass teams, but shell smash and magic bounce Espeon have been big improvements in this generation. Personally, I started a baton pass team as a joke, trying to work the infamous shell smash baton pass combo into my team. After experimenting with many different receivers and teams to help set it up, I found that there are simply too many checks and counters that must be dealt with when attempting a baton pass team. Ultimately, the best way to deal with these threats is to stay on the offensive and force the enemy to bring your counters to you. This Baton pass team has no dedicated receiver and continually swaps between counters as needed. I focus primarily on gaining defensive boosts and gaining these boosts through single stat oriented walls. I use only a single offensive stat to conserve moveset space, choosing special attack over physical attack because the majority of Pokemon with baton pass have better special movesets than physical ones. The result is 1 speed passer for a lead, 2 special walls with specific niches, a physical wall, a mixed wall, and a late game sweeper / counter Pokemon. General Information About the Team (each Pokemon is covered much more in depth later on): **Note: Many of these Pokemon with the specific stat boosting moves are simply irreplaceable. There are many other Pokemon who do the job better, but lack baton pass, or lack my specific moveset. I will address a few powerful specific baton passers that I have neglected later on this article. Ninjask: Speed Boosts – This is Ninjask’s only responsibility, and he does it well. No other Pokemon can pass this much speed so easily. Rock Polish and Agility require the user to take damage to get them off, and simply cannot compete with Ninjask’s passive, which is much more reliable. Espeon: Magic Bounce / Calm Mind – Espeon is my Whirlwind, Roar, Taunt, Encore, and general Status stopper. Espeon is the crutch of the Baton Pass team, and must be kept alive at all time. It doubles as a special wall, allowing for Espeon to give Calm Mind boosts to my team as well. Espeon is also a great sweeper as STAB Stored Power rips through everything that isn’t Dark typing. Mr. Mime: Sound Proof / Calm Mind / Barrier – Another indispensable Pokemon, primarily due to the ability sound proof. The only baton passer to bypass Perish Song, Mr. Mime is also a special wall who is responsible for giving the majority of Calm Mind boosts for my team. Barrier also gives him a mixed walling capability, but this will be discussed later. Scizor: Iron Defense – Scizor is my physical wall. His unique typing means he is only really weak to fire moves. Outside of a few mixed attackers and V-Create/Flare Blitz, fire just isn’t common enough to threaten Scizor. His main job is to get off defense boosts. Vaporeon: Acid Armor / 101 Subs – For those few fire attacks, Vaporeon is the tank. Vaporeon serves as a mixed wall, tanking both STAB shadow attacks for Espeon / Mr. Mine, and fire attacks for Scizor. Vaporeon can also setup on many other walls that try to status or Seismic Toss/Nightshade. Vaporeon also dishes out decent damage with Surf, and with Calm Mind boosts or in the rain, the damage can be enough to sweep. Umbreon: Umbreon serves as a counter Pokemon specifically for Espeons weaknesses (Dark pokemon) as well as a few STAB attacks that my special / physical walls simply can’t shrug off. Umbreon tanks the hit, kills the threat, and then switches out again. Late game, Umbreon is a great sweeper because of its mixed defenses and three attacking moves, which provide great coverage. Ninjask @ Mental Herb Trait: Speed Boost EVs: 248 HP / 236 Def / 24 Spd Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk) - Protect - Substitute - Toxic - Baton Pass Summary (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Summary (open) Summary (close) Summary: In order to stay on the offensive in a Baton Pass team, you need to make your enemy constantly trying to ruin your chain. The easiest way to stay ahead of your enemy is to out-speed them. Thus, we introduce Ninjask: Anyone who sees a team with a Ninjask knows what to expect. While some might think this makes your team more vulnerable, I believe it helps by making the enemy immediately play defensive and try to disrupt your chain. Ninjask is always the lead Pokemon, regardless of whatever the enemy sends out. His only purpose is to get off three or more speed boosts. Three is the ideal number here as it allows your entire team to out-speed the majority of the OU tier, expect Choice Scarf Latias and Chlorophyll Venasuar. Four speed boosts puts you ahead of anything in the tier. The set I run on Ninjask is designed to get me three speed boosts at the least, and with the right prediction I can often make it out with a substitute still up as well. Protect is used to avoid Choice Scarf Trick users, Fakeout users, Whirlwind, Roar, etc. Protect also works to stall for speed boosts as well as to allow Toxic more time to damage the enemy Pokemon. Substitute is used as a stall technique as well. Toxic complements Ninjask well in this set because there are many Pokemon who attempt to setup on Ninjask while he stalls for speed. If anyone tries to stat boost alongside Ninjask, Toxic works well to force them to switch or die as I stall them out. The given EVs provide the maximum defensive bulk with the necessary speed to out-speed any Choice Scarf Pokemon after a single protect. Checks and counters: Trick: Prevented by Protecting on the first turn. Always Protect if the enemy lead could possibly have Trick. Taunt/Encore: Mental Herb allows one escape. Three speed boosts and a substitute can be made by using protect, sub, protect, baton pass. Baton Pass to Espeon after to reflect the move Whirlwind/Roar: This is one of the harder leads to challenge. Usually I Substitute the first turn as they Stealth Rock. Then I Protect as they try to phase. If the enemy team does not have any fast Pokemon then you can Baton Pass to Espeon or Mr. Mine after, otherwise it is often worth it to attempt a second protect (50% chance to work) and get the third speed boost. Perish Song: One of the hardest counters to Baton Pass, but is rare to see. Politoed is probably the only lead that will run this, so I normally Protect first turn (Choice Scarf Politoed can out-speed and 1HKO Ninjask with Icebeam) then Substitute and Protect again. If they Perish Song right away then I normally swap to Vaporeon to tank or absorb the hit, and then Substitute until they switch. Once they switch I baton pass immediately back to ninjask in order to gain the speed boosts. Once they switch back to Politoed, I can out-speed them and swap to Mr. Mime. From there you can stall until they switch out and go back to Ninjask again to acquire more speed, or continue with the chain if not needed. This strategy works because Politoed leads don’t have stealth rock so Ninjask can be reused. Priority moves: The most dangerous is Ice Shard, but it can be tanked once as long as it isn’t Choiced Banded (which is extremely rare on a lead). The easiest way to avoid priority moves is to Protect, tank the hit and Substitute (no priority move will should do more than 75% with he given EVs) and then Protect again and Baton Pass out as they finish the Substitute off. The only exception to this is Scizor leads, which often run Sword Dance and attempt to setup while Ninjask is stalling. If you see a Scizor, always Substitute on the first turn. If they Sword Dance you can continue to stall by using Protect and Substitute, since they will break the Substitute and you immediately replace it. Prankster: Prankster Taunt is the one thing that absolutely rapes Baton Pass. Mental Herb provides a single speed boost at least, but this isn’t enough. You will need to deal with the Prankster asap and without speed. The only real user I see of this is Sableye, which can be countered by Espeon. Protect first turn to get a single speed boost, then Baton Pass to Espeon as your mental herb is used to reflect the Taunt and force Sableye to attack. You can then go back to Ninjask and acquire the remaining speed, but be very careful on Sableye switch-ins. Dry Pass constantly to avoid getting caught and keep Espeon alive at all cost. Tips and tricks: Ninjask can Substitute exactly 4 times. But be careful in sandstorm and hail! Try to change up the use of Substitute and Protect. Alternating between Protect and Substitute over and over is predictable and often the enemy will catch on and only attack during the Substitute phase. Often times using Substitute twice in a row will throw the enemy off and end you up with a free Substitute. Leads will often try to Stealth Rock as you Protect, so try to Substitute as they do this. Use your Mental Herb to get a free Substitute if the enemy does not have priority Taunt. Toxic twice if they have a Lum Berry, its normally worth it because if they get off more than 2 boosts you will be swept regardless. But don’t bother trying to Toxic if the enemy Pokemon could have Rest. Instead just get the minimum amount of speed you need and get to a counter asap. Speedboost takes place at the end of the turn. Baton passing to Ninjask will cause a single speed boost that takes place at the end of that turn. Ninjask can tank a U-turn very nicely. If the enemy is using U-turn, substitute with Ninjask to tank it and keep up a free Substitute Ninjask is a flying type! Use it to your advantage. When your Substitutes keep getting broken by earthquake try switching to Ninjask to get a free speed boost. You can then swap back to your original Pokemon and tank the enemy’s other attack. Often times it won’t break the Substitute like the ground move would have, which allows a free stat boost. Lastly, always check Ninjask’s health and the presence of Stealth Rock before swapping to him. He takes 50% HP from Stealth Rock and will die if at 50% already since his health is directly divisible by four. If the enemy gets a Stealth Rock down, don’t Substitute more than once if you can avoid doing so. This will let you start your chain over if it gets ruined at some point later on. The more speed boosts the better. It gives Stored Power extra damage! Espeon @ Leftovers Trait: Magic Bounce EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SDef Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk) - Calm Mind - Stored Power - Morning Sun - Baton Pass Summary (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Summary (open) Summary (close) Summary: Espeon is by far the only reason this set works. Without Espeon to bounce back Whirlwind and Prankster Taunts, my set would fail. Therefore, keeping Espeon alive is the key to success. While Espeon does act as a special wall, I tend to not use Espeon unless I absolutely have to, since a without a Substitute you are vulnerable to critical hits and can die easily. The set I run is used to keep Espeon alive as long as possible. I run Calm Mind obviously to allow Espeon to double as a special wall and give the boosts needed to sweep. Moonlight is chosen over Substitute in order to allow decent sustain (although it is essentially useless in weather, which has become common in OU). Primarily Moonlight allows Espeon to stay alive long enough to tank Brave Birds and still reflect Whirlwind. Stored Power is used to sweep late game and to kill or weaken Skarmory for a kill by Umbreon / Vaporeon. The given EVs allow Espeon to act as a special wall, although defensive EVs can really help against Skarmory’s Brave Bird. In order to survive two Brave Bird hits after stealth rock damage 95% of the time (95% is enough for me because critical hits are already 6.5% chance to kill you regardless), you need 187 defense. This results in 124 defense EVs, 252 health EV's and the rest into special defense with a Calm nature. If Skarmory is giving you a tough time, this will help greatly. Chesto Berry / Rest is a more reliable form of recovery in weather, but without left overs you should invest more to stay ahead of Skarmory hits. The result is 168 defense EVs instead of 124. In Sandstorm you will want even more, because of the passive damage take. In order to survive in Sandstorm without Leftovers after Stealth Rock damage requires 228 Defense EV's. **Currently these alternatives are still under review** Checks and counters: Espeon is obviously weak to any physical attacker, so switch immediately unless you are certain Stored Power will outright kill it. Specifically, any Pokemon with U-turn can destroy Espeon. Dark Pokemon running STAB Crunch or Pursuit are also troublesome since they cannot be killed. STAB Shadow Ball, Dark Pulse, and Bug Buzz are also strong enough to kill Espeon in two hits. Again, if you can’t kill them you need to swap to an appropriate counter. For any physical attacker Scizor is the best switch, since he can tank it, Iron Defense / Substitute on the switch, and then Baton Pass to another counter. Vaporeon can also be used for anything that might have a fire attack (namely Tyranitar with Fireblast) and Umbreon can be used to kill the attacker if they are likely to stay in (like if they have stat boosts encouraging them to continue attacking). Tips and tricks: Stored Power is extremely powerful. It can kill almost anything even when you don’t have that many stat boosts. Don’t forget to use it when the kill is easy. Remember that psychic attacks are super effective to certain types. Many Poison type threats can be killed with Stored Power with only the minimum three speed boosts. Use Magic Bounce to your advantage, do not fear any status! You can reflect Stealth Rock, Toxic Spikes, and Spikes as well as Leech Seed, so do this if possible. Avoid tanking any damage from moves with secondary effects. Specifically Scald and Haxrachi can status Espeon and severely hurt it. If the enemy team has Skarmory with Whirlwind, prioritize defensive boosts over anything else, since tanking Brave Bird is a key to success . Mr. Mime @ Leftovers Trait: Soundproof EVs: 252 HP / 252 SDef / 4 Spd Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk) - Barrier - Substitute - Calm Mind - Baton Pass Summary (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Summary (open) Summary (close) Summary: Mr Mime is on this team specifically for Sound Proof. It blocks Roar and Perish Song, as well as the common bug special attack (Bug Buzz) that would otherwise be super effective. Mr. Mime is my primary special wall and can tank many special attacks. Calm Mind until the enemy attacks deal less than 25% damage, and then Substitute to get a free Calm Mind off. Calm Mind is obviously used to amplify the special walling abilities of Mr. Mime. Substitute helps with prediction as well as allows for easy Calm Minds once the enemy attacks deal less than 25%, since a single attack won’t break the Substitute. Barrier is used last primarily to counter Sandstorm teams with Hippowdon since Sound Proof blocks Roar and Barrier allows for you to tank the STAB Earthquakes. Barrier allows gives Mr. Mime the unique role of being able to setup physically defensive boosts on special attackers. This allows you to prioritize defense or special defense based on the enemy team composition. The given EVs allow for maximum special bulk. On teams with Perish Song, you must prioritize Mr. Mime’s health. Switching in every time Politoed is in, only to receive a STAB Hydro Pump, is just bad prediction. You need to dry pass and try to catch the Perish Song user on the switch. Specifically, if you dry pass and see they have not switched, go to another wall. If they have switched, send in Umbreon or Espeon and kill it, or scare it off. If they run, you are still damaging their team and will eventually kill them off. Lightscreen can be used to turn Mr. Mime into a pure special wall, reducing the threat of any STAB super effective special attacks, but Hippowdon becomes a grave threat. Encore can also be used since Mr. Mime will out-speed the enemy and lock them into that move, although it requires Mr. Mime to tank two hits before being able to setup, which is often not worth it. Torment works in a similar manner, but normally isn’t worth it either. Checks and counters: As with Espeon, all physical attackers can destroy Mr. Mime, so switch appropriately. Although if the enemy is presenting the threat of U-turn, using Substitute will force them out to another Pokemon, that poses no threat. At this point you can get a free stat boost as they switch to another Pokemon. Another specific threat is physical priority moves. If you are using Substitute and Calm Mind boosting at low health levels, be extremely careful of a Scizor switch in to kill you with a priority Bullet Punch. Keep a Substitute up as needed or switch out before you become dangerously low health. STAB Shadow / Dark / Bug special attacks can easily 2HKO Mr. Mime. Switch to Umbreon and go for the kill. Tips and tricks: As soon as the enemy Pokemon deals <25% with a basic special attack, use substitute. Otherwise, just Calm Mind and pray for no critical hits. Bug Buzz deals no damage to Mr. Mime due to Sound Proof. This is very important when fighting against Volcarona. You can Calm Mind alongside the Quiver Dance from behind a Substitute. This forces them to use their fire attack, which can be easily tanked. Once you have a fresh Substitute, switch to Espeon / Umbreon, and tank the fire attack. They will likely be faster, use Bug Buzz to finish off the substitute, but you can then 1HKO them with Stored Power. Scizor @ Leftovers Trait: Light Metal EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spd Impish Nature (+Def, -SAtk) - Roost - Iron Defense - Substitute / Bullet Punch (with technician) - Baton Pass Summary (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Summary (open) Summary (close) Summary: Physical walls on Baton Pass teams require Iron Defense / Acid Armor and obviously Baton Pass. Of the few Pokemon who can run a similar moveset, Scizor’s typing and stats simply make it the best. It can tank most any physical attack except fire moves, which are rare. Iron Defense is obviously used to boost physical bulk of my team and Roost allows Scizor to stay alive when up against Choiced or stat boosted physical attackers. I previously ran with Bullet Punch (with technician obviously) in the last slot, which is viable to finishing off any weak Pokemon, and specifically makes Scizor a hard counter to Shell Smash Cloyster. However, Sword Dance physical attackers are much more common and commonly attempt to setup alongside my Scizor, gaining +2 attack per every +2 defense I get. I found that this resulted in a stalemate every time, where I would hurt them slightly with Bullet Punch, they would hurt me slightly with some move, and we would both heal up at some point. Unfortunately, the way critical hits in this game work favor offensive stat boosts much more. If a +6 defense Scizor gets a critical hit vs a +6 attack Scizor it fails to kill it, while if a +6 attack Scizor gets a critical hit vs a +6 defense Scizor it will kill it. The only way to prevent such stalemates and critical hits from occurring is to hide behind a Substitute, tank their hits, and switch to another Pokemon that can kill it with a special attack. Substitute also allows for Scizor to scout out counters when needed. As the slowest Pokemon on my team, Scizor without three speed boosts can be easily out-sped and 1HKO’d by Latias, Venasaur and Magnezone. Substitute allows Scizor protection against these threats without having to gain speed EVs. This way the EV’s are provided for maximum defensive bulk. Checks and counters: The biggest threat to Scizor is Choice Scarfed Pokemon or Chlorophyll Venasaur, who can out-speed and 1HKO Scizor. You can deal with this by gaining 4 speed boosts from ninjask, or scouting with substitute. Having previews of the teams in this generation eases the stress of gaining multiple speed boosts and scouting, but a general rule of thumb is to Substitute once for scouting and then proceed to Iron Defense. Volt switch can be treated similarly to U-turn on Mr. Mime, Substituting forces the threat out, dealing only 25% damage and allowing you to face off against a lesser threat. Scizor’s biggest weakness is fire type physical attacks and mixed attackers. Victini, infernape, Darmanitan, and Arcanine can all be dealt with by Vaporeon. As far as mixed attackers go, the most notable threats are Infernape and Tyranitar with Fire Blast. Both can also be handled by Vaporeon. Tips and Tricks: Keep a substitute up at all times when possible. Critical hits are common and will rape through your defenses. If you switch to Scizor to tank Tyranitars STAB Dark attack, always Substitute to scout the possibility of Fire Blast. As a steel type Scizor is resistant to Poison and Dragon attacks. This makes Scizor very important for beating Toxic Spikes (if you can’t reflect them with Espeon) since he can switch in, Substitute, and then Baton Pass to another Pokemon who will avoid the Toxic Spikes if behind the Substitute when entering. Scizor is also ideal in beating Dragon tail, since the Dragon attack is not very effective and you can Substitute easily and Iron defense to +6. Vaporeon @ Leftovers Trait: Water Absorb EVs: 244 HP / 136 Def / 128 SDef Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk) - Acid Armor - Substitute - Surf - Baton Pass Summary (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Summary (open) Summary (close) Summary: Vaporeon is one of those Pokemon you simply can’t pass up in a Baton Pass chain because of its good defensive stats and typing. As a mixed wall it can tank both physical and special attacks easily, and even tank super effective Thunderbolts and Wildcharges if needed. Vaporeon’s Substitutes are extremely bulky and can tank two Seismic Tosses, which is useful for setting up a Substitute for another Pokemon. Acid Armor is used to allow Vaporeon to deal with the few physical threats that Scizor can’t handle. The last move can vary, but I personally run Surf to allow Vaporeon to deal Prankster Taunt users and Bulk Up/Sword Dance physical attackers. Other possibilities include Wish/Aqua Ring/Roar/Scald. I am currently testing these options out as well. Scald’s ability to burn seems the most promising as its ability to burn hinders physical attackers as well as providing decent damage. Although the loss of damage from Scald could cause Vaporeron to lose its ability to 1HKO many frail sweepers. The given EVs allows for maximum bulk between special and physical, and enough HP to create 101 Substitutes. I personally use Water Absorb over Hydration because it allows Vaporeon to wall Gyarados extremely well and switch in on many attacks for a free heal. Most status’s can be avoided with Substitute anyway. Checks and counters: Vaporeon is weak to Volt Switch and Thunderbolt, but that’s about it. Grass type attacks also hurt, but are rare. In both cases, Vaporeon can tank a single hit if needed. Switching to Mr. Mime is often a strong choice because Electric and Grass attacks are not strong enough to break a Substitute. Physical threats to Vaporeon can be handled by Scizor. As another slow Pokemon on my team, without four boosts Vaporeon is suspect to getting hit by Choiced Pokemon and Venasaur in the sun. While Vaporeon will not be 1HKO’d by these Pokemon, it can be tricked into holding a Choice Scarf or put to sleep. Like Scizor, use substitute to scout or acquire more speed boosts. Tips and tricks: Vaporeon’s Surf is very powerful, especially after a few Calm Mind boosts or in the Rain. Don’t underestimate its power – use it to get free kills when you can. If Taunt or a status is inevitable, let Vaporeon be the one to tank it. As a mixed wall with massive HP, a Taunt from behind a Substitute is often not a problem, since the time spent to switch to a counter and break the Substitute will leave the enemy with only a single hit on you, which will rarely result in a 1HKO. Meanwhile, they have taken several STAB Surf’s to the face, and should be near death. Umbreon @ Leftovers Trait: Synchronize EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SAtk Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk) - Dark Pulse - Hidden Power [Fighting] - Stored Power - Baton Pass Summary (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Summary (open) Summary (close) Summary: Umbreon is currently the Pokemon whom have I replaced many times. Everyone on my team has a defined niche, save Umbreon. Umbreon is sort of the Pokemon that deals with the left over threats that haven’t been addressed. The specific ones whom I have the biggest concern are: strong special attackers that can 2HKO my special walls with Dark/Ghost/Bug moves, strong mixed attackers that can kill my walls, Choiced Banded Pokemon that can 2HKO my physical walls, and Dark Pokemon who cannot be killed with Stored Power. When scouting for a Pokemon to deal with these threats, I found that I needed another Pokemon who could deal damage other than Psychic attacks to kill Dark type Pokemon. I also wanted a Pokemon with good defensive stats that could tank a few hits if needed. Lastly, I needed a Pokemon who was not a Psychic type and was resistant the types my walls were not. Umbreon provides just that, although lacks slightly on the special attack. Therefore, I spread the EVs to maximize special attack alongside health to provide general bulk. The moves selected allow for me to kill the threats previous listed. Specifically, Hidden Power Fighting is used to kill the Dark Pokemon that Stored Power can’t hit. Dark Pulse is a good STAB attack used to kill threats in the early game when Stored Power is lacking the power ups. I am experimenting with different move sets for the best coverage, as well as using different Pokemon who could possibly fill this role better. Checks and counters: Because Umbreon has such a unique niche on my team, it doesn’t really have any counters. I only use Umbreon when I need to kill a specific counter and switch out when the threat is gone or dealt with. The only real problem posed to Umbreon is continuously tanking hits without killing the threat. If this occurs you need to start having better prediction and are not losing because of the team composition, but rather because the player is simply outplaying you =( Tips and tricks: Always use Stored Power over Dark Pulse unless you have a minimal amount of STAT boosts. Stored Power isn’t as strong on Umbreon as it is on Espeon because it is not STAB, so sometimes 1HKOs are 2HKOs. The Neglected Few: This is a list of a few Pokemon that can learn Baton Pass and seem viable but have been replaced by others for a few reasons: Celebi: Calm Mind as a special wall cannot outplace Mr. Mime or Espeon’s abilities. As a counter Pokemon to replace Umbreon, its typing leaves it weak to the same threats as Espeon and Mr. Mime. Mew: Mews move pool is awesome, but its ability lacks. Also its Psychic typing again hinders it and makes the team too weak to the same type attacks. Zapdos: Zapdos can pass speed through Agility, and has great defensive stats. Zapdos with Agility, Substitute, Roost, and Baton Pass or Thunderbolt throw in somewhere, can be a good alternative to Ninjask. It provides an actual sixth Pokemon (since Ninjask doesn't do much other than give reliable speed boosts) that can help deal with specific threats. The problem I have with Zapdos is that getting off two Agility's is normally difficult to do with the amount of strong attacking leads. Zapdos would rarely be able to get off +4 speed right away, and would be scared off by many attacking threats. This requires you to play with +2 speed until you can get Zapdos back in safely, which is a rough play style for Scizor and Vaporeon. Gliscor: Only being able to Baton Pass speed, attack and a single defense (+1 instead of +2) makes it less useful than Ninjask or Scizor. Speed from Ninjask is too reliable to pass. Gliscor’s typing is great for physical attacks, but only having Harden instead of Iron Defense or Acid Armor hurts it. Although it could be viable, it just isn’t in my specific team. If I were to replace Ninjask for another Pokemon to pass speed, Gliscor could work, but like Zapdos, it often relies on playing early game with only +2 speed boosts, which is tough for Scizor and Vaporeon, who already have checks at even +3 speed. Zapdos is arguably better as a speed booster since its typing allows for slightly better special defense, and although it lacks Taunt it does have access to Roar and special attacks (that complement a special offense team). Smeargle: Smeargle is extremely unique. Before Espeon's Magic Bounce, he was the key to Baton Pass via Ingrain. He can still be put on many teams, but like Ninjask, he is mainly a single use Pokemon. His horrible defenses means he can rarely switch in without a Substitute already up. Using Focus Sash is a good idea, but only really works when he is acting as a lead, since entry hazards are so common and break his Focus Sash. I've tried many movesets on Smeargle, all of which must include Ingrain and Baton Pass. This leaves only two moves available, and between Spore, Protect and Substitute, he has trouble dealing with all the threats out there - particularly trick users. Once tricked into a Choice Scarf he is useless and you lose your Ingrain. You could try to run a set with Trick on Smeargle, but it still doesn't protect you against faster leads, which there are many. In general, Smeargle is just too frail and requires too much team support to outclass Espeon. He will always have a special place in my heart, but for now I have graciously accepted Espeon in his place. Togekiss: No defensive boosts means its only spot on my team would be to replace Umbreon. It could be viable, but it’s less bulky and typing isn’t quite as good. Testing could be done. Blazekin: Uber - I play OU. Jolteon: Too frail. Dies too easily even with +6 defenses. Ambipom: No defensive boosts and too frail. Mienshao: Calm Mind usage is outclassed by Mr. Mime and Espeon and its too weak to replace Umbreon. Although its typing is good, it would need serious boosts before being able to fill in easily. Testing could be done. Gorebyss/Huntail: Shell Smash with White Herb is amazing, but I don’t need speed or attack in my team. The required stats would be easily obtained by Nasty Plot, but I prefer boosting defense first. Shell Smash gives a great number of stats for Stored Power, but it’s generally better is a quick pass team, rather than an actual chain. A set without Shell Smash and Iron Defense / Amnesia would be viable, but is generally outclassed by Vaporeon. Venomoth: Have yet to test this Pokemon. Seems viable, but Quiver Dance is ultimately the same as Calm Mind since the speed boosts aren’t needed. Most of its use is found in a quick pass team. Durant: Physical attacker isn’t needed in a specially oriented team. Scyther: No useful boosts. Drifblim: Poor typing since Mr. Mime and Espeon are virtually required and another pokemon weak to the same type attacks isn’t good. Specific Threats covered in detail: Sableye: Sableye is a bitch. In the hands of a good player you will lose. They will constantly switch in and out to catch you with a Taunt and ruin your chain until something dies. However, I have been able to beat about 50% of the Sableyes I faced by using the following strategy: Switch to Espeon to reflect the Taunt to force him to attack. Calm Mind boost while you can if he switches, or tank the Dark attacks and heal up with Moonlight. Continue to tank the hits as long as possible, maximizing the Calm Mind boosts. Before you die, Baton Pass (you will be faster than his damage dealing attacks), if he hasn’t had his move reflected then it’s a 100% chance he is going to use his Dark attack. At this point you need to switch to Umbreon or Vaporeon and attack. You will be taunted or burned, but you can hopefully deal enough damage to kill Sableye in two hits assuming he uses Taunt / Recover or Burn / Recover. Continue to deal as much damage as you can to Sableye to force the switch or kill him. If he switches to something that can 1HKO you then you’ll have to try to start your chain over again and continue this process until you can get Sableye low enough to kill it. Dry passing helps predict the Sableye switch in. But in general, Umbreon and Vaporeon should be able to tank enough hits to survive until Taunt wears off, and get still be able to get a Baton Pass/Substitute/or a stat boost off before Sableye gets back in to Taunt again. Best case scenario, you will reflect Sableyes taunts, get a few Calm Minds off before hand, and get taunted on a Pokemon who has an attack and can do enough damage to scare it out. Worst case scenario you get Taunted on Mr. Mime and struggle while he switches to a counter to 1HKO you. If this happens, just switch to a counter and get Ninjask in for speed asap. It’s a rough battle, but doable. Dragon Dance + Taunt Gyarados / Haxorous: Gyarados with Taunt and Dragon Dance isn’t too scary since it can be walled very easily by Vaporeon. It will only carry Waterfall and Earthquake, and Earthquake doesn’t do enough to hurt it. You can Baton Pass to Ninjask to immune the Earthquake, and get a free Substitute up as he Taunts and u recover with Mental Herb. If he proceeds to attack with Waterfall, absorb it with Vaporeon. Vaporeon can eventually kill a Gyarados with surf (scald would probably work better here). Haxorous is a tougher fight since outrage can do immense damage to Vaporeon even at +6 defense. Vaporeon can kill it faster though, so just get a Substitute up, get taunted, and then attack to try to kill it. Physical attackers that have Roar (Gyarados / Hippowdon, etc.): Barrier asap with Mr. Mime and then get to something that can kill it. If he just spams Roar as you setup waiting for you to switch and Roar you, then get to Espeon and lol ;) Shell Smash Cloyster: As thing Pokemon becomes more and more common, several strategies have emerged to counter it with this team. The first is to simply pick up Bullet Punch over Substitute on Scizor and stop worrying all together, since you can 1HKO it with priority, or 2HKO if it is running Focus Sash. Another Strategy is to Toxic this thing with Ninjask. Then swap immediately to Scizor and stall with Iron Defense / Roost. Luckily you can resist all his moves, which is helpful. If you die you can kill it with Vaporeon’s Surf if you manage to survive the attack. Umbreon can kill it as well, which is most likely more expendable than vaporeon since your main physical wall and source of defense boosts is already dead, but can be 1HKO by Icicle Spear if Cloyster is running Life Orb. Another Strategy is to Substitute first turn if they anticipate a Protect and Shell Smash. You can then Protect or Baton Pass to Scizor and still survive two attacks from Cloyster and stall with Roost / Substitute or kill it with Bullet Punch. Lastly, you could switch directly to Scizor upon seeing Cloyster lead, and kill it outright or begin stacking Iron Defense. Eventually, at +6 defense you can Baton Pass out to Umbreon or Vaporeon for the kill. Choice Scarf Ditto: This thing is so annoying. Immediately Baton Pass once it’s in, because it will Baton Pass to a sweeper faster than you can. Once they send out their sweeper, you can send out yours and defeat them. Yet, if they managed to copy Umbreon / Espeon, do not switch, just attack and kill them. Interestingly enough, when Ditto copies Umbreon it gets the Hidden Power type of Ditto, not the one my Umbreon has. So where I have Fighting type, the Ditto Umbreon will have Dark (since that’s the 31 base IV type). This is just a weaker version of your Dark Pulse and you will kill them with Hidden Power before they kill you with Dark Pulse. Other Pranksters: Espeon can deal with most other Pranksters because of its Magic Bounce ability. Sableye is the most dangerous because of its Dark typing and STAB attack. The only other real common Prankster threat that Espeon has trouble with is Tornadus, which can deal heavy STAB damage. Luckily with one Calm Mind boost and a single speed boost, Stored Power can kill it. Lastly is Murkow, which simply rapes baton pass teams. Its combination of priority Perish Song and Taunt is too much to handle. I have never seen it in play, but if I ran into it I would just rage quit. =/ Trick Room Teams: Trick room is a rare move, but can pose a threat if you are unprepared. The trick to beating these teams is to stall until the dimensions return to normal and they are forced to waste a turn setting the trick room up again. Luckily most trick room teams do not have much other threats to Baton Pass teams and are therefore relatively easy. One notable threat would be Reuniclus, who could setup on you while you try to stall. Although even a +6 Reuniclus won't 1HKO you, and you can easily revenge kill with Stored Power if you have at least a few Calm Minds. Haze: Haze is one of those moves that is very rare but can destroy a Baton Pass team. I honestly believe its only use is to ruin Baton Pass teams... Anyway, the way I deal with this threat is to dry pass until the hazer is brought out and kill it with Stored Power before it can use Haze. Normally I don't anticipate Haze so I end up having to start my chain over before I begin dry passing. At this point it becomes a mind game, but if you manage to catch him on the switch, you can start dealing heavy damage to the enemy team while he tries to protect his Hazer. If he stays in, hopefully you can 1HKO or 2HKO. The one game I was up against a Hazer, I simply sat with Espeon using Calm Mind as he Hazed, until he attacked me, dealing a small amount of damage. At that point, I stored Power with the 2 stat boosts from Calm Mind to deal enough damage for a 2HKO. It's a rare fight, but an uphill one. Clear Smog: Clear Smog is generally a joke threat to Baton Pass teams. The only real carrier of Clear Smog is Amoonguss, which will likely switch in on Scizor to Hidden Power Fire for a kill. Substitute first on Scizor to make sure he doesn't spore or do anything stupid like try to Clear Smog a Steel type (which doesn't work). At this point, if you have a Substitute up or not, Baton Pass to Espeon and just kill it with a Stored Power. If your behind a Substitute, feel free to Calm Mind as much as you can before, since his damage is so little and won't break your Substitute easily. A STAB Stored Power is super effective and kills Amoonguss at even low base power levels. Dragon Tail: Dragon Tail is basically a stronger version of Clear Smog since it can actually break through Mr. Mime's Substitutes if he lacks +2 defense. The key to beating Dragon Tail is to get to Vaporeon or Scizor as soon as you see a possible threat. Substitute and Acid Armor/Iron Defense until +6 and then use Mr. Mime to gain Calm Mind boosts from behind Substitutes or Baton Pass to someone to kill the threat. It's a rare move and most common is seen on stall Pokemon, who lack the damage to truly threaten Scizor or Vaporeon. Just don't get caught without a Substitute when they switch in! Unaware (Mainly Curse Quagsire): Unaware on paper seems to destroy Baton Pass teams, but it actually doesn't. Unaware ignores the enemy's attacking stat boosts when being attacked, but this does not negate them from adding into Stored Power's base damage. Defensive stat boosts still add in as well, making Stored Power still just as strong and able to one shot Quagsire. As they Curse to +6, stay behind a Substitute and continue to stat boost. Espeon will be able to 1HKO it still. An alternative method to kill it, would be to force Quagsire to use his Ground move by sending in Vaporeon to absorb a water attack. At this point you can switch to Ninjask and use Toxic or simply switch in Ninjask while he is cursing and use Toxic and then stall with Protect and Substitute. Stalling is also very easy switching between Vaporeon and Ninjask since you have immunity to both Water and Ground moves, which are his primary STAB attacks. Red Card: Red Card is fairly rare but another strong counter to Baton Pass. It is primarily seen on Forretress, which attempts to spam every type of entry hazard in the game. Normally when I see a Forretress lead, I get into Espeon as soon as possible to reflect the hazards back. While he uses Gyro Ball to break your Substitute, use Stored Power to get a hit off and use the Red Card early game. Then you can switch back to Ninjask to get your speed and start back up again. Mold Breaker + Roar (Haxorous): If you ever run into this, I would be extremely surprised (this set is outclassed by Mold Breaker + Taunt). Nevertheless, it is a strong counter and should be addressed. I won;t go to in-depth, but ultimately you will treat this that same as Haze. You are definitely faster than Roar so you can dry pass until the counter is brought in, and attempt to kill it with whatever stats you may have at the time. Luckily Haxorous isn't too strong defensively. Conclusion (TLDR): Baton Pass has developed into two types in this generation: Quick Pass and Chain Pass. Having tried both I found that quick pass teams have a wide variety of counters that ultimately ruin your chance at a sweep. Because of this, quick pass teams are either pass or fail, meaning they get the sweep or they waste two out of six Pokemon in a failed endeavor. I now use a Chain Baton Pass team and have had great success. Where most Baton Pass teams would have a standard “receiver” that then sweeps the entire enemy team, my team does not have this. In this generation, there are too many threats to expect a single Pokemon to be able to finish off six Pokemon without any trouble. The solution is to make a continual Baton Pass team, in which you have no specific receiver and simply kill the enemy throughout the match as convenient or needed. The Pokemon listed above are used because they are able to gain a good number of boosts for my team without dying or deal with common threats. I have found that the easiest way to acquire defensive boosts is to allow a wall to do it. The physical wall boosts, physical defense while the special wall boosts special defense. The result is somewhat of a stall play style as you continually switch to different walls and gain a single boost here and there. When a threat is posed to your entire chain, you switch to your counter and deal with it, whether that involves boosting the appropriate defense or killing the threat outright. Many times the game often ends with a sweep from Espeon, Umbreon and sometime even Vaporeon. Yet more often than not, each of these Pokemon has at least one kill, as they are all meant to deal with specific counters. The level of difficulty of this play style is not extremely difficult. The more threats a single team has, the harder it is to beat them, but in general this play style requires a large knowledge of the threats possible and which Pokemon could possibly carry them. For example, you must know that Celebi and Politoed could possibly have Perish Song and therefore you must switch to Mr. Mime until you dismiss that possibility. Similarly, you must always prepare for random critical hits, which would break through your defense. Substitute must be used at all times to stop this, as well as the possible Dragon Tail. There are many counters, but each can be dealt with if correctly predicted. I hope you have enjoyed this guide! Please feel free to test it out and try it yourself. If there is anything left unclear or that you feel I could improve by doing, please let me know! I will continually update this guide as frequently as possible. As the metagame continues to develop, my Baton Pass teams will too, and hopefully remain as successful as they have been in the past.