One of the most outrageously powerful Pokemon in the tier with superb speed to boot, and yet a mere #19 in usage statistics. It's such a tremendous injustice ... this team aims to let Azelf rule the battlefield. Do you fear Azelf? After being on the delivering end of several Azelf sweeps, I'll say I have never respected Azelf more. Yes, Azelf is but one part of the team and yes, without team support Azelf usually cannot get much done. But with that team support, it blazes through teams with little hesitation or fear. I peaked at #4 with this team somewhere around 1410 rating. Could've gotten higher maybe, but I don't play that much, and the team's major weaknesses did drag it down ... On to the team: Venomoth @ Leftovers Trait: Tinted Lens EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Bug Buzz - Sleep Powder - Quiver Dance - Baton Pass Venomoth is an essential part of the Azelf sweep. It's quite reliable at passing Quiver Dances and, in a pinch, it's a decent sweeper as well. This is a standard Venomoth set, so not much to say. I use maximum speed partly because Breludicolo outsped my +1 Venomoth with Scarf Honchkrow once, and partly because maximum speed is necessary to at least tie Deoxys-D. Roost has proved quite unnecessary for me. If my opponent is staying in with something I can safely Roost against, he's probably bad and besides, I don't usually need to stack more than two Quiver Dances. In every other case, it is almost always better to use Quiver Dance instead of Roost. In the ideal scenario, Venomoth will get in safely, Quiver Dance on the switch, Sleep Powder the next Pokemon, Quiver Dance again and then Baton Pass out. I usually don't wait because sleep wears off relatively fast this generation. If this works, there's a strong chance the game ends right there. Of course, this often fails to work (Sleep Powder miss sup?), and when that happens I utilize the rest of my team. Azelf @ Lum Berry Trait: Levitate EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk) - Psyshock - Substitute - Flamethrower - Grass Knot The primary Quiver Dance receiver, Azelf is a formidable sweeper. With 2 Quiver Dances, it outspeeds everything and sweeps almost everything. I've lost count of the number of games where Azelf simply went through an entire team. It can be stopped even at +2/+2/+2, and there are a few Pokemon it can't sweep through, but I'll cover that later. Lum Berry is here in part to dodge status effects and in part to allow Azelf to switch into Pokemon like Smeargle without fear. A great thing about this set is that, after using Lum, Azelf is usually fast enough to Substitute and block the next status move. What happens next is maximum pain. I've had a couple of sweeps with a +0 Azelf, simply by virtue of Substitute. Substitute also goes a long way to dodging Sucker Punch, and if my opponent misplays / falls into the status trap then a +2/+2/+2 Azelf behind a Substitute is almost always gg. Azelf is fast enough to outspeed all base 100s even with a Modest nature, not to mention Azelf needs Modest to 2HKO Chansey at +2 (without Life Orb), hence the choice of nature. I run Grass Knot because otherwise getting walled by Quagsire is just sad, while Flamethrower is forced as a 100% accurate move for BP receivers. Raikou @ Leftovers Trait: Pressure EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd Rash Nature (+SAtk, -SDef) - Aura Sphere - Hidden Power [Ice] - Thunderbolt - Calm Mind So, which Pokemon does +2/+2/+2 Azelf not sweep through? There are a few actually: Umbreon, Victini, Empoleon and Houndoom all survive and can hit back. That's where Raikou comes in. Everything Azelf cannot sweep through, Raikou can. This is where team preview comes in so handy - I scan my opponent's team, find out which sweeper is better suited and pass accordingly. Raikou is the secondary Baton Pass target, and its moveset reflects this: no Lum Berry for instance, and Calm Mind. Aura Sphere is necessary to sweep through Umbreon and Houndoom, so the Rash nature is similarly forced. I have Calm Mind for the case where I can't pass Quiver Dances. Since Raikou, like Azelf, is also fast enough to outrun base 100s, it's a dangerous sweeper even without Quiver Dance. I have Leftovers just so Raikou does not get worn down so easily. If it looks like my opponent's defence to an Azelf sweep is priority, I will choose Raikou as the pass target because of Leftovers. Leftovers also allows Raikou to play havoc with hail teams, smashing through with +1 Aura Sphere while Calm Mind reduces Blizzard damage. Empoleon (M) @ Leftovers Trait: Torrent EVs: 252 HP / 252 SDef / 4 Spd Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk) - Stealth Rock - Roar - Ice Beam - Scald Raikou, Venomoth and Azelf form a formidable offensive core, but every offensive Pokemon still needs hazards to support them. Empoleon is my Stealth Rock user of choice, with excellent typing and the ability to phaze to go along with it. The moveset is pretty standard, with maybe the only strange move as Roar. It's much appreciated as a phazing move and it goes through Substitute, which is always welcome. It also shuffles for SR damage. Some of the biggest threats to my team are weak to Stealth Rock, which makes this an invaluable move. Not much to say about Empoleon, he's proved a very consistent member of my team. Quagsire (M) @ Leftovers Trait: Unaware EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SDef Impish Nature (+Def, -SAtk) - Recover - Waterfall - Toxic - Curse Quagsire is ... eh. The undisputed weak link of my team, Quagsire has more often been giving my opponent free switch-ins than not. But I can't drop Quagsire: it's needed to wall so many threats, including Flygon, Kingdra, Rhyperior, Victini, and so on. There simply isn't a replacement, at least not one that I've found. As such I make do with the best I can. Curse is frankly quite silly, but then Earthquake is equally silly, so I just have it there. Occasionally I do get to Curse up against walled Pokemon who stay in, but those games are rare. Scald would be good if it didn't conflict with Toxic, which is absolutely necessary since Quagsire's offenses are so bad. Recover is obvious. More often than not I find I switch Quagsire in, Recover as my opponent switches out, and then switch out myself ~_~ There's no doubt Quagsire is the weakest member of my team, so if anyone can offer suggestions, please help! Threats walled by Quagsire that the rest of my team cannot handle: Flygon, Kingdra, Rhyperior, Victini, Cobalion, Rotom-H, Heracross, Raikou, Zapdos, Golurk, most unboosted physical attackers. Heracross (F) @ Choice Scarf Trait: Guts EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk) - Close Combat - Megahorn - Stone Edge - Pursuit And finally, the last member of my team is a Scarfed Revenge killer. Whenever things look bleak, I can often sacrifice a Pokemon to bring in Heracross and save the day. Losing one Pokemon is way better than losing the game, hence Heracross is here. Sometimes I also lead with Heracross if I need the immediate power, or if none of my other Pokemon feel like good options to lead with. This is a very standard Heracross set, so there's nothing to say. I run Jolly to at least tie other Heracross, which are quite common. Short threat list : Yeah Chansey. No idea why everyone is so up in the arms about Chansey, it is the biggest set-up bait ever. I simply send Venomoth in and Quiver Dance. If it has TWave, so be it, I get my second Quiver Dance in and can predict a switch with sleep. If it has Toxic, even better. If it stays in to Seismic Toss, I laugh, boost to +3/+3/+3 and go to Azelf. Lum Berry stuffs any status moves down Chansey's throat, and +2 Psyshock easily 2HKOes. : Same as Chansey. It has to run max speed to Taunt me before I Quiver Dance. If it Taunts me after I Quiver Dance, I usually stay in: Taunt does not last that long anyway and Tinted Lens +1 STAB Bug Buzz is quite painful. Of course if Deoxys-D stays in to Spike then I just hit it (even better if it uses Recover), wait for Taunt to run out and then either Baton Pass or Quiver Dance again when Taunt expires. : Send in Azelf, then Substitute. No Spore for you, no Smashpass either unless you want the receiver to die. : This guy has gotten significantly more dangerous after Magic Guard was released, so need some help against him. Empoleon can survive a Focus Blast and Heracross can revenge, but still it's very painful. : Incredibly enough, and it's not just for Hitmontop, Venomoth is my spin-blocker. How is Venomoth a spin-blocker, you ask? Well Hitmontop is completely unable to touch Venomoth, so I'm guaranteed a Quiver Dance. That usually makes me faster, which means I can Sleep Powder the next Pokemon and Quiver Dance again - see the ideal case with Venomoth. I've actually had a few games where Hitmontop using Rapid Spin actually lost my opponent the game. Venomoth also blocks spin from Blastoise, Claydol and to a lesser extent Donphan. While Donphan does 2HKO Venomoth with Earthquake, Venomoth is faster and can sleep (and a lot of them seem intent on spinning, which means I already get +1/+1/+1!). : Quagsire does quite well against most Zapdos. If I see Substitute, I send Heracross in on a predicted Toxic, send Quagsire back in on the forced Thunderbolt, and then send in Venomoth. It won't have Heat Wave, and I can Quiver Dance to force Zapdos out. : A massive threat. See below. : A massive threat. See below. : The most massive of the massive threats. Celebi, Roserade and Shaymin all get free switch-ins on Quagsire (which is partly why I'm so certain Quagsire is the weak link of my team) and they are ALL deadly Pokemon against my team. I have two Grass resists, but both of them are quite jealous of their HP, and Roserade's / Celebi's second STAB are very dangerous. To top it all off ALL of them have Natural Cure, so Quagsire can't even Toxic. I'm pretty much forced into fancy footwork like double switching Quagsire out at first opportunity to Heracross, or trying for a sweep before they can sweep me. My team definitely needs improvement against these three. Help? : The thing about other Azelf is that one of the few Pokemon a +2 Azelf cannot sweep through is Empoleon, and what do you know, I have one! : Big threat. Quagsire can absorb V-Create, but if it's Expert Belt with Grass Knot, I'm almost forced to switch to Venomoth / Heracross after. Both are however weak to Fire, and if I'm unaware of Victini's held item (it could equally be Scarf) then they risk death. Scarf Victini can also switch into Venomoth at +1/+1/+1 and force it out. Dangerous, but once I catch on I can still attack or sleep on the switch. : Hail in general is pretty tough to play against. I only have one Ice resist, but it does quad resist Ice and can put up SR, so it's not too bad. I generally try for SR and then try to Quiver Dance once the opportunity presents itself. Missing Sleep Powder against Froslass sucks, but at least Heracross, Raikou and Azelf are all still quite deadly against hail even without Quiver Dance passes. : Dangerous. CB Return seriously hurts my team. Quagsire and Empoleon can take a couple of hits, but Empoleon dies quickly after (it does take a lot of damage) while Quagsire is within 2HKO range if enough hazards are up / it's taken a bit of damage. It's not THAT bad since it can't switch in easily, but it's still dangerous. : Jirachi is here as a substitute for hax. Hax beats every team of course, but since mine is partially based on Baton Pass hax hits my team more severely. A missed Sleep Powder can cost Venomoth's life, for example. Thankfully, my sweepers are all reasonably competent even without receiving Quiver Dance. And that's it! Rate, and please help with some of the holes still present in the team!