I most frequently use these guys on the random matchup doubles, and on the ‘tournament’ things that the GL puts up every now and then. Hopefully I’ll get to use them at fall VGC 2013, barring any rule changes. It’s essentially a read-and-react team. A couple notes, I’m not really willing to breed for Hidden Power because it requires a level of perfection I just don’t care to fight with (I have enough grief just trying to get a decent ability and nature sometimes, evidenced by the boxful of Cyndaquils in HG . . . but I digress). I’m also not willing to use legendaries, even the ones allowed at VGC because . . . well, because that’s the way I roll, I guess (besides, getting them with a decent nature is a headache). Anyway, the team. Changes are in bold. (M) @ Life Orb Ability: Truant EVs: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 Special Defense Nature: Adamant -Return -Earthquake -Slack Off -Shadow Claw (will be Fire Punch when BW2 Tutor is out) Man, was I ever happy when I accidentally bred an Adamant one of these little guys back in Diamond. Return will at least put a sizeable dent in anything that isn’t 4x resistant (once took a Regigigas down to the red with one shot, got a great laugh out of the guy’s expression), and the other moves are mostly coverage for anything Return can’t wipe out. Slaking is usually my lead, unless team preview warns him off with lots of fighting types/steels/rocks/a likely Trick Room set. He’s the team’s star player and hardest hitter. He does suffer from a crippling ability of course, but that has been remedied with . . . (F) @ Eviolite Ability: Pressure EVs: 252 HP, 128 Defense, 128 Special Defense Nature: Bold -Skill Swap -Will-O-Wisp -Pain Split -Shadow Sneak The other lead, the partner to the Slaking, the peanut butter to the jelly. Skill Swap is the essence of the strategy, coupled with her high defenses- remove the Truant from Slaking, wait out a turn, and then swap Truant onto an opponent (hopefully stealing a good ability in the process) and start stalling. When successful, this turns Slaking into a raging beast. There are several reasons for using Dusclops as my Skill Swapper- for one, she has more defense than a Dusknoir and isn’t really missing the extra attack power (Shadow Sneak is just there for poking purposes, make sure she doesn’t have to Struggle under a Taunt, and to pick off Sashes). I originally had a Claydol as my Skill Swapper, but after a nasty run-in with Fake Out, I decided to use a ghost instead; the only thing that can fake her out is a scrappy Kangaskhan, which is rare as far as I’ve seen. While Dusclops lacks Claydol’s Levitate for if I decide to have Slaking lead off with an Earthquake, she can still absorb the hit fairly well. Dusclops can also stand on her own if I decide not to bring Slaking, pestering the other team with Will-O-Wisp and Pain Split, crippling ability-reliant pokes with Skill Swap (always fun to steal someone’s Intimidate), and going on a laughing streak against Trick Room teams. (F) @ Expert Belt Ability: Moody EVs: 252 Special Attack, 252 HP Nature: Modest -Scald -Ice Beam -Charge Beam -Protect So here’s what everyone’s asking, I’m sure . . . why an Octillery? Because, well . . . I wanted a water type and I wanted to do something different (you’re talking to the person whose brother showed up to VGC pairing a Marowak and an Eviolite Scyther. I kinda take after him I guess). I also like her broad coverage, and when she hits, she does hit fairly hard. Protect makes for a nice stall to hopefully give me a good Moody boost and get the ball rolling in her favor. Also, the EVs . . . I gave her defenses half and half of what was left, but I suppose I could have put it all into HP. Would it make that much of a difference though- 128 in each defense as opposed to 252 HP? (edit: Fixed, thanks for the clear explanation on HP vs defense!) @ Lum Berry Ability: Clear Body EVs: 252 Attack, 252 Special Defense Nature: Brave -Meteor Mash -Bullet Punch -Zen Headbutt -Hammer Arm Oh wow, after a quick stat check I think I got this guy max HP IVs. Go figure. Anyway, the second heavy physical hitter alongside Slaking, with considerable bulk to boot. The Lum Berry has proved pretty reliable on him, considering that a burn can really cripple the poor guy, and it affords me some way to fight back against Spore Amoongus. He also makes a fine counter to Trick Room teams. Hammer Arm has upped his coverage significantly from Thunderpunch, and with Bullet Punch as a backup, he doesn't usually miss the speed lost. (F) @ Focus Sash Ability: Levitate EVs: 252 Special Attack, 252 Speed Nature: Timid -Flamethrower -Dragon Pulse -Dark Pulse -Protect This one came along after I determined my Dragon Rush Salamence to be legally BLIND (either that or the thing just hates me, either way I got tired of missing constantly). I did consider Draco Meteor and a White Herb, but I kinda like the extra coverage spot (Surf is out, unfortunately- doubles team, of course) and the free slot for Protect is proving invaluable. She also makes a good alternate lead if Slaking isn’t up for it after looking at team preview, and the Focus Sash has saved me more times than one (I realize it isn’t 100% reliable with things like Sandstorm and Hail, but it still saves my hide enough to warrant keeping it). @ Flying Gem Ability: Blaze EVs: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 HP Nature: Adamant -Blaze Kick -Sky Uppercut -Protect -Acrobatics First of all, I don't have access to Speed Boost Blaziken, and I don't have pokesav, so whatever. I've always wanted to raise one of these things anyway, here he is. Chose Blaze Kick over Flare Blitz because let's face it, he's not sticking around for long WITHOUT the extra recoil, let's not help him along by having him damage himself. Same is said for Sky Uppercut- Hi Jump Kick is that much more of a risk making it that much more likely that he'll die prematurely. That said, he's doing alright so far as the newest member of the team. He hits.....well, hard enough, and he's....not incredibly fast, but kinda mid range. Frail as can be though. I dunno, I'm still toying with options for this slot. SCRAPPED from the sixth slot: Hide (Move your mouse to the hide area to reveal the content) Show Hide Hide Hide (F) @ Leftovers Ability: No Guard EVs: 252 Attack, 252 HP Nature: Brave -Dynamicpunch -Stone Edge -Payback -Substitute Another solid counter to Trick Room teams, more bulk to balance out the frail Hydreigon and Octillery, and let’s face it- this thing is just fun to use. Came along because I realized I was severely lacking in the fighting type department. Dyanamicpunch and Stone Edge both play off of her ability while Substitute helps absorb the occasional Will-O-Wisp or Psychic. @ Leftovers Ability: Dry Skin EVs: 252 Attack, 252 HP, 4...something (forgot, whoops) Nature: Adamant -Fake Out -Taunt -Sucker Punch -Drain Punch Tried to use this thing to replace Machamp, not entirely satisfied because it's....really frail. And not exactly fast. And mostly ended up dying a lot. I appreciated the Taunt support on occasion, but generally I didn't get a lot of use out of the froggy before I scrapped him. Poor froggy. Known threats: This team doesn’t appreciate Rain Dance teams- i.e. Drizzle Politoed paired with a Ludicolo- very much. Also, Dusclops doesn’t like Taunt very much, and I can’t exactly prevent it unless I evolve her into a Dusknoir and give her an herb (Mental Herb, isn’t it?). I gotta keep an eye out for those likely Taunt users (i.e. Whimsicott and the damn genies) if I want to lead with her. Unfortunately, if I evolve her, I’ll be losing out on some good defense for a little bit of HP and attack power that she really doesn't need for her role.