EAGLE SPARKS Hey guys, it’s EonX, but you knew that already, so I’ll quit being redundant. Anyway, a lot of veterans (Molk, august, DC, and some others I probably am forgetting right now) around RU know me back from the Queen meta. After taking about a 5 month hiatus, I decided to come back into the tier as I never really stopped following it during that time. A lot of things had changed since the last time I had battled. Scarf Emboar wasn’t a novelty like it was when I first started using it (and maybe making it popular) Nidoqueen was gone entirely, and Hail was introduced to the RU metagame (again, but I wasn‘t even around for the first time it was here) Although my old team from the Queen meta actually worked pretty well in the current meta, I decided to try making a new team. After looking around for a bit, I finally decided to build one around Braviary, in particular, its Choice Scarf set. This was uncharted waters for me as I can never remember making a team centered around a single Choice item user, but I felt I was up to the challenge. For those who want to know about the teambuilding process, you can read all the stuff in the spoiler tags. For those who just want to see the team, you can skip out on the spoiler info. So without further ado, I present to you Eagle Sparks: Team at a Glance: (as seen in Team Preview on Showdown) Teambuilding Process (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Teambuilding Process (open) Teambuilding Process (close) Well, every team needs a centerpiece, and Choice Scarf Braviary is the focal point of this team. With its raw power, decent Speed, and solid bulk (by sweeper standards) Braviary seemed to fit my playstyle perfectly. Next, I needed a way to support it offensively. This is where I turned to my early experience in RU way back when Omicron was teaching me general teambuiling skills for RU when I was first starting out. With that first team, I ended up using Expert Belt Manectric, and since it commonly draws in Steelix and Rhydon, Braviary's best defensive counters, it seemed perfect. So with that, Expert Belt Manectric was added to the team. With the offensive core set to go for the time being, I decided to go defensive with my next two choices. To help both Manectric and Braviary, I needed 2 things: Spikes support and a spinblocker to protect those Spikes. I decided to tackle the Spikes support first. Since Rock-type moves could give the core fits, I decided to go with Ferroseed. Ferroseed could tank Rock-type moves easily, setup Spikes, and paralyze any possible faster Scarfers for a possible late-game sweep for Manectric or Braviary. With Spikes taken care of, I now needed a spinblocker that worked well with Ferroseed in particular, but could also help out Braviary defensively. Truth be told, virtually every Ghost-type has pretty good synergy with Ferroseed since they're immune to Fighting. However, there was only one that could provide defensive backup for Braviary without forfeiting offensive momentum or type stacking with Manectric. That one is Golurk. Golurk's unique ability to setup SR as a Ghost-type really helped me out as it gave me much more flexibility with my last addition. Its ability to still keep up offensive pressure is valuable too as not many Pokemon can setup on Golurk for free and it can dish out some pretty powerful hits to wear down opposing bulky Pokemon that can give Braviary and Manectric problems. There was one major thing left to support Braviary. Rapid Spin. When your Scarf user is weak to SR, not having a spinner is just suicidal, so I knew I needed to add one. Thankfully, Kabutops had good synergy with the parts in place already. A 4x resistance to Fire really helps Ferroseed while its weakness to Electric- and Ground-type moves means that it can potentially give both Braviary and Manectric easy switch-ins. Its Aqua Jet also lets it double up as a secondary revenge killer if Braviary can't last or if I can't risk the switch to it. With SR, Spikes, offensive support, and Rapid Spin support all covered already, I felt I could be really flexible with the last slot. Now, when I took a look at the team, I noticed that the only current top 10 Pokemon I had on the team was Kabutops. Knowing that, I decided to do my best to not have anything else from the top 10 added in this last team slot. While looking at the team, I realized that I didn't have a very solid switch-in to Gallade, faster ones with Night Slash in particular. While Uxie may seem like the perfect fit, that would be another top 10 Pokemon, something I didn't want to do unless absolutely necessary. After looking deeper, I found Mesprit. With most utility spots taken care of, I decided to give its Choice Specs set a whirl and utilize it as the primary wallbreaker on the team. It rarely disappoints and its ability to take on most Ground- and Fighting-types is really useful, lessening the pressure on Braviary and Golurk to handle the respective attacks. So, with Mesprit added, the team was complete. After taking in some advice after posting this RMT, I gave Emboar a test run over Manectric for the team. The results were great as Emboar provided a spectacular way to just maul Rock-, Steel-, and Grass-types that could trouble the other members of the team. It also gave me a more secure way to handle Grass-types since it can use Sleep Talk to effectively absorb Sleep for the team. Emboar's ability to crush Rock- and Steel-types really helps Braviary and Mesprit and both can utilize U-turn to get Emboar in safely. The Choice Band set was chosen over the Scarf set as I already had a Scarf user in Braviary and it also let me be a bit more flexible with Mesprit. Full Details: Robo Ghoul (Golurk) @ Leftovers Trait: Iron Fist EVs: 156 HP / 252 Atk / 100 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Stealth Rock - Shadow Punch - Earthquake - Fire Punch Golurk is the first part of the defensive core. It, like Mesprit, provides a solid defense-to-offense pivot and vice versa as it has great resists and an important immunity to Electric. I chose the Tank set because I’ve always liked to have more offensive SR users. (or, at least SR users that can go on the offensive if needed) Golurk is also the only SR user in the entire game that can also spinblock, so that’s a pretty neat perk. Shadow Punch and EQ are obligatory STAB moves and they actually hurt pretty badly off of Golurk’s base 123 Attack stat. I’ve toyed around with the last slot; having a hard time choosing Fire Punch or Drain Punch. For now, Fire Punch is there as I have only one other Fire-type move otherwise, though there have certainly been times through testing where Drain Punch has been effective. The EVs are standard for the set. Hit as hard as possible, outspeed minimum Speed Lanturn, put the rest in HP for overall bulk. Between Golurk and Ferroseed, I can usually outlast most Rock- and Electric-type Pokemon to help Braviary out. Golurk’s sheer bulk also lets it take on Steelix and Rhydon quite easily, giving me a more defensive option should it be more effective for that battle. ThornSeed (Ferroseed) (F) @ Eviolite Trait: Iron Barbs EVs: 248 HP / 248 Def / 12 SDef Relaxed Nature (+Def, -Spd) - Spikes - Leech Seed - Thunder Wave - Gyro Ball Ferroseed is a pretty cool Pokemon in the current metagame. It has tons of great resistances and some really cool qualities. It’s one of, if not the best defensive Spikers in the game, but the best part is that it can give Braviary Spikes support as well as a sturdy Electric AND Rock resist to fall back on. Of course, it also helps with Golurk as the two resist the vast majority of types together and Ferroseed can take on the top 2 spinners quite easily for Golurk. Leech Seed gives Ferroseed a way to recover health since it doesn’t have Leftovers due to Eviolite. Thunder Wave is a fantastic move. Usually, when I use it early on, it cripples a pretty important Pokemon on the opposing team (stuff like Emboar, Rotom-C, and Typhlosion love coming in early on Ferroseed to put pressure on me) Gyro Ball gives me an attacking option and hits for decent power despite Ferroseed’s low Attack stat. The EV spread focuses on physical bulk with the small amount of leftover EVs going to Ferroseed’s Special Defense. Ferroseed is perhaps Golurk’s best friend in RU (other than a Wish user of course) since it straight up walls the common Rapid Spin Kabutops and can tank hits from Cryo long enough to make SR take its toll and force it into a corner. The fact that it attracts pretty much every Fire-type in the tier kind of sucks, but I tend to use T-Wave more aggressively in matches with Fire-types. (primarily special attacking ones) BladeSpin (Kabutops) (M) @ Lum Berry Trait: Weak Armor EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Swords Dance - Stone Edge - Rapid Spin - Aqua Jet Kabutops is the best spinner in the tier. So, of course I’m going to use it on a team that centers itself (offensively at least) around Scarf Braviary. SD is really there to break through Spiritomb and Dusknoir (it sucks, but lots of people use it, so meh) Aqua Jet is primarily for Normal Rotom, but it’s also useful as it lets me have a secondary revenge killing tool if Braviary goes down. Stone Edge lets Kabutops put a serious dent in the likes of Uxie and Mesprit. With Rapid Spin, Kabutops can get rid of SR and Spikes that could otherwise really trouble this team’s offensive core. The EV spread is pretty standard for any physical attacker with Lum Berry as the hold item to allow Kabutops to get a one-time free pass on status. Pixlie (Mesprit) @ Expert Belt Trait: Levitate EVs: 92 HP / 252 SAtk / 164 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Psyshock - Ice Beam - Thunderbolt - U-turn I’ve always liked Mesprit. It’s like that fine balance between the spectacular power of Azelf and the amazing bulk of Uxie. That said, I decided to use Mesprit's Choice Specs set as a base for its role in the team. After adding Choice Band Emboar to the team, I changed the held item to an Expert Belt to let Mesprit change moves and utilize its fantastic coverage to a greater extent. Mesprit is, imo, the premier offensive check to Gallade. Put simply, if Gallade doesn’t have Night Slash, it loses. Anyway, Psyshock is chosen over Psychic for the very reason I put Mesprit above Typhlosion, Rotom-C, and other Specs users; the ability to better handle Gallade. Also cool for luring in and breaking down Clefable, something that could hold up Manectric. Speaking of helping Manectric, Ice Beam does just that; crushing the best offensive counter to Manectric, Druddigon. Next up is Thunderbolt. As Mesprit attracts Steel- and Dark-types alike, a move that can hit the vast majority of them is great. This also lets Mesprit double up as a solid offensive response to Slowking. Mesprit may not like paralysis, but with Golurk and Manectric around, Slowking will always think twice about using T-Wave. Mesprit can also take a surprise hit from Specs Slowking thanks to its natural bulk. Lastly, U-turn lets Mesprit scout around for its checks and counters and also allows it to lead off in a match rather effectively. The EV spread gives Mesprit as much power and Speed as possible, but I have been thinking of dropping the Speed EVs down to 164 (enough to outspeed neutral base 80s) and putting the rest of the EVs in HP. Mesprit has amazing defensive synergy with the team. Between Golurk and Ferroseed, Mesprit’s weaknesses are covered. Mesprit also gives me a fantastic Ground immunity (useful since many Ground-type attackers have Rock-type moves for Braviary) alongside resistances to Fighting- and Psychic-type moves. FlareBeard (Emboar) (M) @ Choice Band Trait: Blaze EVs: 232 HP / 252 Atk / 24 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Flare Blitz - Superpower - Wild Charge - Sleep Talk Emboar was originally suggested for the team by col49 as a replacement for Manectric. While he suggested the Choice Scarf set and it be used as more of a utility Scarfer, I found the Choice Band set to be a bit more effective overall in testing as it could just immediately lay waste to Rock- and Steel-types. The added bulk for this set also let Emboar be an emergency check to most Electric-types if Braviary U-turns out as they try to come in. Flare Blitz and Superpower just destroy things. Emboar’s Flare Blitz is actually marginally stronger than Entei’s! Generally, once Emboar gets in, I just click the STAB move that the opponent has the fewer resists for. Wild Charge ensures that bulky Water-types such as Slowking, Alomomola, and Qwilfish get dented significantly if they try to check Emboar. Sleep Talk lets Emboar handle sleep inducers quite nicely, though the Scarf set does admittedly do this a little better on average. 24 Speed EVs are used in order to let Emboar outspeed minimum Speed Lanturn. Max Attack and an Adamant nature are used to let Emboar hit more like a freight train. The remaining EVs are placed into Emboar’s HP for bulk and absorbing recoil better. Valiant (Braviary) (M) @ Choice Scarf Trait: Defiant EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Brave Bird - Superpower - Return - U-turn This was the centerpiece I built the team around. It’s the first time I can remember actually building a team around a Choice item user, much less a Scarf user, but Braviary’s raw power makes it all work. Brave Bird is Braviary’s dive bomb move. If I need to eliminate something swiftly, odds are I’ll use Brave Bird. That said, I try to avoid using it whenever possible as the recoil can quickly take its toll. Return is pretty much a safety valve move. It has no drawbacks, solid power, and great neutral coverage. Great for ending games or just getting a decent amount of power if I can’t afford to use Brave Bird. Superpower is the tool that makes Braviary one of the most self-sufficient late-game cleaners in the tier. Most of Braviary’s checks and counters are Rock- and Steel-type Pokemon, so what better way to weaken them than with a coverage move that hits them for super effective damage? If I can’t find time to bring in Manectric, then all is not lost as Braviary can flush out the likes of Steelix and Rhydon on its own and weaken them with Superpower. Lastly is U-turn. This completes the core of Manectric, Mesprit, and Braviary by letting all 3 utilize the VoltTurn strategy to flush out each other’s checks and counters. Thanks to the defensive backup from Golurk and Ferroseed, Braviary can easily utilize U-turn in a more defensive manner early on since they take on most of what Braviary fears quite admirably. The EV spread is pretty typical of any physical attacker, but Adamant nature is used to let Braviary clean up more easily late-game. Team Import (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Team Import (open) Team Import (close) Code: Ferroseed (F) @ Eviolite Trait: Iron Barbs EVs: 248 HP / 248 Def / 12 SDef Relaxed Nature (+Def, -Spd) - Spikes - Leech Seed - Thunder Wave - Gyro Ball Kabutops (M) @ Lum Berry Trait: Weak Armor EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Swords Dance - Stone Edge - Rapid Spin - Aqua Jet Golurk @ Leftovers Trait: Iron Fist EVs: 156 HP / 252 Atk / 100 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Stealth Rock - Shadow Punch - Earthquake - Fire Punch Emboar (M) @ Choice Band Trait: Blaze EVs: 232 HP / 252 Atk / 24 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Flare Blitz - Superpower - Wild Charge - Sleep Talk Mesprit @ Expert Belt Trait: Levitate EVs: 92 HP / 252 SAtk / 164 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Psyshock - Ice Beam - Thunderbolt - U-turn Braviary (M) @ Choice Scarf Trait: Defiant EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Brave Bird - Superpower - Return - U-turn Team in Action (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Team in Action (open) Team in Action (close) http://pokemonshowdown.com/replay/ru-30160282 Kabutops and Manectric working. http://pokemonshowdown.com/replay/ru-30321549 Mesprit breaking the tanks from turn 1. http://pokemonshowdown.com/replay/ru-34688699 Braviary takes the stage Currently Testing (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Currently Testing (open) Currently Testing (close) Mixed Druddigon over Emboar as suggested by Yonko7 Sub Magmortar over Emboar as suggested by Yonko7 Former Team Members (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Former Team Members (open) Former Team Members (close) Spark Man (Manectric) (M) @ Expert Belt Trait: Lightningrod EVs: 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Thunderbolt - Flamethrower - Hidden Power [Grass] - Volt Switch FINAL THOUGHTS: It may not be the best team out there and it's certainly not the most standard of teams (hell, the only Pokemon in the top 25 of May's 1850 usage stats is Kabutops at #5) but it has worked very well over the past month or so. As always, any constructive criticisms of the team are appreciated and if you want to give it a test run for yourself, feel free to use the import above. Anyway, Luvdisc if you liked the team, and hopefully this will spur some people to try out some things that aren't as commonly seen.