I apologize in advance for any spelling and grammar errors that might come along the way. I’m a foreigner and my English is far from perfect. Thanks for your understanding. Team Frag Dolls ('cause everything's better with rainbows) Hello smogon! After 6 or so months of playing in the other tiers, I decided to try my hand at Standard metagame once again. Never being good at full offence and not having enough patience to run stall I took the best of both worlds and created a rather simple balanced team based around SubBounce Gyarados and WishCM Jirachi core. I’ve managed to maintain a steady winning record so far, but with competition getting tougher and tougher as I climb up the ladder, I realized that I’ll need some advice on how to make this team better. After all, there’s never enough room for improvement, right? The team you’re going to see is a product of over 5 months of playing. As you can probably guess it barely even resembles the original idea I had in my mind back in June, but I’m very happy with how it came out. Rates and suggestions are welcome! Uxie @ Leftovers Trait: Levitate EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 88 SDef / 76 Spd Impish Nature (+Def, -SAtk) - U-turn - Stealth Rock - Thunder Wave - Zen Headbutt Choosing a suitable lead is probably the most difficult task in teambuilding if you ask me, and I always leave it for the last. This spot was so far occupied by 4 different leads, and throughout playtesting I found that Uxie does the best job at starting the game in my favor. The set is relatively simple, so I won’t be getting much into it – the support consists of Stealth Rock, Thunder Wave and U-turn, while Zen Headbutt is Uxie’s basic source of damage. It’s a bit weaker than Psychic, but it allows me to forgo Bold nature, keeping U-turn’s power intact. It can also flinchhax, which - combined with Thunder Wave paralysis - proved to be quite helpful at times. EVs are a bit random, and probably need to be worked on. Max HP is a given, and 76 Spd puts me 2 points ahead of Jolly Tyranitar. This isn’t a speed creep mind you - Uxie was just lucky enough to hit a “magic number”, giving him one free point to Speed. The rest was shared evenly between Defence and Sp.Defence. I haven’t done any massive damage calculations with this spread yet, but so far it’s been working quite well. Checks ridiculous number of stuff. Uxie is my go-to Pokémon whenever I feel the situation is getting out of hand. He helps me restore the momentum with a slow U-turn to a designed check, or by slowing down the opponent’s sweeper with Thunder Wave. Excellent support mon, really. And how does Uxie fare against the most popular leads? Azelf – I usually T-Wave first since most Azelf either don’t use Taunt anymore or expect Uxie to be a TrickScarfer, then U-turn to Gengar to absorb Explosion. Or, if I’m feeling ballsy, follow the Thunder Wave with Stealth Rock, and then U-turn. Hilarity ensues when they bring a ScarfTar hoping to lock me into Trick. Too bad, you’re now completely useless for the rest of the match. Machamp – easy match up. Stealth Rock, take Payback for less than 50% HP, U-turn to Skarmory and BB him to death. Or Spike if I predict a switch. Aerodactyl – similar to Azelf, but those always carry Taunt, so I need to U-turn straight to Flygon and defeat him with Draco Meteor. Metagross – Stealth Rock, then U-turn to Skarm who uses him as a set-up fodder. Easily the best possible match up. Heatran – T-Wave first to render his Speed advantage moot. It then gets a bit tricky since he can either Explode or Fire Blast, but I usually manage to make a right choice. Infernape – lol. Roserade – I need to sac something to sleep, and unfortunately it’s usually Uxie who has to do the job. Fortunately none of my Pokémon is affected by Toxic Spikes, so I can easily use those free turns to set up with Gengar or Jirachi. Skarmory (F) @ Leftovers Trait: Keen Eye EVs: 252 HP / 64 Atk / 172 Def / 20 Spd Impish Nature (+Def, -SAtk) - Whirlwind - Roost - Spikes - Brave Bird Entry hazard support part two! The set is nothing out of ordinary, so I’ll focus on how I use Skarmory in battle. Generally, I try to get my Spikes down as fast as possible (as early as turn 3), then go on full offence. I tend not to get greedy when laying them on the field (1 layer is completely optimal), since I can’t afford to give free turns for things like Heatran or Zapdos. My team also lacks a dedicated spinblocker, so wasting 3 turns (or 4 if we add Uxie’s SR) setting up hazards only to have them blown away by Starmie completely ruins my momentum. Sometimes I go as far as using Skarm as a death fodder mid game when I want to speed my game up. Otherwise she serves me as an excellent counter to most of the physical threats in the game, including the ubiquitous Scizor. You might be wondering why I’m using the old EV spread for Skarmory. The reason is simple, I still consider it the best. 64 Atk lets me 2HKO Offensive Gyara with Brave Bird after Rocks, so rather than WWing and letting him wreak havoc later I can kill him right of the bat. 20 Speed is speed creeping, but I just like Whirwinding other Skarms before they WW me. Gengar (M) @ Life Orb Trait: Levitate EVs: 252 SAtk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Shadow Ball - Focus Blast - Substitute - Pain Split It’s amazing how one move can make a whole world of difference for a Pokémon. After Hypnosis got nerfed in Platinum and Bullet Punch Scizor started rearing its ugly head I thought Gengar would forever be stuck in the mid-low OU. HG/SS arrived, and Gengar is back in top 5 where he always belonged, hehe. History aside, this is the now-standard SubSplit Gengar we all know and love. I used to have Jolteon as my fast special sweeper of choice, but I quickly found out that he was completely useless against stall, so I switched to Gengar instead. The fastest Pokémon in my team. Probably the most replaceable one as well. Can act as a SpinBlocker of sorts, but he’s not very reliable. And before you ask, yes I tried ScarfRotom (Heat forme) over him, and it was absolutely horrible. I really can’t tell why… maybe I was just using it wrong? Flygon (M) @ Life Orb Trait: Levitate EVs: 40 Atk / 252 SAtk / 216 Spd Rash Nature (+SAtk, -SDef) - Draco Meteor - Earthquake - Roost - Fire Blast MixGon, woo. Fantastic lure for bulky waters like Swampert, who stops my Jirachi / Gyarados core cold, and ResTalk Gyarados, who is a general pain in the ass to take down. Spikes benefit this dude greatly, since his basic damage output is rather low and he has troubles 2HKOing or OHKOing certain walls without them. Roost increases his durability, which is not too shabby considering Flygon’s natural immunity to most forms of residual damage. I pumped a bit more EVs into Speed since standard MixGon was a bit too slow for my liking and I didn’t find myself using Earthquake very often either. Gyarados (F) @ Leftovers Trait: Intimidate EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Dragon Dance - Substitute - Waterfall - Bounce My absolute favorite Pokémon in competitive play. It’s hard to make a team that doesn’t benefit from Gyarados, she’s just that good. This is my attempt at being creative – SubBounce Gyarados is a fine set that works wonderfully with minimum support and I encourage you to give it a try. Her main advantage over a typical offensive DD Dos is the ability to beat Breloom 1 on 1, simply Sub as he Spores and go from there. Sub also allows me to scout possible Starmie / Rotom switches and block status moves from things like Celebi and Shaymin (Leech Seed). And while we’re on the topic of bulky Grass types, Gyarados can easily dispatch them with a well-timed Bounce. Water / Flying in general has an excellent neutral coverage, only losing to Empoleon who still takes a lot of damage from my DD boosted attacks. Bounce also has an ability to paralyze counters, so ScarfRotom and Zapdos need to be wary when switching in, and finally, it combines nicely with Waterfall flinchhax, which actually won me a few games. Of course Substitute makes Gyarados lose its HP faster than it already does, so some external support is needed. Jirachi has perfect synergy with Gyarados and can easily pass Wishes to her. This way Gyara has an easy time switching into things like Heatran’s Fire Blast with Stealth Rock up AND still posses the ability to produce a Substitute if necessary. I tried to come up with some clever EV spread, until I realized that a simple 252 / 4 / 252 Adamant one does just fine. Jirachi @ Leftovers Trait: Serene Grace EVs: 236 HP / 96 SAtk / 176 Spd Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Wish - Calm Mind - Psychic - Thunderbolt Jirachi, the Mary Sue of Pokémon world. As much as I hate Psychic’s crappy coverage it does get a neutral hit on Electric types, which threaten my team a lot (see below). Aside from sweeping and stall breaking she provides my team with Wish support, which is especially appreciated by Gyarados and Uxie. EVs were customized to my liking. 176 Spd with Timid nature outspeeds Jolly Lucario, 236 HP hits Leftovers number (401) and the rest was thrown into SpA to give her some extra punch. My main check for Starmie, as well as other specially-based Bulky Waters. I usually need to bring her in with Uxie’s U-turn or after a kill, otherwise she risks being 2HKOed by LO Hydro Pump. T*H*R*E*A*T*S - Offensive Electric types – absolutely horrible. Even Electivire threatens to sweep my team if he grabs a Motor Drive boost. And if any of them has Hidden Power Ice all I can do is sit in a corner and cry. They actually forced me to change Flash Cannon to Psychic on Jirachi, but I still have a hard time dealing with them. Thoughts on how to remedy this problem? - LO Starmie – she fucks my team pretty badly, from spinning away my entry hazards to blasting away powerful attacks that I can’t wall with anything. My main way of beating her is to U-turn from Uxie to Jirachi, and start setting up CMs or try to hit her with Thunderbolt. - Mixed Kingdra – a rare threat, but a threat nonetheless. The main problem comes from the fact that I can’t hurt her much with any of my attacks (aside from Flygon’s Draco Meteor, but he’s outsped and KOed). The best I can do is to try to paralyze her with Uxie, which doesn’t always work out. Any ideas on how to counter this beast?