Team at a Glance Introduction The Masked Nitpicker’s recent warstory inspired me to get involved in the severely underplayed meta that is Triples. When the generation was announced, I assumed Triples would be somewhat of a clusterfuck (pardon the expression) due to the sheer variety of options and things to attack – but upon actually examining the meta it seems Gamefreak have actually balanced it reasonably well – targeting and movement mechanics make it very strategic, and moves like Wide and Quick Guard along with the improved Mental Herb make for an elaborate game of Rock>Paper>Scissors. TMN’s warstory really opened my eyes to the awesomeness of Triples, and for that I thank him. Anyway, once I became interested in the meta, I revived the Triples thread and began to examine what strategies seemed to work, initially hoping to build an Eruption abuse Sun team. Upon actually testing it, I discovered that two strategies common to triples utterly dominated it – Tailwind and Trick Room both usurped my speed advantage and managed to demolish my team with either fast or slow hard hitters. I was disheartened, for Tailwind seemed like it made most weather strategies unviable, and simply outclassed all but Trick Room due to the usefulness of the speed boost and its applicability to all mons. But as I looked for a way to beat the two dominant Speed based strategies, an idea hit me. If I was able to survive the hits both Tailwind and TR sweepers threw at me for several turns, who cared if I was going first or not? A team with excellent survivability and still good offense at the cost of speed was my goal in building a somewhat anti-meta Triples team. Teambuilding Hide (Move your mouse to the hide area to reveal the content) Show Hide Hide Hide My initial idea was to abuse either Water or Volt Absorb so that I could heal my team whilst hitting my opponents with powerful spread moves. I decided to try a Surfspam team to take advantage of the Rain boost, as well as screwing over the other weathers in the process. Naturally the first mon was therefore Politoed. Second, I wanted a dual screener who would cut the damage my whole team received by 1/3, whilst also having good bulk and hopefully offense. Sadly, not a single Water Absorb mon can dual screen, so I had to choose from Telepathy mons for my Dual Screener. Musharna stood out as one of the bulkiest, but sadly had no offensive capability that would be helpful. However, Helping Hand and a slow Baton Pass for a safe switch-in clinched its place on my team. Third, I absolutely needed a pokemon with the move Feint to break Wide Guards my opponents may throw down, preventing my Surfs from harming them. The only water absorbing mon who could do this was the frail Toxicroak – but Dry Skin meant that he would be recovering almost 50% of his health per turn if hit by a Surf and in the rain, countering his frailty out. He also got Fake Out, making him a useful lead, and Drain Punch, letting him live for a whole match with ease (as well as killing TTar easily). This finished my lead trio. Finally, I had to choose my Surf spammers. I knew that something immune to Electric would be necessary, and my choices were the offensively useless Quagsire, or Gastrodon, who has Storm Drain rather than Water Absorb. I went with Gastrodon for increasingly powerful Surfs (as he could Recover to gain back lost health) rather than Quaggy’s useless ones. Since Water Absorb Lanturn is unreleased, I had to go for a Lapras instead for a powerful Thunder to take out opposing Water types. In the final slot, I decided to just pick the Water Absorb mon with highest SpAtk – Vaporeon – who could hopefully obliterate enemies with powerful hits. With the team built, I tested it on PO wherever I could find Triple battles. Over about 20 so far, I've only lost one, which although my opponents weren’t the best, is at least a good sign of some form! There are still a few dead-ish moveslots, however, so advice is very much appreciated. Items in brackets are adjustments for when I play the GBU meta - no Sleep Clause and Item Clause being the main differences. In Detail Stormcaller Politoed M @ Leftovers (Chesto Berry) Ability: Drizzle Nature: Calm (+SpD / -Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 116 SpA (11 Spe IV) Surf Ice Beam Haze Rain Dance The centrepiece of the Surfspam strategy serves to neuter opposing weathers as much as boost my own moves. His EVs give him excellent bulk, even living things like STAB Thunder with a little health remaining. He used to have an escape button to allow me to escape the field as soon as possible to get a true abuser out, but it ended up being more harmful that good, primarily against Justified abusers whom I needed to take out first turn with Surf. Leftovers is the default item for some nice recovery, though when Sleep Clause is off I use Chesto Berry to ensure I can get the surf off (may switch to it all the time so Politoed dies quicker and I can get something else out). Surf is for healing Croak and Ice Beam to take out resistant Dragons or Grasses if need be. Haze is there to lol at teams who like to try and grab absurb amounts of boosts, though in lead situations Surf is often better to use on things like Beat Up+Terrakion when Croak Fake Outs the Terrakion, meaning it's a lot more useful late game. RD lets me renew the weather mostly if I anticipate a switchin or a faster weather move, and it helps to have something on the team with it. Cumulonimbus Musharna F @ Mental Herb Ability: Telepathy Nature: Relaxed (+Def / -Spe) EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 116 SpD (0 Spe IV) Reflect Light Screen Psywave Baton Pass The second of my leads utilises dual screens to guard my team from damage, then provides whatever team support she can. EVs give almost balanced bulk, and a low Speed for a slow Baton Pass, letting me get a sweeper in safely. Mental Herb rather than Light Clay since Triples often lasts more than one or two Screen periods (and she has the bulk to get them up twice if not being excessively focused down). It also essentially guarantees me at least one Screen, and as such I like the insurance it offers. In play I’ll typically pick the screen of most use first, then if not Taunted go for the second, followed by either a BP if at high health, or Psywave if at very low or if something needs finishing that turn. In extremis, a first turn EB from Toed and a BP from Musharna can get Rain back up before even the second turn, which is useful to have. Depressor Toxicroak M @ Sitrus Berry Ability: Dry Skin Nature: Adamant (+Atk / -SpAtk) EVs: 252 HP / 152 Atk / 40 Def / 64 Spe Fake Out Feint Drain Punch Stone Edge Toxicroak is primarily here for Feint abuse. His EVs give him good bulk, more physical since EQ is the most common thing hitting him. Fake Out prevents things like Terrakion attacking for a turn after being Beaten Up to +6, as well as preventing Tailwind setup etc. This serves the purpose of wasting a turn so I can get a screen up and either a Surf off or a sweeper in whilst they have to retry and setup. Finally, it can prevent damage to Croak for a turn so I can get a screen up if he is overtly threatened. Feint is the key to this set of course. Wide Guard is a huge obstacle to me, and repeatedly Feinting can easily prevent it if need be. Breaking Protect can also speed up my bringing the hurt to the opponent. Drain Punch is excellent for recovery more than damage – letting my heal sometimes 50%+ a turn. Tyranitar is the main thing this hits aside from this, and SE is a good way to deal with Thundurus who can maim my team with Thunder, or Tornadus who destroys Croak with Hurricane. Sitrus Berry>Lefties since he can be victim to a 2HKO from things with a STAB SE attack, and this helps him survive this (sometimes). Cataract Vaporeon F @ Choice Specs Ability: Water Absorb Nature: Modest (+SpA / -Atk) EVs: 16 HP / 236 Def / 252 SpA / 4 Spe Surf Hydro Pump Ice Beam Hidden Power Grass This is a very straightforward set. The strongest Surfspammer, boosted by Specs to be able to 2HKO whole teams. EVs mean it is rarely 2HKOd by any combination of moves under screens. Survivability beyond that isn’t really needed as it is often what I send in when Toed dies early on, purely to get in some early damage alone. 4 Spe EVs is simply a habit to outspeed same base mons with no investment. The other moves are very rarely used. Hydro Pump is for if Croak dies and Wide Guard spam is occurring, Ice Beam and HP Grass for coverage in the Water Absorbers, or Dry Skin mons. Icefloe Lapras F @ Leftovers (Lum Berry) Ability: Water Absorb Nature: Modest (+SpA / -Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 116 Def / 128 SpA / 12 Spe Surf Ice Beam Thunder Heal Bell (Safeguard) Lapras is primarily here for coverage issues, but also helps as a Cleric. EVs are typical for this team which has naturally higher SpDef (and since most spread attacks it’s hurt by are physical). Spe is to outspeed TTar with no investment, since it can hit it with several SE attacks. Surf is the obligatory teamheal, but she is the most likely member of the team to be using Ice Beam since she gets STAB, or Thunder (since she actually gets it) to hit things which resist water. Heal Bell can be useful to clear the team of paralysis or Toxic annoying it, especially if a battle goes on for some time. Fighting weakness is unfortunate, but by the time she comes out the enemy has generally clicked that they should be attacking Vappy or something else instead. In GBU I use Lum Berry and Safeguard to ensure I can get a team protect off if leading against a Smeargle or Spore abusers for instance, and again I may switch to it in normal matches too, as repeated sleep would still bring me down, and any turn I'm not spamming surf means less recovery for someone. Riptide Gastrodon M @ Leftovers Ability: Storm Drain Nature: Calm (+SpD / -Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 192 Def / 64 SpA Surf Hidden Power Grass Substitute (Ice Beam) Recover Gastrodon was originally selected for his electric immunity, but since then he’s become one of my deadliest sweepers of sorts. If I can get another Surfspammer in beside him, his SpAtk is at +1 before he even moves, meaning he is almost as powerful as Vaporeon initially and proceeds to grow more and more so every turn. EVs are more in Defence to help take Rock Slides and similar from Terrakion whilst Surfing it to death. Surf and HP Grass lets me take out many threats with relative ease, whilst Recover keeps me alive if need be. Substitute replaces Clear Smog (which was never used) to help him dodge Toxics which he dislikes, as well as avoid anything which may be looking to Worry Seed him whilst grabbing his first SpAtk boosts. The extra coverage Earth Power would give isn’t really needed anyway. In GBU where I have Safegurad to assist him dodging Toxics, I can however switch to Ice Beam to assist taking down Dragons and Grasses, but outside of it it is good insurance to have. Threat Plans Wide Guard – Feint from Toxicroak usually stops it in its tracks, if not then Hydro Pump from Vappy can be used along with my coverage moves. Justified/Anger Point abuse – Haze can remove boosts once they occur, Fake Out can prevent either the boost or preferably the attack from the abuser the first turn, and once a Screen is up either Gastrodon or Toed should be able to take them out with a boosted Surf. Opposing Water immune pokes – Between Thunder and two HP Grasses the water type immunes are dealt with, and Ice Beam hits the Grass-types who have the abilities. Trick Room – Fake Out /Encore can delay the setup or maybe remove the effect immediately. My screens, healing and bulk investment generally trumps them as they use moves to setup. Tailwind – The frailty of their sweepers generally falls to my bulk and repeated surfing. Sandstorm – Ttar takes huge damage from Drain Punch and is undersped by Toed. Hippowdon gets utterly maimed by surfs. Hail – Half my team resists Ice, letting me resist Blizzard if outsped and try to get Rain back up. Freezes may prove problematic, however. Sun – Utterly undersped by Toed, letting me get the advantage and Surf the Sun team into the ground.