Hello Smogon! It's been about a year since I last played, and I am extremely rusty and somewhat oblivious to the changes that have happened since then (the exception being the banning of Excadrill). Anyways, last summer I was always somewhere between 1250-1300 points, the top 1000 of the ladder on Pokemon Online. However, now I struggle to remain just below 1200, and my place is around 1500. Although my prediction and battling skills are not what they used to be, I don't think my team is horrible. But it could definitely use some work, which is why I am here! Without furder ado, here is my team: Virizion @ Lum Berry Trait: Justified EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly Nature (+Spe,-SpA) -Swords Dance -Leaf Blade -Close Combat -Stone Edge After a Swords Dance, Virizion becomes positively menacing. The Lum Berry lets me set up on the turn that I would be crippled by status. Leaf Blade and Close Combat get nice STAB, and Stone Edge is the surprise move to take down counters such as Moltres and Volcarona. Even with no EV investment, Virizion's massive 129 Special Defense stat lets it shrug off most special attacks, though it' is fairly vulnerable after a Close Combat. Physically defensive Celebi and any Latios gives this set hell. However, it is perfect for taking down Politoed and Vaporeon. Unfortunately, Tornadus tends to be on the same team as these two, and can outspeed and OHKO with Hurricane. Weavile outspeeds and OHKOs with Ice Punch. I generally lead with this one, but I sometimes alter strategy based on Team Preview. Donphan @ Leftovers Trait: Sturdy EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def Nature: Impish (+Def, -SpA) -Rapid Spin -Earthquake -Ice Shard -Head Smash Good ol' Donphan. He can take a lot of abuse on the physical end, and Sturdy lets him take any hit, allowing him to hit back against a weakened opponent or use the opportunity to Rapid Spin. He can use Ice Shard as the final act of defiance before he goes down, or simply revenge kill. Earthquake is there for STAB, and Head Smash is there more as a gimmick than anything. Head Smash and Earthquake together hit most things for at least neutral damage, but the main reason I have it is to hit flying types who think they can take an Ice Shard. This Donphan can actually take down most Mamoswines pretty reliably, but he's pretty helpless against Latias, Latios,and most special attackers with a ground immunity and decent defenses. The lack of a healing move also limits his survivability. Heatran @ Air Balloon Trait: Flash Fire EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe Nature: Timid (+Spe, -Atk) -Fire Blast -Earth Power -HP Ice -Stealth Rock With the Air Balloon, Heatran suddenly has immunity to Ground moves, already adding to his immunity to Fire and Poison moves. With max speed, Heatran can set up Stealth Rock, take a hit from Gliscor, and then proceed to KO it with HP Ice. I can also switch into Landorus' Earthquake and HP Ice first. Heatran's Special Attack is nothing to laugh at, and Fire Blast can still put a dent in things that resist it. Its defenses aren't too shabby either, and it can normally survive STAB Surf (though STAB Hydro Pump will normally kill it). Heatran falls to the plethora of powerful fighting moves, and the priority ones rob it of some usefulness. Jirachi @ Leftovers Trait: Serene Grace EVs: 164 HP / 168 Atk / 176 Spe Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA) -Substitute -Thunder Wave -Fire Punch -Iron Head The standard para-flinch set. Jirachi is surprisingly sturdy, and his typing lets him shake off many attacks with ease. I know that some people look down upon this strategy, but I believe that the statistical advantage of para-flinch is high enough that it can't be considered simple "hax." A small percentage of the time you ARE going to get screwed by the only near guarantee of para-flinch, similar to the only near guarantee of Stone Edge. Fire Punch is there so that I'm not screwed against Magnezone and other steel types. Water types are the bane of this set, so I'm considering replacing Thunder Wave with Thunder (Serene Grace gives it a 60% chance of paralysis). I have dropped this Jirachi in favor of a specially defensive one, suggested by LilOuOn. Given that Tornadus-T rips apart my team, I needed a sturdier one, and thus the following set was born: Jirachi @ Leftovers Trait: Serene Grace EVs: 252 HP / 224 SpD / 32 Spe Nature: Careful (+SpD, -SpA) -Body Slam -Wish -Iron Head -Fire Punch Jellicent @ Leftovers Trait: Water Absorb EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 SpD Nature: Calm (+SpD, - Atk) -Surf -Shadow Ball -Will-O-Wisp -Recover With max Special Defense, Jellicent can take Thunderbolts pretty easily and deflect most other special attacks (even Latios' Draco Meteors are pretty ineffective). With Water Absorb, Jellicent can save Heatran and Donphan from impending doom. It's a perfect counter to Starmie, as it blocks Rapid Spin, absorbs Surf/Hydro Pump, resists Ice Beam, and can survive Thunderbolts while hitting back harder with Shadow Ball. It's awesome, because people switch in their Starmies all the time, expecting an easy KO, only to realize their horrible mistake as Shadow Ball cuts through them and Jellicent laughs with Recover (bonus points if the Starmie has a Life Orb). The only problem with max Special Defense is that almost all physical attacks coming from a mildly powerful Attack Stat will murder poor Jellicent. Will-O-Wisp cripples these attackers as they switch in, but its spotty accuracy frustrates me. Cloyster @ White Herb Trait: Skill Link EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA) -Shell Smash -Icicle Spear -Rock Blast -Razor Shell The final member of my team, Cloyster. Even with no Defense EVs, base 180 Defense is enough to survive most physical blows, so I normally switch him in on physical attackers, take the damage, Shell Smash, and then proceed to sweep, assuming that priority users and certain Pokemon are out of the picture. White Herb restores the status so that Cloyster will live to attack again if one of his attacks should miss (none of these moves have 100% accuracy). Excellent for breaking through substitutes and Dragonite's Marvel Scale. Keldeo completely walls this set, and some Pokemon like Scizor and Jirachi don't really get affected too much. After a Shell Smash, Cloyster can still be outrun by Venusaur in the sunlight, depending on the Venusaur's build. Any and all advice is appreciated. Be as critical as you want; I have thick skin.