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How to Build

Discussion in 'BW Ubers' started by gookie, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. gookie

    gookie Adominnustrata
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    Based on what I have seen in the RMT forum of Ubers' teams this thread is long overdue. To take a recent example, the perpetrator of which shall remain nameless, "throw a bunch of powerful stuff together", is not a good way to build a team. And, in fact, is the most common way I see teams being built; Rayquaza, Mewtwo, Kyurem-W are all Pokemon I see in abundance, yet the teams that have them lack cohesion and complementary offensive and defensive synergy. Most of these Ubers teams will win a few matches simply by the courtesy of having strong moves, as is characteristic of Ubers Pokemon, but when building a team your foremost aim should be to win consistently. That is to say, win as much as you can.

    In this thread I hope to cover what I see as the most important aspects to teambuilding, including several core concepts that one should always think about when constructing a team.

    Utility

    If you know me I always use this word when I talk about teambuilding. All it means is usefulness. Now, this may not seem to mean very much, but one would be astounded at how many people neglect this quality when selecting Pokemon for their team. To better understand this concept one should understand the every viable Pokemon has a 'role', and many have several. Here are some examples:


    Grass Arceus
    -Kyogre check and general Water-type resist
    -Offensive Groudon check and general Ground-type resist
    -Zekrom check and general Electric-type resist
    -Only true Palkia counter in Rain
    -Kabutops check
    -Manaphy check
    -Groudon check (rain)
    -Rayquaza check (shaky)
    -Kingdra check

    Possible other uses, by the virtue of being an Arceus forme

    -Phazer
    -Status spreader
    -CM sweeper
    -Lure (lol Stone Edge)
    -Stealth Rock

    as one can see Arceus Grass, despite having high opportunity cost (not being able to use another Arceus forme) has immense utility by the virtue of what it can check. Being able to check Kyogre in addition all the other shit it does makes it a viable addition for almost any balanced or defensive team. In fact, its utility shines all the more when looking to make a balanced team with several defensive 'mons, due to its ability to compress the checks for such a vast amount of Pokemon into a single slot.


    Excadrill (Bulky)

    -Rapid Spin
    -Stealth Rock
    -Electric Immunity (i.e. Zekrom check)
    -Stallbreaker (situational)
    -Latias check (situational)
    -Dialga check (rain)

    Although this list may seem paltry in comparison to Grass Arceus's, Excadrill again offers great utility simply because it combines 4 very important roles that no other Pokemon can even hope to do.

    Rapid Spin is a move with VERY low distribution, and considering that this is Ubers the amount of viable spinners is only 4 (Excadrill / Tentacruel / Forretress / Kabutops) one of which is highly situational and Toxic Spikes weak to boot. Having access to it, in addition to being able to set up Stealth Rock and not having to dedicate another slot for it is fantastic.

    Of course, Forretress can technically do this too, but what Forretress can't do is beat Defensive Dialga in the rain and check Zekrom wonderfully (all except mixed sets).


    SDef Kyogre

    Although seemingly lesser used than its Physically bulky set, SDef Kyogre has several noticeable traits to distinguish itself, despite not being able to check Ho-Oh anymore.

    -Darkrai check (as a bonus it turds all over Thunder Wave Darkrai that I seem to be seeing around)
    -Kyurem-W check, only Choice Specs can hope to break through this monster, and only Modest ones at that.
    -CM Arceus check, this is huge, being able to check almost every single variant of CM Arceus without SE STAB is a huge asset to many teams.
    -Drizzle, this goes without saying but obviously the utility provided by rain is huge, that is if you build your team to abuse it of course.
    -Burning shit, small, but still nice when it happens. Especially on Ferrothorn.
    -Choice Scarf Palkia check - it takes less than 50% from a Thunder, and severely punishes any mispredicts as Spacial Rend does not 3HKO without a crit and everything else except Hasty Outrage does pittance.

    The three greatest thing this set does is check most CM Arceus, practically counter Darkrai (unless you're really unlucky), and be one of the few practical checks to Choice Specs Kyurem-W (it's better than Steelceus), technically SDef Ho-Oh is better, but it's Stealth Rock weak.


    Scarf Genesect

    -Lati@s check
    -Mewtwo check
    -Darkrai check
    -Rayquaza check

    Genesect does more than just this, but these are its most important traits. As a Choice Scarf user its utility is almost unparalleled because checking these four Pokemon is insaaaaaaaaaanely useful.


    CM Ghost Arceus

    -Sweeper
    -Spinblocker
    -Mixed tank

    Another Pokemon with great utility, filling three very important roles on any team. Spinblocking is an amazing asset, and be able to pose an offensive presence, in addition to having the bulk to take on most dragons is incredible.


    Skarmory

    -Physical wall (primarily best Extreme Killer check)
    -Spikes
    -Phazer
    -Taunt

    Skarmory has a lot of utility! It should be in tier 1 on the threatlist. With Extreme Killer being such a hard Pokemon to handle, having something that can also set up Spikes, have reliable recovery, phaze AND Taunt Pokemon that have the potential to be very destructive (Ferrothorn / Forretress) make it a wonderful addition to many teams, provided it is supported right.

    Utility is the reason why Pokemon that seem to be better checks, e.g. Gastrodon, are not chosen, as they have limited use outside of that, perhaps even being a burden in the absence of the threat they were meant to cover.


    Overlap

    And with utility covered now comes the concept of overlap. Many teams fail to realise that many of their Pokemon are redundant with other Pokemon on their team. One must avoid the potential confusion that could arise with a doubling-up offensive strategy, as this is entirely viable. Rather, overlap most commonly occurs when taking into account defensive roles of Pokemon. For example, Lugia + Skarmory - while Lugia has much greater mixed walling potential than Skarmory, and Skarmory has Taunt + Spikes, they are both similarly hindered by an Electric-type weakness, and are thusly Zekrom weak (Zekrom is important because it is a physical attacker that can get past these two physical walls). When building defensive teams, i.e. any sort of team with a defensive core, avoiding overlap is extremely important; covering as many Pokemon as possible is directly compromised by the presence of any sort of redundancy at all.


    Playstyles

    While teambuilding goals might seem to differ between playstyles, at the core of it they are the same. The most basic level of which is, of course, the goal to win. All teams are built with the intention to win. The approach is different, the objective is the same.

    This is how I see things

    Offensive - seeks to build and maintain pressure as soon as possible, dictating the flow of a match and eliminating Pokemon that can impede a sweep for any of its team mates. This is where the aforementioned doubling-up strategy applies, by pressuring the same Pokemon with 2 or more of your own one can break through an entire team when their usually one check falls (carrying two hard checks to a Pokemon inevitably results in being massively weak to something else). An example of this is the fairly well known Lum Berry Double Dance Groudon + a variant of Extreme Killer Normal Arceus. The former can break through physically defensive Giratina-A, as +2 Earthquake 2HKOes, leaving Extreme Killer to clean up later, even after Groudon has fallen. With alterations to movesets this combination can lure and eliminate non-Timid Lugia, Skarmory, Landorus-T, etc. The point is that their checks are fairly similar, and as such when the opponent's check eventually falls your remaining sweeper can clean up without hindrance.

    Balance - the most diverse of all playstyles, and one where overlap must be avoided at all cost. Applies a modicum to a moderate amount of offensive pressure (Balance is a fairly nebulous definition to describe many team archetypes) backed up with a defensive core. Redundancy is avoided at all costs because defensive cores need to be compact and efficient. One may expect to see cores such as - Wall Normal Arceus + SDef Giratina, which has the rare quality of complementing each other not only in checking synergy, i.e. checking different things, but also type-synergy (although largely connected the degree of synergy between these two Pokemon is much greater than normal). To further explain, while Wall Normal Arceus is a very potent physical wall, it, like all other walls, can be exploited by the one spectrum it is meant to deal with, namely Fighting-types. Giratina, while not having a specially defensive spread can check the two most common physical Fighting-types in the tier, Blaziken and Terrakion, which Normal Arceus obviously struggles with. Fortuitously, Normal Arceus possesses the mixed bulk to take on some of the Dragons that specially defensive Giratina cannot, such as defensive Dialga and most Rayquaza.

    Stall - attempts to deal with as many threats as possible, while having a win condition of its own; this is usually through hazards, phazing, and simply stalling out, but might involve more complex strategies such as the use of stallbreakers + a defensive core. Being compact is less of an issue here, but redundancy should still be avoided, with a slight exception in the case of using two softer checks rather than a single hard one. Due to the other roles they might be able to fill that the single hard check could not, e.g. Perish Song Ground Arceus + Ferrothorn have a slight overlap because Ferrothorn can also check most Zekrom. However, Ground Arceus offers a hard counter to Zekrom, which Ferrothorn does not (SubHone / Mixed Zekrom sets), in additoin Ferrothorn provides Spikes, Leech Seed, etc. In other words, the extra utility provided by each of these Pokemon justifies having them both on the same team, the slight overlap is acceptable on stall, where 5 to 6 Pokemon are devoted to defensive duties.


    Compression

    This concept is mostly applicable to balance, where defensive roles must be tacked onto 4 or less Pokemon. Compression is either to use highly compact cores, and/or to slightly compromise defensive utility of certain Pokemon by pushing roles onto them that they do not usually carry out.

    Examples of the former are the aforementioned Giratina + Normal Wall Arceus core, another is Phys.Def RestTalk Roar Kyogre + Support Grass Arceus with Stealth Rock. Sticking as many roles as possible onto Pokemon, with next to no redundancy.

    Examples of the latter are using Stealth Rock on Pokemon such as Jirachi or Grass Arceus, Physical Giratina-O with Dragon Tail + WoW and considerable investment into Defense, there are more, but those are for people to discover themselves!


    Primary Roles

    I have mentioned 'roles' throughout this post extensively, and one may wonder what are the most important ones to have on your team. In addition to covering as many of the top checks as possible (as covered in this post http://www.smogon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4344613&postcount=1 one must also take into account many other things. However, please do not get into the mentality of having a building process that looks like this: I must check this, this, and this, and have this, this, and that, as this entirely eschews the concept of complementary selection and synergy.

    These are some of the most important things to have on a team,

    -Stealth Rock, every team needs it, no exceptions; Magic Bounce is not an acceptable substitute.
    -Some way of dealing with opposing hazard(s) (users), be it Magic Bounce, Rapid Spin, or being able to prevent hazards from going down through Taunt or consistent threat. E.g., Offensive SR Groudon can hardblock ever setter of Spikes (only Skarmory isn't OHKOed, Forretress too, if you count Sturdy).
    -Checks to Kyogre and Extreme Killer, these deserve a special mention as they are the two most prominent threats and have the ability to sweep an entire team if not met with significant resistance.
    -A way to deal with status, not only for Darkrai, but random Scalds, WoWs, Thunder Waves, etc. This usually means using a Sleep Talk user or Natural Cure Pokemon.
    -A way to deal with weather abusers, this usually means changing the weather to something in which you can handle opposing abusers of it, i.e. having rain + Grass Arceus to handle Kabutops, Omastar, and Kingdra. The other alternative is, of course, Rayquaza, as it naturally outspeeds all viable Chlorophyll, Swift Swim, and Sand Rush users under Air Lock.
    -Some general things like having a Ground- and Electric-type immunity/resistance.


    Cores and Focus

    The correct way to approach building a team is to select a core or a single Pokemon that is either very powerful (by whatever virtue you care to think of), -- or one can think of it in the way that it can force a win condition if unchecked -- then cover its weaknesses and support it with the remaining members of your team.

    Here is a quick example -

    I want to build around Calm Mind Ghost Arceus, a formidable mid-late game sweeper also capable of spinblocking and performing as a mixed tank.

    The immediate checks that spring to mind are,

    -Chansey / Blissey
    -Kyogre - some variants, Thunder Wave + Calm Mind, Specs
    -Ferrothorn - can't outright stop me, but having to deal with Leech Seed and a potential Thunder Wave is very irritating
    -Darkrai
    -Toxic Spikes
    -Skarmory - shaky, but with Toxic it can put your sweep on a timer
    -Ho-Oh

    I know that Ghost Arceus excels with multiple layers of hazards, as it forces many switches and best operates when the majority of the opponents team is at least slightly weakened.

    I elect to use a Forretress, as so

    Forretress
    Show Hide

    move 1: Toxic Spikes
    move 2: Pain Split
    move 3: Rapid Spin
    move 4: Volt Switch
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Sturdy
    nature: Bold
    evs: 252 HP / 36 Def / 216 SpD / 4 Spe


    the ability to set up on Chansey, Blissey, Ferrothorn, non-Taunt Skarmory very quickly and with whichever hazard is more effective against the opponent makes Forretress a solid choice. Pain Split recovers huge amount of HP from Blissey and Chansey, and also prevents Ferrothorn from killing you with Iron Barb + Leech Seed residual damage. Volt Switch + Dialga means that the Giratina formes can be baited and forced out, having taken hazard damage already, and with smart play Forretress can pull off a spin. The 4 Speed EVs are in the event of a Forretress mirror match, meaning that I can Volt Switch out first to my Ghost, eliminating the possibility of getting spun upon.

    This is the Dialga I'm talking about -

    Dialga
    Show Hide

    move 1: Stealth Rock
    move 2: Draco Meteor
    move 3: Thunder
    move 4: Fire Blast
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Modest
    evs: 252 HP / 56 SpA / 200 SpD


    Dialga is probably the most dominant hazard setter in terms of balancing defensive and offensive ability; things it cannot kill can rarely kill it, meaning Dialga can freely set up Stealth Rock if walled, achieving its goal. Stealth Rock reduces the viability of Ho-Oh as a Ghost Arceus check greatly, as it must be much more careful in what HP it maintains if it wants to switch into a +1 Ghost Arceus with 50% or less. Thunder is chosen over Roar as SDef Kyogre can phaze CM Arceus out and this team doesn't have space for Latias, meaning a better way to deal with Kyogre is needed. (Certain Arceus formes might be more assured in setting up Stealth Rock, but have a high opportunity cost in doing so, as most formes cannot feasibly fit it into their moveset, and automatically render themselves a support Arceus).

    Kyogre is the next logical choice, mitigating the threat of Darkrai if Choice Scarf or SDef is chosen, and reducing Ho-Oh's effectiveness vastly. I choose a specially defensive Kyogre, as it is also a great status absorber, compressing two important roles into one Pokemon - Darkrai check + status absorber, preventing mind games when Giratina is the only Pokemon capable of absorbing sleep.

    Kyogre
    Show Hide

    move 1: Scald
    move 2: Roar
    move 3: Rest
    move 4: Sleep Talk
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Drizzle
    nature: Calm
    evs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD 30 Speed IV


    the reduced Speed IV is to ensure that leading against Groudon summons rain rather than sun, as Groudon can actually set up Stealth Rock vs this Kyogre in sunny conditions, taking ~33% and only fearing the burn.

    Skarmory is now needed for Spikes and a great Extreme Killer check, in additon to providing a secondary phazer.

    Skarmory
    Show Hide

    move 1: Spikes
    move 2: Taunt
    move 3: Whirlwind
    move 4: Roost
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Sturdy
    nature: Impish
    evs: 252 HP / 16 Def / 236 SpD / 4 Spe


    4 Speed is to get the jump on non-Taunt Skarmory that don't bother with Speed.

    The last member is somewhat of a neccessity, Choce Scarf Genesect, needed for a reliable revenge killer, and to check Mewtwo and Latias.

    Genesect
    Show Hide

    move 1: U-Turn
    move 2: Iron Head
    move 3: Explosion
    move 4: Ice Beam
    item: Choice Scarf
    ability: Download
    nature: Hasty
    evs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe


    Physical spread for the U-Turn damage it needs to KO Mewtwo and Latias with the download boost, Ice beam for Rayquaza.

    Unfortunately this team still has several weaknesses (such as Zekrom), but should give you an idea of how to approach teambuilding.

    I hope this thread was helpful and I encourage you all to post anything I might have missed and your own opinions on how you think people should be building!
  2. Hawkstar

    Hawkstar Unplug me from this fantasy
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    Hmm, I think I read this one too. I don't remember which team that was, but I'm absolutely certain that such a terrible team like that couldn't possibly have peaked #1 on the ladder, or taken down half the TUberline Bridge. Sure, such a team might actually follow most of the guidelines here, but the fact that it was originally thrown together in 10 minutes must mean it's terrible, right?

    That said, there's some pretty good advice here and this should be stickied for all novice teambuilders to see. One thing I think you should add are some examples of Pokemon that fit well in each category of offense, defense, and balance. You offer descriptions of one or two cores for each, but outside of that, it's left to the reader to find examples. Speaking of examples, offering a team example for all three types would be a good idea as well. Speaking about cores is all fine and dandy, but by showing how they fit into an overall team would speak volumes about how effective they are. The obvious example of a stall team would be one of trickroom's excellent teams, such as this one. As for an offensive team, no one name or team springs to my mind as the posterchild for offense in the RMT forum, but I think that alexwolf's team shows a powerful example of both spikestacking offense and thinking out of the box with the inclusion of Froslass. Failing that, building and explaining a team from those 2 styles like you did for the balanced style would be just as helpful.
  3. gookie

    gookie Adominnustrata
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    Unfortunately Hawkstar, peaks are more of a reflection of the state of the ladder in this case. Moreover, and perhaps equally unfortunately, not even the mighty TUbers can stand up to repeated dice rolls. If you insist on identifying yourself I have now rated your team and you can now see how it shows how a lot of what I have said here applies, redundancy, lack of synergy, etc. leading to innumerable weaknesses.

    Froslass + Groudon is a unique form of offense that is entirely dependent on match up, it has a nice advantage against most forms of rain balance, but has trouble dealing with Tyranitar, Darkrai, and Giratina-O. Potentially very effective, but not reliable. (I should know I invented it...)

    Trickroom's team is pretty good and I will consider adding it to the OP after browsing the RMT forum some more.

    Syrim said this article focuses too heavily on rain, redundancy, and in the cores section should provide more practical thought rather than examples; I will make changes in the future, after flaying him.

    The purpose of this thread is not only to educate, but to spark some discussion and see how others approach teambuilding.
  4. Tobes

    Tobes Woo-hoo, woo-hoo, woo-hoo-hoo!
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    Another aspect of teambuilding that I feel is important, but overlooked, is having an answer to variants of a lead Darkrai or Deoxys-S, in particular the Focus Sash variants of both. Not having an immediate answer to either can put you at a severe disadvantage, since they each get to accomplish their primary goal with little to no resistance: Deoxys-S throws down Stealth Rock and Spikes, or sets up Dual Screens, while Darkrai cripples something with Dark Void (assuming it doesn't miss). Rapid Spin isn't as effective of an answer to Deoxys-S as some would think, since it is almost assured that Deoxys-S will be paired with Giratina-O or Ghost Arceus. Neither of them are easy to spin against, especially in the face of an entry hazard disadvantage. So, other options should be considered; options such as ExtremeSpeed Rayquaza or Ekiller Arceus guarantee Deoxys-S only gets down Stealth Rock, or Life Orb Ho-Oh can use Sacred Fire to take Deoxys-S down to its Sash, and hope for the 50% chance at a burn finishing off Deoxys-S. Not reliable, but good enough if you don't have much maneuvering room in your team building or are already planning on including a Rapid Spinner. Choice Scarf Shaymin-S's Air Slash and Choice Scarf Darkrai's Dark Void are also effective anti-Deoxys-S measures, but you have to be wary of your opponent catching on to the Scarf because you led with them. (Unrelated to teambuilding; if you like bluffing, this is a good one, especially with something like Life Orb Shaymin-S, imo)

    Darkrai is easier to handle. Without a Focus Sash, you can just use a Choice Scarf Kyogre Water Spout or Choice Scarf Palkia Draco Meteor, and be done with it. Or you could use Lum Berry Arceus, which is a good Pokemon in general since some teams will rely on Will-O-Wisp to check Extreme Killer Arceus (not the best idea). This brings me around to the property of Overlap Poppy already mentioned. Arceus in particular is one of those Pokemon you absolutely need more than one answer to, and offensive teams should even consider running a defensive pivot like Skarmory if they feel they're too soft against Arceus. Paralysis is also a good answer to Arceus; a paralyzed Arceus is far less of a threat to a Choice Specs Dialga. Beware of Lum Berry though.

    Also one last thing: don't solely rely on weather-dependent Pokemon to revenge kill things. Sure, a Kabutops in rain revenge kills Mewtwo just fine, but good luck handling that Rayquaza after a Dragon Dance!
  5. trickroom

    trickroom
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    The sample team you posted looks good but I think Forretress can use Stealth Rock over Volt Switch or Pain Split. This frees Dialga another moveslot for Dragon Tail or maybe another support option such as Toxic.

    To me, using both Skarmory and Forretress can be a bit overlapping. I was thinking maybe Excadrill + Ferrothorn/Forretress will work better over Skarmory + Forretress. The team currently lacks an Electric-type immune and Choice Specs Kyogre can 2HKO everyone at full health. Your own Kyogre can wall it after it takes a little damage such as from SR so that's bearable I guess. Excadrill still bashes Chansey easily and it can even use Stealth Rock if needed. Ferrothorn gives the team another Steel-type and a Kyogre check. However, dropping Skarmory means the team lost its only real physical wall and Ground-immune.

    Another suggestion is ditch Skarmory for Support Grass Arceus. Forretress can use Spikes as well and Dialga can drop Stealth Rock if you need Arceus for setting it up. With Grass Arceus, the team is now protected from Kabutops, Kingdra, Palkia and checks Zekrom.

    Those are just suggestions anyway, the team can still function well as it is now.

    On to the main thread, I agree utility is the most important thing to consider before picking something.

    Utility is why we use Lugia and not Cresselia. Cresselia has almost the same overall bulk, without the Stealth Rock weakness, and checks both Terrakion and Zekrom. However, Cresselia is just as sitting duck against most things whereas Lugia can just blow them away and abuse hazards set up by stall like a champ. Another reason why Lugia is much more useful than Cresselia in general is its ability to use Roost instead of Moonlight. Although we can use dedicated sun teams to fit in Cresselia, that is hardly reliable with the weather changing all the time. A wall that cannot phaze sucks because you cannot prevent the opponent from boosting endlessly.

    One of the more useful Scarf user is Palkia. Although it can be annoyed greatly by Ferrothorn + Kyogre cores, Scarf Palkia is the only Scarf user who can switch in on Specs Water Spout, a great utility to have on any team due to the popularity of Kyogre. Lastly Palkia can function on both weather with his Dragon-type STAB, and access to Fire Blast, Surf, Thunder and Hydro Pump. Palkia outspeeds Genesect and has only one unfortunate weakness so that is pretty big over other Ubers Scarfers such as Zekrom or Kyurem-W.

    Giratina-O is also quite an utility pokemon to me. It has levitate so it can always act like a pivot with its great bulk, and toss the opponent around with powerful Dragon Tails. Shadow Sneak is has a pretty niche for picking off weakened Mewtwo, Latias, Ghost Arceus, and the occasional Latios. This is even better with Giratina-O's typing which bless it with a wide array of resistances to switch in on and more importantly it blocks Rapid Spin. Not even Arceus can achieve all this feats with one set. While I like using Giratina a lot, I still personally love Giratina-O a bit more LOL, mainly due to its utility in Levitate, Strong Sneak, Dragon Tail and a powerful Outrage/Draco Meteor to boot.
  6. ssbbm

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    I think Forretress should definitely be on the list of utility. It provides both all the hazards AND spin, something that no other Pokemon can boast, while simultaneously being a decent defensive pivot. It can also be played both suicidally, or defensively, however fits your team.
  7. gookie

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    The list is just an example to illustrate a point, I made no effort to include any particular Pokemon.

    When I have time to update this I hope to show some more actual Ubers cores and more practical, rather than philosophical, advice (read: actual Pokemon to use and build around). Stay tuned.
  8. Dice

    Dice what's a god to a nonbeliever
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    this thread is really helpful when you're just beginning the tier, you could just make it a bit prettier and it'd be 2103283981983/10 :]
  9. ra02

    ra02

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    I'll probably use this thread considering I've never used the ubers tier before.
    Also, all tiers should have a thread like this :p

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