Minimize Prediction UU Balance team I'd first like to say that I've been battling competitively online for around 2 years now and I've only just activated a smogon account. My best metagame is certainly UU and I'm sharing this team not only because it was quite successful and I'd love to improve it, but because I believe it is a great team for beginners to use as they get involved in competitive battling or the UU metagame because it has played very easily for me due to the strong defensive core. I hope any newcomers won't hesitate to try the team out. This team was one of my first attempts into the world of balance/stall in UU and one of my all time most successful, winning 19 battles and drawing one on the suspect ladder. After laddering some more and playing some good players, however, this great record went slightly downhill (around 5 to 1 win-loss ratio). I am incredibly open to altering the team, but am having have a lot of trouble filling the spots. Hopefully some of you can help me, I know there are some great raters on the site! The Team Team Goal: The objective with this team is not to sweep, but rather to clean up after hazards have taken their toll. I would like to emphasize that offensive pokemon do have sweeping sets, but I find them more effective at creating holes in the opponents team (raikou) or surprising opposing threats (honchkrow). Sets and Explanation: Honchkrow @ Choice Scarf Trait: Moxie EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef Jolly Nature - Brave Bird - Night Slash - Superpower - Sucker Punch Honchkrow (surprise scarf factor)As I said I usually don't run balance and as such the original idea for the team was to sweep with scarfkrow with moxie. I realized however that with this team honchkrow works way better at surprising offensive threats by outspeeding them. For example: unscarfed Mienshao and Heracross will often fall to honchkrow because they will expect it to outspeed and think they can survive a sucker punch. The same goes for the opponent's pesky weavile who opts for ice punch not predicting scarf. Further, honckrow is a great pokemon for forcing switches (a trend on the team) which helps abuse hazard damage. Sucker punch may look weird, but honestly you won't use anything you put in that spot anyway and the priority can be good to defeat scarfers and really mess with opponents once you reveal you're scarfed. Honchkrow probably has the most games where he puts in little work so I am entirely open to replacing him (perhaps another uncommon scarfer with more longentivity). Raikou @ Leftovers Trait: Pressure EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 HP Timid Nature - Substitute - Calm Mind - Thunderbolt - Hidden Power [Ice] Raikou (standard.threat)As every seasoned ladder player knows, sub-cm raikou is a huge threat to many teams and that's why it's here, along with decent offesive synergy with honchkrow (damn you roar zapdos). However it's value is usually in poking enough of a hole in things to make them useless after one or two more switch ins. I rarely go for a sweep, but instead set up a sub and get a couple of hits on the switch in, making it more and more susceptible to hazards. The hazard damage on the check is often more important that killing the current pokemon. It's is also a great non-scarfed revenge killer with its killer 115 base speed. Raikou could also be replaced because it contributes to an overall problem with well-supported umbreon. Hitmontop (M) @ Leftovers Trait: Intimidate EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 Spd Impish Nature - Rapid Spin - Close Combat - Toxic - Sucker Punch Hitmontop (intimidate, toxic, spin; in that order)The following four pokemon are all part of what I have found to be an incredibly effective defensive core of my own creation (hopefully no one else has used this). Hitmontop's rolls have been presented in order of importance on this team. The dual intimidate core proves effective against the myriad of physical threats in UU. So much so that I normally find spinning to be a secondary or third-ary (tertiary?) goal. More often, I use hitmontop to come in on something like physical verizion or scarf darmanitan (they often EQ predicting qwilfish), toxic a ghost or special attacking poke on the switch, and proceed to wall it with umbreon. I also really appreciate having a poke with close combat in the current UU met to force umbreon out. Golurk @ Leftovers Trait: Iron Fist EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SDef Adamant Nature - Stealth Rock - Earthquake - Fire Punch - Shadow Punch Golurk (set up rocks/hit hard, spinblock; in that order)Golurk made its way on to the team because it fit all the roles I wanted and more. I don't see why it's not more used. If you need a spinblocker, rocks setter, heracross check, and electric immunity, look no further than golurk. While spinblocking is incredibly important on this team, I often save this job for midgame, as too many spinners predict ghosts early game. For this reason, umbreon has great synergy with golurk as it can take the obvious toxic, synchronize it (and heal bell off later), and later give golurk a free switch-in after the familiar close combat on umreon that comes after you take advantage of an "overprediction." Fire punch makes golurk a great switch in to heracross if you believe they won't night slash, as the appealing megahorn 3HKO is avoided as fire punch OHKO's after rocks. It is the only fire move on this team however and this has proven frustrating when facing ferroseed. Umbreon @ Leftovers Trait: Synchronize EVs: 252 HP / 252 SDef / 4 Def Calm Nature - Wish - Foul Play - Heal Bell - Protect Umbreon (Team-Goddamned-Player)Umbreon is just one of those all-around amazing pokemon that can be a great check/counter as well as a win condition. I end many games walling 3 or so weakened pokemon with umbreon and finishing them off with foul play. Umbreon's stellar special defense allows it to take the whole of the special attacking pressure for the team, with room to spare for wish passing and heal belling, which is the reason pokemon like golurk and qwilfish can go from good to great. Allowing golurk to get burned or take a reasonable hit while he sets up rocks is no longer debilitating and that's the true value of umbreon. It really puts the team on it's back. Umbreon does however have a lot of pressure in that both its support and special bulk are often crucial to victory. Loosing umbreon can often lead to loosing the battle. I believe this is one of the things keeping this team from being a top-ten ladder team, in that untimely crits can turn a battle. Qwilfish @ Leftovers Trait: Intimidate EVs: 56 Spd / 252 HP / 200 Def Impish Nature - Spikes - Thunder Wave - Pain Split - Waterfall Qwilfish (intimidate, lay spikes, paralyze)Qwilfish rounds out the dual intimidate core as my check to fighting types. Running two intimidators with wish and heal bell support makes it very difficult for the opponent to break my defensive core with a physical attacker. Qwilfish is also my spike layer for the team, and accomplishes this goal well due to the amount of switches it causes. Thunder wave is a somewhat rare option that I find useful in surprising raikou or other attackers that switch in to qwilfish. I'm considering replacing t-wave or pain split with toxic spikes however, as I feel they would have won me a couple of battles. Overview Strengths The strength of this team is in the defensive core of golurk, hitmontop, qwilfish, and umbreon. Together they can wall a large amount of teams by themselves as well spinblock, lay spikes, and set stealth rocks. The efficiency of this defensive core allows the team to often play like a stall team that has the ability to bring in a speedy threat. Because of the strength of the core, many standard teams fall without me having to predict, which I believe makes the team good. If the opponent brings in a heracross on my umbreon, I have a couple options. I could bring in my check in qwilfish and begin to set up spikes, or switch to golurk if I feel the opponent is frutrated enough to Close combat. Either way, both pokemon can do something effective once in (big hit or lay spikes) and neither can be KO'd by standard heracross so I feel safe in going to whichever pokemon seems more advantageous. When playing a good player, this strategy won't work as they'll just double switch, but if you can manage to get up your hazards, double switching usually ends up worse for the opponent. Issues The first and main issue with this team is that the core is heavily dependent upon umbreon for both wish support and cleric support and if umbreon goes down, the battle becomes much tougher. For this reason the team has issues with pokemon that run mixed sets or anything that can lure in and kill umbreon. The main threat is victini's special set that runs v-create as well. It forces me to predict which set it's running and that can run into problems. special victini is mostly walled by umbreon, but an unexpected v-create can do enough to render umbreon useless. The biggest threat to the team is without a doubt medicham. medicham destroys the core with it's STAB moves after just a little chip damage on golurk. Banded flygon can also be an issue and I also imagine mixed verizion would be an issue although I haven't run into it on the ladder. The second problem is that I feel my core allows for two more members and that I'm wasting these slots with raikou and honchkrow. They've done very well and won me many games, but I feel the slots could be better used. I've considered mixed victini or virizion in raikou's place, but I'm worried I would miss the speed. I've considered going full on stall, but I don't know if i'm up to playing a ton of 50 turn games. tl;dr I really like this team and I think it could be a great ladder team with a little improvement. I'm overly weak to mixed pokemon that can lure and kill umbreon, and I would like to take better advantage of the two slots that my defensive core leaves available (raikou and umbreon) Thanks for reading ! Any and all criticisms/suggestions are welcome !