World's Strongest Fairy
This thread is similar to Umby's "Best Friends" thread in the ADV section, only particular to offense in GSC. Given the downward spiral into stall on PO's (sparsely-used) GSC ladder, and the bad memories of 600+ turn games in the last SPL season with the next one right around the corner, I feel like GSC in particular could use its own offensive discussion thread.
As of late there's an inordinate amount of Blissey usage in GSC on PO. Currently ranked #2 in ranked usage for this month, was ranked #9 last month. I recall seeing a last-Poke Blissey-v-Blissey standoff on ladder one time (god that's a laugh riot). I feel like people are slipping back into the old perception that GSC can be nothing but PP stalls all the time. While PP stalls can be a big part of GSC, mostly because people tend to run these super-stally teams (see: the most recent SPL), GSC doesn't have to be this way.
You can do offense in this generation. You should do offense in this generation unless you want to anemically wait for death against a team that actually uses attacking moves. You're not getting the OHKOs or 2HKOs you see in future generations, nor the single-boost sweeps. Things don't hinge on the outcome of a single pivotal turn here. What you instead rely on is opportunism, making the most of 30% here, 20% there, and pressing these advantages long-term to get in a position where you can start killing things. Or exploding on shit, that works too, though it's much riskier.
So, I guess the point of this thread is to:
- bring up offensive tactics and combinations in GSC
- describe the most relevant things they beat
- discuss how to use them and the support needed to make them work
- discuss limitations of strategies that can be tough to cover with team support. You can also talk about common strategies that you dislike and place emphasis on this part to show why, despite working "on paper", they're not really worth using.
I guess I'll start things off with the combination of Spikes + Thunder Zapdos. This is a great, simple combination that is really good at keeping offensive momentum with a little bit of team support.
What does this beat? Well, most prominently, pairing Zapdos with Spikes is a mean way to get the standard Special Wall, Snorlax, to whimper in fear of Zapdos' mighty Thunders. It's already pretty afraid of them, but Spikes adds that little bit of extra damage to truly push Thunder over the edge and to transform Snorlax from "reluctant to switch in" to "adamantly refusing to switch in". Ground-types can't switch in either because they get smacked by HP Ice while struggling to force the Ground-immune Zapdos to switch out. Tyranitar takes too much from Thunder to keep switching in to force Zapdos out. Rapid Spinners can't ease Snorlax's switch-ins because they're all universally afraid of Zapdos.
The result is that Zapdos stays in to terrorize entire teams and rack up big damage with Spikes + Thunder unless the opponent has something other than Snorlax to wall it. Unfortunately for Zapdos, there's a couple of those, although fortunately, there's ways around them as long as you don't play like a meathead and let them just drain your 16 Thunder PP.
- Raikou is probably the best wall, as it takes anything Zapdos can dish out while also preventing the Spiker from enhancing Zapdos' Snorlax-scaring abilities. However, it relies on Rest for healing, hates Thunder paralysis, and a predicted Raikou switch-in can be exploited by a double-switch to teammates such as Marowak or Snorlax.
- Blissey gets instant recovery but it doesn't scare anything at all, so other offensive mons like Vaporeon or your Spiker (Cloyster/Forretress) can afford to switch in and start doing work.
- Quagsire is an odd counter, but it's very effective and offers more offensive potential than the other two. Plus, it's actually immune to Thunder, meaning it can't be para-lucked. However, Cloyster and Exeggutor switch in on it all day to maintain offensive momentum.
- Aside from hardwalls, Zapdos is also temporarily thwarted by Steelix, who is exploitable in the same way that Quagsire is.
- Zapdos also struggles finding a way to deal with Exeggutor, who fears HP Ice, but takes it well enough and has access to Sleep Powder to goad Sleep Talk Zapdos into staying in on an Explosion to the face. However, Pursuit Tyranitar can make Exeggutor's life awkward while preserving offensive momentum, and if your Spiker is Forretress, that can switch in to set up on Egg unless it's the odd HP Fire variant (which you should check for before laying down the Spikes).
One thing that really limits this combo is that while it's great for smashing walls and setting up a landscape for you to start killing things, it often struggles to finish the job or allow Zapdos to defend against certain threats thanks to Thunder's 70% accuracy. Plus, Starmie can be a nuisance since it outspeeds Zapdos to prevent it from switching in at low- to moderate-health, and it also spins against Cloyster all day unless you also have Misdreavus in tow, and Misdreavus' lack of attacking prowess kind of goes against the momentum this strategy tries to build.