Hey, this is my first Pokemon game since ADV era. I've always enjoyed playing with a more defensive focus and after reading up on the changes in the last two generations it looks like its much more of a challenge now. It also appears that a Rain weather team seems the best way to go for playing defense. It's not performing as well as I'd hoped however. What I've got is: Politoed w/ Choice Specs Ability: Drizzle Nature: Modest (+SpA, -Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Sp - Hydro Pump - Ice Beam - Focus Blast - Perish Song I much prefer the defensive setup over Choice Specs, but I found it too redundant with Vaporeon around. Perish Song helps against the boosters, but always leaves me screwed if they change weather. Vaporeon w/ Leftovers Ability: Hydration Nature: Bold (+Def, -Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe - Scald - Toxic - Wish - Rest I realize it adds a lot of redundancy by having the same typing as Politoed but I've always had a soft spot for Vappy. This is a fairly standard setup to handle most of the physical threats. Even though they're tricky, I enjoy the wish mechanics and keeping the rest of the team up and fighting. I've been contemplating switching Toxic for Roar as I don't seem to get that much mileage out of Toxic Spikes with the solo Dragon Tail on Dragonite. But it seems risky if they switch in a strong Electric user. Dragonite w/ Leftovers Ability: Multiscale Nature: Calm (+SpD, -Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe - Hurricane - Thunder - Dragon Tail - Roost Looks to be the standard setup for Rain teams. Acts as very solid SpD tank with respectable offense. I find that if Dragonite goes down, I nearly always do as well. Hydreigon w/ Choice Specs Ability: Levitate Nature: Modest (+SpA, -Atk) EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP - Draco Meteor - Earth Power - Surf - U-Turn I realize this isn't the optimal choice and doesn't really add a lot to the Rain synergy. I just think he kinda looks cool ;). He adds Ice weakness with Dragonite, which I'm finding is a big problem. But Hydreigon is there to provide some much needed SpA offense, especially if Dragonite goes down. Choice Scarf looks like it might be preferable to give me a fast attacker which I sorely lack. I think this setup covers a lot of areas and can switch in quite a few of the slower Pokemon. Tentacruel w/ Black Sludge Ability: Rain Dish Nature: Bold (+Def, -Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe - Scald - Toxic Spikes - Rapid Spin - Protect Solid spiker/spinner. Solid Def (with Scald) and great SpD with good recovery with Rain Dish + Black Sludge is awesome. Problem is it adds a 3rd Electric weakness by running both Vaporeon and Politoed. And Jellicent destroys me. Scizor w/ Choice Band Ability: Technician Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA) EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe - U-Turn - Bullet Punch - Superpower - Pursuit Covers a lot of the counters to Rain core and has great type synergy with the rest of the group. Also brings a much needed physical attacker and destroys the Grass types that I have trouble with on Sun teams (he also goes down fast on sun teams but is likely a OHKO regardless of Sun with Fire attacks). He's a little slow though, which seems to be a running theme. Anyways, I've thought about trying a different spinner/spiker. Tentacruel seems to be a weak spot of the team. Other options are: Forretress w/ Leftovers Ability: Sturdy Nature: Relaxed (+Def, -Spe) EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD - Volt Switch - Gyro Ball - Toxic Spikes - Rapid Spin Advantages over Tentacruel are the great typing synergy with the other 4 members so far. Covers a grass weakness that Vaporeon and Politoed have, though might be too much with Dragonite and Hydreigon already covering those. But it gives Ice and Dragon coverage that Dragonite and Hydreigon sorely lack. Only weakness is Fire and low SpD (and Spe) which I'm not even sure Rain helps all that much. Also has a lot more physical def over Tentacruel. But it compounds my already slow Pokemon by losing out on Tentacruel's speed although Volt Switch gives it a nice out. Ferrothron w/ Leftovers Ability: Sturdy Nature: Relaxed (+Def, -Spe) EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Def - Power Whip - Thunder Wave - Spikes - Leech Seed He lacks spinning which could be a problem with trying to Stealth Rock for Dragonite and switching Hydreigon around with Draco Meteor and U-Turn. But he gives even better type advantages over Forretress. Loses the Ice for a probably more valuable combination of water and electric strengths which coupled with Power Whip and Leech Seed will help immensely against opposing Rain teams. Also gives great Def and great SpD, which I end up choosing one over the other with the other two spikers. Thunder Wave is useful to slow down speedy sweepers which is a weakness I'm seeing with the team so far. Is all that worth giving up Rapid Spin for? I'd need to remove Scizor if I ran either of these two spikers as there is just too much overlap. I'm thinking about: Toxicroak - Doesn't really add another overlapping weakness (plus Psychic weakness can be covered Hydreigon and the possible two Steel spikers). Dry Skin + Drain Punch + Substitute + Bulk Up looks like a fearsome combination. Could help against other boosters. Is rather slow however. Jirachi - Provides valuable grass, ice, dragon coverage. Also would be able to out-Calm Mind others looking to do the same? Solid speed. Raikou/Jolteon - gives som emuch needed speed to the team while cover electric weaknesses with Volt Absorb. Jellicent - Spinblocking and being able to handle other stalling teams with Taunt. Decent offense with Scald+Rain. Don't run across a lot of other stall teams, but when I do, it's a problem. Gliscor - Odd choice for rain team. Completely nullifies electric which is useful and Sandstorm teams. Brings good def and solid physical offense (which is lacking) and doesn't bring additional Grass weakness that Swampert and Seismitoad would bring (tho it does add some problematic Ice). Would be destroyed by an opposing Rain team however. Thoughts? I see some general weaknesses so far. First, the team is incredibly slow. I'm not really sure how change that without sacrificing too much bulk. Maybe Thundurus/Tornadus and their alternate incarnations over Hydreigon? I dunno, it seems a little generic. Also, it seems weak to other Rain teams (and other weather teams in general). Quite a few of the team have Elec and Ice weaknesses (not uncommon to find on other Rain teams with Jolteon or Raikou as their offense). Also another Rain Dance team with a Swift Swimmer (specifically Kingdra) is a huge issue (I think Ferrothorn would help). I think if I gear Politoed to be more offensive it helps against Sun/Sandstorm teams (remove Perish Song, but not sure what to replace with). A second method of bringing in Rain would be very adventageous to handle Sun. I'm just not sure who to throw it on. Calm Mind boosters and speedy Swords Dancers always give me fits. Maybe run Roar on Vaporeon? I haven't run across them yet, but I think Celebi and Alakazam are also capable of having a potent combination of Ice/Electric/Fire which would single handedly destroy me. I'm not sure how to solve this. Any suggestions? Maybe I'm running too much offense to truly get the value from Toxic Spikes and should try something else?