Taken over from TrollFreak and JRank. Shedding Some Light on the Subject - Guide to Sun in VGC Art done by RitterCat. Written by Lucifers Pride Introduction Sun Basics Pokémon to Consider Threats to Sun Types of Sun Sample Teams Conclusion Introduction In a metagame that is controlled by weather, Sun is usually an overlooked playstyle in VGC 2012. Though it had some use in VGC 2010, rain teams were still more commonly used. To make matters worse, in VGC 2012, new sweepers that benefit from weather such as Tornadus and Landorus makes sun a forgotton wonder. However, with new abilities such as Drought, Solar Power and Chlorophyll, as well as the numberous Fire-type Pokemon already released, sun is now a very viable playstyle. Sun Basics In order to use a Sun Team, either Drought Ninetales or a fast user of Sunny Day, such as Sableye or Whimsicott, is necessary to turn the weather in your favor and begin sweeping. Having a Chlorophyll sweeper, such as Shiftry or Venusaur, and a powerful Fire-type Pokemon, namely Darmanitan, Chandelure, or Charizard, to abuse the weather help make sweeping the opponent easier. The biggest threats to Sun are Sand Teams and Fire-types such as Heatran and Chandelure. Bringing a bulletproof counter to these is essential to your teams success. Sun teams are nothing like Rain, where you can just run 6 Pokemon than benefit from Rain and win a good majority of your games, Sun teams must be thought out extensively in order to be an effective team. Pokémon to Consider Drought Pokémon Ninetales Stats: 73 HP / 76 Def / 75 Atk / 81 SpA / 100 SpD / 100 Spe As the only Pokemon to receive Drought that is legal in VGC 2012, Ninetales automatically earns a spot on almost every sun team. Drought, its Dream World ability, summons eternal sun to the field upon Ninetales's entrance to the field. Because of this, VGC competitors no longer have to rely on the use of the move Sunny Day to get their team going; merely bringing Ninetales into battle will do the trick. Chlorophyll Abusers Shiftry Stats: 90 HP / 100 Atk / 60 Def / 90 SpA / 60 SpD / 80 Spe As far as Chlorophyll sweepers go, Shiftry is the premier sweeper. With Chlorophyll, Shiftry can afford to run maximum Attack to smack the opponents team as hard as it can. Fake Out immediately provides offensive pressure on the opponents, forcing them to think twice about using Protect the immediate turn or saving it for next turn. Fake Out is also useful for breaking the opponents Focus Sashes or potentially finishing off a weakened Pokemon. Shiftry's STAB moves are very impressive. Sucker Punch has a 87.5% to OHKO standard Latios and Seed Bomb 2HKOs common Pokemon such as Tyranitar, Gastrodon, and Terrakion. Keeping in mind its subpar defense stats, Shiftry can utilize a Focus Sash to stick around an extra turn. Explosion can easily be used with a Focus Sash to finish off Pokemon or send them in KO range for another Pokemon. Venusaur Stats: 80 HP / 82 Atk / 83 Def / 100 SpA / 100 SpD / 80 Spe Venusaur is one of the few Pokemon who can effectively use Sleep Powder. With Venusaur's respectable bulk, Venusaur gets a few chances to launch off a crucial Sleep Powder, effectively removing a threat on the opponents team. Offensively, Venusaur can utilize Giga Drain or even Solar Beam to hit threatening Water-types that could potentially stifle a sweep as well as Tyranitar and Terrakion. Venusaur makes a great candidate to use Hidden Power Ice to help alleviate any trouble Garchomp may pose. Jumpluff Stats: 75 HP / 55 Atk / 70 Def / 55 SpA / 85 SpD / 110 Spe In the Sun, Jumpluff outspeeds everything in the Metagame. Jumpluff's main role is support. Sleep Powder is Jumpluff's bread and butter, letting it leave an opposing Pokemon vulnerable for up to three turns. Encore is another great support move Jumpluff uses, potentially shutting down a Fake Out user and making the opponent think twice before using Protect. Helping Hand and Rage Powder are also terrific support moves which can easily turn the tide to your favor. Sadly, Jumpluff can't do much offensively but it can try and use Giga Drain to try and deal some damage. Fire-types Arcanine Stats: 90 HP / 110 Atk / 80 Def / 100 SpA / 80 SpD / 95 Spe Arcanine as always been a staple in competitive Pokemon, and with Intimidate and great coverage moves, Arcanine can easily threaten teams. Flare Blitz is a godsend for Arcanine, who can now finally abuse its high Attack stat. Close Combat and Wild Charge help Arcanine hit the Pokemon that resist Flare Blitz, namely Rock-types and Water-types. Extremespeed gives Arcanine a much needed Priority move to finish off Pokemon while Crunch deals respectable damage to Psychic-types such as Cresselia. Chandelure Stats: 60 HP / 55 Atk / 90 Def / 145 SpA / 90 SpD / 80 Spe With it's monstrous base 145 Special Attack, Chandelure poses an immediate threat the the opposing team with its STAB moves. Chandelure has great synergy with a Chlorophyll sweeper, potentially netting it a Flash Fire boost, making Chandlure's Sun-boosted Heat Waves even more menacing. Chandelure makes an excellent Trick Room counter as it can reverse Trick Room and hits Trick Room setters hard with Shadow Ball. Chandelure can also use Hidden Power Ice to help hit threatening Ground-types. A Choice Scarf helps Chandelure sweep the opposing team, but is not necessary. Charizard Stats: 78 HP / 84 Atk / 78 Def / 109 SpA / 85 SpD / 100 Spe With Solar Power, our childhood favorite Pokemon finally has something to boast offensively. Solar Power boosts Charizard's already repsectable base 109 Special Attack to new levels, and when you add on Sun-boosted STAB Fire Blasts, Charizard becomes one threatening sweeper. Charizard makes a good Choice Scarf user, allowing it to outspeed faster threats, Latios, Thundurus, Terrakion, and smashing them with an appropriate move. For coverage, Charizard can effectively use Solarbeam, Hidden Power Ice or Ground, and even Dragon Pulse to check specific threats. Darmanitan Stats: 105 HP / 140 Atk / 55 Def / 30 SpA / 55 SpD / 95 Spe To say that Darmanitan hits hard is an understatement. Darmanitan is one of the few Pokemon than can OHKO Cresselia, due to its STAB Flare Blitz that is boosted in Sun. Darmanitan also receives superb coverage moves such as Earthquake, Rock Slide, and Superpower. Darmanitan has some problems with its subpar defenses and less than desireable speed, but all can be amended by utilizing a Choice Scarf to get surprise OHKOs before they can react. Heatran Stats: 91 HP / 90 Atk / 106 Def / 130 SpA / 106 SpD / 77 Spe Heatran makes for an anti-metagame Pokemon, resisting the omnipresent Draco Meteor and several other moves commonly used. Heatran can also get a boost from any Fire-type moves aimed at Chlorophyll sweepers, adding to its sweeping potential. Earth Power allows Heatran act as a counter to opposing Sun teams and help check Chandelure and Heatran, two major threats to sun. Hidden Power Ice makes an excellent coverage move on Heatran, giving it a way to hit Flying-types and Dragons. Heatran has to be wary of Close Combats and Earthquakes from common Pokemon. Infernape Stats: 76 HP /104 Atk / 71 Def / 71 SpA / 71 SpD / 108 Spe Infernape immediately provides offensive pressure on the opposing team with Fake Out, and if they Protect to avoid the Fake Out, Infernape can use Encore, effectively making the Pokemon useless as they spam Protect or switch out. With Close Combat, Infernape can check Rock-types, which resist Fire-type moves, and act as a consistent check to Heatran, making Infernape a very valuable Sun sweeper and team player. Volcarona Stats: 85 HP / 60 Atk / 65 Def / 135 SpA / 105 SpD / 100 Spe Volcarona is another great candidate for a Fire-type sweeper. Heat Wave deals incredible damage to Pokemon, potentially KOing Pokemon who are hit neutrally. Bug Buzz is excellent for hitting Tyranitar, Latios, Cresselia, and others for Super Effective damage. Volcarona can also use Rage Powder, giving Volcarona a supporting role. Hidden Power Ice and Ground can also be utilized by Volcarona. Hitmontop makes an excellent supporter for Sun teams, meaning the famous TopMoth combination very viable on a Sun team. Support Pokemon Cresselia Stats: 120 HP / 70 Atk / 120 Def / 75 SpA / 130 SpD / 85 Spe Boasting an almost endless list of support moves, Cresselia makes a fantastic partner for many Sun sweepers. Helping Hand allows certain moves to finish off crucial threats and also amends for the loss of power due on spread moves such as Heat Wave. Cresselia can also mess with opposing weather teams by using Icy Wind or Thunder Wave to stop their sweepers in their tracks before they can do anything. With Dual Screens, Cresselia can make up for some of the defensive issues Sun sweepers run into. With Ice Beam and Psychic, Cresselia is now able to stop some threatening Pokemon such as Garchomp, Latios, and Ludicolo to name a few. Trick Room can be used to reverse the opponents Trick Room or potentially start it. Hitmontop Stats: 50 HP / 95 Atk / 95 Def / 35 SpA / 110 SpD / 70 Spe Fighting-types pair well for Sun teams, allowing you to check potential threats before they stop your sweep. Hitmontop is a perfect example. Fake Out applies offensive pressure on the opponent turn one, forcing them to make a tough decision. Wide Guard is crucial for Sun teams, protecting you from the common Rock Slide, Heat Wave, Blizzard, Surf, Earthquake, and other spread moves. Tyranitar, Heatran, and Terrakion fear taking a Fight Gem boosted Close Combat while Latios and Chandelure have to play around a threatening Sucker Punch. Hitmontop can also use Helping Hand to help score a KO and can even use Feint to bypass Protects. Sableye Stats: 50 HP / 75 Atk / 75 Def / 65 SpA / 65 SpD / 50 Spe Due to Prankster, Sableye becomes one of the few viable setters for manual Sun. Prankster also allows for Sableye to use several supporting move to great success, each having its own separate niche. The most famous ones are Tricking an Iron Ball onto a fast sweeper, such as Thundurus or Latios, and using Will-o-Wisp on a strong physical attacker, typically Hitmontop, Metagross, or Tyranitar. Sableye can also use Captivate to stop special attackers. Fake Out is commonly used on Sableye due to shutting down a Pokemon on the first turn Sableye is out. Taunt is also used for stopping Trick Room setters from having their way or potentially stopping a Thunder Wave from a Cresselia. Sableye is a very versatile Pokemon with many options that should be decided based on the team. Whimsicott Stats: 60 HP / 67 Atk / 85 Def / 77 SpA / 75 SpD / 116 Spe Whimsicott is another excellent Pokemon to setup manual Sun if necessary. Whimsicott has different roles than Sableye, mainly in Encore and Helping Hand. Encore is Whimsicott's main niche, effectively locking a Pokemon into Protect or a resisted move. Helping Hand is crucial to some Pokemons success. Heat Wave users greatly benefit from the added boost to their spread moves. Whimsicott can also use Fake Tears instead of Helping Hand to lower their Special Defense before firing off a Sun boosted Heat Wave. Taunt is another excellent move Whimsicott loves to abuse, shutting down Cresselia and support Pokemon. Threats to Sun Garchomp is a major threat to Sun teams, resisting Fire-type moves, takes neutral damage from Grass-type moves, and smacking them back with STAB Dragon Claw or Earthquake. The stray Hidden Power Ice is shrugged off due to Yache Berry. Bringing a unique counter to Garchomp is crucial to Sun. Because of the lack of Ground-type moves on Sun teams, Chandelure and Heatran are major threats. Both benefit greatly from Sun and hit a majority of the Sun sweepers for Super Effective damage. This problem can be somewhat amended by using Hidden Power Ground on a Pokemon or even Earthquake. Occasionally, using a counter to Chandelure and Heatran that doesn't benefit from sun can be better in the long run. Sand teams in general give Sun trouble. Most of the Sand abusers are Ground-type, and STAB Ground-type moves destroy some Sun abusers. Common Sand Pokemon resist or are neutral to Fire- and Grass-type moves, making dealing with them an even bigger problem. Sand teams are unique in that they are not 100% reliant on the weather, so switching the weather isn't as game changing as it normally is. Rain teams are also very threatening checks to Sun. Hurricane sweepers destroy all Grass-type sweepers while Swift Swimmers can utilize a STAB Water-type move and Ice Beam to threaten Sun sweepers. Even those Pokemon who aren't dependent on Rain still give Sun teams some trouble such as Thundurus, Zapdos, Scizor, and Metagross to name a few. Types of Sun Most Sun Teams rely on one Chlorophyll sweeper and a strong Fire-type sweeper to punish the opponents team, and with Chlorophyll being the most populated Sun beneficial ability, it's easy to see why this is the case. However, most Fire-type sweepers benefit greatly from Trick Room. Heatran can now use Eruption, sweepers are much bulkier, and overall less dependent on Sun. Chlorophyll Pokemon can now run their other abilities, potentially giving them a different niche. Manually setting up Sun is another example. Manually setting up Sun has several pros and cons, many of which revolve around not having to use Ninetales and the team support you gain from using Sableye or Whimsicott. Sample Teams This team JRank and I teambuild before Autumn Regionals. It was a fairly simple team that we both thoroughly enjoyed using. I do not think it is fit to be used in the current VGC metagame, but it can be used as a guideline for people looking to build a Sun team. Raikou @ Air Balloon Trait: Pressure EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd Rash Nature (+SAtk, -SDef) - Aura Sphere - Thunderbolt - Hidden Power [Ice] - Protect Raikou is a beast, period. Even with a Rash nature, it still outspeeds so many major threats and deals deviating damage very quickly. Overall, Raikou served as sort of an anti-weather Pokemon. Aura Sphere is used mostly for TTar and Rock-types, while HP Ice helps deal with Garchomp and Dragons. Thunderbolt helps deal with Rain teams, namely Ludicolo and Politoed. Shiftry @ Focus Sash Trait: Chlorophyll EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Fake Out - Sucker Punch - Seed Bomb - Explosion Shiftry makes an excellent sweeper, easily dispatching of common threats and when it gets down to its Sash, uses Explosion to finish off weakened threats or put new switch-ins in KO range from another attack. Hitmontop @ Dark Gem Trait: Intimidate EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Close Combat - Fake Out - Sucker Punch - Wide Guard Hitmontop is very crucial to this team. Dark Gem Sucker Punch has about a 75% chance to KO Latios. Wide Guard helps this team against common spread moves such as Surf, Earthquake, and Rock Slide, that would otherwise threaten this team. It's just great overall way better than Detect for this team. Weavile @ Ice Gem Trait: Pressure EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk) - Fake Out - Ice Punch - Night Slash - Low Kick Ice-type moves hit too many Pokemon for Super Effective damage, and the few Pokemon than resist are slammed by Fire-type moves. Adding Weavile just made sense. Ice Gem may seem odd, Ice Gem netted some crucial KOs on a few Yache Pokemon. The type-coverage Weavile gets makes it very important for dealing with common Pokemon such as Tyranitar, Garchomp, and Cresselia. Ninetales @ Shuca Berry Trait: Drought EVs: 252 HP / 252 SAtk / 4 Spd Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk) - Heat Wave - Energy Ball - Hidden Power [Ground] - Protect Ninetales earns a spot on this team strictly because it can set-up Sun. Ninetales may not be the strongest attacker, but it can survive a few attacks and retaliate with the appropriate coverage move. Energy Ball was used over SolarBeam as to have a way to deal with Politoed switch-ins. Hidden Power Ground acted as a way to deal with Heatran and Chandelure. Darmanitan @ Choice Scarf Trait: Sheer Force EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Flare Blitz - Rock Slide - Superpower - Fire Punch Darmanitan is the focal point of this team. Choice Scarf lets it overcome 99% of its speed issues while retaining 100% of its offensive power. When he comes out, at least 2 Pokemon are going down with him due to being an unexpected threat and powerhouse. Conclusion Sun teams are maybe the most complex and difficult of weather teams to build. Don't be discouraged if your first few teams don't end up being as successful as you would like. Make some tweaks, try new things, go out of your comfort zone. Sun teams can have lots of variety and sometimes unorthodox uses of Pokemon can make or break a team. Keep in mind that running Ninetales and 5 potential sweepers will not make a successful team, originality goes a long way, especially with Sun.