Somewhere Over The Rainbow ============================= Introduction ============================= Hey there guys, thanks for clicking! As Cresselia left the tier and new things started to pop up everywhere, from Primeape to Hitmonlee, I knew I had to come up with something new for this round, something that most players weren’t ready to face; and it was as I tested some new combinations on the ladder that I ran into a Raikou. That was a Pokémon I always wanted to use, but had never gotten around doing so, and that reminded me of a very neglected yet powerful force on the UU tier: the LO CM set; that was able to get past most of its so said counters. Raikou had all the bulk, the power and the speed I could ever want from a poké, so why not base a team around that? Basically this team’s focus is shutting down Raikou’s main counters making use of Dugtrio and Venusaur’s Sleep Powder, and then proceed to setup and sweep (and yes, it looks a lot like franky’s team; but no, we didn’t make it together or steal from each other). Accomplishments-wise, this team has allowed me to comfortably reach the upper requirements, getting me a CRE of 1728 under the name of Mario Strikers. Anyways, without further ado, here’s the team (in case you’re wondering, the title is related to one of the missions you have to perform to get a star in Mario 64, in one of the most challenging yet one my favorite stages of the game; the Rainbow Ride): ============================= The Closer Look ============================= Moltres @ Life Orb *** Baby Mario Ability: Pressure Nature: Timid (+Spe/-Atk) EVs: 252 SpA / 4 Def / 252 Spe - Fire Blast - Air Slash - Hidden Power Grass - Roost Why Moltres? Wynaut?? Really, the reason I could only make one team this stage is because whenever I’d start thinking of what the premise should be I’d say “Ok, add Moltres and think of other stuff later”; and would end up with nearly the same team everytime. Moltres is possibly one of, if not the best lead and poke in the current metagame. First, it stops those annoying Whorelasses (Omastar and Cloyster too) from setting up infinite layers of spikes with no retaliation, which means I don’t have to worry so much if my opponent is packing a strong spin blocking core. Second, it’s able to either defeat or severely cripple the most common leads, and that means I’m never in disadvantage from the get go. Finally, he acts as my early game Chansey bait, who sees on Moltres a perfect fodder to either setup SR or start spreading status, only to be met by Dugtrio and an OHKO, making it easier for Raikou to sweep. Moltres’ usefulness on my team is not limited to leading though. Because of its respectable bulk he can constantly switch into Fighting-types like Hitmonlee and Primeape, whose usages seem to have spiked as Cresselia left the metagame; absorb Will-O-Wisp from things like Weezing and the always annoying Rest Talk Rotom; counter the Venusaur surge, which seems to be back and stronger than ever and make an awesome late game cleaner when special walls like Lanturn and Chansey have already been removed by Dugtrio. Changes I’ve been considering: Sometimes I think of changing Moltres’ nature to Modest so that I can say a 72-sized Microsoft Word letter “Fuck You” to Milotic, but I’m really nippy about not being able to outspeed base 80 and 85 pokés (namely Toxicroack and Blaziken). Besides the nature change, I’ve also thought of changing Moltres to a Scarf set because of my gross Torterra weakness, but I’m afraid his overall usefulness will be way too compromised. Name Reference: The only connection between Moltres and Mario is that both of them are popular, overused and red lol… I also named him after Mario’s baby counterpart due to the fact baby characters are much cooler than their adult alternative forms, and definitely cooler than any Funky Kong and their damn Flame Runners that plague the Wi-Fi channel (yes, all in all, this was a huge stretch, like great part of the other nicknames). Venusaur @ Life Orb *** Yoshi Ability: Overgrow Nature: Jolly (+Spe/-SpAtk) EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe - Sleep Powder - Swords Dance - Power Whip - Return Why Venusaur? When I was building this team I knew an answer to bulky waters like Milotic, Azumarill and Blastoise was necessary, and because Raikou simply cannot afford switching into them with no form of recovery whatsoever; that meant I had to go with a bulky grass type to handle these threats. It wasn’t much of a brainer to figure this spot out. Because of his bulk, automatic absorption of Toxic Spikes and access to a physical set; Venusaur is the guy who takes this job. However, because of the amazing amount of bulk this thing got, even with no defensive investment and holding a Life Orb, Venusaur can do many other things outside of acting as my main bulky water counter, having in Sleep Powder a great answer to anything I cannot immediately handle but that I can take a hit from, like Torterra among others; putting a temporary halt to cursers, setting up alongside and sleeping them when I see fit (being that one of the main reasons why I went with the SD set over its special counterpart); while also messing up stall teams to an outstanding deegre (second reason) and acting as a solid check for the always annoying SubSeeders, especially Sceptiles that decide to run HP Rock (third reason). All those things together mean something: this guy is never a dead weight on my team, and always a true nightmare for anyone who gets to face it. Because of several recommendations I have replaced Earthquake with Return to deal wtih Flying-types better, and even though I didn't get the chance to test it extensively, I have the feeling Earthquake is not really needed with Dugtrio around to cover Steel-types. Changes I’ve been considering: As of lately the number of Altarias on the ladder has been vertiginously increasing, and that added to the fact Moltres is one of the most common and annoying pokés made me consider using Return over Eathquake to actually deal some damage as they switch in; even though that would mean not getting past Registeels. I’m also considering using Leftovers because constantly switching into Milotic and Azumarill is the perfect formula for major HP depletion; but (IIRC) I wouldn't be able to OHKO bulky Rotom after a SD and Milotic without one; added to the fact I’ll miss Venusaur hitting like a really really bad bad plant when on Overgrow range. Finally, I’ve been thinking of replacing Venusaur with SD Leafeon to handle Torterra better, but that base 60 SpD is a real turn off, especially when you are switching into Milotic once every five turns. Changes that have beem made: Return has taken Earthquake's spot so that Venusaur is able to actually hit Altaria and Moltres; while being able to hit pure Grass-types that like to wall him, like Leafeon. Earthquake, on the other hand, doesn't seem that needed anymore (even though Shed Shell Registeel is still quite troublesome); and the metagame urges me to make the change. Name Reference: Do I really need to say why Venusaur is Yoshi?? They are green, they are cute and they can Walk the Dinosaur! Added to that, Venusaur supports Moltres taking Water attacks aimed at the latter just like Yoshi aids (Baby) Mario on his quest. On an unrelated note, if anyone dares to suggest I should name my Venusaur Taylor Swift, this very same person will face the divine wrath of Arceus (that’s your fault, Thund). Blastoise @ Leftovers *** Bowser Ability: Torrent Nature: Bold (+Def/-Atk) EVs: 252 HP / 224 Def / 32 Spe - Surf - Ice Beam - Rapid Spin - Foresight Why Blastoise? Because spike stacking teams are literally everywhere, I’ve been very reluctant to run a team without a spinner no matter if there are 0 or 6 pokés weak to SR, and that added to the facts Moltres has a disgusting 4x SR weakness and that none of my pokes, except for Moltres, has a recovery move reminds me that the very last thing I want is to be bothered everytime I switch pokes around. The reasons why I chose Blastoise over any other spinner are simple: I do not make teams without a bulky water, as the multitude of resistances added to the little number of weakness they present is something way too appealing for me to pass; this guy makes a great check for many underrated threats of this metagame like Absol, Arcanine, Houndoom, Rhyperior, Aggron, Blaziken, *insert huge list of underused yet powerful pokémons*; and most importantly, he can actually do a decent amount of damage to all common spin blockers, as most of them focus on physical defense to block Donphan and Hitmontop. Regarding the moveset, as it might look a bit different from standart, I tweaked it because things like Sleep Talk Altaria and Rotom were proving to be way too annoying for my team to face (and because mind owned me with a specially bulky rest Froslass); so I decided to bypass things like Yawn and Toxic and use Ice Beam and Foresight instead, which allows me to either beat or get my spin against the aforementioned pokés and to do something against Venusaur. The speed EVs were there initially so that I could outspeed max speed Rhyperior, but because neutral nature max speed Aggron was so close to that benchmark I decided to add 12 extra EVs so that I could reach 200 Speed and beat it by one point. Changes I’ve been considering: To be honest, if Blastoise had 5 moveslots to work with I’d still be undecided about its moveset. I’ve used both Roar and Toxic on the past and they proved to be very useful by then, phazing things that got way too many setups (effing Whorebreon) and crippling Milotic and Ghost types switch-ins respectively; but also made spinning a much harder task against teams that packed any ghost-type; and in the first stages of this team, without Ice Beam, I was as good as dead against any team with a bulky DD Altaria, though that isn't much of an issue by now. Name Reference: Ahh Bowser, the good old King of the Koopas. Both him and Blastoise share the same body structure: big heavy bad ass turtles with weapons all over their shells, but that still retain their personal charisma over the years, either as a hilarious villain or a starter Pokémon from the Kanto region; the unforgettable Squirtle. Registeel @ Leftovers *** Bullet Bill Ability: Clear Body Nature: Careful (+SpDef/-SpAtk) EVs: 252 HP / 104 Atk / 152 SpDef - Ice Punch - Seismic Toss - Thunder Wave - Stealth Rock Why Registeel? Registeel is, most importantly, some sort of backup on this team, giving me the always important Flying/Normal resistances, which are very important with all those Swellow and Scyther flying around (a duo of real mofos once this guy is gone); acting as my Stealth Rocks user; an extra rain insurance and a counter/check for the many specially oriented threats that have been thriving on the ladder as of lately, namely Mismagius, Alakazam (people love to use these two together…), Sceptile and Raikou, against whom you’re never safe, even having Dugtrio (fuck Shuca Berry…). However, this guy’s biggest utility on my team is another one. Because Registeel is my only check to a small amount of threats, I can afford not to run Shed Shell on it, so that I can scout for Dugtrios and severely weaken them with Ice Punch, getting them into my own Dugtrio’s Sucker Punch range and making it easier for Raikou to sweep; without having to worry about getting trapped and killed before it can say Thunderbolt (or Raikou…). The attack combination might look strange, but because things like Torterra and Altaria were proving to be way too annoying for my team to face I have replaced the usual Earthquake/Iron Head combo and added Ice Punch/Seismic Toss. With these two attacks I can hit Swellow, Dugtrio, Altaria and Torterra much harder (ironically, now Registeel can actually check Torterra); while also packing enough punch to always break Rotom's Substitutues from the standart Charge Beam Set, meaning that shouldn't be that troublesome now. Changes I’ve been considering: Because Rotom is an annoying son of a battery I’ve been thinking of replacing Iron Head and Earthquake with Shadow Claw and Seismic Toss to deal with SubCharge and choiced sets much easier, also stopping those smart SubGatr from setting up on its face and hit its common switch-ins harder. Now that I'm running Ice Punch and Seismic Toss the only poké I'm having more trouble with is Mismagius, which is perfectly manageable; so I don't think I'll switch this. Changes that have beem made: Ice Punch and Seismic Toss were given the nod over Earthquake and Iron Head. With this new attacking combination I can hit almost everything that Registeel is meant to check harder, while not being a complete setup fodder for Altaria, Torterra and, to an extent SubCharge Rotom, as it always has its Substitues broken by Ice Punch. Credits to Folgorio. Name Reference: This is more related to aesthetics than anything, as it looks like they are twin brothers separated as they were born. Added to that, they are equally annoying and persistent… but useful if you know how to exploit them. Dugtrio @ Life Orb *** Major Burrows Ability: Arena Trap Nature: Jolly (+Spe/-SpAtk) EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe - Earthquake - Beat Up - Stone Edge - Sucker Punch Why Dugtrio? Raikou is one of the most fearsome sweepers on the UU tier, but like all of them, it has some drop dead counters, and in this case they present themselves as Registeel, Chansey and well... just the two of them. That’s where Dugtrio comes in. Initially, I placed this guy here with the sole reason of defeating these two mons, an easy task to perform as long as I don’t mess up and switch into a Registeel’s Iron Head; but he has proven to be very useful on an offensive team in the most diverse situations and an all around great "Oh, Shit" button, taking out scarfed mons that could end up putting a premature ending to my sweep or team and revenging opposing LO Kou, Drapion, Blaziken, Lanturn, Specs Alakazam *insert huge list of mons*. This guy also happens to be the best answer ever to the annoying surge of scarf Venusaurs who try to sleep Moltres on the first turn, but that end up being met by a triple “Lol... Nah” sign and an early 6-5 score. Finally, Dugtrio happens to be the reason why I nicknamed my whole team as well, because Beat Up would reveal it otherwise. Changes I’ve been considering: Sometimes I feel like saying “fuck Moltres” and going back to the CB set, as I definitely prefer the extra power over the possibility of changing attacks; but that’s easier said than done; and as long as Blastoise is a shaky check to say the least, Life Orb is staying. I’ve also thought of using Soft Sand to bluff a choiced set and catch some Moltres trying to be smart in the process, but the power drop is very big and it shouldn’t be hard for my opponent to tell I’m not banded by the 30% damage difference. Name Reference: Major Burrows is one of the bosses from Super Mario Galaxy, precisely the one from Gusty Garden Galaxy; and its main way of attacking is digging its way underground and attacking the opponent when it least expects, making use of its high speed. Also, the way Major Burrows is chasing the rabbit across the planet just as you land on it reminds me of Dugtrio murdering Chansey (>:D). Raikou @ Life Orb *** Watt Ability: Pressure Nature: Timid (+Spe/-Atk) EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe - Calm Mind - Thunderbolt - Extrasensory - Hidden Power Water Why Raikou? The poké this whole team was based around. So much power… so much potential… if I were to name what are the biggest offensive threats of the current metagame, LO Raikou would definitely be at the top of the list. The way this set play is very simple, extremely predictable; yet very hard to stop once scarfed mons, Registeel and Chansey have been removed from game with Dugtrio’s support and opposing Dugtrios have been defeated by a combination of Registeel and my own mole. Get a CM up on the plethora of things Raikou either scares out or does not mind taking a hit from with his impressive bulk (Milotic’s Surf barely achieves 25% damage after a CM) and, from there, proceed to sweep the rest of the opponent’s team, while making most of its offensive checks eat dirt with the awesome coverage provided by HP Water and Extrasensory that allows him to hit Rhyperior, Donphan, Steelix and Venusaur for super effective damage; OHKOing all of them unless they have a specially defensive set to work with. As franky said: “No final words here go use Raikou and Dugtrio”, you won’t regret. Changes I’ve been considering: Because things like Torterra have been getting on my nerves and relatively free setups on Raikou, I’ve been considering using HP Ice over Water on Raikou to deal with the annoying tortoise, added to messing up teams that rely on Altaria, Leafeon and Meganium to check it; and then replace Extrasensory with something like Shadow Ball as I would have Venusaur covered already (though the damage difference really matters). Name Reference: Watt is a character from Paper Mario that on battle has the capacity of penetrating enemies' defenses and paralyzing them with its electric attacks. Added to that, Watt is also able to increase Mario’s attacking prowess, just like Calm Mind does to Raikou; and because he can do all that with a pacifier on its mouth, this should be a proof of how strong that thing is!