[pimg]455[/pimg][pimg]251[/pimg][pimg]669[/pimg][pimg]380[/pimg][pimg]205[/pimg][pimg]385[/pimg] Introduction Spanish Armada, or Sand Balance 6 (of 17) as it's known to me from the filename, is one of my most solid BW2 teams. It's not particularly successful, as I've only achieved a modest record of 2-1 with it in SPL, and I've only hovered in the top 20 with a few alts because I don't ladder very often. However, I think it's a good example of BW2 balanced teams that can match up well against most teams and utilize a solid balance between offense and defense. These teams are probably the easiest to play with because they don't require much prediction and they allow you to make a few mistakes and still recover later on. Offense requires a lot of prediction against more defensive teams and stall is very punishing if you make a mistake — balance combines both elements and lets you play however you like to. You can be risky with your offensive Pokemon and play conservatively with your defensive Pokemon, meaning that your opponent will lose momentum at some point when he tries to outpredict you. The team was born from my wanting to build a team around Choice Band Terrakion. While it was one of the biggest threats in BW OU, it's nowhere near as common this generation. I wanted to complement it with a special attacker that fit a balanced playstyle so I chose Latias, as Life Orb Latias is a great pivot that packs plenty of power. It also gave me an ideal switch-in in case Terrakion was locked into the wrong move, allowing Thundurus-T or Landorus to set up. I added a Hippowdon because I don't like playing without some insurance to opposing weather, and Hippowdon is very useful in that it serves as a physical wall, a hazard setter, and a sandstorm inducer. Celebi came next because it acts an excellent pivot when I don't want Latias to lose health, and it can absorb status and blows from rain teams. I wanted Spikes on this team to support Terrakion and help it break through some of its standard switch-ins, and I generally like having a Rapid Spin user on my teams, so I went with Forretress. To complete the team I wanted a Choice Scarf user, and I also felt as though my team needed another Steel-type, so I went with Jirachi. The Team [pimg]455[/pimg] Hippowdon @ Leftovers *** TYRANO Ability: Sand Stream EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 16 SpD / 8 Spe Impish Nature - Earthquake - Stealth Rock - Whirlwind - Slack Off I generally don't run teams without some type of weather control, and I picked Hippowdon for a balanced team because it provides a good physical wall and a Stealth Rock user. I need Stealth Rock because a lot of the damage I do comes from my walls forcing switches, as only Terrakion, Latias, and Jirachi can do any real damage (and even then, saying Jirachi does a lot of damage is definitely an overstatement). It also controls Volcarona, a rather large threat to my team. I could have used Stealth Rock on Celebi and saved room for Rock Slide on Hippowdon, but Celebi has a rather bad case of 4 Moveslot Syndrome as it is, and it doesn't actually force as many switches as Hippowdon unless I face a rain team. My EV spread gives me a jump point in Defense with 24 spare EVs after I invest in HP and Defense. I always use 8 Speed on Hippowdon in order to beat out people that use 4 Speed on their Hippowdon, meaning that I can Whirlwind them away every time without risking a Speed-tie. I can also Earthquake Hippowdon that are low on health before they use Slack Off, which can be useful in rare cases when I'm up against opposing sand balance teams. Slack Off is necessary, and its what makes Hippowdon such a good weather inducer, as it's the only decent recovery move that any weather inducer has bar Rest, which isn't exactly reliable. Earthquake is the filler move because it gets a STAB bonus and it hits Terrakion and Jirachi, two of the main threats that Hippowdon can take on. [pimg]251[/pimg] Celebi @ Leftovers *** ELMANZANO Ability: Natural Cure EVs: 252 HP / 232 SpD / 24 Spe Calm Nature - Giga Drain - Thunder Wave - Recover - Baton Pass Celebi is definitely one of the best defensive Pokemon in the game for its favorable resistances and its stats. While it has a lot of weaknesses, the resistances to Water, Fighting, Grass, and Electric attacks makes it a great Pokemon to combat rain teams. Because Celebi does a majority of walling special threats, as Latias is mostly used for attacking late-game, it has a standard specially defensive spread with enough Speed to beat out opposing specially defensive Celebi (that aim to beat Timid Magnezone) and neutral-natured Politoed and Breloom. While outpacing Breloom, especially Poison Heal variants, may seem useless, I can actually break its Substitutes with Giga Drain, which makes it a lot less threatening. Baton Pass is the key to this set, and it helps alleviate the dual Pursuit weakness my team faces. It lets me escape from opposing Tyranitar and Scizor to get a favorable matchup, meaning that Celebi is free to wall or paralyze other threats throughout the rest of the game. I use Thunder Wave a lot when I get the chance to, but more and more people have started switching their Landorus into my Celebi which is quite frustrating, as they get a free U-turn and momentum while I gain nothing. For this reason, I only use Thunder Wave when I'm certain that it will accomplish something beneficial. It's not really meant for use against stall teams, but it can be a game-changer against sun offense if the opponent tries to bring in their Chlorophyll user. Recover and Giga Drain are pretty self-explanatory, as I needed a move that guaranteed Celebi stayed healthy in order to do its job well, and I needed an attacking move. Giga Drain has STAB and the added effect of healing a bit of HP, which is actually quite useful as it helps avoid the 2HKO from Landorus (and sometimes the 3HKO) and in turn beats Landorus down. While mono-Grass coverage is a pittance, Celebi will mainly be using Baton Pass to give me momentum, not attacking. [pimg]669[/pimg] Terrakion @ Choice Band *** HOT N COLD Ability: Justified EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe Jolly Nature - Close Combat - Stone Edge - Earthquake - Quick Attack Choice Band Terrakion isn't really a set you see in this metagame infested with Focus Sash + Stealth Rock, SubSalac, and Choice Scarf sets, but it's just as effective at breaking holes as it was in old BW. The biggest problem Terrakion faces is that there are a host of faster threats in this metagame, compounded by the presence of teams that carry two Choice Scarf wielders and a base 110 Speed Pokemon, meaning that Terrakion won't be able to attack as often as it wants. However, I can appropriately deal with those Pokemon, so after removing them or finding a favorable matchup for Terrakion to come in on, I can start spamming Close Combat. I probably have used Close Combat at least 90% of the time, and Stone Edge takes up about 9.9% of the rest of the time. I've actually faced a (single) situation where I really needed Quick Attack, but it doesn't serve much of a purpose unless I let a Pokemon boost its Speed too much. Earthquake is pure filler, though I assume that it may come in handy against a Toxicroak at some point. I've considered trying a Life Orb Terrakion with Protect over Quick Attack and Hidden Power Ice over Earthquake in this slot, but I'm not really a big fan of it. Additionally, Landorus-T that switch in might happen to carry a Choice Scarf, ruining Hidden Power Ice's purpose altogether (as Gliscor is not nearly common enough to warrant the use of it). I have appropriate answers to all of the Pokemon that Hidden Power Ice hits so I haven't actually given it a shot. The power that Choice Band grants is ridiculous, though, and with sandstorm's enhancing Terrakion's Special Defense, it can tank and dole out hits without much trouble. Terrakion is my main source of offense against bulkier teams, though it can falter against faster teams because it won't always get a chance to fire off an attack. Additionally, the presence of Dugtrio on some sun and rain teams means that I have to be extremely careful with Terrakion. All-in-all, Terrakion is pretty much a high-risk, high-reward type of Pokemon, but the rewards it brings more than outweigh the risks of using it. [pimg]380[/pimg] Latias @ Life Orb *** M DRAGON Ability: Levitate EVs: 72 HP / 184 SpA / 252 Spe Timid Nature - Draco Meteor - Psyshock - Surf - Recover Life Orb Latias is one of the most popular sets in the metagame for a reason — while it may seem more intuitive to use Latios with a Life Orb due to its higher Special Attack, Latias is both powerful and bulky if equipped with a Life Orb. While I do have to watch for sand damage, entry hazard damage, and Life Orb damage adding up, Recover can take care of Latias, especially with all the switches it forces. I already have Celebi as my main rain team sponge, but Latias can help out with rain as a backup, and it acts as an answer to most sun teams. Once I sac a Pokemon to sleep, Latias can take on entire sun teams, as it can sponge a hit from the Chlorophyll user, wait until the opposing Choice Scarf user is KOed, and then simply spam Draco Meteor or Psyshock. While my team is already a bit weak to Ferrothorn, I chose not to use Hidden Power Fire because I wanted to at least Speed-tie with other Latios, Latias, and Gengar and I wanted to be able to hit weakened Tyranitar with enough power to 2HKO it so that I don't have to worry about being trapped by Pursuit. Psyshock is basically mandatory so that I can hit Keldeo, while Draco Meteor provides more STAB. The power that Draco Meteor grants is ridiculous, but I do have to watch out due to its drawback. I try not to use it if the opponent would be able to set up after I KO one of their Pokemon. The EV spread seems a little odd, but it prevents Choice Scarf Keldeo from 2HKOing Latias in sandstorm, which is always a boon if Celebi goes down early. [pimg]205[/pimg] Forretress @ Leftovers *** FAFUS Ability: Sturdy EVs: 252 HP / 40 Atk / 216 Def Relaxed Nature - Spikes - Rapid Spin - Gyro Ball [0 Spe IVs] - Volt Switch Forretress is the first Steel-type on my team, and it's the more defensive of the two that I have. I decided to use it because I wanted Rapid Spin support, with most of my Pokemon being grounded. Ferrothorn has a relatively easy time setting up Spikes on this team so I wanted some added insurance against entry hazards to make sure I wasn't punished for my switches. Forretress was the ideal Pokemon here because it provides me with spin support, and it additionally gives me Spikes so that Terrakion can punch larger holes and sweep with more ease. I always run Volt Switch on Forretress for momentum, and I like it much better than any of the other options available (Pain Split and Toxic). The EV spread I run probably looks weird to all of you, but I stuck with it because 216 Defense EVs gives me a jump point and 40 Attack EVs guarantees a 2HKO on Latios and nearly guarantees a 2HKO on Latias after Stealth Rock and sand damage. While this doesn't come into play that often, Gyro Ball is a good move and discourages opposing Pokemon from trying to set up. The Relaxed nature and 0 Speed IVs ensure that I have the strongest Gyro Ball possible, and they also allow my Volt Switch to be as slow as possible, meaning that Forretress will usually tank a hit before using Volt Switch. With that, I can bring in the next Pokemon unharmed and gain momentum without having to risk a bad prediction. Forretress fits my team better than a defensive Starmie would because I already have two Pokemon that are weak to Pursuit, and I like being able to use Spikes. Additionally, I think having at least two Steel-types on balanced teams is necessary, as they can stand up to Dragon-types if Hippowdon or Celebi are too weak to take them on. The added insurance against these threats is worth more than a Scald burn in my opinion. [pimg]385[/pimg] Jirachi @ Choice Scarf *** THE MADCHINE Ability: Serene Grace EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly Nature - U-turn - Iron Head - Ice Punch - Trick Jirachi rounds out the team with its versatility. While it's not extremely bulky or powerful, it provides a good balance between the two. I generally don't like using Choice Scarf Jirachi because it's not the strongest Choice Scarf wielder, but it does have a few niche roles it can play. For one, Jirachi possesses its Steel typing, meaning it can sponge Outrage or Draco Meteor (but not too often; it's not that bulky!). Additionally, it can cripple stall teams with Trick, meaning that some of my opponent's walls become dead weight. U-turn access is a plus because it gives me momentum and forms a VoltTurn duo with Forretress, while Jirachi's good coverage between just two leftover moves allows it to revenge kill a host of common threats. Iron Head is an obvious STAB move that can be a real help with flinches (especially combined with paralysis from Celebi). It is generally the move I'll use if I want to revenge kill a Pokemon that's not Landorus or a Dragon-type. Ice Punch is for the threats I just mentioned, though I don't really use it until later in the game when I'll need it to be safe and ensure a KO. I'll generally lead with Jirachi and U-turn out so that I can get entry hazards up. While I do end up revealing my set, I also get momentum right off the bat, which pretty much outweights revealing my team, especially given that nearly every BW2 game is decided on who can pick up momentum the fastest. Losing some surprise value is a small price to pay, and it can work well down the road! Conclusion I'd like to give a giant thank you to my teammates and friends who raided with me this season: JabbaTheGriffin, locopoke, Birkal, [K-12] The Madchine, Atoni, Dubulous, Elmanzano, FAFUS, Faint, GaryTheGengar, Gl4ss, Hot N Cold, Human, Jackal, Jirachi, Kidogo, kokoloko, Leftiez, M Dragon, mfhoundoom, Nails, TheFourthChaser, ToF, TyranoWins, and the largest contributor to the cause — that's right, you guessed it — MINGOT. We may not have gotten where we wanted to in regards to our title hopes (or anywhere near there, for that matter...), but I had a ton of fun playing and chatting with all of you throughout the season. I'm not actually retiring this team for what it's worth, as BW2 is pretty much a stable metagame now. I'll probably try out any of the suggestions you throw at me to make it better (given that I haven't already done so with another one of my sand balance teams!). The reasoning behind my posting this is that I don't think I'll be playing any serious matches until World Cup or some other tournament I get pressured into joining, and I've spread this team around so much that there's no real point in trying to keep it a secret. Thanks for reading, if you would like you can go ahead and give the team a shot.