TEAM TWIST O FAT Intro: So in all of my time at Smogon, I still have not posted a Rate My Team. In a metagame where offensive teams are rampant and thriving, I wanted to attain a balance of both offense and defense, a team that could combat most opposing teams without resorting to either "heavy offense" or "heavy stall". This was definitely tougher than it sounds, considering I needed some typically offensive Pokemon to fill defensive niches on the team, resulting in a change of many standard movesets. The team originally was crafted for the OU tier, with Vapereon over Manaphy. However, the true success of this team came on the suspect ladder, where the account "Twist O Fat" cruised to an almost 1700 CRE and a 1905 rating (for all you number whores). In the upcoming team analysis, I will show how Manaphy as well as my other team members handled the majority of threats in the metagame, and why this team was so successful. If you look at the team at a glance, I am sure you will find very common weaknesses. These will be covered in the threat list, and I will do my best to list the ways I deal with these problems. Nonetheless, I've played around a majority of Pokemon during the Manaphy suspect test, including Manaphy itself, and the team's performance backs up my somewhat unorthodox team. As a side note, I use Manaphy in a completely different manner than the majority of suspect players, so if you want to find out, keep reading! Closer look: Roserade (M) @ Focus Sash Ability: Natural Cure EVs: 4 HP / 252 Sp.Att / 252 Speed Timid nature (+Speed, -Atk) - Toxic Spikes - Leaf Storm - Sleep Powder - HP Ground Roserade is in my opinion the best lead in the metagame. With the amount of Metagross and Heatran leads, I find Roserade the perfect lead to both cripple opposing leads with Sleep Powder, set up Toxic Spikes early game to aid my offensive mons, and hit hard with the combination of Leaf Storm and Hidden Power Ground. The EV's are quite basic; maximize speed to get the jump on some lax base 100s, and max special attack to hit as hard with Leaf Storm / Hidden Power Ground Hidden Power Ground may seem like a ridiculous option, but it lets me get the jump on those common lead Heatrans and Metagrosses, who for some reason love to stay in on Roserade. The combination of Sleep Powder and Hidden Power Ground usually removes Heatran's Shuca Berry, forcing them to switch and allowing me to get an early layer up. This lead plays in no way like a suicide lead. I do not play recklessly and simply sacrifice Roserade in order to get two layers of Toxic Spikes out. As you will soon see, Roserade is my most common way of dealing with Suicune and on the suspect ladder, Manaphy. The sash is what really saves my ass on multiple occassions, though I may get some criticism for using it in conjuction with Tyranitar. I'll get to that soon. Skarmory @ Shed Shell Ability: Keen Eye EVs: 252 HP / 200 Def / 36 SpD / 20 Spe Impish nature (+Def, -SpA) - Whirlwind - Spikes - Roost - Brave Bird Skarmory provides the second form of residual damage, in the form of Spikes and Whirlwind. On typical stall teams, Skarmory is usually used in conjuction with other physical walls to remove strain on Skarmory. Unfortunately, with the nature of this team, I rely on Skarmory a little bit too much. Countering threats like Scizor and physical Jirachi is really important for this team to function; however, I also rely on Skarmory to beat stuff like Tyranitar and sometimes Lucario. Not the smartest option I know, but I do have ways of revenge-killing. The EV spread was ripped right from Obi's infamous stall team. Max HP allows for Skarmory to take many, and the remaining EV's are primarily placed in defense to take the most physical hits possible. The 20 Speed EV's are the only change from Obi's spread, so that I get the jump on opposing Skarmory and almost always outspeed Tyranitar trying to Stone Edge for the 2HKO. Shed Shell is obvious because of stupid Magnezone. Tyranitar @ Leftovers Ability: Sand Stream EVs: 252 HP / 40 Atk / 216 SpD Sassy nature (+Sp.Def, -Speed) - Stealth Rock - Earthquake - Flamethrower - Crunch Special defensive Tyranitar without the Choice Band, and Stealth Rock over Pursuit to complete the entry hazards that this team relies on. Flamethrower is for all those incoming Scizors, and even Skarmory who apparently like to come in on Tyranitar. Although not so common on stall teams, Tyranitar is the perfect fit for this style of team, providing a strong offense with very underrated defensive capabilities. Tyranitar holds the team together, taking out special attackers such as Jolteon, Rotom, Azelf, etc. I usually don't mind Rotom's Will-O-Wisp because of Heatran, so I somewhat recklessly play Tyranitar to open holes for my last three members to wreck havok. Along with those offensive threats, Tyranitar acts as my way to defeat things like Cresselia, Zapdos, and annoying ghosts. Tyranitar also tends to be my first Blissey switch-in, allowing for an easy setup of Stealth Rock. With the very specially defensive EV Spread, Tyranitar also serves as the Latias check on the standard ladder. Essentially, Tyranitar covers the holes that heavy stall teams usually have (last Pokemon Calm Mind sweepers, for example). Oh, so I'm sure some people will state the counterproductivity of Focus Sash and Sandstorm. I usually save Tyranitar as late as possible, or make sure Roserade has enough survivability in order to ignore the 6% loss in health each turn. Usually, Roserade and Sandstorm doesn't conflict in terms of the overall team goal, so I'd rather keep it. Heatran @ Leftovers Ability: Flash Fire EVs: 4 HP / 252 Sp.Att / 252 Speed Timid Nature (+Speed, -Att) - Fire Blast - Earth Power - Substitute - Toxic Heatran takes all the fire attacks aimed at Roserade and Skarmory, and turns the Flash Fire boost into a devastating offensive onslaught. With Toxic Spikes support, Blissey cannot stand up to the combination of Substitute and Fire Blast. Earth Power is for other Heatran (which I only attack under a Substitute) and Tyranitar. Toxic is for bulky waters such as Gyarados that avoid Toxic Spikes, and even things like Zapdos that can be extremely annoying (especially SubRoost varients). Heatran is another one of those Pokemon that represents a good balance of offensive and defensive capabilities. With the potential to take unboosted special attacks (bar Ground attacks and some Fighting attacks), Heatran also acts as a somewhat secondary counter to things like Azelf and possibly Gengar (as you will see in the threat list, Gengar is the single biggest issue this team has). Because of its Steel typing, I usually end up switching this into Draco Meteors at times, and possibly Outrages depending on if Skarmory is still alive or dead. Gengar @ Leftovers Ability: Levitate EVs: 4 HP / 252 Sp.Att / 252 Speed Timid nature (+Speed, -Att) - Shadow Ball - Thunderbolt - Focus Blast - Hidden Power Fire Ahh Gengar....wait used as a spin blocker, are you insane ToF??? Well, I find that the element of surprise can be quite handy in breaking down an opponents team. Gengar is the glue of the team. Its multiple resistances allow me to easily switch it in, and I don't fear those common Pursuiters because of Focus Blast and Hidden Power Fire. I usually have entry hazards up as well so Tyranitar doesn't stand a chance at surviving. Most Scizors predict my switch-out and Pursuit, only to get nailed by a Hidden Power Fire. If I can tell that Scizor is Bullet Punching, I can go to Skarmory and Roost off the damage or Heatran and sit pretty behind a Substitute. Hidden Power Fire also has the additional benefit of beating Forretress, who is becoming more and more special defensive to in fact beat Gengar on heavy-stall teams. They won't get the chance to Payback, and meet a suprise death. Stuff like Donphan and Starmie also get hit relatively hard by Shadow Ball, so Gengar actually makes a very potent spin blocker. The rest of the moves are all for the optimal coverage. Shadow Ball to hit Infernape hard, and Thunderbolt to hit Manaphy super-effectively, as well as random bulky waters like Suicune and Vaporeon. The EV spread is as basic as many of the rest of my team members; maximize speed and special attack to hit hardest and most effectively. And finally...the unorthodox use of Manaphy! Manaphy @ Leftovers Ability: Hydration EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Sp.Def Bold nature (+Def, -Att) - Surf - Ice Beam - Hidden Power Electric - Rest So a defensive Manaphy that is an inferior Suicune huh? One again, the element of surprise is quite effective in beating the common threats of the metagame. At a quick glance, DD Gyarados runs through my current team. So, lets try HP Electric Manaphy shall we? I usually end up switching Manaphy in while Gyarados DD's. The opponent, expecting no threat from Manaphy, usually DD's again. To his/her dismay, Manaphy HP Electrics Gyarados for the KO quite easily, also leaving me at full health. As simple as it sounds, this is often the case haha. Manaphy also is my DDMence check, being able to take a +1 Life Orb Outrage with 20% or so left. Often, Gyarados comes in after DDMence takes a chunk of Manaphy's life, and tries to Dragon Dance, letting me take out two Pokemon easily. I'd actually not trade Manaphy for something like Suicune in this spot for the sheer unpredictability, though after this rate my team I might have to consider it =). Conclusion Ok, so I know that some of you raters are probably looking at this team like complete trash because of the way it handles threats haha. Realistically, I had no "counter" for Manaphy on the suspect ladder, and any form of Salamence really hurt me. Although uncommon, Gengar can completely wreck this team, and I use to rely on my own Gengar to speed tie it before I ran HP Fire (curse the drop in the speed IV =/). Nonetheless, the reason I was so successful with this team reaching 1 on the suspect ladder was because I played around many threats, relying on residual damage + Gengar usually to clean up. I rarely let stat-up Pokemon get boosts in, as they are probably the biggest problem to this relatively slow team. I'm open to all suggestions as to how to alter/better this team, as it really is my favorite team to play with, and arguably my most successful. Oh, and if there's anything to take away from this Rate My Team, it's that unorthodox sets do work provided you support them properly =) Thanks for your time, I hope I didn't mess up too much, and look forward to reading some comments. Oh, I ripped some formatting from Vashta / HECTOR's RMT, so thanks to him for an awesome template. Edit: I'll post a threat list later, probably attached to this post. Defensive Threats Blissey - Yeah, residual damage + stalling with Gengar and Heatran means that Blissey never is really a problem. Added to the fact that I have Tyranitar, Blissey isn't living long. Bronzong - Skarmory can come in on virtually everything, and Heatran is always there to KO with Fire Blast. Celebi - Heatran is the safest switch-in (barring Thunder Wave), and Skarmory is pretty decent to get a few layers out. Even Roserade can come in and get Toxic Spikes out. A non-issue really. Cresselia - Tyranitar, Gengar both hit it super-effectively from both ends of the spectrum. Heatran can stall with Substitute. Donphan - Lol...rarely see this thing, but Gengar can come in on Earthquake, and Manaphy can threaten it with Surf or Ice Beam. Dusknoir - Tyranitar can Crunch it, Gengar can Shadow Ball it. Heatran can absorb WoW's and hit it hard with Fire Blast. Forretress - No room to set-up on this team or spin at all. Pretty self-explanitory. Gliscor - Manaphy and Gengar are the only real ways to deal with this. Gyarados - Manaphy, and probably Manaphy alone. Hippowdon - Not an issue with Toxic Spikes, residual damage, and Roserade/Manaphy. Jirachi - Depends on the varient. Scarf/Physical varients are taken care of by Skarmory, allowing me to set up layers, and CMRachi is completely shut down by Tyranitar. Heatran can come in relatively easily depending on the attack as well. Rotom-A - Tyranitar + Heatran is my way of dealing with all Rotom forms. Skarmory - Yeah, another non-factor, considering how many of my Pokemon hit it super-effectively; little room for Skarmory to set up Spikes, much like Forretress. Snorlax - I guess Skarmory is the only real way of dealing with this; Curselax could be a problem, so I'd have to wear it down and then KO with Gengar. Suicune - If Roserade dies, Crocune can beat me pretty handily. Gengar doesn't do enough with Thunderbolt without a Life Orb to beat a +2 Suicune. Can be a problem. Swampert - Residual damage + Skarmory + Roserade means Swampert isn't a problem. Tentacruel - I guess this could be troublesome for Gengar as Thunderbolt would be a 3HKO without residual damage. I'll just deal with it via Tyranitar. Tyranitar - Residual damage + Skarmory I guess. Somewhat of a problem, though Cursetar isn't an issue at all with Gengar. Vaporeon - Toxic Spikes + Roserade. Gengar can hit it super-effectively, and Manaphy can always stall it. Zapdos - Tyranitar handles it handily. Offensive Threats Azelf - Tyranitar shuts Azelf down. Breloom - I guess its problematic, just let something take the sleep and rely on Gengar or Skarmory. Dunno really =/ Dragonite - The same way I deal with Salamence, rely on Skarmory and Gengar if necessary to revenge-kill. Dugtrio - Skarmory...nuff said. Electivire - Smart switching to get Gengar in means Electivire takes residual damage + sandstorm damage. Gallade - Gengar to absorb the Close Combat, and then Heatran to take the Shadow Sneak. Smart switching again wears it down. Gengar - The biggest problem to this team. Life Orb Gengar can 6-0 my team if Tyranitar takes any prior damage. Need help here =/ Gyarados - Manaphy again. Heatran - Tyranitar, Manaphy, and if necessary, my own Heatran to take fire attacks. Heracross - Prediction beats this basically. Gengar on the Close Combat, Heatran on the Megahorn, Skarmory on the Stone Edge. I guess Swords Dance is a problem lol. Infernape - Gengar to revenge-kill or come in on predicted Close Combats. Everything else through smart switching. Jolteon - Tyranitar simply. Kingdra - Yeah this thing can be a bitch. Rain Dance varients specifically, since Skarmory can phaze the DD'er. Just have to play Tyranitar smart and negate the rain. Lucario - Heh...Bullet Punch varients beat me handily...luckily, not many carry it now. Gengar is quite a decent check. Machamp - Somewhat problematic, just play around it till I get to Skarmory. Magnezone - Tyranitar basically. Mamoswine - Skarmory, even Manaphy. Metagross - Skarmory for the most part, Heatran on predicted Steel attacks. Porygon-Z - Tyranitar and Heatran, mostly Tyranitar. Salamence - DD is taken care of by Manaphy. Mixmence is as much of a problem as Lucario. I guess i just use SR to wear it down, and then kill with Gengar. That and smart switching to add up sandstorm and life orb damage. Scizor - Not a problem with Heatran, HP Fire Gengar, and Skarmory. Starmie - Tyranitar basically. Togekiss - Tyranitar and Heatran are my main ways to beat it. Tyranitar - Problematic I guess, depending on the speed they run. If its faster than Skarmory and Stone Edges, I'm in some trouble. Weavile - Skarmory. Yanmega- Tyranitar I guess, maybe Heatran if it doesn't have HP Ground. Zapdos - Tyranitar again. Thanks to LR for the threat list!