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The Dark Horse Project (NU Edition)

Discussion in 'BW NU' started by JCM., Feb 8, 2013.

  1. JCM.


    Jun 28, 2012
    credit to birkal because i'm stealing his op :D and thanks to zeb for letting me do this

    Awesome artwork by ToxicPhox


    This is the Dark Horse Project. It's back in NU after quite some time, and I'm deciding to restart this. Better than ever.

    Check out what's NEW!

    • This is going to use DTC's NU Viability Ranking Thread. Any Pokemon that are S-Ranked are prohibited from this challenge. You cannot use more than two A-Ranked Pokemon as well. This means that you cannot have these Pokemon on your team: Braviary, Regirock, Ludicolo, Musharna, Samurott, Sawk and Zangoose. This blacklist will be frozen, so any additional S Rank mons during this month would still be allowed for use.
    • The new threshold for qualifying as a Dark Horse Pokemon is 3.41% usage.
    General reminders!

    • This time, WhiteDMist will be co-leading the project alongside of me, so give him a really warm welcome when he posts on this thread. FireMage will do the Hall Of Fame section. WhiteDMist will be running the Registered Participants post up to date. We're all running the project together, so if you have any questions, ask any of us (They'll probably link you to me, but who cares?). Also, make sure to thank them sometime. Their huge efforts are what is making this thread run.

    The Mission:

    For those of you that are new, hey! What I'm presenting within this topic is an effort to reignite some competitive spark that makes this forum so great! Furthermore, I hope to increase appreciation for Dark Horse Pokemon, or rather, Pokemon that are currently unpopular but have the potential to shine in NU. The purpose of this project threefold. It should increase diversity in the NU metagame by encouraging the competitive use of great Pokemon that unfortunately fall on the lower end of usage. This project also aims to initiate discussion on how Dark Horse Pokemon fit in the context of the NU metagame. Finally, it should assist in the the sharing of unique team ideas and Pokemon sets to spark creativity into the competitive minds of players. Let's begin.


    This project, simply put, aims at recognizing users who put forth the effort to create a competitively successful team that utilizes Pokemon that aren't often used in NU. Anyone with a Smogon account has a chance of reaching the Hall of Fame within this project. Here are the rules by which this project is run:

    • Each team must use at least ONE Dark Horse Pokemon. The term "Dark Horse Pokemon" is defined by the past months stats. Anything below 3.41% usage is fair game. This means that a Pokemon can be tiered in NU and still be viable for this project!
    • Only one Pokemon on your team has to be a Dark Horse Pokemon. The rest of your teammates, with the exceptions of Pokemon ranked as S shown here, can be found within any tier that is allowed within NU. You cannot use more than 2 A-Ranked Pokemon on your team.
    • The recommended number of Dark Horse Pokemon to register with is one, so that the user can focus specifically on that Pokemon and how to best build a team around it. Having more than one Dark Horse is perfectly fine of course, but please indicate that you are working with more than one.
    • You MUST use a new Pokemon Showdown! Username in order to restart your ladder ranking. Furthermore, the Dark Horse Pokemon that you are working with must remain on your team throughout your ladder run. The members of your team may shift around whenever you see fit, but the Dark Horse Pokemon must remain the same.
    • Switching your focused Dark Horse Pokemon within this topic is acceptable. However, you must restart on the ladder with a new Pokemon Showdown! Username.
    • Please put all changes within your Registration Form. WhiteDMist will update based on those forms, not individual posts randomly scattered throughout the topic.
    • Do not start laddering for this project until you have registered within this topic.
    • Please follow the rules. The Dark Horse Project isn't about being dishonest, it's about developing great teams for great Pokemon! As a result, cheaters will most likely end up being banned from the Hall of Fame.
    • It is recommended that you post consistent ladder updates within your registration form. This will allow other users to see your progress and offer meaningful advice!


    You are eligible to register for the Dark Horse Project at any time of the month! The third post in this topic contains an index for easy access to all participants, so don't worry about your Registration Form getting lost in the sea of discussion. Get started by filling out the below form:

    Remember, your "Pokemon Showdown! Username" should be new so that your Dark Horse Pokemon will be starting from scratch. Your "Hall of Fame Standing" should be empty for right now. But once you're admitted into the Hall of Fame, feel free to update this part with links to your accomplishment!

    Feel free to utilize Pokemon sprites to add visualization to your registration posts. Really anything can go here. If you've made posts elsewhere or even a RMT, feel free to link to it there. Here's an example of what a registration post might look like:

    Registration Post Example (open)
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: God Haunter
    Hall of Fame Standing: None as of yet!
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Scraggy
    Current Ladder Standing: 1704

    Here's the current Scraggy set I'm working with:


    Scraggy @ Life Orb
    Ability: Shed Skin
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
    - Dragon Dance
    - Drain Punch
    - Crunch
    - Ice Punch

    Once you've registered, you're all set to go! You can start teambuilding and laddering whenever you like. Feel free to update your registration posts whenever you like, whether it be with ladder ranking updates, your teammate selections, battle logs, sprites, or whatever you wish to do!


    This topic also serves a second purpose to initiate discussion on battlers' teambuilding and laddering progress; in this thread, you share your struggles and success, and reflect upon the Dark Horse Pokemon's niche in the current NU metagame. This thread is not only a place to show off successful challenges, but also a place to help each other achieve their goals via posting your problems and receiving quality input from others. Challengers should not hesitate to post their teams and/or team ideas to receive help from the community. You are allowed to post your thoughts and opinions. However, here is a "Do and Do Not" list that posters in this topic must adhere to:

    • Do post and share sets for your Dark Horse Pokemon.
    • Do provide teammates that you're using, with optional sets.
    • Do pinpoint which threats in the metagame need to be covered.
    • Do ask questions about the current NU metagame and teambuilding.
    • Do give meaningful answers to asked questions. This can include suggested sets, teammates, and strategies.
    • Do not post insignificant updates. Each post should be well thought and unique.
    • Do not ask someone to make the team for you. Team building is YOUR job (and a fun one at that).

    Hall Of Fame:

    Now comes the competitive aspect of this project. Once you've reached a ranking within the Top 100 on Smogon's competitive NU ladder (with a minimum Glicko2 rating of 1950) with your Dark Horse Pokemon, you are eligible to enter the Hall of Fame! The Hall of Fame is located within the post below the OP and recognizes each user that has entered its halls. Once you've reached the Top 100, please fill out the following Hall of Fame Registration Form:

    As with the regular Registration Form, you are encouraged to upload battle logs, teammates, and other relevant information. Since you're entering the Hall of Fame with a successful team, many users would love to hear some wisdom on how you accomplished that goal. So feel free to post a summary of your team (similar to a RMT), battle logs, and general thoughts. Once you've filled out this form, you'll be accepted into the Hall of Fame, which will link to your Hall of Fame Registration Form and other relevant links.

    Now, there is one final catch to this project. You see, only one of each Dark Horse Pokemon is allowed into the Hall of Fame per month. For example, only the challenger who laddered highest with Scraggy will be accepted this month; Scraggy challengers with lower ladder ratings cannot enter the Hall of Fame until they pass the highest rating for Scraggy. That's where the competitive edge comes into play. You are racing against other users for a place in the Hall of Fame! Furthermore, the Hall of Fame ranking is based off of peak ladder ranking points, meaning the more points you score, the higher you'll be placed. So now that you know the rules, get registered and start team building! Best of luck. If you have any questions, send me a PM or VM. I hope to see you in the Hall of Fame.

    Hall of Fame Archive (0):
    HoF Archive (open)

    Grandmaster: >2100

    Platinum Class: 2099-2000

    Gold Class: 1999-1950 | PO: 1499-1450 & Top 20

    Silver Class: 1950-1900 | PO: 1449-1400 & Top 40

    Bronze Class: 1899-1850 & Top 100 | PO: 1399-1350 & Top 80

    Honorable Mention | PO: < 1350 & top 100
  2. JCM.


    Jun 28, 2012
    Credit goes to the incredible Karite-Kita-Neko for the above Blitzle image. Used because it's free for public use. Huzzah!


    Welcome to the "Learning and Discussion" section of the Dark Horse Project! I am very excited for what's going to take place here, which will mainly be to catalog any meaningful tidbits of advice for public use. This is something new that we'll be working on as a team. As a result, this is currently under construction. However, I've devised a list of questions that you can feel free to answer at any point. Remember, it's not just the answers to these questions that will get posted here; any meaningful advice that you give also has a shot of making it here. I hope this resource can be insightful and meaningful for anyone who's looking to improve their skills with Dark Horse Pokemon.

    If you ever see a tidbit or piece of advice that you deem as valuable and would like to see posted here, I'll consider it if you send me a PM with the necessary information. I'll also take questions that you'd like to see answered if you're willing to provide them and add them to the below list. Thanks for your help!

    With WhiteDMist, FireMage and JCM now on board, I will be dedicating my full attention to this post. So expect some information up here very soon!


  3. WhiteDMist

    WhiteDMist Path>Goal
    is a CAP Contributoris a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus

    Apr 3, 2010
    Credit goes to Xous54 for the above Blitzle image

    Hi! Most of you know me as a dedicated NU Team Rater. For this project, I will be in charge of keeping track of the registration list for the Dark Horse Project NU Edition! If I haven't added you yet, just VM/PM me and I'll get right on it. Now for the rules, as (mostly) c/ped from the original OU project

    ONE REGISTRATION POST PER DARK HORSE(s), AND KEEP IT UP TO DATE. When you achieve Hall of Fame status with a Dark Horse(s), always update the original post! That way, when we need to update our lists, we can just skip through the registration list. You can make a new post as well to let us know, but always make sure the updates for ladder ranking, alt name, etc are in the original post. We cannot guarantee that we will notice ANY data outside of them.

    You are permitted to use the same Dark Horse as someone else, if that wasn't clear - there are no reservations, no rush, etc, and overlap is certainly allowed. Remember, though, that only one of each Dark Horse, and its associated user, can get into the Hall of Fame per month! You can also ladder with as many Dark Horses at a time as you like. If you reach the Hall of Fame cutoff with multiple Horses at once, they ALL go into the Hall of Fame with you. And remember, even if someone else takes your Dark Horse to the Hall of Fame first, you CAN take it back by beating their ladder rating, so don't give up easily! Be tenacious and ladder to the top!

    If you've already reached the Hall of Fame this month, you can continue to participate in the project by either creating a new alt and choosing a new Dark Horse, or simply improving your Hall of Fame record even further. You've got one month, and an ocean of NU Pokemon - we sure aren't going to stop you from trying all of them!

    Our regulations have changed a bit this month. Any Pokemon with more than 3.41% usage in NU for the month of January is an ineligible Dark Horse. In addition, Braviary, Gardevoir, Regirock, Ludicolo, Musharna, Samurott, Sawk and Zangoose cannot be ANYWHERE on a team that you use for this challenge. (Yes, this is the current S-Rank from the NU Viability Rankings project.) We operate on the honor system, of course. We highly recommend you check this list I've put together, to make sure your Dark Horse selection is legal. Also, to make this project more unique and challenging, you cannot have more than 2 of any of the following: Alomomola, Carracosta, Eelektross, Exeggutor, Garbodor, Golem, Golurk, Gorebyss, Gurdurr, Haunter, Kangaskhan, Lickilicky, Piloswine, Regice, Rotom-Fan, Rotom-Frost, Sawsbuck, Skuntank, and Tauros.

    All Pokemon that ineligible to be Dark Horses (open)

    Now then, without further ado, here is your user registration list for the Dark Horse Project! The name in brackets after a mon is the active alt, and if someone has already achieved Hall of Fame status with a mon, that mon's name will be bolded and colored appropriately. We're starting to get to the point where people are making second runs on the project, so alts will be separated with a pipe character.

    (*- means that the user has achieved Hall of Fame Glicko2 ranking)

    Current Participants:

    Round 1 (open)

    Round 1 (Jan 2013)

    -FLCL: Duosion/Fraxure (Kafuka Fuura)*
    -fryfrey: Masquerain (kinda)
    -JirachiCelebiMew: Murkrow/Chatot/Masquerain (NinDusk)
    -celever: Linoone/Machoke/Mantine (le dark horsay)
    -Annoyer: Arbok/MANtine/Pawniard (dark dog)
    -Don Honkrorleone: Nidorino/Linoone/Pawniard/Combusken/Natu (Algol de Perseu)
    -BROStime: Articuno (HORSEtime)
    -Kid03Flash: Stoutland (Darkhorse Roo)
    -WhiteDMist: Duosion/Combusken/Meganium (I Am Articuno)*
    -TrueRaizen: Swoobat (Swoobat & Robin)
    -CBTerrakion: Simipour/Duosion/Rapidash (mr. roboto)
    -Zebraiken: Articuno (Love Hurts)
    -Starships: Butterfree (Butter is Free)
    -ADHLAS: Luxray/Wormadan T/Grumpig/Frillish/Audino/Maractus (Rhapsodium)
    -ZestyArmadillo: Fraxure/Sudowoodo (ZDillo)
    -JoshuaMunoz: Combusken/Swoobat/Basculin (Free Fried Chicken)*
    -Shuckleking87: Zweilous/Relicanth (Shuckleking99)*
    -Aasgier: Leavanny/Flareon/Klang (Altgier)
    -Treeko37: Butterfree (Butterdean)
    -Cherub Agent: Klang (Skandinavian)
    -ZandgaiaX: Raichu/LeafeonVileplume/Kecleon (Checkm@te)
    -NaruMon136: Dunsparce (DunsparceLegend)
    -Ewil: Riolu (Hol Horse)*
    -Ashley11: Camerupt/Masquerain/Raichu (Super Circle)
    -col49: Mawile/Frillish (post acid)*
    -ScraftyIsTheBest: Fraxure/Luxray/Articuno (Luxray FTW)
    -panamaxis: Dodrio/Stunfisk/Rampardos/Duosion/Vileplume/Gothorita (spacial drift)*
    -Raseri: Butterfree/Lairon/Combusken/Lickitung (raseriDH)
    -CatTurtle: Swoobat (CatTurtle42)
    -Jacobzilla: Meganium/Octillery (Darth Meganium)
    -Sweet Jesus: Togetic/Golduck (Jesus Columbus)
    -TheCanadianWifier: Dragonair/Glaceon (Dark Pony)
    -Shovel: Dragonair/Linoone (Canadia™)
    -Ruthless3Roo: Kingler (NewbforHire)
    -Punchshroom: Sneasel/Muk/Beheeyem/Stoutland (Mario's Wonder Pet)
    -Donphantastic: Camerupt/Staryu (Dark Camelot)
    -Mylo Xyloto: Swanna (Million Voices)
    -Ninja Dewott: Linoone/Swoobat/Sneasel (Noonahnoo)
    -qRob: GabiteBasculin (RF)
    -BossSauce: Mawile/Simipour/Monferno (Apathetic Ramen)
    -michael209: Simipour/Camerupt (Mikkey)
    -speed ghiliesniper: Tropius (speedyg)

    Round 2 (Feb 2013)

    -Ryanor: Simisear (Ogren)
    -Ashley11: Vileplume/Torterra (Pie Pig)
    -ZandgaiaX: Hypno/Seadra/Leafeon/Stunfisk (HubaHuba)
    -WhiteDMist: Magmar/Metang/Rotom-F (WhiteDHorse)
    -ZestyArmadillo: Ursaring (Bearable)
    -Treecko37: Throh (T37)
    -Shuckleking87: Beedrill/Cottonee (Shuckleking202)
  4. FireMage

    FireMage Ellie :]
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Mar 16, 2012

    Hall of Fame

    Current Hall of Fame (4):

    Be one of the few to conquer the Ladder with your Dark Horse, and you will be forever recorded in our Hall of Fame! Remember, admission now requires you to obtain the Top 100 on Showdown's ladder with minimum glicko2 rating of 1850 with a deviation of less than 100. Who will become this month's Grand Master? Could it be you?

    Gold Class: 1950-1999 | PO: 1450-1499 & Top 20

    Panamaxis (Spacial drift)
    Dark Horse Pokémon used:
    Dodrio/Stunfisk/Rampardos/Duosion/Vilepume /Gothirita
    1971 ± 87

    ShuckleKing87 (Shuckleking99)
    Dark Horse Pokémon Used: Zweilous / Relicanth
    Ranking: 1965 ± 92

    FLCL (Kafuka Fuura)
    Dark Horse Pokémon used:
    Duosion / Fraxure
    Ranking: 1950 ± 75

    Silver Class: 1900-1949 | PO: 1400-1449 & Top 40

    WhiteDMist (I Am Articuno)
    Dark Horse Pokémon used: Duosion / Meganium / Combusken
    1914 ± 75

    Michael209 (Mikkey)
    Dark Horse Pokémon used: Simipour and Camerput
    Ranking: 1923 +/- 98

    Bronze Class: 1850-1899 & Top 100 | PO: 1350-1399 & Top 80

    Punchshroom (Mario's Wonder Pet)
    Dark Horse Pokémon used:
    Sneasel, Muk, Beheeyem, Simipour
    1886 ± 55

    Honorable Mention | PO: < 1350 & top 100
  5. JCM.


    Jun 28, 2012
    Have fun posting, guys, as you may now post!! Remember to read the rules!
  6. FLCL

    is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion

    Mar 14, 2010
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Kafuka Fuura
    Hall of Fame Standing: Gold Class
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Duosion, Fraxure
    Current Ladder Standing: 1950 ± 75 | 33-5-0

    Not gonna ladder anymore due to ridiculous hax and gaining like +1/-50 for each win/loss. Not sure why I'm so low with a record of 33-5-0 and a deviation under 80...

    Show Hide
    Duosion @ Eviolite
    Trait: Magic Guard
    EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SAtk
    Bold Nature
    - Calm Mind
    - Psychic
    - Signal Beam
    - Recover

    Sawsbuck (F) @ Life Orb
    Trait: Sap Sipper
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd
    Jolly Nature
    - Horn Leech
    - Nature Power
    - Double-Edge
    - Swords Dance

    Seismitoad @ Leftovers
    Trait: Water Absorb
    EVs: 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
    Timid Nature
    - Hydro Pump
    - Earth Power
    - Toxic
    - Substitute

    Fraxure @ Eviolite
    Trait: Mold Breaker
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd
    Jolly Nature
    - Dragon Dance
    - Outrage
    - Low Kick
    - Taunt

    Rotom-Fan @ Choice Scarf
    Trait: Levitate
    EVs: 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
    Timid Nature
    - Air Slash
    - Thunderbolt
    - Trick
    - Volt Switch

    Probopass @ Leftovers
    Trait: Sturdy
    EVs: 160 HP / 252 SAtk / 96 Spd
    Modest Nature
    - Volt Switch
    - Flash Cannon
    - Power Gem
    - Stealth Rock
  7. JCM.


    Jun 28, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: NinDusk
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Chatot, Masquerain and Camerupt.
    Current Ladder Standing:
  8. Celever


    Sep 25, 2012
    Showdown! username: le darke horsay
    Hall of fame:
    Dark horse pokemon: Linoone, Machoke and Mantine!
    Current ladder standing:

    Had to begin again, despite Gardy not being on the ban list he is banned ( I bit vague, lets be honest) and I was using him.

    When trying to figure out who to use over Gardy I suddenly remembered that I have always wanted to use mantine.
    Dark horse number 3 go!!!

    How did you choose your Dark Horse Pokemon for this project? Well I've just always wanted to use Linoone and Mantine on teams, so I decided it would be a good time to use them. I also needed a bulky physical attacker, so after a bit of looking around I found Machoke. I don't have any regrets about these pokemon, some battles have been lost since I have only one memento pokemon but usually I can play Machoke well to deal with the issue. After using Mantine on my dark horse team, I actually use him on my main NU stall team!

    How did you go about building a team for your Dark Horse Pokemon? Well my gut reaction when I read the OP was Linoone. In several battles Linoone had completely screwed me with a sweep on my main (hopefully best) team but I never got around to building a team around him. After that, my team was lacking much bulk, so I ended up adding Machoke and Mantine to be hard-hitters but can take blows.

    Do you think it is more difficult or less difficult to ladder with a Dark Horse Pokemon? Its not exactly easier; I mean, if I could use gardy then maybe. The problem is that you have no S ranks to help you along, and basically all my gardy did was a scarf memento. Besides that though, I've had a fairly easy time. With the dark horse pokemon who have to play your absolute best at all times, but with some good prediction and with little hax you can usually bring a battle to your advantage.

    What was the most challenging aspect of this project? It would have to be the amount of skill involved by battling with these pokemon. Having to predict your opponent's every move and bring in a pokemon to help that is tough, but if you can pull it off then that it works great.
  9. Annoyer

    Annoyer =)~

    Apr 3, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: dark dog
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Arbok, Mantine, Pawniard
    Current Ladder Standing:

    I'm using an offensive Coil Arbok, an offensive RestTalk Mantine, and a SubSD Pawniard (best mon evah ggggggg). Will post sets once I acheive ladder standing.
  10. Don Honchkrorleone

    Don Honchkrorleone

    Aug 8, 2010
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Algol de Perseu
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Nidorino, Linoone, Pawniard, Natu, Combusken (Yeah, I'm going insane)
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!: 1674
  11. Bluwing

    Bluwing icequeen
    is a Tutor Alumnus

    Aug 3, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: HORSEtime
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With:
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!:
  12. Kid03Flash


    May 10, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Darkhorse Roo
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Stoutland
    Current Ladder Standing:
  13. WhiteDMist

    WhiteDMist Path>Goal
    is a CAP Contributoris a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus

    Apr 3, 2010
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: I Am Articuno
    Hall of Fame Standing: Silver (pending FireMage updating the HoF)
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Duosion, Combusken, Meganium
    Current Ladder Standing: 80 I Am Articuno 1808 82.8 1914 ± 75

    Team I laddered with: Duosion, Combusken, Metang, Meganium, Ditto, Seismitoad

    Questions (open)
    How did you choose your Dark Horse Pokemon for this project? What lead you to choose the Pokemon you did? Did you have regrets or were you happy with your selection?

    I chose these three Pokemon for different reasons. Duosion was the first one picked, and I chose it because I felt that a Musharna-esque Pokemon would be very effective for handling most Sawk. Combusken came next because I wanted a Fighting-type, yet Gurdurr wasn't appealing to me at that time. Also, Combusken is an excellent sweeper that deserves much more love than it does. Finally I had most of my team completed, but I lacked a way to handle Golurk. Tangela was the first thought to pop into my head, yet I was also somewhat vulnerable to Special water-types. So Meganium ended up being my pick, and it also happened to be a Dark Horse.

    After testing the team out, I found that they all synergized well with the rest of y team, so I had no regrets. Truthfully, it was the inaccuracy of some of my moves (as well as general hax) that cost me battles more than anything else.

    How did you go about building a team for your Dark Horse Pokemon? Which kinds of teammates did you consider? What factors contributed to the team you created?

    To be honest, I didn't have a plan when Duosion and Combusken were added. I needed a Stealth Rock setter, and Metang just called to me. It helped that it was a nice check to non-Signal Beam Musharna, which I really needed. Being able to check Normal and Flying types just added to its appeal. Meganium was added for Golurk, and then I decided to throw in a revenge killer. However, most revenge killers didn't exactly fit with the team, or were otherwise S-ranked Pokemon which were illegal for the overall team. Ditto suddenly popped into my head as one of the better revenge killers, plus it let me handle opposing Rain mons after they are weakened. It has become one of my most effective team members. Finally, I decided on Seismitoad to synergize with the other members of my team (Ditto was an exception because of its uniqueness). I also had tested ium's Seismitoad set, so that was the one that perfectly fit onto my team.

    Do you think it is more difficult or less difficult to ladder with a Dark Horse Pokemon? Why? Does the element of surprise play a factor in your battles? Is it easier to fight with a "highly used"" team or with Pokemon that are less common?

    It is definitely more difficult to ladder, but not because of the Dark Horse Pokemon per se. I found that because the rest of my teammates were also partially restricted, I couldn't rely on standard fall-backs like Musharna and Sawk to muscle through the opposition. Unfortunately, the Dark Horse Pokemon I had were pretty standard and less surprising than they could have been. Funnily enough, Seismitoad was the one who tended to catch other poeple off guard. But I didn't find it too difficult to ladder with less common Pokemon.

    How did you reach the Hall of Fame? Was it easy or difficult? Did having a Dark Horse Pokemon on your team benefit you? What advice would you give to those laddering with Dark Horse Pokemon?

    I wasn't paying attention to the specifics about the Hall of Fame, so I thought were were going based by ACRE stats. I was actually dreading the thought of having to ladder up to 1850 minimum with my team. When I finally read through the Hall of Fame stuff (yeah yeah sue me), I found out that it was based on the Glicko2 standard deviation stats, which was a relief. Even better, by that time, I had already reached Silver ranking without noticing. Now if FireMage updated more...jk :toast:

    What advice would you give to those laddering with Dark Horse Pokemon?

    If you are a relatively new player, I would suggest not biting off more than you can chew with multiple Dark Horse Pokemon. You all should remember that while you may be using a Dark Horse team, many opponents you will be facing will NOT be. You must keep your team open enough to handle many common threats while not relying on reliable Pokemon like Musharna and Sawk. You WILL be at a disadvantage, no matter what you may think. Elements of surprise are always useful, but don't throw together a bunch of weaker Pokemon just for the surprise value. Take advantage of the TWO A-Rank Pokemon that you are still allowed, and make your your teams have focus. For more experienced players, I would assume that they have enough knowledge of the metagame and inherent skills that they can afford to run more Dark Horses.

    Dark Horses (open)
    Duosion @ Eviolite
    Trait: Magic Guard
    EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 SDef
    Bold Nature
    - Calm Mind
    - Psychic
    - Signal Beam
    - Recover

    Combusken (M) @ Life Orb
    Trait: Speed Boost
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
    Timid Nature
    IVs: 0 Atk
    - Protect
    - Substitute
    - Fire Blast
    - Focus Blast

    Meganium @ Leftovers
    Trait: Overgrow
    EVs: 252 HP / 80 Def / 4 SAtk / 172 SDef
    Bold Nature
    - Giga Drain
    - Leech Seed
    - Synthesis
    - Hidden Power [Ice]

    Replays (open)
  14. Punchshroom

    Punchshroom Paralysis is slightly less of a devil
    is a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon

    Dec 5, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Mario's Dream Pet
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Edit: Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Sneasel, Muk
    Current Ladder Standing:
  15. TrueRaizen


    Jul 10, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Swoobat & Robin
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Swoobat
    Current Ladder Standing
  16. cbt

    is a Researcher Alumnus

    Feb 26, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: mr roboto
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Simipour, Duosion, Rapidash
    Current Ladder Standing: 1563 Glicko2, 76 deviation
  17. Zebraiken

    Zebraiken underdog of the year
    is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Researcher Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Oct 7, 2011
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Love Hurts
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Articuno
    Current Ladder Standing: 2-1, 1300something

    Grandmaster here I come >:|

    i lied FUCK duosion
  18. skylight

    skylight nasty plot
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Smogon Media Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    May 14, 2011
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Butter is Free
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Butterfree
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!:
  19. ADHLAS


    Oct 5, 2011
    Pokémon Showdown! Username: Rhapsodium
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokémon currently working with: Luxray, Wormadam T, Grumpig, Frillish, Audino, Maractus
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokémon Showdown!:1649 ± 49, 43-29, though maybe 4-5 of those were because I ran out of time and had to leave for something. Stall's such a curse sometimes =P

    Show Hide
    How did you choose your Dark Horse Pokemon for this project?
    Well, I've been interested in stall for quite awhile, since more and more people are saying it's unviable, so I started with the simple idea of laying hazards and phazing or otherwise forcing Pokémon out. I had previously used Luxray as my physical tank, and Maractus as my spiker (Only NU spiker that resists EQ IIRC, so works rather well with Luxray,) so I kept those two. My Special Phazer had been Lickilicky, but I wanted to use 6 Dark horses, and so Grumpig was added onto the team. Spin-blocking is a necessity for hazard control, so Frillish is obvious. Next, a SR-er, preferably Steel-type for resistances: Wormadam seemed like an interesting thing to try, having been completely stonewalled by it in the past myself. Finally, a Status-curer besides Rest was needed: Lickilicky again couldn't be used, so I used the other pink blob residing in the tier, Audino.

    How did you go about building a team for your Dark Horse Pokemon?
    Err, see above, I suppose, since I picked my DH Pokémon and built my team at the same time.

    Do you think it is more difficult or less difficult to ladder with a Dark Horse Pokemon? Why? Does the element of surprise play a factor in your battles? Is it easier to fight with a "highly used"" team or with Pokemon that are less common?
    To be frankly honest, I'm not seeing all too much of a difference in success between my Dark horse team and the stall team I originally used: either my original team sucked, or stall is just so uncommon right now that the good users of stall are still below that 3.41% rate. There's very little element of surprise, I think, except with maybe Maractus and sometimes Luxray, but so few people actually prepare for stall (Except all those wretched people running around with Duosion laughing at me.)
  20. ZestyArmadillo


    Nov 10, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: ZDillo
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Fraxure, Sudowoodo
    Current Ladder Standing: Lost track of record, 1659

    Gonna stop for a bit now, getting annoyed with myself over hax, overpredictions, and losing stupid amounts of points for every loss, causing me to play poorly.

    Current sets:
    Show Hide

    Sudowoodo @ Dark Gem
    Trait: Sturdy
    EV's: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
    Nature: Adamant
    - Stone Edge
    - Stealth Rock
    - Wood Hammer
    - Sucker Punch

    Fraxure @ Eviolite
    Trait: Mold Breaker
    EV's: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
    Nature: Jolly
    - Substitute
    - Dragon Dance
    - Outrage
    - Aqua Tail

    Show Hide
    How did you choose your Dark Horse Pokemon for this project? What lead you to choose the Pokemon you did? Did you have regrets or were you happy with your selection?

    Fraxure was my first choice because I had used him successfully in the past. H I chose Sudowoodo during my team building process while looking for a Stealth Rocker. His niche of having a powerful grass move that beat many common SR setters appealed to me. I was very pleased with Fraxure, he performed admirably. I can honestly say that I regret the choice of Sudowoodo, as he simply is not a very effective Pokemon, and I felt his team slot could be better utilized.

    How did you go about building a team for your Dark Horse Pokemon? Which kinds of teammates did you consider?

    I decided to build a balanced team, using Fraxure as my set-up sweeper, and Sudowoodo as a SR lead/physical attacker. I then tacked on an effective revenge killer (Rotom-Fridge), along with a wall from each side to take hits and support the team. Lickilicky and Weezing were chosen, as they had strong synergy and could shut down a wide variety of threats. The final slot shifted around quite a bit, but I eventually settled on Specs Swanna, who has great coverage and breaks down walls, creating openings for Fraxure to set up.

    Do you think it is more difficult or less difficult to ladder with a Dark Horse Pokemon? Why?

    The Dark Horses I had selected were a mixed bag. One of them (Fraxure) performed it's role perfectly, while the other one (Sudowoodo) had limited use in most matches. I think the main challenge that comes from the Dark Horse challenge is not the Dark Horses themselves, but the limits placed on the amount of S and A-Ranked Pokemon you're allowed to use. For someone who is not really an exceptional team-builder like me, that definitely added to the challenge.

    Does the element of surprise play a factor in your battles?

    Interestingly, Sudowoodo seemed to surprise more people then Fraxure. Not many people seemed to see Wood Hammer or Sucker Punch coming, leaving them with a nasty surprise and sometimes a KO'd Poke. Fraxure still pulled off the occasional surprise, such as blocking a T-Wave or Toxic with Substitute. So, yes. I'd say that surprise factored in to a good number of my battles.

    Final Thoughts

    Fraxure is an effective Dragon Dance abuser, sporting near-perfect coverage, just enough speed, a monstrous Attack stat, an decent bulk with Eviolite. This Pokemon deserves more use.

    Fraxure = Recommended

    Sudowoodo, to put it bluntly, felt like a poor man's Golem, having lower stats in everything but Sp. Def. His only real advantage over Golem is Wood Hammer, and while the surprise factor is there, it's not quite enough to spike his popularity.

    Sudowoodo = Not Recommended
  21. JoshuaMunoz


    Apr 22, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Free Fried Chicken
    Hall of Fame Standing: n/a
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Combusken, Golbat, and Basuclin
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!: 1829

    24-4. Lost to some hax and bad plays.

    Testing Golbat.
  22. Shuckleking87

    Shuckleking87 "Assault vest makes everything better" AV Seaking, BT
    is a Tiering Contributor Alumnus

    Jan 13, 2012
    This sounds like a very awesome project that will some well deserved names that might have fallen out of favor in earlier NU tiers but might be a great function now! Like the Poke I will be using (hopefully it will work anyway).
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Shuckleking99
    Hall of Fame Standing: N/A
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Zweilous, Relicanth
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!: 20-2
    Good luck to everybody!
    59 WDM 1840 84.8 1952 ± 79
    60 Thebob650 1840 81.9 1893 ± 38
    61 Shuckleking99 1835 85.3 1965 ± 92
    62 Jibbz 1834 83.3 1920 ± 61
    63 Wang 1834 81.5 1886 ± 37

    Show Hide

    How did you choose your Dark Horse Pokemon for this project?
    Well, the challenge is Dark Horse, so, naturally, I had to pick a dark type. This tier is also becoming a psychic centralized metagame, as there are very few quality dark pokes besides stuntank, cacturne and shiftry to an extent. So I wanted to explore so other possibilities for a dark type that I thought could excel. I then saw Zweilous sitting at 108 and 1.4% usage for the strongest outrage in the game. It has a great satb pairing with crunch and outrage, and can take common not very effective hits like grass, fire, water, electric and psychic. Most of the drawbacks for Zweilus on its Smogon page are also outdated. Before BW2, it essentially could run outrage and crunch with filler moves, which is a good selection right there, but easily predicatable. With BW2, it gained access to aqua tail and superpower to give it better checks to rock and steel pokes. It says on the checks and counters that probopass, bastiodon and mawile are the only counters that could wall zweilous- haha, not anymore! Another threat was cryogonal which isn’t in the tier. Bulky fighting types also do a good job, but are not prevalent in the tier except for gurdurr (throh rarely seen, machoke almost never). Plus that is why you carry a psychic type. Sturdy scarfed sawk also isn’t that common though I would not want to take the risk. Its lack of speed is mitigated via choice scarf. Its only downside is the 80% or less accuracy in all its attacking moves, which can make or break some matches.
    When rounding out my team and finding a fire/flying resist, I found Relicanth, who happened to be in the dark horse range. With its rock head ability, 90 base attack plus choice band, and awesome 130 defense, it looked to be a very powerful Pokémon. It could take many physical attacks and fire off head smashes or waterfalls for very impressive damage. However, it is difficult to bring in, without any recovery and a slow speed, and cannot really come in on special attacks that often.

    How did you go about building a team for your Dark Horse Pokemon?
    Well, I knew I wanted Zweilous as my nucleus of my team. I also knew I was going to use an adamant nature to fully abuse its massive attack, which would not let me outspeed charizard, rapidash, elecatbuzz, kadabra and tauros. But my first thought process was to determine what zweilous could not go through and find a poke to counter its threats. The 4 biggest threats to zweilous I thought of were metang, alomomola, regirock and tangela. Typical nu walls. So, I “spent” one of my A tier pokes for exeggutor, which can threaten them with leaf storm and hp fire. However, I went with a semi stallish/offensive exeggutor that deals with all these minus metang. Exeggutor also qualified as a partner for the infamous Psychic-fighting-dark core I wanted to build around.
    For my fighting poke, I wanted a bulkier mon (since all of them are besides sawk). It was down to throh or gurdurr. With throh, I could pick tauros that could outspeed the previously mentioned threats, alomomola, licklicky or regice for a reliable wall or golurk, gorebyss, kangaskan, piloswine or rotom s for just a good poke in general. However, I choose gurdurr for its ability to absorb status, good stat bosting move and priority. After that, I needed a stealth rocker that could deal with braviary and zangoose, so I chose metang. I still needed a fast nu poke, as my team is very slow, so I chose charizard. From there, I wanted a poke that could take flying and fire moves, as they hit this team pretty hard, so I chose relicanth.

    Do you think it is more difficult or less difficult to ladder with a Dark Horse Pokemon? Why? For sure it is more harder to ladder with the challenge, but not so much with the actual Dark Horse Pokemon. The Pokemon in the S and A tier are there for a reason- they are excellent pokes to use in the NU tier. Our selectivity of not having a musharna, ludicolo or sawk really hurts, as 90% of my teams have at least one of these pokes. It was actually not hard to incorporate my Dark Horse pokemon. A lot of the time, (I don’t know if this is the case for most pokemon team builders) I choose a 5 poke core with one poke there as an added bonus. My core of zweilous/exeggutor/gurdurr/charizard/metang worked wonders (except my latest drunken losing streak..), and having relicanth was an added bonus (though it really did not do much). For Relicanth, there was not really a surprise factor, as the choice band set is very common for it. It was more f a prediction game. Zweilous was definitely underrated by my opponents for the most part probably because of its low use and lack of knowledge that it learns superpower. It is definitely easier to fight with common pokes, as they are common because it makes it easier to win. However, there are unexplored powers out there in the depths of NU that could definitely be “highly used” if discovered!

    How did you reach the Hall of Fame?
    Honestly, I got there for the most part with my 4 non-dark horse pokes. After starting 2-1, I was able to win 13 straight games, which really helped me get to the high ranking that I had. None of those matches were really close either besides the match I had with WhiteDMist’s team. However, Zweilous was definitely a big help to get large chunks of damage for usually gurdurr, but sometime exeggutor to finish the job. I would say to those attempting this challenge to go with a 5+1 team setup, and the 1 could potentially be part of the 5 or the 1. For my battles, my dark horses probably saw the field less often than any of my pokes ( partially because one battle I had, charizard was on the field for 18 straight turns!), and they had a specific or semi-specific task. Zweilous was there to take out musharna and reveal the item for gardevoir, place huge chunks into walls, or even spread paralysis. Relicanth’s job was to hit as hard as he could as often as possible (and as accurate..). From there, it should make your set-up pokemon a much easier job to sweep.

    Rate the overall performance of your Dark Horse Pokemon (0 being the absolute worst, 10 being the absolute best) for your team and also for its overall viability in the NU tier.
    Zweilous-7 It definitely did the job that I wanted it to do, and I don’t believe it was my weakest link in any of my matches. Sure, crunches and outrages missed, but the damage that it was able to deliver was very impressive. I did have adamant on zweilous, so I was outspeed and killed by kadabra (pretty big threat to team) I think twice, and even though it resist a lot of nu attacks, I felt a little hesitant to bring it in (mainly because I knew I had other pokes to take hits better).
    This poke definitely deserves more usage, maybe around double its actually usage to about 3% of teams, because it can fulfill the dark type to the fighting dark psychic core just as well as any other poke besides stuntank.
    Relican’t(h)-1 Very underwhelming and disappointed. Sure, that might be my mishandling of it, but it just really didn’t work. It is too slow, even with 252 speed, to really revenge kill without a scarf, and 90 attack is not that strong to revenge kill without a band. Rock polish and life orb would have been an interesting combo, but just wouldn’t have that initial attacking power. Also really did not take special fire hits as well as I expected, even with the 4X resist, though it could handle flying types (however, did not encounter many). Was a very solid check to swallow, but I had metang for that, and metang could handle zangoose better. This poke was the +1 to the team, so I really did not have many expectations, but I’ve always had trouble with relicanth, so I thought I was going to have better success. I am pretty sure I missed head smash more than I missed all my moves with zweilous combined.
    That being said, I think relicanth is ranked a little high at 76 an 2.467%, as there are a lot better rock types out there, and there is seismetoad for a water stealth rocker if you want to go there, but is should not be ranked that much lower. Maybe around 100 and/or 1.8%, as it definitely is a viable poke to use, especially with its 100/130 defense coupled with respectable 90 base attack and great abilities (rock head and swift swim).

    Show Hide

    Zweilous @ Choice Scarf
    Trait: Hustle
    EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spd / 4 HP
    Adamant Nature
    - Crunch
    - Outrage
    - Superpower
    - Thunder Wave

    Exeggutor @ Sitrus Berry
    Trait: Harvest
    EVs: 252 SAtk / 168 Spd / 88 HP
    Modest Nature
    - Substitute
    - Psychic
    - Leaf Storm
    - Leech Seed

    Gurdurr @ Eviolite
    Trait: Guts
    EVs: 252 HP / 248 Atk / 8 Spd
    Adamant Nature
    - Bulk Up
    - Drain Punch
    - Ice Punch
    - Mach Punch

    Metang @ Eviolite
    Trait: Clear Body
    EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spd
    Adamant Nature
    - Stealth Rock
    - Toxic
    - Meteor Mash
    - Earthquake

    Charizard @ Life Orb
    Trait: Blaze
    EVs: 252 SAtk / 252 Spd / 4 SDef
    Timid Nature
    - Fire Blast
    - Roost
    - Dragon Pulse
    - Air Slash

    Relicanth @ Choice Band
    Trait: Rock Head
    EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spd / 4 HP
    Serious Nature
    - Double-Edge
    - Earthquake
    - Head Smash
    - Waterfall

  23. Aasgier


    Dec 2, 2012
    Let's partake. I need to rebuild a team, so...

    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Altgier
    Hall of Fame Standing: N/A
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Leavanny, Flareon, Klang
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!: 7-4 : 1671, Glicko 2

    Edit: Gardevoir is still A-rank in the Viability thread, but banned here. Is that a mistake?

    11-2 Edit: Standing update.

    Show Hide

    How did you choose your Dark Horse Pokemon for this project?
    I chose Leavanny and Flareon because I''m somewhat familiar with them, but they weren't really the best choices on the final team. Klang just fit in at that point, Dark Horse or not.

    How did you go about building a team for your Dark Horse Pokemon?
    I decided to make it simple. But yeah, I regret the choices I made a bit since it just doesn't work.

    Do you think it is more difficult or less difficult to ladder with a Dark Horse Pokemon? Why?
    Well, depends. What makes it more difficult is that you can't use S-rank Pokémon like Gardevoir or Sawk with them.
    But when I made my first team, Leavanny just fitted in perfectly there, better than any other NU Pokémon could.

    21-2 Edit: And Leavanny takes the kick here for being useless and is replaced with Pinsir.
    Standing update as well.
    22-2 Edit: Standing update. First Moxie sweep with Pinsir as well.
  24. ryan

    ryan ICONIC.
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Super Moderatoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Tutor Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Battle Server Admin Alumnusis a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon IRC SOp Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
    NU Co-Leader

    Jun 18, 2012
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Macbook Air
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Dragonair
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!:

    I am really hoping that I am not using the same Butterfree set as Starships. :<
    Never mind. The team I was originally using really sucked without Sawk on its side. Still using Butterfree; switching alts.

    Changing again because I would really like to finish this month strong. Switching alts, and I wanted to use Rotom-F because it's under 3% usage, but since the post says it's illegal for a Dark Horse, using Dragonair.
  25. Cherub Agent

    Cherub Agent
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Jul 6, 2009
    Pokemon Showdown! Username: Skandinavian
    Hall of Fame Standing:
    Dark Horse Pokemon Currently Working With: Klang
    Current Ladder Standing on Pokemon Showdown!:

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