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The Red Skull's Army

Discussion in 'BW OU Teams' started by GtM, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. GtM


    Jun 3, 2009
    Hello again Smogon! In another attempt to explore the more obscure pokémon in the OU tier, I decided to build a team around the infamous Latias. What she lacks in raw power she makes up for in cunning and sheer tenacity, and as such she has employed a number of prolific mercenaries to help her dominate the OU metagame! Whilst she may not always be the star of the show, she certainly holds a fearsome late-game presence, should she not be distracted by other duties.

    Lyrical waxing aside, this team was really fun to make and following its final revisions it has been surprisingly effective against a lot of different teams. Most of this team's members were added specifically to help Latias sweep in the lategame, elimating various threats and softening bulkier targets. I've peaked at a rating of 1250 on the Smogon ladder, which I feel is good enough for me to warrant posting the team. Anyways, onto the analysis! :P

    The Red Skull's Army!

    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Team Building Process (open)

    Team Building Process


    I started off with Latias, for obvious reasons. Once Latias manages to get the ball rolling and stacks Calm Minds, she can be very difficult to stop should her main threats be removed. So my first decision was to identify these threats and come up with solutions, with the high-powered Pursuit users Tyranitar and Scizor being first on my hit list. If Scizor shows up prematurely and uses Bullet Punch or Pursuit, Magnezone can set up a Substitute with impunity and eliminate it with Hidden Power Fire. Magnezone can also deal with the vast majority of Steel types in OU thanks to Magnet Rise, with only Heatran and Excadrill posing significant threats (even the latter can be dealt with using prediction) This lets Latias use her Dragon Pulses much more effectively. Meanwhile, whilst I could have used Dugtrio to trap Tyranitar, I realised that Dugtrio would not be useful for much else, especially considering how many pokemon now use Air Balloons. So I decided to use Machamp instead. Sure, he can't trap Tyranitar, but he almost certainly can set up a Substitute in the following turns, and a Machamp behind a Substitute is a scary thing indeed. Again, Machamp is often more than capable of dealing with the Steel types that wall Latias.


    At this point, I realised that opposing Psychic types could be a significant pain, particularly Reuniclus who could set up against any member of the original trio and sweep with Calm Mind and Psyshock / Focus Blast. I decided I needed a hard counter to Psychic types like this, so my first choice was a Choice Band Scizor, who causes a ton of switches and can use Pursuit liberally to trap yet more threats to Latias. I later switched this to a Life Orb set, since I preferred the versatility of switching attacks to the Choice Band set's sheer power and survivability.


    Whilst this core seemed to be pretty effective at helping remove Latias' threats, I realised that it was pretty damn weak to both Rain and Sand teams, who could overpower me easily. So after trying out a whole mess of various pokemon I eventually decided on using Skarmory and Gastrodon. Skarmory more or less shuts down Sand offense completely, and provided I can keep it alive throughout the match it provides an invaluable insurance against such an otherwise threatening team-style. Skarmory also provides useful hazard support, which can help Machamp and Latias secure KOs they could not otherwise secure easily. Meanwhile, Gastrodon is my waifu, and can wall most of Rain's special attackers, including the much-feared Thundurus. Gastrodon adds some much needed special-offense to the team with an unusually offensive set (that isn't Choice Specs :P), especially when it picks up a Storm Drain boost from the ubiquitous Politoed. This thing also lures in Ferrothorn like crazy, which lets Magenzone kill it unless I'm SERIOUSLY unlucky with Protect spamming.

    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    And thus, the team was more or less complete! However, I was unhappy with how Scizor couldn't deal adequately with Ghosts like Jellicent and Gengar, so I decided to use Tyranitar as my Psychic-spook instead. The Sand-Stream support is just a bonus, considering most of my team is immune to its effects and it helps shut down Sun and Rain teams in a pinch. I've decided to use an all out physically offensive set, which is useful in drawing out and KOing Heatran who expect to Toxic or Burn me. Chople Berry also lets me feign a Choice item and score a surprise KO every now and then, whilst also letting me deal much more reliably with Gengar and Reuniclus.


    @ Shed Shell
    Ability: Sturdy
    EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 Spe
    Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
    - Spikes
    - Whirlwind
    - Roost
    - Brave Bird

    Behold, the standard Skarmory! Whilst it may be generic, it's incredibly useful in walling Sand's greatest threats, including Excadrill, Landorus and Terrakion. Without it, my team would be swept pretty damn quick. Spikes gives me hazard support that helps the rest of my team secure KOs, Whirlwind lets me phase powerful setup sweepers until I can deal with them effectively (and also lets me stack up residual damage). Roost is there for Recovery which Skarmory desperately needs, and Brave Bird is the result of the inevitable toss up with Brave Bird and Taunt. I decided the ability to clean up in certain situations to be more useful than Taunt; from my past experiences with Skarmory I'd ended up with Skarm as my only pokemon left, and not being able to attack was severely disheartening. It also lets me pop Air Balloons should the opportunity arise, and deals significant damage to Fighting types. Shed Shell is used primariily to help me deal with 4Drag1Mag teams, where I REALLY appreciate Skarmory's ability to take Outrages and deal significant damage with Brave Bird, letting Latias clean up afterwards. I simply can't afford for opposing Magnezone to lock me down, and Gastrodon, Machamp and Tyranitar excel in dealing with Magnezone anyways, so why not.

    I'm not attached to Skarmory at all, so feel free to suggest alternative team mates for its position! If you can persuade me to use Taunt or Stealth Rock instead, I'll do so.


    Tyranitar @ Chople Berry
    Ability: Sand Stream
    EVs: 112 HP / 252 Atk / 144 Spe
    Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Crunch
    - Pursuit
    - Stone Edge
    - Earthquake

    Ah, it's a standard 'mon but with a non-standard moveset! Since Tyranitar is taking over Scizor's role, I wanted to maintain that spirit as much as possibly, and immediately decided against that Specially Defensive bullshit that everyone uses. Tyranitar is dedicated to destroying Psychic types, the occasional Volcorona and Heatran, and anything that's slower than him and needs to be removed. 403 Atk is nothing to laugh about (unless you're Tyranitar) and lets me deal significant damage to anything other than dedicated physical walls. Crunch and Pursuit are my most used attacks, destroying Psychic types whether they stay in or not. Chople Berry lets me fulfil this role further, letting me taking Focus Blasts and random Hidden Powers with ease. As stated earlier, it also bluffs a Choice item, which can be useful sometimes. Stone Edge and Earthquake are my other attacks of choice, dealing significant damage to a lot of things and giving me a useful secondary STAB and coverage in general. The speed EVs let me outspeed Specially Defensive Heatran and OHKO him whilst it tries to burn me (or simply assumes I'll switch), whilst the remaining EVs are put into HP to give me extra bulk. In fact, even with this modest investment Tyranitar can live Jolly Excadrill's Earthquakes, and if I've gotten rid of the Balloon previously, I can OHKO back with my own.

    I'm considering using a mixed attack over Earthquake, since I only really use it against Heatran and Tyranitar, both of whom are dealt with by my team effectively. Give me suggestions, and I'll try them out! Fire Blast / Flamethrower is in testing as we speak.


    Gastrodon @ Leftovers
    Ability: Storm Drain
    EVs: 88 HP / 252 SpA / 156 SpD / 12 Spe
    Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
    - Earth Power
    - Ice Beam
    - Recover
    - Toxic

    As you may have guessed by now, GASTRODON IS MY WAIFU. It walls most rain teams to hell and back, and although a few smart people have started using Hidden Power Grass on random things (I have a legacy! :D) it still does its job well most of the time. However, I also wanted to test out an alternative EV spread that I plan to add to the OU analysis, with a more offensive bent. Whilst Gastrodon is admittedly great at absorbing all manner of special attacks, sometimes it doesn't hit hard enough even with a Storm Drain boost. So I decided to go for a "best of both worlds" spread, which gives me about 40% more attacking power whilst still letting me take a +2 LO Thundurus Focus Blast if necessary. The speed EVs are used to outspeed Forretress who occasionally tries to come in and spam hazards, special attack is MAXED because Gastrodon is a BOSS, and the remainder is split between HP and SpD to let Gastrodon take the aforementioned attack, as well as many others. With a Storm Drain boost and three layers of Spikes from Skarmory (which CAN happen), I can outspeed and 2HKO physically defensive Ferrothorn with Earth Power and then proceed to trollface. In fact, even specially defensive spreads aren't safe, since they almost always Thunder Wave or Leech Seed the "switch in" and can be 3HKO'd with a bit of luck (or at least put into death range for Spikes) Earth Power and Ice Beam have great coverage, Toxic has good utility in general and Recover makes Gastrodon the boss that he is.

    However, I'm considering using Scald or something other Toxic, since I admittedly don't use Toxic that much, and getting passive Burns on various things would be very helpful on occasion. Mirror Coat for Volcorona, maybe? :3


    Magnezone @ Leftovers
    Ability: Magnet Pull
    EVs: 36 HP / 252 SpA / 220 Spe
    Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
    - Substitute
    - Magnet Rise
    - Thunderbolt
    - Hidden Power [Fire]

    Magnezone was my favorite pokemon when I played through Platinum, and the standard set is one of the original three musketeers of the team. With Magnet Rise and Substitute, Magnezone is invaluable in eliminating Ferrothorn, Scizor, Skarmory, Broznong (much cooler than that Bronzong git) and Metagross, which can all pose a significant threat to the Red Skull and stop her in her tracks. It also locks and deals with Forretress, which is cool. Substitute and Magnet Rise let me milk a huge advantage out of these pokemon whenever I bump into them, whilst Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Fire let me deal respectable damage to them. Magenzone is also useful in coming in on the occasional Outrage from Salamence or Dragonite and dealing some residual damage with Thunderbolt. The speed EVs are reluctantly required to outspeed Swords Dance Scizor, and whilst I'd much rather invest them in HP, I'm not that foolhardy. Leftovers gives me some healing on the side, which comes in handy when using Substitute and taking my good-sweet time to set up.

    Really, Magnezone is kind of expendable. Whilst it fills its role with incredibly potency, it's sadly not used for much else, other than sponging random attacks and threatening random bulky Waters. I'm not sure how I'd go about dealing effectively with Scizor and co otherwise, but give me some good suggestions and I'll be sure to listen to them.


    Machamp @ Leftovers
    Ability: No Guard
    EVs: 124 HP / 252 Atk / 132 Spe
    Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Substitute
    - DynamicPunch
    - Stone Edge
    - Ice Punch

    Ah, Substitute Machamp. Hell hath no fury like a Machamp behind a Substitute. If Tyranitar has done his job and gotten rid of any lingering Psychics or Ghosts, Machamp can go to town on the rest of the opponent's team. DynamicPunch as always hurts like fuck, and the confusion has helped more than a few matches go my way. When Machamp comes in on a Tyranitar or something similar, I can get a Substitute up most of the time and proceed to spam free attacks depending on what I want to do. Stone Edge is very useful at dealing with Gyarados and Volcorona (hopefully whilst I'm behind a Sub! Eep) whilst Ice Punch is useful as always in the OU metagame. The speed EVs let me outspeed 4 speed Skarmory and also give Machamp a little extra bulk, which it always appreciates. Erm, not too much to say here, other than Machamp kicks ass? It certainly helps soften opposing teams to be devoured by the Red Skull, and occasionally does a good enough job of devouring by itself.

    I've decided to run both Stone Edge and Ice Punch since I expect Tyranitar to be dealing with any Psychics or Ghosts I come across, and I must say I like the coverage they provide against various OU threats. However, I'm willing to replace one of them with Payback if you persuade me. If you can think of a pokemon which better abuses switching into Tyranitar and the like (and has better defensive synergy or whatever) then let me know! However, the champ won't go down without a fight!


    Red Skull @ Leftovers
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
    - Calm Mind
    - Dragon Pulse
    - Recover
    - Psycho Shift

    Lo and behold, the beacon of your inevitable doom. Latias is so damn bulky after a few Calm Minds, and like Virizion enjoys the ability to setup on Ice Beams from weak-ass pokemon. Latias gives me a win condition, should I successfully eliminate all of her threats. Not only that, but her awesome base 110 Spe has helped this good-but-slow team out on a number of occasions, letting her revenge weakened enemies that might otherwise be able to pull off a last minute sweep. Recover makes her a tough bitch to take down, and if you even think about Paralysing or Burning her then you can proceed to write your own will. Psycho Shift lets me fight dirty and status opponents should the opportunity arise, letting me switch into random Burning attacks from the likes of Rotom-W and Jellicent and proceeding to Burn the switch in (occasionally Tyranitar or Scizor! :D) Being able to set up Calm Minds whilst the opponent tries to Toxic stall me is also pretty funny, especially when they try to Toxic me once I've recovered and I proceed to sweep. Latias is a boss, ain't no denyin' it.

    However, I'm willing to try out different sets. This was just the first one I've tried, and it's stuck with me since it's so fun giving things back their own status. I'm thinking of going three ways. Firstly, I might use Substitute instead of Psycho Shift; whilst I can't randomly Burn shit it's probably the more sensible option, especially if they can bring in remaining Steel types to block Poison and the like. Secondly, I might use the batshit insane option, using Flame Orb instead of Leftovers and BURNING EVERYTHING. Latias would much rather be Burned than Paralysed or Poisoned when she has access to Recover, so it could be usable. In this case I might also be tempted to use Trick, so I can also nab the opponent's item when I've Burned whatever I want. Third, most likely if I axe Magnezone, I'm considering using HP Fire to let me OHKO unsuspecting Scizors after a boost. What I do with Latias is dependent entirely on your feedback for the rest of the team, so please give me your advice!

    A word of warning, I have tried a LOT of stuff on this team, and I might end up rejecting suggestions I've already tried. Other than that, have at it! The Red Skull awaits your amusing banter.

    Threat List (open)

    Threat List

    I'm not bitter, because it's so cool and more people should be using him. However, the unfortunate lack of Stealth Rock on my team (and Blissey, for that matter) means that it can often set up a sweep if it comes in at the right time. Tyranitar can stop it if it comes in on the Quiver Dance, as +1 Bug Buzz usually fails to OHKO from the more popular variants. However, Life Orb variants are a serious threat, and I usually have to use Skarmory and Brave Bird to deal with it, and that's only if I have Sturdy intact.


    Lucario: Annoying, and not dealt with as effectively by Skarmory as I had previously hoped. If it comes in on the right moment (and isn't greedy when I have Tyranitar out, since Earthquake WILL OHKO) then I can be screwed. Again, Skarm + Sturdy + Brave Bird is a useful insurance, especially if it uses Close Combat. But that's not really a very effective long-term solution, especially if it's a Nasty Plot set. Those just fuck me over.

  2. Iconic

    is a Tutor Alumnusis a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Jan 22, 2009
    Heatran over Magnezone is such an obvious suggestion but it's a pretty good way of dealing with Volcarona. Actually if I were you I'd be waaaaaay more scared of Venusaur in the sun since you actually have a couple of Volcarona checks between Tyranitar and Gastrodon whereas Venusaur flat out shits on you if it scares out Gastrodon for example and gets a Growth up. Heatran gives you sun/Volcarona/Venusaur insurance, and it also provides your team with Stealth Rock which is obviously important. I would just run Calm with max Special Defense because you don't really have anything to switch into Latios's Specs Draco Meteors.

    Thundurus is pretty threatening, and I wouldn't count on Chople Berry from saving you from it every single time. I'd try out a Scarf on Tyranitar to give you a better Thundurus check and, at the same time, allow you to check Lucario. Swords Dance + Bullet Punch is nowhere to be seen so you can just wall it while taking minimal damage from Extremespeed. Just watch out for Nasty Plot + Vacuum Wave, although that's probably even rarer than SD Bullet Punch.

    You're still pretty Reuniclus weak, since you need to rely on a +6 crit with Latias to take it down once it starts accumulating Calm Minds. Maybe you could run Roar or Psyshock over Psycho Shift? I mean you're not guaranteed to get burned since you don't have a Flame Orb, so Psycho shift seems kind of situational. Roar lets you beat Reuniclus and rack up Spikes damage, but Psyshock will let you beat it if it's the last Pokemon.
  3. shrang

    shrang Draw me... like one of your human girls
    is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Server Moderatoris a Tiering Contributor Alumnus

    Jul 24, 2009
    Hm, is your Latias running Leftovers or Flame Orb? If it's Leftovers, have you considered running Refresh over Psycho Shift? You can't really beat Blissey even if you shift it, since she'll just Toxic you again.
  4. Molk

    Molk Godlike Usmash
    is a Tutoris a member of the Site Staffis a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Live Chat Contributor Alumnus
    RU Co-Leader

    Jul 27, 2011
    1)have you considered substitute on your latias? it will give you a cushion against status and sucker punchers that may try to ruin your fun. latias should have no problem setting it up with base 110 spe. calm mind will make your subs extremly hard for special attackers to break.

    2) i support putting fire blast on your T-tar to hit scizor and ferrothorn. if it works for you, use it
  5. HBK

    HBK Subtlety is my middle name

    May 25, 2009
    I find a 252 hp 252 def calm nature Gastro more helpful.He's not supposed to sweep anyway.Also Scald>ice beam.If you don't think so just remove EP but you need scald.I prefer EP over Ice beam.
  6. GtM


    Jun 3, 2009
    Okay, thanks for the suggestions guys! I've decided to use Substitute over Psycho Shift, since you guys have put forward a good case, and Psycho Shift has been underwhelming as of late. I've been testing out Fire Blast on Tyranitar, but I haven't actually been using it at all, which is peculiar. It's never been anything but a liability, especially on the Choice Scarf set. I'm going to try out Heatran over Magnezone, but my main issue with him is lack of Recovery, and lack of ability to do stuff in general.
  7. BKC

    is a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Tutor Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis the Smogon Tour Season 16 Championis a defending World Cup of Pokemon champion

    May 22, 2010
    You're lacking Stealth Rock, which is huge for any team. Tyranitar won't find itself using Earthquake very often, since it's really only useful for Heatran (you've got Stone Edge, Gastrodon and Latias for him), so consider dropping it for SR. This'll help Gastro take on Thundurus better, since it needs the 25% damage SR will bring in order to nab a 2HKO.

    The other change I'd try out is Roar over Psycho Shift on Latias. Blissey will oustall you anyways and with entry hazards, a well-timed Roar can weaken Latias's grounded counters (Jirachi, Scizor, Tyranitar) well enough so that she can sweep easily late-game. This'll also provide a solid check to CM Reuniclus / Virizion - simply boost up alongside them and then phaze them out, leaving your opponent staring at a +6 Latias. Hope I helped, good luck!
  8. Agammemnon

    Agammemnon A wild Zubat appears!
    is a Contributor Alumnus

    Aug 29, 2009
    Hey buddy,
    Pretty nice team you got here with a touch of "old novelty" aka Machamp.

    For Machamp, I'd like to suggest another spread.
    Machamp @ Lum Berry
    move 1 : DynamicPunch
    move 2 : Substitute
    move 3 : Ice Punch
    move 4 : Payback
    EVs : 128 HP / 244 Atk / 136 SpDef

    This Machamp's substitutes are never broken by a Jellicent's Scald, allowing you to setup on it and wreak havoc. Jellicent is always 2HKOd by Payback. There isn't any real need for Stone Edge, as Ice Punch takes care of globally the same things. The Lum berry ensures you're not getting burnt on the turn you sub, as Jellicent will now be faster than you. The combination of Lum + Sub also virtually protects you from getting statused. Then, under a sub with DynamicPunch you're ready for some fun.

    Your Magnezone isn't achieving much things also. It is setup fodder for things like CM Latias and you don't want this to happen. I'd like to suggest Thunder Wave over Magnet Rise. It compliments Machamp in a good way, allowing it to deploy parafusion strategy AND to outspeed the foe. When I look at your team, it seems slow-paced, and some paralysis would compliment everything.

    You also have no decent check for CM Reuniclus because Tyranitar fails to OHKO it and a mispredict totally screws you over. I'd like to suggest Roar over Psycho Shift on Latias, allowing it to win CMwars and to weaken its counters. It'll also provide you a decent check to the green lantern.

    I also have identified one massive problem from your team, which is Terrakion.
    Factoring in SR, after a SD, which is easily obtainable thanks to Magnezone incapacity to touch it, Terrakion will OHKO your Skarmory, and everything on your team. Therefore the Thunder Wave on Zone is really the best option I can find without disfiguring your team.

    Last thing that chokes me is your lacking of Stealth Rock. I'd use it on Tyranitar over Earthquake, which doesn't serve much in the current meta. Simple but efficient, it covers your Volcarona weakness pretty well, given you're able to shut down the opponent spinner.

    Have a nice day.
  9. GtM


    Jun 3, 2009
    Hi guys. I agree wholeheartedly with Stealth Rock over Earthquake on Tyranitar; Fire Blast just isn't cutting it and as you said, Earthquake is largely redundant. Thunder Wave on Magnezone also seems like a sensible suggestion, although so far I'm very impressed with Heatran and will probably keep him.

    I'll also test Roar on Latias for the aforementioned reasons. Stone Edge is more useful than it appears on Machamp, since it hits Volcorona and Gyarados hard, who can both be threatening sweepers. Furthermore, Payback doesn't have any additional power against Reuniclus, who would most likely be its primary target. I think I'll keep Stone Edge for now.
  10. San_Pellegrino

    San_Pellegrino the eternal dreamer
    is a Team Rater Alumnus

    Sep 22, 2008

    In addition to what a lot of other team raters have noticed about your team, I see also that it lacks speed, which is undesirable in such a fast-paced metagame as BW OU. You are helpless vs. Terrakion after an SD, only able to Roar it out with Skarmory. This is why I suggest using a Scarf Tyranitar with a moveset of Stone Edge | Superpower | Crunch | Pursuit, which allows you to OHKO Terrakion without any hazards, as well as give you insurance vs. Latios, who hits your team very hard with STAB boosted Draco Meteors. The EV's are 252 Atk / 4 HP / 252 Spe and a Jolly nature, which will let you outspeed Starmie. Additionally, the common Chesto Rest Volcarona can become an issue, taking a Toxic from Gastrodon, then simply Resting the status away after boosting to insane levels. The least invasive solution is to use a Relaxed nature on Gastrodon and use Earthquake over Earth Power to actually do some damage to Volcarona while it is trying to boost up.

    Although Magnezone is really key to your team in removing Skarmory, who sets up hazards on the majority of your team, I find that putting a solid dragon resist on the special side is more important. The Heatran set and spread Iconic suggested is ideal. Roar > Psycho Shift on Latias is a definite must, and it is great on this team, with all the entry hazards stacking up. Good luck with the team!

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