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! Team Building Process (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Team Building Process (open) Team Building Process (close) 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. 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. Skarmory @ 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 (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Threat List (open) Threat List (close) Threat List Volcorona: 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.