Winter's Guardians An OU RMT Hi guys, this is jpw234 with an OU RMT for you. I haven't been around too much and would like to get a bit more involved with the Smogon community. As I see it, there's three ways to sort of become more relevant, in descending order of importance: 1. Contribute well to the forums 2. Win 3. Innovate Hopefully with this post, I'm doing all three! I've been laddering with this team off-and-on over the last week under the alt tonyg88 on Pokemon Showdown, and achieved a pretty respectable rating of 1996 (just missed 2000), good for #25 on the ladder. I think this is good, but I also know it could be better, so I'm hoping you guys can help me out. However, in addition to simply making my team better I also aim to show that the BW2 metagame has a lot more room for variety in teambuilding than I think many give it credit for. I think a lot of people are locked into the idea that weather balance, weather offense, and Deo-D HO are broadly the only team archetypes that are viable in OU, based on the existence of Drizzle and Drought and the generational power creep. I humbly submit that this is by no means the case, and while offense is certainly good and has a lot of cool toys to play with, a solidly constructed stall team is just as viable as ever. Useless whining below: Hide (Move your mouse to the hide area to reveal the content) Show Hide Hide Hide Another thing I've noticed on the RMT forum is that posts from well-known battlers (Tobes, Lavos Spawn, etc.) tend to get a lot of attention, while those from unknown posters tend to get brushed off. Basically, there's a higher standard these posters have to live up to, and they're assumed to be scrubs unless their team is pretty awesome. I'm aware that not only am I completely unknown, but I'm also using a strategy that gets scoffed at by many OU players as being gimmicky or out-of-date. I respectfully ask that you not brush this team aside and give it a fair chance - perhaps take it for a test run. While I'm not the best battler it has gotten very high on the ladder and I firmly believe that this has the potential to be just as good as any other team out there. First Look Team PhilosophyThe GOAL of the team is to tank the opposition's attacks while whittling down their HP utilizing (in decreasing order of importance) toxic damage, hail, and entry hazards. The MOST DIRECT METHOD of doing this is by setting up Walrein to do its job, but that is by no means necessary and probably only features in about 40-50% of my wins. For reference if you don't know what I'm talking about: the original Stallrein post. This is from 4th gen, but while the threats have changed, the basic idea of the set has not. Just to give you a lens into my thought process while battling with this team, here's a basic checklist that occurs at the team preview screen before pretty much any battle. Most important questions first. 1. Do they have any pokemon which I only have one counter/check to? This is necessary in order to determine what pokemon on my team I have to keep around, and constrains and shapes the risks or choices I'll take during the battle. For example, if there's a Keldeo on their team, I probably won't want Latias taking all that many hits from other pokemon. Similarly if I see a Jirachi, I probably want Gliscor around. 2. What's the pokemon their strategy most relies on, and how can I neutralize it? For example, a typical rain stall team with a FerroCent core might be most reliant on Jellicent, to ensure that hazards stay on my side of the field. So I might be willing to take a couple of extra risks to, say, get a Toxic off on Jellicent. Other common "key pokemon" are weather starters, Deo-D, hazard setters, etc. 3. Is this team Walrein-weak, and if so, where are my setup opportunities? This takes some experience with Walrein, but it's not uncommon to see a team that is obviously fairly susceptible to a Walrein "sweep", either right off the bat, or after one or two pokemon have been weakened/removed. If this is the case, I need to identify who Walrein can set up on. Prime targets include offensive pokemon like Gyarados, Mamoswine, Landorus-T, Dragonite and Salamence, or defensive pokemon like Chansey/Blissey, Ferrothorn or Rotom-W. Baiting out these pokemon will be useful in inducing QQ and ragequits. The Team Abomasnow (M) @ Expert Belt Trait: Snow Warning Shiny: Yes EVs: 252 Atk / 112 SAtk / 144 Spd Lonely Nature - Wood Hammer - Hidden Power [Fire] - Ice Shard - Earthquake So obviously, any hail team needs to have Abomasnow in order to get the hail going. This set is easily the most useful Abomasnow has ever been for me, which is saying a lot, considering that his stats are anything but spectacular and it's very easy for him to become Ninetales-like deadweight. This particular set utilizes his good offensive coverage to win the weather war and surprise typical counters. As far as the weather war goes, Wood Hammer OHKOs pretty much every standard Tyranitar or Politoed set, and Abomasnow outspeeds all defensive versions of those pokemon. Earthquake also substantially damages Ninetales - I believe it OHKOs most versions after Stealth Rock. Hidden Power Fire 2HKOs Ferrothorn and Skarmory while OHKOing Scizor. By the way, guys, Abomasnow outspeeds Scizor - use Bullet Punch if you don't want to die. Finally Ice Shard is a great move in general, OHKOing Salamence and offensive Dragonites after multiscale, and finishing off weakened threats like Latios, the genies, Gengar and Alakazam. Despite being the only way to keep hail up, Abomasnow often stays exposed for a long time. This is because my team really is not all that reliant on hail - in fact, outside Walrein, the other four pokemon rather prefer their leftovers recovery. Keeping hail up is useful in some battles and less useful in others, and the way that I play Abomasnow is very dependent on the matchup I'm facing. All in all, this set's versatility and power makes it very useful, and he's racked up multiple KOs in many battles that I've been in. Blissey (F) @ Leftovers Trait: Natural Cure Shiny: Yes EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SDef Bold Nature - Aromatherapy - Softboiled - Toxic - Seismic Toss Next up is the pink blob that doesn't die, Blissey. Blissey's role on the team is to sponge special attacks, spread toxic, and ensure that my pokemon remain status-free for as long as possible. And she performs this job impeccably well. The good thing about Blissey is that you pretty much know what you're going to get in any given battle with very little variation. Seismic Toss will always do 100 damage, Aromatherapy will always heal my burnt Abomasnow, etc. Very few special sweepers out there can combat Blissey without a boost - Keldeo, Specs Thundurus-T, and perhaps Sheer Force Landorus are the only ones which are always dangers to 1 or 2HKO - and the ones that can generally are reliant on Focus Miss, which is never a good thing to be reliant on. Blissey is played fairly conservatively - switch in, Softboiled if I'm ever in a hint of trouble, Toxic whenever it's possible and Seismic Toss whenever it isn't. A surprising number of teams are pretty much unable to break through Blissey when something like Terrakion is gone, and Blissey has several times faced down as many as four pokemon without batting an eye. Definitely a critical component to this team. Forretress @ Leftovers Trait: Overcoat EVs: 252 Def / 252 HP / 4 Atk Relaxed Nature IVs: 0 Spd - Rapid Spin - Stealth Rock - Spikes - Gyro Ball Unsurprisingly, it's difficult to find a good picture of Forretress. Who would want to draw Forretress, it sucks. Yes, Forretress sucks and I hate it with a passion. I wish that I didn't have to use it and it fails miserably at the worst possible times. And yet, here he is. Despite my irrational and unfounded hatred of the pokemon (which stems from the fact that none of my offensive teams could ever stop it from setting up fifteen layers of hazards with impunity), he generally does what is necessary for my team - spins. Really, anything else is just a bonus. Stealth Rock and Spikes are both here because they don't really fit anywhere else, and since "momentum" isn't even in this team's vocabulary Volt Switch doesn't really fit. Gyro Ball is useful to 2HKO Gengar and hurt a bunch of other physical threats that Forretress can handle if necessary - Terrakion, Breloom, Mamoswine, and physical dragons, to name a few. I say "if necessary" because I try to avoid exposing Forretress to all that much danger in most battles. Abomasnow and Walrein are vulnerable to every entry hazard and take 25% from Stealth Rock, making Rapid Spinning a very important task. Generally, Forretress ducks in, spins, and ducks out, setting up SR here and there when he gets the opportunity. In all honesty, despite my hatred he's relatively solid and gets the job done most of the time. A quick note - I use Overcoat over Sturdy on Forretress, which obviously would be terrible on almost any team, however, considering that hail is usually the weather when I'm battling, it's better. Forretress usually switches into Stealth Rock and while in sand/sun/rain his leftovers would heal him back to 100%, hail negates leftovers recovery and would make sturdy pretty useless in just about every instance. It's also nice because I technically beat opposing Forretress who lack Volt Switch (because my Rapid Spin damage sticks around while theirs is negated by Leftovers), so I generally come out with a layer of hazards down when that situation happens. Latias (F) @ Leftovers Trait: Levitate EVs: 252 HP / 60 Def / 198 Spd Timid Nature - Calm Mind - Dragon Pulse - Recover - Hidden Power Fire This slot has been occupied by many pokemon as the team has evolved, but I've finally settled on a mono-attacking CM Latias to fill the spot. Latias tanks hits from both sides of the spectrum and hits back reasonably hard, while always maintaining the threat of a CM-boosted sweep. Thus, Latias provides a little bit of offensive pressure on an otherwise mostly defensive team. While Gliscor is a dedicated physical wall and Blissey is a dedicated special wall, Latias is more of a utility wall that is useful in a lot of different situations. Most notably, Latias provides my counter to Keldeo, which is otherwise annoying to deal with, and also Venusaur. It also helps check Breloom, Terrakion, the genies, Alakazam, Infernape and more. Against stall teams, Latias can provide a "win condition" unless they carry something like CM Jirachi or Perish Song. Overall, Latias is a very useful pokemon to patch up random weaknesses of the team. Latias is often used as a slightly inferior counter to some pokemon when Gliscor or Blissey need to be kept for specific threats - for example, I'd generally use Gliscor to take a CC from Terrakion. But, if my opponent also has Jirachi and I'm trying to keep Gliscor safe, I might use Latias instead. It also enjoys boosting up on special attackers like Starmie, some versions of Gengar, and Thundurus. I tend to wonder about the EV spread...does Latias really need max speed? Sometimes I think that some extra defense could be helpful, but I'll defer to a more experienced rater who could help me out here. As per Electrolyte's rate, Substitute has been changed to HP Fire on Latias. This makes it slightly weaker against stall, but helps a lot in beating a bunch of major threats to my team - nailing Ferrothorn, Jirachi, Scizor, Lucario, Weavile and Breloom for a bunch of damage. The EVs were also changed to make it slightly bulkier - I miss out on outspeeding the musketeers, but I'm not really staying in on them anyway except Keldeo which can't touch me. The only major thing that I now fail to outspeed is Choice Specs/LO Latios, which was a speed tie in any case and is better handled by Abomasnow's Ice Shard or Blissey. Gliscor @ Toxic Orb Trait: Poison Heal EVs: 244 HP / 44 Def / 220 Spd Impish Nature - Earthquake - Toxic - Roost - Taunt Gliscor is my dedicated physical wall, Blissey's counterpart. It can take hits from pretty much any physical attacker without breaking a sweat, Toxic them, and watch them die. This is a very defensive Gliscor set, which I think is necessary given the needs of the team. Earthquake obviously provides a useful and generic STAB attack that OHKOs Heatran, hurts Tyranitar, whacks Jirachi and other steels, etc. Gliscor is my second pokemon with Toxic, which he spread whenever possible in order to rack up damage. Roost is necessary to be able to take repeated attacks from heavy-hitters and be ready to go throughout the entirety of the game. Finally, Taunt is a useful move which I don't have anywhere else and which shuts down pokemon like Skarmory. I suppose I could run Ice Fang here? I haven't really tested it out, but it seems like Taunt is a good thing to have somewhere on a team. Gliscor comes in whenever it is necessary to take a physical hit. Terrakion, Lucario, CBTar, Scizor, etc. It's pretty good at tanking these attacks and removing annoying pokemon from the game. Not much to say here, a very very solid pokemon which is useful on pretty much any stall team. The EVs have been changed to outspeed both Lucario and Toxicroak, who otherwise pose large threats to the team with Ice Punch. Despite losing some defensive prowess this is a necessary tradeoff. However, if Jellicent is eventually placed in the team, this change will probably be undone to retain some more physical bulk. Well, that's usually all people see when facing this pokemon. Walrein @ Leftovers Trait: Ice Body EVs: 232 HP / 252 Def / 24 SDef Bold Nature - Protect - Substitute - Toxic - Blizzard The demon of the ice, the bringer of pain, the cause of many migraines across the Pokemon Showdown server - the mighty Stallrein. Now many of you reading this are probably dubious that Walrein is still effective in this metagame, which is, admittedly, very offensive. I am here to tell you than Walrein is still able to frustrate a huge number of teams and can find many opportunities to set up. For the uninitiated - with hail up, because of his ability Ice Body and Leftovers, Walrein regains 12.5% of its health per turn. So, it can Substitute (-25%), regain 12.5%, and then Protect, regaining another 12.5%. Then as you break the sub it Substitutes again, creating a theoretically 32-turn Sub-Protect cycle while your pokemon dies to hail, toxic or Life Orb damage. Assuming the weather war is won (which is the only time I'd try to do this), there are very few counters to this strategy - Bullet Seed, Taunt, Perish Song, and a choice few others which are enumerated elsewhere. Suffice it to say, if Walrein can survive a hit with at least 25% of its health left, then you're probably going to have a bad time. "But jpw234", you say, "it's got bad defensive typing and merely average defensive stats. Where could it possibly find the opportunity to set up?" ALL OVER the current OU meta, as you'll see below. Hide (Move your mouse to the hide area to reveal the content) Show Hide Hide Hide The following is an inexhaustive list of calculations from popular OU pokemon which can't do more than the 75% necessary to stop Walrein from wreaking havoc. Assuming Stealth Rock is in play, the magic number becomes 62.5% (because even though SR removes 25%, I can usually protect the next turn to regain 12.5%). These are taken off of Honkalculator, and for each pokemon I've provided only the attack which does the most damage, so you should presume that the other attacks on the set are similarly ineffective. Particularly useful ones are bolded. Salamence (OU MixMence) Draco Meteor 64.2 - 75.65% Tornadus (OU Hurricane [Life Orb]) Hurricane 63.24 - 74.46% Landorus-T (OU Rock Polish) Stone Edge 62.76 - 73.74% Tyranitar (OU Choice Scarf) Stone Edge 61.57 - 73.03% Hydreigon (OU Mixed Attacker [Expert Belt]) Draco Meteor 61.81 - 73.03% Dragonite (OU Choice Band) Outrage 60.85 - 71.59% Latios (OU Choice [Choice Scarf]) Draco Meteor 58.23 - 68.73% Mamoswine (OU Physical Attacker [Life Orb]) Stone Edge 57.75 - 68.25% Weavile (OU Physical Attacker [Choice Band]) Low Kick 56.8 - 67.3% Gyarados (OU Offensive Dragon Dance) Stone Edge 55.84 - 66.34% Below here, you can set up while switching into Stealth Rock (i.e., below 62.5%) Mamoswine (OU Choice Scarf) Superpower 52.98 - 62.52% Dragonite (OU Tank) Draco Meteor 52.98 - 62.52% Rotom-W (OU Bulky Attacker) Volt Switch 50.59 - 60.14% Scizor (OU Choice Scarf) Superpower 48.68 - 57.27% Ferrothorn (OU Standard) Power Whip 44.86 - 53.46% Dragonite (OU Tank (Rain)) Thunder 43.91 - 52.02% Rotom-W (OU Specially Defensive) Volt Switch 41.52 - 49.16% Dragonite (OU Dragon Dance) Outrage 40.33 - 47.97% Salamence (OU Choice Scarf) Outrage 37.23 - 43.91% So basically - a bunch of Dragons, scarf Keldeo, Scizor's Bullet Punch, Rotom-W's Volt Switch, Mamoswine, Landorus-T...the list goes on. And once Walrein gets going, it usually doesn't end well for the opposition. Substitute and Protect are obviously the two most important moves, but the other two are also incredibly useful. Toxic is useful to speed things up and also necessary against pokemon holding leftovers (like DDNite), or Ice pokemon (like Mamoswine and Weavile). Meanwhile, Blizzard is a good STAB attack that ruins a bunch of pokemon without requiring exhaustive setup. The best thing about Walrein is that it has a lot of use even outside generating the 32-turn stall. Against many of the above pokemon it can switch in, force it out, and either Toxic something or whack it with a reasonably strong Blizzard. And even when hail is not up it tanks a wide variety of physical attacks and can Toxic/Blizzard stuff to death. If rain is up it can perform a stunted version of the Sub/Protect cycle and Toxic stall many pokemon. This is the MVP of the team. Those who were around in 4th generation probably remember Stallrein and trust me, it's just as annoying now. Very little can stop it once it gets rolling and it's very hard to stop it from setting up. In short, Stallrein is incredibly well-positioned to take advantage of the current offensive meta, where most pokemon don't have leftovers to avoid dying from hail, and wreck entire teams which are unprepared to face its wrath. Edit: I'm adding some games showing how the team plays. Walrein beats a hyper-offensive team: http://www.pokemonshowdown.com/replay/ou10002935 Outstanding, drawn-out stall game vs Kidogo: http://www.pokemonshowdown.com/replay/ou10024165 Some Closing RemarksSo, that's the team, Winter's Guardians. It's done fairly well for me so far and I think it can become better. In order to give a jumpstart to those willing to help me out, here's some threats that this team has trouble handling: LO SDRoost Scizor: This is enemy number one in my mind. Not because I lose to it most - in fact I don't see it often and have beaten it because people tend to misplay (letting it get low enough that Gliscor can taunt it and basically force it to kill itself between LO recoil and hail damage). However, I'm pretty sure that if played right it wrecks my team. I don't think it can switch into Gliscor, but if it gets a boost anywhere else it's tough to stop. Conkeldurr: The recent rise of Ice Punch Conkeldurr makes him difficult. Fortunately this tends to show up on weatherless teams so Walrein can Toxic and then stall him out (as he Subs faster than Drain Punch and can tank any Mach Punch below like, +3), but otherwise he can often kill 2-3 pokemon before Toxic brings him down. As pointed out by butterfingers158 - Lucario: In a similar vein to Conkeldurr, if SD Lucario carries Ice Punch I'm in a bit of a bind. I've been fortunate enough to not encounter this very often, but it does quite suck to kill. Gengar: Just kind of annoying to kill. Nothing on my team really enjoys facing it 1v1. Forretress can Gyro Ball followed by Ice Shard for the KO, or Walrein can Blizzard followed by Ice Shard, but neither likes Focus Blast. Jirachi: Gliscor can generally kill it but it's a pain. Flinch-hax can cost the game. Those are the main threats. Other things which I can handle but are slightly annoying to face include Tentacruel, Reuniclus, Kyurem-B, and well put together Baton Pass teams. If you have any ideas for making the team stronger against these threats, please let me know. Thanks to all who read. As I said, I hope not only to improve my team, but also to get people to consider stall as a legitimate force in the current metagame. Hopefully this team has gone some way in convincing you of this. Rate, hate, luvdisc!