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With Generation IV drawing to a close, I thought it'd be interesting to examine an unconventional team. In a metagame where teams seem to be looking more and more alike, seeing a successful team that rejects the accepted standard is refreshing. For some reason hail stall has been overlooked by many top battlers. The team retirement's comes on the heels of Lady Bug's Smogon Tour victory. With 'Team Hail Stall #2,' Lady Bug shows that this teamstyle is viable and can be used at the highest echelons of play.
The team leads off with the infamous Abomasnow, a staple on any hail team. He provides the crucial hail, which hits non-Ice-types for 6.25% each turn, allowing Lady Bug to wear his opponent's Pokémon down. Wood Hammer is the first STAB attack, which is great for disposing of bulky Water-types. While the 1/3 recoil damage is off-putting, one must keep in mind that it's a small price to pay to be able to neutralize many of the team's biggest problems. Blizzard is the second choice of STAB; with its base 120 power and 100% accuracy in hail, it is an excellent attacking option. Protect is given a slot on the moveset so Abomasnow can scout, since it matches up poorly with many of the metagame's top threats. The last move, Leech Seed, preserves Stealth Rock-weak Abomasnow's longevity along with providing team support. The EVs give Abomasnow special bulk, so it can reliably switch in to many of the game's special threats, since the most common physical attackers run moves that score super effective hits against the sentient Christmas tree.
Lady Bug follows up with Skarmory, one of the best spikestackers in the game. With Spikes in his arsenal, Skarmory can severely limit the opponent's switch options, doing up to 25% damage to each Pokémon that comes in. With that in mind, Whirlwind is a natural fit on this set. Whenever Skarmory is in an advantageous position, he can phaze Pokémon, further weakening the opposing team. To preserve its longevity, Skarmory runs Roost. With this move Skarmory is capable of nursing attacks that fail to 2HKO while setting up Spikes. Rounding off the set is Brave Bird, which is useful for stopping Pokémon like Lucario and Breloom, who would otherwise set up against Skarmory. The EV spread balances out Skarmory's defensive capabilities. A physically defensive giant, Skarmory is vulnerable to special attacks. In this case, Lady Bug weakens Skarmory's ability to sponge physical attacks so he can give it decent special bulk. This proves to be quite useful as what were once 2HKOs become 3HKOs, allowing Skarmory to execute its deadly stack and heal combo.
Usually relegated to UU, Nidoqueen makes an appearance as the team's utility user. Toxic Spikes is designated for the first move slot, as it is incredibly useful. Since there are very few Poison-types in OU, it is overwhelmingly likely that something on the opponent's team will be poisoned. Pokémon that normally enjoy longevity are suddenly crippled, unable to stay in for more than a few turns. Lacking room on the rest of his team, Lady Bug gives Stealth Rock to Nidoqueen. Stealth Rock has been a staple on any competitive team, and with good reason. The pointed stones hit everything in the game (besides Clefable) for residual damage, thus placing a tax on switching. To deal with Forretress and Scizor, Nidoqueen runs Fire Blast. It should also be noted that opposing Skarmory will be 2HKOed, thus preventing the iron bird from setting up Spikes with ease. Finally, Nidoqueen runs Earthquake, an excellent STAB move that also enables Nidoqueen to be a reliable Lucario counter. It is EVed in HP and Defense to allow it to act as a physical tank.
No Pokémon is more common on stall teams that Blissey, and with good reason. She's by far the best special wall in the game. Besides sponging special attacks, Blissey serves an important support role on the team. Since many of Lady Bug's Pokémon lack reliable recovery, Blissey is given Wish, preserving their longevity and healing herself. Because it takes a turn for Wish to activate, Blissey runs Protect. Protect is crucial to the set, eliminating the turn delay and allowing Blissey to Toxic stall opposing Pokémon. Blissey runs Toxic for non-grounded Pokémon, such as Zapdos, who would otherwise pose a reasonable threat to the team. The last moveslot is designated for Seismic Toss, so Blissey can exact direct damage on opposing Pokémon should it be necessary.
Spiritomb is the team's spinblocker of choice. Normally thought to be outclassed by Rotom-A, it fits well with the rest of the team. Will-O-Wisp is the status move of choice, cutting the attack of opposing Pokémon in half. This can be especially useful against opposing Lucario and Scizor. A more unique move is Pursuit, which allows Spiritomb to remove opposing Psychic- and Ghost-types with ease. To give Spiritomb a way to heal itself, Lady Bug utilizes the popular Rest / Sleep Talk combination. This is great for PP stalling when used in conjunction with Spiritomb's Pressure ability. Spiritomb is EVed to be concentrated in special bulk, since it will want to be able to handle the ever-common Life Orb Rapid Spin Starmie.
Rounding off the team is Lady Bug's spinner of choice, Starmie. He forgoes a more offensive set in favor Defensive capability and Leftovers recovery. Surf is the STAB move of choice, favored over Hydro Pump for its higher PP and accuracy. Plus, since Starmie is the team's primary Infernape response, it wants to be able to reliably eliminate the deadly sweeper. Thunderbolt is chosen because it offers excellent coverage with Surf, hitting Water-types for super effective damage. Rapid Spin is a must-have, as it removes the opponent's entry hazards. It should be noted that Rapid Spin gives Lady Bug a decisive edge over opposing stall teams. To make sure Starmie sticks around, the final move slot is designated for Recover, giving Starmie 50% of its HP back, since it can be worn down by hail.
While 'Team Hail Stall #2' is certainly a great team, it has a few drawbacks. Dragon Dance Dragonite poses a significant threat to the team, as a +1 Life Orb-boosted Outrage OHKOs everything on the team besides Skarmory, who fears a Fire-type auxiliary attack. Another problematic Pokémon is Wish Calm Mind Jirachi, who can set up effortlessly, being immune to Toxic damage. These threats aside, Lady Bug does a good job at being a leg up on the metagame. The strange team structure gives him a psychological edge, throwing many opponents who aren't used to hail stall off. Ultimately, through a combination of factors, Lady Bug has showed us that hail stall should be feared, creating a team that has undoubtedly left its mark on the game.
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