|« Previous Article||Home||Next Article »|
I figured it would be good to make my Black and White RMT debut with a balanced team. It's odd how the only teams I have posted up until this point have been offensive or stall teams since I credit balanced teams for helping me learn competitive Pokémon. I created this team in Battling 101's Apprentice Program for the same purpose. Timeneon asked me to tutor him for Round 49 so I wanted to come up with a team that would do well in the current metagame. You might remember I posted a formula for team building in my last RMT that I use in Battling 101. I break the team down into different segments and form cores of synergy that are interchangeable. This works especially well for a balanced team since they rely on synergy more than other styles. Since this team was going to be focused on sandstorm, Tyranitar was obviously the starting point since it is the most effective Sand Streamer. Garchomp was an easy addition to the team since it is the most dominant threat in the current metagame. That forms the beginning of the team since Tyranitar offers functional synergy with Garchomp because of their abilities.
The core was going to need to have synergy with each other as well as support the rest of the team. Rotom-W, Jirachi, and Gliscor cover each other's weaknesses well and handle a plethora of threats in the metagame. The theme here is that they spread status in order to allow the rest of the team to have an easier time sweeping. I felt like the team needed a strong Fighting-type resistance so I decided to add Sigilyph as the last piece. It added another defensive presence that was capable sweeping and spreading additional status. It obviously can't cover every threat in BW, but this strategy has been really successful in the current metagame. Timeoneon marked a lot of improvement by eclipsing a previous ladder best by over 300 points, which I am really proud of. I managed to reach a peak rating of 1589 on route to attaining the #1 rank on Smogon University's leaderboard. As for the team's name, it is a reference to Tales of Symphonia; Solum is the Centurion of Earth, which I thought was an appropriate name for a sandstorm team. Now that the introduction is out of the way, let's take a closer look at the team.
Tyranitar is the ideal lead for this team as it activates sandstorm and can set up Stealth Rock. Its ultimate function is to ensure that sandstorm will outlast any opposing forms of weather. Since it is usually the slowest automatic weather starter, it guarantees that I have the first few turns to put pressure on the opponent in order to gain an early advantage. This usually involves switching to Rotom-W or Jirachi to get burn or paralysis on the opponent in order to allow Garchomp to safely get behind a Substitute. That will force the hand of the opponent to bring in their source of weather, allowing me to get some healthy damage on it or another one of their Pokémon. Since the weather starter on a team is one of the bulkiest members, the damage output to other things is generally high. Pursuit is also a nice tool to use against opposing weather starters because it greatly reduces the amount of times they can switch back in. Sometimes I won't lead with Tyranitar if I see one of a few things in team preview. If the opponent has a Pokémon on the team that is likely to lead against Tyranitar, I will opportunistically choose a different lead. Look for alternate lead match-ups in the other Pokémon summaries.
When you have a battle against a different form of weather, it is a showdown between the five other Pokémon on each team with the weather starters taking a backseat role in order to enable their teammates to do their thing. Although Tyranitar will normally come out on top of a weather battle, it really gets to shine in a different way when it doesn't have to worry about keeping its health until the very end. It can put its respectable Special Defense stat to good use as a secondary check to various special threats. It is also effective from an offensive perspective. Tyranitar will take only about half its health from a physically defensive Gliscor's Earthquake and OHKO it in return with Ice Beam. Fire Blast puts pressure on opposing Spikers such as Ferrothorn, Forretress, and Skarmory. While this team does not like Toxic Spikes, it can still function close to capacity with only one layer down. Not to mention when a player looks at this team, they won't just come right out using Toxic Spikes unless they are very weak to Garchomp. If they are that weak to Garchomp, you can exploit their weakness before they can even set a layer of Toxic Spikes. As for Skarmory, it is the best counter to the Garchomp set used by this team so to be able to have multiple places on this team to damage it with is immensely useful.
Garchomp is the focal point of the team's support because it is capable of doing the most damage. With Sand Veil activated, the accuracy of all the opponent's attacks are reduced by 20%. It supports Tyranitar in return because it can set up on Politoed and Ninetails and do a number on the other members of rain and sun team. All Garchomp needs is one free turn to shred through the opponent's team as long as the proper support has been incorporated. Once you are familiar with this team you'll realize it is tempting to just use Substitute right away until the opponent misses, but that isn't how this team functions best. It isn't meant to rely on luck because on a fundamental level, that would mean you don't have much of a chance of winning otherwise. With paralysis support, Garchomp increases its odds of having a free turn by 25% every turn. Paralysis is usually the most effective way to get a free turn since it works against every Pokémon. Burn is a nice alternative this team offers against Pokémon with physical attacks. For instance, a Ferrothorn afflicted with burn will definitely yield Garchomp a free turn to Swords Dance since you don't need to bank on a miss or a skipped turn from paralysis. The bonus chance of a miss allows the match to snowball in your favor.
Every game is sort of like God's fingerprint when it comes to using Garchomp. What I mean by that is that sometimes you will need to use it early to put pressure on the opponent and other times you can let it hang back until it is ready for the final act. If your opponent has more than one good answer to Garchomp, it is better to wait on a sweep attempt until the coast is clear. You can also use its offensive prowess as a means to getting set up. It has great typing and modest bulk that can be used to its advantage. When you switch into something it won't take much damage from and the opponent needs in order to have a chance of winning, that is a free opportunity to use Substitute. If you break it down, they have two options: Stay in to play a risky game of prediction or switch out and allow you to get powered up. If they happen to stay in and break your Substitute, they have to constantly ponder what you will do. On top of that, if the opponent's attack misses you will completely win out. Since Garchomp will get 4 turns to Substitute from full health the odds are in your favor. Substitute's value goes beyond giving you the chance to get boosted up without taking much damage. It is also great for dealing with faster Pokémon and protecting against status conditions.
This Pokémon is easy to overlook, but it offers incredible team support that would be hard to find in anything else. Sigilyph offers invaluable type coverage with its Ground-type immunity and double Fighting-type resistance and it is one of the greatest status absorbers in the game with its ability, Magic Guard. It can switch into all of the moves you never want to have used against your other Pokémon that include, but are not limited to Leech Seed, Toxic, Will-o-Wisp, Lava Plume, Scald, and Body Slam. With Psycho Shift, you can send any form of status you happen to be inflicted with during the game right back to the opponent. Ideally, you will want to have Sigilyph inflicted by a burn because it allows Sigilyph to beat Tyranitar and other Dark-type Pokémon as well as give Garchomp the best possible support. Sigilyph acts as the team's failsafe because it can cause a game to turn on a dime. All it needs is one turn to pull off a Cosmic Power late game and that can be the difference. That isn't hard to do when you have planted the necessarily support beforehand I might add. Hold on to Sigilyph because it can pull you out of a mess if you play your hand right.
Sigilyph can take on almost everything with a few Cosmic Powers under its belt. The only way it will usually lose in that scenario is from a critical hit. There are things you can do to reduce the chances of those critical hits being able to KO you. If you set up on a slower Pokémon with an Electric-, Ice-, or Rock-type move, you can Roost in between turns to remove the super effective nature of the hit. That will almost guarantee you will survive a critical hit unless it is from a really heavy hitter. The biggest things you will want to avoid taking on are Terrakion and Thundurus since they are extremely powerful and faster than Sigilyph. Once you have gotten enough boosts, you can unleash an enhanced Stored Power. It begins as a base 20 attack, but increases by 20 for every boost you receive. Once you have hit +6 Defense and Special Defense, the base power of Stored Power jumps to 260. STAB is later applied to it in the damage calculation. It is easy to get greedy with Sigilyph, but I only go for as many boosts as I need to get through whatever I am facing because the omnipresent risk of a critical hit is always lurking.
Rotom-W is a vital member of the core because it is the only Pokémon with a Water-type resistance and one of two Pokémon with an Ice-type resistance. Those valuable resistances make it very useful against rain teams since Choice Specs Politoed can be hard to switch into. It will live a Hydro Pump boosted by Drizzle comfortably enough to be able to fire off Pain Split against whatever the opponent decides to throw at it. Rotom-W benefits from having a low HP stat and high defenses, which means it can get the most bank for its buck with Pain Split. No matter what switches into Pain Split will take a lot of damage and and will have to face analmost fully healed Rotom-W. It has all of the tools necessary for harassing utility Pokémon on rain teams. Ferrothorn will end up switching into Will-o-Wisp, which makes Garchomp a major force to threaten the rest of their team. Will-o-Wisp will also cripple Toxicroak and Azumarill, two of the most common physical sweepers seen on rain teams. You can take advantage of Drizzle to boost the strength of Hydro Pump. That can come in handy if the opponent doesn't have something to absorb Water-type attacks. It has so many options for the opponent to fear that I often times pivot with it to get sandstorm back up once the proper support has been set up. Most of the time, it is either Rotom-W or Garchomp that checkmates opposing rain teams.
Rotom-W has other important roles besides giving rain users a headache. The most popular counters to the Garchomp set used on this team are Skarmory, Gliscor, and Slowbro. All of them can be taken out by Rotom-W. I prefer to use Rotom-W as my switch into Gliscor more than my own Gliscor because most of them carry Ice Fang. You are better off avoiding a speed tie situation because it can flinch or carry Taunt and Swords Dance. As might be expected, Rotom-W is the team's main answer against bulky Water-types like the aforementioned Slowbro, Suicune, and Vaporeon. It can also check opposing Rotom-W. I don't like to leave that responsibility to Jirachi alone because Will-o-Wisp is common and the burn status would cripple it for the entire game. Rotom-W is alsothe team's best check to mixed Landorus. I surprisingly didn't run into it often, but when you do you better be careful. If Landorus usage spikes, the first thing I would do is make Rotom-W bulky enough to multiple attacks from it. Infernape is another one of those Pokémon that isn't used widespread and can be checked by Rotom-W. It is much less capable of doing any significant damage to this team because it has to take residual damage from sandstorm. Additionally, Rotom-W helps defend against Fire-type Pokémon and by extension, sun teams.
This Pokémon frustrates a lot of players out there and with good reason. It is the defensive anchor of the team because it handles a good portion of the team's special sponging. Jirachi has two purposes on this team; they are to deal with heavy special threats such as Thundurus and spread paralysis around the opponent's team in order to make Garchomp's life easier. Jirachi makes its biggest splash for this team against rain teams because they commonly run two high powered special threats focused on exploiting Thunder's and Hurricane's 100% accuracy in rain. The only thing that will stop Jirachi from completely shutting down all of a rain team's special options is if they get paralysis and/or confusion on it and benefit from consecutive turns without Jirachi being able to move. As you would imagine, this is quite rare since it takes multiple hits for them to KO Jirachi. When sandstorm is active their odds of attacking are reduced, which puts additional pressure on their Politoed to make sure it is raining. This can be used to your advantage to gain the upper hand in the match because you can continue to execute your strategy while they are preoccupied getting rain back up.
When the opponent shows a Deoxys-S lead, I will commonly make Jirachi the lead in order to limit the amount of support it can muster up. Jirachi is also a reliable counter to Reuniclus because it can switch in to any of its attacks and use Body Slam to get paralysis on it. The odds of it moving after Iron Head are 30%. Jirachi will wear it down over time until it is in range to be killed. Trick Room and other offensive variants fall easily to Jirachi. However, Calm Mind variants can take some time since they run some bulk, but they too have a very slim chance of coming out on top. Latios and Latias are the other things that are easily taken care of by Jirachi. The only thing it doesn't like is being Tricked, but that is avoidable because Tyranitar is an alternate counter to both. Sigilyph and Gliscor are also adequate alternatives to receiving Trick if either one of them no longer has use in the match. I use Body Slam over Thunder Wave for two reasons: One reason being that it is effective against Ground-type Pokémon like Excadrill and Gliscor that commonly switch into Jirachi and the other being that it is an attack, meaning that it will do damage and evade Taunt. Another place where Jirachi offers the team a lot of support is with Wish. In games where Garchomp couldn't get the opponent to stop breaking the Substitute, it's great to be able to replenish its health for another round. It is also beneficial for Rotom-W in games where the opponent has Gliscor and I repeatedly have to switch it in from Jirachi.
Gliscor is the physically defensive juggernaut on the team. It is needed to lockdown game breaking threats like Garchomp, Terrakion, and Excadrill. With Poison Heal, Gliscor will recover 1/8 of its maximum HP at the end of every turn after Toxic Orb is activated. That is twice as much as Leftovers and also ensures Gliscor won't be inflicted with any other form of status. The key is making sure it is activated because if you wait too long and switch it at the moment you desperately need it, you will have to wait until the following turn for recovery. The same can be said for switching into a threat like Jirachi where Body Slam can paralyze you before it activates, essentially making it useless for the rest of the game. When the team preview window is up prior to the start of the game, I will figure out when I can get a free turn to activate its Toxic Orb and what threats I need to save Gliscor for. You have to play in a disciplined manner with Gliscor to stick to the game plan. Only plan to use Gliscor for the most problematic parts of your opponent's team and let the rest of the team handle threats by committee.
Gliscor works best against stat boosting sweepers;for example, when it is switched into Choice Band Garchomp's Outrage, it will take a good portion of damage. In instances like that you will have to fall back on Jirachi to take a resisted hit to keep everything alive. It is easy to get your health back between Toxic Orb, smart switching, and Wish support if necessary. Gliscor isn't limited to just walling as you can guess by the move set. It is also used to shut down opposing Spikers and setting up on them. The combination of Gliscor's bulk and power make it a different kind of monster than Garchomp. It is easily capable of setting up on Skarmory or Ferrothorn and annihilating the opponent's team. You can use this strategy to wear down the opponent over time because after you use Taunt they know what is coming. It is an easy way to spread damage to things like Latios that are trying to stop the bleeding before it starts. Gliscor is also a secondary check to a lot of Fighting-type threats, but most of the time I will leave them to either Sigilyph or Jirachi, as they are more reliable answers. For for information on what to do against almost anything you might come across, take a look at the threat list.
I hope you took the time to read through everything to develop an understanding of the team. Feel free to give it a try yourself and change it however you like. This team is definitely geared towards my style of play so don't assume you will get the same result. It isn't completely past its peak, but the BW metagame changes rather quickly and I don't expect it to maintain its level of dominance for very long. I wanted to showcase this team while I thought it was still relevant. As time goes on I might tweak some of the pieces to allow it to continue its success. If you want to post your ideas on something you think can improve it moving forward, that would be cool. It can be food for thought as the metagame continues to develop. I would like to thank Nastyjungle for making this amazing format and Aerrow for proofreading this thread before I posted. It took a lot of effort to type it all up to the standard I wanted it so I was bound to overlook a bunch of tiny errors. I should also thank Limitless, WhiteQueen, and reachzero for giving me ideas. Whether they knew it or not, it inspired me to make this team. Well that's it, and I hope you enjoyed it!
The world-renowned Pokemon battler, Kevin Garrett has made his first public BW appearance with one of the best teams ever to grace the RMT Forum. Team Solum's Core is based around the dreaded combination of Tyranitar and Garchomp, where the former prepares the battlefield for the latter to sweep unhindered. The remainder of the team also aids Garchomp, but is not fully committed to doing so; each Pokemon has its own individual strategy to increase the chance of victory. In the eyes of any competent battler, it would seem clear that Kevin Garrett has created the ideal team for early Round 4, where users are falling back upon strategies revolving around Latios, rain, and sand as a result of the ban of Blaziken - in short, the team is the epitome of OU balance in the current metagame.
With the advent of generation 5 and the team preview function, generation 4's definition of a conventional lead Pokemon has become rather outdated. However, KG's Tyranitar comes very close, with it leading the team more often than any other Pokemon for several reasons. First of all, it is able to set up Stealth Rock, which is needed on this team to break Focus Sashes (which could be an unwanted nuisance), as well as to limit the lifespan of Pokemon such as Volcarona, which would otherwise present a large threat to this team's core, and strategy, overall. Additionally, Tyranitar is able to kick off battles with a decent amount of momentum as its moveset of Pursuit, Ice Beam, and Fire Blast allows it to effectively deal with a large chunk of the metagame, including threats such as Gliscor, Ferrothorn, Latios, and Latias.
Team Solum's Core's solid core is made up of Rotom-W, Jirachi, Gliscor, and in essence, Tyranitar. Rotom-W provides the team with the ever-important Water-type resistance, which is an absolute necessity in a metagame dominated with weather, especially rain teams with heavy hitters like Choice Specs Politoed and Tornadus. Additionally, it spreads burn status around the opponent's team which contributes greatly to the team's main goal of preparing the field for Garchomp to sweep. Jirachi, part 2 of this team's core, works similarly to Rotom-W - it too fulfills the task of spreading status about the opponent's team, in this case paralysis. Lastly, Jirachi covers for Tyranitar in starting off battles whenever KG sights a Pokemon which would give Tyranitar problems, such as Deoxys-S, which often carry Superpower and lead.
SD + Taunt Gliscor makes up the third section of the core of this team - it is needed to shut down defensive Pokemon such as Ferrothorn and Forretress through the use of Taunt, while also being KG's number one answer to various physically offensive behemoths such as Excadrill and in some cases, Landorus (assuming they lack Hidden Power Ice). Also, Gliscor helps weaken the cores of opposing teams by setting up (with Swords Dance) on incapacitated defensive Pokemon and proceeding to sweep whenever possible, slowly, yet effectively chipping away the opponent's chances of victory. Last, but certainly not least, Tyranitar completes the team's core by providing the role of a special wall, sponging attacks from the likes of Latios (among others) and proceeding to KO them with the appropriate attack. Tyranitar, in some ways, also acts as a wallbreaker as it able to break through defensive cores courtesy of its excellent traits as an offensive Pokemon - Pokemon such as Gliscor and defensive Latias, which would otherwise be a nuisance for Garchomp, easily fall to Tyranitar.
Although Garchomp is the main focus point of the team, it should be noted that every Pokemon on team Solum's Core has a certain offensively based responsibility they are expected to fulfill during the course of a battle. However, these responsibilities have been explained beforehand so I'll just stick to the main 'sweepers' of the team, Garchomp, and in some ways, Sigilyph. Garchomp's amazing base stat layout, great ability, and decent movepool give it all of the characteristics it needs to function as a top threat in the OU tier, if it's given the correct support. In sandstorm, there's the omnipresent chance (20%) of an opponent's move missing, which, when combined with Substitute, creates a powerful and effective combination that is sure to frustrate your opponent. This gives birth to a suitable environment where Garchomp can set up without worrying about the opponent attacking. This 'suitable environment' is made almost perfect after the support from the rest of the team has been applied.
Sigilyph is a rather odd Pokemon in this team - as it does a lot of things on the team, it's difficult to categorize it in terms of its role. However, its two biggest roles would be the glue for this team (as it holds everything together through its amazing ability and base stat layout), as well as being a sort of a 'bulky sweeper' after a single Cosmic Power. However, it should be noted that critical hits are more or less the bane of this Pokemon, so certain precautions must be set before bringing out Sigilyph and letting it loose on an opponent's team. Besides being a potent sweeper, Sigilyph also acts as a team player, as the burn status it spreads through Psycho Shift contributes to the fundamental goal of making Garchomp's sweep easier to execute.
Although the structure of this team is very solid, there are a couple of Pokemon which may present problems in the correct scenarios. This team's foremost threat would be Swords Dance Landorus carrying Hidden Power Ice, as after KG's Rotom-W and Sigilyph have been weakened to a certain extent, a boosted Landorus could easily shred through this team with Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Hidden Power Ice. Alongside Landorus, Volcarona also presents a huge problem for this team if Stealth Rock has not been set up or has been spun away - after a single Quiver Dance, Volcarona has the potential to run through the defensive backbone of the team without breaking a sweat; even with Stealth Rock down, the rare ChestoRest Volcarona variants will be problems in the hands of a smart player. Lastly, Pokemon such as Rotom-W need to be played around carefully, as a misplay by KG could result in irreversible harm to the core of the team.
Team Solum's Core, in my opinion, has represented the metagame of (early) Round 4 more or less perfectly. The team has been able to use some of the top (and even underrated, in Sigilyph's case) threats in the OU metagame, while simultaneously preparing itself for the threats it would inevitably have to face. Along with being able to defeat individual threats, team Solum's Core is also able to combat many of the dominant strategies in the tier, such as rain and opposing sandstorm teams. As is evident to any active battler, team Solum's Core has been a substantial source of inspiration for many of the newer teams (and even older ones) that are seen on the ladder. If you've played on the ladder against it recently, you have gotten a taste of the power that has been granted to players by Solum's Core (a futile attempt to reference the team name ...)!
|« Previous Article||Home||Next Article »|