Core Crisis II: Tiers of Joy

By barry4ever, Heysup, and zdrup15. Art by SoIheardyoulikeSENTRET.
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Hey folks, Core Crisis is back! This second article will bring you more interesting combinations we recommend you should try on your teams. Like the first article, there will be some OU cores because OU is THE BEST TIER EVE—I mean, OU is a cool tier but not as cool as Ubers and UU, and this has nothing to do with the fact barry and Heysup are saying they'll kick me out if I don't write this. Jokes aside, we've raised the bar and we have three tiers this time, so it's three times the fun! We included both offensive and defensive cores for all three main tiers, so that almost every player can find something they like here. Now, enough with the talk, here are the cores!

Effective Offensive Cores


Rotom-W and Scizor

Rotom-W Scizor
Rotom-W @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Volt Switch
- Hydro Pump
- Trick
- Hidden Power Ice
Scizor @ Choice Band
Ability: Technician
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Bullet Punch
- U-turn
- Superpower
- Pursuit / Quick Attack

Everyone knows that being one step ahead of your opponent is the key to winning a match, and there are numerous ways to accomplish this; one of them is by keeping the momentum. That's what this core aims to do: it capitalizes on your ability to predict your opponent's switches and punish them. Rotom-W is perhaps the best bulky Water-type this generation alongside Jellicent, while Scizor has been one of the main powerhouses since DPP OU. Neither of them can sweep on their own—although Scizor can clean up late-game with its powerful Bullet Punch—but they can provide many free switches for their teammates. Scizor can also trap dangerous threats such as Latios and Latias that give Rotom-W much grief. These reasons might already seem to be enough to use this core, but pair these Pokemon with entry hazards, and you have in your hands a powerful strategy indeed! In fact, if you add the entry hazard damage to the numerous switches you'll force, you'll see that there aren't many Pokemon capable of enduring this. So pair this core with a spinblocker—to make sure you keep those hazards—and watch as your opponent pulls his hair out.

Although these Pokemon can both hit hard, they can't take down some of the walls in OU. Jellicent and Jirachi are the main examples of Pokemon that dismantle this combination. The former has access to Will-O-Wisp to neutralize Scizor and Recover to take multiple attacks from Rotom-W; the latter isn't hit for super effective damage by either and has Body Slam or Thunder Wave to slow the core down. However, there is a way to get past them, and that is Trick. A well-timed Trick can cripple any wall in OU, forcing a switch at the same time, which means you've ultimately got the free switch you wanted.


Ferrothorn and Kyogre

Ferrothorn Kyogre
Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature (+SpD, -Spe)
- Leech Seed
- Spikes
- Power Whip
- Protect
Kyogre @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Drizzle
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Water Spout
- Surf
- Thunder
- Ice Beam

Would you believe me if I told you that an iron-clad vine and a big bad whale team up to form one of the deadliest cores in BW Ubers? Well, you better believe it, since this is as close as it gets to an "ideal" combination. Once competitive players had gotten a feel of BW Ubers, it was quite easy to say that Ferrothorn and Kyogre were made for each other. They share excellent synergy and complement each other completely. The stormy weather Kyogre brings also reduces Ferrothorn's 4x Fire-type weakness, while Ferrothorn provides an excellent answer to most Pokemon which give Kyogre problems, thanks to its fantastic defensive typing. Blissey and Chansey are set up on and just get their HP drained off by Leech Seed, while Zekrom has to resort to a highly innaccurate Focus Blast to even threaten Ferrothorn. Ferrothorn also serves as an effective Grass Arceus and Latias check with Toxic. Furthermore, Ferrothorn provides the one thing a hit-and-run attacker like Scarf Kyogre really cherishes: Spikes. With a full set of Spikes down, no Pokemon will be able to keep on sponging Kyogre's high-powered STAB Water Spouts and Thunders for too long.

Though Ferrothorn and Kyogre have excellent synergy, Palkia can still be troublesome when played skillfully. Fire Blast will 2HKO Ferrothorn even in the rain, while Thunder will take a massive chunk of Kyogre's health away. Palkia variants carrying Subsititute are especially dangerous since they can bluff Choice Scarf and put this core on the back foot. Grass Arceus can set up on Ferrothorn lacking Toxic and has enough bulk to survive two Water Spouts from Scarf Kyogre. After enough Calm Mind boosts, Ice Beam will 2HKO Ferrothorn while Grass Knot will dent most Ubers even when unboosted. Wobbuffet can trap Ferrothorn and lock it into an ineffective move, enabling a sweeper such as DD Rayquaza to set up. Darkrai variants with Substitute or Focus Sash are also problematic, as they can put Kyogre to sleep and pound Ferrothorn with Focus Blast. To combat these threats, support Dialga with Roar serves as a reliable check to most Palkia variants thanks to Draco Meteor and can phaze out Grass Arceus if it tries to get too many boosts. Chansey and Blissey cannot really touch Dialga apart from with Seismic Toss, and get phazed out with Roar. Apart from that, Dialga can also set up Stealth Rock to further soften up checks like Chansey. It also has the ability to cripple Darkrai leads by running Lum Berry and Thunder Wave, thus making a great partner for this core overall.


Darmanitan, Roserade, and Rhyperior

Darmanitan Roserade Rhyperior
Darmanitan @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Flare Blitz
- Earthquake
- Fire Punch / Superpower
- U-turn
Roserade @ Life Orb
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 40 HP / 252 SpA / 216 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Sludge Bomb
- Leaf Storm / Giga Drain
- Sleep Powder
- Rest / Giga Drain / Hidden Power Fire
Rhyperior @ Choice Band
Ability: Solid Rock
EVs: 40 HP / 252 Atk / 216 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Rock Blast
- Megahorn

This combination is based on Darmanitan's ability to force switches to very particular counters. U-turn allows Darmanitan to not only lure in a particular counter, but also dent and switch out of it in the same turn. When Darmanitan comes in, chances are the opponent will switch to a Rock-type, bulky Water-type, or a Fire-type with Intimidate or Flash Fire (such as Arcanine or Chandelure). This means that Darmanitan can simply switch to the appropriate teammate to wreak havoc on the opponent. Roserade is the prime choice for dealing with Pokemon such as Suicune, Milotic, Slowbro, and Rhyperior. If they switch in, they're going to be faced with a 383 SpA powerhouse with access to Sleep Powder, and as a result, basically nothing is safe. Roserade's strength truly lies with Sleep Powder, since if there is an odd Pokemon that doesn't take damage from its STAB moves or the Hidden Power it's carrying, then Roserade can simply use Sleep Powder and switch out, generally free of any damage (obviously, Sleep Powder needs to hit and last a second turn). It also often lures in some threats that also counter Darmanitan, meaning it can weaken or incapacitate them for Darmanitan, allowing for a sweep. Those particular counters, of course, also tend to allow Rhyperior easy entry.

When Darmanitan comes in and U-turns out of Fire-types or faster Rock-types, Rhyperior functions similarly to Roserade, but its strength is simply in its all-out power. Carrying a similar Attack stat to Darmanitan, but boosted by a Choice Band, Rhyperior can obliterate many teams with the right move, generally Earthquake. If any physical wall comes in, it's almost certainly going to be 2HKOed. Like Roserade, Rhyperior also carries some overlap "counters" with Darmanitan, meaning it can possibly weaken or KO them itself with correct prediction, allowing Darmanitan to sweep more easily. The beauty of this is that when Milotic or Suicune happen to survive an Earthquake or luckily switch into a Megahorn, they will merely be greeted by none other than Roserade. This offensive combo builds off of every sweeper and poses an unrelenting onslaught of powerful wall-breaking attacks until Darmanitan can sweep, if anything is left that is.

Effective Defensive Cores


Ferrothorn, Dragonite, and Politoed

Ferrothorn Dragonite Politoed
Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 120 Def / 136 SpD
Relaxed Nature (+Def, -Spe)
- Gyro Ball
- Stealth Rock
- Leech Seed
- Power Whip
Dragonite @ Leftovers
Ability: Multiscale
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Def / 220 SpD / 16 Spe
Calm Nature (+SpD, -Atk)
- Hurricane
- Thunder
- Substitute
- Roost
Politoed @ Leftovers
Ability: Drizzle
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Scald
- Toxic
- Perish Song
- Protect

Ok, by now you must be thinking, why did I choose this core?! It isn't as common as SkarmBliss, FerroCent, or Heatran + Gastrodon + Skarmory. Well, that's exactly why I chose it! Everyone knows about the former two and the latter was explained in the last issue. This core—as most defensive cores do—relies mostly on type synergy to work, and the three Pokemon can counter / check most threats in OU. It fares well against sun and hail teams, which have Dragonite and Ferrothorn among their top enemies, with Politoed having a good match-up against most weather inducers—damn you, Yeti! Set-up sweepers will also have a hard time against these Pokemon thanks to moves such as Toxic, Leech Seed, and Perish Song.

Don't get me wrong, the core isn't invincible. While it can keep every sweeper you normally see on sand teams at bay, if something nasty manages to grab a Swords Dance boost, prepare to suffer. Terrakion is especially troublesome thanks to its huge base Attack and excellent double STABs, so you have to make sure you don't give it a chance to set up, even though Politoed will probably be able to take one hit (87%-103% from non-Life Orb +2 Close Combat) and KO back with Scald. Landorus can also be problematic, and since they are usually seen together, you may want to consider another check to sand teams. Finally, the three Pokemon are significantly affected by entry hazards, so a Rapid Spin user is always a good idea.


Lugia and Chansey

Lugia Chansey
Lugia @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Reflect
- Roost
- Toxic / Ice Beam
- Dragon Tail / Whirlwind
Chansey @ Eviolite
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 SpD
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Wish
- Softboiled
- Seismic Toss / Toxic
- Heal Bell

Possibly the most potent defensive combination in Ubers, Lugia and Chansey can pretty much take everything most Ubers are capable of throwing at them. Though originally seen in DPP Ubers as Blissey and Lugia, with the advent of Eviolite, Chansey has finally managed to step out of the shadow of her sister and is more frequently seen with Lugia in BW Ubers. Lugia has everything a wall could possibly dream of: excellent mixed defensive stats, immunity to Spikes and Toxic Spikes, and access to reliable recovery in Roost and myriad support options including Reflect, Light Screen, Toxic, Thunder Wave, Whirlwind, and Dragon Tail. OHKOing Lugia is a near-impossible feat for most Ubers, and those that can get close are mostly incredibly powerful special attackers bar one certain black Dragon named Zekrom. Now, this is where Chansey comes in. Having greater special bulk than Blissey, Chansey makes a great partner to Lugia by strolling in to absorb incredibly powerful special hits all day long. Nothing can wall Pokemon like Choice Specs Dialga or Reshiram, most Calm Mind Arceus variants, and Kyogre (apart from those darn Mono-Attackers!) better than Chansey. Even a Specs Reshiram Blue Flare in the sun fails to 2HKO Chansey after Stealth Rock!

Yes, I know you must be thinking "What the hell! How on earth do we get past them!?!?", but fear not! This core also obeys the fundamental law of life in that it has certain weaknesses. Zekrom can rip through Lugia easily with its STAB Bolt Strike while Chansey offers the resistance (electrical pun intended) equivalent to that of a wet (pink) tissue. Darkrai can lull Lugia or Chansey to sleep and gear up for a sweep with Nasty Plot; Dark Pulse and Focus Blast will make short work out of the two. Steel Arceus is immune to Toxic, and can set up Calm Mind on Chansey and smash Lugia with Judgment. Dark Arceus is a larger threat since it can use Refresh to cure Toxic and destroy Lugia and Chansey with boosted Judgments, unless you decide to trick your opponent by running Snatch! To stop these threats, a Choice Scarf user such as Palkia can be used, as it deals with all of the above threats quite efficiently thanks to its STAB Spacial Rend. Groudon can deal with Choice Zekrom and Steel Arceus with its powerful Earthquake, though it still needs to be wary of Draco Meteor from Zekrom.


Froslass, Donphan, and Snorlax

Froslass Donphan Snorlax
Froslass @ Leftovers
Ability: Snow Cloak
EVs: 232 HP / 100 Def / 176 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Taunt
- Pain Split
- Spikes
- Ice Beam
Donphan @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 144 Atk / 96 Def / 16 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Earthquake
- Rapid Spin
- Stealth Rock
- Roar / Head Smash
Snorlax @ Leftovers
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 44 HP / 96 Atk / 252 Def / 116 SpD
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Rest
- Sleep Talk
- Body Slam
- Whirlwind

This combination is adept at checking multiple threats while punishing the opponent severely for switching out. Froslass has the unique role of being a team's Spikes user and spinblocker in the same slot. It also comes with a useful Fighting-type immunity as well as the ability to prevent most common set-up sweepers from doing their jobs. Froslass does have glaring weaknesses to common Rock- and Fire-type attacks though, and while it can tank a surprising number of hits before it goes down, you still do not want it to go down. This is where Donphan comes in, as it can tank Stone Edges and all types of physical attacks that may be aimed at Snorlax as well. It not only helps check threats, but also sets up Stealth Rock and remove hazards with Rapid Spin while dealing with opposing spinblockers with Roar or Head Smash. What's important is that the opponent needs to keep switching around, losing a significant amount of health every time. Snorlax rounds the combination off with its excellent bulk, ability to spread paralysis with Body Slam, and of course, Whirlwind. If Snorlax forces you out, chances are you're going to get stuck in a bad situation, and Whirlwind can deal some major spread damage as well.

The weakness to this core is its typing. While having excellent functional synergy, this combination lacks perfect typing synergy. Physical Water-types are not common and nor are they too strong in UU, but they are quite effective against this core. Nothing likes switching into a Choice Band Azumarill's Waterfall or Swords Dance Samurott. Typical Rain Dance teams also contain hard-hitters such as Kingdra and Kabutops, making rain a massive pain to deal with for this core. Snorlax, being the primary special wall, also has trouble walling certain Psychic-types such as Azelf as well as boosting Grass-types (which are not as common since Celebi's departure to OU, though).


You must be itching to get on PO and test out these cool cores, so we won't hinder you by providing a dreadfully long and boring conclusion. Hopefully, you will now be able to build a successful team utilizing a solid core; feel free to tinker with the given combinations and ask out for help if you get stuck somewhere along the way, but whatever you do, make sure you have fun! Until the next installment of Core Crisis though, that's all from us, so take care, and happy battling!

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