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In this edition of the Smog, we've decided to chronicle some special RMTs across all the different tiers of competitive Pokémon. This article will address the OU Metagame.
With the recent completion of the yearly Smogon Tournament #5, it is only fitting that this edition of the Smog chronicles the winning team in depth. Besting a field of 255 players was none other than august. He used mostly the same team throughout the tournament, here is a quick recap for those that might have missed his RMT thread.
This is the team I used mostly throughout ST5 and got pretty high on ladder with a few months ago, your typical offensive team...with a twist.
Azelf @ Focus Sash Ability: Levitate EVs: 4 Atk/252 Spd/252 SAtk Naive nature (+Spd, -SDef) - Flamethrower - Psychic / Thunderbolt - Stealth Rock - Explosion
I remember when Azelf leads were running rampant everywhere. There was good reason for that; Azelf can get SR up easily and consistently and go out with a bang.
Thunderbolt was given the nod over psychic generally in most of the teams playing, for being able to hit random gyara leads / bulky waters i'd usually explode on. Thunderbolt is also a pretty nice 3hko on most Heatran. Psychic 3HKOs Rotom A that runs 252 HP, so I used it a few times.
Flamethrower takes Skarmory and Forretress nicely. Explosion is great for denting random shit I need to take care of late game and since most smart players never Protect Bliss first turn from experience, Explosion paves the way for a Heatran sweep occasionally.
Azelf is also a consistent Pursuit magnet, which allows Heatran to get a free switch in against Scizor and Tar to cause large amounts of trouble. All of Azelf's weaknesses are covered by Heatran, and Dark and Bug attacks are often choiced, which also aids in Heatran getting a free substitute. Dark attacks also give Machamp a free Substitute to sit behind where it can spam Dynamic Punchs to weaken an opposing core for late game or weaken the Gyarados that loves to switch into it.
One of Azelf's greatest assets is the fact that is a fantastic lead against stall. Hippowdon can only Roar / Ice Fang as Azelf sets up rocks and chips away at its health. Forretress, another somewhat common stall lead, cannot take a chance of Rapid Spin or set up hazards, and if it does, the opposing Rapid Spinner / Spiker is killed off. At the time this team was used, Azelf was also a solid lead against bulky offense and offense, so it got the nod over any other lead I would have used, like Aerodactyl or Machmap (the original lead).
Salamence @ Life Orb Ability: Intimidate EVs: 16 Atk/252 Spd/240 SAtk Naive nature (+Spd, -SDef) - Draco Meteor - Flamethrower - Earthquake - Outrage / Brick Break
I'll start off by saying this is the best wallbreaker I have ever used. Fast Mixmence is great for outspeeding random stuff that would never expect it. Outrage was generally used over Brick Break for a great late game sweeping move, but Brick Break means I have a much easier time around SkarmBliss without relying very heavily on prediction using Flamethrower / Outrage and can easily make mistakes.
Draco Meteor off 316 Special Attack is a sever dent in anything not resisting it, and if it does, I can bludgeon it with Flamethrower / Earthquake. Speaking of Flamethrower, I have previously used Fire Blast since after a Draco Meteor my Flamethrower was proving to be too weak, but that was changed after a few crucial misses. Salamence is also one of my 2 fighting resists, and with the other being a suicide lead, Salamence is often the only one, and its Stealth Rock weakness is a hamper. Nonetheless, Salamence is my lone Lucario check, being able to switch in on the Swords Dance and take the Extreme Speed and Earthquake for the OHKO, living with about 15-20%. This is certainly not my only way of beating Lucario, but it is my best shot early game without losing too many Pokémon that are key to my team.
Metagross @ Lum Berry Ability: Clear Body EVs: 252 HP/40 Atk/216 SDef Adamant nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Pursuit - Explosion - Bullet Punch - Earthquake
This is probably the first time youve seen this in quite a while. Lum Berry + Pursuit and Bullet Punch give me a very nice Gengar check. Careful nature + the EVs mean Timid Heatran Fire Blast won't OHKO without Stealth Rock. Shuca Berry was used when I used Gyarados in the last slot over Flygon, mainly to help with DDMence and opposing Agiligross weak I opened in doing that.
Lum Berry allows me to scout random TWaves / Will O Wisps / other status moves and make my move accordingly. Although I didn't ladder much since Latias was unbanned, this is a very nice Latias check on paper, Pursuit breaks the sub and I will have to predict around it from there. Metagross also provides great synergy with Salamence, taking Choice locked Dragon and Ice attacks and slowly chipping away at the oppositions health. While it may not seem it, Metagross is really the glue that holds my team together. Without Metagross, Gengar could be a huge problem late game, but with Metagross I can easily Pursuit it into a premature grave. Metagross also acts as my lure to Blissey against stall. Most Blissey will Protect as I Pursuit and then stay in to take the Pursuit only to be met with Explosion. This allows the monster known as Heatran to rear its head be a general nuissance.
Explosion is still powerful with only 40 Atk EVs, OHKOing Bliss / most Swampert / weakened Hippowdons. Bullet Punch has saved me numerous times when this was the last mon on my team and the opposing team was extremely weakened. Metagross is the first of the 2 steels on this team. Metagross was given the nod over Scizor because its Pursuit is much more unexpected and it only has a 2x fire weakness as opposed to 4x. Metagross also packs Explosion for a last ditch effort.
Heatran @ Life Orb Ability: Flash Fire EVs: 4 Atk/252 Spd/252 SAtk Timid nature (+Spd, -Atk) - Earth Power - Hidden Power [Grass] / Explosion - Fire Blast - Substitute
Always the most valuable 'mon without question. This set rips through the metagame with all the free switch ins / switches it causes. Hidden Power is a 2HKO on most bulky waters such as Vaporeon and really smacks around Swampert, otherwise a very reliable SubTran check. Dragon Pulse has been an option, but seeing as Fire Blast is 2HKOing all dragons barring Kingdra with SR down, I didn't feel it was needed. Explosion is pretty good in the times when I used it, but I feel Hidden Power Grass worked a lot better.
Earth Power 2HKOes Tentacruel / Tyranitar (when it goes light on SpD), which is always nice. Substitute is great when I need to ease prediction, and with all the choice locked pursuits / fire blasts / bullet punchs flying around, I find a way to make good use out of them. After Azelf has exploded on Bliss / Snorlax, this almost literally has "no counters". I also recommend you try this set before knocking on it, as it really is a great set that tears through no Bliss teams.
Machamp @ Leftovers Ability: No Guard EVs: 216 HP/252 Atk/40 Spd Adamant nature (+Atk, -SAtk) - Dynamicpunch - Stone Edge - Payback - Substitute
Thank you so much Dawnbringer for showing me this set. Machamp is another mon that is constantly causing switches, as most Pokémon wouldnt stay in on it in their right minds (hi Blissey). Once behind a substitute, I have a 3 weapon arsenal. Dynamic Punch and it's awesome power / confusion rate help a lot here, and occasionally allow me to stay behind my sub, which means random Gyara / Mence can't Intimidate me. Speaking of them, Stone Edge bashes both extremely hard after Stealth Rock damage has been taken. Payback is a solid 2HKO on Rotom A Restalk variants, and an OHKO on Scarf variants as well, and Substitute blocks Will O Wisp. Another set you would have to try before knocking. Also, this is an absolute monster against stall.
Flygon @ Choice Scarf Ability: Levitate EVs: 4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spd Jolly nature (+Spd, -SAtk) - Earthquake - U turn - Outrage - Stone Edge
Weak link to be honest. Usually use this solely for revenge killing and is almost always the last mon I show to my opponent. Gyara was used here quite a few times to beat Luke / Mamo / the physical force that was troubling my team. However, Gyara gave me a horrible charge beam jolteon weakness, which Flygon covers quite nicely. Anyway, I'd like a suggestion as to what should go over Flygon here, as I really only find it useful for revenge killing Mence / Agiligross.
In experimenting with other Pokémon in this slot, I have found that Flygon is a Pokémon that belongs in this team. Without it I am weak to many threats. Even though it lacks a lot of signifigant power, it forces a lot of switchs with U turn and is my sole electric immunity, which my team crumbles without.
Team Same Old Fears is quite a balanced bulky offensive team that incorporates two rather unusual Pokémon sets not commonly seen: a special defensive Metagross, mostly common to the suspect ladder, and a Substitute Machamp. The basic strategy of this team is to hit as hard as possible while maintaining the ability to take on hits. Salamence and Heatran try to open up holes in the opponents team through powerful Life Orb attacks, Flygon cleans up whatever mess is left, and Machamp / Metagross provide the element of surprise. August's desired lead, Azelf, is quite effective at gaining momentum early-game, setting up Stealth Rock necessary to every offensive team's success.
Metagross, typically viewed as an offensive behemoth, functions quite well in the defensive role that august designated. Even with the mere 40 EV investment in Atk, the combination of Earthquake, Bullet Punch, and Explosion hit everything hard. It is interesting to note that the 252 HP EVs and the 216 SDef EVs allow Metagross to survive a Timid Scarf Heatran's Fire Blast provided Stealth Rock isn't up, allowing for a sort of "last resort" check. The main purpose for this Metagross is to counter the uncommon yet dangerous Gengar, who can trouble august's team a lot. The combination of Pursuit and Bullet Punch deal with it whether it decides to stay in or not.
Perhaps the most uncommon wall-breaker you will see on a successful Pokémon team is right in this RMT. Machamp provides both the element of surprise by using Substitute, and also raw power in its complementary three attacks. Both the use of Substitute and Dynamicpunch force a lot of switches, which august can utilize to his benefit because of his own Stealth Rock. Substitute can be set up rather easily by this Machamp variant, on common Pokémon such as Tyranitar or Blissey. Most common Machamp switches are then demolished by this set, including Rotom and Gyarados (by Payback and Stone Edge respectively). This unorthodox yet highly effective set is probably one of the major reasons for august's ST5 success.
The Heatran august uses is also somewhat different, a variation on the common Substitute Heatran. With the addition of Life Orb, Heatran turns many 3HKO's on specially defensive Pokémon into 2HKO's, on the likes of Tyranitar and Tentacruel. STAB Fire Blast coming off of that monstrous Special Attack dents everything else mostly. Blissey is of little concern because of august's Machamp, which makes Heatran a really great complementary mon. Hidden Power Grass is probably what makes this set stand out, 2HKO'ing every bulky water, and also clearing the way for Machamp and Salamence.
Speaking of Salamence, august includes the dual-dragon theme into his team as well. Salamence provides another form of wall-breaking, firing powerful Draco Meteors and Outrages to pull august out of tight spots. The clean-up role has been designated to Choice Scarf Flygon, basically covering all of his revenge-killing needs. The Electric immunity is a nice bonus, allowing august to spam U-Turns and hopefully scout the opponent's team a bit.
As successful as this team was in ST5, there are quite a few weaknesses that could be addressed. SD Lucario and DD Gyarados are quite problematic. If Lucario comes in on a resisted move, such as an Outrage or Stone Edge locked Flygon, it could be game over. Since august's frail Salamence is his only true Lucario "counter," any residual damage to it (such as Stealth Rock and Life Orb) will let Lucario sweep. In a similar manner, if Gyarados comes in on a Pokémon it can set-up on, august is almost sure to lose, having to rely on solely Flygon to revenge-kill. Basic success of this team lies in not letting anything set-up; if something does happen to set-up, august is going to be in some trouble.
Nonetheless, the problems cannot discount the success of this team, and how it engineered victory time and time again against the game's best players. Team Same Old Fears is surely one of the best OU teams around, using both a mix of standard offensive powerhouses and a touch of surprise.
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