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It's hardly a revelation that the UU metagame revolves around Spikes. Deny your opponent Spikes and get your own Spikes up, and the balance of the game tips in your favor. This team was designed to do exactly that. However, this team is fundamentally an balanced team, and so it revolves around two of the offensive Pokemon that value Spike support the most: Chandelure and Krookodile.
This team is almost the definition of balance; three of the Pokemon are primarily defensive Pokemon, three of them are primarily offensive. The point is to get hazards down when you can, bring Chandelure in as many times as possible, and blow stuff up.
Chandelure (F) @ Choice Specs
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 156 HP / 252 SpA / 100 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Energy Ball
- Shadow Ball
- Fire Blast
- Hidden Power Fighting
The star of the show, and an absolute monster. 2HKOs virtually everything that isn't Porygon2 and Snorlax, and even doing 37.4 - 44.09% to Snorlax with HP Fighting is pretty nasty if you have Stealth Rocks and a layer of Spikes up. The speed brings Chandelure to 220, which outspeeds 252 speed neutral nature Empoleon, and conveniently minimum speed (i.e. SpD) Roserade. In my opinion, there isn't any other threat worth going all the way up to 259 for.
Qwilfish (F) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 200 Def / 56 Spe
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Thunder Wave
Qwilfish is THE most underrated Pokemon in UU. I made this team when Deoxys-D was running rampant in UU, and I was never really tempted to switch. Checking Heracross (if not for Earthquake predictions it would be a counter) and virtually every other Fighting type in UU is a major incentive to using Qwilfish, and Thunder Wave is awesome for spreading paralysis, which Chandelure and Porygon2 absolutely love. Thunder Wave is especially good for hitting the frequent Raikou and Zapdos switching in. Haze is crucial for dealing in virtually everything Qwilfish handles: it shuts down DD Kingdra long enough for Qwilfish to set up Spikes, it neuters Bisharp completely, it gives my team something of a chance to survive seeing CM Suicune, the biggest threat to my team by far.
Porygon2 @ Eviolite
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Ice Beam
- Tri Attack
Porygon2 has absolutely amazing synergy with Qwilfish and Xatu, and protects me from Chandelure. In terms of taking punishment and dishing it out, Porygon2 is probably the strongest Pokemon in UU. I use Trace instead of Download because of the huge threat of Specs Chandelure, but it's also pretty awesome with Yanmega and Sharpedo becoming much more popular. Can be a victim of its own versatility since it can get really worn down because it just helps deal with so many threats. One of THE reasons you want Xatu to keep Spikes off the field.
Bronzong @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 144 Atk / 64 Def / 48 SpD
Sassy Nature (+SpD, -Spe)
- Stealth Rock
- Gyro Ball
Bronzong is almost a must in this metagame, with CB Flygon on so many teams. Bronzong is here for Stealth Rock, for CM Raikou, and Flygon. Bronzong isn't that great from an offensive standpoint, so if I could find another Pokemon that did those three things as well, I would probably do it. The EVs are admittedly somewhat arbitrary.
Krookodile (F) @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Stone Edge
Krookodile, aside from being a great revenge killer and Pursuit user (for enemy Xatu), is fantastic for late-game sweeps once the opposing team is weakened and multiple layers of hazards are down. Krook has tremendous synergy with Qwilfish and Chandelure; Victini can't hit Chandelure for any kind of real damage without Krook Pursuiting it in revenge, Stoutland can't Pursuit Chandelure without Krook Pursuiting it in return.
Xatu (F) @ Leftovers
Trait: Magic Bounce
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 244 SpD
Calm Nature (+SpD, -Atk)
- Night Shade
In the Deoxys-D metagame, you absolutely needed Xatu to keep Spikes from going down. Even without Deoxys-D around, Xatu really helps in shutting down Roserade, and denies Stealth Rock to teams that rely on Pokemon like Bronzong, Claydol and Hippopotas to get it up. Special Defense is preferable on Xatu to make it easier to switch in on Roserade; Psyshock ensures that Xatu can actually beat Roserade. I have often thought of changing Night Shade to Reflect to make it easier to handle Krookodile. From a pure team synergy standpoint, Xatu is probably the least important Pokemon; I have thought seriously about replacing Xatu with Zapdos, which would really help the team deal with the bulky waters that plague this team (Suicune mostly). However, when I have actually tested this, I have always found myself missing Xatu for how completely it shuts down Bronzong, Roserade, Gligar and similar weak setup Pokemon.
Upon first look, it's apparent that this team was created for the Deoxys-D metagame. This, however, does not mean it became unusable the moment the alien was banished to BL. In fact, the opposite is true, as without this threat looming over him, reachzero is free to play a bit more carelessly with the Pokemon meant to shut it down: Xatu. One of the cool things about this team is that it manages to keep almost every threat in the metagame in check while still using some innovative sets... or at least they were innovative until everyone caught on. Well anyway, let us examine the team in more detail.
reachzero's Fire and Brimstone team is a balanced team with a consistent goal, and each team member plays its part in accomplishing said goal. Xatu is there to prevent entry hazard setters such as Hippopotas, Gligar, and especially Roserade from setting up. He then has Qwilfish and Bronzong set up his own entry hazards in order to weaken the opposing team. Between these three Pokemon, reachzero ensures he has control over entry hazards against most teams. He then takes advantage of this by using two offensive Pokemon that become even more devastating with this support: Choice Specs Chandelure and Choice Scarf Krookodile. Chandelure is best described as a nuke, since its job is simply to come in as many times as possible and launch ridiculously powerful attacks to blow holes in the opponent's defenses. Krookodile, on the other hand, plays the role of a cleaner with its dangerous Moxie ability. The reason it works so well here is because, with a couple layers of entry hazards down, it becomes incredibly hard to switch into it while still avoiding a 2HKO, potentially allowing for the snowball sweep to begin.
Another interesting thing to note is that, aside from Porygon2 and maybe Chandelure, reachzero chooses to use various Pokemon that excel at their specific jobs rather than having more general utility. The two most obvious examples of this are Xatu and Qwilfish. Both of them have below-average stats across the board, and yet, they are so good at their specific niche that they are on par with the rest of the tier under the right circumstances. This utilization of niche Pokemon works out great for reachzero because he frequently creates the said circumstances, not to mention the great synergy his team possesses with them. Defensively speaking, there are a few synergistic pairs which can switch into various threats by luring certain types of attacks. For example, if Krookodile is out, the opponent is most likely going to want to force it out with their Heracross, or maybe their Choice Scarf Darmanitan or Victini. This gives reachzero an opportunity to switch to Qwilfish, force out the opposing threat, and set up yet another layer of Spikes. Another one of these synergistic pairs is Porygon2 + Chandelure. The former is so bulky that you almost have to hit it with a Fighting-type attack to bring it down, but doing this gives Chandelure a chance to come in and nuke something. Try to Pursuit Chandelure or Xatu? Sure. Krookodile is right there to mess you up as soon as you do.
That's not all though. As good as its defensive synergy might seem, the offensive synergy this team possesses is what makes it truly excellent. Not only does reachzero take advantage of the paralysis Qwilfish and Porygon2 provide by using a slow nuke like Chandelure, he's also able to weaken his Pokemon's counters with their teammates. The most obvious example of this comes from the two most offensive Pokemon on this team: Chandelure and Krookodile. When you think about it, almost every single Pokemon that checks Krookodile gets messed up by Chandelure in one way or another. Heracross can barely scratch Chandelure without proper prediction, Bronzong may as well scream for Chandelure to switch into it, and bulky Water-types are likely to be so weakened after dealing with it that they simply won't be able to stand up to Krookodile when the time comes. It's really quite terrifying when you think about it.
That said, every team has its weak points, and this one is no exception. Without doubt, a well-played Offensive Calm Mind Suicune is the number one threat to this team, as it can set up on Chandelure and just go to town on reachzero's team from there. Specially offensive Kingdra variants are also a huge threat, especially Choice Specs variants, which can simply fire a Hydro Pump and 1-2HKO anything as it switches in. Bulky Water-types are also slightly annoying, but their low offensive presence keeps them from doing too much damage. Swords Dance and Nasty Plot Mew can cause some trouble, especially bulky variants, which can stay out of Krookodile's KO range much more easily. Finally, there's Froslass, which can set up Spikes without fear of Xatu switching in thanks to its STAB Ice Beam.
Nevertheless, despite some notable weaknesses, this team is still one of the better ones out there, as evidenced by its success on the ladder. reachzero manages to keep this heavily offensive metagame in check through the use of some creative sets and smart play. So if you're looking for a solid team to go out and ladder with, why not try this one?
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