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Strobe was created following the banning of Gothitelle, a period in time where the UU metagame was arguably at its peak in terms of balance. Which is fitting, because this team is arguably one of strongest balanced teams ever created. Strobe's strongest point is definitely its stability; it's a team that is consistently capable of matching up against the majority of threats in the UU metagame and suffers from very few weaknesses. Strobe was actually used by multiple players in the UU Open (one of whom actually won the entire tournament). It prominently features the all-but-forgotten Swords Dance Heracross, a Pokémon that is notoriously difficult to counter, and Crobat, a Pokémon that can literally check the entire metagame. Its impressive combination of defensive prowess and a twinge of offensive presence makes it one of the most difficult teams to face. With that out of the way, let's take a closer look.
Hello Smogon, today I'm presenting to you one of my more recent teams. This is the team I used during the UU Open (even though I got haxed out really early...) and my favorite one to use for fun matches and whenever I get the chance to ladder a bit. It's also quite popular among a few of my friends who managed to make it far into the UU Open—including McMeghan who ended up winning the entire thing. Funnily enough, the only game this team lost was when I played with it. Anyway, I'm mostly posting this because a few of them insisted I do so, so yeah.
The team was designed to work in the pre-October drops metagame and is really just balance with a splash of offense. It's geared towards achieving a late-game Swords Dance Heracross sweep, although that doesn't necessarily mean games always end that way. It heavily relies on defensive synergies between the team members to stay afloat, so if you decide to try it out, don't recklessly sacrifice team members (or their HP) and make sure you Roost and Slack Off as often as you need to. That's really all there is to it; anything else you need to know should become evident once you read the rest of the thread (which is nowhere near as tl;dr as the introduction, I swear). The name of the team was picked while I was driving home from work one day and realized just how amazing the song really is. So with that, I present to you: Strobe.
Why this Pokémon?
To be honest, there's really no reason not to use Crobat in the current metagame. Not only does it perform absolutely brilliantly versus the plethora of Fighting-types in the tier, it also keeps a ton of other dangerous things in check—think Shaymin, Roserade, and Yanmega, for example. The EVs might look complicated but they're really just the standard on-site EVs with a small tweak that lets it hit a Leftovers number in HP and get the jump on other standard Crobat spreads. The moves are also standard issue: Brave Bird for STAB and reliable damage, Taunt to prevent set-up and break Stall, Roost for longevity, and U-turn to keep momentum on my side. I'm using Infiltrator over Inner Focus because this team is geared more towards tournament matches, where people don't suck enough to use Ambipom or Fake Out on Mienshao. There's really not much else to say about Crobat other than it rules.
- Inner Focus should be used over Infiltrator if you're going to use this team on the ladder.
- Toxic can be used over U-turn to cripple some of Crobat's typical switch-ins, especially Rhyperior, whose Choice Band set is one of this team's notable weaknesses.
Why this Pokémon?
If you don't have a solid Raikou counter in UU, you're, well... fucked, and that's where specially defensive Rhyperior comes in. With this EV spread, Rhyperior actually becomes specially bulky enough to tank a Hidden Power Grass from Life Orb Zapdos; not that it needs to often since Snorlax does pretty well against it, but it gives you an idea of how bulky this fucker is. Earthquake is obviously the strong reliable STAB here, which just happens to have great coverage with Rhyperior's secondary STAB. Speaking of which, I like Rock Blast over Stone Edge in BW because its just strong and reliable enough to be used and just so happens to shit on SubRoost Zapdos. Definitely the best Rhyperior build in the current metagame and one of the most invaluable Pokémon on this team.
- Dragon Tail can be a couple other things without much consequence. Toxic cripples switch-ins like Slowbro, Claydol, and Gligar while Megahorn severely dents the former two. Don't be tempted to use Ice Punch, it won't even 2HKO Gligar as it Roosts in your face.
Why this Pokémon?
I'm not sure why, but this has become one of my favorite things to use at the moment. Not only does it absolutely wreck any and all defensive teams lacking the very niche Aerial Ace Gligar, but when used in conjunction with paralysis support it can cause some serious problems to more offensive teams as well. Another nice perk of this set is that people just don't expect it anymore (neither the fact that its a Swords Dance variant nor the fact that it uses Guts), so it gets plenty of setup opportunities. The EV spread and moveset are standard; they simply maximize offenses and coverage. Leftovers because it gives Heracross longevity against stall and Guts because its not only more useful on Swords Dance sets in general but also because it helps in tanking Scalds and absorbing Will-O-Wisps. Heracross rules.
- Leftovers helps a lot, but it isn't absolutely necessary for this set to work. You definitely don't want to run a status or Life Orb on it, though, or else it will lose that all-important longevity Heracross needs to break stall.
- Jolly is also okay if you don't mind missing out on a lot of power as it makes sure Heracross is always faster than non-Scarf Chandelure and Togekiss.
Why this Pokémon?
One of the important things to ask yourself when using Slowking in UU is "why am I using this over Slowbro?" Most of the time the answer is going to be "to deal with Kingdra better" and this team is no exception. Between Dragon Tail and the added special bulk, Kingdra becomes much less of an issue than it would be if Slowbro was in this slot. The small Attack investment ensures Slowking always breaks 0/0 Kingdra's Substitutes with Dragon Tail; which is a great move outside of just dealing with Kingdra, by the way. Scald is obvious; STAB with a nice chance to burn and a good range of coverage. Slack Off is in case Regenerator isn't enough recovery, which is likely due to Slowking's much lower physical bulk not letting it tank things like Life Orb Darmanitan nearly as well as its cousin does. Thunder Wave rounds out the set by supporting the team and easing a Heracross sweep late-game.
- Not on this guy. I guess you can run Slowbro if you don't mind being a bit weaker to Kingdra.
Why this Pokémon?
Mostly because Chandelure exists, but to be honest, BandLax is a really cool Pokémon to use. The main issue with this set is that it sometimes fails to beat Choice Specs Chandelure (gets 2HKO'd by Hidden Power Fighting), but I'd rather be forced to play better and double switch into it than use a weaker Snorlax that'll either be stall-bait or just suck. The EVs simply maximize Attack, give it enough Speed to beat most opposing Snorlax and Slowbro, and maximize Special Defense after that. My reasons for picking these three offensive moves should be obvious: Return for consistent STAB damage, Crunch is mainly to damage Cofagrigus, Pursuit to make sure Chandelure dies, and Earthquake for general coverage on things like Rhyperior. This thing's a boss.
- Defensive Porygon2 can also go in this slot, as it will actually let you handle Choice Band Flygon, but with people starting to catch on to Flame Body Chandelure being good, it's no longer a reliable way of dealing with it... so pick your poison.
Why this Pokémon?
I needed a revenge killer, and between that stupendously powerful Hi Jump Kick, Regenrator, and U-turn, Mienshao was a natural fit. There's two things I really like about having Mienshao as my Choice Scarf user. One is that it outspeeds every other common user of the item in the tier, i.e. is faster than Flygon. The other is the fact that, thanks to Regenerator, it won't die to hazards quickly and can actually afford to miss a Hi Jump Kick. Granted, the imperfect accuracy on its two main killing moves is a big downer, but whatever, I can deal with it. Hi Jump Kick is obviously the move you'll be using to kill things most often, with Stone Edge providing coverage on Pokémon like Zapdos, Chandelure, and Crobat. U-turn helps me keep momentum on my side, and Aerial Ace gives me a nice way to make sure I never get swept by Heracross. Not much else to say about Mienshao here, it's a pretty straightforward set.
- Scarf Flygon can also go in this slot, especially since it actually helps a ton with a few of this team's weaknesses (Nidoking and Nidoqueen mostly), but it's a lot weaker and generally "less good" that Mienshao. Although in theory it does fit the team better, so hey, if you're into it, go ahead.
Strobe relies on the defensive synergy of each of the featured Pokémon to match any given Pokémon an opponent might send out, and generally weaken the opposition in order fuel a potential sweep for either Heracross or Mienshao. Crobat is the team's defensive backbone and arguably the most important Pokémon on the team; it is capable of checking a plethora of dominant Pokémon due to its incredible Speed and potent combination of Taunt and Roost. Strobe relies on Crobat to harass the opponent's team by switching into Pokémon that can barely threaten it, such as Gligar, and getting free hits against the opposing team. It's also the ultimate denial Pokémon, as it is capable of preventing Pokémon like Dragon Dance Scrafty or Choice Scarf Moxie Heracross from sweeping through this team. Strobe uses the highly underrated and underutilized specially defensive Rhyperior, a Pokémon that is also capable of checking an absurd amount of dangerous threats, and is unquestionably Rhyperior's strongest set in UU. Rhyperior provides this team with its only form of entry hazards (Stealth Rock) and acts as this team's primary Electric-type counter; Electric-types in general such as Raikou and Zapdos tend to be notoriously difficult to counter, and Rhyperior can act as a hard check to both provided neither of them run Hidden Power Grass. Rhyperior is also an excellent secondary answer to physical Fire-types thanks to its amazing natural physical bulk and Solid Rock ability. kokoloko uses Slowking as a catch-all Kingdra counter (it holds the distinction of being the only Pokémon in UU that can do this) as well as a general check to everything due to its access to Thunder Wave. It is also nearly impossible to wear down as Regenerator bypasses entry hazards which allows for some quick healing without the use of Slack Off.
On the offensive side, we have Choice Band Snorlax, which is kind of a hybrid Pokémon. It's used as a hard counter to Chandelure and a check to every special attacker in the tier, but it's also a fierce offensive threat, as most teams struggle to check Choice Band Snorlax outside of using dedicated physical walls like Gligar or Steel-types like Bronzong. Conventional Snorlax checks like Heracross or Machamp get absolutely mauled by Choice Band-boosted Return, which makes it a semi-decent lure to Fighting-types and physical attackers, which tend to initially switch in to prevent Snorlax from setting up with Curse. Most teams rely on a dedicated revenge killer, and Strobe is no different in that regard; in fact it arguably runs the best revenge killer in the tier, Choice Scarf Mienshao. UU teams commonly rely on Choice Scarf Heracross as their revenge killer of choice as it has the ability to check multiple threats and sweep at a moment's notice due to Moxie. What Scarf Mienshao trades for sweepability, it gains in reliability, as Regenerator makes it impossible to wear down by hazards, and it's capable of taking an odd hit and recovering off the damage with multiple switches (especially useful if Hi Jump Kick misses). Mienshao's unique Speed tier puts it ahead of every single common Choice Scarf user in the tier, particularly Heracross. It's common to see teams get swept by Choice Scarf Heracross late-game, even if they run multiple checks like Crobat as kokoloko has. However, Strobe has an extra failsafe that nearly guarantees that Heracross will never sweep this team, and that fail safe is Aerial Ace on Mienshao. While ordinarily seen as a useless move, Aerial Ace allows Mienshao to always OHKO opposing Heracross, which makes it a guaranteed Heracross revenge killer. Aerial Ace is usually seen as a subpar move option and very few Mienshao utilize it (preferring to use Hidden Power Ice for Gligar or what not), but it's actually a very strong move option for Mienshao and Strobe is one of the very first teams that actively makes use out of it. Choice Scarf Mienshao also doubles as this team's late-game sweeper/finisher, since there isn't much that can stand in its way once the opposing team has been softened up. Swords Dance Heracross is capable of luring out Mienshao's checks and beating them into submission which gives the latter an easier time at sweeping in the mid- to late-game.
Heracross itself is used predominantly as a wallbreaker. Your average UU team is built to check Choice Scarf Heracross, and most teams are simply not designed to handle Swords Dance Heracross. Swords Dance Heracross runs through teams that rely on Cofagrigus or Gligar that lack Aerial Ace to check Heracross, and as a result opens those teams up to Choice Scarf Mienshao. It seems like UU players have almost completely forgotten Guts with Moxie being available, but Guts is still a dangerous ability as it prevents Heracross from being ruined by Will-O-Wisp and it punishes Toxic users. Sableye, for example, can't act as a last minute check to Heracross if it's running Guts, and Heracross doesn't have to worry about Scald users ruining its sweep.
Strobe is a team that is at its peak when every team member is alive and healthy. Each member ends up checking each other's weaknesses, and this effect is compounded by however many team members remain. Crobat, for example, is somewhat vulnerable to Electric-types; Rhyperior can switch into Electric-type on averages, and come out on top while Crobat can counter the Fighting-types that give Rhyperior trouble. Snorlax's vulnerability to Fighting-types is covered by Crobat and Slowking to a certain extent. Mienshao doesn't offer much defensive synergy, due to its inability to actually switch into battle, but it makes up for it by acting as a primary revenge killer and general sweeper. Slowking's weakness to Dark- and Ghost-types are somewhat covered by Heracross, Mienshao, and Snorlax. I could go on and on, but the point I'm trying to make is that this team's strength is directly proportional to the number of non-KOed Pokémon on the team. Ultimately, it's a team that can overcome almost any obstacle, provided you play well enough to keep every teammate alive and well.
No single team, no matter how effective, is capable of handling every threat that exists in UU. Choice Band Flygon is a nightmare for this team; kokoloko lacks a guaranteed check to Choice Band Flygon, and is thus forced to play around it. Earthquake, U-turn, and Stone Edge can be played around with smart play, but Strobe is a team that lacks a proper switch-in to Choice Band Outrage, and is thus nearly guaranteed to lose a Pokémon if Flygon uses Outrage. Trick Room Cofagrigus is a little less dangerous than Choice Band Flygon, but it can still hurt this team, as it is capable of easily setting up on Mienshao and is difficult to remove outside of using Snorlax. Rhyperior (especially offensive variants) can prove troublesome as kokoloko lacks a direct switch-in and is forced to switch into resisted attacks or revenge kill it with Fighting-types.
kokoloko has crafted one of the very best UU balanced teams out there. A few threats can exploit this team's weaknesses, but quick thinking and smart play should allow you to overcome them. It's a relatively easy team to use, and effective both on the ladder and in tournament play. Strobe is without a doubt a team that will stand the test of time.
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