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I have always wanted to try Snover, and what better time to do that then now when everyone and their mother has been running sand teams? However, I was unsure what to build with it. It's not exactly a team player, with it constantly sapping the health of my teammates, so I wanted to be able to end the battle quickly so that the hail doesn't take its undue toll. By surrounding it with powerful sweepers and cleaners, I can end the game quickly by overloading the opponent's walls. This team did me pretty well on the ladder, and when I first used it, I hit #1 with a record of 38-0 before getting styled on by some guy using Croagunk. Now that it's getting a little old and a lot of people know about it, it's time to put it up and move on to something different. If you're looking for a team that differs from sand rush abuse without being unviable, try this out for a while:
Snover @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 200 Spe / 184 SpA / 124 HP
- Giga Drain
- Hidden Power Rock
- Ice Shard
Sand teams are one of the most dangerous team archetypes out there in this metagame, and what better counter could there be than Snover? It only needs to exist to block the sand menaces Drilbur and Sandshrew from crushing an otherwise unprepared team. My only problem with it is the hazard weakness, which Starmie takes care of. Blizzard is the best STAB move in Snover's arsenal, and sees a ton of use when you consider that there are so many powerful Ground- and Flying-types in the metagame. It also has a habit of crushing Hippopotas when it changes the weather and stays in, thinking I'll switch out of the 70% chance to destroy their one chance of winning. Seriously, start doing that on the ladder and you will be surprised how many people do that! Giga Drain hits the Water-types coming in to absorb Blizzard, and while it gives Snover a few nasty weaknesses, that extra Grass STAB coverage is what makes Snover usable. HP Rock deviates from the normal HP Fire in that I want to hit Fire-types harder than Steel-types, since I have two Fighting-types to deal with them. Ice Shard is filler, since I like having it sometimes to finish off really weak stuff. However, I chose not to lower it's already dismal defenses with a Hasty or Naive nature to accommadate it since I use it so rarely. Not sure if something better can go here, but if so, please say so!
Timburr @ Eviolite
EVs: 76 HP / 196 Atk / 236 SpD
- Bulk Up
- Drain Punch
- Mach Punch
Timburr is super-underrated in this metagame, because most people think they have to choose between it and Mienfoo. In reality, they go well paired together! Timburr runs a mean Bulk Up set, what with its high Attack, deceptively high defenses, and priority in the form of Mach Punch. You might think it's a waste to invest in Timburr's low Special Defense, but it is actually bulky enough to take Sash Abra's Psychic at full health, be 3HKOed by Missy's Shadow Ball, and plenty of other feats. Drain Punch provides the recovery that makes this set work, while also packing enough power to put holes in stuff after a Bulk Up. Mach Punch lets me finish stuff off, and guarantees that Sash and Sturdy mons like Abra and Tirtouga can't KO me if I have them at 1 HP. Payback gives me a move to hit Misdreavus with, and that's pretty much it besides Gastly, since every other relevant Ghost- and Psychic-type either underspeeds me or just destroys Timburr. Timburr is also my main Scraggy check, since I can tank even a +1 Eviolite Zen Headbutt and KO with Drain Punch + Mach Punch.
Misdreavus @ Eviolite
EVs: 240 SpA / 240 Spe
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power Fighting
With all these Fighting-types running around, no team could get any worse by adding Misdreavus to it. I used to run a Nasty Plot set here, but Mienfoo and Croagunk proved too much for my team to handle sometimes. As such, I replaced it with Will-O-Wisp to burn them along with any Porygon or Murkrow that happen to stray in trying to block Shadow Ball. Shadow Ball is Misdreavus's STAB move and whatnot, which I use to hit Psychics and other Misdreavus with. HP Fighting grants Misdreavus perfect coverage with Shadow Ball, hitting the Normal-types and Steel-types that resist it super effectively, though not very hard unfortunately. Taunt is an important move, since it allows me to stop set-up sweepers and hazard setters off the bat, and also prevents Murkrow from using Substitute and Porygon from using Recover or Thunder Wave. With it and Will-O-Wisp, Misdreavus functions as the team's utility Pokemon, breaking down walls that rely on recovery moves for the rest of the team.
Staryu @ Eviolite
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 36 HP / 200 SpA / 236 Spe
- Hydro Pump
- Rapid Spin
Using Snover without a Rapid Spinner is asking for trouble, and since I otherwise lack a switch-in to Fire-types, Staryu gets the nod for this spot. While it's not as bulky as I like, it provides an excellent switch-in to Houndour, Ponyta, Larvesta, and other Fire-types as long as I can avoid Wild Charge. Hydro Pump is needed for the power and the chance to 2HKO Misdreavus with hail damage, but of course, missing sucks. Thunderbolt covers other Staryu, Murkrow, and Frillish, while also providing a back-up move to use when I want to KO a really weakened threat but can't afford a Hydro Pump miss. Rapid Spin clears hazards away, of course, but it's also cool to use when they have a Pokemon with 1 HP left and you feel like killing something with Rapid Spin. That is the most fun thing to do ever! Rounding out the moveset, Recover makes Staryu usable at all, and allows me to repeatedly switch into Fire-types and other threats without fainting. If Misdreavus can't keep the hazards off the field in the first place, then Staryu cleans them up to make sure that Snover is healthy.
Mienfoo @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 236 Atk / 236 Spe / 36 Def
- Drain Punch
- Hi Jump Kick
- Stone Edge
Revenge killer Mienfoo is coming in to wreck some face! I first read about this set in Furai's old RMT and I am very impressed with it! This guy is pretty much my back-up check to almost everything; from Scraggy to opposing Mienfoo to Snover, Mienfoo KOes so much stuff that it is unbelievable. Hi Jump Kick vaporizes pretty much whatever it touches, including itself when it misses, but Regenerator is so awesome that it rarely matters. Drain Punch is a more reliable STAB move for cleaning up late-game, or for when I can't risk taking the recoil if Misdreavus were to switch in. Stone Edge is an important coverage move, hitting Murkrow, Larvesta, Drifloon, and other Flying- and Bug-types super effectively who would otherwise live through a stray Fighting-type move. U-turn is an excellent move, allowing me to deal a little bit of damage to Misdreavus, while knocking Abra to its Sash as I go to Pawniard to take the Psychic. There's a lot of good Mienfoo sets out there to use, but if you get a chance, try out the Scarf set since it's totally good!
Pawniard @ Eviolite
EVs: 196 Spe / 236 Atk / 36 Def / 40 SpD
- Swords Dance
- Iron Head
- Sucker Punch
- Brick Break
If my team has a late-game cleaner, this is it. Swords Dance boosted Sucker Punches have the power to destroy weakened teams, and even unboosted, it has the power to make all those frail Normal-types think twice about attacking. Pawniard is also the closest thing to a Murkrow switch-in that I have, since it walks all over the SubRoost set, counters FetherDance Krow, as rare as it is, and can live through an LO Heat Wave at full health. Sucker Punch allows me to bypass Misdreavus's faster HP Fighting, while also using the priority to sweep weakened teams at the drop of a hat. It is, unfortunately, easy to play around, but I make do as well as I can with predictions. Iron Head provides a secondary STAB move to use when my opponent looks like they are anticipating Sucker Punch, as well as a way to smash Lileep to pieces. Brick Break KOes Steel-types weak to it like Ferroseed and other Pawniard, as well as being my best safe move against Bronzor and Chinchou. While the Fighting-type infested metagame doesn't help Pawniard much, it still puts in a lot of work and can 6-0 teams if I play right.
The LC metagame has been consistent for a while, with its last suspect test having been done mid September with no bans occurring. Sand teams with Drilbur (and occasionally Sandshrew) are a very powerful playstyle, and despite their relatively low usage they play a big factor in the teambuilding stage. In his team, Hawkstar opts to use Snover, a popular way of beating sand teams, as well as a few unorthodox Pokemon and sets, such as the underrated Timburr and Pawniard. The goal of the team is to hit hard and wear down the opponent, plain and simple. As an offensive team, it may seem weak to many other offensive Pokemon, notably Murkrow, but because every single Pokemon packs a punch, Hawkstar's team protects itself against many offensive threats very well.
Snover, the flagship Pokemon of the team, guards against sand teams with its mere presence. Sand teams are an incredibly powerful archetype in LC, because Drilbur is a potent sweeper with Sand Rush and Swords Dance, while Hippopotas and Lileep can form a very good defensive backbone. Most sand teams lack a good Ice-type resist though, partly because Snover is one of the only Pokemon in LC that runs Ice-type attacks, but also because good, non-redundant Ice resists are hard to come by for an archetype that's strapped for teamslots as it is. Snover can capitalize on all of this by being an excellent switch-in to Hippopotas that also threatens most other Pokemon with its powerful STAB Blizzard, and uses Giga Drain to crush the Water-types that dare to switch in. Hidden Power Rock can smack the Fire-types that this team has slight issues with, while Ice Shard can provide priority in a pinch to help against Pokemon such as Murkrow. With sand gone, Drilbur and Sandshrew are much less menacing, as the majority of Hawkstar's team can outrun them in hail and pick them off.
The somewhat underrated Timburr makes an appearance as the second member of the team. Timburr provides Hawkstar with a powerful setup Pokemon that can bust holes in many teams, with the addition of powerful and consistent priority in the form of Mach Punch as well. It also brings quite a bit of bulk to the team, which helps immensely against opposing attackers such as Misdreavus and Scraggy. Just by having Timburr and its Mach Punch around, the opponent is forced to play more conservatively with Pokemon such as Shell Smash Tirtouga or Dragon Dance Scraggy, which helps Hawkstar grab momentum and gives him a huge advantage.
Misdreavus, undoubtedly one of the best Pokemon in Little Cup, graces this team with a somewhat unorthodox set that's been growing in popularity lately. Running Taunt on Misdreavus allows it to bust through walls such as Porygon and Lileep, and also prevents the opposing team from setting up. This is especially important against entry hazard users, because if the opponent has a Misdreavus as well, even Staryu might have a hard time spinning. Misdreavus also provides Hawkstar with an answer to Mienfoo and other Fighting-types, being able to switch in on most of their moves and cripple them with Will-O-Wisp. Additionally, with Misdreavus's high Speed, Special Attack, and perfect coverage in Shadow Ball and Hidden Power, it can easily wear down the opposing team early on or clean up late-game.
Hawkstar, like many others who run Snover, chooses to pair it with a spinner. With Rapid Spin support, teams that have Snover can neutralize the biggest weapon that sand teams (and many other teams as well) have against Snover: Stealth Rock. Alongside support from Taunt Misdreavus, it should be difficult for the opponent to keep hazards up long enough for them to matter. On this offensive team, Staryu fits the spinner role well as serving as a fast and powerful attacker that also resists Fire. Staryu is perhaps the easiest Pokemon on Hawkstar's team to switch into, as there are a variety of Pokemon in Little Cup that can brush off both Hydro Pump and Thunderbolt. However, this can work to Hawkstar's advantage, because many of the Pokemon that can come in to take those hits provide easy switches for Snover, Timburr, or Pawniard. The Fire resist is particularly helpful, as it gives Hawkstar a way of dealing with Houndour, Larvesta, and Ponyta to an extent. Hawkstar's team lacks Stealth Rock of its own to wear down Fire-types, but with Recover on Staryu and Hail nerfing their longevity, Staryu should be able to outlast them.
It's rare to see a top tier LC team without Mienfoo, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the little cutie is present on this team as well. Hawkstar brings back a set that's fallen in popularity though, by using Choice Scarf Mienfoo over the incredibly common bulky Eviolite Mienfoo that we've all come to know and love. Choice Scarf allows Mienfoo to act as a great revenge killer. Alongside the powerful priority of Timburr, Pawniard, and Snover, it'll be almost impossible for the opponent to outright sweep. Aside from the Speed boost, Choice Scarf Mienfoo also sports a lot more power than the standard Mienfoo. Spamming Hi Jump Kick isn't always safe, but it's much stronger than the standard Drain Punch, and if the opponent's Fighting-type resists have been eliminated, they'll be hard-pressed to find something that isn't at best 2HKOed. Of course, Mienfoo can also spam U-turn to help get its teammates in, keep momentum in Hawkstar's hands, and recover HP due to Regenerator. It also has Stone Edge to hit pesky Fighting resists, and Drain Punch as a safer STAB move. Scarf Mienfoo can't hard counter Scraggy like the Eviolite version can, but Hawkstar has Timburr who can switch in well enough, so between the two, Scraggy isn't an issue. Mienfoo and Timburr also pair well together offensively. Timburr can wear down many of the Pokemon that can tank Hi Jump Kicks from Mienfoo, leaving the opponent unable to beat it.
Pawniard is the last Pokemon on the team, and it's also the biggest surprise. Most players write off Pawniard, as it struggles to hit hard enough in a metagame filled to the brim with Fighting-types, and the Pokemon that it should be an answer to have ways around it. It really rounds out this team though, providing a key Flying resist that's needed to tank Murkrow's Brave Birds and a strong Sucker Punch to revenge kill threats that Mienfoo and Timburr can't, while not detracting from the offensive nature of the team. It also gives Hawkstar another sweeper that can clean up late-game. Although Pawniard will have trouble dealing with Life Orb Murkrow, it's a very solid answer to the SubRoost set that would give the rest of the team a lot of headaches otherwise. Life Orb Murkrow can still be dealt with, as the passive damage from Hail, Life Orb, and Brave Bird recoil will take its toll, and it can be forced out with Mienfoo, so it all works out.
This team does a great job at keeping momentum and putting up an offensive presence, but there are a few Pokemon that give it a difficult time. Opposing Bulk Up Timburr aren't threatened by all that much on this team, so if it can come in and nab a boost against Pawniard or Mienfoo locked into a weak move, it'll take down a lot before going down itself. The much more rare Bulk Up Croagunk poses an even worse problem, as it can actively set up on Timburr and Mienfoo, and doesn't have to worry about Hydro Pump from Staryu. Shelmet can also quickly steal momentum away, easily walling Timburr, Mienfoo, and Pawniard while setting up Spikes, and being bulky enough to avoid a 2HKO from mostly everything. As Hawkstar's team lacks Stealth Rock, Larvesta is also a Pokemon that can be tricky to face. It can come in on the moves that Snover and Mienfoo will spam—and isn't too worried about Timburr or Pawniard either—and then spread burns around with Flame Body and Will-O-Wisp. Since Hawkstar's team lacks a cleric, this could prove troublesome if a predicted Hidden Power Rock from Snover or Stone Edge from Mienfoo doesn't take Larvesta out quickly. A well-played Misdreavus will be a pain for this team, as Timburr and Mienfoo can't be too reckless while Misdreavus is still around, and neither can Pawniard if Misdreavus is carrying Will-O-Wisp, and that puts Hawkstar at a disadvantage. However, it can be played around, and most of the other Pokemon are rare enough that they aren't huge issues either. Hawkstar's team is somewhat refreshing to see, using some underrated Pokemon and sets, but it still remains very effective in the current metagame. Kudos to him~
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