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This team does not have a lot of history, but has beaten many mighty players like Donkey, syrim, and trickroom. This team is capable of applying a lot of pressure to standard offense and defensive playstyles. Offensive playstyles often cannot handle the fast hazards from Forretress and the combined pressure of two offensive Calm Mind users. Defensive teams crumble to Choice Specs Dialga in tandem with hazards; 252 HP Arceus is 2HKOed by Dragon Pulse and even those that invest in Special Defense cannot avoid the 2HKO with normal poison damage unless they are Steel Arceus.
(ps: I might lie about EV spreads)
Forretress @ Custap Berry
EVs: 252 Atk
IVs: 0 HP / 0 Def / 0 SpD / 0 Spe
Brave Nature (+Atk, -Spe)
- Gyro Ball
- Toxic Spikes
- Rapid Spin
This is my lead, more often than not. The miracle of Custap Forretress will become apparent when in about 80% of your matchups you can get a layer of Toxic Spikes and a layer of Spikes with no hassle. Your standard Deoxys-S pisses itself in fear after being taken down to its Focus Sash by full-powered Gyro Ball as it uses Taunt. The IVs are so that Fire Punch Deoxys puts you into Custap Berry range, as opposed to doing like 60% and making me furious. Reshiram and Kyurem-W leads beat me outright, but Kyogre absorbs their assaults easily, especially with no hazards.
The advantage of having Spikes and Toxic Spikes down immediately are huge: offensive teams are extremely gimped by the constant poison damage, and I have the defensive core to switch around or stall Pokemon out with recovery moves. Against defensive teams the advantage is not as immediately apparent, but when you realise I have four Pokemon which call for a lot of predictable switches the residual damage is vital in getting the upperhand.
Funnily enough, I will also lead with this in the face of a likely Mewtwo or Rayquaza lead, eschewing one layer if they choose to attack immediately so I can Gyro Ball them. Should they choose to set up they will be met with a 2HKO. Savvy Rayquazas will know to ExtremeSpeed me after Sturdy has been activated, but it's a 50/50 and you can always switch out to Ghost Arceus to preserve Custap Berry. Sometimes it is wise to preserve Forretress, especially if you can get it into Custap Berry range by switching it into hazards later; it's a great last minute check to stuff like CM Mewtwo and DD Rayquaza, which my team occasionally struggles with.
Dialga @ Choice Specs
EVs: 144 HP / 252 SpA / 112 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Draco Meteor
- Dragon Pulse
- Fire Blast
The big Kahuna. Probably my favourite Dialga set of all time, it is probably the most hazard resistant choice user in the tier, and is capable of dishing out massive damage. Fire Blast deals upwards of 80% to specially defensive Ferrothorn in rain, and Draco Meteor 2HKOes standard tank Ho-Oh WITHOUT Stealth Rock (more of an illustrative than a practical example, as Regenerator Ho-Oh can still switch into Draco Meteors without Stealth Rock). Not much prediction is really needed with this set; just weigh up what can switch into the move you decide, i.e., don't use a move that could leave you in a situation wherein the team cannot handle a switch in that can take the move. This means that 90% of the time you'll be fine using a Dragon move; Steel Arceus can't handle Kyogre, Ferrothorn is set-up bait, Chansey and Blissey are set-up bait, Excadrill takes waaaaaaaaay too much damage.
Another cool thing to do to preserve hazards is to break opposing Forretress's Sturdy with Ghost Arceus, then switch immediately to Dialga and use Thunder: 66.38 – 78.24%, saving you the trouble of having to engage Toxic Forretress in a painful battle with Ghost Arceus.
Choice Specs Dialga usually has no trouble crushing defensive teams; common switch-ins, such as Grass Arceus in rain, Skarmory, Ferrothorn, and Specially Defensive Kyogre can either be taken out with the right prediction, or simply keel over to the insane damage output. Standard Ubers Skarmory takes Draco Meteors worse than Close Combats, suffering from a massive 61.97 – 72.75% damage, a clean 2HKO. 144 SpD Timid Arceus Grass takes 45.94 – 54.27% from Dragon Pulse, making it unable to stall out Dialga when inflicted with normal poison. Specially Defensive Kyogre is easily 2HKOed by Thunder and 3HKOed by Dragon Pulse, making it an iffy switch in at best. Ferrothorn is roasted by Fire Blast regardless of weather, and can be set up on by Forretress.
The EVs are just speed creep with bulk; I usually invest a fair amount to beat out Earth Plate and support Groudons (252/0 Groudon is OHKOed by Specs Draco Meteor), tank Ho-Ohs, support Dialgas, etc.
Arceus @ Spooky Plate
EVs: 96 HP / 236 SpA / 176 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Calm Mind
- Focus Blast
Your standard spinblocking CM Arceus-Ghost with a few EV tweaks. The difference in bulk is quite minimal, whereas the boost in damage output is huge. Specially Defensive Kyogre and standard Ubers Ferrothorn have much more difficulty checking this beast.
Aside from spinblocking, Arceus-Ghost is very important in applying pressure to offensive teams, as it is almost impossible for them to check. It is also a semi-reliable check to Latias, outspeeding it and being able to beat it in a CM war most of the time. Arceus-Ghost also somewhat alleviates the pressure of ExtremeKiller from Hippowdon.
If I see the opposing team is weak to CM Arceus Ghost, I will not hesitate to lead with it and set up.
Latias @ Soul Dew
EVs: 172 HP / 144 SpA / 192 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Dragon Pulse
- Calm Mind
My Kyogre check and second offensive CMer. I was tempted by the all-out attacker set, but needed Latias to reliably beat CM Grass and Electric Arceus. Usually throwing out Thunders early is better to catch over-eager Genesect and fish for paralysis. I only aim to outspeed Garchomp because I like having some bulk and power on my Latias.
It is also interesting to note that 4/0 Ho-Oh is 2HKOed by Dragon Pulse + Thunder. Of course, Ferrothorn is a complete stop to this set, but as it is complete set-up bait for dual hazard Forretress this doesn't really worry me.
Kyogre @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature (+SpD, -Atk)
- Sleep Talk
Kyogre serves a lot of roles on this team; beyond simple weather control and 100% accurate Thunders, it provides a valuable pivot and status absorber. Most CM Arceus are stopped cold and phazed out; Ferrothorn risks a 51% chance to be burned in two Scalds (which is great to spam), making it much easier to handle. Roar is great to shuffle on obvious switches, and is capable of getting Palkia poisoned on the switch in, only to have it phazed out immediately. Speaking of Palkia, Choice Scarf barely ekes out 50% with Thunder, making staying in on it to Rest a viable option. Overzealous Scarf Palkia using Fire Blast or Spacial Rend will actually find themselves walled and slowly dying to poison damage.
Hippowdon @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Slack Off
The first thing that probably jumps out at you is the choice of Sand Stream over Sand Force. There are many reasons for this: Kabutops can no longer 2HKO Hippowdon with Waterfall, Ho-Oh becomes a breeze to handle (although the burn is annoying), and I have a way of slowing down Kingdra, which is actually very threatening.
Other than that, Hippowdon serves a very important role on this team, walling Groudon, physical Zekrom, ExtremeKiller, and being the only Electric-type immunity. Hippowdon was chosen over Groudon mainly because Ho-Oh would be too much of an asshole otherwise, but the reliable recovery is also very nice. Being able to switch into Ho-Oh and Groudon to set up Stealth Rock is also a great asset. I will also switch Hippowdon fearlessly into Ferrothorn because Power Whip is only a 3HKO.
Using Hippowdon requires you to be aware of the fact that should Hippowdon be caught out by a stray critical hit or surprise mix set it will very rarely have the opportunity to heal itself back up unless it used Slack Off on that turn. Being so slow means that there are very few opposing Pokemon that Hippowdon can heal back in front of when in critical HP.
Shoutout to my homies, you know who you are.
In the dynamic metagame of Ubers, any successful team must strike a balance between its ability to pressure the opponent and create win conditions, and its ability to check dangerous offensive threats. Unexpected Pokemon, with sometimes unexpected sets, can come together to offer win conditions against any team archetype; Poppy's team exemplifies the thin line of offensive pressure and defensive backbone a balanced team must walk to be successful, as well as the value of offensive synergy, defensive synergy, and reliable surprise.
Poppy's first Pokemon, and his usual lead, begins the theme that is present throughout the team: maintaining utility against nearly every playstyle. Poppy accomplishes this here, and in other places, by noting what elements from each team archetype threaten the integrity of his team, and creating reliable ways to beat most if not all variants of them. For instance, Poppy's team possesses no Stealth Rock weak Pokemon, but all but one of his team members are weak to Spikes, which can lead to a slow death in a hazard infested metagame. Forretress's set allows it to outright beat common early-game Spikes setters, such as Deoxys-S and Deoxys-A, in a formulaic and reliable way, preventing the pressure on his specialized defensive core from the offensive teams that typically carry these Pokémon from becoming unmanageable before he gets a chance to apply his own offense. Because of his team composition, and the unique set, the game plan against more common Stealth Rock leads, and the types of teams that usually carry them, can be completely changed and adapted. The ability to allow Stealth Rock to go up without much worry, and the item choice, guarantee Poppy two layers of hazards, which can be crucial in breaking down the cores of balanced and defensive teams with his offensive Pokémon. Forretress retains its ability to switch into Ferrothorn in later stages of the game, should it not be led with, and its invested Gyro Ball helps it somewhat against Giratina-O while also providing an emergency check to some dangerous sweepers, such as Outraging Rayquaza. Synergistically, Forretress is an excellent fit. The only Pokemon who can beat it outright, Darkrai, mixed or Choice Band Zekrom, and Kyurem-W, are all handled excellently by Poppy's defensive core and cannot successfully take the momentum without prediction. The ability to adapt to nearly any demand makes up for this set's lessened durability and defensive abilities. The hazard war is absolutely critical to a balanced team's success. Poppy's walls can easily be beaten by what they are meant to check if more than a few layers are up, and this team's sweepers need the passive damage to lessen prediction and break their common counters before the same passive damage wears them down beyond use; this set allows the team to walk that thin line in most scenarios.
In a metagame of incredibly hard hitters, Dialga distinguishes itself on this team with more than just power and coverage. Continuing the theme of utility versus every archetype, Dialga possesses both the hazard-resistant typing and coverage that make it a nightmare for defensive teams, and the power and bulk to make setting up against it nearly impossible for offensive teams. The synergy it offers is critical for the success of the team. With one prediction, it can remove most of the counters to Poppy's other offensive Pokemon. With one Fire Blast, even in the rain, Ferrothorn is removed from Latias's path. With one Thunder, or even a Dragon-type attack with Stealth Rock up, Ho-Oh can no longer threaten Ghost Arceus. Even with a simple spamming of Dragon-type attacks in tandem with hazards and other passive damage, this team can force Chansey and other special walls to constantly recover, allowing free switches to phaze or set up more entry hazards to essentially overload these walls, or put them on a timer. The ability to break down walls against defensive teams and to pressure offensive teams into sacking team members due to their inability to OHKO Dialga makes it a valuable asset versus nearly any team archetype. Besides defensive synergy, Poppy's team offers solid switch-ins for the few Pokemon that can switch in and threaten this set. Kyogre is an excellent switch-in to threatening offensive checks, such as Steel and Fighting Arceus, and Forretress sets up versus almost any special wall predicting a coverage move. The common revenge killers of a set such as this, Offensive Groudon, Terrakion, and Fighting Arceus to name just a few, also have very solid switch-ins, Hippowdon and Latias. Offering exceptional and enduring pressure against defensive and balanced teams, and likely KOs without risking set up by unmanageable threats, Dialga certainly carries its above average weight on this team.
A team such as this, one very dependent on the hazard situation to be successful, has to have a way of preventing opponents from easily spinning away all their hard work. Poppy chose one of the most threatening Pokémon in the tier to accomplish this, applying pressure and taking advantage of bulk with the choice of Ghost Arceus. The more offensive EV spread allows for Ghost Arceus to have a better chance of taking advantage of the damage its teammates put out. After an assault from Dialga or Latias, Ferrothorn will not be able to take a +1 Focus Blast, and if it comes in at full health to get a desperate Leech Seed, it will easily lose to one of Poppy's other sweepers when it comes back in. The Special Attack EVs also allow it to place more pressure on Tentacruel, a threatening Pokemon to Ghost Arceus, and helps prevent opponents from easily being able to Toxic stall it. Much like Dialga, Ghost Arceus's still great bulk prevents it from being beaten easily by offensive teams. Mewtwo cannot OHKO it with any move, and even full health Scarf Kyogre loses if it switches into a Calm Mind. The speed Ghost Arceus brings helps Poppy tremendously against threats like the Lati twins and non-Choice Scarf Palkia, as beating them down as quickly as possible is crucial to keep them from using their attack typing advantages against his defensive core.
Latias, the star of BW2 Ubers, single-handedly changed the face of Ubers balance by granting it an offensive Kyogre check. The set Poppy chose allows for excellent pressure against offensive threats and momentum grabbers, such as Genesect and Ho-Oh, but Latias's most important niche on this team is its ability to check, through its typing, the Arceus formes that Kyogre cannot, such as Electric and Grass; outspeeding and KOing Palkia and mixed Rayquaza, two large threats; and taking any Kyogre assault relatively well, importantly beating Calm Mind Kyogre all of the time, a foe that Ghost Arceus cannot safely engage in a Calm Mind war against. The counters this set has, namely Ferrothorn and Chansey, are shared by Poppy's other two offensive Pokemon, so the very respectable damage output of this set, as well as its hazard resistance through Levitate, let it either take advantage of the holes its teammates have blown or create some of its own, many times throughout a match, an excellent example of offensive synergy with defensive utility.
The first member of Poppy's defensive core provides a check to nearly every one of the Pokemon that threaten Poppy's offensive Pokemon. Specially defensive Kyogre provides a very sturdy special backbone to the team, checking things that otherwise pick Poppy's team apart. For instance, Darkrai, who sets up on and hits all of Poppy's sweepers super effectively, is handled with ease by this set. Calm Mind Arceus formes that can set up against his team are easily burned and phazed, ensuring that they can be dealt with in more advantageous circumstances later. The huge special bulk lets it phaze some of its common switch-ins, such as Palkia and Latias, who threaten the team, and the ability to deal with them on one's own terms is a huge boon. This set also hands down beats Kingdra if hazards are up, an otherwise devastating Pokemon for Poppy. But, like every other member of the team, Kyogre doesn't offer utility only against offensive Pokemon. It is an excellent status absorber, and can switch into notable special walls such as Chansey and specially defensive Dark Arceus (otherwise a near impossible threat to beat) with nearly no cost; it can also rack up passive damage against them through burns and phazing. It is also an excellent lure to Pokemon that are easily handled while burned, such as Ferrothorn and Latias, and can help overload these walls to allow another Pokemon to sweep. Kyogre's ability to force many walls to switch with the power of its rain-boosted Scalds, in tandem with Roar, means that against defensive teams, it can force the opponent to choose between switching out to their Kyogre check and be phazed, taking more hazard damage, or taking huge damage and a possible burn from a Scald.
Hippowdon has been an unorthodox yet very effective choice in Ubers for some time now, and makes up the physical component of Poppy's backbone. Checking many of the offensive threats that shut down sweepers, such as Scarf Zekrom, Ho-Oh, Extreme Killer Arceus, Rock Polish Groudon, and Dragon Dance Rayquaza, this set is absolutely critical to preventing Poppy from being cleaned up by physical threats. It offers very solid Stealth Rock chances against many common Ubers Pokemon, and the passive damage of Stealth Rock and sandstorm goes a long way in easing the road against things like Chansey and Mewtwo. Sandstorm may seem like the inferior choice to Sand Force, considering some of the sweepers' use of Thunder, but it is meant to provide a reliable switch into Ho-Oh, and since Ho-Oh will only be able to beat Latias if Stealth Rock is not down or it is sunny, it makes more sense to have an ability that allows Hippowdon to not only switch into Ho-Oh in the sun, but set up Stealth Rock on it.
A team such as this that functions largely on resistances and bulk will have problems with a Pokemon possessing great coverage, speed, and power. One Pokemon immediately springs to mind that possesses these qualities in abundance: Mewtwo. But, this team's bulk means that only one member is outright KOed by Mewtwo: Hippowdon. The coverage and power of Mewtwo prevent any member from being able to safely switch in and avoid the 2HKO, so switching against Mewtwo often means Poppy will take more damage than his core can likely sustain, considering he was no way to outspeed and revenge kill it. So, the problem comes when Mewtwo is paired with another common specially based threat, such as Darkrai. If Mewtwo is facing Kyogre, and there is a Darkrai in the wings, Poppy's team faces a serious dilemma. Do you switch, lose a Pokemon, and take large damage with at least one other, or do you let the Kyogre take the large damage and become weak to Darkrai? This same principle applies to combos of Mewtwo and Palkia, Lati twins, and a decent amount of special sweepers. Palkia and the Lati twins are decent threats on their own, as Poppy has no way to really switch into them more than once or twice. The increased bulk of Kyogre means that they cannot switch into the Water Leviathan and take advantage of it, but Kyogre still can't safely check these deadly sweepers. Mixed Rayquaza and Zekrom are threats in the sense that they don't have a switch-in on the team, but the ease of revenge killing these threats, and the reliability with which Poppy can get hazards up, mitigates this a lot. As mentioned, the lack of a weather-based Speed booster, Choice Scarf user, or similarly exceptionally fast Pokemon exacerbate some of these issues, such as being unable to revenge kill Mewtwo or outspeed SubSeed Shaymin-S; the latter is also unable to be phased by Kyogre or Hippowdon due to its STAB, making it a gigantic threat if it manages to get a Substitute up. The only notable physical threat to the team is the somewhat uncommon Air Balloon Excadrill, who can set up a Swords Dance and KO pretty much all of this team. If Kyogre switches in it risks death, and if sandstorm is up Ghost Arceus is a shaky check at best. Latias dies to a +2 Iron Head, and all Hippowdon can do is phaze while taking a huge hit from Earthquake, though entry hazards are no help here. Smart play with Ghost Arceus can beat this, though.
Just like any great team, Poppy's has the pressure and synergy to play around any threat due to surprising yet reliable sets, even those it is disadvantaged against. The inclusion of unorthodox sets, and the great examples of choosing each team member for a reason, show the principles of balance very well, and help make clear the necessary balance of pressure and defensive ability that makes teams such as this so successful. Because every playstyle is viable in the surprisingly balanced Ubers metagame, successful teams have to prepare for all of them; Poppy's team does just that, making sure that no team member is ever dead weight. Creativity really does pay off in the metagame where one new set can change a match's outcome entirely; why not be the next innovator?
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