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After hours of traipsing through the ladder during session after session of trying to beat Pwnemon's ranking, you're likely to feel just the slightest bit bored. Rain team after rain team comes and goes, as does sun team after sun team... and Trick Room team after Trick Room team... all in all, let's just say you're starting to get bored of the whole Doubles thing. Why don't people dare leave their boring team archetypes behind? Because these teams are what works, and why would you want to leave behind something which everyone knows works? Would you choose a new path over the dank and downtrodden road of weather and flavor? I know I would, and that's why I now bring this article to you!
With the advent of Black and White came two seemingly innocent and relatively innocuous moves, After You and Quash. The former allows its target to take its move immediately after the move is made; meanwhile, the latter causes the target to move right at the end of that turn. While these two effects may be utterly and completely useless in singles, they take on a whole new, and much more fearsome, form in Doubles. Most Pokémon with good moves requiring good speeds to use well, like Spore and Eruption, are usually abysmally slow. Usually this can be remedied by the simple addition of a Choice Scarf, but why do that when you have users of After You hitting base Speeds of up to 115? The reverse is also true; why bother trying to outspeed the opponent's Swift Swimmers when a simple Prankster Quash will take care of them?
I'm sure we've all witnessed our Amoonguss get blown to pieces by Psychics or Psyshocks. Or maybe we've seen our Heatran brought down to the red, only to fire off "Eruptions" less powerful than Embers when it's finally their turn. And in all these cases, haven't we all wished they could have moved a little bit earlier? This is where these moves come in! Cinccino can utilize the fastest After You in the game to let your allied Heatran fire off their Eruptions at full power, let your Amoonguss put a pesky Garchomp to sleep early, or even let your Conkeldurr use Focus Punch without the negative priority! Quash from a Prankster Murkrow easily outpaces the fastest of Swift Swimmers and lowers their efficacy drastically, allowing your slow-moving tanks to break through their frail HP bars, standing atop their mangled corpses and laughing at their pain and mise—err, let's move on.
One of the main problems with After You and Quash is that using them "wastes" the turn of one Pokémon on your side. Furthermore, this strategy is incredibly vulnerable to Fake Out and Taunt—your After You/Quash user could get targeted, leaving your attacker slow; even worse, if your offensive Poké flinches, you would have essentially wasted your whole turn! Akin to familiar strategies like TerraCott, After You and Quash teams are also beaten by Rage Powder and Follow Me, two very common moves in Doubles. Overall, although After You and Quash are two very useful moves indeed, you certainly have to be careful as to when you use them!
Some great abilities are wasted on terrible Pokémon. Ever wanted a good Technician user? I wouldn't even consider Mr. Mime if I were you. Or a good Pokémon to make use of the excellent ability Simple? Maybe Swoobat might be your best bet, but it's still pretty terrible. Well, that's why this article includes a section on this! Since Gen III, one very peculiar move has existed: Skill Swap. Another generally worthless move in singles, Skill Swap gains a remarkable use in Doubles; in fact, World Runner-Up Wolfe Glick even included a Skill Swap Cresselia in his VGC team! Similarly, Generations IV and V brought about Role Play, Entrainment, and Simple Beam, three fun (and maybe even useful!) moves to use in Doubles.
To begin with, let's examine Wolfe's use of Skill Swap. In an ingenious setup, he chose to Skill Swap Levitate onto Heatran, thereby removing its one greatest weakness—the dreaded Ground-type moves. Besides this, Skill Swap has appeared in numerous VGC teams before to reset weather, reuse Intimidate, and even replace Regigigas's and Slaking's abilities! Its use doesn't end there, though; besides trading good abilities between your allies, it can also move detrimental abilities over to your opponents! Is their Metagross giving you trouble? Give it the Slow Start you grabbed from your Regigigas! Is their Gastrodon ruining your rain offense? Take its ability away! Role Play and Entrainment run in a similar vein; however, they generally lack the versatility (and fun value!) that Skill Swap brings to the table.
Unfortunately, ability swapping is too similar to After You and Quash—its true utility can only be seen if everything goes perfectly, which, because this is Pokémon, will almost never happen. Between Fake Out, Rage Powder and Follow Me, and brutal opposing offense, there are plenty of spanners that can be thrown into the works of this strategy. When it does work, though, there is nothing scarier than a floating Heatran unleashing gallons of molten lava on the opposing team. Even then, weather in particular (in this case, hail or rain) can easily tear through the reinforced Pokémon or wear it down quickly regardless of whatever boosts or immunities it may have gained. And, as a final note of caution, Swords Dance is better than Skill Swap Pure Power.
Remember when you got to Driftveil City in Black/White? And the move tutor offered to teach you one of the elemental Pledge moves? Combining Pledges is a pretty cool thing to do, but step back for a moment and imagine if there was an Electric-type Pledge, and that combining it with Fire Pledge doubled its base power. And that they were both 100 Base Power to begin with. Then you might begin to get a feel for the sheer power the combination of Fusion Flare and Fusion Bolt brings to bear on your hapless foes.
Obviously, not many Pokémon can learn Fusion Bolt or Fusion Flare. This number is whittled down even more by the bans Standard Doubles has in place (coincidentally, VGC has banned ALL Fusion move Pokémon except for Smeargle), leaving behind just Victini and Kyurem-Black. Sitting at an awkward speed tier, these two aren't the best Pokémon available in the tier. Furthermore, even though Fire/Electric gets pretty good coverage, not every Pokémon is hurt significantly by these two moves. Rhyperior, Gastrodon, and friends laugh off either one, and Lightningrod users laugh at this strategy. This can usually be remedied with coverage options; just make sure your users aren't Choice-locked!
The next time you start throwing a team together, stop and think before you add a Politoed or a Tyranitar. There are plenty of equally reasonable strategies out there waiting to be discovered! Ever played Balanced Hackmons before? You'll be glad to know PerishTrap is viable in Doubles too! Or what about the Prankster Soak + Bolt Strike combo? This can be pulled off easily in Doubles as well! As you can see, bog-standard teams aren't always the best. Remember this when you're about to put together yet another Trick Room team; good luck, have fun!
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