Featured OU RMT

Team by PenguinX with commentary by Harsha. Art by boyvirus.
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This has been the only team I've really used for the last 3-or-so months, and is what I used for the Kyurem-B suspect test and OST9, as well as what little I played of the Genesect and Torn/Keld suspect metagames. Although it doesn't really introduce any individual Pokemon you haven't seen before, it does use a few Pokemon that don't see nearly enough usage in my opinion, such has Zapdos and Tangrowth. Thanks to tab for the excellent title; you very likely won't get the reference if you aren't from #uk, #tr_rule or into your ancient trou du cul / smogon greatest hits threads. However, I think its very fitting to end my Pokemon career (hopefully...) with a reference to the only guy who has been with me through it all: Pocketman.

The first version of the team was built at the start of the Kyurem-B suspect test, when there was a lot of discussion about the decline in viability of stall. I went out to try and build a decent stall team to get reqs, not only for the sake of using stall but also because it actually requires half a brain to pull off. BW2 is already boring as it is without another yet person using autopilot Deo-D, VoltTurn or Rain offense. I've always been of the opinion that if you are going to dedicate hours of your life to playing a littled kids' video game on the internet, you might as well build or use a team that shows off any skill you have, rather than use teams that play themselves. The very first version of the team was SDef Hippowdon / Skarmory / SDef Zapdos / Fat Starmie / Ferrothorn / Scarf Terrakion, but I only ended up using it for around 20 battles before giving it a major overhaul; it had no spinblocker and was weak to just about everything relevant in OU. Skarmory was replaced with Forretress to free up a slot for Jellicent over Starmie. Ferrothorn was dropped for Tangrowth to better combat stuff like Terrakion, and my own Terrakion was replaced with a bulky Scarf Jirachi to provide a second Steel-type to the team. This version of the team ended up being much more successful, going 62 - 14 in my suspect test run to get reqs. It also peaked at #1 but that doesn't really mean anything on the suspect ladder.

The Team

Hippowdon @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 248 HP / 24 Def / 236 SpD
Careful Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Slack Off

Hippowdon was a no-brainer for the team; I'm far more comfortable with Sand Stall than with any other stall-based playstyle. I've never been a fan of rain stall because you just never have the teamslots to do everything you want. You usually have to forego a scarfer which means you become really reliant on having stuff super healthy throughout the entire game to not lose to some random Dragon Dancer or Volcarona or something. Sun and Weatherless stall on the other hand are just unviable in a rain-infested metagame. Having determined I wanted to use Sand Stall, I had to decide whether I wanted to use Hippowdon or Tyranitar. Anyone who has ever had a conversation about Pokemon with me in the last 6 months should know that I really really really hate Tyranitar in BW2 unless its supporting Keldeo or something. So here we are, with Hippowdon.

Okay enough random filler shit, lets get to the actual set. SDef Hippowdon is by far its best set in BW2 since its such a special-based metagame. Although mono-Ground typing doesn't look all that good for a mixed wall given the weaknesses it brings to common special attacks (Water-, Grass- and Ice-moves are common and almost exclusively special-based), Hippo is bulky enough to survive almost any unSTABbed super effective special hit, and able to survive a few STABbed ones too. He takes the likes of Thundurus-T Hidden Power Ice with ease and is never 2HKOd by Scarf or Expert Belt sets, and can also stand up to the likes of Latias. Its thanks to this excellent mixed bulk that SDef Hippowdon can almost single-handedly win the first 15 battles on a fresh alt on the ladder, or the first round or two in a tournament - new-ish players just have no idea how to beat him.

Hippowdon's role on the team is to set-up Stealth Rock and keep opposing weather sweepers in check. As the only weather inducer with access to reliable recover and a Stealth Rock resistance, Hippowdon regularly outlasts opposing Politoed over the course of a battle. Earthquake and Slack Off are completely standard and theres really no reason not to use them. Rock Slide, however, is much less common but you can probably guess what its here for. Most people opt for Ice Fang or Whirlwind in the last slot, and although both have their obvious advantages over Rock Slide in a lot of scenarios, I like the utility Rock Slide brings to the team. It turns Hippowdon from a mediocre answer to Volcarona to an excellent check, whilst retaining the ability to hit the likes of Tornadus-T, Thundurus-T, Dragonite and Salamence for good damage. Unlike Whirlwind, Rock Slide allows Hippowdon to check the aforementioned, even when they are the last Pokemon on the opposing team.

Forretress @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Def
Relaxed Nature
- Rapid Spin
- Spikes
- Gyro Ball
- Volt Switch

Forretress gets a lot of shit, and its not hard to see why. Its slow, weak, becomes set-up fodder for numerous Pokemon late-game and just lacks the survivability you'd want from a dedicated spinner and spiker. However, the only other option for a team like this is Starmie, who quite simply, sucks. To put into context how much "defensive" Starmie sucks, its around as bulky as an uninvested Keldeo. Yeah, I'll stick with Forretress, thanks.

Forretress is the first Steel-type of the team, and as a result is overall my best switch-in to most physical dragons. Although it gets KOd by virtually any Rain-boosted Water-type attack, Forretress actually plays a key role in the match-up vs rain. Forry switches-in and spins freely on the only common hazard-setters you ever find on rain: Ferrothorn, Sash Terrakion and SDef Jirachi. With hazards off the field, Zapdos and Jellicent have a... field day against Rain (must be a better way of wording that 9.9). The set should be familiar to everyone. Volt Switch allows Forretress to escape the clutches of Magnezone, and also means I can preserve momentum on a predicted Jellicent or Heatran switch-in. In a pinch it means I can check Gyarados, or at least break its Substitutes! Gyro Ball is the main attack of choice because its the best option in the current competitive climate. The only other option really is Hidden Power Ice, which is next to useless when nobody is using Gliscor, and Forretress should never stay in on Landorus-I anymore. Every other 4x Ice-weak Pokemon is hit for comparable damage by Gyro Ball, but the Steel STAB gains coverage on the likes of Terrakion and deters Gengar from switching in to spinblock.

Zapdos @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 248 HP / 244 SpD / 16 Spe
Calm Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Heat Wave
- Toxic
- Roost

Zapdos is another Pokemon thats been getting a lot of shit recently. Unlike Forretress, however, I don't feel this trashtalk is really justified. I'm not even going to pretend that Zapdos would have a place on this team if Tornadus-T wasn't around, but I strongly feel that its a great metagame choice, at least until this round of suspect finishes. Although other bulky Flying-type resists like SDef Jirachi match-up better vs Tornadus-T 1v1, I find its all too easy for Tornadus to U-Turn out into something like Ferrothorn to set-up, or even defensive Politoed to try for a Scald burn. Jirachi doesn't really threaten anything on standard rain other than Tornadus-T, and if you're up against Torn + Dugtrio then you are in for a world of pain. Although Zapdos isn't as good against Tornadus-T in a vacuum, it makes up for this by putting a ton off pressure on Rain from the second it switches in and can't be trapped by anything bar the rare Gothitelle or Wobbuffet.

Zapdos is part 1 of this team's dedicated anti-rain core, and despite the defensively-oriented EV spread and moveset, he's nearly always the guy who ends up cleaning late-game. Thunderbolt is the STAB option that rain teams despise, and even without investment it scores an OHKO on Tornadus-T and hits defensive Politoed and Tentacruel for an easy 2HKO. I see a lot of people running Volt Switch on their Zapdos' but I really hate the idea of having to switch-out whenever I want to hit something with my STAB, especially if Stealth Rock is up. Heat Wave is the coverage option, hitting Ferrothorn for a 3HKO even in rain and also allowing Zapdos to beat Scizor. Toxic was chosen over Hidden Power Ice, Substitute and Roar because I really needed a way to hit Latios and Latias on the switch-in, and it also helps put a timer on stuff like last-mon Hippowdon. The 16 Speed EVS allow Zapdos to outspeed neutral 252 Speed base 70s, like Modest Politoed and Adamant Breloom.

Jellicent @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 248 HP / 128 SpD / 132 Spe
Calm Nature
- Scald
- Will-O-Wisp
- Taunt
- Recover

With Deoxys-D + Gengar hyper offense teams still running rampant, it seems like everyone has forgotten that there are Ghost-types in OU that actually have some bulk to them. When people throw terms like "good spinner" around nowadays, they almost exclusively mean something that beats Gengar 1v1. This is a godsend for Jellicent-users, as the only spinners you ever really see nowadays are defensive Starmie, Forretress and Tentacruel. The only one of those that is breaking Jellicent anytime soon is SubToxic Tentacruel, which is still not nearly as popular as it should be. As a result, SDef Jellicent is incredibly hard for a lot of teams to spin against and in the vast majority of my battles, guarantees hazards stay up for the entirety of the game.

Jellicent makes up part two of my anti-rain core, and handles everything that Zapdos can't. It hard counters all but Specs Hidden Power Ghost Keldeo, whom it often still outlasts in the long run. With Taunt and Will-o-Wisp, Jellicent also cripples the likes of defensive Politoed, and if it can get a burn on Ferrothorn then Zapdos has very little trouble steamrolling the opposing team. This EV spread is faster than almost any Jellicent you'll ever see, and this is mainly because of the gaining popularity of CBTar + Scarf Keldeo teams. This EV spread outspeeds up to 120 Speed Tyranitar, with standard CBTar only running 76 or 100 Speed EVs. The extra on top of that is purely for speed creep, because Jellicent is the only Pokemon on my team that can stand-up to Keldeo I need to ensure its not Pursuit-trapped too easily. Despite this ridiculous speed investment I was still outrun by a CBTar in OST9, so perhaps I should have gone for an even faster spread idk.

Tangrowth @ Leftovers
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
- Sleep Powder
- Giga Drain
- Hidden Power Ice
- Leech Seed

Tangrowth is the closest thing Gen 5 has to a physical Blissey. It had a small boom in usage during the Excadrill era but unfortunately never really caught on after that. Despite its RU status, Tangrowth plays a key role in this team, and keeps physical threats such as Dragonite, Breloom, Lucario and Terrakion at bay. Regenerator is what makes Tangrowth usable, and turns the vine-thing into an excellent defensive pivot. He plays a lot like Slowbro, except the mono-Grass typing is generally better for this team. It allows Tangrowth to switch in on Tyranitar and Ferrothorn much easier whilst retaining the ability to check the physical Dragons and most Fighting-types. The lack of a recovery move isn't too much of an issue due to Regenerator, and Forretress keeping hazards off the field helps too.

Although Tangrowth's physical movepool has some more powerful options available, like Power Whip and Earthquake, I opted for a special-based set as Tangrowth is often relied on as a check to Rotom-W and therefore ends up taking a burn pretty regularly. The downside to this, however, is that with Sandstorm up Giga Drain doesn't do as much damage to Tyranitar and Terrakion as you'd hope. Hidden Power Ice gains important coverage on the 4x Ice-weak Dragons, as well as hitting Gliscor and Landorus-T. With Gen V sleep mechanics, hitting a Sleep Powder pretty much means putting something out of commission for the rest of the battle. Leech Seed is the final move, just because there aren't really any other good options. I have enough clashing status' on the team without running Stun Spore as well, and Knock Off didn't really come in useful regularly enough to warrant its use. Leech Seed further makes up for the lack of a reliable recovery move, and along with Regenerator means Tangrowth can often stay healthy for an entire battle even after repeatedly switching in on Terrakion.

Jirachi @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 144 HP / 236 Atk / 128 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- Ice Punch
- Trick
- U-turn

The glue of the team, and one of my favourite scarfers. Even during the Genesect era I was using Scarf Jirachi, purely for the extra bulk and resistance to Stealth Rock meaning it can actually switch-in on stuff. The EVs look really random and there's a reason for that: they are. 128 Speed allows Jirachi to outspeed +1 Adamant Haxorus but the HP and Attack EVs are fairly randomly distributed otherwise as far as I can remember. Jirachi is one of my only good switch-ins for Latios and Latias so I needed as much bulk as possible without comprimising speed or power, and this EV spread ended up doing the job.

Jirachi takes a lot of pressure off my defensive cores to check the numerous threats in OU. Dragonite got a DD up and Tangrowth isn't healthy enough to take a hit? Jirachi. Nasty Plot Thundurus-T causing issues? Jirachi. Tornadus-T crit and confused its way through Zapdos? Guess who? Its a crutch to fall back-on if I messed up earlier in the game and let one of my walls get too weak, and pretty much ensures I'm not helpless against any Steel- or Ice-weak offensive Pokemon from the offset. Iron Head and Ice Punch are standard for STAB and coverage respectively, and U-Turn means I can at least attempt to outplay DragMag and preserve momentum on obvious switches. Trick is in the last slot over some other coverage move because it puts an end to the likes of last mon CM Reuniclus and also screw up opposing stall somewhat.

Rain was likely the biggest metagame-defining factor in OU before the Tornadus-T and Keldeo suspect test, and a lot of people will still say that it's far too powerful. Instead of conforming with the trend, PenguinX uses an innovative sand stall team with answers to every common threat in the metagame. The team's goal is to control entry hazards and passive damage—through a weather inducer, hazard layers, and a spinblocker—and wear the opposing team down. PenguinX has a pretty formulaic build: he has a weather inducer, mixed wall, and hazard setter in Hippowdon; a spinner and hazard setter in Forretress; a spinblocker and rain counter in Jellicent; a rain counter (and dedicated Tornadus-T check!) in Zapdos; a dedicated physical wall in Tangrowth; and a cleaner, revenge killer, and general failsafe in Jirachi.

Leading off PenguinX's team is his weather inducer, Hippowdon. With a specially defensive spread, Hippowdon loses the ability to counter strong physical Fighting-and Dragon-types, but it gains the ability to take on weaker special super effective moves. Additionally, it can tank more attacks from rain teams—as most rain teams are specially based—and considering how common rain teams were before the days of the Tornadus-T ban, the special bulk was a blessing. Hippowdon gives the team Stealth Rock, which is especially important for this team, as it has to keep pressure on the opponent. By limiting the amount of switches that Kyurem-B, Volcarona, Salamence, and other large threats can make, PenguinX can keep them out of play, and have an easier time handling them in the late-game.

One must note that Hippowdon does most of the team's walling in regards to weaker moves, but it generally has a tougher time with stronger physical or special moves due to the mixing of the EV spread. To cope with this, PenguinX has to have a dedicated physical wall and a dedicated special wall, as Hippowdon cannot fill in either of these slots.

Tangrowth takes on the job of a dedicated physical wall very well, and as PenguinX stated in his RMT, it's the closest thing one can find to a physically-oriented Blissey. While it gained popularity in the late Excadrill OU metagame, after the banning of Excadrill, Tangrowth simply fell back to its RU status. However, Tangrowth is still a great candidate for a physical wall, even in this metagame that seems to favor special attackers. Tangrowth prevents Pokemon such as Terrakion, Dragonite, Salamence, and Garchomp from running rampant, and with Giga Drain and Hidden Power Ice, it can clean these Pokemon up without having to prolong the problem by trying to stall them out with Leech Seed. If Tangrowth can force the opposing Pokemon out, using Leech Seed can help heal other Pokemon that don't necessarily have reliable recovery. Tangrowth, while it lacks reliable recovery in the form of a move, has Regenerator to fall back on if need be.

Jellicent acts as the second part of the physical and special wall core, and as a counterpart to Tangrowth. It brings multiple things to this team that are all extremely important; for one, it provides an excellent spinblocker that can deal with all common spinners bar SubToxic Tentacruel. This is crucial, as PenguinX's main method of dealing damage is through making the opponent take Stealth Rock and Spikes damage by forcing switches. Additionally, Jellicent is a hard counter to Keldeo, typically one of the hardest Pokemon in the metagame to deal with. Finally, Jellicent can spread burns through Will-O-Wisp and Scald to make the opponent take even more residual damage, with the added effect of weakening physical threats that attempt to switch in. This is very useful for Pokemon such as Toxicroak, who could run rampant against this team if Jellicent ran Toxic.

Up next, PenguinX has Forretress, a multifaceted Pokemon in terms of what it accomplishes for the team. For one, it has access to Spikes, an essential entry hazard for more defensive teams, as it makes the opponent pay HP for every switch. Additionally, it brings Rapid Spin support, and considering the opponent will have ample time to lay hazards against a team without any hard hitters, this is also a necessity. This is especially true for any team with Zapdos, as it won't be able to do its job properly with Stealth Rock on the field. Forretress's Steel typing allows it to come in against Dragons that are locked into Outrage and either lay Spikes, get rid of entry hazards, or simply weaken the opponent with Gyro Ball. Finally, Forretress packs Volt Switch, which allows PenguinX to gain momentum and force switches, in turn forcing the opponent to take damage. While it is a weak Pokemon in itself, the support that Forretress provides is essential for the team to accomplish its goal.

Zapdos is the second special wall for the team, but its job is considerably more specialized than Jellicent's. Zapdos was widely regarded as one of the top Tornadus-T checks in the metagame thanks to its ability to switch into Hurricane repeatedly, Roost off damage, and do a bit of damage to opposing rain teams while it was still in. With a specially defensive spread, Zapdos is surprisingly bulky, and it can tank quite a few Water-type moves even in the rain. Aside from the role of taking on Hurricane, Zapdos doesn't fill many other tangible roles, though it can Toxic a few Pokemon if played correctly; however, if need be, it can step up and fill in the role of a special wall should Jellicent go down. Zapdos isn't as good a tank as Jellicent, though, so this should only be a last resort.

Finally, at the end of his lineup, PenguinX packs a Choice Scarf Jirachi to both revenge kill threats that try to set up and clean up the opposing team in the late-game. While Jirachi is typically regarded as a weak Choice Scarf wielder, it has a few perks that set it apart from all other Choice Scarf users. With U-turn, Jirachi can gain momentum and bring PenguinX an advantage, even when the battle starts to look rough. Trick allows Jirachi to cripple a Pokemon on more defensive teams, which is useful for ruining Chansey, Ferrothorn, Hippowdon, and other common switch-ins to Jirachi. Finally, Jirachi is a Steel-type, meaning it can come in on Draco Meteor from Latios or Outrage from Salamence and KO them without losing too much HP. Of course, without defensive investment, it will still take a toll, but other common Choice Scarf users would have much more trouble dealing with these moves.

Although this team is splendid in that it covers most of the metagame, it does have its share of threats to cope with. Kyurem-B is one of the most threatening Pokemon this team can face, as only Jirachi and Forretress have a chance at standing up to its might, and it can even defeat these two with the appropriate coverage moves. Volcarona is also a problematic Pokemon, but if the team is played correctly, it shouldn't have very many opportunities to switch in. While this team is still usable, metagame changes have made the team less effective than it used to be. However, the team provides a valuable lesson in that stall is still a viable playstyle if used effectively, and it can teach us about strategies behind formulaic teambuilding. Let's all give a hand to buttom of the ocket, one of the most successful sand stall teams of the Tornadus-T era!

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