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Speed has always been one of the more important factors to take into account in Doubles play. A side with an advantage in Speed pretty much has the edge, as this means that there are more active threats on that given side. In a format where one Pokémon outrunning its opponents can mean the safety of its partner, options to maintain or gain a Speed advantage can prove to be reliable assets. There are a number of choices to pick from when it comes to a form of maintaining this advantage. One of the more notable of these is Trick Room.
For starters, Trick Room is a move that affects all Pokémon on the field, reversing the turn order per priority bracket for 5 turns (effectively 4, though, as one of these turns is spent on setting Trick Room); basically, a slower Pokémon would move first instead of a normally faster one, but they're both still outrun by moves with higher priority, such as Aqua Jet. This means that, by running a team built around functioning well in Trick Room, one could achieve both "Speed" and bulk in their squad, as the Pokémon used in this type of team don't have to invest in Speed, giving them leeway to invest in bulk instead. However, running a team built fully around Trick Room has flaws of its own, most notably being that it needs Trick Room to be set to be truly potent, and that time is not on its side due to the limited duration of Trick Room. Without Trick Room active, a dedicated Trick Room team can at times find itself run over by the faster powerhouses in the metagame, such as Mega Kangaskhan.
However, a team archetype consisting of a mix between fast and slow Pokémon with Trick Room as its form of Speed control has cemented itself as one of the more effective and consistent styles in the format, and mostly without the flaws of a dedicated Trick Room team thanks to not fully relying on the move. Enter the SemiRoom system.
SemiRoom is short for Semi-Trick Room. SemiRoom is regarded as one of the better team archetypes in Doubles play, mostly for its flexibility and ability to adapt to opposing teams. SemiRoom teams have many notable traits that differentiate them from full, or dedicated, Trick Room teams. SemiRoom, unlike full Trick Room, doesn't completely rely on the move to gain the Speed advantage for the course of the match; rather, the move is only used at crucial turns in the game where the Speed advantage is needed. Another notable difference SemiRoom has from full Trick Room is that a SemiRoom team also typically runs some fast Pokémon, such as Talonflame and Choice Scarf Landorus-T, that act as a safety net against opposing fast Pokémon that would ordinarily dismantle a slow unit. A SemiRoom team doesn't require the use of Trick Room at once, and only needs to use the move when needed to maintain a Speed advantage. Outside of Trick Room, a SemiRoom team simply plays similarly to how a slow, bulky team would, with the fast portion of the team covering faster threats in order to maintain the Speed advantage.
A notable trait SemiRoom has is that it has a decent matchup against most opposing teams and their own forms of speed control, such as Tailwind and Thunder Wave, due to Trick Room rendering them detrimental, and that it isn't a total pushover when outside of Trick Room, either. In theory, SemiRoom teams can often find a way to put themselves in favorable positions where they have the Speed advantage, mostly due to how it matches up against opposing teams and their own methods of Speed control. Against faster, more dynamic teams that also often run Tailwind, activating Trick Room can turn the tables on them and maintain the Speed advantage; similarly, deactivating Trick Room against slower opposing teams that utilize it can be done in order to pummel them with the faster members of the team. Even with Trick Room inactive, SemiRoom still has the faster portion of its build to cover faster opposing teams, meaning that a SemiRoom team can still pose a threat even outside of Trick Room.
Structurally, a SemiRoom team can be classified into three parts: a "slow mode," a "fast mode," and the unit that's in between the two. The slow mode is, basically, the slow portion of the team which works best when Trick Room is up, but is still useful outside of it through good positioning or for utility. The fast mode, on the other hand, is the portion of the team with high Speed Pokémon that acts as a safety net for the slow mode so that they don't get beaten by faster threats they would otherwise have trouble with. The "unit in between" basically consists of the Pokémon that aren't really either fast or slow, but fit into the team's structure one way or another. Generally, the Pokémon in this unit run bulky spreads to compensate for the fact that they're not faster than a significant portion of the metagame, though they still outspeed some, and depending on the situation can work inside or outside of Trick Room; for instance, a Heatran outside of Trick Room would lose to opposing Earth Power Shaymin-S, but inside Trick Room it can freely use Heat Wave against it without fear. One of the members of the slow mode is the Trick Room setter. Note that a SemiRoom team only really needs one setter on its structure, as most of the time Trick Room is only needed once in a whole match and that having two setters would put a strain on team when teambuilding. With both a fast unit, a unit that thrives in Trick Room, and a unit that can work with or without Trick Room on a case-by-case basis, a SemiRoom team can weave through opponents with ease by being able to maintain the Speed advantage and momentum—in more ways than one.
The role of the Trick Room setter is, obviously, to set Trick Room. Because a SemiRoom only really has room for one setter, ideal Trick Room setters would be those with high bulk or a good defensive typing to let them stomach strong hits and set Trick Room reliably at least once in the match. Most good Trick Room setters are also able to provide utility outside setting Trick Room, such as Helping Hand, so that they aren't dead weight outside of that role. Cresselia is a solid Trick Room setter, boasting tremendous bulk that lets it stomach strong hits, even super effective ones, and set Trick Room at least once, or maybe twice, in a game. Cresselia's typing gives it few weaknesses, the only notable one being to Dark, and a nifty resistance to Fighting that allows it to take on Keldeo and Terrakion. Cresselia also boasts extra utility in its support moves, including Helping Hand and Safeguard, as well as Ice Beam to hit the common Landorus-T. Jellicent is another viable Trick Room setter; though it's less bulkier than Cresselia, it has a relatively better defensive typing that gives it more nifty resistances. Thanks to its typing, Jellicent matches up well against a decent portion of the metagame, most notably including Mega Kangaskhan, Keldeo, and Heatran. Jellicent also boasts Will-O-Wisp, which lets it cripple opposing physical attackers and soften their blows for its teammates. There are other candidates for setting Trick Room, but these two are duly noted thanks to their consistency in performing their appointed role.
The slow mode of a SemiRoom is basically the group of Pokémon on the team with low Speed, therefore the one being the most effective when Trick Room is in play. Though they play best under Trick Room, they don't really require Trick Room to be effective, as most of them either have the bulk, typing, or utility to be effective outside of it; with smart positioning, they can still be threatening even without the Speed advantage. Naturally, Pokémon in this group are bulkier compared to their faster teammates thanks to not needing to invest in Speed, letting them allocate EVs into their defenses instead. Amoonguss is a solid Pokémon that fits this group; while generally a supporter with Rage Powder, Amoonguss is notorious for being able to "outspeed" and use Spore on a significant portion of the metagame under Trick Room. Thanks to its decent defensive typing and bulk, along with Regenerator, Amoonguss can act as a component for most SemiRoom teams' defensive backbones and effectively take most attacks it redirects with Rage Powder. Amoonguss makes its mark as an effective two-way Pokémon that can either take hits for its teammates or neuter foes. Mega Mawile is another effective slow mode Pokémon. Boasting a tremendously high Attack stat when factoring in Huge Power, Mega Mawile functions as a strong beatstick that can severely dent almost everything in the metagame. Mega Mawile works great in Trick Room thanks to its low Speed, which lets it dispatch foes quickly with its high power. Mega Mawile can also function outside of Trick Room thanks to its numerous resistances, good bulk, and priority Sucker Punch, which lets it nab quick KOs. Though a small boon, Mega Mawile's base forme also has Intimidate, which helps in softening the blows of physical attackers. There are other Pokémon that fit this category, but these two are notable for their great effectiveness when in and out of Trick Room.
The fast mode of a SemiRoom team is the unit with high Speed Pokémon that's meant to act as a check to opposing fast threats that would simply break down the slow mode. Unlike the slow mode, this group of Pokémon doesn't need Trick Room active to function due to their high Speed. However, they can't function effectively in Trick Room as its effect is detrimental to their play, with the exception of Talonflame which uses a priority move. Also, thanks to not needing Trick Room active to be able outrun opponents, the fast mode is able to apply much more immediate pressure than the slow mode. Choice Scarf Landorus-T is a good pick for this role; with high Speed, decent bulk and defensive typing, good neutral coverage, and Intimidate, Landorus-T serves as a solid check to a majority of the metagame. With a Choice Scarf, Landorus-T can easily pick off faster threats, such as Shaymin-S and Metagross, that would easily beat the slow mode. Landorus-T can also pivot in and out thanks to its workable natural bulk and shuffle Intimidate to soften incoming physical blows, and it can transition well into its teammates with U-turn. Another usable Pokémon for this unit is Talonflame; with Gale Wings Brave Bird, Talonflame can serve as a "fast attacker" thanks to almost always being to hit first due to priority. Talonflame is pretty good at putting pressure on foes because it forces them to be on the defensive because of its strong attacks with no regard to opposing Speed control. Talonflame is also notable for being able to work in and out of Trick Room, as it boasts priority in Brave Bird and Trick Room's turn order reversal only works per priority bracket. While there are other Pokémon that fit this classification, these two are notable for being some of the best faster Pokémon in the metagame.
This mode, in between the fast and slow modes, is basically the unit of Pokémon that are fast enough to outspeed a significant portion of the slower metagame but are too slow to serve as a safety net against faster foes. In general, most Pokémon to pick from in this category run some bulk or are bulky because, though they outspeed some opponents, they are still hit by the faster metagame. Thanks to being in the gray area between fast and slow, they can work either inside or outside of Trick Room depending on the situation. Mega Kangaskhan fits this category; sitting in a decent Speed tier and possessing noteworthy bulk, it can serve as a strong beatstick for a SemiRoom team. With Fake Out, Mega Kangaskhan can be useful to gain back some momentum or get a valuable free turn to set Trick Room, and with Power-Up Punch it can easily boost up to annihilate opponents with incredibly high-powered attacks. Mega Kangaskhan also has priority in Sucker Punch, and under Trick Room, Mega Kangaskhan can beat some foes that would normally beat it, the most notable being Keldeo. Heatran is another Pokémon that fits this category; with a good defensive typing, decent bulk, and a way to deal spread damage, it's able to keep slower foes at bay. Thanks to its typing and bulk, Heatran can hold its own against a significant portion of the metagame, fast and slow, and it's also one of the better answers to opposing Amoonguss, a notoriously good check to SemiRoom and other Trick Room teams. Although there are other possible choices that fit this category, most notably Rotom-W, these two are notable for being able to work in and out of Trick Room effectively and are just strong picks in general.
SemiRoom is a very effective playstyle in Doubles play. SemiRoom is flexible regarding what it can fit in its structure and play, allowing you to use a plethora of Pokémon. While somewhat complex, SemiRoom can prove effective to the practiced mind. Now get out there and play some Doubles. :]
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