Flavor of the Month: Gravity

By Deck Knight. Art by CyzirVisheen.
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Introduction

Flavor of the Month is dedicated to the creation, implementation, and perfection of themed teams. Often derided as gimmicks (not usually unjustifiably), themed teams are based around a field effect, type, or other defining feature.

It is occasionally said that most teams cannot counter Pokémon like Tyranitar, Lucario, or Salamence twice. Obviously using two of these Pokémon on the same team would violate Species Clause, but themed teams unify around one common threat and then stress it to its final end.

This series will be written like a progressive RMT, going through each process change from the beginning of the team to its end, with any interim changes. It will go into great detail on addressing specific weaknesses of the theme and trying to adapt ways around them.

Gravity is one of those obscure field effects you don't see much, but its effects are broad and game-changing. Like Trick Room, it cannot be boosted by any items, so your abusers are always on a timer.

Gravity has two main competitive effects: evasion is reduced 2 stages (e.g. attacks are 60% more likely to hit), and Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Arena Trap, and Ground-type attacks affect the opponent regardless of type or ability.

Less important effects are the disabling of Hi Jump Kick, Jump Kick, Fly, and Bounce.

Part 1: Foundation

There are a few routes to go with Gravity. The most compelling effect is the reduction in evasion, allowing you to use powerful but inaccurate moves at 100% accuracy. This applies to all types of attacks and greatly increases offensive ability, allowing you to use Blizzard over Ice Beam, Focus Blast over Hidden Power Fighting, and so on. In addition, the ability to hit Flying and Levitating Pokémon with Ground attacks is also useful, so a few Pokémon that might not ordinarily use Ground moves should consider them.

First, the team needs Gravity users. You also want at least two Gravity users to keep the effect up, or maybe even three.

Jirachi makes a good lead, as sit is relatively bulky and has good Speed. Furthermore, even if it can't make the best use of Gravity itself, U-turn allows your abusers to easily come in. Starmie can abuse various high-powered, low-accuracy attacks, and can keep itself alive with Recover. Blissey is the ultimate special wall and should be able to set up Gravity easily, and can use its varied low-accuracy special movepool and/or Sing to great effect.

The three also work together fairly well, although physical Ground attacks will be addressed later.

JirachiStarmieBlissey

Part 2: Basic Considerations

Gravity gets fun here. There are all sorts of Pokémon that enjoy increased accuracy with their attacks, and a few novelties that can be nasty surprises. One Pokémon that stands out is Gengar. Even without the Ground immunity during Gravity, Gengar can still switch in on Fighting and Normal attacks, and it can use Hypnosis and Focus Blast with perfect accuracy in the meantime. Its standard attack, Shadow Ball, has 100% accuracy and is reliable at any time during a match. The fourth move can be changed depending on specific team needs. Thunder is another low accuracy attack that has perfect accuracy under Gravity, but it can also use Haze or Psych Up to combat stat-boosting opponents. Pain Split allows you to keep Gengar alive if you are using Life Orb, using the turn after Hypnosis to recover some HP.

JirachiStarmieBlisseyGengar

Gengar does bring another Dark weakness to the team and further invites Tyranitar to switch in, so another possible team member could be Machamp. However, with Gravity on the field, Machamp can use Guts instead of No Guard and take some chances with DynamicPunch's new 83% accuracy. This allows it to fake No Guard against Ghosts, then demolish them with Payback when they try to burn it. It also grants Machamp a 100% accurate Stone Edge or an Earthquake that can hit fliers. With bulky EVs, it can take a few hits and deliver devastating damage, providing an immediate answer to Tyranitar.

JirachiStarmieBlisseyGengarMachamp

We still have that nasty Ground weakness. Outside of Gravity, Gengar is immune to Ground attacks, which can come in handy, but we still need a good resistance. Celebi resists Ground and can work well with bulky Machamp, who can use Rest and then be woken up with Celebi's Heal Bell. Celebi has access to Earth Power, which can hit any Steel-type in Gravity. It can also Recover off damage, and use Grass Knot as further insurance against Tyranitar. It checks Gyarados fairly well, who is left using with Ice Fang as its best option, as Bounce is disabled during Gravity.

JirachiStarmieBlisseyGengarMachampCelebi

Part 3: Initial Battling Impressions

The concept was solid, but execution was lacking. Stat-up sweepers were a very sore point to the initial team, and even if Gengar put them to sleep, it couldn't hit them hard enough; in addition, some stat-up sweepers had Sleep Talk so they weren't bothered much by Hypnosis. Gravity was put up consistently and kept up for most of the match, but victories were hard to come by. The element of surprise wore off quickly, and even with the higher Base Power attacks, valuable damage turns were wasted by setup. The lack of a spinner was also proving hazardous against stall teams, so Starmie needed to become a more defensive spinner variant with less coverage.

Part 4: Tweaking

Most of the tweaks were on individual sets, such as replacing Thunder with Haze, and then finally Psych Up, on Gengar, as well as tweaking the EVs; some tweaks also focused on trying to build a Starmie with more bulk but still enough power to sweep. The tweaks were not going well. This experiment needed a major overhaul.

Part 5: Experimentation

U-turn wasn't proving to be as useful as initially thought. Metagross seemed to be a superior choice over Jirachi at this point, since it can set up Stealth Rock and Gravity and abuse it with Earthquake and a perfectly accurate Meteor Mash. I put on enough Speed to beat Magnezone. The team could also use a Spiker or Toxic Spiker. Another option for Spikes would be to put the Steel-type in the back, and use a Smeargle with Spikes as a lead. Roserade sadly cannot use Sleep Powder and Spikes at the same time.

Smeargle has the most tools at its disposal to act as a Spikes lead, and also several other gamebreaking notable support moves it can use at the same time. Smeargle moves to the lead position with a moveset specified to benefit the team early and mid-game. Choice Scarf Smeargle can set Spikes before the most common Taunt leads, and with a Jolly nature, Smeargle reaches 272 Speed, just above Scarf Rotom-A. Similarly, it can abuse its 408 Speed as the fastest reliable sleeping lead with Spore, and can also disrupt mid-game strategies with Trick. The final move is an odd choice, but has several uses specific to this team. Explosion benefits Smeargle in multiple ways. First, it has STAB, so even with Smeargle's abysmal Attack stat, it packs a punch against any opponent that doesn't resist it. Second, it removes Smeargle from the field, so it can explode on an opposing Rapid Spinner, and even if the Explosion doesn't knock its target out, Smeargle cannot be targeted and Rapid Spin fails.

Unfortunately, using Smeargle does necessitate kicking something off the team. Sorry, Machamp, but Metagross does a pretty good job of beating Tyranitar as it is, and all of the Pokémon on the team have a move that can hit that nuisance for super effective damage anyway.

Final Report

Gravity relies on the move effect for consistency in attacking, but most of your Pokémon aren't helpless without it. Even inaccurate attacks can still hit without Gravity enabled, so the strategy lends itself to people comfortable with accepting high-risk, high-reward strategies. Most of the Pokémon useful to a Gravity team are already viable in standard or even OU staples.

The greatest challenge is keeping awareness of the Gravity timer. Fire Blast and Meteor Mash aren't too bad without the support, but riskier moves like Thunder, Focus Blast, and Hypnosis become gambles. With no items that increase the number of turns Gravity stays in effect, you only have three turns to abuse it if you switch to another Pokémon.

Overall, the team is fun to use, but leans towards, and tends to play like, heavy offense. Gravity complements most of its best users' movepools, but sometimes it is still one more setup turn you just can't afford sometimes.

The Team

Old Team Members

Jirachi
Jirachi @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 56 HP / 232 Atk / 220 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Iron Head
- U-turn
- Gravity
- Stealth Rock
Machamp
Machamp (M) @ Leftovers
Ability: Guts
EVs: 252 HP / 216 Atk / 32 Def /8 Spe
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- DynamicPunch
- Stone Edge
- Payback
- Rest

Current Team

Smeargle
Smeargle (M) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Own Tempo
EVs: 180 Atk  / 80 Def / 248 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Spore
- Explosion
- Trick
- Spikes

Always survives Choice Band Metagross Bullet Punch.

Gengar
Gengar (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Hypnosis
- Focus Blast
- Shadow Ball
- Pain Split
Starmie
Starmie @ Life Orb
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Hydro Pump
- Recover
- Gravity
- Thunder
Metagross
Metagross @ Leftovers
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 80 HP / 252 Atk / 36 SpD / 140 Spe
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Meteor Mash
- Earthquake
- Gravity
- Stealth Rock

Outspeeds Bait Tyranitar, the fastest set outside Scarf/DDtar. It can't catch +Spe TTar without boosting its own Speed, which sacrifices too much attacking power.

Blissey
Blissey (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 24 HP / 252 Def / 132 SpA / 100 Spe
Bold nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Fire Blast
- Blizzard
- Gravity
- Softboiled

Outruns bulky 8 Speed Choice Band Scizor, and OHKOes with Fire Blast.

Celebi
Celebi @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 176 Def / 44 SpA / 36 Spe
Bold nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Recover
- Heal Bell
- Earth Power
- Grass Knot
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