I’m not sure how much I need to say about the team. It is a pretty standard TrickScarf team, and if I were to talk about it, I would for the most part just be explaining the obvious. In addition to that, I am not the original creator of the team. So maybe I should just cut this short?
Screw that! I’m going to do a super-long explanation about the team, including literally everything I can think of!
Let’s start with the three team members. First of all, we have the lovely Latias. Which also happens to be my favorite Hoenn Pokémon! I also think shiny Latias looks fantastic. On this team, her role is a TrickScarfer. This is a common strategy in Gen 4 Singles because of how good (and broken) it is. Trick
to give the opponent a Choice Scarf and lock them into whatever move they choose to open with. Since opponents will almost never switch out in Gen 4 (even if they are locked into a move that deals no damage), this gives me a huge advantage. It allows me to set up Registeel or Salamence with ease (most of the time). The opponents will not switch out when they get down to Struggling either.
to paralyze the opponents, this will also make them slow (and they may sometimes get FP which is a big bonus, though that is not something you should ever count on). Charm
to lower their Attack, it is used against Pokémon that lock themselves into Physical moves. Recover
as the final move, it can allow Latias to heal itself if given the chance. Why would you want to do that? Because keeping Latias alive after crippling the opposing lead is often a good idea. It gives you an extra chance if something should go wrong. You never know what might happen later on. If something should go wrong, like if Registeel or Salamence should faint or get phazed out after setting up, Latias can get back into battle and hopefully cripple the (new) opponent a bit before I try to set up again. This is where Recover is helpful. A Choice Scarf
is the obvious hold item as it is the second key to TrickScarfing.
is the only Ability for Latias, it is good as it means that opponents will almost never use Ground-type moves against it (unless they are really damn stupid), which means Registeel has one weakness less to worry about. The only opponent that ever used a Ground-type move against me was Rampardos-4, which I faced a few times. It decided to use EQ instead of Head Smash for some reason. But that was really chill as it meant I could just set up Salamence on it. There’s also Pinsir with Mold Breaker, two of the Pinsir sets in the Frontier have Earthquake, but I think they are more likely to go for X-Scissor against Latias.
A Timid Nature and 76 Speed EVs gives Latias a Speed stat of 231 with a Scarf, allowing it to outrun the entire Tower apart from Porygon-Z-2 and Linoone-2 (both of these are Scarfed as well). With this, it will be able to TrickScarf almost any opponent before they can move (unless they have a Quick Claw). These EVs also give it a Speed stat of 154 without a Scarf, which is good as it allows Latias to outrun max Speed neutral base 100s after losing the Scarf. 153 Speed would have been enough, but removing 8 Speed EVs puts it at 152 rather than 153. So it has to be 154. It then has maxed HP to tank hits, the rest goes in Defense to improve its Physical bulk. Latias already has good natural Sp.def, so it is better to invest in regular Def. It doesn’t need Att or Sp.att since it doesn’t need to attack (unless it should get Taunted, but that never happened for me).
I did a comparison for a Bold Latias with 252 HP / 76 Def / 180 Speed, that would give it one less stat in both Def and Speed, making it inferior to this Timid spread. One final random thing I thought about for Latias was to go with Dragon Pulse instead of Recover as a final move. That way, I could potentially still win if Latias is the last Pokémon standing. Though it doesn’t feel like that happens very often, I guess Recover is the better option most of the time. Another alternative would be Flash in order to lower the opponent’s accuracy. I used Flash on a Latias I used for another TrickScarf team in Gen 5, and it had its uses. But most of the time, Trick/TWave/Charm are all you need, Flash could potentially be useful in some situations but it doesn’t feel as necessary as the three main moves.
Next in line is Registeel, the unbeatable tank… or so I wish. The Regis aren’t among my favorite legendary groups, but I still like them. Not sure which is my favorite among them though. But either way, I like Registeel. On this team, it is one of the two setup Pokémon which come in after Latias has crippled the opposing lead. Registeel’s role is to be a slow yet bulky tank and attacker (not sure if I can call it a “sweeper”). Iron Head
is the attacking move it knows, it is the best STAB move for Registeel as it has consistent base Power, good enough Base Power and high PP. The flinch chance could be a nice bonus, but it pretty much never comes into effect since Regi will be outrun by everything after Cursing 6 times. Speaking of which, Curse
is one of the two setup moves, boosting Attack and Defense at the cost of reducing Speed, making Registeel strong and physically bulky, but slower than everything. I really wish it learned Bulk Up, but you can’t have everything.
is the second setup move. It boosts Sp.def, allowing Registeel to tank special hits as well. Substitute
is the final move, an essential move for any setup Pokémon like this in the Tower. It blocks status, Crits and OHKO moves, which might otherwise put an end to Registeel’s success. Registeel holds a Leftovers
since it needs some kind of recovery. I really wish I could have Rest on it as well, but 4MSS means you have to give up on something. Clear Body
is the only Ability Registeel has this generation, and it is excellent as it blocks stat drops, which means I never have to worry about getting my stats lowered if the opponent is locked into Shadow Ball or something.
It has a Careful Nature. Maxed EVs in HP for high bulk. This gives it 187 HP, allowing it to Sub five times (with Leftovers) in a worst case-scenario, and still live with 3 HP left afterwards. Fortunately, that pretty much never happens. 100 EVs in Attack to improve its offense a bit. Sadly, Registeel only has a base Attack of 75, which means it does not always hit super hard even at +6. Pokémon that resist Steel and/or have high Def/HP will often survive a +6 Iron Head. But you have to do what you can. The EVs in Def and Sp.def give it almost even defenses, it gets one more point in Sp.def to give opposing Porygon a useless Attack boost (which is the standard for most Pokémon used in battle facilities from Gen 4 and on). One thing worth mentioning is that with this EV spread, it wastes 4 EVs in Defense. I suppose those could be moved to Speed. This would allow Registeel to outspeed other uninvested Neutral base 50s before it uses Curse, but that doesn’t feel like that would make a huge difference so I didn’t make the change.
For the third and final member of the team, we have Salamence. While it isn’t my absolute favorite, or even my favorite pseudo-legendary, I still think it is a really great Pokémon. And it has a great shiny form too, green isn’t one of my favorite colors but I think this shade of green is really great (in comparison, I think shiny Dragonite and Hydreigon look terrible). Outrage
is the main move, gets a Base Power of 180 with STAB which means it will seriously hurt at +6. Earthquake
is for coverage, it helps against Steel-types that resist Outrage, but it is also great to nail Electric-, Fire-, Rock- and Poison-types. It can also safely OHKO several other Pokémon that aren’t immune to Ground. When setting up Salamence, I often pick EQ as the first move even if Outrage might do more damage since I prefer to not get locked into Outrage if given the choice.
At +6, not many Pokémon can survive a move from Salamence. Here are some damage calcs for the few that actually live to tell the tale:
+6 252+ Atk Salamence Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 252 Def Shuca Berry Steelix: 123-145 (82 - 96.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
+6 252+ Atk Salamence Outrage vs. 0 HP / 252+ Def Skarmory: 131-155 (93.5 - 110.7%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO
+6 252+ Atk Salamence Outrage vs. 168 HP / 168 Def Skarmory: 153-180 (95 - 111.8%) -- 68.8% chance to OHKO
The only ones that survive are 3 Skarmory sets and one Steelix set (which has a Shuca Berry, it would have been OHKO’d by EQ otherwise). Of course, there are other Steel-types which survive an Outrage if I should be locked into it after beating the first opponent, but everything is 2HKO’d at least.
is used here for the same reason as for Registeel, to block hits. Notably OHKO moves or just general moves that can threaten Salamence. Since Salamence will be faster than everything at +6, it isn’t quite as threatened as Registeel, but there’s still the risk of hax items like Quick Claw and Brightpowder, as well as Focus Sashes/Bands. Dragon Dance
is the final move for Salamence, letting it boost its Attack and Speed to monstrous levels. Intimidate
is the only Ability for Salamence this generation, and it is great. Lowering the opponent’s Attack is never bad. If Salamence has to set up on a Physical move and Latias didn’t lower the opponent’s Attack to -6, Salamence can lower it with at least one stage. It also has an extra use that can come in handy from time to time. If Latias faints from a powerful Physical move used by the opposing lead, Salamence can come in before I send out Registeel, lowering the opponent’s Attack with one stage. This means Registeel will take less damage and have an easier time setting up.
is the item of choice, and it has two purposes. First of all, it allows Salamence to switch in on Pokémon that gets locked into a status move. Let’s say I am up against a lead Latios-1. It tends to open with Thunder Wave. I use Trick and TWave with Latias, then switch to Salamence. It will first get paralyzed (unless I get a lucky FP) and get cured by Lum, then I use Sub and the Latios just keeps spamming TWave to no effect. Second, Lum can cure Salamence once after it gets confused by Outrage. Worth noting is that if Salamence has lost its Lum, gets Confused from Outrage, and there’s one opponent left, I always switch out. There’s a risk that Salamence will hit itself, and it isn’t worth it. In the past, I lost a battle because I didn’t switch out Salamence after getting Confused from Outrage. Salamence hit itself twice and fainted, as opposed to hitting the opposing Pokémon (which was a Charizard, which then proceeded to beat Latias and Registeel).
The EVs and Nature are simple, Adamant with max Attack to hit as hard as possible. It has maxed Speed too, in case it needs to do something but is “naked”. The last EVs go into Sp.def to give it one point more in Sp.def than in Def, this is in order to screw with opposing Porygon, just like for Registeel. No HP EVs gives it a HP stat of 170, allowing it to Sub a total of 4 times and then have 2 HP left afterwards.
Another thing worth mentioning is Salamence's gender. This is actually important. Latias is Female while Salamence is Male, which allows it to safely set up on Male opponents which starts with Attract against Latias (such as Male Espeon-2, it used Attract at least once when I faced it). It also makes it safe to use against Male Pokemon with Cute Charm. I find it really good to have both genders for my Battle Facility teams, small details like this can make a difference! I know I have Registeel too, which is automatically immune to Attract as it is Genderless, but you can’t have too many safety measures.
So that’s the details for the team. But what about their origins? I have RNGed them all on my own, details below.
Latias was RNGed on HeartGold. I specifically RNG abused my ID/SID on the game to get this shiny spread. Which was a mistake when I look back at it now, because there is an alternate spread which gives IVs of 31/12/31/31/31/31 for both Timid and Modest. In comparison, the second Nature for my spread is Rash
, which is pretty much useless. But whatever! Latias was the main target I wanted and I got it alongside some other cool Timid shinies such as Mewtwo, Lugia and Articuno. I’m sometimes wondering whether this was really worth it in the end, but looking back now, I think the answer is yes.
Registeel was RNGed on Platinum. I got lucky with it in a way since I did originally not have an Event Regigigas which I needed to catch the Regis in Platinum. I didn’t get one until 2012, when I finally got it through a Wi-Fi trade. Since I had learned to RNG at that point, I decided to RNG the Regis instead of just catching them regularly. I caught Registeel with a Careful Nature and this IV spread, thinking about maybe using it for a TrickScarf team at the Battle Tower later on… and that’s just what I did! It is not shiny since I hadn’t RNGed my ID/SID on Platinum and there was no way I was restarting just to get a shiny Registeel, a standard one was enough.
Salamence was RNGed on HeartGold, through RNG breeding. Fortunately, there’s no need to RNG your ID/SID for shiny breeding, making this a lot less of a hassle compared to Latias. Not much more to say about Salamence, RNG breeding in HG/SS is mostly easy as long as the moving NPC on Route 34 doesn’t troll you.
Next, let’s talk about their nicknames! Salamence and Latias are obviously named after Nate
. Why? Well, can you guess my favorite Pokémon games? Hint: it is not Platinum, even if I still like it a lot. I think I went with those two names because I couldn’t think of anything else. It is hard to come up with good and creative nicknames for species I have nicknamed multiple times before.
Registeel is named after a song by Odyssey. I can’t find it on Youtube, but you can listen to it on Bandcamp here
. I find it suitable for Registeel since it is a Steel-type and its job on this team is to be an unstoppable superhero (sort of).
Let’s talk a bit more in-depth about the strategy for the team. Simply put, it is a pretty standard TrickScarf team with great defensive synergy. Latias cripples the opposing lead with Trick, TWave and then Charm (maybe not all four moves, just the ones that are necessary and/or possible to use), it can also use Recover to heal itself if necessary. I then switch to Registeel or Salamence, it depends on which is the most suitable to set up against the current opponent. I generally prefer setting up Salamence over Registeel if given the choice. The reason being that Salamence is faster, stronger, has Speed control, and takes less time to set up fully. But Registeel is often the “safer” choice, making me go for it most of the time even if it is slow, less powerful, and takes longer to set up fully. My experience is that Registeel is the safer Pokémon to set up, while I feel that Salamence is a lot safer and easier to win with if it is fully set up. Hope that makes sense.
Salamence is the one I go for most of the time if the opponent gets locked into a non-damaging move, such as Dragon Dance, Thunder Wave, Ingrain or something. Though it depends on the move. I mostly go for Registeel if the opponent is locked into a damaging move, unless the move in question is super effective against Registeel but not Salamence (this happens occasionally but very rarely) or if the move deals pitiful damage to Salamence. I start with Trick most of the time, but sometimes I go with TWave or Charm instead, it depends on what I face.
TrickScarf is a really broken strategy in Gen 4 since the opponents have bad AI, they will not switch even if they get locked into a non-damaging move. Nor will they switch if they get locked into a move which does no damage due to type immunity. Or a move which ends up dealing very little damage. This means that I can let Registeel set up for free if the opponent locks itself into a Poison-type move, or Salamence if the opponent should lock itself into a status move like Thunder Wave.
After playing with this team, I have really come to appreciate how Steel resists Ghost and Dark in Gen 2-5. This gives me a much better matchup against opponents which get locked into a Ghost- or Dark-type move, allowing Registeel to set up against them much easier. It would have been a bit harder to beat them otherwise.
When using Registeel, it’s Substitute will occasionally break as it is taking damage from the opponent’s moves. I never kept track of the damage it had taken in full detail, but I know that most unboosted STAB or otherwise powerful SE moves will break its Sub in two hits. If the move is also boosted, my Sub might break in just one hit. Other than that, I also tried to renew it when I knew it has taken a lot of damage. This strategy was far from optimal but it was what I used and it worked.
I always set up Regi/Sala to max if I can. Better safe than sorry, that’s one of the rules for a team like this. If I have Salamence out, it might not always “seem” necessary to set up to +6, but I always do it if given the option. The only exception is if my opponent only has one Pokémon left and I am in a situation where I haven’t set up (fully). In that case, I might only set up to the point where I feel that it is enough.
So that’s the team and how to play it. Why did I choose this team and not another one? Back in 2014, when I set out to get the Gold Prints in Platinum and win 105 battles at the Tower, there wasn’t an active leaderboard for Gen 4 here on Smogon. Nor was my goal to get on any leaderboard at all, I just wanted the Gold Prints and the TC upgrade. I also wanted them quickly. And I didn’t feel that I had enough skill to come up with a team of my own which had the potential to get to 105 wins at the Tower. So I looked at the (old) leaderboards here on Smogon to see if I could find a good team. I didn’t want to go for Double like I had done for D/P, so I went for Single instead. The top three streaks were (and still are) by Jumpman16, Peterko and Bozo, all of them used TrickScarf teams.
I did not have a Bold Mesprit with good IVs on Gen 4 at the time (and I was too lazy to try to get one on my own, didn’t feel like trying to get one through trade either – plus I think this was around the time when the Wi-Fi servers for Gen 4/5 were about to close down), so that’s why I didn’t use Jumpman’s team. Instead, I looked at Peterko’s and Bozo’s teams. I had a Timid Latias with the required IVs, a Careful Registeel with the required IVs, and I could easily RNG a Bagon or Gible. I will admit that I don’t remember exactly why I went with Bozo’s team over Peterko’s (basically, Salamence over Garchomp), but I think Speed control was the one thing that made me settle for Salamence. Anyway, there are some notable differences between them. I made a comparison between Garchomp and Salamence, listing their most notable positives and negatives:
+ STAB Earthquake
+ Swords Dance means that it only takes 4 turns to set up fully
+ Higher base Speed than Salamence, and a Jolly Nature makes it even faster
+ Electric immunity, including an immunity to TWave
+ Resists Rock, Fire and Poison
+ On a personal level, I like Garchomp better than Salamence
- No Dragon Dance, meaning no way to boost its Speed, which in turn means it will get outrun by opponents with a higher Speed stat
- Slightly lower base Attack than Salamence, and the actual Attack stat is even lower since you have to run a Jolly Nature
- No good Ability, Sand Veil is useless a majority of the time
- Shiny Garchomp is barely different from regular Garchomp
- Weak to Ice and Dragon
- Offers worse defensive synergy: the entire team is resistant/immune to every type, but between Registeel and Garchomp, there’s no resistance to Water, Ground and Fighting, Registeel happens to be weak against the last two of those types
+ Speed control with Dragon Dance
+ Resists Bug, Grass, Fire, Water and Fighting
+ Ground immunity
+ Intimidate is a useful Ability
+ Slightly higher base Attack than Garchomp, and the Attack stat will get even higher since you can run an Adamant Nature
+ Better defensive synergy with the team: the entire team is resistant/immune to every type, while Registeel and Salamence alone are resistant/immune to every type except Electric
+ Shiny Salamence is different than regular Salamence, and it looks cool as well
- Slightly lower base Speed than Garchomp, and an Adamant Nature makes it even slower, you are slower than Garchomp when “naked” (but you will outrun everything after Dancing at least twice)
- No STAB Earthquake
- Weak to Rock, Ice and Dragon
- Dragon Dance means that it takes 7 turns to set up fully
There might be more, but these are the main things. In the end, they both have their positives and negatives, and I think it is mostly just a matter of personal preference. Though it should be noted that I have never tried Garchomp on a TrickScarf team.
Back to why I picked the team. My goal was to win 105 battles in a row to get the TC upgrade, not 2363 or 2366 (though the latter is actually 2516, I didn’t know Jumpman’s streak had ended back when I first played with the team). If Bozo could win 1159 battles with this team, then surely I should be able to win 105 battles with it. Right? Now that I have tried, I can confirm that the answer is yes. That said, I did lose a total of 6 times before finally making it (4 times with this team, 2 times with another team I used to get through battles 1-35), details can be found in the post I linked to earlier.
When I played now, going through one round with the team took around 30 minutes. Sometimes less, sometimes more. It depended on which opponents I faced, and whether I had to set up Regi or Sala more often. Unfortunately, Gen 4 feels so slow. But I’m thankful that Platinum is at least faster than D/P. Still, the slowness of Gen 4 makes me look forward to when I can move on to Gen 5 later on!
Some random things I learned now while playing with the team were the following: In Gen 4, you do not take Life Orb damage if the Pokémon you hit is behind a Substitute. I learned this from various Life Orb opponents which attacked me when I was behind a Sub, the first one was a Probopass! I also learned that the Gen 4 Frontier has two different trainers named Leslie, one Cowgirl and one Waitress.
Before going back to the streak now, I used PP Ups on all of Registeel’s and Salamence’s moves. I hadn’t done it before, but I did it now just in case of stall battles. I didn’t do it for Latias since it didn’t feel as necessary… and I didn’t have that many PP Ups on Platinum either, sadly. I decided to save the rest for the future.