Gen 3 ADV OU Teambuilding/Strategy: Archetypes and Cores -- A Data-Driven Approach


is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
:skarmory::blissey:ADV OU Teambuilding/Strategy:zapdos::metagross:
:magneton::claydol:Archetypes and Cores:porygon2::dugtrio:
:milotic::celebi:A Data-Driven Approach:jolteon::cloyster:

Approved by tjdaas

Table of Contents (linked)
  1. Goals, Data Sources, Methodology, Cores and Synergy, Archetypes and Confidence, Results, Set List, Lead Analysis
  2. Archetype Analysis: Milotic/Celebi Stall/Balance, Magneton Offense, Skarmbliss TSS, Spikeless Offense,
  3. Archetype Analysis (continued): Porygon2, Spikes Offense, Dugtrio Stall (/Balance), Spinner/Mag Balance/Bulky Offense
  4. Synergistic Cores Analysis, Antisynergistic Pairs Analysis
  5. Instructive Replays and Written Narrations
10/22/2019: Added comments on Starmie in Spikes Offense and weather reset/use of Dugtrio/Claydol in mono/double wincon teams
10/3/2019: Replays and narrations of Milo/Cel > Spikes Offense, Spikes Offense > Spikes Offense, and Spikes Offense > Skarmbliss TSS added.
9/28/2019: OP


Hi Everyone,

I recently wrote a program that does processing of sorts on teambuilders. Since then, I've been improving the program to slowly incorporate more varied statistics, to the point where I felt it could do a pretty comprehensive analysis on the metagame.


In this article, I am primarily interested in understanding team building in this metagame from a data-driven approach supported by experience, and sharing this knowledge. Fundamentally, I want to bridge the gap between a team dump that most players will be unwilling to share to keep their competitive advantage (and rightfully so), and the less experienced player who wants model teams to learn the metagame from. While team building guides such as this are useful for fitting pokemon into roles, they address little about their interactions.

Yet, understanding interactions is fundamental to good and creative teambuilding, not only from a position of advancing one's gameplan through the use of synergies but also defending against an opponent's gameplan. It is impossible to cover every mon that can be thrown out by one's opponent perfectly, so instead of covering every individual mon equally, many good creative teams focus on the big picture and find outs against opposing archetypes.

To this end, I will try to answer the questions: what are the broad archetypes that exist in the metagame? which pokemon and what sets go well together, and why? Which pokemon do not appear together, and why? In answering the latter question, I also hope to make a comparative analysis, meaning why choose one mon on a team over another?

To study these interactions, I wrote a program that takes a teambuilder, categorizes sets, measures the synergy across sets, and ranks them in order of importance. I have also made an attempt at categorizing these sets into Archetypes. In doing this analysis, I hope that the processed data can be a focal point for discussion, and in so become a teambuilding guide of its own. I have thus invited UD to contribute, scrutinize the results, and talk about any trends and interesting cores.

What This is Not

This is not an article for one to scout my sources. I take the confidentiality of my sources seriously, and I have combined and anonymized the results into groups. I have only released individual data if my source has consented to it. The focus will be on what and how cores synergize, and not on what these players prefer to use.

Data Sources

I have obtained generous team contributions from thelinearcurve, Astamatitos, McMeghan, Golden Sun, and UD, all of whom are notable players and builders in their own right. However, since these teams are not publicly accessible, a good reference for this discussion is thelinearcurve's public builder.

What is a Core, and what is an Archetype?

A core is a group of mons that function well together. In other words, they have synergy. An archetype is a group of teams that encompass a similar gameplan. Archetypes are frequently thought of as defined by a few key mons that are supplemented by a variety of cores that can be substituted with each other. Likewise, a core may belong to more than one archetype.


The technical details of the work are in the spoilers below. Check them out if you want to know how the sets are categorized, how the synergies are measured, and how the archetypes are determined.

Categorization and Naming of Sets
Perhaps the most tricky thing about this project is the categorization of sets. There are more unique sets than teams in the builders to work with, so I ruled out using unsupervised clustering, meaning I have to actually think about how to split the sets instead of letting the computer do it. I have to thank Disaster Area and Zokuru for many ideas and discussions we've had on finding a good methodology.

The benchmark for a good categorization tool is Tyranitar. It has so many sets: Physical 4-attack, Choice Band, Dragon Dance, Pursuit, Mix Lead. Within DD variants, there are HP Grass or HP Bug fillers, and there are defensive and offensive EV spreads. A good methodology should distinguish all these sets from each other, and be able to name them appropriately.

I started with the item, and not just any item, but Choice Band (1). It is the single most easy-to-spot and accurate predictor of the set's function. Taking CBtar out of the equation, I noticed that all the sets above have unique EV priorities. Physical 4-attack is HP/Atk invested, DD is either Atk/Spe or HP/Spe, Pursuit is HP/SpA, Mix Lead is SpA/Spe. I thus created categories based on the top two EVs of the set (2).

To look for divisions within categories, I use the concept of synergy again -- not between mons, but between moves. If two moves occupy one slot, say HP Grass/HP Bug in the filler slot of DDtar, then we expect them not to appear together in the same set; in other words, the moves antisynergize (3). Of course, categories will be really cluttered if even the rarest sets were split this way (at this moment I do not treat it as a priority to account for the rare Substitute DDtar), so I only included moves above a probability and count threshold (4). I try to find pairs first that satisfy these conditions, if not then triplets. These four criterion labelled (1)-(4) determine the categories.

Naming categories is easy when they are split by moves or items, but what about those determined by EVs? I find that most of these sets are still tied to a unique move that mostly does not appear, or at most appears only once on the majority of the other sets. For example, Dragon Dance only exists on Atk/Spe or HP/Spe Tyranitar sets, so we could say that DD almost uniquely characterizes these sets.
Measuring Synergy
It's not so much the frequency of the core, but how much more frequently the core appears together than if the constituents were just put together by chance. Official Smogon statistics already does this in calculating teammates. I'll take a slightly different approach based off the concept of Multivariate Pointwise Mutual Information (wiki on PMI, wiki on MMI, paper combining both) in natural language processing, that can be extended beyond pairs into triplet or quad cores. In short, this is a number that is positive when there is synergy (prefer to be teammates), negative when there is antisynergy (prefer not to be teammate), and zero when the mons appear independently.

Suppose I want to measure how synergistic the quintessential Magneton + Claydol core is. If Magneton and Claydol were independent, then the pair would appear roughly with probability equal to the product of individual probabilties, P(Magneton) * P(Claydol). A synergistic pair should exceed this probability, i.e. P(Magneton, Claydol) > P(Magneton) * P(Claydol). An antisynergistic pair, like Forretress and Skarmory, where you would tend to only use one as your spiker, should give a lower than expected probability, i.e. P(Forretress, Skarmory) < P(Forretress) * P(Skarmory). It thus makes sense for the synergy of a pokemon pair (X, Y) to by defined by P(X, Y) / [P(X) * P(Y)], which means the number of times over just pure chance that this pair to appear together. This number is 1 when the pair is independent. To get a number that has more sensible properties like being 0 when independent and (negative) positive when (anti) synergetic, we use the logarithm to obtain the final synergy score = log2{P(X, Y) / [P(X) * P(Y)]}. Similar formulas can be derived for triplet cores, that compare the core probability with constituent pairs and individual mons.

For those who don't want to understand the math, a score of +1/+2/+3 means 2/4/8 times more frequent than expected from combining individual (and lower order) probabilities. Similarly a score of -1/-2/-3 means 2/4/8 times less frequent than expected.
Identifying Archetypes
This is clearly a clustering problem, and the defining feature of this problem is that mons can appear in more than one archetype. Therefore, it makes sense to provide a score that determines the confidence that each mon is in each archetype, so this is the realm of fuzzy clustering algorithms. If we now imagine every set as a node on a network, with the strength of linkages determined by their usage frequency, then the process of finding clusters is intuitively understood: How can we cut the network into some number of completely separate partitions while making sure that we've on average cut only weak links? It turns out that an algorithm called spectral clustering does just that.

I formed an adjacency matrix representing a graph where nodes are the mon sets, and the weights on the edges are the probability that the two nodes co-appear. Then, I used normalized spectral clustering described by Ng, Jordan and Weiss (2002). For the clustering step, I used fuzzy C-means clustering instead of the usual K-means. I determined the number of clusters by finding the point of a sharp fall-off in a plot of the fuzzy partition coefficient vs number of clusters, and tuning the exponent so that the clusters in the data visually had high representation and tightness.

Core Rankings - Synergy and Frequency

Cores can either be strongly or weakly synergistic (given by the synergy score), and they can be frequent or infrequent (given by the frequency label). The final rankings that you see in the files labelled “_synergy_sets_statistics” are a combination of both – they are determined by a weighted product with an exponent. Weighting synergy too much may cause very specific cores of BL mons to appear at the top e.g. Sun teams, while, weighting frequency gives us not much more information than single mon frequencies.

Archetypes - Confidence and Frequency

The files labelled “_archetype_statistics” are the results of an attempt to categorize synergies into broad archetypes. These archetypes are completely blind to human input, meaning I did not ask for specific criteria to be met such as requiring Tyranitar in TSS. Each archetype is labelled with a number and is tagged to a ranked list, and the rankings are again determined by two factors. This time, one of the indicators is the level of confidence that the set is in the archetype. This is a number from 0 to 1, and can be thought of in percentages where the higher the number, the more likely this mon is in the archetype. The other indicator is frequency in the entire builder (not in the archetype!). Just as I did with the cores, the final rankings are a combination of both, a weighted product. Those at the top are most likely to be in the core.


I roughly sorted the teams I received into two groups, based on my understanding of the contributors' team timelines, building style, and the current state of the metagame. This allows each document to be less cluttered, so that the cores become immediately obvious. The analysis though, will be focused on the group that I feel is more current.

Four main files are produced for each group, and all data is gathered into a zip file attached called "". The first three are available in .txt, .csv and sometimes .xlsx. csv files can be open in Microsoft Excel.
1. Legend indicating set categories – “statistics_legend”
2. Set core synergy statistics (includes lead statistics) -- “synergy_sets_statistics”
3. Archetypes -- “archetype_statistics”
4. Pokemon core synergy statistics, a cruder version of (1) – “synergy_statistics”

For the group that we studied, I have also included a file of set pairs that do not appear together -- “nonappearances”. thelinearcurve has also given me the liberty of compiling an aggregated set list from his teams, so that is also available in four formats -- the full set list, and filtered lists removing 1/8, 1/16 and 1/32 of the least relevant sets. You can see for example the 1/16 set list online by clicking here, where sets are aggregated and compiled into slashed moves through the program, for example like this:


Lead Analysis
This is primarily a UD contribution, thank him!

Team Lead Arranged by Frequency
Counts | Freq (%) | Lead
     19 |    7.884 |               HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar
     13 |    5.394 |        HP/Atk FP Earthquake Tyranitar
     13 |    5.394 |             HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory
     13 |    5.394 |                  SpA/Spe FB Salamence
     12 |    4.979 |     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos
     11 |    4.564 |                        Band Salamence
     11 |    4.564 |   SpA/Spe HP Grass Thunderbolt Zapdos
     11 |    4.564 |                        Band Metagross
     10 |    4.149 |                        Band Tyranitar
     10 |    4.149 |                  HP/SpD Roar Skarmory
      8 |    3.320 |                  SpA/Spe BB Tyranitar

Together, these 11 leads make up >54% of the total lead Mon appearances, or in other words, would be considered the most common leads in the game. This more or less jives with conventional ADV wisdom. These top leads have much in common – Most (except Zapdos) have early game prowess either with Spikes or heavy chip damage, and in particular Salamence/Tyranitar have great versatility, forcing opponents to spend a turn on the back seat just scouting its set.

Pursuit Tar makes a great lead because it forces out opposing lead Zapdos, can hit Skarmory extremely hard with Fire Blast, sets up Sand from the get go. Occasionally, you will find yourself matched up with an opposing lead Gengar. Typically that indicates a Hypnosis + Explosion set. Either way, they must risk hitting a 60% move and / or losing the prediction game of Pursuit vs. Crunch. In other words, it's an extremely advantageous lead scenario. Pursuit Tar also typically has one coverage move to work with (Pursuit, Crunch, and a Fire move are the presumptive first three slots), so you can threaten opposing Pert lead (rare in itself) with HP Grass, or cheeky Zapdos staying in with Rock Slide. Ice Beam is an option as well, though that move presents zero upside in a T1 situation as you must switch from opposing lead Flygon or Mence, fearing their OHKO move.

Skarmory comes in at number two to no surprise. It lays a Spike against every lead other than Zapdos. However, it risks taking upwards of 70% from opposing Tar and Mence Fire Blast. But some teams would rather get that Spike on T1 anyway, making the risk worth the reward. We will ignore the next appearance of Skarmory (Roar vs. Whirlwind usually means Drill Peck, but it could also just be a bluff or picking the wrong phazing move by accident)

Tied for third are regular four attacks Leftovers Tar (BKC Tar) and MixMence. Both make for fantastic leads. MixMence can score a huge T1 advantage if faced off against opposing Tar, who is more or less obligated to switch out. So if you nail the prediction and HP Grass the Pert, Dragon Claw the Gar, or Fire Blast the Skarmory, then you've just taken a huge chunk of HP off of one of the opponent's key physical walls. Staying on the topic of mixed attackers, we can include Mixed Tyranitar in the discussion: Max SpA / Max Speed (or near it) Tyranitar with a moveset of Ice Beam / HP Grass / Fire Blast / Brick Break threatens a HUGE portion of the metagame. It hits an excellent Speed tier, outspeeding all of its common switch ins, has virtually flawless coverage, being truly walled by only Gyarados, Milotic, and Suicune to an extent. Even these all are heavily neutered in their effectiveness by sand, making it easier for your teammates. All in all, it makes for a fantastic lead. Consider, for example, the situation against lead Skarmory. You can click Fire Blast risk free, knowing you should outspeed (if you don't outspeed, then you will OHKO their YoloSkarm). Lum Berry mitigates any risk of them clicking Toxic. So you nail the T1 Fire Blast, and now have an opportunity to hit everything on their team that switches in, barring one of the aforementioned Water types. Finally, Lum Berry additionally grants a huge momentum advantage against the sleep inducing leads like Venusaur and Jynx.

BKC Tar threatens every Mon in the game and gets up Sand immediately. It forces lead Electrics out, random lead Jirachi or Celebi, can fire off a Focus Punch against lead Skarmory (although this move is team dependent as sometimes you'd rather just switch out).

Zapdos should probably have been ranked higher since the two Hidden Power types appear individually, whereas they are ostensibly the same set. Zapdos makes for a great lead because it prevents early Spikes, and also poses the threat of SubPass in favorable lead matchups (Mence, Skarmory, Metagross). You can also make the cheeky move of just clicking T-Bolt against lead Tar into Dugtrio kill, if your team strategy is based around killing Tar and clearing its Sandstorm (think of a CM Cune or CurseLax style team). Additionally, in an offensive archetype, lead 328 Speed Zapdos can trade T-Wave with an opposing Zapdos. This is often an offensive team's best way of dealing with opposing offensive Zapdos.

Next up we have the three dangerous CB leads: Mence, Tar, and Metagross. CB Salamence makes a great lead because you're fast, reasonably bulky with Intimidate, and immediately force the opponent's Water Mon or Skarmory in against a lead Tyranitar. Almost always paired with Magneton, you can even try to pull off a double switch if you anticipate the opponent's Skarmory switch. CB Tar is a bit stronger than Mence by virtue of its STAB and access to Focus Punch. This makes it capable of OHKO'ing a huge portion of the metagame with the right move. And finally, CB Metagross is famous for its Explosion OHKO'ing Skarmory and having theoretically no good switch in to its Meteor Mash spam. If it Attack raises from the lead matchup against Tyranitar, things can get out of hand fast.


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is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
Archetype Analysis
Archetype analysis written by vapicuno with UD's inputs

In this analysis, I will try to explain the archetypes obtained mostly in the current “archetype_statistics” file, while also including one from the less current file for completeness. For each archetype, I will include the statistics, briefly explain the gameplan, elaborate on synergies of mons in the statistics file, and talk about matchups, mostly from my perspective, with help from UD (and Gacu for Spikeless offense). Occasionally, due to the lack of representation, I will include some mons that aren't present in the lists for the sake of completeness. Note that while I try to stick as much to the statistics, UD writes completely from the point of view of his intuitive understanding of the metagame. Mostly, the data and intuition converge and are integrated into a single article, but where there are differences, I will add in the UD's comments verbatim. We hope that the data-driven and philosophical perspective come together to provide a wholesome view of the metagame. Feel free to disagree -- I do intend for this to both be a guide and to be a springbed for discussion.

#1 Milotic/Celebi Stall/Balance
Offensive Balanced

Curselax Setup

Spikes Stall

Archetype 1
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     28 |   11.618 |       0.97 |                               Milotic
     21 |    8.714 |       0.96 |                       HP/SpA Magneton
     23 |    9.544 |       0.68 |           HP/Atk Earthquake Metagross
     17 |    7.054 |       0.80 |                 HP/Def Recover Celebi
     11 |    4.564 |       0.97 |        HP/SpD HP Grass Recover Celebi
      6 |    2.490 |       0.96 |                  Atk/Spe BB Heracross
      7 |    2.905 |       0.62 |                           Band Flygon
      7 |    2.905 |       0.45 |                   HP/SpD Rest Snorlax
      5 |    2.075 |       0.56 |                    HP/Def TW Porygon2
      2 |    0.830 |       0.93 |                          Band Machamp
      2 |    0.830 |       0.86 |                        HP/SpD Donphan
      3 |    1.245 |       0.46 |                              Hariyama
     27 |   11.203 |       0.09 |     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos
      1 |    0.415 |       0.87 |                        Band Heracross
      1 |    0.415 |       0.87 |                      HP/Spe BP Zapdos
     34 |   14.108 |       0.07 |                  HP/SpD Roar Skarmory
     44 |   18.257 |       0.05 |              SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton

vapicuno’s take

Milotic and Celebi is a defensive core that either supports offenses on balanced teams or form the key ingredient of stall teams. On more offensive balanced builds, the playstyle involves trapping counters to one’s offenses, stalling with Milotic/Celebi and finding the right moment to send the threat out. On stall builds, the playstyle involves trapping Spikers, Spinblockers/Spinners, and bulky heavy threats, giving Milotic/Celebi and Skarmory or a cleaner free reign.

Let us first address the nuances of trapping (and spinning) on both offensive and defensive variants of this archetype. Milotic is a physical wall and Celebi is a special wall, but other than that, they could not be more different. They take more damage than your typical Skarmbliss, but rely on recover to be seemingly unbreakable. Thus, they are very susceptible to getting 2hkoed after spikes and sand chip, and frequently have HP Fire Magneton and/or Claydol support. To understand the difference between both, note that Magneton removes both Skarmory the Spiker and Skarmory the Wall, giving simultaneously some measure of Spikes control and an opening for physical offenses. Thus, Magneton is more commonly found in offensive variants of this archetype. Defensive variants would prefer Claydol over Magneton, because Spikes damage really racks up over a large number of turns in stall builds, and it isn’t helpless against Cloyster. Substitute Magneton also has a particular synergy with Leech Seed Celebi, as getting the switch in (perhaps through Baton Pass) usually means Metagross and slow Jirachi can be stalled to death. Dugtrio is yet another common trapper on this archetype that is unlisted unfortunately because it wasn’t used much in the group of teams I selected, but is really common in the other group. Its utility comes from the fact that Milotic/Celebi’s top tier threat is Physical Tyranitar, which can set up on Celebi, 2hko Milotic from around 85% with +1 Rock Slide (possibly flinching), and 2hko Claydol with HP Bug. For this reason Claydol-based stall teams really appreciate Dugtrio. Combining Magneton and Dugtrio together removes Normal and Flying resists, enabling Curse Snorlax and Choice Band Salamence on offensive variants. Although it may not seem synergistic to have sand in play, Pursuit Tyranitar is another trapper that is used to remove Gengar. This generally helps Milotic and Celebi as Gengar has super effective moves against both and can hax them easily on recover loops. Pursuit Tyranitar also punishes Choice Locked Salamence and Aerodactyl, which come in freely on Celebi and which Milotic only weakly checks. On offensive teams, Gengar removal also enables Heracross and Flygon (Claydol removal too for Flygon). On defensive teams, it enables the niche use of Donphan, which is much sturdier than Claydol against physical Tyranitar but otherwise has no way to deal with the spinblocker Gengar. As I will explain later, combining Pursuit Tyranitar and Magneton really supports physical offenses that have flying counters like Heracross and Flygon. Finally, Porygon2 is frequently seen on Milotic/Celebi offenses to trap Dugtrio, letting Heracross and Magneton come in safely. It also checks opposing Choice Band Flygon, which is one of the few physical threats that can outright 2hko Milotic.

On offensive-oriented balanced teams, physical attackers (which are the strongest spikeless breakers in this generation) that hit really hard but lose momentum immediately after the first hit such as Heracross and Choice Band Flygon make good partners, as Milotic/Celebi can soak up momentum losses with recover, and provide Leech Seed support to heal these threats that get chipped easily. Heracross appreciates Porygon2 support, while Flygon ameliorates the Physical Tyranitar weakness but appreciates Pursuit Tyranitar support. Metagross is an important glue on some of these teams, providing rock resist as well as dealing with Snorlax that does not involve Tyranitar.

Another kind of balanced team is centered about Curse Snorlax, which seems similar in structure to offense teams but in fact plays very differently. This sub-archetype usually has the trap duo Magneton + Dugtrio. It focuses on trapping Skarmory with Magneton and using Milotic/Celebi to tank hits and wear down the opposing Metagross and Tyranitar from early to midgame so that they can be trapped with Dugtrio. Snorlax is then prepared for the endgame by coming in at full HP with all its counters gone. The filler is frequently defensive Metagross again for reasons above.

Spikes Stall variants rely on chip damage from Spikes, Roar/Whirlwind and Leech Seed to wear down an opponent, culminating in an endgame where Perish Song Celebi prevails. Skarmory (occasionally Forretress) is almost certain to be used. As stall mostly does not have tools apart from Spikes to break the opponent’s team, keeping Skarmory alive and Spikes down is almost imperative. To prevent opposing Magneton from coming in for free, it is recommended that either (more commonly) Dugtrio or one’s own HP Fire Magneton be on the team, and double switched in to trap opposing Magneton. This is frequently termed the Skarmdug or Skarmmag combo. Also, Skarmory prefers having Drill Peck on these teams to hit Claydol and Offensive Starmie for the lack of space for the spinblocker, Gengar. No matter whether Magneton is around though, Spikes still needs to be cleared as mentioned above, usually with Claydol, or occasionally with Donphan + Pursuit Tyranitar (see above).

The offensive variant in particular breaks down stall and bulky offenses well, but its defenses are very passive and struggle immensely in the face of Setup Sweepers like Calm Mind Celebi, Jirachi, Raikou and Suicune, or Dragon Dance Tyranitar. It also has some troubles facing fighting types like Heracross itself. The Curselax variant’s success highly depends on how well one can execute the trap before resorting to go to Snorlax to take damage and not get countertrapped. Spikeless Physical Offense can overload the team with Sand and two explosions from Metagross and Snorlax. TSS or Spikes Offense can have more than one phazer in the form of Jolteon, Swampert, Suicune or Tyranitar, all possibly getting Snorlax spiked. Calm Mind users like Suicune force Snorlax to come out early game as Celebi is unreliable in walling setup sweepers. This build also finds it hard to stop Cloyster from Spiking. Taunt/Will-o-Wisp Gengar can really cripple lax, and Explosion Gengar/Claydol cannot be trapped. The stall variant takes on standard Spikes Offense pretty well, but again struggles in the face of Calm Mind users, and additionally Starmie. Against bulky teams, the ability to play around Skarmory and trap Tyranitar will be important.

Finally, do note that these teams can be rather prone to hax. The chance of Ice Beam landing a critical hit or freezing Celebi in four turns of say a recover loop is about 50%, which is surprisingly or not so surprisingly the same as hitting three consecutive Hydro Pumps. You’ve been warned.

UD’s take

Milotic plus Celebi form a rock solid defensive backbone that is capable of applying both offensive and defensive pressure on the opponent. Although the combination appears one-dimensional on paper, the two are surprisingly versatile in terms of the number of possible team configurations. The more defensive variants include teammates such as Bold Jirachi, Skarmory, Claydol, Blissey, the occasional Snorlax, Dugtrio, and Gengar. More offensive versions might bear a resemblance to CurseLax + Magtrio type of teams, where the gameplan revolves around trapping key threats and sweeping with CurseLax.

Immediately evident among the aforementioned team styles is the required presence of heavy anti-Spikes measures. Celebi + Milotic are notoriously Spikes bait as standalone Mons, let alone when paired together. The most common method of Spike removal for this core involves Refresh Claydol, because both Celebi and Milotic are hampered moreso by the presence of Spikes than the existence of Skarmory, thus rendering Magneton slightly less effective. Additionally, one thing Milotic + Celebi are not is immune to Rock Spam, most notably Aerodactyl and DD Tyranitar. Bold Jirachi with Wish is capable of handling the former, and Dugtrio can be used to deal with the latter.

Common example lineups of the two substyles of Milo + Celebi are: Milotic / Celebi / Bold Wish Jirachi / Dugtrio / Refresh Claydol / Skarmory. This particular lineup has incredible resilience against opposing SkarmBliss teams, as Milotic is almost a permanent switch in on Swampert, Skarmory, and Blissey (barring Sing or Thunderbolt sets). Milotic can even wall some versions of Gengar, and non-boosting Tyranitar, such as three attacks + Roar. This team is probably most likely to struggle against Magneton + DD Spam, as there is usually no Ice or Electric attack unless the Jirachi runs Ice Punch + Thunder + Wish + CM. Milotic is capable of fending off DD Mence, but Taunt or Rest Gyarados can have a field day. The combination of Dugtrio plus Skarmory handles opposing Heracross variants, only truly threatened by Salac Reversal sets, which still require chip damage on the Skarmory in order to sweep. Milotic and Jirachi can also live a boosted Reversal or Megahorn in a pinch, although they will be left severely crippled in the process. Furthermore, Skarmory typically runs Drill Peck on this team for the added chip damage against Gengar and for the improved matchup against opposing Refresh Claydol.

The other most common substyle of Celebi plus Milotic would look something like: Celebi / Milotic / CurseLax / Magneton / Claydol / CB Salamence. This variation is a fairly typical CurseLax configuration, which aims to trap Skarmory, keep Spikes off the field with Claydol, and then wall most of the metagame with the combination of Celebi, Milotic, and Snorlax. CB Salamence is as sturdy a Heracross counter as there is, plus it is able to apply offensive pressure against the likes of SuperCelebi or SuperRachi, which can otherwise be problematic without Dugtrio. For this reason, Jolly CB Mence is preferred. On this particular lineup, Celebi is more likely to run a Bold EV spread, since it is the primary Snorlax switch in and it needs to sponge physical attacks as well as possible. The user should aim to protect Celebi from all special attackers, bar HP Grass Electric Mons. Between Milotic, Snorlax, and Claydol, the vast majority of special attackers are walled. An important note here is that Dugtrio is almost entirely interchangeable with Claydol. Impish CurseLax with Shadow Ball is then recommended, as the team’s collective defense against CB Aerodactyl revolves around Dugtrio, Magneton, and Milotic. These Mons are not Rock Slide immune, so a physically bulky Snorlax is more important in this respect. Celebi will want a little more SpDef investment on this lineup than the previous one, as it now bears more responsibility against opposing Electric Mons, and without Spike removal, Snorlax becomes more vulnerable against special armadas as well.

#2 Magneton Offense

Archetype 2
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     27 |   11.203 |       0.93 |         Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax
     18 |    7.469 |       0.93 |                  Atk/Spe DD Salamence
     15 |    6.224 |       0.88 |             SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton
     44 |   18.257 |       0.33 |              SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton
     19 |    7.884 |       0.60 |          Atk/Spe Earthquake Metagross
     17 |    7.054 |       0.55 |                        Band Salamence
      6 |    2.490 |       0.97 |   Atk/Spe HP Rock Earthquake Gyarados
      5 |    2.075 |       0.96 |            Atk/Spe RS Psychic Claydol
      5 |    2.075 |       0.92 |             HP/Spe HP Grass Metagross
      4 |    1.660 |       0.97 |                  HP/Spe Rest Gyarados
      4 |    1.660 |       0.91 |              HP/SpD SD Recover Celebi
      3 |    1.245 |       0.95 |                               Steelix
      7 |    2.905 |       0.41 |                      HP/Spe BP Celebi
      2 |    0.830 |       0.92 |         Atk/Spe Substitute Aerodactyl

vapicuno’s take

Magneton Offense is an archetype of physical offense where the playstyle involves wallbreaking with Magneton, softening checks in the midgame with four on the team, and using fast physical cleaners in the endgame.

Physical offenses like Dragon Dance Salamence and Gyarados, Swords Dance Heracross, Agility Metagross and Aerodactyl tend to be walled by specific mons, and the goal is to use a variety of them to chip and break through these walls. In this archetype, the key role of Magneton is frequently to remove Skarmory the wall for physical offenses, more so than Skarmory the spiker, due to the fast pace of the game. Opposing Swampert is also a huge impediment to the success of this archetype. Therefore, HP Grass Magneton is more common than HP Fire, which is seen mostly on slower teams that want to avoid spikes at all costs. Snorlax is frequently the special wall of choice, as Celebi/Blissey lose momentum, and Jolteon doesn’t shine without spikes. Offensive Swampert is a glue of choice due to its fast pace and the fact that physical offenses mitigate physical attacks pretty well themselves either with Intimidate or physical bulk. Endeavor Swampert gets a special mention for being a mon that reverses momentum by turning defense into offense. Occasionally, Mixed Salamence is also an option, providing that chip on Gengar, Zapdos, and Swampert needed for Gyarados, Heracross or Metagross to pummel through them. Will-o-Wisp Gengar and Moltres can be a problem for the this archetype, so Pursuit Tyranitar is frequently seen on these teams too. As Snorlax is rather unreliable in taking an electric onslaught in sand, offensive Claydol is a niche choice where a rock resist in a pinch is also desired. A sub-archetype is Swords Dance + Baton Pass Celebi, which on top of the above also passes to the niche Substitute + Liechi Berry Aerodactyl. Interestingly, Choice Banders and DD Tyranitar are not heavily used in this Archetype. Banders suffer huge momentum losses after a hit, which the offense archetype finds difficult to recover from. DD Tyranitar itself does not have much trouble with Skarmory so it doesn’t exactly need Magneton. It also does not have good pivoting utility unlike Metagross as it needs all its HP to be able to dance up safely, and while the early game variant can run a wallbreaking HP Grass set, Metagross/Gyarados can be used to explode/set up on Swampert.

In theory, Magneton Offense does well to break standard Skarmory-based defensive and balanced teams. However, Magneton Offense is quite susceptible to opposing Skarmory to Dugtrio/HP Fire Magneton double switches, especially because the team composition really gives it away. In fact, since by definition Magneton Offense builds comprise of mons that are weak to Skarmory, a very common lead, Magneton Offense teams frequently use awkward leads like Swampert, Non Choice Band Metagross, or Snorlax, and anyone facing these leads will immediately suspect Magneton. Gyarados absolutely gives it away too. Managing these expectations will be the key to winning the game versus Skarmory builds. Against Special Offense, despite not trapping Cloyster, Magneton Offense can still find outs against the Archetype by aggressively attacking Cloyster to prevent too many Spikes, using Thunder Wave Gyarados to paralyze the fast sweeper, Pursuit Tyranitar for Gengar or other specials, and Aerodactyl or Dragon Dancer Gyarados/Salamence for the clean. Magneton Offense might suffer against Forretress, which is physically bulky, can lay a few Spikes, and then Explode.

UD’s take

Magneton Offense can take on a variety of shapes, since the number of Mons whom benefit from Skarmory’s removal is almost as large as the OU tierlist. The most common archetype when the term Magneton Offense is invoked would be a lineup of DD Mons, CurseLax, Magneton, and Heracross. For example: DD Mence / CurseLax or Utility Lax / Salac Heracross / Magneton / Suicune or Swampert / Metagross. This lineup is one of the more offensive lineups available in the ADV metagame. The team is fairly straightforward. Magneton removes Skarmory, Metagross can bait opposing bulky Waters, Suicune can switch in against opposing physical Mons once, and DD Mence and Heracross aim to sweep in the end game. Intimidate + Metagross forms a nice physical backbone, and Magneton can even switch in against opposing CB Mons to check their move. Snorlax provides a one or two time switch to opposing Zapdos and Starmie, and Heracross provides the emergency late game sweep threat. This team benefits greatly from weather removal – which is why Rain Dance is a common filler move on the Magneton. However, there is no devoted Tyranitar removal plan outside of Self Destruct Snorlax. So that line of play is more gamestate dependent than anything.

Alternative versions of Magneton Offense certainly exist as well. Even unexpected partners such as Offensive Celebi and Offensive Jirachi can take advantage of an annoying Skarmory phazing them. Offensive Suicune benefits in a similar manner, as its momentum comes to a screeching halt when Skarmory clicks Whirlwind as Hydro Pump misses.

Almost every form of Gyarados ever will require a Magneton partner. However, Gyarados uniquely switches in against bulky Water types, unlike Salamence, who must always switch until they are in range of a +1 HP Flying (not as easy as it sounds). Gyarados + Magneton, however, typically results in a different looking physical spam than the first lineup mentioned. While the first team doesn’t bother with extending the game against SkarmBliss teams, Gyarados + Magneton can pair with a Claydol and CurseLax, and turn what the DD Mence version considers a bad matchup, into a good one. Gyarados / Magneton / Claydol / CurseLax / Metagross / Pursuit Tar can trap Skarmory and Gengar, remove Spikes, and then free CurseLax and Gyarados to sweep. The opposing Tyranitar and Starmie become threatening, but Impish Metagross, Intimidate, EQ Lax, and Claydol can fend off Tyranitar. And a bulky Snorlax should be able to outlast Starmie’s Hydro Pumps, since nothing prevents it from Resting after Skarm and Gengar are trapped, unless the Tyranitar also has Taunt (which is a risky enough proposition against a boosted EQ Lax).

#3 Skarmbliss TSS (aka Big 5 TSS)

Archetype 3
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     44 |   18.257 |       0.59 |             HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory
     21 |    8.714 |       0.74 |                     HP/Def ST Blissey
     14 |    5.809 |       0.84 |                 Def/SpA TW SB Blissey
     21 |    8.714 |       0.59 |          HP/Def Surf Protect Swampert
     16 |    6.639 |       0.71 |                HP/Atk FP RS Tyranitar
     16 |    6.639 |       0.62 |           HP/Atk Explosion RS Claydol
     23 |    9.544 |       0.36 |              Def/SpA Toxic SB Blissey
     44 |   18.257 |       0.21 |              SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton
     12 |    4.979 |       0.47 |               HP/Spe Taunt WOW Gengar
     18 |    7.469 |       0.34 |                               Moltres
      5 |    2.075 |       0.81 |               Def/SpA Wish SB Blissey
     12 |    4.979 |       0.40 |                    SpA/Spe HP Starmie
      4 |    1.660 |       0.86 |                              Vaporeon
     34 |   14.108 |       0.16 |                  HP/SpD Roar Skarmory
     14 |    5.809 |       0.29 |                        Band Tyranitar
      3 |    1.245 |       0.79 |                HP/Spe Recover Starmie
      3 |    1.245 |       0.74 |            Atk/Spe RS Psychic Claydol
     21 |    8.714 |       0.18 |    HP/Def Earthquake Protect Swampert
      7 |    2.905 |       0.37 |                 HP/Def Protect Flygon
      5 |    2.075 |       0.44 |                      HP/Def Metagross
     24 |    9.959 |       0.14 |           HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar
     21 |    8.714 |       0.14 |              HP/SpA Psychic Metagross

vapicuno’s take + UD inputs

It goes without question that Skarmory + Blissey, Toxic, Spikes and Sand (TSS) is the defining archetype of ADV OU. Just about every team built in ADV OU must ask how it is going to overcome this archetype. This playstyle involves laying Spikes early, keeping more layers on the opponent’s side than yours with spinblocking or spinning and aggressive plays, forcing switches with Tyranitar to rack up Spikes damage, and cleaning with the 6th.

Skarmory is the spiker, and Blissey, the most reliable special wall, takes electric and fire hits for Skarmory indefinitely, even in the presence of opposing spikes. Swampert is the physical wall, with no physical weaknesses and healing through Protect. All physical variants of Tyranitar are deadly with enough spikes down, but the four-attacks Leftovers Tyranitar is the most popular option, itself having good longevity and not requiring too many reads. The second-last slot is taken usually taken up by Gengar for spinblocking reasons. Defensive Gengar with Will-o-Wisp and Taunt/Explosion is very common as it is suited to the mid-paced TSS style of slowly chipping everything on the team, as compared to the more fast-paced and targeted Hypnosis Specially Offensive sets, which cannot pressure Blissey as well. An option over Gengar not mentioned in the statistics is Claydol, where instead of trying to maintain Spikes on your opponent’s side, the goal is to maintain more Spikes than your opponent can have on your side. Using Claydol however makes you more susceptible to Rapid Spin Starmie and Heracross, so Rest Zapdos is a common partner on this variant. The last mon is usually a cleaner that picks off everything once enough chip is down. Starmie and Moltres are popular picks. With Thunderbolt and Ice beam, Starmie threatens all mons that are not grounded, and punches through offensive teams that otherwise stack wallbreakers. It also spins in a pinch. Zapdos, especially with Agility, is also another possible cleaner in place of Starmie. Moltres, by its sheer power, Fire/Grass coverage and Roar, does very well against Skarmbliss TSS mirrors and other stall teams, at the expense of being slow and losing momentum more easily. Moltres also provides an important Will-o-Wisp pivot from opposing Taunt Gengar, keeping Blissey alive. Aerodactyl is another common cleaner that boasts more speed than Starmie in a mirror matchup but suffers from being Choice Band locked and possibly setup upon. Another possible filler is Metagross, which can explode on an endgame mon, and separately provide extra defensive support against Aerodactyl and Tyranitar. This option does not have much fast offensive power, so an offensive Gengar is recommended. Finally, an alternative to Swampert is Flygon, which is frailer and does a worse job checking Salamence, but is Spikes immune. Moltres is typically used with Flygon as it provides an additional Metagross check, and there is less need for Starmie’s Rapid Spin.

In a spikes offense/stall mirror, breaking this archetype includes maintaining the Spikes advantage, and racking up spikes damage. This includes predicting Blissey’s switch-in with one’s own physical offenses or utilizing phazing moves, both of which cause the opponent to needlessly get Blissey chipped only for it to be sent back out again. A well-timed Gengar’s Explosion that takes out Blissey also opens up doors for one’s own Starmie in the mirror matchup. Mixed offenses do favorably against Skarmbliss TSS by having a move that hits every wall for super effective damage. Magdol is a counterstyle to this Archetype, but being aggressive about Tyranitar will definitely help. Destiny Bond Gengar can absolutely ruin an unsuspecting Claydol, not only protecting one’s Spikes, but also freeing up Tyranitar considerably. Finally, this archetype is quite robust to hax, with Blissey’s natural cure and ridiculous bulk providing many outs.

#4 Spikeless (/Mixed) Offense

Archetype 4
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     27 |   11.203 |       0.96 |                        Band Metagross
     19 |    7.884 |       0.97 |         Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar
     21 |    8.714 |       0.89 |                  SpA/Spe FB Salamence
     22 |    9.129 |       0.75 |           SpA/Spe Substitute Swampert
     19 |    7.884 |       0.64 |   SpA/Spe HP Grass Thunderbolt Zapdos
     21 |    8.714 |       0.57 |              HP/SpA Psychic Metagross
     12 |    4.979 |       0.77 |                  Atk/SpD DD Salamence
     11 |    4.564 |       0.66 |           Atk/Spe HP Bug DD Tyranitar
     17 |    7.054 |       0.41 |                 Atk/SpD FP SD Snorlax
      6 |    2.490 |       0.84 |                              Ludicolo
      6 |    2.490 |       0.72 |              SpA/Spe HP Grass Jirachi
      5 |    2.075 |       0.81 |                               Breloom
      8 |    3.320 |       0.56 |               HP/SpA Protect Swampert
      4 |    1.660 |       0.86 |                         HP/SpA Regice
      5 |    2.075 |       0.66 |                HP/Atk DD RS Tyranitar
      4 |    1.660 |       0.72 |                        HP/Def Umbreon
      3 |    1.245 |       0.85 |                             Charizard
      5 |    2.075 |       0.54 |                     SpA/Spe Metagross
     27 |   11.203 |       0.13 |     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos
      4 |    1.660 |       0.50 |                 Atk/Def FB SD Snorlax
      2 |    0.830 |       0.77 |                HP/Atk Counter Snorlax
      2 |    0.830 |       0.56 |                  Atk/SpA FP Tyranitar
      7 |    2.905 |       0.23 |          Atk/Spe Substitute Heracross

vapicuno’s take + Gacu inputs

Spikeless offense as a playstyle relies on the use of wallbreakers in the early game and cleaners in the late game. Its success highly depends on making the trades on the right glues of the opposing team, be it Skarmory, Swampert, Milotic, Celebi (or even Blissey in some cases). They maintain momentum by including mons that hit hard against almost everything, preventing the opponent from spiking without taking heavy damage or setting up. First, this usually involves all mons on a team having a way to hit Skarmory hard or disable it. Second, this archetype tends to use five mons that hit Blissey (with the special sweeper, usually Zapdos, as a lure for switching in your Physical threats). Third, Swampert coverage such as HP Grass is typically adopted on mons that are particularly susceptible to Swampert switch-ins to prevent Hydro Pump from eating the team alive (except the cleaner which assumes Swampert has already been taken care of). Fourth, it is a common feature to use a move on every mon that tries to stop Tyranitar from using Dragon Dance twice, so that a sweep can be prevented by surviving the +1 attack and KO-ing back, perhaps maneuvering with Intimidate in the process.

The top four mons on the list are wallbreakers. Choice Band Metagross’ Explosion has a high chance to 1hko Skarmory; HP Grass Dragon Dance Tyranitar is a great early game softener that spares neither Swampert nor Milotic; Mixmence has a super effective move to severely damage every wall not named Milotic, and Endeavor Swampert spares nothing except the well-played recover loop. Other wallbreaker options not mentioned in the stats are Mixed Tyranitar as described in the lead analysis, and Mixed Metagross, which softens Skarmory and Swampert, and might even lure Zapdos or Celebi to explode on. Machamp is also an adventurous option, especially effective with Baton Pass from Zapdos since it doesn’t switch in easily. Breloom is similarly frail, but essentially only needs to come in once early game to Spore. Sleep is particularly effective on offense teams, as the fast pace gives high odds of not awakening, and sleep turns allow frail threats to come in unimpeded. Charizard is very matchup dependent as a wallbreaker – the Substitute + Focus Punch set tears Skarmbliss TSS apart, especially when it pivots easily into Defensive Gengar’s Will-o-Wisp and cannot be KO’d with Thunderbolt; however, it does nothing against Milotic and to a lesser extent Suicune. Finally, but most importantly, Specially Offensive Focus Punch Swampert has recently caught on as a glue in the Metagame, with Hydro Pump + Focus Punch full coverage for everything on the TSS archetype; it usually is paired with Metagross to make up for its physical fragility.

Moving on from wallbreakers, Zapdos is frequently used in a utility role. The lead mirror Thunder Wave is a very common line of play against opposing electrics, as offense teams do not handle special attacks well. In the mid-game, Zapdos performs an offensive pivot role by baiting the special walls to provides opportunities for Metagross, Snorlax and Heracross to puncture holes, especially under the safety of Baton Pass. Zapdos also provides coverage against opposing specially-frail glues/offenses like Metagross/Swampert/Flygon/Mixed Salamence. The specific Zapdos coverage depends on team options – although HP Grass is the more common set in the stats, and serves well to deal with the Swampert weakness of physical offense, HP Ice helps to chip Celebi especially if HP Grass Dragon Dance Tyranitar is used. Finally, Zapdos can frequently clean a team with its good SpA and speed.

By virtue of making trades, sometimes not 1-for-1 in the case of softening with HP Grass for example, Spikeless Offense frequently falls behind in numbers as the game progresses, but relies on a comeback with a cleaner. Common dedicated cleaners include Dragon Dance Salamence, Dragon Dance HP Bug Tyranitar, Calm Mind + 3 attacks Jirachi, and Aerodactyl. Notably, Salamence requires only one turn to set up, is not Dugtrio weak, and cleans offenses thoroughly, something that Tyranitar cannot boast because of its low speed. Jirachi can often be a surprise to anyone who has sacked their special checks in lieu of keeping their physical checks in expectation of a physical cleaner. It also deals with Milotic really well, which otherwise is the anathema of Mixed offense. Aerodactyl notably uses its speed to turn the momentum around on Starmie and Moltres which otherwise offense finds it difficult to switch into. A less common Spikeless archetype is the Special Spikeless Offense that isn’t entirely considered a full Rain team, but which tends to use cleaners such as Ludicolo or Kingdra, with Explosion Gengar over Zapdos as a special wall lure and a bunch of physicals to keep up the momentum against severely weakened special walls. Finally, although this fits in a bit awkwardly, there is yet another class of Stallbreaking Spikeless cleaners such as Marowak, Swords Dance Heracross, Rest Gyarados, and the recent Rest + Sleep Talk Offensive Suicune that perform well against standard walls but appreciate specific offenses like Zapdos or Gengar chipped or removed. To this end, standard Pursuit Tyranitar may be a little slow-paced for an offense team, but Mixed Metagross that lures and explodes on Zapdos, or dents Gengar just that little bit with Pursuit can be effective. Substitute + Calm Mind Jirachi as a cleaner works in a similar way but uses Dugtrio for Tyranitar/Metagross removal.

Momentum-based Offense is a subarchetype of Spikeless Offense that requires a good understanding of the archetype one is facing to make the best decisions, as the point is not so much to have a check to everything with a backbone but to not let particular threats ever come in or set up by always staying one step ahead or anticipating their entry. Calm Mind + Baton Pass Celebi is one such option on these teams: it is frequently paired with Agility + Baton Pass Zapdos, which not only sustains the chain but also uses Celebi to absorb Thunder Wave before passing out again. A Calm-Mind-boosted Mixed Attacker like Tyranitar can break walls, and an Agility-boosted Marowak can take out offensive teams before you know it. Offensive Substitute + Baton Pass Vaporeon is a threatening lead (I recommend Salac Berry, which activates under Zapdos Thunderbolt!) that really puts pressure on leads like Salamence, Tyranitar and Metagross, which does not know if it is going to get smashed by a powerful Hydro Pump or Ice Beam, or if switching is going to end up with a Substitute that cannot be broken by Blissey and exploited by Focus Punch Heracross, for example. Fighting types like Heracross, Machamp and Breloom deserve mention here for being glass cannons that appreciate the Baton Pass support to get free switches in. Defensively, momentum-based Offenses survive without a backbone by being meticulous about the chronology of play and employing a few neat tricks when things go wrong. Lures and disablers are important in the early game. For example, lead Thunder Wave Zapdos helps prevent opposing Zapdos from running over the team. Mixed Metagross also lures out Zapdos and Explodes on it. Breloom can also surprise opposing Gengar/Salamence with Stun Spore. In the mid-game, threats that gain momentum as they lose HP, such as Endeavor Swampert and Charizard (due to Blaze), are important glues that take damage from a switch and turn them into an offensive advantage. With a good understanding of the archetype the opponent is using, one can pull the trigger with the cleaner in the midgame, preventing the opposing unrevealed threats from ever setting up. In the event of a mistake, unforeseen circumstance, lack of coverage, or the endgame, using Explosion/Selfdestruct to bring in a full HP check is a common way of getting out of trouble.

This archetype holds its ground well against many builds, but finds it difficult to face Spikes Special Offense due to the fraility of Snorlax under Spikes. In these circumstances, using the cleaner like Dragon Dance Salamence is paramount to winning the game. Offensive Starmie and Gengar can be a huge pain for these teams too, because they have just enough speed to outrun Zapdos, which is usually the fastest offensive presence on these teams. By forgoing bulk on Swampert, opposing Dragon Dance Salamence can make an entry on Tyranitar, Jirachi, or Choice-locked Aerodactyl to sweep, so one must be aware of playing the endgame sequence carefully. Spikeless offense that relies heavily on mixed offenses like Metagross, Tyranitar and Salamence to puncture Blissey and Swampert may find it instead difficult to break Recover mons like Milotic, Celebi and Bulky Starmie. It is somewhat robust to hax, as the roles are less compartmentalized, so every mon should be able to mount some kind of offense even if another goes down. Due to its fast pace though, the game is decided on a few key decisions.

UD’s take

This archetype requires lures to common walls, such as the aforementioned Bulky Waters, Skarmory, and Blissey. Weezing lures all of the Natural Cure Mons and effectively Booms them. Natural Cure Mons are also frequently the best counters to the rest of your mixed attackers, such as MixMeta and MixMence. However, all of these Mons when paired together stack common weaknesses. It can be difficult to fit in a defensive backbone with all of these wallbreakers, which is why these teams are better played at a fast pace than a slow one.
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is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
#5 Porygon2

Archetype 5
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     11 |    4.564 |       0.98 |                SpA/Spe HP Fire Celebi
     10 |    4.149 |       0.95 | Atk/Spe HP Flying Earthquake Gyarados
     14 |    5.809 |       0.51 |                HP/SpD Protect Jirachi
      5 |    2.075 |       0.89 |                 Atk/Def SB SD Snorlax
      3 |    1.245 |       0.98 |                 HP/Def Toxic Porygon2
     15 |    6.224 |       0.29 |                    SpA/Spe HP Suicune
     24 |    9.959 |       0.18 |           HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar
      2 |    0.830 |       0.98 |                   HP/SpA Toxic Zapdos
      3 |    1.245 |       0.70 |                     HP/SpA FB Weezing
      2 |    0.830 |       0.91 |                               Marowak
     27 |   11.203 |       0.14 |     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos
      1 |    0.415 |       0.98 |                               Kingler
      5 |    2.075 |       0.32 |                        Atk/Spe Flygon
      1 |    0.415 |       0.97 |                                Rhydon
      1 |    0.415 |       0.97 |           Atk/SpA HP Fighting Jirachi
     17 |    7.054 |       0.12 |                 Atk/SpD FP SD Snorlax
     18 |    7.469 |       0.11 |                  SpA/Spe BB Tyranitar

vapicuno’s take

This is a lesser used but interesting archetype which I will elaborate on based on what I know rather than the statistics, because of a lack of representation in the group of teams I selected (which can be seen in the low frequencies), especially in the older Calm Mind (CM) Spam archetype. Porygon2 traps Dugtrio, which otherwise kills several key offensive threats and glues. In particular, Heracross, Offensive Jirachi and Celebi (called Superbi/Superrachi), Raikou all greatly appreciate Porygon2 support. Less notably, these teams often have glues or bulky offenses like Defensive Jirachi, Celebi, Metagross and Tyranitar that also appreciate Dugtrio gone.

A once-common but now infrequently seen sub-archetype is CM Spam, which attempts to bait special walls with its own bulky Dugtrio and/or Explosion Gengar, or bulldoze through Blissey with 101 HP Substitutes, CM Baton Pass Celebi or Rest Suicune. CM Spam is very potent in a stall-based metagame. However, as CM spam candidates don’t have the immediate speed, or power, they struggle against offenses.

Porygon2 in today’s faster paced metagame is frequently paired with Heracross instead. Offensive Porygon2 builds that do not fit into the Milotic/Celebi Balance archetype employ a bunch of grounded hard hitters apart from Heracross like Metagross and Tyranitar in conjunction with grounded special offenses like Jirachi or Celebi to break the opponent’s team. This sub-archetype really struggles with Moltres.

Although Porygon2 is seen as momentum sucking and not very defensively sturdy, it provides a niche in being a complete wall to Dragon Dance Salamence which otherwise threatens Heracross, Celebi and to a lesser extent Jirachi. It also provides important coverage against Choice Band Flygon, which otherwise brainlessly clicks Earthquake against the very grounded mons that Porygon2 wants to protect from Dugtrio. Finally, Porygon2 acts as a pseudo-status pivot by switching into Natural Cure users.

#6 Pursuit Tyranitar

Archetype 6
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     59 |   24.481 |       0.90 |               HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar
     30 |   12.448 |       0.92 |                       Band Aerodactyl
     34 |   14.108 |       0.60 |                  HP/SpD Roar Skarmory
     15 |    6.224 |       0.93 |                            Forretress
     21 |    8.714 |       0.63 |    HP/Def Earthquake Protect Swampert
     44 |   18.257 |       0.21 |              SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton
      5 |    2.075 |       0.92 |                      SpA/Spe Venusaur
      5 |    2.075 |       0.87 |                    Def/Spe ST Blissey
     21 |    8.714 |       0.24 |          HP/Def Surf Protect Swampert
     23 |    9.544 |       0.20 |              Def/SpA Toxic SB Blissey
     27 |   11.203 |       0.15 |     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos
     14 |    5.809 |       0.22 |                HP/SpD Protect Jirachi
      5 |    2.075 |       0.38 |                        Atk/Spe Flygon
     19 |    7.884 |       0.13 |   SpA/Spe HP Grass Thunderbolt Zapdos
     44 |   18.257 |       0.07 |             HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory

vapicuno’s take + UD inputs

This is an interesting pick from the program. ADV OU players do not traditionally treat Pursuit Tyranitar as an archetype but an enabler that fits on several archetypes, yet the program has suggested that even among the accompanying mons, the synergies are so strong that they look like an archetype. Whether or not we agree with the program, let us do the analysis to tease out these synergies. First, a little prelude: Pursuit Tyranitar does more than just trap Gengar. It also chips Choice Band locked Salamence and Aerodactyl, effectively allowing them only one more hit (barring a well-played Wish). Unrevealed Tyranitar also scares away Zapdos and chips it.

Going down the list, we see many mons that appreciate Gengar and the other birds gone. On the offensive side of things, Aerodactyl’s fast Double-Edge or Earthquake is a staple endgame element. Forretress’ Rapid Spin becomes a lot more reliable. Double-trapping Gengar, the birds, and Skarmory (all ground-immune with multiple physical resistances) with Tyranitar and Magneton enables especially Aerodactyl, Flygon and Gyarados to shine. With the chip on Zapdos, Salamence and with some luck opposing Aerodactyl, Flygon can also turn the right Rock Slide read into a KO, and the same can be said of Gyarados’ boosted Double-Edge. Venusaur has an amazing matchup with Gengar and the birds (and Skarmory) gone – its Grass/Fire coverage with Leech Seed threatens and annoys all its grounded switchins, and it can even passively finish off Salamence. It can also solo Zapdos in a pinch if it doesnt mind taking status. The sleep and Leech Seed chip from Venusaur also makes it easier for Aero to come in and score kills. Although not mentioned, Starmie is also another cleaner that can take advantage of weakened Zapdos. On the defensive side, Swampert with Protect either drops Refresh and is susceptible to burn, or drops Hydro Pump (for Toxic/Ice Beam/Roar) and cannot threaten Gengar enough, which is where Pursuit comes in handy. Finally, Skarmory + defensive Jirachi is core that greatly appreciates Gengar gone. A burn from Gengar is really bad for defensive Jirachi as it turns the two-turn Wish/Protect sequence from a move recovering 50% + 2*6.25% (leftovers) = 62.5% to one that recovers 62.5% - 2*12.5% (burn) = 37.5%.

Putting offense and defense together, I think we can see why an archetype is identified. Typical offenses run six mons of a fast pace, while typical stall or TSS run about 5 mons with a slow pace. Quite often, pace mismatches that are not carefully managed can often by overrun by Spikes, which is why balanced teams frequently carry Magneton or a spinner. Yet, pace mismatches can also be exploited by Gengar, which can easily come in on defensive mons and threaten burn without having the natural curers available in full stall teams. Pursuit Tyranitar thus becomes the glue that manages the pace mismatch between threatening offenses and sturdy defenses.

Pursuit Tyranitar builds can be rather varied and it can be difficult to pinpoint their weaknesses. However, when Gengar is removed for its annoying properties like Will-o-Wisp and Spikes/Ground immunity, another dangerous source of this annoyance might be overlooked: Moltres. Pursuit Tyranitar is also not the most reliable Gengar remover, as Gengar can run specially defensive EVs. It can also can be taken out by a well-timed double switch into Dugtrio.

#7 Special Spikes Offense (aka Spikes Stack)

Archetype 7
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     33 |   13.693 |       0.93 |                        SpA/Spe Gengar
     39 |   16.183 |       0.68 |                   SpA/Spe FP Swampert
     14 |    5.809 |       0.98 |              SpA/Spe HP Grass Jolteon
     13 |    5.394 |       0.98 |                      SpD/Spe Cloyster
     18 |    7.469 |       0.48 |                  SpA/Spe BB Tyranitar
      6 |    2.490 |       0.93 |                   HP/Spe RS Metagross
     27 |   11.203 |       0.32 |     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos
      6 |    2.490 |       0.91 |                SpA/Spe HP Ice Jolteon
      6 |    2.490 |       0.91 |                                  Jynx
     18 |    7.469 |       0.36 |                               Moltres
      4 |    1.660 |       0.91 |            Atk/Spe HP Ground Skarmory
      5 |    2.075 |       0.74 |                   HP/Spe DD Tyranitar
      3 |    1.245 |       0.92 |                  HP/SpD Surf Cloyster
      3 |    1.245 |       0.83 |            Atk/Spe HP Fighting Zapdos
     12 |    4.979 |       0.28 |                    SpA/Spe HP Starmie
     44 |   18.257 |       0.11 |             HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory
     23 |    9.544 |       0.14 |              Def/SpA Toxic SB Blissey
     24 |    9.959 |       0.12 |           HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar

vapicuno's take + UD inputs

A little backdrop and comparative analysis across the different offense archetypes: In the current metagame, Special Offense is often associated with Spikes, while Physical Offense is often Spikeless, due to slight asymmetries that I will explain soon enough. The less prevalent boosting Special Offense i.e. CM spam has been covered in the Porygon2 archetype. The problem of offense (be it physical or special) always comes down to how one breaks the walls. This is usually achieved in two ways. On spikeless builds, wallbreakers punch holes and enable offenses, a relatively more straightforward idea. On spikes builds, fast sweepers that have good coverage are able to force many opposing mons out on a team (this is the idea of momentum) to rack up spikes damage, either breaking the wall directly or enabling an alternate endgame on the other side of the physical-special split (such as Zapdos forcing Swampert out repeatedly to wear it down within range of Metagross).

Now, why the asymmetry? On the offensive side, there are many fast non-boosting special threats with good coverage like Jolteon, Zapdos, Starmie, Gengar, Moltres and even Jynx. There are fewer fast physical offenses – Aerodactyl is the fastest, but the next would be Salamence, which one wouldn’t even try to stay in on Zapdos. Furthermore, these fast physical offenses are locked into Choice Band and cannot maintain their momentum as well, which is why using Aerodactyl frequently requires sacking teammates in order to keep sweeping. Fast special offenses suffer from none of these problems. On the defensive side, breaking physical walls is easier and requires less dedication than breaking special walls. For example, a common special wallbreaking combination is Explosion Gengar + Dugtrio, which takes up two slots and requires explosion at the right time when there are multiple other options other than switching to Blissey such as Pursuit Tyranitar, Moltres, and just staying in, making for an unreliable wallbreaking experience. In contrast, barring some other Explosion fodder like Jirachi, anyone who doesn’t switch to Skarmory or Swampert on Choice Band Metagross even when the possibility of exploding is high really has some guts. Special boosting sweepers also require a lot more support to break walls than physical boosting sweepers; compare Substitute Suicune, which needs sand removed to beat Blissey, to Dragon Dance HP Grass Tyranitar, which chunks both Skarmory and Swampert. These factors all mean that fast special sweepers have a lot more to gain from Spikes than physical sweepers. This is not to say that Spikes cannot work with physical sweepers, but rather the mode of engagement is not about slowly applying chip damage but enabling 1hkos. Dragon Dance Tyranitar or Salamence can frequently fall a little short in 1hkoing Metagross, Tyranitar, Jirachi and Blissey, which is where Spikes really helps.

Moving on to the actual analysis of this archetype, the playstyle gameplan is quite straightforward but requires one to be willing to look one turn ahead and take risks. Set up spikes early, play aggressively to rack up spikes damage with Roar or double switches to the physicals. The endgame usually involves a special sweeper cleaning, or bulky physicals overpowering chipped physical walls.

We shall start with an analysis of the Spikes-related roles. Cloyster and offensive Gengar are staples of this build as the offensive Spiker + Spinblocker combination. Occasionally, Fast Drill Peck + Taunt Skarmory is the spiker. Yoloskarm, the Max Attack/Speed Adamant Skarmory carrying HP Ground, lies on the extreme end of such sets. Cloyster is easy to understand as it has the advantage of easily pivoting into the bulky water and access to Explosion. Skarmory, however has fast Taunt to shut down opposing Skarmory and Claydol’s Refresh in a Spikes arms race and pivots easily into Claydol to attack with Drill Peck. This is actually an important consideration on electric spikes teams, which do very little to hurt opposing Claydol. One might think that Cloyster has a better time than Skarmory with Claydol, but Spikes, Sandstorm and Toxic from opposing Skarmory severely limit Cloyster’s longevity. Finally, Skarmory can also check fighting types to some extent. I would consider Skarmory + Jolteon TSS to be a subarchetype here rather than in #2 because of the fast pace.

Jolteon is a staple of this archetype. It acts as a fast-paced special check that synergizes with spikes and cleans lategame. Zapdos is also commonly used. When paired with Jolteon, Zapdos can lead and offer to trade Thunder Wave with opposing Zapdos which can then be dismantled by the rest of the team, freeing Jolteon from the possibility of getting hit by status for the late game. Zapdos and Jolteon can also complement each other in HP Ice/Grass coverage. Mixed Zapdos is another synergistic alternative, as Drill Peck wrecks Specially Defensive Celebi, and with some Spikes chip, HP Fighting coverage takes down Blissey. On the topic of status and Jolteon’s fraility, Rock Slide Metagross particularly fits on this archetype, again preventing the exposure of Jolteon to Zapdos where possible. Offensive Swampert is another good glue on this archetype. Just the presence of Tyranitar in general contributes to Special Offense via Sandstorm, which no special wall likes apart from Defensive Jirachi. In particular, Mixed Tyranitar does well as a softener on Spikes offense, taking the place of Mixmence which would otherwise be defensively redundant with Gengar. Moltres does better against the Claydol matchup and can wreck Magneton offense with burn pretty badly, but is much slower in pace. Thus, Snorlax is an alternative to Jolteon on Moltres builds, albeit non-ideal. Starmie, although not particularly high up on the list, is commonly used as a cleaner, and functions very well with bulky Metagross as a quasi-defensive backbone to double soft-check Tyranitar, Salamence, and opposing Metagross. Finally, Jynx is an interesting lead that can Thief on special walls or Suicune and sleep Metagross/Tyranitar/Snorlax switch-ins, all of which are really beneficial for this frail and fast archetype.

Special Spikes Offense performs especially well against builds that rely on Magneton to remove the Spiker. Its weaknesses depend on the particular choice of constituents – Double electrics tend to struggle more against Claydol, while Moltres builds struggle against Starmie (especially spin variants) and ironically electric + spikes.

UD's take

Offensive teams in ADV come primarily in two flavors – physical based versus special based. The physical based offenses have already been covered with Magneton Offensive and Spikeless Offense (which itself consists primarily of physical attackers with special coverage moves, i.e. “mixed attackers”). Special offense in the form of CM Spam was covered in the Porygon2 section. Those teams aim to beat down the opponent with an armada of boosting special attackers, while revenge killing the opponent’s Dugtrio, who otherwise picks off each one of your Pokemon. However, there should be considered a subset of special offense which includes the presence of Spikes. These teams aim to win with powerful and fast special attackers, such as Starmie, Jolteon, Zapdos, and Gengar. Unlike physical Mons who cannot muscle past Skarmory and Bulky Waters without Magneton or powerful Explosions, special Mons fear Blissey more than anything else in the tier. Herein lies the biggest fundamental difference between these two offenses. While Dugtrio theoretically patches up the Blissey weakness, it is not a foolproof way to remove the pink blob. A more reliable method to wear down opposing special walls is with your own Spikes. The combination of Jolteon, Zapdos, Gengar, or Starmie, with Spikes can be overwhelming even in the presence of Blissey. Both Jolteon and Zapdos can Roar out the incoming Blissey switch, Gengar can put it to sleep with Hypnosis, or WoW + Taunt it to prevent it from recovering. Starmie is the only Mon that can not force the Blissey at low health. For this reason, at least one strong physical attacker is still needed on these teams. Something like a physical Tar or Metagross to at least threaten the Blissey with a double switch.

#8 Dugtrio Stall (/Balance)

Archetype 8
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     45 |   18.672 |       0.92 |                          Band Dugtrio
     18 |    7.469 |       0.81 |                   HP/Def Rest Suicune
      7 |    2.905 |       0.97 |                    HP/SpD Rest Zapdos
      7 |    2.905 |       0.86 |                        HP/SpA Jirachi
     24 |    9.959 |       0.35 |           HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar
      5 |    2.075 |       0.96 |                HP/Def FP Wish Jirachi
     15 |    6.224 |       0.44 |                    SpA/Spe HP Suicune
     14 |    5.809 |       0.42 |                        Band Tyranitar
      4 |    1.660 |       0.97 |             HP/Def Refresh RS Claydol
      4 |    1.660 |       0.96 |                        HP/SpD Claydol
      7 |    2.905 |       0.61 |             HP/Atk Refresh RS Claydol
      3 |    1.245 |       0.97 |           HP/Def Thunder Wish Jirachi
      3 |    1.245 |       0.90 |           HP/Def Explosion RS Claydol
      4 |    1.660 |       0.68 |              SpA/Spe HP Grass Kingdra
      4 |    1.660 |       0.60 |                              Houndoom
      3 |    1.245 |       0.66 |                                Raikou
     44 |   18.257 |       0.10 |             HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory
      1 |    0.415 |       0.94 |                     HP/Def PS Weezing
      7 |    2.905 |       0.23 |          Atk/Spe Substitute Heracross
      7 |    2.905 |       0.23 |                   HP/SpD Rest Snorlax
     23 |    9.544 |       0.10 |              Def/SpA Toxic SB Blissey
     21 |    8.714 |       0.10 |                     HP/Def ST Blissey
      1 |    0.415 |       0.83 |                               Shiftry
      1 |    0.415 |       0.83 |                             Exeggutor
     12 |    4.979 |       0.14 |               HP/Spe Taunt WOW Gengar
      5 |    2.075 |       0.26 |                        HP/Spe Jirachi
      8 |    3.320 |       0.16 |                   HP/SpA Surf Suicune

vapicuno's take + UD inputs

Dugtrio Stall, and occasionally Balance, as a playstyle involves setting Spikes and trapping grounded threats and possibly weather reset at opportune moments, after which the opponent cannot overcome healing loops, and either the opponent crumbles from Spikes pressure, or setup partners take over and become near unbeatable. Balanced variants drop Spikes and instead exploit the removal of grounded threats to give free reign to bulky offenses.

Dugtrio is really versatile enabler. We have seen how it enables special offenses as a Blissey breaker, but in stall teams, Dugtrio plays a key role in taking out Tyranitar and resetting the weather with Sunny Day. This greatly improving Rest Suicune’s longevity especially when compared with Swampert for the lack of sand immunity and rock resist. Rest Zapdos also becomes much sturdier without sand and Tyranitar to pressure it. With Tyranitar (and Metagross) gone, Calm Mind Jirachi as a cleaner can afford to run only two attacks of coverage, leaving a slot for Substitute or Wish to break opposing Blissey. Defensive Jirachi (called Astarachi) becomes much harder to stop from spreading status and Wish support, as Swampert remains as the only safe switch-in that can damage it too. Dugtrio also has uses not related to Tyranitar too. The Skarmory to Dugtrio double switch eliminates Magneton. Also, Dugtrio gets rid of Heracross, which is very dangerous to stall teams, and to a less reliable extent Metagross, which threatens to break through Skarmory and Suicune with Explosion. Finally, Dugtrio gets rid of Celebi, which can otherwise in the worst Calm Mind up or at least chip mons into Rest range with Leech Seed. In the ideal gameplan, Skarmory and Blissey take early game damage and fish for threats with Dugtrio. With all these threats gone, Zapdos, Suicune or Astarachi can PP stall with Pressure and healing loops, continuously Roar to rack up Spikes Damage, or spread status. Calm Mind Jirachi can set up worry free. Balanced Variants may fit Choice Band Tyranitar or Snorlax on the team instead of having Skarmory, both of whom appreciate Tyranitar, Metagross and Heracross gone. Finally, Claydol fits well on this archetype due to its pace and acts as a rock resist in a pinch. I have included Hariyama in the mix not because it fits with Dugtrio, but rather it can replace Dugtrio on this archetype stall teams. Instead of straight up taking down Tyranitar, Hariyama’s rock resistance manages it. With Tyranitar on the same side, Hariyama makes progress against the opponent with Knock Off and sand chip instead.

Dugtrio has amazing utility in theory, but utilizing this archetype effectively requires skillful manipulation of chip damage onto Dugtrio targets to get the guaranteed KO, and just as skillful reads to double switch it in, which in all may take a sizable number of turns. With regards to matchups, Dugtrio stall without Tyranitar for sand struggles immensely against opposing Snorlax. Moreover, as Skarmory and Dugtrio are frequently the only answer to Heracross, which tends to be the most common fighting type people build in mind with, other Fighting types can be very dangerous to this archetype – not to mention, even Salac Berry Heracross, which outspeeds Dugtrio and doesn’t fade away in a sandless build, is especially potent. Where it comes to Spikes control, Cloyster can be annoying as only Zapdos can pressure it on these builds, and opposing Refresh Claydol (and even Forretress) can remove Spikes pretty easily without a Spinblocker.

#9 Spinner/Mag Balance/Bulky Offense
Bulky Setup Balance

Balance with Immediate Offensive Threat

Bulky Offense with Spikes Control

Archetype 9
Counts | Freq (%) | Confidence | Pokemon
     48 |   12.632 |       0.83 |                 HP/Def Rest Suicune
    107 |   28.158 |       0.41 |                        Band Dugtrio
     33 |    8.684 |       0.81 |                   HP/Def RS Claydol
     28 |    7.368 |       0.78 |            Def/SpD Curse BS Snorlax
     34 |    8.947 |       0.65 |               HP/Def Recover Celebi
     40 |   10.526 |       0.51 |            SpA/Spe Protect Magneton
     25 |    6.579 |       0.69 |                      Band Salamence
     19 |    5.000 |       0.82 |                 HP/Spe Surf Starmie
     21 |    5.526 |       0.63 |                  Def/SpA CM Blissey
     50 |   13.158 |       0.33 |           HP/SpD Thunderbolt Zapdos
     13 |    3.421 |       0.61 |                   HP/SpD RS Claydol
      8 |    2.105 |       0.85 |                 HP/SpD Rest Snorlax
     28 |    7.368 |       0.35 |                HP/SpD Roar Skarmory
     10 |    2.632 |       0.68 |              HP/Def Toxic Metagross
     27 |    7.105 |       0.34 |                 HP/Def Wish Jirachi
      8 |    2.105 |       0.77 |                     HP/SpA Magneton
     11 |    2.895 |       0.50 |               Def/SpD SD BS Snorlax
      8 |    2.105 |       0.61 |           HP/SpA Thunder CM Jirachi
      6 |    1.579 |       0.68 |             HP/Def Thunder Porygon2
     22 |    5.789 |       0.27 |                 SpA/Spe TW Magneton
     48 |   12.632 |       0.15 |                  Def/SpA ST Blissey
     10 |    2.632 |       0.41 |                 HP/SpA Surf Suicune
     82 |   21.579 |       0.09 |            HP/SpA Pursuit Tyranitar
     18 |    4.737 |       0.23 |               HP/SpD Recover Celebi
     52 |   13.684 |       0.10 |             HP/Spe Explosion Gengar
      8 |    2.105 |       0.35 |            HP/Atk Explosion Claydol
     23 |    6.053 |       0.16 |                HP/Def Toxic Milotic
     10 |    2.632 |       0.28 |               HP/SpA Wish Salamence
      2 |    0.526 |       0.80 |                  HP/Spe RD Magneton
      6 |    1.579 |       0.35 |                   HP/Spe SB Weezing
      3 |    0.789 |       0.55 |                  HP/Spe Rest Raikou
     15 |    3.947 |       0.18 |                      HP/Def Blissey
     34 |    8.947 |       0.10 |                   HP/SpD Forretress
     35 |    9.211 |       0.09 |                SpA/Spe FB Salamence
      2 |    0.526 |       0.65 |                      HP/Atk Steelix
     84 |   22.105 |       0.05 |          HP/Def IB Protect Swampert
     11 |    2.895 |       0.19 |                    Atk/Spe Gyarados
      3 |    0.789 |       0.47 |                HP/Def Wish Vaporeon
     28 |    7.368 |       0.10 |                 HP/Spe Taunt Gengar

vapicuno's take + UD inputs

This is an archetype I picked from the other group of teams, because I felt the first list lacked the common Magneton + Claydol (Magdol) archetype as well as some other interesting balances (Magneton + Starmie / Bait + Spinner). This style either relies on clearing the field of Spikes so that threats can come in as much as they like, or sets the goal of setting up specific endgame conditions for a sleeper endgame mon. Bulky Magneton or Spinner teams form a really broad archetype with slightly more defensive and offensive variants. I will try my best to cover enough ground for all. To be clear, I have decided not to include Spinner teams with Dugtrio, since Dugtrio stall is already covered above. As seen from the statistics, the distinction lies in the relative presence of Defensive Celebi/Choice Band Salamence/Defensive Metagross and absence of Defensive Zapdos/CM Wish Jirachi in the Mag/Spinner archetype vs Dugtrio archetype. This option does not remove Tyranitar but makes it up with the lack of a glaring Rock/Ground weakness.

The list mostly describes the endgame-centered bulky setup balance archetype, which I will describe here. Not everything I say in this paragraph will describe all sub-archetypes, so I will mention deviations in the next. At the top of the list we see the cementing endgame mons of the archetype: Rest Suicune and Curse Snorlax are both win conditions (wincons) that do not intend to make headways early game and want to come in at full HP in the endgame without worrying about phazers or Spikes chip. Many opposing teams depend on residual damage from spikes and sand to deal with these wincons, and pretty much all mons that follow on the list are meant to support these wincons either by limiting or removing Spikes, trapping Metagross, which can explode on the wincons, or trapping Tyranitar + clearing the weather. The most prevalent support is Dugtrio, which traps Tyranitar/Metagross and performs a weather reset with Sunny Day. Although both Suicune and Snorlax appreciate Dugtrio, teams that use only one wincon appreciate it more so that a single Explosion from Metagross does not turn the team into a sitting duck. On teams with both wincons, Claydol is preferred for its simultaneous electric pivot + Tyranitar check role on top of Rapid Spin. In fact, Claydol and Defensive Starmie are both effective and common spinners against Skarmory the Spiker on this archetype, but there is no such thing as a 100% reliable spinner. Refresh Claydol cannot stay in indefinitely against Taunt + Toxic or Drill Peck Skarmory, and Starmie is stalled out by Protect + Toxic Skarmory. This is where Magneton completes the mission. Magneton can do more than just trap Skarmory and Forretress. It traps Metagross, provides rock resist in a pinch when you want to preserve Suicune, and can perform a weather reset with Rain Dance. This is not to say that spinners cannot be used without Magneton – other approaches involve baiting Skarmory with Curse Selfdestruct Snorlax or chipping Skarmory while it spikes and spinning opportunistically when phazed in, or when Spikes start to get out of hand. In fact, this is the mode in which many Dugtrio-based Claydol stall teams operate, because there isn’t enough space for Magneton. It is also why Rest Zapdos tends to be on stall teams: a spike-immune bulky mon that threatens Skarmory, and can also use Rain Dance to ease the load on the setup mons. Claydol is traditionally viewed as the more reliable spinner out of the two due to its decent defenses, sand immunity, and Rock/Ground/Electric resists, which are rather important given the ubiquity of Electric Spikes and TSS. However, Starmie has a speed tier advantage and can run a powerful Psychic to nuke spinblocking Gengar into oblivion, or Thunder Wave to render it useless. Starmie can also perform Thunder Wave control against fast offenses like Zapdos, and can recover indefinitely against stall teams. Defensive Celebi is a glue that provides special coverage when you do not want Curse Snorlax to be exposed to chip. Similarly, Physically Defensive Metagross helps to preserve Rest Suicune for the endgame. Alternatively, Defensive Wish Jirachi to support these endgame mons throughout midgame. Going down the list, we see that Bulky Calm Mind Jirachi is another endgame mon, albeit less used. Finally, while Pursuit Tyranitar does not synergize well with this archetype due to sand, it is still a usable option to support Curse Earthquake Snorlax.

Instead of bulky setup, balanced sub-archetypes with an immediate threat are also usable, relying more on keeping threats healthy as they hammer away at walls repeatedly with chip till they crumble. To facilitate wallbreaking, Spikes or Leech Seed from Celebi is used to provide the chip. This variant tends not to have space for both Magneton and a Spinner, so a judicious choice has to be made. Choice Band Salamence pairs well with Magneton, which removes Skarmory the Wall on top of Skarmory the Spiker, albeit leaving a layer of Spikes on the field. Choice Band Tyranitar pairs better with Claydol for spikes control more so than Magneton, as Rock Slide smashes through Skarmory anyway, and being completely Spike-free is more important for surviving Dugtrio and general health that it cannot recover. Bulky Dragon Dance Tyranitar also really appreciates Spikes off the field to survive Starmie, Dugtrio and Metagross. In these archetypes, some form of recovery, such as Wish support from Blissey or Jirachi, or Leech Seed from Celebi is greatly appreciated. The choice of special wall influences the pace that the team is played at. Blissey is more reliable but tends to attract all sorts of physical threats, while Celebi is better at maintaining momentum and reducing the efficacy of counterplays via Leech Seed.

Bulky Offense with Claydol on top of Magneton is a combination of Magneton Offense and Bulky Setup Balance. This variant adds Dragon Dance Gyarados to the mix, which can either be used early game to cripple annoying threats to the endgame like Explosion or Taunt/Will-o-Wisp Gengar, Choice Band Salamence and Aerodactyl with Thunder Wave, or late game for a sweep. This variant differs from Magneton Offense in that the latter very clearly tries to win with a fast physical sweeper, while the former decides from several options what the win condition is, and uses all other five mons to remove threats. It also differs from the more balanced variant of this archetype, which tries to wear down the opponent’s team to a level where a single endgame mon can take over.

In general, this archetype requires a keen awareness of the win condition and skillful maneuvering to work towards it. Facing it also requires the ability to look ahead, figure out the (possibly hidden) win condition, and preserving the right mons (Exploders, Choice Band, Zapdos, Leech Seed Celebi) till the endgame. Bulky Spikeless Offense does well against this archetype, while Electric Spikes Offense and TSS can struggle with this archetype. This archetype shares some specific weaknesses with the Dugtrio Stall archetype. Again, these teams do not do particularly well against opposing Snorlax. Also notably, in teams without Salamence or Gyarados, Skarmory is left as the physical wall, resulting in a huge Heracross (and more generally fighting) weakness given the ease of Magneton trap and/or Focus Punch, which 2hkos Skarmory. Finally, Claydol is pretty reliable at dealing with Spikes lay by Cloyster and Forretress, but can still be taken out by a well-timed Explosion.
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is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
Synergistic Cores Analysis
Synergistic Cores analysis written primarily by UD, thank him again!

The Archetype Analysis takes a top down approach, which helps in identifying generic team structures, but may not be as informative in helping to decide the constituents of one's teams. The key idea to selecting good constituents of a team is to populate it with cores that have really good synergy. While the synergies of common mons have been described in the archetypes analysis, there are a few interesting cores of that consist of individually overlooked mons that punch above one's weight. Here, UD will go down the triplet-core rankings by the synergy score (ignoring those that only appear once) and talk about some of the most unique cores. There are certainly some overlaps and the selection isn't the most clean and ordered, so I apologize in advance for some of the repetitions. As I don't want to flood the thread with too much redundancy, you can find descriptions of more generic cores in the "...vapi_comments.xlsx" file attached. Here's an example of generic cores you can find in the file:
2-Cores Arranged by Frequency
Counts | Freq (%) | Synergy | Cores
     15 |    6.224 |    2.88 |                       HP/SpA Magneton,                               Milotic
     14 |    5.809 |    2.19 |                            Forretress,               HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar
     10 |    4.149 |    2.84 |             SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton,         Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax
     10 |    4.149 |    2.49 |                        Band Metagross,         Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar
     15 |    6.224 |    1.29 |                       Band Aerodactyl,               HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar
     15 |    6.224 |    1.11 |                  HP/SpD Roar Skarmory,               HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar
     10 |    4.149 |    1.95 |              SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton,                        Band Salamence
     11 |    4.564 |    1.60 |                   SpA/Spe FP Swampert,     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos
3-Cores Arranged by Frequency
Counts | Freq (%) | Synergy | Cores
      7 |    2.905 |    1.91 |        HP/SpD HP Grass Recover Celebi,                       HP/SpA Magneton,                               Milotic
      4 |    1.660 |    2.06 |                      HP/Def LS Celebi,                       HP/SpA Magneton,                               Milotic
      2 |    0.830 |    4.38 |              HP/SpD SD Recover Celebi,         Atk/Spe RS Earthquake Claydol,             HP/Spe HP Grass Metagross
      4 |    1.660 |    1.54 |                  Atk/SpD DD Salamence,             SpA/Spe Endeavor Swampert,         Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar

To understand the set categories, you can refer to the legend below. This would require a little bit of metagame knowledge, such as the fact that Crunch Tyranitar usually carries Pursuit, or that Roar Skarmory usually carries Drill Peck, but it's not asking for much.
Sets Legend in Alphabetical Order
 Counts | Freq (%) | Pokemon
      2 |    0.830 |         Atk/Spe Substitute Aerodactyl
     30 |   12.448 |                       Band Aerodactyl
      2 |    0.830 |                   SpA/Spe CM Alakazam
      1 |    0.415 |                         Band Alakazam
      1 |    0.415 |                              Blaziken
      1 |    0.415 |                  SpA/Spe Sing Blissey
     21 |    8.714 |                     HP/Def SB Blissey
      5 |    2.075 |               Def/SpA Wish SB Blissey
     14 |    5.809 |                 Def/SpA TW SB Blissey
      5 |    2.075 |                    Def/Spe SB Blissey
     23 |    9.544 |              Def/SpA Toxic SB Blissey
      5 |    2.075 |                               Breloom
      1 |    0.415 |                              Cacturne
      1 |    0.415 |                              Camerupt
     11 |    4.564 |                SpA/Spe HP Fire Celebi
     11 |    4.564 |        HP/SpD HP Grass Recover Celebi
      4 |    1.660 |              HP/SpD SD Recover Celebi
     17 |    7.054 |                      HP/Def LS Celebi
      7 |    2.905 |                      HP/Spe BP Celebi
      1 |    0.415 |                               Chansey
      3 |    1.245 |                             Charizard
      2 |    0.830 |                        HP/Spe Claydol
      5 |    2.075 |         Atk/Spe RS Earthquake Claydol
     16 |    6.639 |      HP/Atk Explosion Psychic Claydol
      3 |    1.245 |   HP/Def Explosion Earthquake Claydol
      4 |    1.660 |     HP/Def Refresh Earthquake Claydol
      4 |    1.660 |                        HP/SpD Claydol
      7 |    2.905 |        HP/Atk Refresh Psychic Claydol
      1 |    0.415 |                     HP/SpA IB Claydol
      3 |    1.245 |         Atk/Spe RS Earthquake Claydol
      1 |    0.415 |                       HP/Spe Cloyster
     13 |    5.394 |                      SpD/Spe Cloyster
      3 |    1.245 |                HP/SpD Spikes Cloyster
      1 |    0.415 |                        HP/Def Donphan
      2 |    0.830 |                        HP/SpD Donphan
     45 |   18.672 |                          Band Dugtrio
      1 |    0.415 |                              Dusclops
      1 |    0.415 |                             Exeggutor
      7 |    2.905 |                           Band Flygon
      5 |    2.075 |                        Atk/Spe Flygon
      7 |    2.905 |                   HP/Def Toxic Flygon
      2 |    0.830 |                   HP/Atk Toxic Flygon
     15 |    6.224 |                            Forretress
     24 |    9.959 |           HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar
      2 |    0.830 |                        Atk/Spe Gengar
     33 |   13.693 |                        SpA/Spe Gengar
      1 |    0.415 |                           Band Gengar
     12 |    4.979 |               HP/Spe Taunt WOW Gengar
      1 |    0.415 |                  SpD/Spe Taunt Gengar
      1 |    0.415 |                    Def/Spe WOW Gengar
      4 |    1.660 |                  HP/Spe Rest Gyarados
      6 |    2.490 |   Atk/Spe HP Rock Earthquake Gyarados
     10 |    4.149 | Atk/Spe HP Flying Earthquake Gyarados
      1 |    0.415 |                         Band Gyarados
      3 |    1.245 |                              Hariyama
      1 |    0.415 |            SpD/Spe HP Ghost Heracross
      7 |    2.905 |          Atk/Spe Substitute Heracross
      6 |    2.490 |                  Atk/Spe BB Heracross
      1 |    0.415 |                        Band Heracross
      4 |    1.660 |                              Houndoom
      1 |    0.415 |                    Def/Spe IP Jirachi
     14 |    5.809 |                     HP/SpD BS Jirachi
      7 |    2.905 |                        HP/SpA Jirachi
      6 |    2.490 |              SpA/Spe HP Grass Jirachi
      5 |    2.075 |                        HP/Spe Jirachi
      5 |    2.075 |                HP/Def FP Wish Jirachi
      1 |    0.415 |           Atk/SpA HP Fighting Jirachi
      3 |    1.245 |           HP/Def Thunder Wish Jirachi
     14 |    5.809 |              SpA/Spe HP Grass Jolteon
      1 |    0.415 |                   HP/Spe Wish Jolteon
      6 |    2.490 |                SpA/Spe HP Ice Jolteon
      1 |    0.415 |                              Jumpluff
      6 |    2.490 |                                  Jynx
      1 |    0.415 |            HP/SpA HP Electric Kingdra
      4 |    1.660 |              SpA/Spe HP Grass Kingdra
      1 |    0.415 |                               Kingler
      6 |    2.490 |                              Ludicolo
      2 |    0.830 |                          Band Machamp
      1 |    0.415 |                    Atk/Spe BU Machamp
     44 |   18.257 |              SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton
     21 |    8.714 |                       HP/SpA Magneton
     15 |    6.224 |             SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton
      1 |    0.415 |                     HP/SpA IB Mantine
      1 |    0.415 |                   HP/SpD Surf Mantine
      2 |    0.830 |                               Marowak
     21 |    8.714 |              HP/SpA Psychic Metagross
     23 |    9.544 |           HP/Atk Earthquake Metagross
      5 |    2.075 |                     SpA/Spe Metagross
     19 |    7.884 |          Atk/Spe Earthquake Metagross
     27 |   11.203 |                        Band Metagross
      5 |    2.075 |                      HP/Def Metagross
      6 |    2.490 |                   HP/Spe RS Metagross
      5 |    2.075 |             HP/Spe HP Grass Metagross
     28 |   11.618 |                               Milotic
     18 |    7.469 |                               Moltres
      5 |    2.075 |                    HP/Def TW Porygon2
      3 |    1.245 |                 HP/Def Toxic Porygon2
      3 |    1.245 |                                Raikou
      4 |    1.660 |                         HP/SpA Regice
      1 |    0.415 |                        Atk/SpA Regice
      1 |    0.415 |                              Regirock
      1 |    0.415 |                             Registeel
      1 |    0.415 |                                Rhydon
      1 |    0.415 |                   HP/Atk DD Salamence
     12 |    4.979 |                  Atk/SpD DD Salamence
     18 |    7.469 |                  Atk/Spe DD Salamence
     17 |    7.054 |                        Band Salamence
     21 |    8.714 |                  SpA/Spe FB Salamence
      1 |    0.415 |                 HP/Def Wish Salamence
      1 |    0.415 |                  Atk/Def DD Salamence
      2 |    0.830 |                 HP/SpA Wish Salamence
      1 |    0.415 |                               Shiftry
     44 |   18.257 |             HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory
      1 |    0.415 |                 HP/Spe Taunt Skarmory
     34 |   14.108 |                  HP/SpD Roar Skarmory
      4 |    1.660 |                Atk/Spe Taunt Skarmory
      1 |    0.415 |                          Band Slaking
      1 |    0.415 |           Atk/Spe Substitute Smeargle
      1 |    0.415 |                  SpD/Spe WOW Smeargle
      5 |    2.075 |                 Atk/Def SB SD Snorlax
     17 |    7.054 |                 Atk/SpD FP SD Snorlax
      7 |    2.905 |                   HP/SpD Rest Snorlax
      3 |    1.245 |                  Def/SpD Rest Snorlax
      2 |    0.830 |                HP/Atk Counter Snorlax
      4 |    1.660 |                 Atk/Def FB SD Snorlax
     27 |   11.203 |         Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax
      3 |    1.245 |                HP/Spe Recover Starmie
     12 |    4.979 |                    SpA/Spe HP Starmie
      3 |    1.245 |                               Steelix
     18 |    7.469 |                   HP/Def Surf Suicune
      8 |    3.320 |                   HP/SpA Surf Suicune
      3 |    1.245 |                     HP/SpA HP Suicune
     15 |    6.224 |                    SpA/Spe IB Suicune
     21 |    8.714 |            HP/Def IB Protect Swampert
      8 |    3.320 |               HP/SpA Protect Swampert
     21 |    8.714 |          HP/Def Surf Protect Swampert
     39 |   16.183 |                   SpA/Spe FP Swampert
     22 |    9.129 |             SpA/Spe Endeavor Swampert
      1 |    0.415 |                               Swellow
      1 |    0.415 |                           Band Tauros
     16 |    6.639 |        HP/Atk FP Earthquake Tyranitar
     11 |    4.564 |           Atk/Spe HP Bug DD Tyranitar
     14 |    5.809 |                        Band Tyranitar
     18 |    7.469 |                  SpA/Spe BB Tyranitar
     59 |   24.481 |               HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar
      5 |    2.075 |                   HP/Spe DD Tyranitar
     19 |    7.884 |         Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar
      5 |    2.075 |        HP/Atk DD Earthquake Tyranitar
      2 |    0.830 |                  Atk/SpA FP Tyranitar
      1 |    0.415 |                        HP/SpA Umbreon
      2 |    0.830 |                        HP/SpD Umbreon
      4 |    1.660 |                        HP/Def Umbreon
      4 |    1.660 |                              Vaporeon
      2 |    0.830 |                    HP/SpD SB Venusaur
      5 |    2.075 |                      SpA/Spe Venusaur
      1 |    0.415 |                    HP/Spe SB Venusaur
      1 |    0.415 |                               Wailord
      1 |    0.415 |              SpA/Spe HP Grass Weezing
      1 |    0.415 |                   HP/Def Haze Weezing
      1 |    0.415 |           Atk/Spe HP Fighting Weezing
      3 |    1.245 |                     HP/SpA FB Weezing
      3 |    1.245 |            Atk/Spe HP Fighting Zapdos
      2 |    0.830 |                Atk/SpA Agility Zapdos
     19 |    7.884 |   SpA/Spe HP Grass Thunderbolt Zapdos
      1 |    0.415 |                           Band Zapdos
      2 |    0.830 |                         HP/SpA Zapdos
      7 |    2.905 |                    HP/SpD Rest Zapdos
      1 |    0.415 |                      HP/Spe BP Zapdos
     27 |   11.203 |     SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos

And without further ado, UD's contribution:

CountSynergyFirst MemberSecond MemberThird Member______Sprites______Analysis
HP/SpD SD Recover Celebi​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
HP/Spe HP Grass Metagross​
An SD Pass Celebi team. This ranks so high on the synergy score metric because SD Celebi on its own is extremely rare. It can be assumed that there is a Magneton pairing, and probably a Snorlax as well. Fast Boom Claydol keeps Spikes off and acts as a second Electric pivot for Celebi, since SD Pass needs insurance against Electric Mons.​
HP/SpD SD Recover Celebi​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton​
Same SD Pass Celebi team from above. Magneton pairing was expected and required.​
HP/Def Umbreon​
A unique take on hyper offense. Breloom attracts Celebi, the only switch that is able to come in safely to cover both the possibility of Stun Spore and fighting attacks, which is where Charizard takes over. They benefit greatly from Umbreon handling opposing Gengar and Starmie in one slot, something that almost nothing else in ADV does, apart from Blissey.​
Band Metagross​
HP/Def Umbreon​
Another unique take on hyper offense. Just an unusual combination of Mons here.​
Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar​
HP/Def Umbreon​
Probably the same Charizard teams from above.​
HP/Spe Rest Gyarados​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton​
Gyarados + Steelix form perfect defensive synergy. They only share two common weaknesses in Starmie and Gengar. Magneton is a required pairing as Skarmory infinitely walls and lays 3 Spikes against both Rest Gyara and Steelix. It can be assumed that Pursuit Tar is a partner alongside as well.​
HP/Spe Rest Gyarados​
Band Salamence​
Almost surely part of the Gyara + Steelix team above. CB Salamence fits the core as well, providing a second Intimidate to help ease pressure off of Steelix against boosting physical Mons (mostly Tyranitar but also opposing Salamence).​
HP/Spe Rest Gyarados​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
Again, probably the same Gyara + Steelix team as previously seen. Snorlax is there to switch in on special attackers, splitting duties with Gyarados (who switches in on Waters and Fire types), Steelix (who switches in on Electrics), and Pursuit Tar (who switches in on Gengar). The combination forms an excellent defensive core.​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
Same Steelix team from above.​
HP/SpA Magneton​
HP/SpD Curse Snorlax​
A classic trap + CurseLax team. Milotic or Suicune are the go-to Water types on these teams as opposed to Swampert, since you don't want to risk losing your Water to a rogue HP Grass Mon. Dugtrio, Celebi, and something that switches into Heracross are assumed partners.​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Jirachi​
Atk/SpD DD Salamence​
Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar​
An offensive team. The inclusion of Jirachi is interesting as opposed to Metagross, who fits the physical offense archetype better. Jirachi obviously matches up better against Pert and Skarmory, two massive threats to physical offense. Grounded Steel + Salamence form perfect defensive synergy. HP Grass Tar is there to lure the Swampert and open up a DD Mence or its own sweep.​
HP/Def LS Celebi​
HP/SpA Magneton​
The core of a very sturdy stall team. Claydol is probably present. The idea is that with Skarmory dead and no Spikes down, Celebi + Milotic are incredibly hard to kill. HP Bug DD Tar is a huge threat to this core, so Dugtrio might be present. Opposing Suicune is very difficult as well, since Celebi's Leech Seed is its best defense against that threat, and once it runs out, you basically must fish for HP Grass crits (Magneton doesn't have great longevity and Rest Suicune often comes paired with a Dugtrio anyway). Finally, CM pass is also strong against this kind of team, which often finds it hard to gain the offensive momentum apart from Dugtrio to break through the BP Celebi/Zapdos combination.​
HP/SpD Donphan​
HP/SpA Magneton​
The backbone of a very hard stall team. Magneton + Donphan keeps Spikes off your side with the help of Pursuit support. Donphan is preferred alongside Milotic as it mitigates HP Bug DD Tar weakness.​
HP/Def LS Celebi​
HP/SpD Donphan​
HP/SpA Magneton​
Part of the same Donphan Magneton team from before. Sturdy stall team. Pursuit Tar is needed.​
HP/Def LS Celebi​
HP/SpD Donphan​
Same as above team.​
HP/SpD HP Grass Recover Celebi​
HP/SpA Magneton​
Claydol is probably present, giving Milotic two Rock resist partners, even if they are shaky Rock resists. Milotic is vulnerable to Rock Slide Mons, but Magneton can switch in on Aero once. Dugtrio is helpful to fend off DD Tar, who can't afford to DD twice against Milotic.​
Atk/Spe BB Heracross​
HP/SpA Magneton​
Heracross + Milotic on paper doesn't make much sense (in particular, the combination of offense with defense). However, Heracross is usually something that gets a kill but loses momentum very quickly, due to its low speed and common weaknesses. It would appreciate a partner that can soak up these momentum losses. This is likely a balanced team that aims to get as much value as possible out of the Heracross. Hera + Milo + Celebi + Magneton + Claydol + filler. One of the Claydol and filler is probably Porygon2.​
HP/Def Blissey​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
An interesting take on what seems to be Blissey stall team, a less common variant of the Milotic/Claydol/Blissey core. Magneton might be present, or a Skarmory of your own. This is not a core that is very commonly seen, but upon inspection, one will notice it has the niche of wishpassing to a particular offensive target. It is likely that the role of wishpassing is delegated from Blissey to Vaporeon so that Blissey can run Aromatherapy. This core sustains the target by removing status and healing, and likely indicates a Choice Bander.​
HP/SpD SD Recover Celebi​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
The SD pass archetype usually suffers against Suicune, which threatens all pass targets Salamence, Aerodactyl and Metagross. Snorlax provides some special buffer against Suicune, and helps Celebi deal with Zapdos, especially since Celebi usually only has Leech Seed for Zapdos, which can otherwise easily come in and Roar.​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
HP/Atk FP RS Tyranitar​
Vaporeon doesn't lend itself to very obvious partners, and this is no exception. The reason it doesn't make for obvious partners is because it can range from Wish Passer to offensive set, with a host of support moves at its disposal. The guess here is that Vaporeon attracts Electric Mons, Celebi, Blissey, and Snorlax. It can Wish pass to bulky Leftovers Tyranitar to ease its entry against all of them. Claydol pivots on strong Thunderbolts and keeps Spikes off the field, which otherwise hinder Vaporeon's ability to wall physical Mons.​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton​
Atk/Spe DD Salamence​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
The core of classic physical offense. Mag + DD Mon + Snorlax + Metagross + Heracross + Water type is the classic physical offense archetype. This core went with HP Grass on Magneton as you figure that you can beat down on Forretress consistently throughout the team, but you want to permanently cripple Swampert at any opportunity.​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
Vaporeon switches in on the Water types that really threaten Moltres and Claydol (mainly Suicune but also Milotic). However, Vaporeon is crippled by Milotic's Toxic, so it's not as clear cut as it seems. There is likely a Blissey behind that provides Aromatherapy support especially given that Claydol does not have Refresh.​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Celebi​
Atk/Spe HP Flying Gyarados​
HP/Def Toxic Porygon2​
An unusual combination. The assumption is that there are additional grounded Mons on the team which require the Porygon2 pairing. Maybe a Jirachi (Toxic immune plus hits Skarmory hard), Magneton (questionable since the Celebi is offensive), and a Tyranitar.​
HP/SpD HP Grass Recover Celebi​
Atk/Spe BB Heracross​
HP/Def TW Porygon2​
The outline of a standard grounded offensive team, which aims to trade one of its grounded armada with Dugtrio. Tyranitar, Metagross, and probably Magneton are paired as well. This archetype struggles IMMENSELY versus Moltres.​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
HP/Spe HP Grass Metagross​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
Looks like the core to a Boom team. Alternatively, this could be a MagDol team with CurseLax, and HP Grass Metagross to lure the Swampert for your DD Tar in the back? The inclusion of Claydol is a bit unusual. Alternatively, this lineup could be Magneton / Claydol / Gyarados / Snorlax / Metagross / Pursuit Tar, or something similar.​
Atk/Spe RS Explosion Claydol​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton​
HP/Spe HP Grass Metagross​
This is probably the same Meta Claydol team from above. Magneton is, as expected, present. Explosion is the preferred fourth move on Claydol when Magneton is paired, because you no longer need Refresh to take on Skarmory 1v1.​
SpD/Spe Cloyster​
HP/Spe RS Metagross​
Hyper offensive team here. Electric switch ins are sorely needed, and there is probably an Aerodactyl too. But the team aims to lead Sleep with Jynx and cause as much damage as possible. Cloyster switches in on the Swampert and Spikes then Explodes. Aero picks up the pieces.​
SpD/Spe Cloyster​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
SpA/Spe HP Ice Jolteon​
Special offense with Spikes. Jolteon is a perfect partner for Gengar and Cloyster, as it switches in on opposing Zapdos (watch out for status) and opposing Gengar. Fast special attackers + Spikes are threatening to every team as long as you have answers for Blissey. Gengar Boom is almost guaranteed here.​
HP/Def Refresh RS Claydol​
HP/Def FP Wish Jirachi​
HP/Def Rest Suicune​
Current fad of Refresh Claydol + fat Mons is clear here. Wish Jirachi sponges all opposing special attackers bar Moltres and some Gengar. Claydol switches in on Skarmory forever, barring faster Taunt versions. Finally, Rest Suicune is a fearsome endgame mon, that when coming in at full HP either from spikes removed or Wish support, can get a few Calm Mind boosts up to an unbreakable point.​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Jirachi​
Atk/SpD DD Salamence​
SpA/Spe FP HP Swampert​
Backbone of an offensive team, but Metagross is usually chosen here instead of Jirachi. The second Rock resist is needed since Swampert is an offensive version and no longer reliably checks DD Tar and Aerodactyl. Intimidate + two Rock resists is enough on paper, but potential for being outplayed exists, since these are not sturdy Rock checks.​
Anti-Synergistic Pair Analysis

Anti-Synergistic Pair Analysis written by vapicuno

In this section, I identify the most popular pairs of mons that just simply don't appear together in any of the teams in the current builder. This actually yields a different kind of insight because it makes a comparative analysis. When talking about how good a core is without comparing it to others, it is common to fall into generic praise such as Magneton and Pursuit Tyranitar support works with a lot of things. However, when confronted with two otherwise popular mons that simply don't appear together, we get to explore difficult questions like given the archetype the mons reside on,

1. Are their goals (archetype) different?
1. Is there a mismatch of pace?
2. Is something a better partner?
3. Do these two mons fulfill similar role?
4. Is this pair synergistic in isolation but finds it difficult to fit into the wider context of the team?

First MemberSecond Member___Sprites___Analysis
HP/SpA Psychic Metagross​
HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar​
Mixed Metagross appears on more Mixed than Physical slants of Spikeless Offense, and where it appears on Spikes Offense, Jolteon also tends to coexist on the team. These teams tend not to require Gengar protection, as Gengar threatens Magneton / Spikeless Physical Offense a lot more. Yet on those teams, Agility / Band Metagross is the more common option to clean or remove Skarmory.​
Band Dugtrio​
Band Metagross​
Dugtrio on offensive teams is usually used to remove Metagross/Tyranitar/Celebi/Jirachi for special offenses, while physical offenses have the power to muscle through these threats​
Band Dugtrio​
Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar​
Band Dugtrio​
Atk/Spe HP Bug DD Tyranitar​
Band Dugtrio​
SpA/Spe BB Tyranitar​
Band Dugtrio​
Band Salamence​
Band Dugtrio​
Atk/Spe DD Salamence​
The same comments on Band Metagross and DD Tyranitar appear here, but note that Dugtrio as a Metagross/Jirachi remover enables DD Brick Break Salamence to shine against Bulky Tyranitar, Blissey, and Snorlax.​
HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
Mismatch of pace. For example, to lay three Spikes, Skarmory expects electrics to be able to switch in thrice, and needs something like Blissey or Celebi for that. Snorlax easily gets 4hkoed under Sandstorm and 3hkoed with Sandstorm + Spikes.​
HP/SpD Roar Skarmory​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory​
Atk/SpD FP SD Snorlax​
HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton​
Defensive Gengar as a spinblocker expects Spikes on the team, so with Skarmory + Gengar + Magneton, that makes three mons on the team with no real offensive or defensive presence. In fact, Gengar and Magneton are somewhat redundant, because they both play the role of keeping up more Spikes against the opponent. Gengar is a generic spinblocker, while Magneton aims to remove not just opposing Skarmory but also opposing Magneton from trapping one’s own Skarmory. Claydol > Magneton for Spikes control has some use though, as it is an electric check for Skarmory and can use a powerful Explosion to take out threats, especially last mons.​
HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory​
Atk/Spe HP Grass DD Tyranitar​
HP Grass DDtar is walled by Claydol and Flygon, so Drill Peck on Skarmory (which cannot be used with Whirlwind) helps with that coverage.​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Thunderbolt Zapdos​
Magneton in the first place is usually seen with physical threats, but occasionally Magneton and Zapdos are used together, especially when Metagross, Celebi, or Gyarados are used as glues. In these cases though​
Def/SpA TW SB Blissey​
HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar​
I believe these teams were built in a defensive era when Forretress teams with Blissey and Pursuit Tar were popular but the metagame was so defensive that Toxic had more utility than Thunder Wave. TWave has more utility in an offensive metagame because it puts all the speed-invested mons to waste while Toxic needs many turns to accumulate damage.​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Jolteon​
HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar​
Jolteon and Pursuit Tar have both a mismatch of pace and overlapping roles. Pursuit Tar fits better on balance teams due to its ability to merge offenses and solid defenses (see archetypes for explanation), but Jolteon is almost exclusively used on Spikes offense archetypes. Furthermore, Jolteon is one of the best Gengar pivots in the game, making Pursuit Tar support mostly unnecessary.​
HP/SpA Magneton​
SpA/Spe FP Swampert​
Bulky HP Fire Magneton usually enables defensive Swampert to shine, by eliminating the need for a strong Hydro Pump in offensive Pert, allowing defensive investment and a moveslot for Protect, Toxic or Refresh.​
Band Metagross​
Pace mismatch. Milotic usually prefers Bulky Metagross as a partner to improve the team’s Rock coverage. Band Metagross prefers a faster-paced partner like offensive Swampert or Suicune.​
SpA/Spe HP Ice Thunderbolt Zapdos​
Pace mismatch. On a stall build, Rest Zapdos is preferred as a partner. On an offensive build, offensive Swampert or Suicune are preferred partners.​
HP/SpD Roar Skarmory​
SpA/Spe Substitute Swampert​
Pace mismatch. Skarmory expects to come with Blissey or Celebi to tank multiple special hits, which lure physical threats that are better dealt with using bulkier waters.​
HP/Def LS Celebi​
HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory​
Light Screen is a rather niche set, I wouldn’t read too much into this​
Atk/SpD DD Salamence​
HP/SpA Crunch Tyranitar​
While Defensive Gengar can survive +1 DD Mence to Ice Punch back, and Band Mence, which can intimidate and prevent a DD sweep, is weakened by Pursuit Tar, the pace mismatch makes synergy difficult. As a cleaner of Spikeless Offense, DD Mence generally prefers either a lure DD HP Grass Tar, or a softener Mixtar.​
HP/Def Rest Suicune​
SpA/Spe FP Swampert​
Two-water-type cores exist, but they are usually simultaneously offensive or defensive. On offensive teams, dual water cores allow DDers to be checked more reliably and allow fragile sets with less coverage like Endeavor + Roar Swampert and Modest Rest+Sleep Talk Suicune to be run. On defensive teams, defensive Swampert provides mid-game and Rock coverage so that Rest Bold Suicune can set up in the endgame.​
SpA/Spe Substitute Swampert​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
HP/SpA Psychic Metagross​
I doubt this is actually so much a case of a lack of synergy but rather that it’s not the easiest to fit both onto the team considering other options too. In its capacity as a special wall lure, Gengar pairs well with offensive Jirachi (the other Steel/Psychic), which Metagross has to compete with. If Metagross is used on a Spikeless special offense team, it is frequently the only physical presence on the team bar Dugtrio, and appreciates the physical investment. Mixed Metagross is more frequently used as a physical check softener (which does not benefit Gengar directly), or a Zapdos/Celebi lure (which does synergize!), or a CM pass target. CM pass teams usually do not have space for Gengar, as they prefer Zapdos as a cleaner due to Agility pass too. Thus, I see this core only fitting in Spikes Offense, where Tyranitar provides extra physical coverage so that Mixed Metagross can perform its softener role more effectively especially with Spikes.​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
HP/SpA Magneton​
Offensive Gengar is usually seen on Special Offense either with or without Spikes, where it acts either as a Blissey lure or a spinblocker-cleaner. Both these archetypes do not need Magneton​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton​
HP/Def SB Blissey​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
Blissey when paired with Gengar usually yells Spikes, and with the slow pace of Blissey teams, Gengar performs better in a defensive WoW role where it can more reliably chip and take down opposing Blissey through many repeats of Spikes + WoW + Taunt (or Explosion at the right time)​
Band Dugtrio​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton​
The focus of Magneton + Dugtrio trap teams is usually to set up a Curse Snorlax, which appreciates Spikes off the field to get as many Curses in before it rests as a last mon win condition. This requires Forretress removed; hence, HP Fire is the preferred move on Magneton.​
HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar​
This is a case of not having enough space on the team. While Milotic likes the support of Spikes and spinblocking, using Skarmory + Milotic instead of conventional Swampert requires separate rock coverage like Dugtrio, Claydol, Metagross, or Flygon. Thus, compared to Big 5 TSS, these teams sacrifice a slot and find it hard to fit Gengar in.​
HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory​
Having two Spikers is usually redundant.​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Magneton​
HP/SpD Whirlwind Skarmory​
When Skarmory + Magneton appear together, Magneton acts to win the Spikes war by trapping opposing Magneton and removing it with HP Fire. HP Grass is not as important, as Swampert is expected to be Spikes fodder for Skarmory and eventually worn down by Spikes.​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton​
The point of using Forretress over Skarmory is role compression as a Spinner and Spiker. Magneton for Spikes control is thus redundant with Forretress​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton​
SpA/Spe IB Suicune​
Archetype mismatch. HP Fire Magneton is used as Spikes control on balances while Offensive Suicune is used on offense and has no use for removing Skarmory or Forretress.​
Band Salamence​
SpA/Spe FP Swampert​
Band Mence usually needs to suffer the momentum lost from being Choice locked. A defensive Swampert, unlike the offensive variant, has the longevity to absorb these losses from having to switch out.​
HP/Def LS Celebi​
SpA/Spe FP Swampert​
Pace mismatch. Offensive Swampert cannot take enough hits for the length of the battle that Celebi intends to drag out.​
Atk/Spe Earthquake Metagross​
HP/SpD Roar Skarmory​
There is nothing wrong pairwise with using Spikes to aid an Agility Metagross sweep, but the only sure way to make Agiligross useful is to trap opposing Skarmory with Magneton. Unfortunately, Skarmory + Magneton + Metagross stacks a ridiculous fire weak. Alternatively, one could use Agiligross as a filler on Big 5 TSS, but the reduced Spikes control with the lack of Starmie/Moltres/Zapdos filler means Skarmory would likely have to compensate with fast Taunt.​
HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
Archetype mismatch. Defensive Gengar has the most utility being on TSS while Selfdestruct Lax fits mostly on Spikeless Offense​
Band Dugtrio​
HP/SpD BS Jirachi​
Although Jirachi in general appreciates Dugtrio removing Metagross and Tyranitar, there are other Jirachi sets that, according to the archetype, are preferred. Stall builds want a bulky cleaner and Calm Mind Wish Jirachi fits the bill for that. Offense builds prefer Calm Mind + Substitute or 3 attacks. Body Slam Jirachi fits mostly on Pursuit Tar builds that result in a TSS-like or balance structure. Using Dugtrio on these teams is hard because that results in three relatively passive mons, yet Physically Offensive and Defensive presence is missing, and so is a secondary special check for Calm Mind users, leaving no space for a cleaner.​
Band Dugtrio​
SpA/Spe HP Grass Jolteon​
Jolteon and Dugtrio in the same team makes it extremely physically frail. As Jolteon mostly gains its value from Spikes by forcing switches, placing a Spiker in the team leaves only three mons for Defensive coverage, which is a very tall order.​
HP/Atk Explosion RS Claydol​
SpA/Spe FP Swampert​
Archetype mismatch. Claydol fits on stall or balance and Offensive Pert fits on offense.​
Def/SpA Toxic SB Blissey​
Atk/SpD Earthquake SD Snorlax​
Double blob teams of this sort do exist in the other builder set that I have compiled, so while it does look weird and pace mismatched, it is usable.​
SpA/Spe HP Fire Magneton​
Band Tyranitar​
To understand this antisynergy, we make a comparison with Band Salamence + Magneton. Salamence’s staple move is HP Flying, which gets walled by Skarmory, which can Spike, but the Spikes don’t hurt Mence. In contrast, Tyranitar’s staple move is Rock Slide, which ploughs through Skarmory. Spikes however hurts Tyranitar badly due to the lack of Leftovers recovery, making Claydol the ideal Spikes control partner instead.​
HP/SpD Roar Skarmory​
SpA/Spe BB Tyranitar​
Slight pace mismatch. Mixed Tyranitar fits mostly on Offense, which prefers a fast Taunt Skarmory.​
HP/SpD Roar Skarmory​
Moltres over Starmie on Big 5 TSS greatly reduces its efficacy against Rapid Spin Starmie. Protect + Toxic Skarmory is pretty much the best way to maintain Spikes pressure against Starmie.​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
HP/Def Rest Suicune​
Apart from the pace mismatch, Rest Suicune gets greatly worn down by Sandstorm and Spikes, so clearing Spikes off the field with a spinner is frequently more important than Spinblocking.​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
Atk/Spe DD Salamence​
Gengar appears on Spikes builds and Special Offense, while Salamence tends to appear on Spikeless Offense. That they rarely appear together can be exploited in Pursuit + Ice Beam Tyranitar, which can be used to check DD Mence in the late game due to not being chipped by dealing with Gengar in the early game.​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
Band Salamence​
SpA/Spe Gengar​
Band Salamence​
HP/Spe Explosion WOW Gengar​
SpA/Spe FB Salamence​

I hope that a combination of a data-driven and experiential perspective of mons, their archetypes, and synergies has helped you to better understand team building in ADV OU from a holistic perspective, from generic archetypal gameplans, to what to use and what not to use as partners on a team, to figuring out your opponent's unrevealed mons. Do take a look at the raw data attached in the first post -- there's a lot of information in there and I'm sure to have missed out interesting bits.

Shoutouts again to
UD, Astamatitos, McMeghan, thelinearcurve, Golden Sun for your team contributions, without which this project would not have been possible
UD for writing a chunk of this text, lots of metagame discussions, proofreading my work, being patient with my many requests and being just a great friend!
xJoelituh for helping with testing of my code
Zokuru and Disaster Area for many initial discussions on the kind of statistics we'd like to see
Gacu for suggestions in the Spikeless Offense
Watchog Altina Sadlysius for proofreading my work and additionally other friends thelinearcurve Astamatitos Lycomedes Gacu Zokuru Hclat for making the ADV community a happy place that encourages me to return to the game time and again.

What Next?

I put in a ton of effort and time to write this analysis, from doing research on the appropriate statistical methods, writing 2000+ lines of code, trial and error, to discussions with UD and brushing up on aspects of the metagame I am less familiar with, so I definitely appreciate feedback -- metagame discussions, things you liked, things you didn't like, and more of a particular kind of analysis which can be quantitative, especially given all the data on hand, or experiential, given all the metagame understanding the contributors and myself have developed in the course of our time playing this game and discussions we've had. I am also willing to release the code for making this analysis, so PM me if you want that. Thanks for reading!
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is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
Instructive Replays and Written Narrations

This is an add-on that I hope will bridge the gap between teambuilding and play sequences. I have created a table of every single matchup possible under the archetype framework, and hope to eventually fill this table with a replay and narration spanning every archetype combination -- quite a tall order I must admit. As you can tell, I like written records, but ADV narrations are aplenty (check out CALLOUS' youtube here and BKC's youtube here, very educational!), some of which I plan to reference in the replays below.

The replays that I have selected are meant to be instructive, so based on your suggestions, I will try to find those between two good players (who are aware of the nuances of ADV OU) where either

  1. A clear gameplan results in a convincing win
  2. A bad matchup, through good aggressive playing, results in a win
  3. A bad matchup, through the use of a tech, results in a win.
I'm not looking necessarily for historically significant replays, because this is first an instructive article, not an ADV history textbook (even though that will be cool!)

I plan to add new replays every two weeks or so, and each update will be mentioned in the history section of the Table of Contents. It is a lot of work, so if you appreciate this work, let me know if you find good replays to feature, or are even willing to write narrations (if you have a decent grasp of the metagame; I'm ideally looking for people who can look at the game strategically and tactically, which means understanding lines of play and specific move choices. You don't need to be perfect, and I certainly am not, but those are the kind of things that I think make an analysis worth reading).

Magneton OffenseSkarmbliss TSSSpikeless OffensePorygon2Pursuit TyranitarSpikes OffenseDugtrio Stall (/Balance)Spinner/Mag Balance / Bulky Offense
Milo/Cel Stall/Balance
This game demonstrates some subtle but important mastery of pivoting in order to keep the momentum against ironically a momentum-based archetype. At T2, CB Hera strongly hints at Magneton, but UD likely decides to stay in and Spike as he has the speed advantage on three mons and does not have a trapper for Mag. T4-5 is a double sequence performed to scout for CB and minimize chip on Milotic, and BP on T6 returns the momentum to linear. T8 is another subtle but interesting turn. Naively, it just involves Milotic coming in as a WoW pivot to keep Pursuit Tar healthy. However, the presence of Flygon over Swampert on what seems to be a TSS team means it is has additional Metagross and protection such as running Fire/Grass on Gengar instead of Electric/Ice. Alternatively, it could have been Moltres at the back, but if so UD might have pivoted it in on Celebi on T6. All this evidence supports the Fire/Grass coverage, which Milotic completely walls. On T10, linear again refuses to let his walls be chipped, by using Mag instead of Cel as a check. T11 was suboptimal for UD as he likely expected Hidden Power or Thunder Wave, or expected linear to think he’d use Substitute/pivot to Gengar, though since Flygon was revealed, it was a pretty natural switch and Toxic should have been expected, given that it also complements Mag’s HP Fire coverage, which is more likely on this team than HP Grass. T13 is again another masterful switch. While UD’s aggression did not help on T12 as Mag simply HP’d into Flygon, this likely convinced UD that linear was going to sack Mag, furthermore given that it has already taken out Skarmory, and that with Spikes it is in range of another Jolteon hit. Clicking anything other than Fire Punch would be very unsafe. Tar came in very easily and nailed the kill. To give credit to UD, T15 was unfortunate, as a KO would have made Starmie very threatening in the face of Milotic and Celebi, even if it has HP Grass (very likely given no Dug control and no need for Psychic due to Pursuit Tar). It is winning for linear now. On T23, we see that saving the sack on T16 let Heracross come in for the endgame. It wasn’t easy for UD right from the start, with his Grass Jolteon coverage targeted more at Swampert than Milotic’s builds, and Flygon as the Spikes-immune Rock resist. Regardless, the takeaway from this game is that while going to walls is a straightforward play for balanced Milotic/Celebi teams, good pivoting is key to maintaining momentum and preserving HP on those walls. Every turn spent clicking Recover is momentum lost.
Magneton Offense
Skarmbliss TSS
Spikeless Offense
Pursuit Tyranitar
Spikes Offense
Golden Sun-Hclat
CALLOUS narration
This is a classic (albeit slightly haxy) showing of how Jolteon rides on the momentum of speed and Spikes to outdo the opponent. GS immediately gets the momentum on T2 with Taunt on the Skarmory mirror. By T6 it is clear that they are each facing TSS, and Hclat’s goal is to get Spikes in early and fast. Jolteon comes at T13, and the sequence till T18 is an absolutely crucial moment. Through a sequences of Roars, Starmie was revealed and took 16%, Swampert took 16%, and Blissey took 33%. All these will turn out to influence the game. At T19, there is no safe move for Blissey. If it was undamaged and the field lacked spikes, it could afford the risk of taking Rock Slide with Seismic Toss. At 66% though, Rock Slide would have left Blissey in the range where a physical threat behind could force it out, racking another round of Spikes and putting it into the kill range of any special attack. Even if Hclat correctly reads Rock Slide, the flinch rate makes Softboiled unreliable, and the net HP gain for Blissey would only be 10+%, leaving another round of reads. Going to Swampert risks Focus Punch and racks up Spikes damage. Swampert is however, a reasonable choice, as even if it is sacked, the remaining physical threat on GS’ team is likely Metagross, which Fire Punch Gengar and Starmie can deal with. Risking Blissey would have been a dangerous proposition especially since GS likely has another special sweeper at the back. GS correctly reads this line of thought to click Focus Punch. At T22, Spikes has put Swampert in range of Metagross’ Meteor Mash, eliminating the need to read a pivot to Gengar on Earthquake. At T23, Starmie appears, but is chipped down to HP Grass range due to Spikes, eliminating the need for GS to Explode. At T24, Hclat’s lack of Spikes momentum from the start enables Jolteon to survive at 8%, pivot on Gengar, and be sacked on T32 for Tyranitar to finish Blissey off. Again, Spikes turned the damage of Gengar’s Focus Punch + Tyranitar’s Rock Slide into a KO. Finally, at T37, Tyranitar is left at 34%, within Zapdos’ KO range to end the game. If Spikes had not been there, it would have been the reverse, for Tyranitar would have been left at 50% instead to survive and KO back with Rock Slide. Spikes has allowed 4 mons to be KOed, which otherwise might not have convincingly happened. Spikes has also reduced the options available to Hclat on a Tar vs Bliss matchup, reducing GS’ need for reads. Had Hclat gained the upper hand with Spikes by using a fast Taunt Skarmory, or by finding the opportunity to use Rapid Spin with Starmie, this might have turned out to be a very different game. Note the overarching sequence that turns out to be a common Spikes offense sequence: Spikes, chip and KO the physical wall with Tar, (barring the hax) eliminate the special wall with the second physical threat (Metagross), clean with special sweepers.
The opening sequence of this replay may seem odd to newcomers: how does a team not know how to deal with itself till T9? Unfortunately, due to ground pivots risking an unrevealed Hidden Power type or Toxic, the safest option for Spikes Offense mirrors is usually to rely on Tyranitar to absorb status, or perform a lead Thunder Wave mirror. UD quickly caught up after that though, and this replay absolutely demonstrates why fast offenses are so important with Spikes, and how Spikes is so potent. Undisputed has one grounded mon compared to UD’s four, and UD’s Gengar, which is both Spikes immune and fast, was pivotal to winning the game. Note that Spikes put Swampert easily in HP Grass range, Took out 3/8 of Metagross’ HP into easy range of Fire Punch, and half of Jolteon’s HP, while Gengar’s Ice coverage dealt with the remaining flying threat, Zapdos (which unfortunately was crit). UD also played to preserve Flygon till the end, where an endgame DDTar was very likely. Having done the calcs out of curiosity, it was likely though that the crit did not matter against Gengar’s Ice Punch or potential last mon Starmie/Suicune’s Ice Beam, though it could have changed the course of the game by surviving another Jolteon Thunderbolt. It was really hard for Undisputed there. To Undisputed’s credit, he clearly recognized the need for Flygon control on the team with additional measures in the form of Ice Beam DDTar, but he probably expected it to KO, which would actually have been a winning scenario. This serves an important lesson: Flygon as the sole DDTar check needs to survive Ice Beam. Even otherwise, it was a very difficult situation for him. Had UD’s last been Starmie/Suicune + Metagross though, Gengar’s Explosion would have likely resulted in a win for UD. All this is not to say that UD’s team did all the work. UD also played really aggressively, from doubling Skarmory in on T4, T7 (setbacks) and T12 (gain), to fearlessly switching Jolteon in with three Spikes down on T17 and T21 to the electrics (gains). Undisputed, in turn, only performed one aggressive pivot sequence from T10-12. Ultimately, the aggressive playing paid off, as we know from the opening sequence how frail UD’s team is to electrics.
Dugtrio Stall (/Balance)
Spinner/Mag Balance/Bulky Offense
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Edit: We could use a mention/and posibly analysis of Superman teams, maybe as a supbtype of TSS and some thoughts on the role of Wish/Tect Rachi over Bliss as a preffered special wall on majority of those. Idk if statistical analysis showed it but there are strong synergies and some obvious and less obvious perks to this archetype.
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is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
Replying to Gacu and Triangles : Those are definitely doable. Now that the main cores are fleshed out we can work on the more niche ones. I appreciate if you have contributions / comments / replays to share!

Other plans for expansion right now include
1. Analysis and examples of lead matchups (through replays)
2. Analysis and examples of archetype matchups

Something like this --
Suggest replays you think are noteworthy!!


Other suggestions for expansion, anyone?
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i will suggest replays, but i won't write any description of a replay bc i'm not an expert in it and u can ask those players to write.

as u mentioned, donphan should be paired with suit support such as suit tar. i would rather discuss it in suit tar archetype than include it in milo/cel stall. btw, maybe suit tar archetype should be renamed as suit support bc some mons such as houndoom have their niche.

milo/cel stall vs spikes offense spl ix week 7
skarmbliss tss vs spikes offense spl ix week 3

p2 vs spikeless offense spl ix week 3
p2 vs skarmbliss tss wcop 2019 round 1

spikes offense vs mag offense
spikes offense vs p2 spl x week 3
idk how to categorize this replay. maybe it's not suitable for the current meta wcop 2017 round 1

yama balance vs suit tar powc 2017 week5
skarmbliss tss vs mag offense wcop 2019 final
dug stall / balance vs spikeless offense Maybe this replay is not suitable for ur argument bc yama is paired with dug, and venu is used in spikeless offense wcop 2018 round 1
dug stall / balance vs bulky setup balance Yama is also paired with dug smh wcop 2018 round 1

it's true that venu can be paired with suit tar like this, but there are some venu teams on spikeless offense
suit tar vs spikeless offense spl x week 9
spikeless offense vs dug balance spl ix week 9
suit tar vs dug stall callous invitational 3 round 7
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is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
Thanks for your contributions wyc2333! Absolutely appreciate it.

I think niche mons are super interesting and I will include them for sure, but towards the bottom of the list. At the top of the list, I am looking for high-profile and well-played submissions that fulfill something like the following:

1. A bad matchup is won (or close to won) by good playing (against a good opponent of course)
2. A bad matchup is won (or close to won) by a tech
3. A good matchup is won convincingly by executing a good gameplan
4. Close games where both sides played very well, and by that I mean a keen awareness of the opponent's archetypes and being aware of the strategies needed to beat the other archetype.

Most importantly I feel that a good replay is one that you feel that you learnt an important lesson from.

Also, please make sure that these are public replays, or at least if they are private, have the permission from the players to be released!


is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
I have added the first expansion: three written narrated replays of three archetype matchups. I expect to be updating on something like a fortnight basis, where the updates will be captured in the "Update History" spoiler in the Table of Contents at the top.

Let me know what you think, if I made some narration mistakes (I'm not an active tour player, my knowledge is pretty outdated!) and do drop some replays you think should be featured on this thread according to the guidelines in the OP. Some of the most recent open-replay tournaments are the Smogon Premier League and Callous Invitational III (link approved by Earthworm).

If you want to help with written narrations and think you're in the least qualified to say some stuff both tactically and strategically (see OP), let me know and I'll be happy to work with you. (I think I'll be happy if you're just sufficiently devoted to the game and want to contribute; myself and people around can provide inputs)
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In the archetypes section, is there some significance in the sprites you included or excluded for each archetype, and order the sprites are arranged? And why are the statistics for each archetype sorted in some seemingly random order?
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is a Pre-Contributoris a Past WCoP Champion
Hi sumwun , thank you for your interest in my post! It's always nice to get constructive feedback. When we intuitively say some pokemon and set belong to a certain archetype, we use two metrics: either this pokemon is very commonly seen in the archetype (frequency), or although it is not commonly seen, it appears almost exclusively in this archetype (confidence). Using only frequency or confidence as a metric for ranking pokemon for their presence in an archetype doesn't make intuitive sense. Let me give you an example:

1. Frequent but not exclusive: Skarmory in Dugtrio stall. They definitely pair well in the archetype, with Dugtrio removing Magneton that otherwise traps Skarmory, and Spikes for long term damage, but Skarmory could easily have fit into Skarmory+Magneton or Skarmory+Gengar teams, which can belong either to the Pursuit Tyranitar or TSS archetypes. Skarmory thus does not define the Dugtrio stall archetype.

2. Exclusive but not frequent: Charizard almost exclusively appears on Spikeless offense, but it is used so infrequently that you would not think of it as defining the Spikeless offense archetype.

Thus, I used a mix of frequency and confidence to obtain the ranked list within the archetype, and I tuned the proportions in my code till the ranks obtained across all archetypes were sensible. This is the list you see in the spoilers. Then, I chose the top few pokemon in the list, and using my metagame understanding and the generated rankings as a guide, I ranked the sprites in accordance with how intuitively I thought the pokemon to define the archetype.

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