Battle Tree Discussion and Records

On an unrelated note I honestly have to question the name choices for some of the trainers in both English and Japanese. I was watching PikaCuber’s recent loss video to a Rising Star named Dolly and was pretty confused to see that this trainer was actually male. I would never have said he was male with that name. Turskain’s list above highlighted a few more silly ones I didn’t know about like Madame Donny and (female) Golfer Bruce. I swear those are men’s names, they definitely are where I live. The Japanese names aren’t as bad but there are some that I question like Ace Trainer プープー (Pupu or Poopoo, yes this is a thing). My favourite one though is a collector named デッドマン (Deadman) in Japanese. I can’t help but giggle whenever he shows up.
There's also Sightseers Alice and Christian, a male and female, respectively. I don't know more than a couple people named Christian, but I do know a lot of Alices, and all are girls.

At least they're actual names and not the kind of silly drivel we got from the GC games, like "Kleef" and "Furgy." Very few of those characters have actual names, and not every main character has a name that appears deliberate and not randomly conjured.
I'm just wondering, do you really need Sparkling aria, have you considered using HA Hyper voice or in general HA primarina (note that your Cacturne will be immune to its Perish Song)?
I did not know Liquid Voice Perish Song wouldn’t affect Cacturne which is something I can look into but, as paperquagsire said, I’d lose my STAB Z-Move. Cacturne rarely lasts long enough for Perish Song to KO him anyway so he doesn’t really need immunity to it and Sparkling Aria has the same BP and ability to hit through Subs as HV but can also benefit from Torrent. It does mean I need to use Protect to prevent my other 2 Pokémon bring hit but it’s a small price to pay for the Z-Nuke and free healing on Cacturne which has saved him on several occasions.
There's also Sightseers Alice and Christian, a male and female, respectively. I don't know more than a couple people named Christian, but I do know a lot of Alices, and all are girls.

At least they're actual names and not the kind of silly drivel we got from the GC games, like "Kleef" and "Furgy." Very few of those characters have actual names, and not every main character has a name that appears deliberate and not randomly conjured.
The GC games had the best names purely because most of them were so stupid. “Weeg” was my personal favourite. The developers must have had the time of their lives coming up with some of those names.
My best explanation for the weird names is what i call the "Vietnamese crystal move theory". You see, in the bootleg vietnamese Pokemon Crystal, somewhere in there they must have missed a name, throwing off the index numbers of names compared to moves, leading to weird stuff like Growl having Bite's name, which had Leer's name(Stare), which had Pin Missile's name (S-Pin), and so on. Later, the names were thrown off by two, which meant Surf had Water Gun's name, which had Flamethrower's name.

My guess is that something similar happened with trainer names for battle tree. Somewhere in there, they skipped an index number, throwing everything off by one.

This is mainly for Smuckem. After recording his requested replay, I figured since I had my phone out I might as well get a few more pieces of shit in there. So there's also Crabominable, Guzzlord, and a bit of Lurantis (the last clip is special for a... different reason, though...) Four battles, four of my precious turds.

That first battle is also the last time I was brave enough to use Stakataka as a setter without Ally Switch, if ever again, because of issues that'll become extremely clear. These are also perfect examples of what turskain has told me repeatedly, that using RNG to determine teams is just begging for disaster; though I haven't learned much, as I can't wait to do it again.
Long time lurker, figured I would finally make an account to post about this team I threw together a few days ago. Reporting a streak of 103 wins in Ultra Sun Doubles. I'm still pretty inexperienced, and this team is definitely not perfect and could be taken a lot farther with some fine tuning, but like I said this was thrown together pretty lazily. Anyway, here it is:

Kommo-O (Max Legroom, M) @Kommonium Z
Ability: Bulletproof
Modest Nature
4 HP / 252 SpAtk / 252 Spe
- Clanging Scales (Clangorous Soulblaze)
- Close Combat
- Flamethrower
- Protect
Very standard Kommo-O set, not much to say here that everyone doesn't already know. This guy steals souls. As much as I would like to replace Protect with another attack, I think it is too useful to get rid of. Modest because less Attack is pretty negligible after the boost. Bulletproof provides a lot of cool immunities, Overcoat is probably better in the long run but I was too lazy to try and get it.

Clefairy (Big Cleff, M) @ Eviolite
Ability: Friend Guard
Bold Nature
252 HP / 8 SpAtk / 136 Def / 112 SpD
- Moonblast
- Follow Me
- Helping Hand
- Protect
Cleff is here to allow Kommo-O to set up Clangorous Soulblaze, and it is really good at what it does. Friend Guard is awesome and definitely prevents a lot of KOs. Follow Me usually guarantees Kommo-O can set up, and it's usually able to take a few hits before going down. Moonblast is just to prevent it from being Taunt bait, it's not very useful but it can be useful for chip and it has enough EVs to OHKO Hydreigon/Kommo-o/whatever (unless they have a berry.) Helping Hand is a great support move and can guarantee a lot of OHKOs. Protect is standard. Its bulk is more physical than special, I'm not sure if it's the better choice but it has helped and it's not a huge difference. I've considered replacing Moonblast with something like Heal Pulse or Encore, but all in all it's an amazing support as it is.

Metagross (Spider?) @ Metagrossite
Jolly Nature
Ability: Clear Body ---> Tough Claws
252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 SpDef
-Iron Head
-Thunder Punch
-Ice Punch
-Zen Headbutt
Fairly standard Megagross set, besides the lack of Protect, but I figured I'd see how far he could go with these 4 moves. In the future I would definitely get rid of TP or ZH for Protect, possibly both as Stomping Tantrum is always an option. He covers the major weaknesses of the front line pretty well. I think he does a great job and can definitely be taken higher, but if anyone has a suggestion for a replacement I will definitely try to check it out.

Araquanid (Bugman, F) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Water Bubble
Brave Nature
252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
IVs: 0 Speed
-Leech Life
The final member of the team, I didn't think too hard about this one and was just looking for something powerful that provided some more coverage. Works as a Trick Room answer and also provides some nice special bulk with the Assault Vest (I initially went in with Waterium Z and was quite confused when it wouldn't work, lol.) Liquidation and Leech Life are standard, Lunge was added for the Attack drop to cover his physical defense, Crunch is there for coverage and because I couldn't think of anything better. Again, feedback is welcome because I honestly don't know if he's the best fit for a fourth slot, although he does a pretty good job.
And here's some replays:
Battle #66 Vs Youth Athlete Hilario
Immediate misplay at the beginning by letting Kommo-O get KO'd by Dazzling Gleam, as well as some Rock Slide flinches leading to what I thought was the end. Araquanid comes in with the clutchest of victories at the very end, living with 2(!) HP and displaying it's special bulk.

Battle #86 vs Ace Trainer Munin
Shows off how good Helping Hand is, clean two turn sweep.

Losing Battle:
Battle #103 vs Ace Trainer Horace

Should have used Follow Me instead of Protect to allow Araquanid to come in untouched, instead he gets paralyzed which really messed me up. Clefairy is quickly KO'd, Metagross can't OHKO anything and gets paralyzed too. From then on it's over. Definitely could have won this but a lot of hax and misplays meant this was the end.
Anyway, this team can definitely be taken farther but I'm gonna let it sit for a little while. Feedback is appreciated, and for now I'll be working on putting another team on the board.
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Resident Facility Bot Wannabe
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
I know me and Brucolac have talked about how to utilize Anger Point once or twice before (both here and in other facility threads). Well, someone posted an RMT yesterday of a team dedicated to that, and I figured I should share it here, see what, if anything, the two of us can incorporate from it. It's for OU, but given that the Tree AI is sometimes dumb as a rock, it may be easier to make the Point (heh) in a less competitive environment:

OU Doubles Anger Point Team, by jorgeob93

The strat hasn't worked yet, but maybe with this particular setup we may have something...
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For some reason, Pokemon Moon won't allow me to upload the Battle Video, probably due to a server issue.

Anyone who's read my Pokemon solo playthroughs may get a cheap laugh out of this incident. I decided to enter Firestorm the Butterfree in the Battle Tree Singles to see how far he could go, along with two pointless filler Pokemon. It ended in one round after Montañero Julio's Armaldo woke up from Sleep Powder thanks to a berry and used Rock Blast to get around my Focus Sash.

It's a suitably depressing ending to a solo challenge with a PU Pokemon!
Eheh unfortunately it would not be possible to do anything in battle tree SM with it.

However, it'd have been pretty fun if you played on USUM, since normal tree doesn't delevel pokemon so your Butterfree if it was level 100 could have maybe made it through normal mode :D
What’s funnier is that this is how most casual tree runs begin: “Butterfree coasted through the main game with only moderate difficulty, so why not keep it up? There’s no sleep clause, so I’ll just cheese it!”

And then Chesto Armaldos, Minior, Komala, lots and lots of faster threats... It’s just not fair!
What’s funnier is that this is how most casual tree runs begin: “Butterfree coasted through the main game with only moderate difficulty, so why not keep it up? There’s no sleep clause, so I’ll just cheese it!”

And then Chesto Armaldos, Minior, Komala, lots and lots of faster threats... It’s just not fair!
Sleep is overrated even in the story mode, honestly. You could make a drinking game out of how many times Firestorm the Butterfree died when the opponent woke up too early. I'd never recommend Butterfree for a casual playthrough.


Resident Facility Bot Wannabe
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
This post just made my night. Very happy you like my team and are giving it a whirl :) Makes me want to give it another shot too. And beating my old record gives me renewed hope that this team could possibly hit the big 200. I feel so proud.
No need to hope anymore:

While it hasn't made a massive difference, putting Encore on MegaPunny has helped speed up some battles, and certainly made the key in others, where it has allowed Koko time to switch out into a more favorable matchup, Mimikyu time to set up sufficiently, or Salazzle time to Toxic a bulky opponent on those rare occasions where it has switched out after burning its Sash.

Heatran & Rhyperior have been far less of a presence this time around, which I'm grateful for, but it has been balanced by Landorus, Entei, Snorlax, and Regigigas showing up a lot more. Each presents their own problems in terms of when I should double-target them, and if it is safe to switch Koko out to preserve when each of them is around. None can be allowed to live for long, though Snorlax has been able to do just that a few times over. Of all things, Flareon has also been an (albeit minor) nuisance.

NoCheese Hey boss, there is no need to post my 138-win streak on the leaderboard, this run has surpassed and will replace it when the time comes for me to eventually lose.

I'm just grateful that I got to crack 200 wins for only the second time in battle facilities Doubles ever. This is also my second-highest ever legal Doubles streak, and the farthest I've ever gotten in Doubles with a team of my own making (although since the concept was originally Shura's, it can be disputed that this is true). For now, I'll be taking a short break from facilities as a whole and building up my Imperfect Army some more, with some wacky ideas in mind...

EDIT: I owe silver_angel a huge thanks, as once again, her site has proven to be an incredible resource to continue this run. I had it open in some capacity from Battle 130 onward, and thanks to it I was ready for anything the Tree could throw at me. You are a boon to this community!
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Sleep is overrated even in the story mode, honestly. You could make a drinking game out of how many times Firestorm the Butterfree died when the opponent woke up too early. I'd never recommend Butterfree for a casual playthrough.
I have no real input on the overall "rating" of sleep or if anyone puts too much emphasis on it, but the usefulness of a faster sleep really can't be understated. And when that status move has perfect accuracy, such as a Spore user in TR, it'll be effective more often than not, if not devastating. Free turns are free turns.

The problem with Butterfree is that it's Butterfree, and capitalizing on putting any remotely bulky/powerful foe to sleep is easier said than done. ...the same goes for the mushrooms, for that matter, but doubles helps make up for a lot of that (and triples even moreso.)
Butterfree gets QD and Sub. That should be enough to stick it on a crippling "core" of choice for Singles and get it to 100. I think the best set is @ Lefties SPowder/QD/Sub/Bug Buzz, which could be more self-sufficient than Volcarona in that +1/+2 Butterfree (depending on the speed you run), whatever price you've bought it for in that battle, still gets chances to proceed to +6 on Sub + sleep by itself. The real problem is 90 base SAtk leaving most resists alive at +6, but that's mitigated by Butterfree getting the 2HKO behind a sub, followed by getting to "Spore" whatever comes in next (obviously needs a plan against all mons that can potentially have Lum, Magic Bounce, Komala, etc) and hopefully not drawing unusual chains of 2t sleep before you're at 100. Bug STAB, however annoying its resistances are, at least never hits for zero damage (Air Slash would be nice but 95% acc kills its viability here).

Reminder that Magnemite is on the Singles Leaderboard at 107. I'm convinced you can make almost any mon work for ~100 with non-ridiculous numbers of retries, if you're so inclined.
Compound Eyes would give Air Slash perfect accuracy though.
Delivery for Smuckem. Having nearly maxed out my replay allotment, I asked Smucks if there were any teams that still piqued his curiosity before I deleted them to make space; from those which he'd chosen, (all but one, incidentally) I tried to find a few common denominators for grouping them together to cut down on time and space.


Idiocy mostly refers to the AI throwing battles at critical moments with questionable decisions, or just playing like shit altogether; while most of the battles in Stress were not quite as close, they involved a lot of unfortunate circumstances (the first battle much worse than the others.) Gravity shows a normal exploitation of the move and then the... rewards that come from not giving a fuck about accuracy (but admittedly rarely lol)

Smucks didn't ask to see the fossil team in action, but that battle was too goddamn priceless, so I included it.


Resident Facility Bot Wannabe
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
Reporting a streak of 209 wins in Sun Super Doubles. The team that made Shura's dream of 200 wins come true has completed its journey through the Tree, pretty shortly after hitting the goal line.

Buncha Favorites, Dood

Kongou (Salazzle) (F) (Lvl.53) @ Focus Sash
Nature: Timid
Ability: Corrosion
IVs: 31/18-19/31/31/16-17/31
EVs: 6/0/0/252/0/252
- Toxic
- Sludge Bomb
- Flamethrower
- Fake Out

"VoltaicFlute" (Tapu Koko) (Lvl.100) @ Choice Specs
Nature: Timid
Ability: Electric Surge
IVs: 31/19/HT/31/31/HT
EVs: 0/6/0/252/0/252
- Grass Knot
- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam
- Volt Switch

谜拟Q (Mimikyu) (M) (Lvl.50) @ Fairium Z
Nature: Jolly
Ability: Disguise
IVs: 31/31/31/22-23/31/31
EVs: 6/252/0/0/0/252
- Shadow Sneak
- Play Rough (Twinkle Tackle)
- Shadow Claw
- Hone Claws

"JessBlack" (Lopunny) (F) (Lvl.50) @ Lopunnite
Nature: Jolly
Ability: Limber > Scrappy
IVs: 31/31/31/31/31/31
EVs: 6/252/0/0/0/252
- Return
- Low Kick
- Encore
- Fake Out
No need to hope anymore:
View attachment 110931View attachment 110932

While it hasn't made a massive difference, putting Encore on MegaPunny has helped speed up some battles, and certainly made the key in others, where it has allowed Koko time to switch out into a more favorable matchup, Mimikyu time to set up sufficiently, or Salazzle time to Toxic a bulky opponent on those rare occasions where it has switched out after burning its Sash.

Heatran & Rhyperior have been far less of a presence this time around, which I'm grateful for, but it has been balanced by Landorus, Entei, Snorlax, and Regigigas showing up a lot more. Each presents their own problems in terms of when I should double-target them, and if it is safe to switch Koko out to preserve when each of them is around. None can be allowed to live for long, though Snorlax has been able to do just that a few times over. Of all things, Flareon has also been an (albeit minor) nuisance.

NoCheese Hey boss, there is no need to post my 138-win streak on the leaderboard, this run has surpassed and will replace it when the time comes for me to eventually lose.

I'm just grateful that I got to crack 200 wins for only the second time in battle facilities Doubles ever. This is also my second-highest ever legal Doubles streak, and the farthest I've ever gotten in Doubles with a team of my own making (although since the concept was originally Shura's, it can be disputed that this is true). For now, I'll be taking a short break from facilities as a whole and building up my Imperfect Army some more, with some wacky ideas in mind...

EDIT: I owe silver_angel a huge thanks, as once again, her site has proven to be an incredible resource to continue this run. I had it open in some capacity from Battle 130 onward, and thanks to it I was ready for anything the Tree could throw at me. You are a boon to this community!
Some Battle Videos to commemorate the occasion:
- Battle 20, vs. Kiawe (Kangaskhan4/Salazzle3/A-Marowak2/Arcanine) -- 2P9G-WWWW-WWWL-HEPK
A much tougher Kiawe matchup than the previous one I shared, due to Marowak's presence and double Fake Out leads. Still, having priority on your end, and getting Koko ready to Volt Switch out if Marowak's a possible backup, is always helpful
- Battle 75, vs. Victor (Kommo-O/Goodra/Garchomp3/Hydreigon3) -- RZJW-WWWW-WWWL-HEPN
Victor decides to be a prick twice over by loading up on pseudo-Legendary Dragons and packing Garchomp3 in the back. Koko starts things off by spamming Dazzling Gleam, then the rest of the gang has to pick up the slack when ScarfChomp starts causing chaos. A lucky burn saves me here, just about. Always value when the RNG goes your way!
- Battle 93, vs. Etta (Scrafty3/Rotom-Fan3/Staraptor/Manectric3) -- 8WRG-WWWW-WWWL-HEPP
Not a particularly remarkable battle: saved so that I may study Scrafty3's behavior in the future, shared to demonstrate how little of a fuck this team gives about the Intimidate specialists, even with two physical attackers
- Battle 121, vs. Chen (Regigigas3/Slaking4/Rampardos3/Archeops) -- HXXW-WWWW-WWWL-HEPQ
From the earliest days of this thread, it has been a desire of mine to capture all members of The Debilitated (Regigigas/Truants/Archeops/Wishiwashi/Minior/Klutzes) in a single battle. Male Sightseers present me with the closest I can get to achieving that, and now, I FINALLY have Regigigas/Slaking/Archeops all together in a sample battle! More a trophy replay than anything, it also demonstrates that even Scarfed Rampardos is too slow to keep up with this team. Finally, another hallmark lucky burn
- Battle 160, vs. Anabel (Alakazam4/Latios/Lucario4/Raikou) -- PU8G-WWWW-WWWL-HEPR
My latest encounter with Anabel, shared mainly because it's Anabel
- Battle 170, vs. Sina (Glaceon/Drampa/Lilligant/Mandibuzz4) -- GSNG-WWWW-WWWL-HEPU
My last successful battle against Sina this streak, she continues to be a frustrating matchup that forces me to make a lot of awkward plays to survive. Also a neat little demonstration of how changing over to Encore on MegaPunny helps streamline some opposing sets
- Battle 200, vs. Colress (Magnezone4/Klinklang/A-Muk2/Porygon-Z3) -- 4QAW-WWWW-WWWL-HEQ2
The Magic Number, the battle that solidifies this team's place in leaderboard history. Also an annoying reminder that Porygon-Z3 is mildly bulky, and it actually helps it
- Batlle 202, vs. Boris (Tyranitar3/Gogoat4/Swampert3/Typhlosion3) -- KPFG-WWWW-WWWL-HEQ4
A lot of varied, threatening sets packed into one opponent, this battle became a test of my willingness and foresight to sac different things at the appropriate times, in order to clear the path for teammates. This seems exactly like the kind of team I would cobble together for a battle facilities fun run.
- Battle 210, vs. Sina (Glaceon3/Lilligant3/Drampa3/Abomasnow4) -- S66W-WWWW-WWWL-HEQ5
This was simply having to make too many choices as to how to deal with too many immediate threats, and the team not having enough firepower to properly dispose of so many threats at once. Do I stop the Glaceon from potentially setting hail or going for Blizzard? Do I stop the Lilligant from setting up (which it did) or erasing Koko with Bloom Doom? How much time do I have before Drampa's Quick Claw or Glare comes into play? A classic case of how Sina's team and the Set34 variance combine to make what can seem like an impossible maze. In retrospect, I should have gone Dazzling Gleam with Koko and trusted Salazzle to finish things off with its STAB

So yeah, Encore is really good shit, try it out more often.

But hey, the goal line for this team was reached, so it's all good. I have been building my Imperfect Army much more than usual in the last few weeks...perhaps it's time to put some of these newer creations to use...

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Knows the great enthusiasms
is a Site Content Manageris a Top Artistis a Programmeris a Forum Moderatoris a Top CAP Contributoris a Battle Simulator Admin Alumnusis a Live Chat Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis an Administrator Alumnus
Posting a completed streak of 613 wins in Sun & Moon Super Singles with a team of Durant, Cloyster, and Drapion.

"Your expression is like, 'I'm not interested in what this old person has to say..."
- Madame Gracie

This will be a very long post, so be forewarned. But hopefully, it will be an interesting read for some of you Battle Tree diehards. In the many paragraphs that follow, I will reintroduce myself to the Battle Facilities community, reminisce on a bunch of history of Battle Facility battling here in Smogon, give shoutouts to some cool Smogon battle facility fanatics past and present, and last but not least -- I'll give a super-detailed writeup and guide to this team and streak.

Despite the large number of wins I achieved, I don't actually think the team I used is very reliable for getting on the leaderboard. I do think it is a fantastic team for racking up BP and learning the foundations of how to play the Battle Tree at a high level. So, my writeup on this team will be geared towards players that may be struggling to find success in Tree singles, and are looking for a detailed how-to guide to use a powerful but relatively simple team to pile up a lot of wins. But, much, much more on that later.

"Sorry to keep you waiting. It's time for the Hiker to enter, who is an idol to some."
- Hiker Vivek

My name is DougJustDoug, and although I may not be the idol that Hiker Vivek is, I have been around Smogon for quite a while. I am a Smogon Administrator, and have been for several years. I have been actively involved in many, many things in Smogon at one point or another in the past, but these days I spend most of my time in my role as the Head of the Create-A-Pokemon project. But my somewhat secret passion and vice is playing the Battle Facilities, and lurking the Battle Facility threads and IRC/Discord chats over the years.

I have been a Battle Facility fanatic since I first made my Smogon account back in 2007. The original Battle Tower thread is what pulled me into active involvement in Smogon, where previously I was just lurking the Smogon website reading analyses and such.

"I just came here nonchalantly, without anyone expecting anything of me."
- Rising Star Dolly

After reading some of the posts in Peterko's first Battle Tower thread, I was intrigued by Jumpman16's top leaderboard team of Starmie, Tyranitar, and Garchomp. I had just bred a very good DD Tyranitar (which was NOT easy to breed back in DP, because of the egg move chain required) and I also had a good Starmie in my box, so I figured I was pretty close to having that awesome team already. Jumpman, as always, had really detailed writeups for the team with lots of helpful usage tips and confident braggadocio in his posts. So, I decided to breed a Garchomp and make a run with his team, figuring it would be pretty easy to get a long streak with it.

As you can probably guess, it wasn't nearly as easy as I thought. I lost early and often, and was frustrated as hell. But I was hooked! Because with every loss, I would look back on the losing battle and realized I COULD have won, if I just would have played better. Not that I could have gotten more LUCK. If I just would have utilized all the information available and known more about my own team, moves, and damage calcs -- I would have likely won the battle with little to no risk. And good Battle Tower players like Jumpman and Peterko would help newer players learn from their mistakes, which was also appealing to me. They were masters, yet willing to help others. I wanted to be that guy, that kind of master, too.

"Even I, an ordinary Collector, was able to join the aces!"
- Ace Trainer Levi

So I kept pounding away with my trusty SPIT Starmie, DDTar, and ScarfChomp, learning more and more about the Battle Tower trainers, pokemon, and AI. But most importantly, I learned how to execute my team's strategy best. Which really is the big lesson any player needs to learn, if you want to get good at the Battle Facilities -- there is no "one size fits all" strategy to winning or getting a long streak. Put together a good well-bred team with well-made movesets, and then learn to execute that team's specific strategy to best effect.

As I learned more about that team (which was Jumpman's team, with one changed move on Scarfchomp, iirc) I started racking up lots of wins. Eventually, I got a streak of 165 wins, which was #3 on the leaderboard at the time, and was even longer than Jumpman's best run with the team at the time. Jump went on to get more than 200 wins with that team, but he complimented me for my streak and for some of my posts that helped others with the team and the Battle Tower in general. That led me to make more and more posts in the BT thread, and more posts around Smogon in general. And that led to me getting badged, organizing and leading Create-A-Pokemon, programming for Smogon, and eventually becoming a Smogon Admin. So it really all started with the Battle Tower for me. Taking a team, advice, and encouragement from master players... and getting hooked.

“I’m a mad scientist! Modification is my hobby!”
-Scientist Cal

That Battle Tower thread was the last Facility thread where I posted meaningfully. But I didn't stop playing the Subway/Maison/Tree and I never stopped following the Subway/Maison/Tree threads and teams here in Smogon. I am a completely addicted Facility Singles team dabbler. I have pages and pages of notes and spreadsheets with potential singles teams and type synergies that I theorymonned could work well. I've spent literally THOUSANDS of hours over the years, breeding perfect pokemon expressly for Facility singles play. I have captured or bred and played almost every top Facility pokemon and team ever posted in any Facility thread, and countless other failed or gimmicky teams as well. I've been here all along, for years, just lurking in the background, and playing my ass off in the Battle Subway, Maisons, and Tree.

I've racked up several leaderboard-eligible streaks along the way in every generation. Every time, I have had the INTENTION to make a long post about it and "get back involved" in the Battle Facility community here in Smogon. But I've always had too many other things on my plate in Smogon or elsewhere, and I never get around to writing that big "Hi, I'm here now and I never really left" post.

"I have more fun doing practice swings than going to the course right now."
- Golfer Patrick

For me, the real love and challenge of the game is just to see what I can do personally. After I've seen how a team performs, or after I've achieved a long streak, I don't have much of a craving for public recognition. And, honestly, all of my biggest streaks were accomplished using teams or strategies created by others. I've dabbled tirelessly with original teams and strategies, and many of them have been great fun for me personally, and a few of them were good enough to get up to and past the 50-win boss battle each generation. But none of my original teams did well enough in terms of sheer win count to be truly notable for others in the Smogon Subway or Maison threads.

So every time I've gotten a really long streak with someone else's team, I've been faced with a choice: Make a short post, simply for recognition on the leaderboard, which means very little to me. Or make a long post to help others, which takes a lot of time that I don't have, and probably duplicates a lot of great material already posted by the original teammaker. That's a great recipe for procrastination, which is what has happened every time with me over the years.

Until now.

"Life itself is a journey. Guess I've gotta get going somewhere."
- Backpacker Gwenny

At the start of Sun & Moon, I swore to myself that this generation I would make a big reintroduction/explanatory post for the first team I used that achieved a leaderboard-eligible streak -- regardless of the originality of the team and regardless of the length of the streak. And, of course, the first leaderboard eligible streak I got was with an ORAS Maison Durant team (originally copied from @GGUnit) I brought into SuMo just to rack up some BP so I could more easily experiment with some new SuMo pokemon and new Tree singles teams! But I made a firm promise to myself and I'm sticking to it. So this is my long awaited (by me only, lol) return post, presenting a thoroughly unoriginal team of past gen Battle Facility staples.

"I've tried training in admiration of a hero I saw when I was a kid..."
- Veteran Dooley

I do kinda like that this team contains pokemon originally made "famous" by the two Smogoners that were, IMO, the most influential and impactful Battle Facility battlers and posters in Smogon history - Jumpman16 and Peterko.

"According to my data, in this match...I've got a 98 percent chance of victory."
- Scientist Robyn

Peterko was the organizer and scribe for the first few Battle Facility threads. As a researcher, he collected much of the early reference information that we now take for granted as being necessary for accomplishing a long streak. At the time Peterko did that, it was a fairly novel concept for a battler to use all the information possible to win consistently in the Battle Tower/Frontier. Peterko also established most of the formats and standards for these threads that we still use to this day.

In the BW Battle Subway, Peterko was the most famous user of Cloyster. His "Cloyster Wins At Life" teams achieved gargantuan streaks and his posts showed in great detail the incredible power and efficiency of Skill Link Cloyster at destroying opponents, blowing through aggravating streak-busting Focus Sash/Sturdy mons, using critical hit probability to get an extra edge, and laughing at contact move status abilities (Flame Body, Static, and friends) that plague most physical attackers in the Battle Facilities. My use of Cloyster is a nice tip of the cap to Peterko, and my writeup on the fearsome Shell Smashing beast will hopefully reintroduce newer battlers to a lot of information originally covered by Peterko many years ago.

“When you talk about the strongest, you’re talking about me! I’m second to none!”
-Youngster Brady

I've already mentioned Jumpman a lot in this post, and I'm sure to mention him a lot more before I'm done. But Jumpman is, IMO, the most influential Battle Facility battler in Smogon history. Heck, he's one of the most influential Smogoners in Smogon history, period. Ever heard the terms "Suspect" or "Suspect Testing"? That came mostly from Jumpman during his long tenure as a Smogon Administrator. I did all of the seminal programming to give method to Jumpman's tiering madness and his notion that we should, you know, see if something is actually broken in OU before we banned it to the obscurity of Ubers. Before that, the powers-that-be would just hazard a guess, really. But I digress...

In the Battle Facilities, Jumpman's track record is unmatched in terms of longevity, multiple mind-blowing large streaks with multiple teams in every generation, and his remarkable ability to achieve this not by following the herd, but by consistently coming up with new, innovative teams and strategies that raised the bar for everyone else.

Jumpman’s “inventions” in the Battle Facilities are countless. His early forays into typing synergy in the DP Battle Tower led the way in terms of designing what might now be called “goodstuff teams”. Jumpman’s use of Lopunny (and later Mesprit) in the Gen4 Battle Towers brought forward the now-famous TrickScarfing strategy that, IMO, was THE biggest seismic shift in competitive Battle Facility history. It introduced us all to the concept of actually BEATING THE GAME with a near-100% effective risk-management strategy that a team could use to abuse the AI in the unique competitive setup of the Battle Facilities. Jumpman’s famous Suicune, Holy Water, was a staple of multiple generations of Jump’s leaderboard teams, and has led countless other imitators to carry Icy Wind on their own Suicune’s without even knowing why. In that same vein, Jumpman’s use of Gliscor in the Battle Maison took Gliscor from virtually never-used status to become a Battle Maison staple. To this day, newcomers breed Careful specially defensive Gliscor for Battle Facility play, as if it was mere common sense to do so. When, in fact, it is NOT common sense, and was a peculiar invention of Jumpman’s as the final tweak that made his epic Kangliscune team arguably the best battle facility team of all time, and certainly the most famous.

I put the word “inventions” in quotes at the top of the previous paragraph, because you may quibble over whether Jumpman was actually the first person to ever use every one of his hallmark pokemon in Battle Facility play. But, IMO, if he didn’t outright use the mons first, he certainly used them the most visibly and was the battler who established them as the all-stars they are today. And even if he didn’t, I think he did, and I’m the one writing this tribute, so yeah.

In my team here, I tip my cap to Jumpman with my use of Drapion, which was the pokemon that did all the heavy lifting for him in his Platinum Battle Tower leaderboard-topping Team Drapula teams. Jumpman took Drapion, a little-known and never used pokemon with an obscure never-used boosting move Acupressure and made it a legend. What’s amazing to me is that Jumpman worked his magic with Drapion back when Acupressure couldn’t be used with a Substitute in place! I’m glad that mechanic is long since gone, and I’m glad I could succeed in my streak using Drapion, one of Jumpman’s all-time best pokemon.

Another tribute to Jumpman is this long post itself. Jumpman always wrote long posts everywhere in Smogon, but I like to think the novels he would post in Battle Facility threads were his very best. Jumpman is an eloquent writer who goes into excruciating detail on his teams and strategy, and he posts with attitude and style. His long posts in these threads were always a great read. Jumpman set the standard that most top battle facility posters follow to this day, in giving very detailed descriptions of teams and strategy — even if they lack Jump’s swagger and style. I got the idea to use Trainer quotes in this post from a fun post Jumpman made about his “Bullet Train” team (Latios, Suicune, Terrakion) in the Battle Subway years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it.

There have been many amazing battlers that have achieved mind-blowing streaks over the years, too many for me to mention here, and I have lots of respect for all of them. But Jumpman chose the perfect username for himself, as I consider him to be the Michael Jordan of the Smogon Battle Facility fanatics. Jumpman was a big presence in Smogon in many areas, and his obsession and proficiency in the Battle Facilities kinda legitimized our sub-community.

Jump hasn’t posted here in a long time, and this is the first gen that doesn’t have a Jumpman team on the leaderboard. But I like to think he’s still out there grinding away on his DS, piling up thousands of wins, getting ready to pull a Battle Tree Bobby Fischer and come out of hiding to reclaim the top spot on the singles leaderboard with some amazingly innovative team. Even if he doesn’t, I couldn’t post here myself without paying respect to Jumpman, the battler that drew me into this whole crazy fun Battle Facility obsession more than a decade ago.

The Team

“I still don’t have my own Pokémon. I borrowed my big brother’s Pokémon.”
-Preschooler Rocky

This team is NOT my team. It is almost a direct copy of a GG Unit team from the Battle Maison that he posted about here (
Back in the Maison, GGUnit posted in detail about using this team as great way to get a long streak, lots of BP and maybe a Starf Berry, without too many long boring battles. I breed and experiment with almost all good teams, and this one was no exception in the Maison. And, exactly like GGUnit said, it was a great team for decent streaks and relatively fast battles.

So when I started battling in the Sun & Moon Battle Tree, I remembered this team was great for racking up BP in ORAS, and I used it for the same purpose this generation. I had no intentions of getting a long streak with this team, since it has so many problems this generation. Many more problems than it had in the Maison where it was originally designed and played.

GGUnit did a really nice job of writing up this team back in the Maison thread. In fact, there are tons of great writeups on Durant teams in general. Both sweepers, Cloyster and Drapion, are standard builds with tons of other posts of reference material on them too. Since I am writing up this team and strategy from the ground up, so to speak, I will revisit a lot of material that has been presented elsewhere, although I will do so in my own words, from my own battling perspective.

“Ladies and gentlemen, step right up! I am rubbish!”
-Punk Guy Etta

As I said at the beginning of this long post, this is NOT a good team for getting a long leaderboard streak. It has many big, gaping holes and no reliable way to handle many opponents and situations that will occur every once in a while in the Battle Tree. When I first used this team, I lost once in the 20’s on a relatively mundane Protecting Fire lead. I was battling without even looking at the trainer lists at that point, and perhaps I could have won that one, if I was being more careful. I really don’t know. But I just want to be clear that I am not under any illusions about the reliability of this team. This is a nifty little team, with a relatively straightforward strategy, that is pretty good for BP grinding. But that’s it.

If you want a good Durant team for the Tree, take a look at GGUnit’s leaderboard topper of Durant, Mimikyu, and Glalie. That’s a helluva team wielded by a helluva battler. This team I used was incredibly lucky, and I’m not boasting about getting lucky. Quite the contrary — I’m apologizing for it. This streak should have ended a long, long time ago and I’ve tried to document in great detail the many, many lucky breaks I got along the way. If anything, to assuage my own sense of guilt for getting so many wins with a subpar team, and honestly, a lot of subpar play on my part.

With all that said though, I do think this team is a nice team for Battle Tree beginners looking to learn the basics of high-level Tree battle strategy, and how to use information to make better risk/reward decisions in Tree battles. Despite a lot of bad plays by me in certain situations, I do know this team pretty well, and I know a lot of the finer points on playing with it.

“If you’ve got a goal, it’s no time to worry about how you achieve it.”
-Punk Girl Zed

This team is mostly for BP grinding, and BP grinding is all about getting long strings of wins, to get the highest BP per win, but not spend a lot of time in each battle, if you can avoid it. This team is very good at balancing the tradeoff between safety (allowing long streaks) and speed (lots of battles in a short time).

The basic team strategy is the same as any Durant team. Truant Durant cripples the opponent by using Entrainment to change the opposing pokemon’s ability to Truant. Once the opponent is Truant, they will loaf every other turn, and the Tree AI will not switch out just because they are Truant. That gives you the opportunity to switch to another pokemon that sets up and sweeps the opponent. There are several different kinds of Durant teams, but all of them revolve around Durant making the opponent Truant and then sweeping with one or more other pokemon.

On this team, there are two potential setup sweepers, Cloyster and Drapion. Cloyster is a sweeper that sets up quickly (only 3 boosting turns), which makes battles go quickly. But even fully setup, Cloyster has many pokemon that can prevent it from sweeping and cause problems. Drapion is a sweeper that takes a long time to setup (typically 21 boosting turns), which makes for long, boring battles. But once Drapion is fully setup, it is almost guaranteed to sweep and win.

The art of using this team is figuring out the best ways to get the opponent Entrained, using the best sweeper for the situation, and if things go wrong, how to scramble and give yourself the best chance to pull out a win anyway.

“Stop in and have a look at these extraordinary Pokémon!”
-Pokemon Breeder Danby

Durant @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Truant
EVs: 220 HP / 62 Def / 228 Speed
Nature: Jolly
- Entrainment
- X-Scissor
- Iron Head
- Protect/Confide

Durant is the key that makes this entire team work. Durant Entrainment is one of the hall-of-fame strategies in the Battle Facilities, and all experienced Tree battlers are familiar with it. This little ant is the badass that makes all the magic happen.

You almost literally only need Entrainment in this set. In several hundred battles, I used Entrainment on the first turn almost literally 99% of the time. Every battle WILL START with you firing off Entrainment to start the battle. Entrainment won’t SUCCEED every battle on the first turn, but the opening move for this team is almost set in stone. After that opening move, Durant’s job is done most of the time. The rest of the moveset is for very rare, very specialized situations.

X-Scissor is mostly for the Magic Bouncers - Espeon and Mega Absol. Magic Bounce will make Entrainment fail, so Durant uses a super-effective X-Scissor to KO both of them off the bat. This allows you to sacrifice something (probably Cloyster) and bring back Durant to Entrain the next pokemon. See the Threats section for more on dealing with Magic Bounce. X-Scissor also hits Wishiwashi neutrally, which was important for me in this streak if you read my writeup about Battle #157. Don’t get me wrong, this team has no solid answer for Wishiwashi leads, and it’s probably a loss if Wishiwashi comes out first. But the one time I faced it, along with some amazing luck, X-Scissor on Durant was crucial to help get a win.

I took this set directly from GGUnit’s Maison team, originally with Confide. I played with Confide in Durant’s moveset at the start of the streak, although I never used it. I’m not sure exactly when I removed Confide, but it was when the streak started getting long enough that I thought I might have a shot to get a spot on the leaderboard, and I realized I had no good answer for new Gen 7 ability-locked pokemon like Mimikyu and Minior. GGUnit originally used Confide for big special attackers that somehow got past the Entrainment. By using Confide, you give your sweepers (probably Drapion) the best chance to setup. But I am more of a “hit first ask questions later” kind of battler, and I wanted an attack instead of Confide, so I went with Iron Head. Iron Head hits Mimikyu and Minior super-effectively, while they both resist X-Scissor. Iron Head also has a high flinch chance, which is a nice little extra for a pokemon like Scarf Durant that outspeeds everything in the Tree. You’ll see this came into play in Battle #205 below.

I may have used Protect only once in the entire streak, iirc. See Battle #407 below. Protect is there for the rare case when you face another Truant pokemon like Slaking, or if you face a Trace pokemon that Traces Durant’s Truant to start the battle. If that happens, then Protect on the first turn and prevent Durant from taking any damage. Then switch to your sweeper of choice on the second turn and proceed to setup sweep, as usual.

After having Protect in the set for the first 570 battles or so, and almost never using it, I was reading about moves that hit through Protect and realized Confide hit through Protect! Stupid me for not knowing that to begin with, even after reading GGUnit's writeup on his original Maison team. After realizing I could have an option against Protecting Special Attackers, I added Confide in place of Protect. Since I only used Protect against other Truant mons, it really was unnecessary. Confide, on the other hand, proved useful almost immediately after adding it. See the writeup for Battle #585 below.

The Choice Scarf, Nature and Speed EV’s are set to allow Durant to outspeed everything in the Tree, except for Aerodactyl-1 which is a non-factor pokemon really. Getting off Entrainment before the opponent can move is essential. But being faster than everything in the Tree, doesn’t prevent priority mechanics from throwing a wrench in the plans. Quick Claws and Prankster pokemon are the main culprits here. See Threats for more info.

HP and Defense EV’s are to give Durant maximum survivability when it takes hits. If Durant Entrains the opponent, its job is done, but it’s really nice if it survives in the process. Because if anything goes wrong later in the setup sweep, having Durant able to come back and Entrain again is a huge safety net for the team. And in the cases where the Entrainment fails on the first turn, usually due to Protect, Durant is usually bulky enough to take a hit on his loafing turn 2, and can give Entrainment another shot on turn 3.

Cloyster @ Focus Sash
Ability: Skill Link
EVs: 252 Atk / 94 SpAtk / 164 Speed
Nature: Naughty
- Shell Smash
- Icicle Spear
- Surf
- Protect

Cloyster is used for one of three roles in any battle:

Convenient Fast Sweeper - Durant Entrains something and doesn’t die in the process, and you want to get the battle over as quickly as possible. Cloyster sets up to +6 in record time, and proceeds to nuke the opponent 3-0, probably with Icicle Spear. There is lots of stuff in the Tree that can halt a Cloyster sweep, even with Cloyster at +6. And there are a few things (like Trick Room MegaSlowbro-4) that can cause very big problems if you choose to go with Cloyster instead of the slower-to-setup, but much safer, Drapion. But you aren’t using this team because it is ultra-safe. You are using it because it is a good combination of safety and speed for racking up BP. And Cloyster is the luxury item that gives this team its speedy sweeps.

Sacrifice - Things don’t go perfectly for Durant setting up the Entrainment surprisingly often. In some of those cases, where Durant is still alive, you need to switch it out and sacrifice something to give Durant another chance to come back in to do its thing. In most of those cases, Cloyster will be the pokemon you sacrifice. Because if a battle has gone sideways, and you are scrambling, but still have a chance to get Durant to Entrain something, you want to take the time to setup Drapion, since a fully setup Drapion is virtually foolproof. So Cloyster has to take one for the team.

Game Saving Hero a.k.a. “Plan B” - This team has all sorts of problems, as you will see later in the Strategy and Threats sections. When things don’t go as planned, Cloyster is one of the best in the business at turning a loss into a sweep in an instant. With Cloyster’s Focus Sash intact, it is almost guaranteed to get off at least one Shell Smash. And even at +2, Cloyster can decimate a surprisingly large portion of the Tree. Often Cloyster can get to +4, even in desperation situations. The most common reason Durant will have problems with Entrainment, is due to Protect users. Well, in those cases, if the Protect user faints Durant, there’s a damn good chance they will Protect on Cloyster too. If that happens, then Cloyster gets an extra Shell Smash for free. And +4 Cloyster is a sweeping juggernaut against almost everything. Peterko used to say “Cloyster wins at life”, and it is so freaking true! When all hope is gone, it is amazing how often Cloyster can come in and save the day.​

The Speed EV’s put Cloyster at 222 Speed after one Shell Smash, which is faster than all but 11 pokemon in the Tree. Two key pokemon Cloyster outspeeds at +2 are Scarf Heatran and Scarf Darmanitan.

Skill Link Icicle Spear is the best attack in the game for the Battle Tree, imo. With Cloyster’s ability Skill Link, Icicle Spear has several huge advantages:
Five hits makes it effectively a massive 125 BP attack, and it has 100% accuracy
Multiple hits bypasses KO-prevention mechanics like Focus Sash, Sturdy, and Disguise
Five hits give the move five separate chances for 25 BP Critical Hits
Icicle Spear is one of the only physical moves in the game that does not make contact, thereby avoiding detrimental contact mechanics like Flame Body, Rough Skin, Static, Baneful Bunker, Spiky Shield, Rocky Helmet, etc.

Back in the Battle Maison, some people used to run Rock Blast on Adamant Cloyster to take advantage of Skill Link and give coverage. But early in the Maison, Peterko showed pretty conclusively that Naughty Cloyster Surf is the superior coverage set. Rock Blast has 90% accuracy, but anything less than 100% is just too risky for Cloyster. Surf is not just 100% accurate, but it also allows Cloyster to hit on both the Physical and Special sides. This is particularly nice for Curse users that might boost their Defense while Cloyster is setting up.

Skill Link Icicle Spear is such a monstrous attack, you will use it almost all the time, even against most things that resist Ice attacks. But there are a few pokemon where Surf is a must-have. Here's a list of pokemon that +6 Cloyster can't guaranteed OHKO with Icicle Spear, but it can KO with Surf:

*Aggron 2
*Aggron 3
*Sandslash-Alola 1
*Avalugg 4
Barbaracle 2
Barbaracle 4
*Bastiodon 2
*Bastiodon 4
Bronzong 2
Bronzong 3
Bronzong 4
*Carracosta 1
*Carracosta 2
Cobalion 2
Cobalion 4
Entei 2
Entei 4
Rotom-Frost 2
Glaceon 2
Glalie 1
Hariyama 3
*Heatran 1
Heatran 2
Heatran 3
Heatran 4
Klinklang 1
*Magnezone 1
*Magnezone 2
*Magnezone 3
Metagross 1
Metagross 2
Metagross 3
Metagross 4
*Probopass 1
*Probopass 4
Volcarona 3
Volcarona 4

The pokemon above marked with * can be Sturdy or carry a Focus Sash, and therefore might survive Surf anyway.

Drapion @ Black Sludge
Ability: Battle Armor
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 6 SpDef
Nature: Adamant
- Protect
- Substitute
- Acupressure
- Knock Off

Drapion is the workhorse of this team. It is the go-to Pokemon for any setup situation where things are risky for a sweep, and you want to remove all doubt about the win. A fully setup Drapion is almost a 100% guaranteed win. In more than 600 battles, I think only one battle was at risk of losing with Drapion at +6 across the board. Every other time Drapion got in its 21 Acupressures, it was just a matter of spamming Knock Off until every was dead. It's awfully boring to sit through all those setup turns, but it's definitely sweet knowing that the game is over once you get there. Cloyster gives this team speed to get battles done quickly, but Drapion gives the team reliability.

Black Sludge is the recovery item of choice, just in case something steals your item. I always love when Focus Sash Weavile survives the first Knock Off with 1 HP left, laughing at you as it looks to extend the inevitable by one more turn, and then Pickpocket kicks in (since the Focus Sash is gone) and Weavile dies to Black Sludge. Priceless.

Battle Armor is one of those beautiful bits of Pokemon poetry on Battle Tree Drapion. The ability is virtually worthless in regular competitive play, but worth its weight in gold on Drapion with Acupressure. The bane of every defensive booster is Critical Hits, rendering all those hard-earned boosts completely moot. But with Drapion, you boost with the comfort and leisure of knowing almost every attack will bounce off harmlessly (it they hit at all) regardless of the whims of the critical hit RNG.

When setting up Drapion against an Entrained opponent, the most efficient repeating order of moves in most situations is Substitute-Protect-Acupressure-Acupressure. This sequence should be repeated until the opponent starts missing (due to evasion boosts) or stops breaking Drapion's Substitute (due to defensive boosts). This sequence keeps the PP of Protect and Substitute roughly equal, which could possibly be important if you need to PP stall at any point with Drapion. Not likely, but something to keep in mind.

Acupressure giving you +6 stats across the board seems pretty cool, but remember that most of your Acupressure boosts aren't very meaningful when setting up. All three Special Attack boosts are completely wasted on Drapion. Except in a few rare situations, Accuracy boosts don't help at all. And even in the few situations where extra Accuracy is needed (Brightpowder, the occasional Double Team, etc), you only need one Accuracy boost to put you back over 100%. The other two Accuracy boosts are a waste. Drapion at +2 Speed after a single Speed boost is faster than most of the Tree, so the extra two Speed boosts aren't very helpful. When Drapion is actually setting up, it will typically be against a pokemon that hits on only one side of the Physical/Special spectrum, and when trying to get to a point where Drapion's subs stop breaking, only half of the defensive boosts will help Drapion get setup. The other half might turn out to be useful later, but against the all-important lead pokemon, 3 of the defensive boosts from Acupressure are not helpful. So, out of the 21 Acupressures that are typically required to get Drapion fully setup, it's likely that 11 of those turns won't be of much immediate benefit.

Against an Entrained lead with tons of PP, it doesn't matter how long it takes Drapion to setup. But there are some situations where Drapion needs to get setup as quickly as possible. And in those cases, it can be agonizing to see Acupressure give one worthless boost after another as Drapion is running out of time. Boosts to Evasion and Attack are always gold, and a Drapion with +6 Attack, +6 Evasion, and +2 Speed is almost as formidable as a Drapion with +6 in every stat. But it is very easy to get a combined +20 of Acupressure boosts, and still have a garbage Drapion to show for it. Just keep that in mind when looking at situations where Drapion might not have the luxury of a full setup. It may seem like 10-15 turns is a long time for Drapion to Acupressure into a juggernaut, but I'm here to tell you -- it's not.

Drapion was my sweeper of choice in several common situations:

Durant faints while Entraining the lead - In these cases, the magic maker of the team is gone, so you absolutely positively must get the sweep with whoever comes in next.

Entrained leads with evasion hax items or moves - Cloyster can't afford to miss when sweeping, and Drapion gets accuracy boosts while setting up with Acupressure.

Entrained leads with unused Z-Items - Z-Moves hit through Protect, and Cloyster can't afford to get its Focus Sash broken while setting up. Drapion can Substitute and mostly ignore Z-moves while setting up.

Trainers with a good chance of having known Cloyster-killers - There are several pokemon that have a good chance of stopping +6 Cloyster in its tracks -- Toxipex, Lapras, Magnezone, Slowbro, etc. Brightpowder/Lax Incense holders. Pranksters. If the opposing trainer has lots of pokemon like this on their roster, I tended to err on the safe side and go to Drapion for the setup sweep.​

Drapion is to be avoided, if possible, in a few special cases:

Leads with Choice Items - Unlike the Maison and previous challenge facilities, Battle Tree trainers withdraw pokemon that have used up the PP of a choice-locked move. They used to Struggle indefinitely. So very few Choiced leads will use moves with enough PP for Drapion to get a full setup. And since high-powered moves are greatly favored by the AI, they usually come with low PP, often just 5 PP. Drapion barely gets two or three boosts in those situations. If the boosts are to worthless stats like Special Attack or Accuracy, you have a shitty NU pokemon named Drapion that has to beat a field of Legendaries and Mega Evolutions. Don't try it. Go to Cloyster if at all possible. Sometimes you can Knock Off the Choice Item right at the start.

Uturn/Volt Switch leads - A Uturn or Volt Switch that lands will cause the Truant lead to switch out, and detroys the entire Entrainment strategy. So the only choice is to Protect on every non-loafing turn. If Drapion has to Protect on every other turn, there is a very good chance Drapion won't get a full setup. And if the Acupressure gods are unkind, you could be in real trouble.​

The Strategy

"Rather than following an unlikely possibility, I've got to know my limitations."
- Rising Star Marianne

The best part about this team is that the strategy has so relatively few choices to make in order to rack up a lot of wins. I've already covered a lot of the strategy and "problem situations" in the team members' individual writeups. I will cover a boatload more strategy and specific situations and threats in exhaustive battle warstories later. So I'll just summarize the common decision tree for most battles with this team. This covers probably 90% of all battles, maybe more.

First turn - Durant uses Entrainment

Is the opponent now Truant?
Yes ->
	Is Durant alive?
	Yes ->
		Is this a problem situation for a Cloyster setup sweep?
		Yes -> 
			Is this a problem situation for a Drapion setup sweep?
			Yes -> Decide whether Cloyster or Drapion is best and go with it.
			No ->  Switch to Drapion and setup sweep
		No -> 
			Switch to Cloyster and setup sweep
	No ->
		Is this a problem situation for a Drapion setup sweep?
			Yes -> 
				Is this a problem situation for a Cloyster setup sweep?
					Yes -> Decide whether Cloyster or Drapion is best and go with it.
					No ->  Switch to Cloyster and setup sweep
			No ->  
				Switch to Drapion and setup sweep
No ->
	Did Entrainment miss OR the opponent used Protect/Detect/etc?
		Yes -> 
			Can Durant survive the next likely attack?
				Yes -> 
					Leave Durant in for the loafing turn and use Entrainment again on Turn 3
				No -> 
					Can either Cloyster or Drapion switch in and faint the opponent?
						Yes -> 
							Switch in Cloyster or Drapion
							Faint the opponent
							Bring back in Durant and use Entrainment on the next opponent
						No -> 
							Sacrifice Durant and go for Cloyster "Plan B" sweep
		No -> 
			This is one of those bad matchups or weird situations
			You are probably screwed
			Read my extensive warstories on how to scramble in these bizarre battles
			Pray for luck
Battle Warstories

"Winners and losers arise from battle."
- Madame Gracie

I recorded videos and wrote detailed warstories of more than 50 battles that I thought were interesting, close, lucky, well-played or otherwise memorable during the streak. I have always enjoyed reading battle commentary from other battlers in these threads, so I figured I would do the same for everyone else. I really think the best way to get a feel for a battler and a team, is to see the details of how battles play out and how the team plays in specific situations.

When I first starting writing up my interesting battles, I had no idea the streak would go so long, and that I would amass so many warstories. There is a ton to read, so it's not for the faint of heart. But for anyone that decides to dive in, hopefully you will find them interesting.

During the streak, which lasted longer than a year (!), I was saving tons of battle videos along the way. Then I learned that updating the game would invalidate the battle videos and make them unplayable. So I actually avoided updating my Moon cartridge, to allow me to keep the videos intact until I was able to record them and upload them to YouTube.

I made a YouTube sub-channel for all the videos from my streak, and I have included links to them with the warstories, if you are interested in seeing the actual battle videos. Some of the ways those battles played out would probably be unbelievable, if you couldn't see them for yourself. But, I'll let you be the judge.

See all the videos and warstories in the two posts that follow this one.

The Loss

"No matter how fun the battle is, it will always end sometime..."
- Pokemon Trainer Cynthia

I've been saying all along that this team has many holes, and I knew eventually my luck would run out. After such an incredibly long run, I had a feeling my loss would not be some epic struggle or incredible combination of bad luck. I figured it would be a misplay on my part and/or a relatively mundane matchup against one of the many problem pokemon that this team struggles to beat. And in a way, I actually WANTED to lose to a known problem opponent. If anything, it would prove to me that this team and my battling skill is nowhere near as good as the massive win total might otherwise indicate.

After 613 wins, I finally got what was coming to me all along from Aether Foundation Heidi in Battle 614. To be fair, she did have a good combination of pokemon to beat me, not just a problematic lead. And she got multiple lucky breaks that prevented me from pulling out a win. I also made a huge mistake that probably would have given me an easy win. But the way I played it gave me a good chance to win, like the hundreds of battles before this one. It was not anything unbelievable that happened. This loss could as easily have happened on Battle 14 as it did on Battle 614. Well, maybe not literally Battle 14, but you know what I mean. Here's the full blow-by-blow account of the end to this long journey of mine in the Battle Tree...

Battle 614
Aether Foundation Heidi
Mismagius - Flygon - Lapras

Heidi sent out a lead Mismagius-4, who I had faced a couple of times before in this streak. I hadn't played the Tree in several weeks, so I was a little bit rusty, so I checked my notes, knowing I had written up a close battle with Missy-4 before. Sure enough it was right there at Battle 544 (see the Warstories post below), so I had a clear playbook for what to do and what to watch out for.

I switched immediately to Drapion to avoid Durant getting Perish Trapped, which would be pretty much game over for this team. Drapion's main job was to hopefully Knock Off the Brightpowder Mismagius was holding. This was very important, because after Drapion dies to Perish Song, the whole team would be banking on a Cloyster sweep. At +6 Cloyster decimates almost everything in the Battle Tree, but Brightpowder misses make all that hitting power worthless. I needed that Brightpowder gone, and Drapion had the move to do it.

Mismagious Protected and failed as I switched immediately to Drapion. I decided to Substitute with Drapion, predicting that Missy would Protect again, and hopefully give me some more chances to hit with Knock Off later as she broke my Sub. Looking back, this was perhaps a small misplay on my part. If I Acupressured instead of Subbed, I might have gotten an accuracy boost, which would give me a 100% chance to Knock Off the Brightpowder. But I went with Sub, and I'm not too regretful of that move. As Drapion subbed, Mismagius did not Protect, and Perish Songed instead. With the Sub up, I starting spamming Knock Off's. Mismagius Protected on one Knock Off and used Power Gem as Drapion missed with another.

At that point, I was a bit on tilt, I guess, because I was laser-focused on getting the Brightpowder knocked off to give me the best chance to sweep with Cloyster after Durant Entrained whatever Heidi switched to when the Perish count went to 1. I didn't notice that Mismagius had NOT actually Mean Looked Drapion at all. Drapion was NOT trapped! I just kinda assumed it was trapped and spammed a final Knock Off, even knowing that Heidi would switch out. This was a massive mistake on my part, as I sacrificed Drapion unnecessarily. If I would have switched out Drapion at the same time as Mismagius, I still would get Durant in cleanly, and I would have had both Cloyster and Drapion to choose from for setting up against whatever came out second. As it turned out, Drapion would have had a virtually guaranteed setup win, if I would have kept it alive. Instead, I put all my eggs in the Cloyster basket, and it turned out Heidi had the right team and the right luck to cause Cloyster problems.

Heidi sent out Flygon second which was a real problem for me, and I knew it as soon as it came out. Heidi only has Flygon-4, which has Rockium-Z. This sucked really bad for my team for multiple reasons. First, it doesn't get Knocked Off by Drapion. More importantly, it's a Z-move which will hit through Cloyster's Protect turns. Because it's a Rock move, that means Flygon almost certainly WON'T burn it against Durant, and it means there is a very GOOD chance it would use it versus Cloyster, since it hits super-effective. So, as I looked forward to a Cloyster sweep, it was very likely that Cloyster would eat 25% of a Continental Crush while setting up. That meant Cloyster would have to one-shot every pokemon in Heidi's lineup, since it would not have a Focus Sash for insurance. As I knew Mismagius with Brightpowder was definitely one of Heidi's pokemon in the back, the lack of a Focus Sash was a HUGE problem for me to win. And that's not even accounting for whatever third pokemon Heidi had, and she carries all sorts of pokemon that can beat a Focus Sash-less Cloyster. I knew all this as soon as Flygon hit the field, and I winced, knowing I would need luck to go my way to win this one.

I didn't get the luck I needed.

Flygon used Continental Crush as Cloyster was setting up to +6 and broke Cloyster's Sash. Cloyster easily fainted Flygon with Icicle Spear and Heidi sent out Mismagius next. I knew the game was on the line as I clicked Icicle Spear, and prayed it would hit. I had an incredible run of luck against miss-hax on this streak, but it was bound to get me eventually. The Spear missed and Cloyster died to a Power Gem.

From there it was all over as Durant failed to do much of anything trying to Iron Head against Mismagius, who Protected and got some more Brightpowder misses to rub salt in the wound. For what it's worth, Heidi ending up having Lapras-4 in reserve, so even if Cloyster hit Mismagius and fainted it, Lapras would survive anything Cloyster threw at it, and would very likely have beaten my team anyway.

"I said I'd give it everything I had, but when you lose, you have regrets."
- Youngster Napoleon

I definitely made a fatal error in not noticing that Drapion could switch out. If Drapion was alive, I would 100% have gone to it to setup against Flygon, and it would have no problem sweeping Heidi from there. But I'm not bitter about the loss at all. It was pretty representative of the sorts of mistakes I made throughout the streak, getting flustered or hyper-focusing on a certain set of predictions, and not calmly evaluating all my options. I really got what was coming to me in the end.

The incredible thing about this streak has been the amazing number of times where the AI has the perfect team or got the perfect hit or miss and had the game won, and then I received one or more lucky breaks that bailed me out and I won. I know I repeated myself over and over in these battle writeups, but I really did find it almost unbelievable that this streak continued for so long, with SO MANY ways for this team to lose. And even in this final battle, where I did lose, where the AI had a perfect team to beat me, and got the key misses to put me away -- and STILL the AI made a crucial mistake (not Mean Looking Drapion) that would have allowed me to win! The fact is, if I would have noticed Drapion wasn't trapped -- this battle writeup would have been yet another "Haha, the streak really should have ended here, but the AI gave me a miraculous break and I swept easily instead. Here's the video..." And who knows how much further this streak would have gone.

No, I'm kinda glad I didn't notice the AI mistake. This streak was not the result of an amazing team, and certainly not the result of amazing battling skill on my part. I made some good plays, and I definitely know the ins and outs of playing this team. I'm not a scrub by any means. But I got lucky A LOT. The fact that the Pokemon gods were trying to give me even more luck, even after 600+ battles, well thanks but no thanks. I'm relieved the streak is over and I can finally post this darn thing that has now been over a year in the making.

Final Thoughts

“Being here somehow makes me nostalgic... I remember those days...”
-Pokemon Trainer Anabel

This streak started in January of 2017, iirc and the loss just happened yesterday, April 20th, 2018. I have been playing this streak off and on for almost 16 months! There have been long stretches of time, sometimes months, where I didn't play a single battle. Other times, I would grind out a hundred battles over a few days. I started writing this post back in March of 2017, when I had more than 100 wins and knew I would be posting the streak for the leaderboard. I have been writing about this for more than a year.

I never got around to catching many of the UltraBeasts and doing many of the other things in Sun and Moon, mainly because this damn streak would not end! And that's ironic, because the original purpose of this team was to rack up some BP so I could get items to do other stuff in the game and on Battle Spot and elsewhere. But the Battle Tree turned out to be almost the entirety of my Sun and Moon experience. Which isn't so bad, but I definitely won't be repeating it in the future. I don't see myself putting in this kind of effort for a future streak, and definitely not another post like this any time soon.

I have been toiling away making Battle Facility teams and lurking Battle Facility threads for many years, and this was fun to get a memorable streak. It also has been fun to make this long detailed post here in the Battle Tree thread. This is my love letter to the Battle Tower, Subway, Maison, and Tree and to all the battlers that have played and posted about them over the years. This community is a weird bunch. We are definitely obsessed, and maybe even a little crazy. But I'm proud to count myself amongst the ranks of diehard Battle Facility Fanatics!

"I’m always able to mutter these feelings only after I say good-bye."
-Veteran Placido


Knows the great enthusiasms
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Battle Warstories - 1 of 2

Below are videos and extensive warstories for interesting battles in the first half of my 613 win streak posted above.

Warstories through Battle 50
Battle 14 - Singles
Hariyama - Bouffalant - Bisharp
Battle Video

I saved this because it was against Hariyama, a Fake Out lead that unfortunately had Sheer Force, negating the flinch of the Fake Out. When it first happened, I thought it was a glitch or something. Then watched it back and realized what happened.
Battle 9
Hiker Arlo
Aggron - Dugtrio - Steelix
Battle Video

Lead Aggron 1 is an annoying pain in the ass. This battle happened very very early in the streak, and I didn't bother to look up the moveset. So when Aggron started Roaring through my Protects I was caught off-guard. I had forgotten several mechanics issues that made me fumble through this battle. Namely, didn't realize Roar went through Protect and didn't know it went through Substitute either.
Battle 20
Turtonator - Whimsicott - Espeon
Battle Video

Dexio is a pain and this battle was my first time to get scared by him. I saved this battle for practicing against Turtonator leads. Turtonator will kill Durant every time with a fire move, which means I will typically go to Drapion to set up. But Turtonator 3 is a real bitch because it carries Explosion, so Drapion can find itself with very few boosts when Turt goes boom. Also, Turtonator 3 has a Z move, which is a big problem for bringing in Cloyster hoping to get some quick boosts and win that way. When that Z-move hits through Protect, you lose your sash. This battle was pretty easy because Drapion got a ton of boosts on Turtonator, but like I said, I originally saved it for practice mostly.
Battle 29
Sightseer Darian
Beedrill -
Battle Video

This battle was ridiculous in how annoying it was to get rid of Beedrill 2! Beedrill Protected first turn, then Attracted Durant while it loafed on the next turn. What then proceeded was a long aggravating series of attraction turns on Durant and then Drapion. Beedrill can't do any real damage with Infestation as the only attack, but it can drag a battle out a long time with unlucky attraction turns. Humorous to have such trouble with a freaking Beedrill!
Battle 32
Ace Trainer Granville
Alakazam - Heat Rotom - Greninja
Battle Video

An early lesson in scary dealings with Choiced leads. Alakazam KO'd Durant with Focus Blast and I went to Drapion without really thinking. Turns out it was Alakazam 4, who has Choice Specs, and I couldn't Knock Off the Specs without KO'ing Zam in the process. So I Acupressured as much as I could before Zam got pulled, and ended up getting lucky with Rotom missing an Overheat later. Turns out, I would have probably won anyway with Cloyster if I needed it. But still, this was an early indicator that playing a Durant team would not be on "autopilot" by any means.
Battle 37
Black Belt Arnold
Mienshao - Nidoqueen - Golurk
Battle Video

This was another early lesson for me, this time dealing with Mienshao, a dangerous Fake Out lead. I didn't look at the threat list very closely at this point in the streak and I really had no idea how many problems Mienshao could cause for this team with only a little luck on its side.

It Faked Out Durant and I decided to stay in and take the hit. In retrospect, it's not the worst move to stay in on Meinshao, but my reasoning for staying in was really bad. I assumed Durant could easily tank any non-crit HJK from all Mienshao. What I DIDN'T notice, was that Mienshao 4 had a Z-crystal and All-Out Pummeling does a max of 105% on a full-health Durant without a crit. And my Durant had already lost 11 HP to the Fake Out. Later doing a damage calc, I saw that Mienshao had 70% chance or more of KOing Durant on that turn. So when the Z-move animation started, I shit my pants. I got super-lucky on the damage roll and breathed a sigh of relief when Durant survived with 6 HP, but I still had a few scares remaining.

Durant got the Entrainment off and died to HJK. Since it was Mienshao, I knew HJK would be the preferred move on my next pokemon, and I knew I would only get a couple of Protects before crash damage caused Mienshao to kill itself. I still haven't worked out how Drapion would fare against a Truant High-Jump-Kicking Mienshao, but even if I Subbed aggressively instead of Protecting, I think Drapion probably wouldn't get too many Acupressures off before crash misses from HJK (perhaps enhanced by Evasion boosts from Drapion) killed Mienshao. And then Drapion would be left at low health, perhaps without a sub and not many boosts to show for it. Not a great situation. So I went to Cloyster, knowing I would only get off a couple of Shell Smashes before Mienshao killed itself. But +4 Cloyster is almost unstoppable, so I wasn't terribly worried.

Again, in retrospect I noticed several things that made my play riskier than I knew at the time. For one, Mienshao 4 also carries Feint, which hits through Protect and would break Cloyter's incredibly important Focus Sash. Although it's highly unlikely that Mienshao would use Feint against Cloyster, instead of a much higher-powered super-effective HJK, the Tree does random stuff sometimes and Cloyster without a Sash is much more vulnerable to whatever other two threats were lurking in wait. It doesn't change my decision to go to Cloyster, but it is something to keep in mind and be ready for. If anything, to not panic if Feint is used and continue to play smart.

The last minor issue I noticed in the Battle 37 replay, was how I opted to let Mienshao kill itself with HJK while +4 Cloyster Protected. Since it was certain that Mienshao would die on the second miss, I should have just attacked and killed Mienshao with Cloyster and saved the ability to Protect against whatever next opponent came out. There aren't many things that Cloyster will choose to Protect against (Fake Out users, etc.), but it's probably better to have the option available than not.

I never faced another lead Mienshao 4 my entire streak. But it could easily have been a streak-buster for me.
Battle 46
Aether Foundation Luke
Pyroar - Ursaring - Umbreon
Battle Video

At first glance, this battle was a fast, clean sweep. But if you look at it more carefully, you'll see I got pretty lucky in what easily could have been a battle that ended my streak. This opponent had all the elements of a perfect streak buster for my team.

On the first turn, Pyroar came out, which is a lead I really don't like to see. Of course, like all Fire leads, I knew I would lose Durant to a big fire move while I Entrained it. With a Durant team, this will happen a lot, so that's not a big deal. The standard play for me after losing Durant with a Truant non-Choiced lead is to go to Drapion, since a fully setup Drapion is pretty much auto-win against everything in the Tree.

Pyroar is one of the few leads that Drapion does not like to setup on. It carries Hyper Voice (and Round), which hits through Drapion's sub. Yes, by using Protect aggressively and getting some helpful boosts, Drapion probably gets through it just fine, which is why I normally would go Drapion after losing Durant, even against a Pyroar lead. In this battle though, I didn't have to go to Drapion, because Pyroar's opening Overheat missed. So, Durant got off the Entrainment with no damage at all. Which meant I could just go to Cloyster and speed up the battle, since I had the safety net of Durant and Drapion to re-Entrain and setup on the few pokemon that can beat a +6 Cloyster with its Focus Sash intact. When I saw the next two pokemon, I realized how lucky I was that I didn't have to go to Drapion with a dead Durant.

The next two pokemon could have been a nightmare duo for my team - Ursaring 4 and Umbreon 4. If Durant was dead and I setup Drapion on Pyroar, I could easily end up with little or no boosted Attack, since Protecting on every Pyroar attacking turn only gives me 15-16 boosts. And if Drapion faces Umbreon 4 without a big Attack stat, it does not work out well. Umbreon tanks Knock Off like a champ, and when it gets the Curses and Rests going, it's a joke for Drapion to even try. If Drapion has already burned all its Protects, it makes PP stalling very tough, maybe impossible. And if Drapion doesn't take out a Cursed-up Umbreon, then Cloyster is doomed. And just to add to the misery for this team, if a sub-less Drapion or unboosted/unsashed Cloyster has to face Ursaring 4, it has a dreaded Quick Claw which can end the streak with one hit.

If Pyroar's opening Overheat hits, it's not an auto-lose for the team by any means. But this opponent is one of those near-perfect storms, with three threats with just a little luck and it might beat me. In my case, the only time I faced it, I got the luckiest break of all on the very first turn (the Overheat miss), and it was a 3-0 breeze.
Battle 50
Blastoise - Lapras - Snorlax
Battle Video

Blastoise Yawned at Durant, which gave me a free pass to go to Cloyster if I wanted to. But Red has very few pokemon to choose from, and one of them is Lapras 3, one of the worst Pokemon for this team to run into if I choose to go with Cloyster. Lapras can giggle at the damage Cloyster does, even when Cloyster is at +6, and it carries Brightpowder, which means it may walk away from Cloyster unscathed and proceed to sweep the whole team. So I went the safe route and set up Drapion on Red. Turned out Red did have a Lapras, but it was Lapras 4, so I would have been fine either way. But better to be safe than sorry when messing with a trainer with such a good chance to have Lapras 3 in the back.
Warstories through Battle 100
Battle 52
Backpacker Fernanda
Registeel - Latias - Tornadus
Battle Video

Registeel Protected on the first turn and then Double Teamed on the second turn while Durant loafed. This made my heart skip a beat, and could have turned out VERY BAD. Registeel could have Protected again and Double Teamed on Durant's next loafing turn. It didn't Protect, but if Durant missed that Entrainment, Registeel did Double Team again, and it would probably become virtually unhittable. And it tanks hits by my sweepers unless they are boosted to the max. As it turned out, Durant hit the Entrainment and the battle was an easy sweep. Yet another example of an early battle in this streak, where I could have lost with some relatively mundane bad luck. But instead came through unscathed.
Battle 54
Veteran Demiathena
Mesprit - Thundurus - Suicune
Battle Video

Yet another Protect lead and a team full of legendaries. I got several bad leads in the battles in the 40's, 50's, and 60's with very few no-brainer sweeps. For whatever reason, I feel like the 40's through 60's are always really hard in every generation of the Battle facilities.
Battle 60
Metagross - Porygon2 - Magnezone
Battle Video

Colress is a very scary boss to face for this team, and this was a great example of why. He led with Metagross, which sucks because if it was Metgross 3 (this one was), it has Explosion which can ruin any setup. I usually go to Cloyster after the Entrainment on Explosion leads, because Cloyster sets up so fast, and I stand the best chance of sweeping with only one or two Shell Smashes. Colress is a bitch because he carries pokemon like Eviolite Porygon 2 and Klinklang which can take hits from Cloyster at +2 or +4. But the scariest thing about Colress is the high chance to face Magnezone 3 or 4, both of which are a nightmare for Cloyster. Magnezone 3 is up there with Lapras 3 as one of the worst pokemon in the whole tower for this team to face with anything but a fully setup Drapion. Magnezone 3 has Brightpowder and can survive a +6 Icicle Spear, and Magnezone 4 can survive a +6 Surf. So you are guessing what move to use when you face it. At this point in my streak I had not realized I could use Protect to give me a good chance of figuring out which Magnezone I was facing, so I just guessed and Surfed it. Fortunately I guessed right in terms of the move to use, since it was Magnezone 3, and I also got lucky that Brightpowder didn't make me miss.
Battle 66
Janitor Paulo
Snorlax - Probopass - Gigalith
Battle Video

Here's an example of a Protect lead that could have ended the streak very early, if it would have gotten a lucky crit. Snorlax Protected on the first turn, and I stayed in with Durant. Snorlax hit with EQ while Durant loafed, and did 45% or so. Snorlax then Protected again, which wasn't a huge surprise, because it couldn't KO Durant. So I stayed in again, but knew it could end badly for me if Snorlax got a crit on the next EQ. It didn't crit, and Durant survived in the red HP. At that point, Snorlax had me in sure-fire KO range, so it didn't Protect again, and I got the Entrainment in place. From there, it was an easy setup and sweep with Drapion. If Durant had died before getting the Entrainment, and I had to go it alone with just Cloyster and Drapion, it could have been very bad, since it turns out Quick Claw Probopass was waiting in the wings.
Battle 67
Police Officer Rendor
Absol - Glalie - Lanturn
Battle Video

One of the first battles where I had to deal with Magic Bounce, and like many other battles I got kinda lucky. Absol was the lead, and I didn't check the threat list carefully, because Rendor only carries Absol 4, which means it's Mega Absol, and it will go Mega every time and Magic Bounce the Entrainment. So I stupidly attempted to Entrain it anyway, and failed. Fortunately, Absol 4 likes to Sucker Punch so Durant took no damage on the turn.

I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking at that point in the battle, but I was probably thinking that I would go to Cloyster and try to get off a Shell Smash. And if Cloyster died without taking out Absol, I could bring back Durant to KO Absol with X-Scissor, and then try to tank the next Pokemon with Drapion and bring back Durant to Entrain. This is NOT a great plan, as both Durant and Drapion would need to switch into hits to make it work. Durant and Drapion don't have the best defensive synergy, but they both are pretty tanky on the physical side and can usually pull off the setup on physical hitters. And Drapion's relatively speedy Substitute makes it a good bet to get setup if the next pokemon is an annoyer. But, if the next pokemon behind Absol is a special hitter, it can go bad quickly.

Anyway, I went to Cloyster and didn't take damage as Absol Sucker Punched. This was perhaps a tad lucky for Cloyster, but Sucker Punch is Absol's best move against Durant, so it was actually the most likely move for Absol to make in that situation. With Cloyster in cleanly, I was feeling better, since I knew I could get a Shell Smash off. I also knew Absol would most likely go for Stone Edge against Cloyster, which it did. If I had thought about the whole scenario more closely at that point, I might have decided to just Spear Absol straight away instead of going for the Shell Smash, since even at +0, Cloyster still KO's Mega Absol 4 with Icicle Spear. That would have guaranteed that Durant would be able to come back in and try to Entrain whatever was next. But I was all excited that Cloyster could get off a Shell Smash and was trying to get the fast sweep. Not smart really. Anyway, Cloyster tanked the super-effective Stone Edge, because Cloyster is such an awesome defensive beast, and got the Shell Smash.

At this point, I normally feel pretty good with a +2 Cloyster, since it can sweep most of the Tree. But sitting in front of Absol with priority Sucker Punch is NOT good for a -1 defense Cloyster with its Focus Sash gone. Even though Stone Edge does more total damage, sometimes the Tree goes for priority moves if they can KO, which Sucker Punch would definitely KO Cloyster, which was in the yellow already. As I said, this was all entirely predictable when I brought in Cloyster, and I could have avoided this risk by Spearing right away. But, lucky for me, Absol didn't go for the Sucker Punch and died to the Icicle Spear.

A +2 Cloyster against 2 more pokemon with Durant and Drapion both at full health in the back is a very nice place to be, but the Tree had a few more scares left for me this battle. Out came Glalie 4.

Fortunately, Rendor already used his Mega with Absol, so Glalie 4 (holding Glalitite) would be stuck in normal form. But Glalie 4 is one of those pokemon I really don't like to see, unless I have Cloyster or Drapion boosted up high. And +2 Cloyster is not good enough. Glalie 4 carries both Protect AND Explosion, which put me in a real problem spot. I Surfed with Cloyster and took a huge chunk out of Glalie, and Cloyster died to Freeze-Dry. Again, I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking at this point. I brought in Durant, hoping to Entrain Glalie. Glalie 4 is almost certainly going to Protect on the first turn against Durant, as Durant resists Glalie's attacking moves. But if I bring in Drapion, Glalie 4 outspeeds it, so maybe I was scared of risking Drapion. I just don't know my strategy at that point. Most likely, I wasn't thinking very clearly, since I typically DIDN'T think clearly when battles went sideways for me, particularly this early in the streak.

So I brought in Durant, and Glalie Protected on the attempt to Entrain it. For some reason, I went straight to Drapion and Glalie exploded in my face. Glalie couldn't do anything that would OHKO Drapion on the switch, but the Explosion was fairly predictable, if I had thought about it. Durant takes Explosion like a champ, and would be sitting ready to Entrain the mystery 3rd pokemon on the next turn. So switching into Drapion while Durant loafed was not the best move. It worked out OK, since Drapion, defensive stud that it is, took the Explosion and faced Rendor's final pokemon. Lanturn 4 is a pushover for Drapion and a full-health Durant, and I proceeded to Truant setup sweep Lanturn 4 to finish the battle.

After this battle, I did some damage calcs and decided all future battles against Absol leads with a good chance of Absol 4, I would just X-Scissor and KO off the bat. Then I would sacrifice Cloyster or whatever to Entrain the next pokemon. This strategy works the same against Espeon leads (another Magic Bouncer), although I remember going for the Entrainment against many Espeon leads during this streak, and only getting Bounced by Espeon once or twice. So I know this strategy was not a hard and fast rule for me against Espeons, even if it should have been.
Battle 68
Aether Foundation Heidi
Tauros - Gallade - Drifblim
Battle Video

This battle was the worst in this long line of difficult leads I had to face in the 40's through 60's. I don't think I had developed a good strategy for Protect leads at this point, because I played this battle very messy. Tauros 4 was Heidi's lead, and Tauros 4 is a pain in the ass for this team. Tauros protected on the Entrainment, and I went back and forth for several turns, switching to Cloyster who would eat a hit or whatever and then go back to Durant and try the Entrainment again, only to get Protected again and again. The longer this went on, the more frazzled I got. And when Tauros Double Teamed for the first time, I really started panicking, because even if I got off the Entrainment without a Protect, I might miss. And then if I wanted to try a sweep with Cloyster (whose Sash was already broken, so a sweep with it was in serious doubt regardless), I risked missing with Icicle Spear. Fortunately I got off the Entrainment, and went to Drapion to get setup and sweep this bitch Heidi.

I was doing my regular Sub-Protect-Acupressure thing, and wasn't paying much attention to the moves Taurus was using. Because when Tauros ran out of his 10 Earthquakes (after already using a few of them on the Cloyster-Durant switching shenanigans earlier), Heidi switched out Tauros since it couldn't do any damage to Drapion with Toxic/DT/Protect. Fortunately, I had Durant and Cloyster in reserve and was able to switch and Entrain the Mega Gallade that came next. From there, it was a clean sweep. But this battle was a real nail-biter at the beginning and could have worked out very badly for me, with a lot of very bad play on my part.
Battle 73
Veteran Ignacio
Raikou - Latios - Azelf
Battle Video

Yet another battle with a horrible lead, and I had to go super-risky to win. Ignacio leads with Raikou, and I was begging for it to be Raikou 4, and not Raikou 3. So of course it Protects on the first turn, confirming my nightmare about Raikou 3. Raikou 3 is a big-time problem for me, because not only does it have Protect, but if I somehow get to setup on it, it can Volt Switch at any time, and waste it all. This is a terrible spot to be in. If I leave Durant in, it will die to the upcoming Gigavolt Havoc and so will anything I switch in.

I know if sacrifice Drapion, I can get Cloyster in untouched, and it can Shell Smash at least once on the Sash and kill Raikou and lots of other stuff at +2. And if I get lucky and Raikou Protects on Cloyster, I get to +4 and can win against almost anything. However, the chances of Raikou Protecting on Cloyster are slim to none, since it easily KO's Cloyster with Thunderbolt. But even with just one Shell Smash, after I get past Raikou, anything I can't beat at +2, I can perhaps switch back in Durant and Entrain and then get Cloyster up to +6 and do the sweeping thing.

There are, of course, several things that can go wrong with this strategy. Cloyster can get paralyzed on the TBolt from Raikou and be worthless for anything. Also, Ignacio can bring in Cobalion 3 or 4, both of which tank anything +2 Cloyster does, and both cause nightmares for my entire team. But, all things considered, I think getting Cloyster in for a Smash is the best way to go.

So I switch in Drapion, who dies to the Gigavolt Havoc. Cloyster Smashes while it Tbolts and Cloyster hangs on to 1 HP thanks to the Focus Sash. Cloyster is thankfully not paralyzed, and kills Raikou with a Spear. I am fortunate the next two pokemon are Latios and Azelf, who are both easily dispatched by +2 Cloyster with its awesome Icicle Spear of doom. Sigh of relief, and the streak continues.
Battle 74
Veteran Candy
Tornadus - Kommo-o - Latias
Battle Video

The VERY NEXT BATTLE is against Veteran Candy, who can run the exact same pokemon as Ignacio previously. This time, she leads with Tornadus, who sucks big time, since Tornadus 4's Prankster Taunt is one of my biggest fears for Durant. It turns out, I did draw a Prankster Tornadus, but fortunately it was Tornadus 3. Durant Entrained and I quick-swept Candy's team with +6 Cloyster. Easy battle, except for the nail-biting first turn.

At this point in the streak, I'm seriously doubting my luck will hold up long enough for me to even get enough wins to qualify for the Smogon leaderboard. This team just has too many problems with too many leads, and it feels like I'm struggling or at least getting scared 2 out of every 3 battles or more.
Battle 82
Hiker Vivek
Slowking - Cofagrigus - Tyranitar
Battle Video

Another really careless move could have cost me the streak here. Vivek led with Slowking, which is an easy Entrainement and sweep right? Wrong, if you don't pay attention. I Entrained Slowking 4 and didn't realize it Trick Roomed on me. I switched in Drapion to setup and for some odd reason, decided to Substitute instead of Protect. I guess I was predicting the Z-Move and decided to let it hit my Substitute instead of hitting me through the Protect. I really don't know. But I completely forgot Trick Room was in effect, and Slowking would move first. I watched in horror as the Hydro Vortex animation played in front of my naked Drapion, preparing to get pounded by a massive 175 BP special move. Fortunately, Drapion survives in the red, and I was able to setup fully and sweep. I thank my stars that my very, very stupid mistake did not cost me the battle.
Battle 93
Ace Trainer Sylvia
Incineroar - Delphox - Houndoom
Battle Video

I figured this was the end of the streak, as it started exactly as I feared my loss would happen. Incineroar led and it turned out to be Incineroar 4 as the Quick Claw fired and Durant died to a Flare Blitz before it could use Entrainment. At that point, the best I could do was bring in Cloyster to Shell Smash and hope the Quick Claw wouldn't fire after Cloyster's Sash was broken. Incineroar used Cross Chop and missed as Cloyster Shell Smashed. That was a huge lucky break for me, since it meant I could get to +4 with another Shell Smash. Cloyster did that and Incineroar hit the Cross Chop the second time and broke the Sash, leaving Cloyster at 1 HP. It all came down to a dice roll as to whether the Quick Claw fired or not with Cloyster attacking, and fortunately Incineroar didn’t get the Quick Claw priority. From there, +4 Cloyster was a monster and easily swept the Delphox and Houndoom in the back.

This battle is partly a testimony to how awesome Cloyster is as an all-purpose game saver (even without the extra Smash, Cloy would still have swept). It's also a blueprint for how easily this team can be beaten. Just one Quick Claw on a pokemon with a move (or a crit) that KO's Durant, and you're praying for the win.
Battle 100
Captain Mallow
Comfey - Trevenant - Sceptile
Battle Video

Major milestone battle was an easy Drapion setup sweep.
Warstories through Battle 200
Battle 102
Veteran Aido
Medicham - Gardevoir - Oranguru
Battle Video

Another battle that looked like a textbook start to a loss for this team. Medicham led and turned out to be Medicham 4, as it Mega evolved on a Detect. I’m still wondering why it didn't Fake Out first, but regardless it prevented the Entrainment either way, putting me in a bad spot. I didn't do the damage calculation for Mega Medicham, and I guess I was assuming Durant would survive the HJK, like it survives HJK from normal Medicham. Obviously, I was very wrong, as Durant dies in every case to Mega Medicham 4 HJK, and as Durant bit the dust, I sensed the end of this streak could be near. But I knew Cloyster could kill Medicham and perhaps I could get lucky with the pokemon in the back. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Cloyster Smashed and at +2 got a cake walk with Gardevoir and Oranguru in reserve for Aido. The streak continues!
Battle 130
Golisopod - Bisharp - Toxapex
Battle Video

This was a relatively easy Cloyster sweep, but it was a wake up call for me as to why I should fear Guzma, since he carries several problem pokemon for my team. Foremost among them is Toxapex, who can Protect (Baneful Bunker) and can survive everything Cloyster throws at it. And with a potential Red Card, Toxapex can force out a fully setup Cloyster and ruin everything. Guzma also carries Golisopod, who also survives everything +6 Cloyster can do. Although I won this battle easily, afterwards I looked closer at what Guzma carries and noticed a few other threats. Liepard can Prankster Sand Attack and ruin Durant's Entrainment, or perhaps Prankster Twave and Par hax Durant the first turn as well. Five of the seven pokemon Guzma can use have access to Sucker Punch, which can cause problems for a Cloyster sweep. So, all in all, every time I faced Guzma after this battle, I went to Drapion for the setup, even if Durant was unscathed after the first turn.
Battle 144
Youngster Napoleon
Raikou - Azelf - Tornadus
Battle Video

Another "Oh no, I'm screwed" battle with a Raikou lead and a few other suprises from this brat Napoleon. I got off the Entrainment with Durant, only to shit my pants as Raikou Volt Switched on the very first turn and brought out Azelf. So I went to Cloyster to take a hit so I could bring back Durant and Entrain the elf. Cloyster took an Acrobatics hit, which meant this was Azelf 1 and it could Explode at any time. So I stayed in with Cloyster and sure enough, Azelf went boom and killed itself and Cloyster. I went back to Durant and hoped to Entrain whatever came next. Tornadus was the mystery 3rd pokemon Napoleon sent out, which could have ended my streak if it was Prankster Tornadus 2 and used a status move that thwarts Entrainment. Tornadus tends to use Hurricane on Durant, since it KO's Durant, but you never know for sure. Fortunately, Tornadus used Hurricane, and got Entrained for Drapion to come in and setup sweep.
Battle 147
Preschooler Niara
Infernape - Serperior - Empoleon
Battle Video

Niara had all the things that should have ended with a loss for my team. I played risky and got stuck in a terrible spot, and I was saved by a few interesting choices by the AI.

Infernape led and Niara can have Infernape 3 or 4, both of which have Fake Out. However, typically the AI doesn't Fake Out on the first turn if it can KO Durant, and of course Infernape 3 or 4 can KO Durant with a big Fire move. So I got the Entrainment off as Durant died to Flare Blitz, which means it was Infernape 4.

I normally go to Drapion when Durant dies on the first turn, but this time I went to Cloyster and I'm not totally sure why. I guess I was afraid of Infernape killing itself with Flare Blitz recoil in a long Drapion setup, and perhaps I was also worried about getting caught off guard by an untimely Encore from Nape 4 against Drapion. Or maybe I was just wanting to get through the battle quickly and took a risk. I don't know. But in came Cloyster, who Shell Smashed three times, dispatched Infernape, and was ready for an easy sweep.

Serperior was up next for Niara, and Icicle Spear missed, revealing that it was Serperior 3 with Brightpowder. Not great, but manageable, thanks to Cloyster's trusty Focus Sash. The next Icicle Spear landed and fainted Serperior, leaving Cloyster with only 1 HP to face the third and final pokemon. I cringed as Niara sent out Empoleon. Not many things can stand up to Cloyster at +6, but Empoleon is one of the best at it. It giggles at Icicle Spears with a 4x resist and also brushes off Surfs with a 2x resist and good Special Defense. With a broken Focus Sash, Cloyster was doomed. Cloyster took a big chunk out of Empoleon with +6 Surf, putting it into the yellow, and died to an Icy Wind, revealing it to be Empoleon 3.

I was almost certainly not analyzing everything very well at the time, since I typically panic when the battle goes off the rails like that. But it's somewhat interesting to note that the AI went with a lower-powered, less accurate Icy Wind to faint Cloyster, instead of the higher-powered, more accurate ICe Beam or Surf. I know the AI does not factor in move accuracy very much its decisions, and I know it will sometimes use less damaging moves if it is still assured of a KO. In particular this comes into play with Cloyster at 1 HP, and the opponent sometimes pulls out a priority move, when they almost never use priority moves against full health pokemon. So the choice of Icy Wind was notable, but not that far out of the norm for the AI.

It's also interesting that Empoleon did NOT use Subzero Slammer to faint Cloyster. In most of my battles, it appeared the AI would use its Z-Crystal the first time it uses a move of a type that matches the Z-Crystal, regardless of whether it makes sense to use the Z-Crystal or not. For example, in my many battles against Captain Mallow and others that used Comfey 3 leads, I got used to Comfey using Z-Grassy Terrain on the very first turn instead of saving the Grassium Z to use Bloom Doom later. Perhaps the AI thinks the defense boost from Z-Grassy Terrain is the best move. I assumed it was because the AI was using a grass move and had a Grassium Z, and wasn't smart enough to realize the move wasn't the best Grass move in its set. Occasionally I would see the AI not use it's Z-Crystal at the first opportunity, but it was rare. The use of a Z-Crystal was typically something I paid attention to, particularly on the first turn. Because attacking Z-moves hit through Protect, which means it will break Cloyster's Sash as it sets up. If a lead can have a Z-Crystal intact after being Entrained by Durant, I almost always go to Drapion for the setup. So I watched Z moves very carefully in this streak, and didn't see the AI "save" its Z-Crystal very often. I wasn't facing Empoleon as a lead, and Cloyster's Sash was already broken, so I doubt I paid much attention to the fact that Icy Wind was used instead of Subzero Slammer. But it's interesting to note now later as I play it back.

Much more interesting than any of that above, and what turned out to be the key to me pulling out the win, was the AI's obsession with using Icy Wind in this battle.

Like I said, I probably didn't realize the AI used Icy Wind instead of another more powerful move to faint Cloyster. I definitely noticed the move itself (Icy Wind) and used it to uniquely identify that I was facing Empoleon 3. But I didn't realize the AI was specifically opting for a lesser-powered attack.

I brought out Drapion, and was assuming it was a surefire loss for me at that point. Empoleon not only had an intact Z-Crystal, but it carried both Surf and Ice Beam. Empoleon had plenty of PP and could easily break Drapion's substitutes. On top of that, the Z-Crystal or lack thereof meant Drapion's Knock Off would be at a paltry 65 base power, making it a 2HKO at this point against Empoleon in the yellow at 40% HP or so. I was screwed. But at least Drapion was faster than Empoleon, which meant I could fish for it to use Mist or something when I put up a sub and maybe I could sneak in an Acupressure and get a lucky boost or something.

So I Protected the first turn, and sure enough Empoleon used its Icium Z to fire off a Subzero Slammer. Z-moves do 25% of their normal damage against Protect and Drapion took 18 HP from the hit. I wasn't paying attention to the exact damage being done at the time, but in doing the calculations later, it's obvious that Empoleon used Icy Wind as the basis for the Subzero Slammer, because the Slammer was only at 100 BP instead of the 175 BP it would have been if it had used Ice Beam as the basis of the Z-Move. This wasn't a huge deal in the battle, but it does add to the mystery as to how the AI chooses to use Z-Moves, since it CLEARLY was not the best way to use the Icium Z. And although the amount of damage that got through the Protect was not a big deal either way for Drapion, the signal that the AI REALLY WANTED to get in an Icy Wind, was very important in the battle and saved my ass in the end.

I'm sure other experienced facility battlers know this very well, but I'm pretty sure I didn't know it at the time -- if a pokemon has Icy Wind and is slower than its opponent, it will almost always go for the Icy Wind in order to get the speed drop. I put up a Substitute since I had Protected before, and fully expected to have the Sub broken by a Surf or Ice Beam. I was stunned when Empoleon used Icy Wind instead, and the Substitute held up! Later doing damage calcs, it turns out Icy Wind does 22%-27% to Drapion, so I was lucky Icy Wind didn't break the sub. With the free turn, I used Knock Off to put Empoleon into the red and one hit away from victory. I used Subsitute again on the next turn, praying it would use Icy Wind again, and it did. The sub held up, and I was able to finish off the battle with Knock Off.

Again, I didn't realize this at the time, but the AI must have a MASSIVE preference to get in that Icy Wind, because I replayed the battle later and checked Empoleon's ability. It was Torrent. Which means when I sent Empoleon into the red on that first Knock Off, it could use Surf with a 50% boost. Even with the boosted damage (and we know the AI is aware of some ability boosts, maybe not pinch abilities, I guess), it STILL chose to go with Icy Wind again. Baffling to me. But it was the INCREDIBLE lucky break I needed to turn an almost certain loss into a win.
Battle 157
Cook? Dancer?
Wishiwashi -

This was one of the luckiest battles in my entire streak, and from the very beginning of the battle I assumed I was doomed. I somehow screwed up and didn't save the video, I guess. I came back later to replay the team to see if I could develop a better strategy, and the video wasn't there. The battle was several months ago as I type this, so I don't remember all the exact turns. But I do remember it was Battle 157 and I remember the general elements of incredible luck that allowed me to win an almost unwinnable battle.

From the beginning of this streak, I knew I really had no good answer for the new Gen 7 pokemon that can't change their abilities, who make the entire Durant Entrainment strategy worthless. In the back of my mind, I figured I would sacrifice something or maybe use one of Durant's attacks to dent the lead, and then try to take it out with Cloyster or something. But I knew I was pretty much screwed in many of these cases, and that's why I didn't have much faith this team could build a long streak. I was basically playing the streak until one of those impossible leads showed up (assuming the many other ways this team can be beat didn't happen), and then expected to throw in the towel. You can read elsewhere in this post about how I planned to play against most threatening leads, but the ability-locked lead pokemon I feared most of all was Wishiwashi. I knew I had no chance against it. It can't be Entrained, it was powerful as hell in School Form to start the battle, and it resisted both of Cloyster's attacks, and Cloyster was my all-purpose Plan B for pretty much every situation where Turn 1 goes wrong. Besides hoping I never faced a lead Wishiwashi, I loosely planned to just hit it as much as possible and hope to get it to switch to Solo Form and perhaps I could setup on it. Not much of a plan, since my plan was really to just take the loss and enjoy the Battle Points I racked up, which was the whole purpose of this team in the first place.

I'm not sure exactly who the trainer was, but I think it was a Cook. Maybe it was Dancer Jo or Tasanee. I've looked back through the list of Trainers that carry Wishiwashi and I seem to recall it was a Cook, but I'm really not sure now.

So out came a Wishiwashi lead. As I said, I knew this moment would come eventually in the streak, and I knew I was pretty much doomed. I decided to just hit Wishiwashi as much as I could and hope to get it into Solo Form and perhaps setup on it with Drapion. As I recall, the battle went something like this:

Durant uses X-Scissor and does about 30% to Wishiwashi (70% left)
Wishwashi uses Hydro Pump (revealing it was Wishiwashi 4) and MISSES!

I think I may have a chance here if I can KO Wishiwashi and bring back Durant, so...
I switch out Durant and send out Cloyster
Wishiwashi Hydro Pumps Cloyster and breaks Cloyster's Focus Sash

Cloyster uses Icicle Spear and does about 30% to Wishiwashi (40% left)
Wishiwashi uses Hydro Pump and KO's Cloyster
I send out Drapion

Drapion uses Protect
Wishiwashi uses Hydro Pump (No damage)

Drapion uses Substitute
Wishiwashi uses Hydro Pump and MISSES!

Drapion uses Acupressure and gets an EVASION BOOST!
Wishiwashi uses Ice Beam and MISSES!

Drapion uses Knock Off and takes Wishiwashi down to a red sliver
Wishiwashi uses something and breaks Drapion's sub
Wishiwashi changes to Solo Form

That may not have been the exact sequence and damage numbers to start the battle, but I distinctly remember it was Wishiwashi 4 missing Hydro Pump multiple times and the first chance I got to use Acupressure on Drapion, I got an evasion boost and more moves missed.

From there, I don't think I actually KO'd Wishiwashi with Drapion. I remember getting a few more Acupressures and all the boosts were favorable, including at least one Attack boost. At some point, Solo Form Wishiwashi U-Turned out to something else, and whatever came in was an easy kill for Drapion but not safe to keep setting up on, so I fainted it with Drapion and still had an intact Substitute. I don't remember whether I brought in Durant and Entrained the third Pokemon or not. But it was a breeze of a battle after Wishiwashi got beat down.

This battle was the only time I faced a lead Wishiwashi the entire streak (as I type this at 500+ battles), and it's the one battle I REALLY wish I would have saved for rebattling to see if there was any reasonable strategy for it. I still haven't theorymonned very much specifically about playing against a Wishiwashi lead. My general sense is still that I'm pretty much doomed against Wishiwashi. I just happened to get amazingly, incredibly lucky in my one battle against it.
Battle 175
Black Belt Chucky
Medicham - Probopass - Goodra
Battle Video

A similar battle to #102 getting lucky against a team with lead Medicham 4 that probably would have been a loss for me otherwise. In this case, lead Medicham mega-evolved on Detect. I stayed in with Durant, probably hoping to get lucky with Cloyster like I did before. But incredibly, the HJK missed Durant on the loafing turn. So I Entrained on the 3rd turn, which had the added bonus of removing Pure Power from MegaMedicham, allowing Durant to easily survive the HJK. With a Truant lead and a healthy Durant, I just went to Cloyster and boosted for the clean, fast sweep.

What's telling is that the next pokemon sent out against Cloyster was Probopass. I haven't checked on which Probopass it was, but either one Chucky carries would probably beat Cloyster if it was only at +2 with a broken Sash -- which is most likely where it would be if Durant died to HJK and Cloyster took out Mega Medicham. Probopass and Goodra 4 (Chucky's last pokemon) also probably beat Drapion too, unless Drapion got lucky. So this battle was yet another should-have-been-loss that turned out to be an easy win.
Battle 185
Madam Gracie
Latias - Uxie - Heatran
Battle Video

This battle shows what a speed stud Scarf Durant is.

Lead Latias got Entrained just fine, but landed a Thunder that did not kill Durant, but paralyzed it. Depending on how risky I want to play, I sometimes will still go to Cloyster for the fast win, even with a paralyzed Durant. Later in the battle, you will see that things went sideways for Cloyster, but Durant was far from useless even when paralyzed against a not-slow opponent with a surefire OHKO move on Durant.

Cloyster came in and set up to +6 and KO'ed Latias easily and did the same to Uxie. When Heatran came in, I knew I had to use Surf since Heatran laughs at Icicle Spear, which meant if it was Heatran 1 with a Focus Sash, that I wouldn't get the OHKO. I wasn’t worried since Cloyster still had its Focus Sash intact, so if I had to Surf it twice it was no big deal. Sure enough, it was Heatran 1 and held on at 1 HP. But to my surprise, after it hit Cloyster with Lava Plume and took Cloyster down to 1 HP and broke Cloyster's Sash -- Cloyster got BURNED! The burn damage fainted Cloyster, and Heatran survived. This wasn't a big deal because Drapion is faster than Heatran 1 and can't be OHKO'ed by any of Heatran 1's attacks. So I wasn’t in jeopardy. But I decided to show off a bit and bring in Durant for the ego kill. Even paralyzed, thanks to the Gen 7 change to the PAR speed drop, my Scarf Durant is still an impressive 130 speed, and easily outspeeds Heatran 1. So I used a 4x weak X-Scissor to clip off the last remaining HP from Heatran, lol.

(Yes, I know there was a chance of full paralysis, but remember Drapion was still in the back.)
Warstories through Battle 300
Battle 205
Janitor Paulo
Mimikyu - Toxicroak - Vanilluxe
Battle Video

This was one of only two battles in the streak so far where I faced a new Gen 7 ability-locked lead pokemon, in this case Mimikyu. I added Iron Head to my Durant instead of Confide, partly because of Mimikyu. Any attack works to break Disguise, even a resisted move like X-Scissor. But I figured a super-effective Iron Head is probably nice to have if Durant wants to hit Mimikyu with Diguise broken. But, I hadn't really thought too much about my strategy against Mimikyu. I kinda just planned to hit it with stuff until it died and then try to win with whatever I had left. Not a great plan, of course. Particularly after thinking about it, and rebattling this team, I found a fairly reliable strategy for this team versus Mimikyu. But like most of my tough battles in this streak, I played it on tilt, but got lucky and won easily anyway.

Paulo sent out Mimikyu, and of course I knew I couldn't Entrain it. I wanted to break its Disguise with Durant, and see which Mimikyu I was facing. I used Iron Head and broke Disguise, and got the lucky flinch on Mimikyu! With an undamaged Durant, I switched to Cloyster, and I’m not exactly sure why. Since I really had no idea what Mimikyu I was facing, and I didn't have a clear strategy worked out beforehand, there was no reason to just bring in Cloyster blindly. I was probably so surprised to have a full health Durant and a broken Disguise, I was stupidly thinking that Cloyster could dent or faint Mimikyu and Drapion could clean up and Durant could come in later to Entrain and Drapion would setup sweep. I don’t know. I probably just did it without thinking clearly at all.

So I switched in Cloyster and Mimikyu Swords Danced! With my entire team still at full health, I knew it was pretty much gg at that point. Mimikyu used Wood Hammer to take Cloyster down to 1 HP and Cloyster Shell Smashed. Cloyster then proceeded to take out Mimikyu and the Toxicroak that came next. Cloyster dented Vanilluxe with Surf, and I actually finished off the battle with Durant using a super-effective Iron Head.

After replaying the battle a few times, it turns out that switching to Cloyster was not a bad strategy against this opponent. For battle planning purposes, let's assume Durant doesn’t flinch the Mimikyu on the first Iron Head. In that case, the Mimikyu in this battle Swords Dances almost every time, so you should find out it's Mimikyu 3. In every test battle I did, Mimikyu 3 always Swords Danced on the second turn too. Which makes sense, because Mimikyu 3 can’t do much to Durant without a ton of boosts. Durant is very durable against Mimikyu 3 and will survive the loafing turn whether Mimikyu hits or not. On the third turn, Durant has a decent chance to KO most Mimikyu with a super-effective Iron Head (it does 89%-107% to Mimikyu 3), so you can go for the KO on Mimikyu if you want. But if it doesn't KO Mimikyu, Durant could get pounded for 75%-88% by a +4 Shadow Claw, and gets KO'ed if Shadow Claw crits, and remember Shadow Claw is a high-crit move.

So rather than Durant staying in on the loafing turn and going for the KO on turn 3, it's better to switch to Cloyster while Mimikyu Swords Dances the second time on turn 2. From there, you should probably play it like I did and Shell Smash and kill Mimikyu. You can then decide whether to hit the next pokemon with +2 Spear/Surf or sacrifice Cloyster and use Durant to Entrain the next Pokemon. It's definitely safer to Entrain anything you can at the first opportunity. Paulo (and most trainers) carry plenty of Pokemon that can Protect or otherwise thwart Entrainment, so when Paulo sent out Toxicroak I really should have sacrificed Cloyster and Entrained it with Durant. Paulo carries 13 pokemon that can Protect or Fake Out Durant. So by killing Toxicroak, I ran a risk of facing one of those. And many of those 13 pokemon would likely win one-on-one versus Drapion. So better safe than sorry.
Battle 206
Veteran Xenophon
Dhelmise - Virizion - Comfey
Battle Video

I saved this battle because it shows a decent way to handle Dhelmise 4 leads. It Protected on Turn 1 against Durant and then used Phantom Force on Durant's loafing turn. This is an unwinnable situation for Durant, because Durant is faster than Dhelmise. So when Durant uses Entrainment on Turn 3, Dhelmise is still in the unhittable phase of Phantom Force so the Entrainment fails and then Durant eats the Phantom Force at the end of Turn 3. Dhelmise will continue this cycle and has a good chance to KO Durant without Durant getting a successfull Entrainment.

So a better strategy is to go Drapion. Drapion resists the Phantom Force and is a big threat to Dhelmise. So Dhelmise will prefer to Protect on Drapion as much as it can. As you can see in the battle video, by predicting that Dhemise will Protect every other turn, I was able to put up Substitutes and Acupressure on Dhemise's Protect turns and Drapion Protected on Dhemise's Anchor Shots. I was able to safely get Drapion boosted up and swept Xenophon easily.
Battle 251
Dancer Tasanee
Decidueye - Arcanine - Snorlax
Battle Video

This battle caught me a little by surprise. Decidueye was the lead and Durant got the Entrainment. But Decidueye Baton Passed to Arcanine immediately. I knew Durant would die to a fire move next, so I switched to Cloyster to sacrifice it and brought back Durant to Entrain Arcanine. The Entrainment worked and Arcanine fainted Durant with Overheat. From there Drapion had to go it alone, but was able to comfortably boost up all the way and sweep. Not a hard battle at all, but it always makes me nervous to have one lone pokemon against all 3 opposing pokemon.
Battle 253
Black Belt Iniko
Glaceon - Mamoswine - Scrafty
Battle Video

Scary battle with a first turn that could have ended the streak. Iniko sent out Glaceon who Detected on the first turn. I decided to stay in with Durant and eat the Blizzard on the loafing turn. Fortunately Blizzard didn't freeze me, so I went for the Entrainment on Turn 3 and missed! Gotta hate those Brightpowder leads. So Durant died to the Blizzard, and I had to go to my trusty all-purpose Plan B - Cloyster. I got lucky that Glaceon Detected first against Cloyster, so Cloyster got a free Shell Smash and then Shell Smashed again as Glaceon hit Cloyster down to 1 HP on the Sash. Cloyster at +4 is pretty damn good in the Tree. Surf hit Glaceon and fainted it. Next up was Mamoswine who fainted to Surf as well. Last was Scrafty, who Intimidated Cloyster down to +3 Attack. But even at +3, Icicle Spear was able to KO Scrafty. Cloyster is so awesome!
Battle 269
Sightseer Christian
Espeon - Latios - Vikavolt
Battle Video

Here's battle that demonstrates the way I usually played Espeon, who can have Magic Bounce. Durant attacks with X-Scissor and is a guaranteed OHKO against Espeon 1, 3, and 4 (Christian only carries 3 or 4). I rebattled this Espeon, and yes it turned out to have Magic Bounce. After killing Espeon, the typical strategy is to switch to Cloyster and try to setup/sweep if Cloyster gets in undamaged or sacrifice Cloyster and bring back Durant to Entrain at the first safe opportunity. In this battle, Cloyster got really lucky with Latias Dragon Dancing and even missed a Zen Headbutt, so Cloyster got a lot of boosts and easily swept.
Battle 271
Madam Donnie
Uxie - Kommo-o - Mesprit
Battle Video

This was a battle that caught me completely off-guard because I did not know Future Sight hit through Protect. Uxie led and was Entrained by Durant as it set up a Z-Reflect. Since Durant was undamaged, I went to Cloyster to setup and sweep quickly. During Cloyster's setup, Uxie used Future Sight, which didn't worry me because I knew I would be Protecting two turns later when the Future Sight landed. Stupid me. Imagine my horror as Cloyster got pounded down to 1 HP while Protecting! To top that off, because Uxie had boosted Defense from the Z-Reflect, and also had a Reflect up after Cloyster finished boosting, Cloyster's +6 Icicle Spear barely got Uxie into the yellow. So Cloyster Protected again and Uxie used Future Sight again. Very annoying. Cloyster fainted Uxie and the Kommo-o that followed, but died to the Future Sight. I brought Durant in to Entrain the Mesprit and Drapion setup and fainted it. Lesson learned to use Drapion to sweep when Uxie-2 is the lead.
Battle 283
Madam Gracie
Articuno - Latias - Azelf
Battle Video

I played badly and I got lucky with the AI in this battle to pull out the win. Articuno led and Protected. I stayed in with Durant and Articuno used Tailwind while Durant loafed. Articuno Protected again on the third turn and Durant's Entrainment failed again. On the fourth turn, Articuno landed a critical hit Blizzard while Durant loafed. I was flustered and didn't notice that Articuno's Blizzard hit BEFORE the Truant notice, which would have reminded me that Articuno 4 under Tailwind is faster than my Scarf Durant. I missed that tidbit completely, and was shocked when Articuno fainted Durant with Blizzard on the next turn before I could get off an Entrainment. I figured I would lose for sure at that point.

Fortunately, I was able to bring in Drapion and setup all the way on Articuno, who used Tailwind and Protect a lot as I Acupressured. From there it was an easy Drapion sweep.

Interesting notes:
Articuno didn't switch out, even after it could not use any more damaging moves. This indicates the AI didn't realize it was effectively out of damaging moves, since Sky Drop can't be used against a Substitute. But it is smart enough to know not to use Sky Drop on a Sub, because it will fail. Interesting little AI glitch there.

When using Acupressure in this battle, I did not get a single SpAtk boost in the first 18 uses of the move. This happened many, many other times in this streak where one stat did not get boosted at all until the very last 3 uses of Acupressure.

In later testing against this opponent, if you really want to get the Entrainment off against Articuno, proper play would be switch to Cloyster after the first Entrain failed, Protect twice in a row with Cloyster, switch back to Durant and Articuno should Protect and fail. Entrain again and Articuno will Protect again. Articuno will Tailwind while Durant loafs. Then Entrain again and eat a Blizzard, hopefully not getting frozen.


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Battle Warstories - 2 of 2

Below are videos and extensive warstories for interesting battles in the second half of my 613 win streak posted above.

Warstories through Battle 400
Battle 360
Espeon - Slowbro - Whimsicott
Battle Video

I hate Dexio because he has so many problem pokemon for my team, and this battle scared the crap out of me that I might lose. It actually made me think twice about my strategy against lead Espeon with Dexio, after realizing how this battle COULD have played out.

Espeon was the lead so I followed my standard strategy of fainting it with Durant's X-Scissor instead of going for the Entrainment and failing due to Magic Bounce (I rebattled this opponent later and discovered it was a Synchronize Espeon, btw). Dexio sent out Slowbro next. I guess I hadn't looked too closely at Slowbro's movesets up to the this point, so I never thought much about what problems it could cause me. But when facing this Slowbro, I realized that if it was Slowbro 4, I could be in really big trouble. Slowbro 4 is the Trick Room Mega Slowbro.

Durant just used X-Scissor so it was a sitting duck. I had to switch out and sac something (probably Cloyster) in order to get Durant back in to Entrain Slowbro. But if it was Slowbro 4, it would probably throw up Trick Room immediately, making it faster than everything on my team for the next four turns. And nothing on my team can last long against a Mega Slowbro under Trick Room with three big special attacks coming from a huge 130 base SpAtk stat. I haven't worked out all the exact damages and turn-by-turn best moves for me, but I suspect it doesn't end well for me.

Looking at the Slowbro in front of me, I could only pray it was Slowbro 3. I switched out to Cloyster and breathed a sigh of relief as it turned out to be Slowbro 3. I brought back in Durant, Entrained Slowbro, setup Drapion, and swept easily.

From then on, I seriously considered risking the Entrainment on Dexio lead Espeons. If the Entrainment succeeds, then it's gg right there. If it fails due to Magic Bounce, Drapion can setup on Espeon 3 and can handle Espeon 4 without any trouble. If Slowbro 4 then comes out on Drapion, it can Sub/Protect stall the Trick Room and time its sacrifice such that Durant comes out right as Trick Room ends. Durant can then Entrain it and Cloyster can setup sweep.

I never had to test this strategy, as after this battle every lead Dexio Espeon I faced turned out to be Synchronize. Lucky me!
Battle 365
Bellhop Donna
Lopunny - Bewear - Hariyama
Battle Video

Another battle where I didn't really think about what I was doing, and put myself in a bad spot. Again, like countless other times during this streak, I got lucky and pulled out the win anyway.

It was a Lopunny lead, and Donna only carries Lopunny 3 or 4, both of which are Mega Lopunny. It turned out to be Lopunny 3 as it Mega Evolved on a Fake Out on Durant. I stayed in on the loafing turn surviving the HJK from Mega Lopunny. On Turn 3, I got the Entrainment off as Durant died to another HJK. Since Durant was gone, I took the normal safe route and brought in Drapion to setup and sweep. A fairly standard start to a battle against a Protect/Fake Out lead, right? Wrong.

When Drapion came in, I realized I had a problem on my hands with a High Jump Kicking Mega Lopunny. If I Protect, Lopunny will crash, taking a huge chunk of its health. On top of that, if HJK misses, with any evasion boosts from Drapion greatly increasing the likelihood of a miss, Lopunny crashes as well. I figured Mega Lopunny could only crash twice before it died. So now I'm really screwed. Durant is gone and my slow setup sweeper is in place, requiring lots of Acupressure turns to get into a safe sweeping position. But I can't Protect, and for once I don't want my opponent to miss!

Fortunately, all the HJK's from Lopunny connect, as Drapion subs repeatedly on Lopunny's loafing turns and uses Acupressure on Lopunny's attacking turns. I don't get very many boosts before Drapion starts getting low on health. I have to Protect, knowing that I'll only get two HJK crashes before Lopunny faints. By the time Lopunny went out, I got Acupressure boosts in the following order:
Accuracy, Defense, Evasion, Sp. Defense, Evasion

Bewear came out next and Drapion had a Substitute in place. So I Acupressure and get a third Evasion boost, putting me at maximum +6 Evasion. Evasion was the key stroke of luck that saved my ass this battle. Bewear proceeded to miss almost every attack on me, as Drapion piled on Acupressures. Unfortunately, I kept getting Accuracy, Special Attack, and Speed boosts versus Bewear, when I really, really needed Attack boosts since Bewear was Fluffy and resisted Knock Off! I finally got to +4 Attack I think, and started hitting Bewear repeatedly with Knock Off, barely chipping away at its health. Fortunately, Bewear's attacks continued to miss Drapion, allowing me to finally KO it after several hits. Donna's final pokemon was Hariyama who missed Drapion and fainted to two Knock Offs.

I never faced another Lopunny lead in the streak, and I never worked out an exact strategy for it. But I'm sure there's a better way to play it than I did, by using Protects to make Lopunny take itself out and keeping Durant alive to Entrain the second pokemon somewhow.
Battle 366
Dancer Variel
Kingdra - Marowak - Blastoise
Battle Video

The very next battle, I had yet another nervous start to a battle against Kingdra 4 that Protected against Entrainment. I was also pretty lucky that Cloyster was able to double Protect when I was sacrificing it, as it ate the Devastating Drake from Kingdra. I was able to get off the Entrainment on Kingdra eventually and setup sweep with Drapion. But still, a crit on Durant would have been a loss for sure.
Battle 368
Breeder Izel
Dhelmise - Bronzong - Turtonator
Battle Video

Another battle like #206 against a lead Dhelmise 4. But in this battle I didn't get the right predictions and got caught by an Anchor Shot, which I didn't realize had the effect of preventing me from switching. I'm not exactly sure what my thought process was at that point, but I guess I decided to just faint Dhelmise and sacrifice Drapion. I got Bronzong next and it exploded on Drapion taking it out. I was able to Entrain the final pokemon Turtonator and faint it with Cloyster. Not too tough of a battle, but I was a bit lucky that one of the many things that could have gone wrong for me, didn't.
Battles 374-376
Three straight battles where Durant was fainted on the first turn, but I went with Cloyster for the sweep instead of Drapion because of choice item leads. Choice Band Archeops leads twice in a row (!) in battles 374 & 375 and Choice Scarf Entei in battle 376. All three battles worked out fine, but as I have stated a few times already, I hate to go with Cloyster when Durant is fainted.
Battle 377
Durant did its thing and Drapion setup all the way and fainted the lead. Weavile came out next and Faked Out Drapion. Drapion hit Weavile with Knock Off the next turn, but it had a Focus Sash and held on with 1 HP. It turned out to be a Pickpocket Weavile and stole Drapion's Black Sludge on the contact move and no Sash. Black Sludge did damage to Weavile and faints it anyway. Haha! Gotta love foiling those damn Focus Sash mons!
Battle 387
Cook Tony
Chandelure - Clawitzer - Exeggutor
Battle Video

This battle went way off the rails for me, one of the worst in the entire streak. This could have been a loss SO EASILY. I still kinda shake my head as to how I made it through this one.

Tony sent out Chandelure as the lead. Bad luck for me, it was Chandelure 3 as it Protected on Durant's Entrainment. Since it was a fire lead, I knew Durant would die on the loafing turn, so I brought in Cloyster to eat the attack. Cloyster used Overheat on Cloyster and brought it down to 1 HP on Cloyster's sash. Chandelure used its White Herb to restore the SpAtk drop from the Overheat. Chandelure 3 does not invest EV's in Speed, so Cloyster was faster and got off a Surf, doing about 70% to Chandelure. Chandelure used Overheat again to faint Cloyster, and dropped to -2 SpAtk.

I brought back Durant and prayed Chandelure would go for the kill on Durant and not Protect again. My heart sank as it Protected yet again. I knew Durant would loaf and die to an Overheat, but I already sacrificed my "designated sacrifice mon" - Cloyster. I figured I was screwed.

Even with hundreds of battles under my belt on this streak, I still freak out when things go south for me. In this battle, I don't know what my strategy was at the time, but I'm pretty sure I was at least a little flustered. I was probably thinking that Chandelure was already at -2 and had already used a couple of Overheats. I knew it would use another Overheat to faint Durant, and it would drop to -4 SpAtk. Knowing Drapion was faster than Chandelure, and with the SpAtk drops, limited Overheat PP, and Drapion resisting Shadow Ball - I probaby figured my best bet was to try to setup Drapion on Chandelure. So that's what I did. I left Durant in, and sure enough, it died to Overheat.

Drapion came in and the next few turns went like this:

Drapion used Protect
Chandelure used Overheat (1 PP left)

Chandelure used Protect
Drapion used Substitute

Drapion used Acupressure (Speed goes to +2)
Chandelure used Overheat and missed! (no PP left)

Chandelure used Protect
Drapion used Acupressure (SpDef goes to +2)

Drapion used Acupressure (SpAtk goes to +2)
Chandelure used Will-O-Wisp and Drapion IS BURNED!

Oh shit! I completely forgot that Chandelure could have Infiltrator! So I was really freaking out. I had a Burned Drapion which meant that any damage Drapion took would not heal back, since Black Sludge recovery and Burn damage offset each other. Chandelure was at -4 SpAtk and could only use Shadow Ball against my +2 SpDef (at that point) Drapion who resisted the move and would take very little damage from every hit. But the damage would add up. On top of that, Drapion had not gotten any Attack boosts, so with the halving of physical damage from the Burn, Drapion would have a very hard time facing off against the remaining two pokemon in this state. All I could do was Accupressure as much as possible and hope for the best.

Over the next several turns I was able to get Accupressure boosts in the following order:
Speed, Evasion, Defense, Accuracy, Attack, Attack

I had just gotten much-needed back-to-back Attack boosts to help offset the Burn drop. At that point, Drapion was +4 Attack, +4 Speed, +2 Defense, +2 SpDefense, +2 Evasion, +2 Accuracy, with a Substitute up and had 83% HP left. Not ideal by any means, but I figured it would be better to face the next two pokemon with as much HP as possible, rather than to continue boosting and risking getting more worthless boosts and losing precious HP. So I decided to faint Chandelure and go for the sweep.

Fortunately I was able to faint Clawitzer next in 2 hits, and Clawitzer missed its attack. Exeggutor was next and an easy kill being weak to Knock Off. Disaster was averted in this battle, thanks to getting relatively creampuff pokemon from Cook Tony!

After thinking about the battle and rebattling Tony, there was another way of playing it, without having to sacrifice Durant to Chandelure after the second Entrainment attempt failed. Since Chandelure was already at -2 SpAtk at that point, I could have switched to Drapion and only taken about 50% from the Overheat. And since Drapion was faster than Chandelure and Chandelure was only at 30% HP after being Surfed by Cloyster, Drapion would easily KO Chandelure with Knock Off. From there, I would still have a fully healthy Durant that can survive a switch into lots of stuff, and could Entrain the next pokemon and then go to Drapion for the full Accupressure boost-and-sweep. Of course, the key risk is if Durant can switch in safely. In this battle, it would have worked fine, since Clawitzer 3 can't OHKO Durant. But, if it was, say, Clawitzer 4 (the Choice Specs variant), Durant would likely die on the switch to a MegaLauncher Water Pulse or something like that. So, going with this strategy has its risks too.

Also, looking back on how I did play this battle, going it alone with Drapion for the setup against Chandelure, I really didn't need to get too worried, even after getting surprised with the burn and all that. Drapion is a fantastic matchup against Chandelure 3 who couldn't do anything to Drapion. I probably decided to go for the sweep too soon in the battle, as I could have gotten in many more Acupressures, even to a full +6 in every stat, without losing much more HP. There are definitely pokemon that Tony could have had in reserve that could hurt Drapion, and having lots of HP is nice. But a Drapion with a full defensive/evasion setup is a big difference from a Drapion with only +2 in the defensive/evasion stats. I think I should have stayed calm and kept Acupressuring against Chandelure and I would have given myself the best chance to win in that situation.
Warstories through Battle 500
Battle 407
Aether Foundation Haley
Porygon2 - Decidueye - Sylveon
Battle Video

Porygon2 lead with Trace. I think I recorded this battle because it was perhaps the only time in the entire streak where I actually used Protect from Durant. Trace or Truant leads are the main reason I have Protect on Durant at all.
Battle 419
Gentleman Mechabob
Virizion - Thundurus - Cobalion

I was battling while traveling on an airplane during this close battle, and I misclicked or something after this battle and did not save the battle video at the time. But it was a close finish and I wanted to remember it, so I jotted down some notes on paper immediately after the battle. As I was compiling this post, I came across these notes from this surprise twist nailbiter battle, featuring one of the very few pokemon that can actually beat a fully setup Drapion:

Virizion comes out
Entrain gets Protected
Eat a Sacred Sword while Loafing (65% HP)
Entrain gets Protected
Eat another Sacred Sword while loafing (20% HP)
Entrain succeeds, Durant dies
Setup Drapion, KO Virizion
Thundurus comes out 2nd
Thundurus protects (yet another Protect mon)
Thundurus dies to Knock Off
Cobalion comes out 3rd
Knock off does about 75%, knocks off Lax Incense, and activiates Justified
Iron Head breaks Drapion's Sub
Knock Off does another 10%
Iron Head does 30% to Drapion (about 75% left after Black Sludge)
Drapion flinches!
Iron Head does another 30% to Drapion (50% left)
Knock off does another 10% to Cobalion (5% left)
Iron Head does another 30% to Drapion (25% left)
Knock Off KO's Cobalion

My notes only had the sequence of key turns and moves, so I calculated after-the-fact the rough damage amounts above. The damage numbers worked out to match my recollection of the end of the battle. I fainted Cobalian one turn before it probably would have fainted Drapion with another Iron Head. Battles can't get much closer than that! ;-)
Battle 437
Gentleman Mechabob
Thundurus - Tornadus - Regigigas
Battle Video

Here's another battle where pure luck prevented this from being a potential end to the streak.

Mechabob sent out Thundurus first turn. Always scary to see Thundurus or Tornadus leads, because Thundurus/Tornadus 4 can do Prankster Taunt and screw over the whole Entrainment strategy. The good news is that although this was actually a Prankster Thundurus, it wasn't Thundurus 4, so Durant got the Entrainment off. The bad news is that it was Thundurus 3 and it used U-Turn on the very first turn! The worse news is that Mechabob U-Turned into Tornadus next.

This was a terrible situation to be in for this team. Durant was loafing and couldn’t do anything. Mechabob carries all four Tornadus sets, and Tornadus 2 and 4 are both very problematic pokemon. They can do Prankster stuff to thwart Entrainment, prevent setup, or make moves miss. They also both have Hurricane which KO’s everything on my team. My only real strategy in these situations is to go for it with Durant and if Durant faints, switch into Cloyster and get off at least one Shell Smash and then hope the Icicle Spear hits and hope Cloyster can sweep. I had this happen a few times previously in the streak and I won, so I was probably hoping the same at this point in the battle.

I left Durant in, expecting the Hurricane to faint the loafing Durant. Incredibly, the Hurricane missed! Gotta love 70% accuracy moves! Durant got the Entrainment off the next turn and died to Hurricane. Since Durant was gone, and the potential for Tornadus 2 (which sucks for Cloyster), I went to Drapion and finished the setup and sweep of Mechabob’s team.

It’s odd for the AI to choose a resisted move like U-Turn on Durant that very first turn, which is why I typically fear lead Volt Switch sets much more than lead U-Turn sets. But as we all know, the Tree AI may have strong tendencies but very few hard and fast RULES when it comes to battling.
Battle 441
Madame Donny
Cresselia - Heatran - Kommo-o
Battle Video

Careless play could have gotten me in real trouble here.

Donny sent out Cresselia first. Durant Entrained successfully as Cresselia used Swagger and missed. I then knew this was Cresselia 3, which has Double Team and Future Sight in its moveset. Double Team by itself is a red flag for using Cloyster to sweep, and if you read my writeup from Battle #271 I discovered the hard way how much of a problem Future Sight is for setting up Cloyster. So I immediately went to Drapion for the setup without giving it a second thought.

My jaw dropped as Madame Donny withdrew the Cresselia and brought out Heatran! I wasn't thinking enough about Cresselia's entire set, and didn't realize that Cresselia 3 had no way to damage Drapion, since Cresselia's only attack was Future Sight and Drapion is immune to Psychic. This sucked, but it was manageable. I just had to sacrifice Cloyster and Entrain Heatran.

So I did that and brought back Drapion to setup. One wrinkle though... Heatran was only using Earth Power the entire battle and it was faster than Drapion, which meant it was Heatran 4 with the Choice Scarf. Earth Power only has 10 PP and that's not nearly enough turns for Drapion to get setup properly, before Donny would withdraw Heatran for her mystery 3rd pokemon.

I hate using Knock Off before a full setup, even against bulky pokemon like Heatran who can take the hit. The AI has sometimes shown that after moves are used, the AI will switch to pokemon to take advantage of abilities. So against Knock Off, the AI might switch to a Justified or Rattled pokemon. It also might switch to a pokemon that resists the move just used. I've never actually experienced either case of the AI switching after a Knock Off, but I also do it very, very rarely and have never found the time to go back and test it for myself to see how often it occurs. Fortunately, Donny has a limited selection of pokemon and doesn't carry any pokemon with abilities that might trigger a switch to take advantage of Knock Off. But she does have a pokemon in her roster that resists Knock Off in Kommo-o, so it was a bit of a risk to use Knock Off in this case.

I decided to take the risk and I Knocked Off the Scarf and Drapion proceeded to setup and sweep Donny's team with ease. It did turn out that Donny had Kommo-o in the back on this team, but for whatever reason it didn't send it out in response to the Knock Off from Drapion. Regardless, I'll continue to try to avoid knocking off Choice items for Drapion to setup, if I can.
Battle 446
Aether Foundation Heidi
Togedemaru - Garchomp - Jolteon
Battle Video

This battle went sideways at the beginning, and I tried to play it safe instead of risking it with a Cloyster sweep. But the AI just kept giving me luck and it turned into a Cloyster 3-0 sweep anyway.

Togedemaru used Spiky Shield to prevent Durant's Entrainment. While Durant loafed, Togedemaru 4 used Electrium Z to turn Nuzzle into a low-powered Gigavolt Havoc, which Durant easily survived. On the next turn, Durant successfully Entrained Togedemaru, but Togedemaru decided to U-Turn out to Garchomp.

I know I could sacrifice Durant and bring in Cloyster to get to +2 and faint Garchomp. But Cloyster is a VERY risky sweep at only +2 with a broken sash. So I switched out Durant and went to Cloyster, with the intent of sacrificing Cloyster so I could bring in Durant to Entrain Garchomp and then setup sweep with Drapion. That was the plan, at least.

Cloyster switched in and ate an Earthquake from Mega Garchomp, who mega evolved on the turn. Cloyster is a defensive stud and took the hit with about 40% HP remaining. Since the plan was to sacrifice Cloyster, I Shell Smashed to die to whatever Garchomp launched next. Luck was in my favor though, and Chomp's Stone Edge missed. So I Shell Smashed again, just waiting for Cloyster to faint. But the luck gods just didn't want me to play it safe, as Chomp missed yet another Stone Edge!

Sitting there with a +4 Cloyster, I guess I figured it was just too good to pass up, especially considering I still had Durant in the back. So I went for the sweep with Cloyster.

After fainting Garchomp I was harshly reminded that Togedemaru was Sturdy (I found out earlier with Durant's earlier Entrainment of Togedemaru, but obviously I didn’t notice) as I bizarrely decided to use Surf on Togedemaru instead of Icicle Spear. WTF?!? I guess I was thinking Togedemaru's resistance to Ice attacks made the unresisted Surf a better move? Damage calcs show clearly otherwise, I think. At +4, Cloyster does 150% minimum to Togedemaru with Icicle Spear and laughs at Sturdy in the process. After several hundred battles with this team, you would think I would know that by now. But, as I have said many times, I sometimes get scatterbrained when battles go weird, and I guess this was one of those cases.

It worked out fine in the end, and was a fast Cloyster sweep, despite my odd plays.
Battle 462
Dancer Carrie
Vespiquen - Alola Marowak - Unfezant
Battle Video

I have no idea where I put my brain in this battle. I made some very bad moves that don't make much sense to me at all, and I missed some important game mechanics that I really should have known better. Again, a very lucky matchup allowed me to win despite all the stupidity on my part.

Carrie sent out Vespiquen and Durant got the Entrainment off just fine. But similar to battle #437, the AI decided to use U-Turn on the very first turn, and switched out to Alolan Marowak 2. I don't know what I was thinking at this point, but I decided to switch into Drapion to take the hit. This was a bizarre choice, because facing a Durant it's pretty standard practice for the AI to use a Fire move, if it has one, and Alolan Marowak has a huge hitting Flare Blitz. Maybe I was thinking Marowak would Detect and Drapion would get in for free? Or maybe I guessed it would use Shadow Bone? I really don't know. Maybe I was scared that if I sacrificed anything against Marowak, it would just Detect on Durant, so I was trying to bring in Drapion who could hit Marowak with a big, super-effective Knock Off and kill it. That makes a little sense, I guess, considering I was probably playing on tilt.

So Drapion ate a huge Flare Blitz on the switch in. I guess I didn't notice that Marowak took no recoil damage on the Flare Blitz, confirming that it had Rock Head. You'll see why this is important later.

Drapion is faster than Marowak and hits it with Knock Off, which according to damage calcs does 99.3%-117% to Alolan Marowak. I must have gotten the very worst possible damage roll, because Marowak survived with 1 HP, and fainted Drapion with another Flare Blitz.

If I wasn't already panicking, then I must have started freaking out at this point, because I brought in Durant to Entrain Marowak. I Entrained Marowak successfully, as Marowak used a super-predictable Flare Blitz to faint Durant. The problem is that by giving Marowak Truant, I removed the ability Rock Head which is the reason it wasn't taking recoil damage. So, yes you guessed it, the Truant Marowak fainted due to the recoil from Flare Blitz. Stupid, stupid, stupid me....

So I'm down to just my trusty Cloyster and two pokemon for Carrie. Fortunately, I Shell Smashed once and was able to sweep Vespiquen and a pushover Unfezant to win the battle.

Battles like this make me feel guilty that this streak has gone on so long, with me doing really dumb stuff repeatedly and getting away with it.
Warstories through Battle 600
Battle #511
Police Officer Rendor
Armaldo - Wash Rotom - Gastrodon

I recorded this battle originally, but when playing it back, it wasn't very close or scary so I deleted it. Then later when collecting my notes, I found this writeup I did on the battle. It has some interesting points that I obviously took some time to write, so I'm including it here, even though I deleted the video.

The battle was fairly straightforward. The Choice Band Armaldo lead got Entrained while missing Durant with a Stone Endge. I went to Cloyster for the easy setup to +6 and sweep. The second pokemon was Wash Rotom who died to Icicle Spear, and the same for Gastrodon. Here are the notes I wrote on some subtle strategy stuff behind this fast, easy battle:

Wash Rotom 4 has a Sitrus Berry. That gives it effectively 196 HP, if you don't KO it in one shot. Cloyster +6 Icicle Spear does a total of 180-210 damage to Wash Rotom 4, assuming no crits. So, be careful about sweeping with Cloyster against trainers that have Wash Rotom on their roster. Here's an example at Battle #511 on my streak against Police Officer Rendor, where Wash Rotom 4 came out against my fully setup Cloyster. I got lucky with Cloy getting a crit on hit #3 of Icicle Spear. So Rotom was toast, even after the Sitrus activated, and even if each Spear hit rolled minimum damage (with one crit on Wash Rotom 4, Spear does 198 minimum). A great example of how nice it is that Cloyster's Icicle Spear gets 5 chances for increased crit damage.

In that particular battle against Rendor, I was pretty safe anyway, even if Rotom survived the Spear. Wash Rotom 4 would probably use Thunder against Cloyster, and that's only a 70% accurate move. And even if Thunder hit and KO'ed Cloyster, my Durant was in perfect condition, since Rendor's lead Armaldo missed the Stone Edge as Durant Entrained it. Even if Armaldo's Stone Edge hit, it doesn't KO Durant unless it crits (not entirely unreasonable since Stone Edge has an increased crit ratio). But still, always nice to have Durant at perfect health after the Entrainment. So, if Cloyster goes down, Durant could still come in, Entrain and allow Durant to setup and sweep.

However, if Durant had fainted to a crit Stone Edge from Armaldo, AND I still decided to send in Cloyster to setup (not my usual strategy, js), AND Wash Rotom survived the +6 Icicle Spear, AND Wash Rotom landed the Thunder and KO'ed Cloyster -- THEN I would be in big trouble and probably lose the battle.

Against Wash Rotom 4, Drapion would do fine. Even with Rotom's Sitrus Berry gone, thus reducing Drapion's Knock Off to a paltry 65 BP, Drapion still easily faints Rotom, who only has a tad of HP left after Cloyster's Spear. I'd definitely Sub first against Wash Rotom 4, who would probably try to Will-o-Wisp Drapion, if Drapion doesn't have a Sub up. Even if it attacks right off the bat, I would fish for a Thunder or Hydro Pump miss. Using that strategy, I might get in some Accupressures and get some lucky boosts. I would need lucky boosts to beat Rendor's last pokemon, Gastrodon 4. Drapion might get a few more Accupressures in as Gastrodon uses Curse or Amnesia, but unless Drapion gets really lucky with misses or crits, it probably loses. Admitted, a whole lot would have to go wrong for me to lose that battle, but I'm just pointing out what I would probably do to try and win, even if I made mistakes or had some bad luck early on.
Battle #513
Huge mistake against Dancer Tasanee lead Primarina 4. Durant Entrained Primarina just fine, but it died to a Sparkling Aria in the process. So I sent in Drapion to setup and sweep. Even if Durant would have survived the Sparkling Aria, I still would setup Drapion, because Dancers are huge risks for Cloyster, with multiple trouble Pokemon on their roster. So Drapion went in and I started my normal Sub-Protect-Acupressure-Acupressure cadence. I forgot Sparkling Aria was a sound-based move, and it pounded me for huge damage through my Sub while I Acupressured. If it would have critted, Drapion would have fainted, and I would have lost the battle. Primarina itself would have beaten my remaining Cloyster, and Tasanee had Raiku 1 up next, and Cresselia 1 batting cleanup. No chance for game-saving Cloyster heroics there. Even after 500+ battles, you'd think I would be more aware of stuff like sound moves. But it's easy to get lulled into the most common battle patterns and make stupid streak-busting mistakes.
Battle #534
Lass Samantha
Thundurus - Uxie - Zapdos
Battle Video

Here's another battle where I faced a troublesome opponent who had me on the verge of a virtually guaranteed loss, and yet again, luck saved my ass. I think I played this battle as well as I could, but this was a close one that came down to the wire with me with only one pokemon with only one hit point left!

Samantha led with Thundurus, and for the first time in my entire run, I finally ran into one of my nightmares -- Prankster Thundurus-4. It priority Taunted Durant right off the bat, and prevented the Entrainment. Surprisingly, I remained pretty calm, even though the situation became very bleak.

I wanted to get Cloyster in cleanly to get off a Shell Smash and then kill Thundurus at +2. After that, perhaps Cloyster could sweep at +2. Bringing in Cloyster against Thundurus-4 runs a risk of it Taunting Cloyster, which would suck because then Cloyster wouldn't get the Smash off. It would still kill Thundurus with Icicle Spear, but then would face the next opponent unboosted with a broken Sash. Not good. Even if I got the Shell Smash, Samantha carries lots of very tanky ubers that can easily take on Cloyster at +2. So I really didn't want to sacrifice Durant in that situation, as I needed it to come back after Thundurus was taken out, to Entrain the second pokemon, if possible. Samantha has pokemon like Suicune and Regice that can even take Cloyster at +6. So sweeping with Cloyster after Durant came back in, was not an amazing plan. But, Cloyster was the only pokemon that could take out Thundurus. So Drapion had to be sacrificed, and I had to hope Durant would be able to come back in and Entrain and Cloyster could sweep the rest. Here's how the battle unfolded from there:

I switched in Drapion
Thundurus used Gigavolt Havok and fainted Drapion
I brought out Cloyster

Thundurus used Focus Blast and broke Cloyster's Focus Sash (1 HP left)
Cloyster used Shell Smash (+2)

Cloyster used Icicle Spear and fainted Thundurus
Samantha brought out Uxie

At that point, it was looking a little better for me, but still lots of problems that could cost me the game. Samantha carries Uxie-3 or 4, both of which survive Cloyster's +2 Icicle Spear almost all the time (Spear does 85%-101%). Durant can take all of Uxie's non-crit attacks. So Durant would likely survive the switch in and could Entrain Uxie. However, if it was Uxie-3, two bad things could happen.
1) Uxie-3 could crit with Thunder and faint Durant on the switch
2) Even if Durant survived the switch in, Uxie-3 has a dreaded Quick Claw which could allow it to faint Durant on the following turn before the Entrainment
But, it was a risk I had to take, if I wanted to win that battle. I had to get Durant in to Entrain Uxie, since gambling for a maximum damage roll with Cloyster's Icicle Spear on Uxie was almost certain suicide.

I switched in Durant
Uxie used Thunder and MISSED! (I'm feeling incredible at this point)

Uxie's Quick Claw fired (oh shit...)
Uxie used Thunder doing 60% to Durant (okaaayyy, no crit, not terrible...)
Durant gets Paralysis from the Thunder (ugh... okaaayyy, still not terrible... as long as Entrainment happens...)
Durant can't move due to Paralysis!

It was pretty much game over at that point. Durant was a sitting duck for Uxie to faint it while it loafed. And an unboosted Cloyster at 1 HP had no chance to win against a full-health Uxie, much less Samantha's third Pokemon waiting in the wings. So, I could do nothing but sit there and pray for a miracle. And guess what happened?....

Durant loafed
Uxie used Thunder and MISSED!!

OMG, I had a chance! Even a paralyzed Durant is still faster than Uxie. I just had to hope full paralysis didn't kick in again, and Uxie's Quick Claw didn't fire again.

Durant used Entrainment and Uxie became Truant
Uxie used Thunder and fainted Durant

Cloyster came in
Cloyster Protected and Shell Smashed all the way to +6
Cloyster fainted Uxie with Icicle Spear

Samantha sent out Zapdos (YAY!!!!)
Cloyster fainted Zapdos with Icicle Spear

I don't know how I kept getting that kind of luck on this streak time and time again. However, unlike several of my other luck miracles, on this battle, I stayed cool and weighed the options to put myself in the best possible situation to win.
Battle 544
Office Worker Darrel
Mismagius - Politoed - Snorlax
Battle Video

This was only the second time I faced a Mismagius-4 lead in the streak. I misplayed the lead the same way both times, but the first time I got so lucky that I swept the battle without much trouble and didn't even save the battle. This time wasn't quite so easy, but I still got lucky, and I recorded it for posterity and as a reminder to be more careful with Mismagius leads.

Durant tried to Entrain Mismagius as it Protected, and revealed it was the scary Mismagius-4. This is the misplay I keep forgetting about when facing Mismagius leads. Mean Look and Perish Song are not something to mess with for Durant, whether the Entrainment hits or not. If Mismagius uses Mean Look on the first turn, this team is screwed. I got lucky Mismagius didn't trap Durant, so I did what I SHOULD HAVE DONE from the beginning, and switched out to Drapion.

Normally, if I have to sacrifice something to save Durant for later, I try to sacrifice Cloyster. But this was one of those situations where Cloyster couldn't do the job of dying properly! I needed something to survive against Mismagius long enough for it to go for Perish Trap. Cloyster gets OHKO'ed by Power Gem, so I couldn't even switch it in, much less survive enough to get Mismagius to Perish Trap. But Drapion takes the Power Gems like a champ, and has a chance to faint Mismagius with Knock Off. Even if Drapion doesn't faint Mismagius, if it hits it at least once, it knocks off Mismagius' Brightpowder, making it a non-issue for thwarting a Cloyster sweep later in the battle.

Drapion came in and missed its first Knock Off. After mistakenly wasting some valuable turns by Protecting with Drapion (I didn't know that Protect doesn't prevent Mean Look or Perish Song), eventually Drapion hit Mismagius taking it into the red and Knocked Off the Brightpowder. Mismagius got the Mean Look and Perish Song in place, and switched out as the Perish Count went to 1. Drapion hit Darrel's incoming Politoed before dying to Perish Song. From there, Durant came back in and Entrained Politoed. Cloyster set up to +6 and fainted Politoed. Without the Brightpowder, Mismagius went down easily, and so did Darrel's final pokemon, Snorlax.

Note that against Darrel's team, if I had lost Durant to Mismagius, I probably would not be able to save the game with a +2 Cloyster hail mary. It probably would get stopped by Politoed (who takes both of Cloyster's +2 non-crit attacks) and Snorlax (particularly if Snorlax is Thick Fat, which this one wasn't I don't think), not even accounting for the full-health Brightpowder Mismagius who would still be perfectly capable of coming back in to Perish Trap again.

So yeah, I have to remember to play all Mismagius leads as if they are Mismagius-4 and switch to Drapion immediately.
Battle 547
Black Belt Chucky
Magmortar - Lapras - Machamp
Battle Video

This was a fairly easy battle, but I recorded it because there were a few interesting strategy choices on my part, a little luck that helped me, and a very interesting AI choice too.

Chucky led with Magmortar, which meant the Entrainement would work (Chucky only has Mag 3 or 4, and neither can stop the Entrainment), but Durant would probably die in the process. Durant Entrained Magmortar and died to Fire Blast, meaning this was Magmortar-4.

This wasn't a great spot to be for the team, but not horrible either. As I've said many times, when Durant goes down after getting off the Entrainment, I prefer to setup Drapion and not Cloyster. But Magmortar-4 only has 3 attacks - Fire Blast, Psychic, and Focus Blast -- and it wont ever use Psychic on Drapion, since Drapion is immune to it. Fire Blast and Focus Blast only have 15 combined PP, which means Drapion would not get to make a full setup before Chucky withdrew it after running out of damaging attacks. But I knew I could get several boosts, and unless I got incredibly unlucky with Acupressure stacking exclusively in SpAtk and Accuracy to start, I would probably be in decent shape with Drapion. So I sent in Drapion to setup as much as it could.

Drapion got very lucky with the Acupressures before Chucky withdrew Magmortar. Drapion was +6 Attack, +2 Defense, +2 SpAttack, +4 SpDefense, +2 Speed, +2 Accuracy, and +2 Evasion -- pretty damn good, for that many Acupressures used. Chucky took back Magmortar and sent out Lapras-4.

When Lapras came out, it totally validated my decision to go with Drapion for the sweep instead of Cloyster. Lapras is one of those pokemon that stops Cloyster dead in its tracks, even fully setup. All forms of Lapras can tank +6 Icicle Spears or Surfs, and Lapras-4 can use priority Ice Shard to KO a broken-sash 1 HP Cloyster and turn the battle instantly. But against Drapion with the boosts it had, Lapras-4 wasn't a threat at all really.

Drapion used Knock Off and did about 95% to Lapras, as Lapras used Blizzard and didn't even break Drapion's Subsitute. What happened next caught me by surprise, because it was the first time I had seen the AI do it in battle -- Chucky withdrew Lapras and sent out Machamp! I had read that the AI sometimes switched out to pokemon that resist an attack used, but I never saw it first-hand. The threat of this happening is one reason I am VERY RELUCTANT to use Knock Off on an Entrained pokemon with a Choice item locked into a low-PP move against Drapion. Because if you DON'T use a move, the AI will leave the Entrained pokemon in until it runs out of PP. But if it switches to a Dark-resist, your setup is ruined.

The switch wasn't a problem for me at all on this battle. I fainted Machamp and then fainted Lapras for the win. But I'll definitely think even more carefully in the future about using Knock Off early in the setup (it RARELY happens anyway with this team), now that I have seen this kind of switch by the AI.
Battle 566
Firefighter Calder
Wishiwashi - Goodra - Tentacruel
Battle Video

Calder sent out Wishiwashi and I smiled and said to myself, “Well, it’s been a great run. Here’s where it ends.”

I knew how incredibly lucky I got on Battle #157, and knew it probably wouldn’t happen again. I simply have no real strategy for Wishiwashi, other than hope for luck. And to be completely honest, I WANTED the streak to end on this battle. This was, to my way of thinking, a FITTING way to end this long, lucky streak. I didn’t want this streak to end on a stupid misclick or something. I wouldn’t mind at all losing to a lead that I knew from the very start, so many months ago, that I had no answer for on this team. But the Battle Tree gods had other things in mind...

So out came Wishiwashi, and my only plan was to “Hit and Hope”. So, I dented it with X-Scissor from Durant, and died to Hydro Pump, revealing it to be Wishiwashi-4. I figured I might get lucky again with Hydro Pump misses, so I went to Drapion, with a plan to Substitute and see if I could get a miss and sneak in a few Acupressures.

I sent in Drapion and Substituted fairly aggressively, trying to avoid Protect turns if I could, because I knew Hydro Pump had limited PP. When Wishiwashi ran out of Hydro Pumps, I figured it would go to Ice Beams, and my chances for misses would go away, unless I got some Evasion boosts from Acupressure. I didn’t get any Hydro Pump misses, but I DID get another huge stroke of luck — the AI opted for Endeavor a few times. That gave me much-needed free turns to Acupressure. The first Acupressure was a total waste, giving me a worthless SpAttack boost. I figured I was doomed. But then I got an incredibly valuable Attack boost, and also got a Defense boost in there too. The luckiest break came when Wishiwashi decided to U-Turn against Drapion’s sub, and switched out!

In came Goodra, and I had a sliver of hope. But just a sliver, since Firefighter Calder has a boatload of problem pokemon for this team to face without a fully boosted sweeper. Firefighters carry mostly Water pokemon, so they are the worst trainers to try a “Plan B” sweep with +2 Cloyster, as many of them resist both Icicle Spear and Surf. Even though Goodra was probably manageable, Calder’s mystery 3rd pokemon could have been a nightmare. Not to mention, a near-full-health Wishiwashi was ready to come back at any time. “Sliver of hope” was an overstatement...

Calder carries Goodra-3 and 4. I really wanted to Protect with Drapion and scout which one it was, and also recover some precious HP. But, if it was Goodra-3, it would likely Rain Dance. I really didn’t want to give any of Calder’s Water pokemon the benefit of Rain, so I needed to take out Goodra ASAP. This turned out to be VERY important later, as you will see.

With boosted Attack, Drapion was able to OHKO Goodra with Knock Off, and knocked off a Damp Rock, revealing that it was, in fact, Goodra-3. Also Goodra was thankfully not Gooey, thus avoiding a speed drop on Drapion on the Knock Off. At that point, Drapion was +2 Attack, +2 Defense, about 50% HP left and still had a Substitute up. Calder sent out Tentacruel next.

I Protected with Drapion to scoutand recover HP, and Tentacruel used Hydro Pump, revealing it was Tentacruel-3. Tentacruel-3 has a Focus Sash, so even without doing a damage calc, I knew it would be a 2-hit KO, and unfortunately Tentacruel was faster than Drapion. So Drapion took Tentacruel down to the Sash while Tentacruel Hydro Pumped and broke Drapion’s Substitute. Drapion Protected again recovering to about 70% HP, and had to eat another Hydro Pump to KO Tentacruel. Drapion had about 15% HP left to face Wishiwashi again. If I had let Goodra-3 get off a Rain Dance earlier, the battle would have been over here, since a Rain-boosted Hydro Pump would have killed Drapion for sure.

With only Wishiwashi left, at about 75% HP, even though I didn’t do any damage calcs, it was pretty certain I could KO Wishiwashi with +2 Attack Drapion and a full-health Cloyster waiting in the wings. Turned out the +2 Knock Off from Drapion was able to finish off the battle.

Unlike Battle #157, I saved the replay this time. Perhaps I will practice battle against lead Wishiwashi and find out it is more manageable than I fear. But, right now, it sure feels like I have gotten awfully lucky the two times I faced it.
Battle 568
Pokemon Breeder Izel
Turtonator - Bronzong - Rhyperior
Battle Video

This was only the second time I faced a lead Turtonator in the whole run. The last time was WAYYY back at Battle #20, which I wrote up a long time ago. Like with all Fire leads, Durant was going to die for sure, but Izel carries Turtonator-3 or 4 and I was desperately hoping it would be Turt-4. So of course after Durant Entrained successfully and died to Overheat, that meant it was the dreaded Turtonator-3 who could use Explosion at any time. Fortunately, Turt-3 has a Normalium-Z, which means the first time it tries to Explode, it will probably use Breakneck Blitz instead. If I sent out Cloyster, it would likely eat the Breakneck Blitz and lose its Focus Sash on the setup, greatly hurting its chances against Izel's remaining pokemon. So I went with Drapion for the sweep, hoping to get some good boosts as quickly as possible.

Drapion only got 8 Acupressures before Turtonator finally Exploded. The boosts came in the following order: SpDefense, Speed, SpAttack, Speed, Accuracy, Attack, SpAttack, SpDefense. The Explosion broke Drapion's sub too.

It turned out that of the 8 Acupressures, only one boost (Attack) actually helped with the rest of Izel's team. She had Bronzong-3 and Rhyperior-3 in the back, both slow physical pokemon. Fortunately, Bronzong was weak to Knock Off, and with +2 Attack, Drapion was able to OHKO it. Rhyperior was spamming Metal Burst and KO'ed Drapion after getting down to about 50% HP after Drapion's Knock Off. From there, Cloyster was able to get to +4 as Rhyperior continued to Metal Burst while Cloyster Shell Smashed. Then it was an easy KO with Surf.

Not too tough to win, but it shows what a pain Turtonator-3 is to deal with as a lead.
Battle 585
Golfer Patrick
Tentacruel - Salamence - Charizard
Battle Video

Not too long before this battle, I removed Protect from Durant and added back Confide, which was actually on Durant at the very beginning of this streak, as it was part of GGUnit's Maison team I copied from. This battle shows exactly why it was a useful change to make.

Patrick led with Tentacruel, which could have been Tentacruel 3 or 4. I was hoping against Tentacruel-4, because it carries Protect. Sure enough, Durant tried to Entrain and Tentacruel Protected. I knew Durant could survive a Surf on the next loafing turn, which it did with Durant having a little more than 50% HP remaining. Durant tried to Entrain again on Turn 3, as I was really hoping Tentacruel would go for the Surf to KO Durant. Tentacruel-4 does 47%-56% to Durant with Surf, so Durant was in KO range. I'm not exactly sure how the AI decides whether to go for the KO or not, but perhaps it is tied to whether it is a guaranteed KO or not? I don't know. But Tentacruel did not go for KO and Protected instead.

This could have put me in a very bad spot. If I left Durant in for the next loafing turn, there was a roughly 50% chance it would get KO'ed by Surf. If that happened, I would not be able to pull off a Cloyster Plan B sweep, since Tentacruel laughs at +2 Cloyster's attacks. I might have been able to setup Drapion against Tentacruel-4, if I predicted Tentacruel's Protect turns correctly. But with Tentacruel being faster than Drapion, there is a very real risk of Drapion eating a Surf to the tune of 36% damage. If Drapion doesn't get decent Acupressure boosts early, Drapion can easily lose that matchup, since the AI gets more sporadic in using the Protect-Attack cycle as the battle wears on.

But I had an ace up my sleeve that made this battle actually pretty safe all along for me -- Durant Confide.

Instead of taking another Surf on Durant's second loafing turn, I switched to Cloyster to take the hit. I then Shell Smashed to sacrifice Cloyster and give Durant a clean switch in again.

I predicted Tentacruel would Protect again, which it did. But instead of Durant using Entrainment, it used Confide. The beauty of Confide is that it bypasses Protect! So Tentacruel dropped to -1 SpAttack. From there, it was almost assured Durant would survive the next loafing turn, as -1 Tentacruel does a max of 37% to Durant, without a crit. Durant was able get off another Confide on Tentacruel, before finally fainting to another Surf.

At that point, it was game over for Patrick. -2 SpAttack Tentacruel-4 can't do much of anything to Drapion, even if I didn't correctly predict the Protects, which I did. On top of that, Drapion got almost perfect Acupressure boosts to start - SpDefense, Evasion, SpDefense, and Speed were the first four Acupressures! Drapion setup all the way, and easily swept Patrick, who had Salamence and Charizard waiting in the back.

This was the first battle where I was able to utilize Confide in the entire streak. Although I didn't even have it in Durant's moveset for battles 50 through 570 or so. We'll see if it comes in handy again, but for this battle it turned a potential nailbaiter into a yawner.
Battle 595
Rising Star Dolly
Tentacruel - Kingdra - Politoed
Battle Video

After my experience with Battle #585, I got a little ahead of myself when facing lead Tentacruels. In this battle, Dolly led with Tentacruel, and Dolly only carries Tentacruel-4. So, I knew for sure it would Protect on the first turn. Rather than going through the whole Entrain cycle, I decided to just play it like I did in Battle #585 and use Confide.

Stupid me, I completely forgot that Tentacruel can have Clear Body! I was quickly reminded by the game as soon as Durant fired off the Confide. I was in a bind at that point, with Durant locked into Confide, which was completely worthless.

I had to bring in Cloyster to take the incoming Surf, and then switched back in Durant on Tentacruel's following Protect. Durant then attempted to Entrain Tentacruel and was blocked by Protect again (it REALLY SUCKS that Protect can be used twice in a row when the first one fails due to a switch).

I got lucky that Tentacruel did almost a max damage roll of 88 HP of damage to Durant with Surf while Durant loafed. Durant was left with 73 HP (45%). Tentacruel-4 Surf does 76-90 points of damage to Durant, so Tentacruel had a guaranteed KO on the next turn with Surf. If the first Surf would have done less damage and left Durant with 77 HP or more, there's a good chance it would have Protected again and I could have been screwed.

Fortunately, Tentacruel went for the KO, the Entrainment succeeded, and Drapion did a full setup and sweep of the rest of Dolly's team.


Where the "intelligence" of TRAINERS is put to the test!
is a Pokemon Researcheris a Contributor to Smogon
DougJustDoug I don't know if you've looked into this already but Cloyster can get Liquidation from the USUM move tutors now, which gives it a reliable physical Water STAB (bye Razor Shell) to forgo the need to go mixed. It doesn't make too much difference at 6+ in terms of OHKOes, but at 6+ it does give you OHKOes on non-Sturdy Magnezone4, Regice2/4 (you have a very high chance on set 3 too), and Registeel2 (with a high chance on sets 1/4 and a low chance on set 3). It's also a more reliable choice against Snorlax and Hariyama, since Thick Fat gives Snorlax3 and Hariyama4 a solid chance of surviving Icicle Spear - 6+ Liquidation gets the OHKO on both of them while Surf doesn't. Going all physical also lets you max out Speed to get the jump on all but 3 Scarfers at 2+, although at 6+ it hardly matters.

Dropping Surf means you lose the OHKO on Mega Aggron and non-Sturdy Avalugg though, and Volcarona becomes more annoying because Liquidation is a contact move. There may be more damage differences at 2+ and 4+ too.

Either way, awesome streak and write-up!

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