Battle Tree Discussion and Records

Smuckem

Resident Facility Bot Wannabe
is a Community Contributor
I'm very much in an experimental phase and have begun to utilize the VGC finalists' teams from last year in an effort to max out my BP count in UM (also, as a way to pay my small tribute to them all, as I honestly wonder whether any of them will show up to the big dance this year, given how vastly different the meta's going to be). So, I'm rolling with these and will hopefully be able to update with any significant progress later.

For those interested in joining me on this ridiculous journey: VGC 18 World Championships Finalists' Team Dump (links to QRs are within the individual Pokepastes).

For those who won't be joining me: after looking at the Pokepastes, if you were forced to use one of these teams for Tree-climbing, gun-to-your-head-style, which would you consider using for this purpose?
 
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Paul Ruiz, no doubt. Double intimidate, fake out, setup opportunities, several win conditions, high immediate damage, fast modes and slow modes, recovery, natural bulk, special/physical split - I don't think you'll find many VGC teams better suited for the tree than his.

However, if I were you, I'd try the junior full trick room team, that seems so fun to play.
 

Smuckem

Resident Facility Bot Wannabe
is a Community Contributor
As it turns out, I tried Sota's team first: the structure demands that the team used be (setter)/Snorlax/MegaWile/Pelipper, but that means you're forced to carry a stunted Return on the team (the whole "QR Return/Frustration is a no-no" dealie). Because of that, Snorlax can only really deal damage with EQ...and since neither the setter (I used Dusclops) nor MegaWile carry Protect, chances to do even that are fairly limited. I tried and got only to 38 wins and Ferrothorn2 just grinded me down. Everyone, do yourselves a favor and make sure all of your teams carry some way to deal with all Ferrothorn.

Using Wonn's team has served better results so far: no matter the era, TerraCott in facilities has its place, even if no Wide Lens on Terrakion means that that place is an unstable one. With Soulblaze and MegaGar bringing up the rear, I have a powerful squad in place with Whimsicott as the centerpiece, since it can support every other team member with each of its moves and each other member has a "designated" support move it clearly benefits from. It makes decision-making with Whimsicott pretty easy. As MegaPunny streaks on here have shown, Encore also has its uses (locking Stealth Rock throwers into uselessness never stops being funny). At 63 wins with it, currently...

I appreciate both of you giving Paul's team such props, btw...not because he's a Champ, but because everyone acknowledging a fellow Ecuadorian's greatness is fucking cool.

(side note: if any of you actually know Wonn, or if he has any social media, let him know that his usual leads give the Porygons the "proper" Download boost. Bad times...)
 
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Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
INTRODUCTION

Hi everyone! It's been quite a while since I posted a streak on this thread, but that doesn't mean I wasn't active on the Battle Tree! As a matter of fact, my backlog of things I want to post about has gotten so big, that I had to scratch some stuff entirely, and plan a series of posts to cover everything I wanted to. I hope the several posts I'll be making over the next next couple of weeks won't be annoying - at the very least, their content should be pretty diverse. Without further ado, let's get into it!

THE RAIN STREAK

First things first, I'm reporting a completed streak of 1391 in Ultra Sun Super Doubles with a team of Pelipper / Tapu Koko / Mega Swampert / Celesteela (QR team).

The team remains the same as it was in the 1000 post, but as a reminder...


THE TEAM

@ Focus Sash

Modest | Drizzle
IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/31
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpAtk / 252 Spe
Tailwind / Hurricane / Brine / Protect

@ Choice Specs

Timid | Electric Surge
IVs: 31/4/31/30(HT)/31/30(HT)
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpAtk / 252 Spe
Thunder / Dazzling Gleam / Hidden Power Fire / Volt Switch

@ Swampertite

Adamant | Damp -> Swift Swim
IVs: 31/31/31/31/31/31
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpDef / 252 Spe
Waterfall / Earthquake / Ice Punch / Protect

@ Leftovers

IVs: 31/30(HT)/31/30(HT)/31/31
Careful | Beast Boost
EVs: 244 HP / 28 Atk / 108 Def / 124 SpDef / 4 Spe
Heavy Slam / Leech Seed / Wide Guard / Protect


—————————————————————

What a ride it's been! I have very little to add to what I already said about the team in my two previous team reports; the threats remain the same, and my enjoyment of the team as well. By now, I would call the "teambuilding" part of it entirely finished, I don't think I'd envision any modifications if I was going to use it again. I actually planned to replace Brine with Scald for 50 battles when I was somewhere in the 1200s, just as a comparison point, since I had been using Brine since the very start. But right as that I made that plan, I had a couple of battles where Brine picked up KOs that Scald wouldn't have in clutch situations, and I immediately canceled the experiment. "If it's not broken, don't fix it"; I realized I wasn't ready to put this streak on the line for the sake of experimenting when I had a move that had proven its worth.

A few noteworthy battles happened between 1000 and the loss, so I'll talk about these a bit after, but first, I would like to talk about the big event...


—————————————————————

THE LOSS // 1392 vs. YOUTH ATHLETE HILARIO (KJ5G-WWWW-WWX2-V6QW)


I was streaming on Twitch when it happened, but unfortunately, Twitch only saves the VOD for 10 days, and I didn't think of downloading it, so the live narration of it has been forever lost. However, since it happened a few months ago now, I've had plenty of time to reflect on it, so here's a turn-by-turn breakdown of it:

TURN 1:
vs.


Turn 1 was a pretty big one. I obviously couldn't know Alakazam would be Mega, so the possibility of Sceptile being the Mega was there, though the regular set with White Herb is always the most threatening to me because of potential Unburden, allowing Sceptile to outspeed M-Swampert in rain. However, the Mega possibility prevented Koko from going for any Electric move. In any case, this was a very threatening lead, where both opponents potentially outsped Koko.
I usually would have gone for Tailwind + Dazzling Gleam in this situation; it ensures I get something out of the turn, whether it's the speed control I need for Swampert/Pelipper itself, or otherwise, a 2HKO on both these two threats with D-Gleam. The AI had to double up Pelipper to KO it (though a Rock Slide flinch from M-Sceptile was a bad scenario), and Gleam was all the damage I needed for Celesteela to finish off whichever of the two ended up being more threatening (most likely Sceptile) with Heavy Slam. Additionally, if that was indeed M-Sceptile, as long as Koko didn't flinch, it would go down to Gleam. Mind you, I don't think I would have taken the time to analyze things that much - TW + Gleam was more like an "autopilot" pick that I would do in front of that type of lead, to ensure I got something out of it. From experience, I often lost Koko from such decisions, but it was usually worth it for the long run.
However, with this being live on Twitch, things were a bit different than usual. I noticed that whenever I'm streaming, I tend to play a bit differently; I try to be super "safe" with my plays (because I don't want to lose face by making a dumb play!), but I also don't feel comfortable sitting in front of a situation for a long time unsure of what play I want to make, because that's really un-entertaining; I feel pressured by the fact people are waiting for me to make a move.
Point in case, Level 51, in chat, suggested switching in Celesteela for Koko since it was a very safe switch vs. both of these Pokémon. While this went against my "usual" pattern of play, it actually did seem much safer than Tailwind + Dazzling Gleam, so my initial reaction was "oh, yeah, that's actually a much better idea, let's do that!". So I did...


TURN 2:
vs.


...and it didn't work out too well. The AI did double up Pelipper, so I got no Tailwind out of it, and no damage either. Additionally, one thing I (and L51) hadn't considered: this allowed Mega Alakazam to Trace Beast Boost from Celesteela
Since I usually leave Koko in on any Alakazam and Thunder (thanks to this blessed calc: 252 SpA Alakazam-Mega Psychic vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 121-144 (83.4 - 99.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO), the thought hadn't even crossed my mind... oops! In the end, this didn't matter all that much, since it only forced Celesteela to target M-Alakazam as a priority over Sceptile, which I may have done anyway.
This is also where I realized something that had never come into play thus far: Mega Alakazam has Grass Knot! Since Heavy Slam was a 2HKO on both of these threats, it meant I basically had to sacrifice a second Pokémon to finally get M-Alakazam out of there with Celesteela. My best bet, at that point, was Sceptile not being Unburden, and going M-Swampert, which would outspeed both and score a KO before being sacrificed (252+ Atk Swampert-Mega Ice Punch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Sceptile: 148-176 (102 - 121.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO).
I had to hope Specs Koko in Rain and +1 SpD Celesteela would be enough to finish things off afterwards, which did seem very likely. With that plan in mind, I protected Swampert on that turn and got the first Heavy Slam hit on Alakazam. As expected, both opponents targeted Swampert.


TURN 3:
vs.


Second part of the plan: sacrificing Swampert and getting a KO on Sceptile in the process. From the previous turn, I saw Sceptile was indeed not Unburden, which at least helped a ton (otherwise, Koko also would have had to tank a -2 Leaf Storm on the following turn, which decreased my odds of success!).
This worked out as envisioned, Sceptile was OHKOd by Ice Punch, Alakazam got its Beast Boost from the OHKO on Swampert with Grass Knot, and Celesteela finished off Alakazam in return with Heavy Slam for its own Beast Boost. Phew, what a turn...!


TURN 4:
vs.


This is where things *actually* go very wrong. When I saw the last two, I had a huge sigh of relief. After stressing out for minutes over the last couple of turns, I thought this was a done deal. My thought process was the following: we're in rain, Starmie could be King's Rock and flinch Celesteela, which would prevent it from Heavy Slamming Lycanroc, so I need to prioritize getting rid of it with Thunder... but it could also be Sash, in which case I don't want to target it and get no KO out of this turn, because Koko might not be there next turn if Lycanroc Stone Edges it while Starmie is going for rain-boosted moves. From memory, one of the Starmie sets had Surf and the other Hydro Pump, which is wrong (both have Surf), so I thought I should just double-target Starmie to ensure the KO, and Lycanroc could be dealt with by any of Koko or Celesteela in the event that one of them was double-targetted or crit and went down that turn. If Starmie turned out to be King's Rock, then it would go down to Thunder and the Heavy Slam would be redirected to Lycanroc anyway, so this seemed like a good, straightforward play.

And I will forever regret that turn. I didn't take the time to look up the sets. I was just so relieved to have been able to get through Alakazam-Sceptile and be left with two "non-threats" (Lycanroc, in particular, never gave the team trouble in the past), and I felt like the stream had dragged on this battle for way too long already. If I looked up the sets, I would have seen Starmie only could have Surf, and would obviously not go for it next to Lycanroc (otherwise, it would be in my advantage as well anyway), so taking my Thunder OHKO on Lycanroc was actually much wiser; or at least, Heavy Slam it, because if Starmie is Sash, it's never a threat to Celesteela anyway! I also would have seen Lycanroc had access to an Electric Terrain-boosted Thunder Fang, which I completely forgot about; in my mind, it only had Stone Edge, Sucker Punch, and two filler moves it never used. In the end, this is the turn where the battle turned into a loss - not the debatable first turn - and it's entirely my fault.


TURN 5:
vs.


Starmie was Sash, so I successfully got rid of it with my double-up, but the AI also doubled up Koko, which led to this 1v1 Celesteela vs. Lycanroc. At that point, I still thought I had played it out properly and that the win was in my pocket. Then Lycanroc shows Thunder Fang, and I gasp, as I remember the possible side-effects, and the fact it's Terrain-boosted. It does more than half; if somehow Heavy Slam didn't go through this turn from a flinch, I could have protected, and 2 turns of Leftovers + Terrain being gone could allow Celesteela to tank another Thunder Fang, giving me another chance at Slamming.

But what Lycanroc got was not the 10% flinch, but the 10% paralysis... into a 25% full paralysis. That's where my gasp turned into sweat bullets. This... is still fine, right? I just need to not be fully paralyzed again as I protect, and then connect my Heavy Slam on the following turn... the odds are still in my favor, right?


TURN 6:
vs.


No, on a long enough streak, odds don't matter, the worst will inevitably happen one day or the other; "you misplayed, now pay the price!". Celesteela got fully paralyzed again, and Lycanroc finished it off. And that's how it ends.

It ends with a poorly handled threatening lead, which I was lucky to get out of, into a stupid misplay, into some very unlucky hax. If anything, I guess it's a testament to how good this team was, that it still got so many chances to run away with the win despite all of that. I meant it, when in my 1000 post, I said the team provides multiple chances to win when things don't go to plan, it certainly did in this case, and unfortunately, I was not able to grab those chances.

For what it's worth, I've replayed the matchup over 10 times in mock battles afterwards (a few of them on stream right after), and handily won every time by going for Tailwind + D-Gleam on Turn 1. But to be fair, the vast majority of the time, Sceptile actually ended up going for Detect on that turn, which made things infinitely easier, since I get both Tailwind and the damage on M-Alakazam, making the rest of the battle an absolute breeze.

I also have to take full responsibility for going Celesteela Turn 1: even though L51 suggested it, it did seem like a great idea to me, and I didn't think twice, which, as the one who has experience with the team, I should have! He obviously meant well with that suggestion, and it made a lot of sense as a defensive play, since Celesteela effectively walled both.
But even the actual safer play of using Protect + switch to Celesteela on turn 1 would, in my opinion, have been the wrong call in the end, since no position I could achieve prevented the AI from scoring a KO on Celesteela's partner; if anything, this ensured Tailwind wouldn't go up afterwards since they would be guaranteed to double-target Pelipper while I get my 2HKO on Alakazam. Had Sceptile been Unburden, this leaves me in the exact same spot as this battle did. Seeing how Tailwind was highly valuable, I think the aggressive turn 1 play was better since it had decent odds of granting it. This is all hindsight, though!

While I found this loss to be soul-crushing, because I will probably never get over how terribly I handled that Starmie-Lycanroc duo, I do find solace in one thing, and that is... the fact I actually should have lost 14 battles before.

—————————————————————

BATTLE SPOTLIGHT // 1378 vs. RISING STAR DOLLY

That's right, the streak should have been 1377, not 1391, because under no circumstance should I have won this game; it still blows my mind that I did. Do you think the AI reads your plays and cheats? Then please watch this battle and see it do the exact opposite: throw a guaranteed win.



Unlike the actual losing battle, there is not much in my, or the team's defense here. This would have been an absolutely legitimate loss; if anything, I probably would have been a lot less bitter and sad had this been the end. No doubt though, the disbelief and hype the ending created will definitely remain engraved as one of my best Tree memories!

TURN 1:
vs.


Suicune had a 50% chance of having Protect, and if it did, a high chance to go for it (from experience), so I took my safe Pelipper target with Thunder, and Tailwinded, a pretty straightforward Turn 1 play.
Unfortunately, Suicune went for Blizzard and froze Koko. Definitely not good, but I knew that if this was Suicune2, I could actually lose Koko to Hydro Pump on that turn, so a freeze wasn't actually the worst case scenario; at least, I had a chance to thaw.


TURN 2:
vs.


This time, Suicune does Protect, so the fact Koko doesn't thaw is pointless (I targeted Suicune with Thunder that turn). Because I considered both of my backline's Pokémon HP valuable for the rest of this matchup (both can do well against opposing rain usually), I decided to not switch and just sacrifice for the fresh switch. I knew Suicune would be a pain to break through, but Swampert + Celesteela usually can, especially if rain expires somewhere in there, which was more likely as the battle dragged. I hindsight, that was a mistake, since looking at Dolly's roster (this is something I never bother to do...), I could have seen Ludicolo is part of it, and that I may need to preserve Pelipper for that possibility. But I stand by my play; if I went as far as to look through entire rosters every time, battles would take absolutely forever, and I think my enjoyment would go so far down the drain that I could never have a streak this long. In the circumstance of having a fully healthy backline and only one unrevealed Pokémon from the AI, I think sacrificing the lead made sense, and probably would do it again, especially with the appeal of a 2HKO on Beartic with Hurricane.
Beartic, in retaliation, goes for Rock Slide, which brings both of my leads very low in HP, but doesn't score any KO.


TURN 3:
vs.


Now would be a great time to thaw, Koko! Please?
Nope. However, I do get my KO on Beartic with the second Hurricane, while Suicune goes for a surprising Surf (that would most likely have finished Beartic off! Imagine if I just protected Pelipper! But I couldn't count on that happening...) and KOs both of my leads. In my mind, at this point, things are looking up, since Celesteela can wall Suicune entirely with Wide Guard, and probably just Leech Seed it to victory. Surely I have the means of handling the last one, let's see what it is...


TURN 4:
vs.


:blobastonished: <- me when Ludicolo came out.
So... um... how does Swampert-Celesteela beat Ludicolo? After spending several minutes discussing it with myself and chat, we came to a unanimous call: it doesn't.
Ice Punch does a sizeable chunk of damage, but if it's Ludicolo3, it heals it all right back with Giga Drain. It was thus established that to win, I needed an Ice Punch freeze. Suicune froze Koko, that would only be fair right?
Of course, that's "long term" - for now, I can at least protect Swampert for a turn and setup Celesteela for an unlikely endgame by getting the extra recovery it will very much need: Leech Seed successfully goes into Suicune, while Ludicolo reveals to be set 3, and Suicune Surfs.


TURN 5:
vs.


Time for that freeze! Go, Ice Punch!
...oh well, I tried.
Giga Drain OHKOs Swampert, Ludicolo is back at full, Celesteela is down to half HP and Heavy Slams Ludi for way more damage than I expected (a good 25%?), but with Leftovers, it's negligible damage in the end.
Rain ends, which means Suicune is left to be a mostly passive presence I can ignore (at this point, worrying about more Blizzard freezes is the least of my concerns).


TURN 6:
vs.


So now, Ludicolo just has to Leech Seed Celesteela, and through a long and painful dragged-out ending, be guaranteed to win from that, since the Leech Seed recovery Celesteela gets from Suicune will run out, and Ludicolo will heal more than I can damage it every turn. A slow and painful death.

While Ludicolo has taken some damage (keep in mind it's taking a little bit from Suicune's Surf every turn as well - all chip is good chip) I decide that if somehow Celesteela can do this, it will be through several Heavy Slam crits, and I better get going while it's "low". So I do, and Ludicolo prioritizes setting the rain again over Leech Seeding, which makes sense knowing the AI, and Heavy Slam dents it down to about 40%, which is making me almost hopeful! Maybe a super crit next turn could do it before it Leech Seeds for the win?


TURN 7:
vs.


Thanks to Leech Seed + Lefties, Celesteela managed to remain relatively healthy through all this. Ludicolo goes for the Protect on this turn, which makes sense because it was also going for Surf, and the AI *loves* to Protect next to a spread move when possible. Unfortunately, that's free Lefties for Ludicolo, and free rain-boosted damage on Celesteela; I felt like I couldn't afford to give free Lefties to Ludi in case in didn't Protect, though.


TURN 8:
vs.


Ludicolo is still around 50%, which isn't too bad? And that's when the unbelievable happens... Ludicolo goes for Giga Drain?? Into Celesteela?? Not Leech Seed?? WHY???
I'm sure there's a reason, obviously, the answer to my question is somewhere in the AI's code, but from experience, that Ludicolo set loves to Leech Seed stuff, so I guess I may have gotten lucky? Anyway, that obviously does no damage, while Suicune crits Surf on Ludicolo (which also does no damage, lol), and Heavy Slam dents a big chunk further. Celesteela is now very low from the repeated rain-boosted Surfs, but Ludicolo is in the red, and will be KOd by another Heavy Slam!! Is this possible?!


TURN 9:
vs.


This turn, I'm forced to protect, because Celesteela was too low on HP, and from the previous pattern, Ludicolo was very likely to Protect from the ally Surf anyway, which is exactly what happens. However, Leftovers only take it up to low yellow HP, perhaps in range of Heavy Slam still, especially with the small Surf chip?


TURN 10:
vs.


Yup! Ludicolo goes for Giga Drain again, which makes no difference this time since it was definitely in Heavy Slam range, and just like that, the AI's wincon has come and gone, and I am left in disbelief. All it had to do, on any of these turns, is Leech Seed, and it was over.


TURN 11+:
vs.


At this point, Celesteela can spam Wide Guard to wall Suicune entirely as Leech Seed does its thing, which is exactly what I did, so I'll spare the turn-by-turn narration.

Looking back at it, other than the fact it may have been wiser to preserve Pelipper, or at least to Protect it on the turn Koko+Pelipper went down, I'm not too upset at myself for how I played it. Unlike my loss, this was very much played the way I usually would, and would have been a fitting, yet cruel ending: Celesteela Leech Seeded to death, the very way it brought despair upon its enemies for hundreds of battles...

In the end, I do take comfort in knowing this should have been a loss when I think about the actual loss and feel terrible about it.


—————————————————————

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I obviously was hoping to take the team further, but my goal was 1000, and it had been reached a while back, so I'm still happy of how far I ended up taking the team. The way I lost leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but I guess it's a learning experience. I don't want to limit myself with categorical statements, but I don't really intend to revisit this team again. Between the many small streaks where it slowly came together and the two actual big streaks it achieved, I spent countless hours playing with it, and I've had my share. It's been fun, but I'm ready to move on to new things (spoiler alert, I already have
)!


TOUKO'S TEAM

Next, I would like to go back to some unfinished business...

[...]
As a matter of fact, I'm currently testing the team since I had these 3 Pokémon ready in my boxes and only needed to retrain them. As I write this, I'm at battle 83 and have been very impressed, I was skeptical, but it's been working better than I thought. M-Blaziken is probably underrated as a hyper-offensive option for singles, and Ferrothorn has been an absolute monster, the glue and true MVP of the team so far! I was skeptical of the 2 inaccurate moves, but misses are very rarely a big deal. Latios, on the other hand, has been handy for its resists, but feels like the weak link, both offensively and defensively. With no bulk investment, it can't repeatedly tank resisted hits, and usually finds no time to Roost, while the Z-move barely misses out on many KOs.
I have also noticed some of the criticism come into action: Ferro is indeed the go-to switch in for water-types and inevitably receives a lot of Ice Beams and Blizzards, so I can see a loss to freeze coming at some point in the future. Also, the "no backup plan" point mentioned rings very true, as sacrificing Blaziken or Latios is sometimes a necessity without knowing the last Pokémon and whether you will need them or not. But the typing synergy has been making up for it thus far, since it's often possible to find a good switch-in and preserve.

My (preliminary) opinion from these battles would be that the team would need quite a large amount of luck to reach 400, especially if movesets aren't being looked up. But there's no denying the team is pretty good (and fun!).

If anyone else is interested in a similar exercise, I made a QR code, the EVs are exactly as instructed by Touko: https://3ds.pokemon-gl.com/rentalteam/usum/BT-4AE1-8D7E

I'll report back once my streak with this team ends with any additional thoughts I will have gathered about it!
As a refresher, the team in question is the one that was featured in this post, which sparked some discussion and doubt. As promised, I'm now reporting back after the Ultra Moon Super Singles streak ended at 133 - I don't want it on the leaderboard, I just want to discuss a little more.

—————————————————————

THE TEAM

@ Blazikenite

Adamant | Speed Boost
IVs: 31/31/31/31/31/31
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpDef / 252 Spe
Flare Blitz / Superpower / Thunder Punch / Protect

@ Dragonium Z

Timid | Levitate
IVs: 31/0/31/30(HT)/31/30(HT)
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpAtk / 252 Spe
Draco Meteor / Psychic / Surf / Roost

@ Leftovers

Brave | Iron Barbs
IVs: 31/31/31/31/31/0
EVs: 252 HP / 124 Atk / 36 Def / 92 SpDef
Power Whip / Gyro Ball / Leech Seed / Protect

—————————————————————

THOUGHTS


Firstly, I want to say I believe this is actually a pretty solid singles team. I don't have a ton of experience doing singles, but got a very decent streak out of it on my first attempt, and the streak could have been higher considering the losing battle was very winnable. It's a case of a rare singles team that doesn't rely on setting up and crippling, but rather on the more "intuitive" approach (outside of Tree) of raw damage and resist-switching (not to mention what I would consider the key element of the team, Ferrothorn's Leech Seed stalling potential).

Several concerns have been raised about the team, all of which definitely make a lot of sense, so I would like to address a few of them:

- Charizard X as a lead: I haven't faced any Charizard X lead, so I can only theorize the outcome, but in front of a Charizard lead, Protect would definitely be the play. Since Charizard X already outspeeds, I would think it's very likely to go for Dragon Rush over Dragon Dance, in which case on the following turn, Blaziken outspeeds and can Superpower twice, while Charizard starts an endless loop of Dragon Dances to try and catch up to Blaziken speed-wise. However, since Dragon Rush is not a guaranteed OHKO on Blaziken, there may be a chance for it to Dragon Dance turn 1? If that were to happen, doing the switches Touko mentioned (going Ferrothorn on Dragon Rush for the Iron Barbs, then Latios on the Flare Blitz, then Ferro again, etc.) would work, but probably at Latios' cost (it can only tank 2 +1 Flare Blitzes). Depending on the backline, this could be bad.

- Mega Salamence: I actually faced 2 Mega Salamence leads, one of which I saved and mock battled several times. My conclusion is that because the AI doesn't recognize the Aerilate ability turn 1, it will always go for Earthquake in front of Blaziken, and the safest play is to instantly switch to Latios to take advantage of the fact it doesn't pick Double-Edge. Then, on Latios, it will *almost* always Dragon Rush, so on turn 2, switching to Ferrothorn is the play, for some Iron Barbs chip. Then, obviously, Protect... at this point, it will spam Double-Edge, so you're stuck in there with Ferrothorn. After the Leftovers recovery, Ferrothorn can handily tank a non-crit Double-Edge, and has a very slight chance to tank even a crit; the second Iron Barbs hit, in addition to Double-Edge recoil and this calc:
124+ Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (150 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Salamence-Mega: 81-96 (47.6 - 56.4%) -- 80.9% chance to 2HKO
ensures it will either go down at the end of that exchange, leaving Ferrothorn relatively low on HP, or with enough bad luck, be extremely low, in which case the next Iron Barbs hit takes it out, but then it's a 1 for 1 trade. If Salamence turns out to be set 3, then it will try to Hydro Pump Blaziken turn 1, making the Latios initial switch very safe.

- The team has no status protection: This is a very valid concern. In the long run, I think it's bound to go down to an untimely freeze, or a lot of paralysis in a row. Ferrothorn ends up being at the forefront of all battles that drag on. During my short streak, it got frozen 3 times, but the combination of Leftovers and Leech Seed allowed me to have enough turns to finally thaw out at some point, which was obviously lucky. Sooner or later, a deadly freeze was pretty much certain to happen, especially when Ferrothorn has to take care of Water-types that spam Ice moves in front of it.

- The team has no setup moves: It might not be the common approach to Tree, and certainly sounds unviable for a very long streak at first thought, but to me this was not an issue per se, it just means playing this team won't fit the usual pattern of "find the right matchup to setup something entirely and sweep", which is the tried and proven way of getting long singles streaks. I would raise this as an issue if someone told me they wanted to get 1000 with this team, but otherwise, I don't think that matters too much.

- Inaccurate moves: I would usually agree with this, but my experience has shown otherwise. This is mostly the way I feel about Celesteela on my rain team as well; it's really not a big problem that Leech Seed isn't 100% accurate, because in the very vast majority of cases, missing doesn't matter: you get a second, third, or even fourth chance and very rarely get punished for missing. In this case, the same went for Power Whip; I missed plenty of them, but it never mattered. In the long run, enough bad luck will surely happen, but of all Pokémon, I think Ferrothorn can pull off relying on inaccurate moves. So to my experience using the team, not really an issue. Ironically, the same cannot be said of Latios' Draco Meteor. If ever, you have to rely on hitting one, it means you're probably in bad shape and missing will be extremely costly; Latios doesn't tend to get multiple chances to attack. While regular Draco is very uncommon to be used compared to Ferrothorn's inaccurate moves, I found it to be way more of a problem.

- No backup plan: Now, this is, I think, what really nails the biggest problem of this team. Because it relies on resist-switches, some trades are bound to happen. More often than not, Latios gets "wasted" to handle one Pokémon, which means if it's needed as a switch-in against the last one, well... it's not there. I'm specifically taking Latios as an example because as a matter of fact, it had extremely underwhelming bulk, which made the typing synergy with the rest of the team almost irrelevant. Moreover, using the Z-move is a big gamble, not knowing what's in the back. I very, very rarely was able get any use out of Roost, it just doesn't have the bulk to pull off this set reliably in the Tree in my opinion. Ferrothorn, on the other hand, was an absolute champion at coming out on top of 1v1s, ready for the next one - but that also meant that if it had to be sacrificed at any point, things became very shaky, once again coming back to the point of no backup plan. The team has really good synergy, but once a piece falls, things can go down like dominos, and since you can't know which last Pokémon a trainer has in the back, you can never plan accordingly, your hand is almost always forced into certain plays, certain sacrifices for the threat at hand. I often found myself thinking "welp, here's hoping I won't need this Pokémon in the future!".

- No knowledge of the Tree sets: And here is, in my opinion, the nail in the coffin of the claimed streak. While I firmly believe that team is solid and could - with some luck - reach a number like 400, I don't think it's possible at all without looking up sets. I went into this not wanting to look up any sets to get the "real" experience of the claim, but I simply couldn't. Firstly, I already know several of the sets, so this would be some kind of "cheating" already, but in addition, I quickly realized the team's potential heavily relied on looking up sets. The Tree sets have a lot of unusual, surprising moves that can and will screw you if you're not expecting them. That team, in particular, has absolutely no margin of error when it comes to those. You leave a Pokémon on an unexpected move, and suddenly, a crucial piece of the equation is lost; not only that, but most likely the piece you thought was the answer to what you're currently facing. This takes the "no backup plan" point to the next level, because without looking up sets, you can't make any sort of reliable prediction. Relying on generic competitive knowledge doesn't work out for Tree, at least not in the long run, because the Tree has too many unconventional sets. The Mega Salamence plan I outlined, for example, relies entirely on not only knowing the moveset, but AI behavior as well, and that kind of stuff came into play almost every single battle. I don't believe I could even have reached 100 without looking up sets, it's the one thing that allowed the synergy of the team to come into play and shine. Thus, from my personal experience, I would have an extremely hard time believing this team got above 400 without any knowledge of the Tree sets, without looking them up, and without doing calcs.

Which makes for a pretty good transition to the losing battle, because as it turns out, a move took me by surprise...

—————————————————————


THE LOSS // 134 vs. ACE TRAINER LEVI (YQMG-WWWW-WWX2-VK9A)



I managed to choke this battle not once, but twice!

TURN 1:
vs.


Arcanine has Intimidate, so I have no chance to OHKO, and the -1 Def from Superpower actually makes any hit + Extreme Speed KO - not to mention, it can go for All-Out Pummelling if set 4. The obvious switch-in is Latios.

TURN 2:
vs.


Arcanine is set 4 and does go for All-Out Pummelling, doing about half to Latios.

TURN 3:
vs.


First misplay, and it's a big one! I decided to Roost with Latios, since I thought it walled Arcanine (I didn't check the sets and only went from memory - Flare Blitz, Close Combat, E-Speed... what was the 4th move again? Probably irrelevant, I never see it...). News flash, it doesn't! Arcanine has Crunch, and does over half to Latios, making me regret going for Roost.

TURN 4:
vs.


New plan! Never mind the fact I could have Z-moved Arcanine on the spot and gotten rid of it, for some reason, I had a real brain fart, and decided I needed to take advantage of that next Crunch to get some Iron Barbs chip on Arcanine and put it in range of Superpower; the plan being to switch Blaziken in on the Flare Blitz Arcanine would target at Ferrothorn. That's a good plan, right? Why Z-Draco didn't cross my mind, I'll never know! Ferrothorn tanks the Crunch, gets the Iron Barbs chip.


TURN 5:
vs.


Well obviously I'm not going to switch right back out, I need to Protect for my extra Leftovers! That's Ferrothorn 101, duh!


TURN 6:
vs.


On the switch, Blaziken takes a hefty 40+% from Flare Blitz. But it's in Superpower range! I swear, I'll get through this Arcanine, somehow!


TURN 7:
vs.


Go, Superpower! Oh no... Arcanine outspeeds... what the heck? Obviously, this is my second misplay, and this one cost me the game. I expected M-Blaziken to outspeed. It doesn't. I had no reason not to Protect for the Speed Boost, other than laziness, and I got slapped hard for it. Arcanine is Jolly 252, you fool, you're Adamant, you fool! Arcanine Close Combats Blaziken for the KO. There goes my unnecessary 200 IQ plan. (Side-note: Arcanine actually crit Close Combat there, and without the crit, it never KOd. That's not an excuse at all, since in any case, Protecting was the play, but I guess it adds salt to the wound?).


TURN 8:
vs.


Somehow, it feels like I made a convoluted circle to come back to the starting point. I wonder if Surf will KO after the Close Combat? Looks like it's a roll, just like Psychic... WAIT! THE Z-MOVE! This is the where I realized how dumb I had been. I could, and obviously should, have just nuked it from the very beginning. Well... better late than never?


TURN 9:
vs.


Uh oh, I'm pretty sure I needed Blaziken to beat this. No, actually, I'm very sure I needed Blaziken to beat this. Well, let's... click Surf? Because I really have no better play, and the "Super effective" feature is luring me like a beginner that clicks Earthquake on Rotom. Surf does about half, Volcarona Bug Buzzes, Latios is down.


TURN 10:
vs.


That's not an ideal matchup for Ferrothorn. Among the possible bad matchups, I'd say it's definitely somewhere up there. Luckily, there may be a tiny bit of hope, since Volcarona has Heat Wave! Oh... I guess they never miss, huh?

And thus ended my adventure with the team, granted, a bit prematurely because of terrible play. While the turn 2 play of Roost, in my opinion, would have made sense to anyone who doesn't know the Tree sets, switching out instead of going for Z-Draco really is inexcusable.


This concludes post #1 (out of 4, if things go as planned, which they may not!). I would love to do some shout outs, but I don't want to constantly tag people, so I will do these at the end of the 4th post, which I'm hoping will be the best of the bunch!

Until the next one, thanks a lot for reading!
:heart:
 
Last edited:

Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
DRIFLELE

Submitting a completed streak of 232 in Ultra Moon Super Doubles with a team of Drifblim / Tapu Lele / Mega Blastoise / Kartana (QR team).

HISTORY & TEAMBUILDING


I ran this team on Ultra Moon, when my rain streak was alive and well on Ultra Sun. At the time (I believe August or September 2018), I had just started streaming Battle Tree on Twitch and really wanted to try out fun teams rather than constantly do the same thing with rain (which was getting less and less exciting to me). It was put together pretty quickly and I never approached it with the idea of getting a high streak, but its performance surprised me to the point I find it worth sharing it here.

It seems to be a consistent trend: a majority of my Tree teams take inspiration from current VGC trends, and this one was no different. I had been meaning to try out some sort of DrifLele combo, but never felt too inspired as to what Tailwind sweepers I wanted until I saw Aarong Zheng use Mega Blastoise on the Battle Spot ladder (link to the episode, check it out, it's a good one!). Instantly, I saw Mega Blastoise's potential for the Tree; DrifLele+Blastoise was a very flowchart-y core that was well-suited to facing all kinds of matchups, had very reliable speed control, and most importantly, a means of providing M-Blastoise with rain, which makes the sweeping potential of Water Spout go through the roof.

Finding the fourth team member was a little tricky: looking at Aaron's team, I didn't find any of these members covering the rest of the team's bases too well in Tree, except maybe Bulu. However, I didn't think Scarf Bulu was a good call in the context of Tree (despite it being amazing for him in the VGC games he showcased), and I wasn't sold on the moveset I would have to run on this team (no Z-move, double Grass moves + ...Superpower? Substitute? Rock Slide? Stone Edge was out of the question...). Double Fairy also seemed a bit dangerous when the Poison resist was Drifblim, which is hardly a check. It may have worked anyway, but I thought there should be better options.
Browsing through my boxes, I came across Kartana and thought it fit the bill perfectly. I wanted to sweep under Tailwind as I would in Trick Room: steamrolling as quickly as possible before it runs out. Beast Boost is an amazing ability to help with that, and Kartana's power is undeniable. It obviously leaves a lot to be desired defensively, but this is the where my set choice came into play... (I'll go into more detail below).

I quickly went through the EV spreads I wanted, got the training done, tested out the team, and found it to work really well. Not only did the battles go as envisioned, but it made for very fast-paced games that allowed me to climb quickly, and the team's flowchart-y nature allowed me to not have too many difficult calls to make, which made it perfect to stream. From battle 30, I streamed the entire streak all the way to the loss over the course of a few days. I purposefully played a little carelessly, since I wasn't really trying to get as high as possible, but just wanted to showcase the team for a while before moving on to the next thing. I now regret that approach a little bit, because it didn't do the team justice, and I think it deserves a higher streak number - maybe I'll revisit it someday, though by now, the might of Lele + Unburden Tailwind has definitely been proven by JustinTR's fantastic LeleLucha team!


THE TEAM

@ Psychic Seed

Timid | Unburden
IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/31
EVs: 4 HP / 100 Def / 220 SpAtk / 36 SpDef / 148 Spe
Tailwind / Shadow Ball / Will-O-Wisp / Rain Dance

Drifblim next to Tapu Lele is probably the most reliable Tailwind setter one could come across. Ever since it was popularized by SHADEviera in the 2017 ONOG Invitational tournament, it's been a consistent presence in VGC through the different metas. It makes sense: immunity to Fake Out paired with the Unburden speed boost to get that Tailwind going before any other Pokémon can move.

Timid with 148 speed EVs grant it 260 speed points after Unburden, allowing it to outspeed the fastest post-40 Pokémon in Tree, Scarf Manectric. While it may have been tempting to make the rest of the EV spread very defensive to capitalize on Drifblim's great natural bulk, I decided to make it as offensive as possible, since the point was not to stick around after setting up Tailwind for too many turns. From my experience, there is nothing worse than having your speed control Pokémon be a passive presence that ends up contributing to the AI successfully stalling out turns, so by investing more in offence, I ensured it wouldn't be too passive (it's by no means strong, but Shadow Ball at least does decent damage) and would not stick around too long, making room for Blastoise's big entrance. More specifically, 220 SpAtk grants the OHKO on non-mega Gengar as well as Medicham and Bruxish3 most of the time. 100 Def allows it to survive a Weavile Ice Punch, a non-crit M-Steelix Stone Edge, and plenty of other stuff (the list of blessed calcs is pretty impressive!), while 36 SpDef means it almost always lives a Magnezone3 or Specs Latios Thunder. Both the offensive and defensive sides are balanced to give excellent-but-not-perfect odds on some relevant calcs, but I was comfortable with that since ultimately, Drifblim's role is setting up Tailwind first and foremost, and the rest is bonus.

As mentioned, Shadow Ball prevents Drifblim from being passive, and actually does very good damage on super effective targets, which is particularly handy with it being Tapu Lele's partner, which is weak to Ghost. It's also really good use to break through the fat Psychic-types that crowd some trainers' rosters. Rain Dance was also a no-brainer for the team, as it sets Blastoise up for a clean Water Spout sweep. What I didn't anticipate is just how amazing a super-fast manual weather move would be to mess with the Tree in general. Weather teams are super common to face, and having a near-priority Rain Dance in front of Sun teams was an absolute delight, weakening their attacks immensely, and sometimes locking them into Solar Beam. It was also great against Sand teams to remove that SpDef boost instantly, or against Hail teams to give Blizzard a chance to miss. After this experience, I think I would run Rain Dance on Drifblim no matter whether or not I have a Water-type in the back, its usefulness went way beyond my expectations.

Will-O-Wisp is the "filler" move of the set. Drifblim has a ton of potentially useful support moves, and settling for an inaccurate one may sound strange, but I think it was the right choice. I tried to make sure I never relied on it, but only used it when hitting it would improve my situation even further at pretty much no cost, and it worked pretty well for that. Tapu Lele has really good natural SpDef, so hitting a Will-O-Wisp can basically patch its lower Def, and I found that to be extremely valuable; better having a 85% chance to allow Lele to tank an extra hit and make it through the turn, than no chance at all! I also made sure to burn all the annoying stally Pokémon like Blissey, Cresselia, Uxie, etc. as early as possible, since residual damage on these goes a really long way. The fact Will-O-Wisp is fired from such high speed is also part of why it's so good, even Scarf Garchomp can be burned before it moves! If I had to pick a different move, I think Memento would be my choice, since it provides more control on when you get your free switch into Blastoise, and also cripples a foe much like Will-O-Wisp does, but after experimenting a bit with it, I haven't been a huge fan of how "final" it is; crippling something with the plan of setting up a Rain Dance, or a new Tailwind afterwards isn't entirely uncommon. Destiny Bond could be a decent option as well, albeit probably a little unreliable and frustrating because of Drifblim's bulk; it's tough to predict exactly when it will go down, not to mention it gets targeted by Stone Edge all the time, and whether these will hit or not is up in the air... Other than that, I'm generally a big fan of Disable, but in the case of this team in particular, that kind of defensive play seems very counterproductive, as it stalls out Tailwind more than anything else (Will-O-Wisp already has that drawback, but in a less drastic way). I could go on, because Drifblim really has a lot of options, but I think none of them fit what this team is trying to achieve. If only it got Taunt! That would be my pick, without any hesitation!

One final thing to note about Drifblim is that due to its very high post-unburden speed, it's a Thunder Wave magnet, and ends up being paralyzed a lot, which isn't great. I used Taunt on Lele very often to prevent paralysis, which I found more important than being safe for a turn. The combination of Tailwind + Unburden means Drifblim still outspeeds the vast majority of Pokémon even when paralyzed, but that 25% chance of full paralysis is obviously the issue. Despite that, I was extremely satisfied with Drifblim's performance on this team and am absolutely planning on running it again!

@ Psychium Z

Modest | Psychic Surge
IVs: 31/28/31/30(HT)/31/30(HT)
EVs: 12 HP / 244 SpAtk / 252 Spe
Psychic / Moonblast / Taunt / Protect

Tapu Lele needs no introduction, it's a staple on several of the teams on the leaderboard, including the classic PheroLele, and it's easy to see why as soon as one tries it out. Its damage output is through the roof thanks to Psychic Terrain, has an amazing offensive typing, and the Z-move is one of the most powerful nukes one can possibly fire, sometimes making type resistance irrelevant.

Since I firmly believe Tapu Lele's STAB moves, Psychic and Moonblast, are all it needs to do its offensive job, I'm a big fan of using the 3rd slot for utility rather than "coverage for the sake of coverage". Substitute, as used by Level 51 on PheroLele, can be a pretty nice option (I used it in the past and enjoyed it), but now that I've tried Taunt, I'm never going back! Granted, for this team, Taunt was basically a necessity given just how threatening Trick Room is! Ensuring Trick Room didn't go up was a much higher priority than preserving Tapu Lele's health, so I did not hesitate to Taunt when in doubt (or, sometimes, go for the more reliable Z-move nuke on threats like Trevenant, Dusknoir and Aromatisse). Such aggressive Trick Room prevention methods allowed me to successfully avoid it most of the time, though this left the problematic case of double Trick Room setters lead, where I took my coinflip guess and hoped for the best. The few times Trick Room did go up, I was fortunately able to stall it out (it's been a long time and I don't truly remember how things went down), but that definitely remains one of the biggest threats to the team. As mentioned previously, I also generously taunted all Pokémon that are known as hax machines (I'm looking at you, Regigigas, and Uxie, and Cresselia, and...), usually to great success (I found it particularly satisfying to blindly Taunt and then see they were indeed going for that Confuse Ray, or Thunder Wave, etc.).

Protect doesn't really need to be explained, especially on a Tailwind team where the "default" safe turn 1 play is always "Tailwind + Protect". This is also why I allowed myself to indulge in Tapu Lele's full power by going Modest, an extra bit of strength that was most welcome from the usual Timid calcs! I still went for 252 EVs in speed since I wanted to outspeed Gyarados outside Tailwind, and also generally to have a fast Taunt.

@ Blastoisinite

Modest | Rain Dish -> Mega Launcher
IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/31
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
Water Spout / Water Pulse / Dark Pulse / Protect

With Tapu Lele's insane damage output upfront, it's easy to forget the team is first and foremost built around Mega Blastoise! And to be honest, this isn't the first time I make a Mega Blastoise team, though all my past ones have been severely underwhelming. As a matter of fact, I remember mentioning, in an early report, how Mega Blastoise was originally on my rain team rather than Swampert, and was just very awkward to use. Its potential and power is undeniable: as long as it gets to fire full-HP Water Spouts in rain, it's an incredible sweeper, but with its middling speed tier, getting it in the right position to do so repeatedly is not as easy as one would think. DrifLele, in my opinion, provide the perfect platform to allow Mega Blastoise to finally shine to its full potential.

Thanks to the front setup, it's actually easy and common for Blastoise to successfully come in fresh from the backline, in rain, with Tailwind under effect for at least a couple of turns, and Tapu Lele by its side to assist. When that setup is successful, very few things in the Tree can withstand the incoming deluge. However, things obviously don't always go perfectly, and it can definitely happen that Blastoise has to come out without Tailwind. In those cases, Water Pulse is a necessary option to still allow Blastoise to do big, reliable damage when it's no longer at full health. Double Water move may seem redundant, but those two moves are truly Blastoise's best weapons, and I would say both were equally essential to its success.

When it comes to the other two moves, decisions can be a bit difficult to make, and those are, in my opinion, very dependant on the team Blastoise is on. Obviously, the coverage of Dark Pulse and Aura Sphere, both Mega Launcher-boosted, is an extremely appealing option. However, because of Blastoise's weakness to Grass, combined with both Grass- and Dragon-types resisting Water, Ice Beam makes a ton of sense; there's a reason Ice coverage is generally very good on Water-types. On top of that, Blastoise has access to Fake Out, which is arguably the best utility move in doubles... how am I supposed to find room for Protect with all of this?? :psyduck:

Because of Blastoise's role, it was pretty clear to me that Fake Out, at least, was going to be ditched, since Blastoise is there to sweep from full HP, not to mention Psychic Terrain would clash with it anyway. I originally decided that Dark Pulse and Ice Beam were the best options, and went for these moves, thinking I should adjust along the way depending on my experience, keeping Aura Sphere as a potential option. But rather than seeing myself wish I had different coverage, I noticed I constantly wished I had Protect. With Kartana and Drifblim already being Protect-less, there's wasn't a ton of room for repositioning with the current setup, and giving Kartana or Lele a free turn on the side to deal with a threat would have made things so much safer. Thankfully, Ice Beam ended up being easy to let go of, I don't think I used it a single time in 40 battles, while Dark Pulse appeared to be the go-to neutral hit for everything that resisted Water, and everything I really needed. After all, the true important part of the set was Water Spout, which is easy to forget when you're looking at coverage options. After adding Protect, things were instantly a lot smoother, and I never looked back. I also never wished I had Aura Sphere, though that may be in part due to Kartana's Sacred Sword.

The EV spread is very straightforward, and it simply maximizes what little bulk investment it can afford, guaranteeing Rampardos34's Head Smash never OHKOs. It outspeeds everything in Tailwind barring Scarf Manectric, with which it speed ties. I decided that was no big deal, since both Tapu Lele and Kartana can deal with Manectric if need be. Because 129 is close to several other speed tiers in Tree, including Virizion4 (spoiler alert, Virizion is a huge threat to my backline), I didn't want to cut anymore on speed. My instinct of "survivability > tiny bit of extra power" made me try *really* hard to find a way to invest this Blastoise in bulk, but the rolls that give Blastoise an excellent chance of getting the OHKO on Raikou34, Passho Rotom-Heat, Rotom-Frost34 as well as Mega Metagross in rain were just too important to overlook (not to mention, a guaranteed OHKO on Garchomp3).

@ Assault Vest

IVs: 30(HT)/31/29(HT)/5(HT)/31/31
Adamant | Beast Boost
EVs: 180 HP / 44 Atk / 12 Def / 204 SpD / 68 Spe
Leaf Blade / Smart Strike / Sacred Sword / Knock Off

To anyone who doesn't play or watch VGC, Assault Vest probably seems like an outlandish item to use on Kartana, and admittedly, it appeared that way to me as well when I first saw it. Kartana has such abysmal SpDef that it's often (unfairly) being made fun of for its "paper-thin defences", overlooking the fact it actually has very good physical bulk. To my knowledge, the first advocate of Assault Vest Kartana was Ray Rizzo in this video recorded pretty early during the VGC 2017 season. At that point, no one had probably given the set a serious try, but I remember his analysis leaving a very strong impression on me, because it helped me understand much better how "bulk" functioned in Pokémon, and how investing in the lower stats, as opposed to the doctrine of "always invest in the highest stats", gave you a lot more return for your investment (I do recommend anyone who is interested in EV spread creation to watch that video, it's really instructive). This is obviously not necessarily desirable for all situations, but in Kartana's case, its abysmal SpDef, combined with the mediocre HP, meant that investing in both of those stats + adding an Assault Vest made it possible to give Kartana some legit special bulk. The initial reaction from most people was "who cares, it still goes down to any Fire move" or "it may survive this and that special move, but they still do a lot of damage". Then, slowly, as the season went by, people learned that Kartana could be played defensively with much success, and that it had the potential to be much more than just a glass cannon. Its typing is more than just 4x weak to Fire, it also happens to offer a bunch of excellent resists (8 in total!), including the ever-oppressive Fairy, and by the end of the season, several months after Ray Rizzo theorized Kartana's AV potential, people started running it more seriously. However, VGC 2018 is when the set really took off, and within a couple of months, during which it "legitimized" itself by being on several well-performing teams, the set became the most commonly used, and remains so to this day in VGC 19.

Despite the strong impression Ray Rizzo's analysis left on me, I kept doubting AV Kartana's potential until VGC 2018, which is when I personally gave it a try, and instantly fell in love. The set is easy to write off in theory, but performed amazingly in practice (granted, the addition of Knock Off to Kartana's movepool in USUM made a huge improvement to the set). Of course, just because the set performs well in VGC doesn't mean it's going to be good in the Tree, where the variety of threats and archetypes is much wider, and the absence of team preview removes a ton of flexibility. But I went into this streak for the fun of it, and I had this newly-trained Adamant AV Kartana (which was the latest meta trend in VGC at the time, everything was going slower in favor of bulk) that I really wanted to put to good use, so I figured I might as well give it a shot!

The coverage offered by its 4 moves is pretty ideal, and the fact several of these moves come with added benefits makes this even better. As a matter of fact, Smart Strike/Sacred Sword is definitely one of the reasons I was so quick to take Kartana on board, since the team had very little to deal with the bulky evasion boosters of the Tree, Blissey in particular, and for sure, those moves came in absolutely clutch during the streak. I consider Knock Off to be one of the best moves in the game, period, and I find this to be also true in Tree. I will touch this point in a future post, so I won't elaborate too much on this thought, but suffice it to say getting rid of Bright Powders, Chesto Berries, Sitrus Berries, etc. can make a huge difference. Leaf Blade is Kartana's STAB of choice most of the time, so that's a straightforward pick.

The EV spread was a spin-off of the one I already had for VGC 18. I changed the speed to outspeed Articuno3, Toxicroak, Whimsicott34 and Azelf1 outside of Tailwind, while in Tailwind, it obviously outspeeds everything. Most notably, it underspeeds Tapu Lele, which is very much voluntary: this was to be able to double up a target with these two and have Kartana finish it off to grab a Beast Boost. It didn't come into play as much as I would have liked, though, because Kartana was very rarely next to Lele, and rather came in last, next to Blastoise.
The EV spread allows for these nice calcs:

0 SpA Virizion Focus Blast vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 132-156 (84 - 99.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
0 SpA Pelipper Hurricane vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 63-75 (40.1 - 47.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252 SpA Togekiss Air Slash vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 64-76 (40.7 - 48.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252+ SpA Rotom-Fan Air Slash vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 64-76 (40.7 - 48.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252 Atk Mold Breaker Gyarados-Mega Crunch vs. 180 HP / 12 Def Kartana: 61-73 (38.8 - 46.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252+ SpA Lapras Ice Beam vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 67-79 (42.6 - 50.3%) -- 1.2% chance to 2HKO
252+ SpA Decidueye Shadow Ball vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 67-79 (42.6 - 50.3%) -- 1.2% chance to 2HKO
252+ SpA Rotom-Frost Blizzard vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 69-82 (43.9 - 52.2%) -- 17.2% chance to 2HKO
168 SpA Lucario Aura Sphere vs. 180 HP / 204 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 122-146 (77.7 - 92.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252+ Atk Talonflame Flare Blitz vs. 180 HP / 12 Def Kartana in Rain: 132-156 (84 - 99.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

In the end, I can't say it was the most trying of tests for AV Kartana, because it didn't see a ton of use on the team. Most of the time, Blastoise cleaned up, and Kartana was lucky if it got to have one KO for itself before the battle was over. I did use its defensive potential as a switch-in a couple of times, it was especially great against Electric- and opposing Water-types, but a few instances is obviously not enough to draw conclusions. In any case, I can safely say the AV set didn't get in the way of the team's success, and I would love to test it some more on other teams, though I think it's a very circumstantial pick and should only be considered on very offensive teams that feature a reliable Tailwind setter. If I was doing another run with this team, I may look into replacing Kartana altogether for a more defensive Pokémon, but I may also end up going back to Kartana; there's definitely room for experimentation in order to perfect this team!

THE LOSS // 233 vs. LASS SAMANTHA



As I mentioned earlier, this entire streak was more for entertainment than serious Tree climbing, so I was playing pretty casually, and the loss definitely reflects that. However, it was a tough battle nonetheless that required making some difficult calls.

TURN 1:
vs.


I actually think my turn 1 play was very good. The big threat is Cresselia potentially going for Trick Room, so I needed it taunted asap, but clearly Cobalion was getting in the way of a safe turn 1 Taunt, so my best bet was burning it to allow Lele to tank an Iron Head, which is exactly what I did, and since this was indeed Cresselia4, it went exactly as planned.

TURN 2:
vs.


At this point, I was so focused on the necessity of getting rid of Cresselia before the Taunt ended that I decided to aggressively target it. At this point, I make the odd call to let Lele go down should it be targeted for a free switch into Blastoise, which should be able to deal with both Cresselia and Cobalion in Tailwind before the Taunt ended. It kind of makes sense, since Protecting Lele allows one turn of Taunt to go by, while Cobalion could finish it off on the next turn anyway. But I don't think I considered going for Tailwind + Protect in order to simply KO Cobalion on the next turn, which in hindsight seems like a better option. Then again, with this Cresselia having Shadow Ball, maybe getting a new Taunt would not have been possible and this would have indeed screwed me further, so I'm not entirely certain whether this was the absolute correct play, but it does seem to make more sense in any case. Lele goes down, and I start denting Cresselia with Shadow Ball to make sure I can finish it off before Taunt ends. Cresselia Psychics Drifblim (Terrain-boosted, because it's Iron Ball, ouch).

TURN 3:
vs.


I remember this turn very clearly, because the obvious play was to go Blastoise so I can either 1. Dark Pulse Cress or 2. Tailwind + Protect, and then Rain Dance + Water Spout for the double KO. Option #2 sounds better, but it relies on Drifblim surviving the turn, though the option of Dark Pulsing the next turn if things go wrong is there as well, not to mention Knock Off on the incoming Kartana. In both cases, Blastoise should have come in here. But I remember changing my mind last second, thinking "you know what, Kartana is fine here too! I don't give Kartana enough time in the spotlight, Blastoise is always my default switch after a lead goes down. Let's go Kartana for once and try to achieve a sweep!". To be fair, Kartana wasn't an awful idea, but for some reason I disregarded the obvious Close Combat coming from Cobalion, which did a good 50%, damage that I would rather not have taken. Moreover, I decide to KO Cobalion for a Beast Boost, leaving Cresselia for next turn since Taunt hadn't ended, and both my Pokémon could finish it off. This was short-sighted, as I trade a ton of damage on both my Pokémon for only 1 KO, give the AI a free switch, and lock myself into having to target one of the slots next turn in advance. And in comes the biggest threat to the team: Virizion.

TURN 4:
vs.


By leaving Cresselia in last turn, I forced myself to have to target it this turn, which is definitely not a good idea when you're giving the AI a free switch. Taunt having ended, I have to target Cresselia (or am I? that's how I saw it at the time, but in hindsight, Trick Room would actually have been a lot better for me here!), so I Shadow Ball it, Smart Strike into Virizion for about 95% damage (so close ;(), which can also pick a KO; Drifblim goes down to Stone Edge.

TURN 5:
vs.


When I saw Raikou was last, I knew that was the end. What I really needed in this game was Tailwind, and I was too short-sighted to set it up when I was given the occasion. I knew it was Raikou3 since it wasn't on a Balloon, and that it had the Z-move, so I Protected Blastoise hoping to burn that; it goes for it, but also does a ton of damage through Protect. I was hoping Virizion would also target Blastoise so I could finish it off, but it went for Kartana instead, leaving the poor turtle pretty lonely in front of both a Grass and an Electric legendary :S

TURN 6:
vs.


Adding insult to injury, Raikou now decides to Protect - but it obviously makes no difference, and Virizion takes the KO.

I think I would have improved my odds a ton by just going Blastoise after Lele went down, as I usually would have done. The team leans heavily on the benefit of Water Spout as a spread move, and not giving myself that option was costly (also most importantly, not setting my position appropriately with Tailwind in the 2 turns where I was given the chance - Cresselia being Taunted meant I had several ways of handling it and getting the KO before the Taunt ended, I don't know why I got so paranoid about that).

CONCLUSION

One thing I would like to stress is how fun and straightforward the team was (and how happy I am that Mega Blastoise was able to find a environment where it could shine so well). I would not hesitate to recommend the team to newer players who are interested in learning to play Tree, as well as to people who are only aiming to quickly get the stamp. It does sometimes involve tough decisions, especially with Tapu Lele on turn 1, but if anything, I feel like this provides a good learning experience into looking up sets when in doubt. I would love to revisit the team on a more serious attempt in the future, maybe with a couple of modifications, because I definitely believe in its potential.

This concludes post #2 of my series! I was planning on covering 2 teams in this post and ended up running out of room sooooo... I guess this now means it's going to be at least 5 posts in total? Oops! Special shoutout to Worldie who was in chat for almost the entirety of that streak!

Until the next one, thanks a lot for reading! :heart:
 
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Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
Cool team!
You thought about giving Blastoise Fake Out, but isn't that incompatible with Water Spout anyways?
Thank you! No, both Water Spout and Fake Out are regular egg moves, I think you might be mixing it up with Follow Me, which is an event move that's incompatible with both these egg moves.
 
But there is no parent Pokemon that learns both Fake Out and Water Spout, so Blastoise cannot have both at the same time or am i missing something?
 

Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
But there is no parent Pokemon that learns both Fake Out and Water Spout, so Blastoise cannot have both at the same time or am i missing something?
Egg moves don't need to be passed all at once from a single parent. In this case, you can get Water Spout by breeding Wailmer and Remoraid to get it on a Remoraid male, then breed that male with a Squirtle, and the baby will now have Water Spout. Then, you breed that baby with a male Lombre for Fake Out, and the new baby will have both moves.
 
Are you sure? I thought female parents determine only the species but cant pass egg moves, which means that after breeding with Lombre there will be no Water Spout on that baby? Or did the breeding mechanics change on that?
 

Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
Are you sure? I thought female parents determine only the species but cant pass egg moves, which means that after breeding with Lombre there will be no Water Spout on that baby? Or did the breeding mechanics change on that?
Yeah, I'm very sure, female parents not only pass egg moves, but they also get priority if the male and female parent have more than 4 possible egg moves together. I think this might have been added in Gen 6? That's when I started breeding stuff so I'm not entirely sure on the pre-Gen 6 mechanics though...!
 
Are you sure? I thought female parents determine only the species but cant pass egg moves, which means that after breeding with Lombre there will be no Water Spout on that baby? Or did the breeding mechanics change on that?
That got changed a few gens ago :)

Right now, Male parents can pass about everything (egg moves, hidden ability, pokeball) except their species (except with Ditto, obv).
 
Males can only pass HA if it's with Ditto, just like species. Poke Ball type is slightly more liberating: they can do that if it's with Ditto or if both parents are the exact same species. This is a strict check; NidoranM and NidoranF are not considered "the same species" which, for one thing, makes it impossible to have HA Nidoran in an apricorn ball (each parent would need to pass down one of those traits, but the father cannot be eligible to pass down either of them).
 

Level 51

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Update to the USUM Battle Tree Informant:
  • Fixed a bug where Alolan Golem-2 was listed as having a Speed of 97, when it actually has 106
  • Fixed a bug where the abilities of certain Pokemon (Oricorio, Minior, etc.) didn't show
  • Fixed a bug where selecting "All" and "Oricorio" would give a message saying that "All" cannot have Oricorio
  • Renamed the nameless Oricorio form to "Oricorio (Baile Style)"
  • Added a function to let users select what moves and items to highlight in red or orange; use the "Color Warning Settings" tab to add and delete things from these lists
  • Added a "last updated" counter so you can see how long it's been since I last bothered updating this thing
You can get the updated copy here. Happy climbing!

edit: fixed a bug with the color formatting soon after this post, if you copied it and the color functionality wasn't working try making a new copy
 
Last edited:

Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
BLIZZSPOUT

Submitting a completed streak of 329 in Ultra Moon Super Doubles with a team of Musharna / Alolan Golem / Octillery / Mega Abomasnow (QR team).

HISTORY & TEAMBUILDING

Just like DrifLele, this was a team I used on the side, in Ultra Moon, while my rain streak was ongoing in Ultra Sun. And just like DrifLele, it was very much inspired by a VGC team; however, this time, I didn't try to emulate someone else's team, but rather my own!

It started when I was breeding and training Pokémon for my competitive dex project, in which I plan on having a competitive version of each Pokémon. When Alolan Golem's time came, I was looking into its options for a Doubles set; I knew Galvanize Explosion was probably the best thing it had to offer, but wasn't sure on how to take full advantage of it. Explosion obviously pairs best with either a Ground type, or a Telepathy user, which points at having a Trick Room setter by its side. I'll go into the whole set in the team details below, but what came out of that process was a "dedicated Trick Room suicide lead", which I thought sounded good in theory, but also super silly. I assumed it probably was just a theorymon spur that would fail once it hit the field for some reason I hadn't considered. But that was the best niche I could find for it, so I bred and trained it anyway, added it to my collection and... left it in a box for a while, forgetting about it.

A few months later, as I started building a VGC18 Trick Room team built around Mega Abomasnow, I wanted Musharna as my setter since I really enjoyed its Z-Trick Room+Hypnosis set (I already used it on other teams that season), and as I was wondering how I could take full advantage of Telepathy with the team, I suddenly remembered Golem's existence in my boxes, and how it ended up going untested. "The time has come to unleash the Alolem!". The rest of the team came together pretty easily since I already had a rough idea of what I wanted on it (basically, a bunch of my favourite TR abusers at the time), and thus the final team was this:



This is probably the very last VGC 2018 team I built, late into the season. It started as a bit of a meme, but as I successfully laddered with it, I became really fond of its options, and the fact it actually worked decently well made me really happy. I believe it peaked somewhere in the mid/high-1600s on Showdown, which is definitely better than I had anticipated.

In late September, when the VGC season was decidedly over, I decided this team's legacy should live on, and I undertook the project of adapting it for Tree. I found picking a core of 4 out of these 6 to be extremely difficult. Incineroar was more of a supportive outsider to the rest, so it was clear it could be left out, but the other five felt really necessary. The Golem lead is what the whole thing was built upon, so even though I wasn't sure it would hold up in Tree, I definitely wanted to give it a try. Mega Abomasnow being the centrepiece of the backline, that was pretty much a no-brainer as well, leaving me with the extra tough call of Primarina vs. Mudsdale. From experience, Primarina complimented Abomasnow a bit better, and one of my favourite things about that combo was the double-spread move spam of Blizzard + Hyper Voice (this was Specs Primarina, mind you), so I defaulted to Primarina. Battles 1-50 were played with this team:



I had no idea whether it would find any success in Tree, especially with this wild lead, so I was surprised when I handily reached 50 on the first run. Figuring it had some actual potential, I looked at 2 things that felt shaky from my first impressions:

  • Primarina's speed tier : Base 60 with min speed was totally fine in VGC, but in Tree, you don't know how mediocre it is until you try it. It regularly got outsped in Trick Room, making things very awkward.
  • Steel types : Especially Ferrothorn. At the time, Abomasnow didn't have Focus Blast, because I wasn't using Gravity (not that much reason to, really, other than Rock Slide), but even then, if Focus Blast was the main check to Ferrothorn and Steel-types in general, it would have been very shaky. A close call vs Mega Metagross in the 40-50 stretch raised a red flag for me, I definitely needed a better answer for these.
I really wanted to keep Primarina on the team, so I looked at options like HP Fire and After You Musharna, but it didn't feel like that would be reliable enough, especially considering the Specs locked me in, and yet taking off the Specs made it hard to justify using Primarina and coping with its poor speed tier. The whole point was that with a Helping Hand boost, Primarina was able to OHKO things with Moonblast or Hyper Voice, and losing any of the power meant these OHKOs turned into 2HKOs, and that changes what makes the team successful. As fond as I am of bulky Berry Primarina, it just didn't fit the team.

I started to look at other options, but nothing seemed like it could fit a similar role and do it better. What I wanted was something that could spam a strong spread move, complimented Abomasnow's typing defensively (which meant handling Fire-types), but could also deal with Steel-types like Ferrothorn and Escavalier. As I browsed the Pokédex, my hopes were low and I thought I would end up sticking to Primarina, but when I searched for Pokémon that learn Water Spout, Octillery showed up, a Pokémon I hadn't remotely thought of. Looking at its dex page was like a revelation. Low speed? Check. Spread move? Water Spout. Can take on Fire types? Check. Can take on Ferrothorn and Escavalier? Learns Flamethrower (!!). Powerful enough to score OHKOs? To my surprise: check! Did you know it has base 105 SpAtk? I sure didn't! Clearly that's not Primarina's 126, but the extra power of Water Spout made up for that. Moreover, the aggressive nature of the team meant Octillery would be provided with a free switch when Trick Room goes up, which is a big help in preserving HP. The one downside that scared me was my own hail chip damage weakening Water Spout over time, but since my goal was to sweep in just a few turns, hopefully this wasn't going to be a huge deal. More than anything, I was very excited that the Pokémon that best fit the criteria I had placed ended up being an unconventional Johto Pokémon that gets forgotten a lot!



Looking at Octillery's movepool is also when I decided Musharna should have Gravity as its last support move, since it enabled Hydro Pump (I was worried about the lack of damage once Water Spout was weakened) and Fire Blast, but also allowed me to have Focus Blast on Abomasnow, which would definitely be a big help in facing Steels - not to mention Golem's Rock Slides at the front! And thus, from battle 51, the team was complete!


THE TEAM


@ Psychium Z

Relaxed | Telepathy
IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/0
EVs: 220 HP / 252 Def / 36 SpDef
Trick Room / Psychic / Gravity / Helping Hand

Musharna's base role is pretty straightforward, it's one of the best Trick Room setters available thanks to its very low speed tier, amazing bulk and wide array of support moves, not to mention that with 107 base SpAtk, it can deal decent damage even without any investment. Trick Room, Psychic and Helping Hand were non-negotiable moves which set the foundation on which the team was built. After setting Trick Room with the assistance of Golem, it can either go on the offensive, or, more commonly, boost the damage of its partner's spread move with HH.

But why Psychium Z? Isn't a Lum Berry a better item in Tree to offer an additional shield against the prominence of status moves? I generally do believe it is, but I also wanted to give Psychium Z a try since I had been a huge fan of the item in VGC. It allows Musharna to bypass Taunt by going for Z-Trick Room, which also boosts its accuracy by one stage. This enabled a more reliable Hypnosis, which I originally had as the last move. If for some reason I ended up using a regular Trick Room, it gave the option for Shattered Psyche instead, which is an option I initially severely underrated. When you're under pressure to sweep as quickly as possible within 4 turns of Trick Room, having the setter be a really good damage dealer for a turn is pretty amazing. That's, ultimately, why I decided to stick to that item even after I replaced Hypnosis with Gravity on battle 51, after Octillery's entry on the team.

Thanks to Golem's Ally Switch assistance, Thunder Wave was not much of an issue on turn 1, and that was a huge factor in deciding to forego the Lum Berry - especially with the pseudo-Mental Herb that the Psychium Z provided - I figured that it was kind of a "best of both worlds".

The EVs ensure Musharna lives as much stuff as possible to set Trick Room reliably. As a matter of fact, the list of Pokémon that can OHKO Musharna in Tree with this spread is incredibly small: 8 in total, of which 3 need max rolls, and 1 is Mega Heracross picking Pin Missile (which it doesn't, because the AI doesn't recognize the damage of multi-hitting moves properly). More specifically, the spread ensures Vikavolt4's Bug Buzz never OHKOs, while leaving Escavalier4 only a 6% chance to OHKO with Megahorn (I would rather guarantee survival on Vikavolt than Escavalier, since the latter could be Escavalier3, which has a very guaranteed OHKO with Megahorn anyway).

@ Focus Sash

Brave | Galvanize
IVs: 31/31/31/31/31/0
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpDef
Rock Slide / Explosion / Wide Guard / Ally Switch

I'm a huge fan of Alolan Golem's design, and I was really looking forward to finding a way to utilize it in battle. I think this "suicide lead" role is perfect, since it offers really good tools to help to setup Trick Room, almost like a Fake Out user would, but it also provides a ton of offensive pressure, like my Exploding Silvally did on my MimiLax team, and most importantly, a valuable free switch into one of the backline sweepers.

First off, Galvanize Explosion's damage output is absolutely insane, especially when Helping Hand-boosted (yes, those all take into account spread damage):
252+ Atk Galvanize Golem-Alola Helping Hand Explosion vs. 252 HP / 0+ Def Cresselia: 234-276 (103 - 121.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Galvanize Golem-Alola Helping Hand Explosion vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Umbreon: 202-238 (100 - 117.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Galvanize Golem-Alola Helping Hand Explosion vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Shiinotic: 179-211 (107.1 - 126.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Galvanize Golem-Alola Helping Hand Explosion vs. 0 HP / 252+ Def Audino-Mega: 184-217 (103.3 - 121.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO

The list goes on; and the best part is, since most leads you'll face are not such bulky Pokémon, Helping Hand is often unnecessary to score a double-OHKO, which means it's a free turn to setup Gravity!

Rock Slide is a really good option as well, since A-Golem sometimes has good matchups and isn't threatened, and it'd be a shame to let that go to waste by just going BOOM every time. Thus, when the lead can be handled by Rock Slide, or even one of the leads, delaying by a turn or 2 can mean the Explosion will either clean up their backline instead of their frontline, or bring the opponent down to a single Pokémon. A Rock move is also the perfect tool to remove the pesky Fire-types Abomasnow hates if I envision going Abomasnow over Octillery after the free switch. I favour Rock Slide over Stone Edge because 1. It doesn't *require* Gravity, so I can go for it semi-safely turn 1 if I need to, 2. It's a spread move, perfect to accumulate chip damage/break a sash while scoring a KO on the side and 3.
Sorry, I couldn't resist D:

The 2 other moves are what make Golem such a great Trick Room-lead partner. I have gushed over how amazing Wide Guard is already in my rain team reports, but Golem takes its usefulness to the next level thanks to its 4x weakness to Ground. About every Pokémon with Earthquake in Tree will reliably go for it, making Wide Guard a pretty safe pick against the Garchomps & co. of the Tree, and also drawing all the attention away from Musharna while at it. The best part? The AI was often baited into picking Earthquake even if it damaged their partner heavily - in one instance, an opposing Garchomp3 swept its entire team with Earthquake, while I joyfully watched with popcorn (since I'm a nice guy, I set Gravity for him too)! Of course, looking up sets is not optional in order to make the best use of Wide Guard on turn 1. Thanks to the Focus Sash, in case of doubt, picking Wide Guard was also just a very safe move "just in case"; this is especially true when a Blizzard is susceptible to be coming, since without a Lum Berry, Musharna is vulnerable to a freeze.

Ally Switch is another of Golem's tools to ensure Trick Room reliably goes up. Not only is this with the idea of letting Golem tank attacks aimed at Musharna, but it worked both ways pretty well, since Golem's weakness to Fighting meant Musharna could tank plenty of these. There is obviously a certain gambling factor to Ally Switching, since the AI isn't always consistent in what moves it goes for, but there were plenty of occasions where the move had very small odds of a drawback. For example, some of the most threatening Pokémon leads that Musharna hate, such as Escavalier and Mega Sharpedo, are perfect to Ally Switch around. Just like in the case of Wide Guard, looking up sets makes a big difference in using Ally Switch properly.

I found that between the Focus Sash, Wide Guard, Ally Switch, Golem's typing, Musharna's bulk and the Psychium Z to bypass Taunt, this was one of the best toolboxes I could wish for to reliably setup Trick Room on turn 1 (or 2), and while the success rate is never 100%, it was close enough. And of course, as soon as that's done, Golem shows off its other role, as a damage dealer, and that damage never ceased to amazing me through the streak! Granted, there were some games where in ensuring Trick Room goes up, Golem sacrificed himself and no damage was dealt, but that's the idea of a suicide lead: its primary role is ensuring Trick Room, and the Explosion is the cherry on top.

@ Mystic Water

Quiet | Sniper
IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/0
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpAtk / 4 SpDef
Water Spout / Hydro Pump / Fire Blast / Energy Ball

While the backline was initially built around Mega Abomasnow, I will admit that Primarina/Octillery quickly became my favourite initial switch-in after Golem's Explosion. Mega Abomasnow is cool and all, but Blizzard really doesn't hit that hard, and Ice is more difficult to reliably spam than Water. Moreover, Abomasnow being in the back provided a perfect switch-in if Octillery found itself threatened by Grass- or Electric-Moves.

When I switched from Primarina to Octillery, it was very important to me to preserve the damage output Specs Primarina offered, yet, using Specs Octillery was out of the question, because 1. One of the main reasons for the switch was the access to a Fire-move, which locking myself into sounded terrible and 2. After taking damage, being locked into Water Spout was a liability, especially when I had a secondary Water move precisely for that. I figured achieving Primarina's damage output without the Specs may be too much to ask from Octillery, but it turns out it really wasn't:

252+ SpA Choice Specs Liquid Voice Primarina Helping Hand Hyper Voice vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Garchomp: 159-187 (86.8 - 102.1%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Mystic Water Octillery Helping Hand Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Garchomp: 186-220 (101.6 - 120.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO

With the help of Mystic Water, Octillery's damage is actually significantly higher. Since Water Spout was this Pokémon's main purpose on the team, boosting that move specifically was good enough for me; in any case, a Life Orb would have obviously been counterproductive. While its bulk is definitely underwhelming, Octillery's damage output was all but disappointing. Water Spout exceeded my expectations by a mile. Hydro Pump is the single-target alternative of the move, and allows for basically the same damage when Octillery's HP is down (252+ SpA Mystic Water Octillery Helping Hand Hydro Pump vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Garchomp: 183-216 (100 - 118%) -- guaranteed OHKO), though it does have the downside of requiring Gravity. It felt great to use something better than Scald on a Water-type for once, something one can rarely afford.

Fire Blast is also part of the reason Octillery took over Primarina's spot on the team; I figured that since I had Gravity, I might as well go all-in and add that extra power over Flamethrower. Its main purpose is to deal with Ferrothorn and Escavalier, but it was also handy against Grass types in general.

Finally, the last moveslot should usually have been Protect, but I took a page out of ReptoAbysmal's book and went 4 attacks, taking the gamble that I was actually going to successfully sweep during Trick Room and wouldn't need to reposition too often. I figured the team played aggressively enough to try it out. I can't say the experiment entirely convinced me of one thing or the other; I definitely appreciated the extra coverage, and it contributed to Octillery's success without a doubt. At the same time, there were definitely plenty of occasions where I wish I had Protect, especially with Octillery's poor bulk. Most bad positions gave me the option to either sacrifice it or switch; if the switch was unsafe, it forced my hand, and Octillery got sacrificed more often than I would have liked.

Nonetheless, it mostly worked out, and the extra coverage did feel essential at times. The choice was between Ice Beam and Energy Ball; one could argue Abomasnow covered for both of these with its STABs, so none were necessary, but the way the team worked, Abomasnow+Octillery being together on the board was very uncommon, and Musharna was usually Octillery's partner. With Ice Beam, this combo was walled pretty hard by opposing Water-types, while using Energy Ball meant Dragon-types "walled" Octillery (Water Spout did significant amounts, still). I had to pick the lesser evil, and from what little experience I had with the team, being walled by Water-types was the most frustrating of the two, so I went with Energy Ball, and it did prove itself very useful.

Overall, I was delighted with Octillery's contribution to the team; it ended up outshining Mega Abomasnow as far as damage goes!

@ Abomasite

IVs: 31/31/31/31/31/0
Quiet | Snow Warning -> Snow Warning
EVs: 252 HP / 220 SpAtk / 36 SpDef
Blizzard / Energy Ball / Focus Blast / Protect

Surprisingly, I think the best thing I would have to say about Mega Abomasnow is that its bulk is way underrated. It kept living hits that I didn't anticipate, especially Fighting and Rock moves. Those survivals were sometimes really big; in about every game where Trick Room expired and I was in a bad spot, Abomasnow was the one who clutched it out for me (and he almost did in the loss again). For that, and also because its typing complimented Octillery really well, I won't question its contribution, but it definitely was not what I was anticipating on the offensive spectrum.

Blizzard is usually pictured as the strongest Ice move, probably in part because like Thunder or Hydro Pump, its accuracy is a tradeoff for the additional power; with Hail (or Gravity) fixing the accuracy problem, surely spamming Blizzard must be amazing? Well, in Doubles, spread damage comes into play... did you know Blizzard actually does significantly less damage than Ice Beam?
220+ SpA Abomasnow-Mega Blizzard vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Latios: 140-168 (90.3 - 108.3%) -- 50% chance to OHKO
220+ SpA Abomasnow-Mega Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Latios: 156-186 (100.6 - 120%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Even though I knew about it, I still had this preconception that spamming Blizzard would be pretty good, and I was disappointed. It didn't help that I was used to using "this team" (close enough, anyway) in VGC, where Ice moves are a lot more valuable generally than they are in Tree (probably because what you encounter here is more evenly distributed typing-wise). So rather than sweeping with Blizzard as envisioned, I often tried to put things in range with Musharna and Octillery to use it as the "finishing blow" at the end.

Otherwise, Energy Ball was reliable damage; I preferred it over Wood Hammer because I was investing fully in SpAtk anyway, and the recoil was undesirable, as it basically meant mitigating Mega Abomasnow's best selling point, its bulk. This was also my only reliable way of breaking through full Water teams (Octillery's Energy Ball prevents it from being walled, but it doesn't score OHKOs!). Thankfully, Abomasnow also walled most of these teams defensively to a degree.

Focus Blast was originally Ice Shard, but with the addition of Gravity, I wasn't going to pass on this occasion to stop being walled by Steel types. As a matter of fact, I think I used Focus Blast as often as both of Abomasnow's STABs, it was just the right coverage for the team, and the move's base power made it feel like more than just coverage. Definitely, there were times where I missed Ice Shard dearly (like in that losing battle), but unlike on Octillery, I don't think Abomasnow could afford to not have Protect; having the entire team Protect-less would have made it susceptible to falling apart extremely quickly (this was already a bit of a problem because of Octillery). Abomasnow was also good at baiting moves due to its typing, not only through that 4x weakness, but also the fact Fighting moves are very common among Tree sets.

The EVs allow Mega Abomasnow to live a Focus Blast from Mega Ampharos, while having a guaranteed OHKO on Mega Slowbro with Energy Ball (a big deal for this team, since it could reset Trick Room). More generally, 220 is a pretty good SpAtk number since it hits a jump point.


THE LOSS // 330 vs. POKÉMON TRAINER WALLY (TXKW-WWWW-WWX3-6XWM)

This entire battle basically consisted of me trying to greedily dance around Altaria4, unsuccessfully. It highlights a very serious problem with the team: sleep. While Golem helps Musharna avoid Paralysis issues, I have no means of preventing or helping the case of sleep. Due to the very aggressive nature of the team, it also doesn't offer a lot of opportunities to break the mold of "Set TR -> Explode -> Sweep" by switching around. However, sleep isn't very common and comes in very specific forms: Spore through Amoonguss and Shiinotic and Hypnosis through Crobat, all of which the team can pretty reliably handle generally (especially Abomasnow and Musharna), Yawn, which as annoying as it is, can be played around, and Altaria4's Sing. In Altaria's case, Mega Abomasnow and Golem can both OHKO, but trying to play around Sing means potential gambles. The battle was winnable, but the fact the team has no reliable answer to sleep is also undeniable, and something I would try to work around if I was to build another team featuring this lead. I found what Psychium Z brought to the table too important to discard it, so I would try to find a solution involving the backline. In any case, here we go...

TURN 1:
vs.


From the get-go, I basically hoped that Altaria was either not set 4, or wasn't going to Sing, or would miss if it did. In front of Gallade, my obvious play was to Ally Switch since no matter what it went for, changing positions meant it was going to do negligible damage (I was particularly concerned of a crit X-Scissor on Musharna, though it only does 63% so I didn't have to be overly concerned about it). I was obviously aware that Sing was a threat, but since I had no way of predicting what slot it would go into, I figured ignoring it was probably the best I could do, and then take it from there. My Ally Switch, on that turn, proved lucky; Golem did absorb the X-Scissor, and Altaria4 went for Sing in the Musharna slot, which meant I got my Trick Room up safely, though I now had a sleepy Golem on the field.

Even though this kind of worked out, in hindsight, the right play was to Trick Room and Explode. Whatever damage Gallade went for, it couldn't OHKO Musharna, and allowing Golem to take a Close Combat from Mega Gallade wasn't that bad thanks to the sash. If potential Altaria4 Sang into Musharna's slot, Golem was guaranteed to score a double-KO, and I had decent odds of dancing around Wally's backline with my other 3, even with Musharna asleep. If Altaria Sang into Golem's slot, it meant I got Trick Room up as I did here, which is not a terrible position.


TURN 2:
vs.


With Trick Room up and Golem asleep, my position was a bit awkward. I figured going Abomasnow in front of Gallade was unsafe (basically forgetting that Gallade3 has no Fighting STAB and that the worst that could go into that slot was Psycho Cut), so I attempted to sacrifice Golem for a free switch into Abomasnow. In the meantime, I used my Z-move on Gallade to put it in range of any attack on the next turn (the Z-move was handy there, since Psychic isn't a 2HKO!). Gallade X-Scissors Musharna for a reasonable chunk.

I hindsight, the switch to Abomasnow was relatively safe and very desirable, especially since Altaria was guaranteed not to Sing that slot, and was very likely to go for Dream Eater into it. This turn is my biggest regret of the battle.


T
URN 3:
vs.


As expected, Altaria ate Golem's dream (I wonder what Alolan Golem dreams of), but it doesn't do much, and I didn't get my free switch. This turn, I decide to be proactive since Musharna was about to take Gallade out, and I go for the Abomasnow switch on the next expected Dream Eater. This was the right play, but one turn too late. Now that I made the switch on the same turn as Wally got a free switch, he obviously gets initiative, and forces out Abomasnow...

TURN 4
:
vs.


Seeing Magnezone was obviously bad news. Knowing Wally's usual roster, I figured Abomasnow was extremely important, since the last was likely to be Garchomp, so I didn't want to lose it. If Magnezone was Magnezone4 and had Analytic, it had a 56% chance to OHKO with Flash Cannon (admittedly I didn't calc at the time, and assumed this would always KO), which I didn't want to let happen. Seeing the end of Trick Room coming, if I protected Abomasnow this turn, I couldn't protect again on the following turn as I reset Trick Room, so I switched right back to Golem, which was expandable at that point. I went for Psychic into Magnezone to get some prior damage, which was potentially going to be nice for a future Focus Blast. One of my concerns was that I couldn't Gravity unless Altaria was out of the way, otherwise I was just basically ensuring its Sings would hit. Psychic did decent damage, but unfortunately, Magnezone was set 3 and wanted to spread that yellow color... Meanwhile, Altaria tries to Sing Abomasnow and obviously fails on the incoming Golem, which is excellent Dream Eater bait for the next turn.

TURN 5
:
vs.


Last turn of Trick Room, and at this point, I just want to sacrifice Golem and get a fresh Trick Room up next turn. I "randomly" go for Psychic into Altaria (not a good call, should have gone into Magnezone to put it in range of Blizzard since I got a SpDef drop on my first Psychic - this comes into play later). Golem is successfully sacrificed (a first turn wake would have been amazing, but oh well), doubled up with Dream Eater and Flash Cannon. Trick Room is over.

TURN 6:
vs.


This turn, my obvious play is Protect + Trick Room. Unfortunately, the yellow magic does its thing and this leaves me in a really awkward spot. Altaria goes for Cotton Guard, which is pretty irrelevant. At least, I know where the Sing will go next turn...

TURN 7
:
vs.


Knowing Abomasnow is most likely my winning condition at this point, I switch to Octillery to sacrifice it if need be. It does get Sung, so that was the right call... however, Magnezone goes for Thunder into Musharna and gets the KO. No new Trick Room, and now things are entirely falling apart.

TURN 8
:
vs.


Desperate times call for desperate measures; time to go all-in and attack with both, since I don't see any possible advantage in protecting Abomasnow this turn; if anything, Altaria is likely to be baited to Dream Eater Octillery, which would prevent Abomasnow from going to sleep. If Magnezone Flash Cannons, Abomasnow survives, and maybe Octillery can contribute next turn...?

The AI doubles up on Octillery with Dream Eater and Thunder, so it obviously goes down, but Blizzard finally KOs Altaria and brings Magnezone very low, potentially even in range of another turn of hail (not convinced on that, but it's extremely close). This is where I bitterly regret not going for Psychic into Magnezone earlier; it would have meant a double-KO here, and most likely a win, even after all this mess!


TURN 9
:
vs.


Just as I thought, Garchomp was in the back. At this point, I have a 50/50: if this is Garchomp3, it will go for Fire Fang or Outrage, and Abomasnow can survive any of the 2 and OHKO with Blizzard. However, I won't survive a double-up from Garchomp and Magnezone. If it's Garchomp4, I'm thinking it might go for Stone Edge, which also KOs in combination with Flash Cannon, but can miss. It could also set sand, in which case going for Blizzard right now wins if it hits. If it's Garchomp3, I lose nothing by going for Protect, and gain everything if Magnezone is indeed in range of Hail; in that case, my win is basically guaranteed barring a Fire Fang flinch or crit. I decide that my odds are slightly more favourable with that option, so I take it and Protect.

TURN 10
:
vs.


However, it's Garchomp4, and it goes for Sandstorm, which means I don't even get to find whether Magnezone was in range of hail. At this point, I can still hope for a Stone Edge miss, so I think all in all, Protect still gave me the slightly better odds in that "50/50". But Stone Edge connects, and Flash Cannon finishes me off, and that's the end of the streak.

There are obviously many regrets to have about that battle, but many of these calls were difficult to make on the spot - in hindsight, things are a lot clearer, which definitely means this will have been a learning experience; I find that I improve my play the most when I take the time to look at what I did wrong in detail, and losses are unfortunately the best occasion for that to happen...!


CONCLUSION

Ultimately, I'm still stoked about taking Octillery & co. above 300. But most importantly, I feel like this team will leave a lasting impact on future Trick Room Tree teams I'll be running, because I think the Musharna-Golem lead was fantastic, to the point where it felt as powerful as FEAR; I had fun Pokémon in the back, but I would imagine that with some of the best TR sweepers instead, there's a ton of potential in store for this duo. In particular, Psychium Z felt like it opened up Musharna's options a lot more. I used it in almost every single game. This makes me very excited for some future teams, and this is definitely not the last you'll see of it!

This concludes post #3 of my series! I was also planning on posting 2 team reports in this one, and once again, things are a lot longer than expected so you can now count on a total of... 6 posts? :psynervous:

Until the next one, thanks a lot for reading! :heart:
 
Posting a completed USUM Super Multis streak, with a human partner of 789 wins. That human partner being myself on a second 2DS XL!

#789: KXYW-WWWW-WWX3-7LAN (Feat. Round Florges2 & Bullet Punch Metagross3)

First, the ~"loss"~:
160326
160327
Indeed, I severely underestimated the battery’s ability to drain rapidly even with the screen closed - curse those wireless communications. Blissfully unaware of my carelessness while getting a bite of lunch, I came to the rude awakening upon seeing a suspicious lack of lit LEDs on the black/blue 2DS, followed by feelings of mild frustration and disbelief mixed with hilarity and relief.

So why did this outcome not elicit a more distressing reaction? Two main factors were responsible:

1. I wouldn’t say severe, but a notable lack of interest in the Tree that developed over time. I believe the Multis plan overlapped with and was executed with Grassy TR in motion, and timeframes are hazy (blame my tendency to hardly document anything), but for a large chunk of 2018, the desire to theorymon, teambuild, playtest new teams was lacking. In fact, after the Ultra Sun loss in May, Pokemon in general took a significant backseat to PS4 and Switch; Tree-climbing had turned into an uninteresting slog for a while, only enhanced by the forced animations and requirement to operate two systems for Multis. I started playing again (with a little rejuvenation) towards the tail end of the year progressing until now, but never fully enjoyed the journey up to its conclusion. You could say my current outlook on USUM is a stagnant one with a desire for something fresh to arrive, hence the relief in a sense that this dragged out ride had come to an end.

2. Satisfaction in the streak length; 1000 was ultimately the goal, but upon approaching then cruising past the halfway mark, I was convinced of the team’s ability to function at a consistent level in the Multis environment. Disappointing to lose to such a blunder, sure, but still content with the final number. Encountering dual AI Megas every now and then is cool, but the format to me isn’t as interesting/rewarding to warrant repeated attempts as Doubles is; inflexible switching during battles being another price to pay.


------------

As for the team, I opted for a rainy flavour:-


I believe my thought process way back when was adopting an offensive playstyle with the potential for quick wins, but one that also would not falter in non ideal conditions. Rain was the first to spring to mind, partially because I myself was keen to get some Swift Swimmer’s legs out of the PC to stretch, and partially because the archetype itself had been fairly underutilized this generation. However, certain aspects did take inspiration from two players’ rain teams on the leaderboard – lolnub and Eisen. As part of the Pelipper + Swampert core, Ludicolo sounded great in the lead position to threaten opposing Waters with its unique typing, while offering Fake Out as well. Scizor also looked at me longingly to be taken along for the journey and could occupy a secondary Mega slot. The bug was a solid backup for a rain team, I knew that much, and it again seeing limited exposure in Doubles played into my decision, but I probably couldn’t argue how it was undisputedly the best fourth selection in my lineup; one could make a strong M-Metagross case for example, but scrutinising all possible options….yeah, just wasn’t bothered here haha.

Without further delay, the set details and what each Pokemon contributes to the cause:

[Left slot #1]

Pelipper (F) (“Birdemic”) @ Focus Sash
Nature: Modest
Ability: Drizzle
IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/31
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Hurricane
- Brine
- Tailwind
- Protect


  • Mandatory inclement weather lead, effective bait for Electric attacks
  • Temporary fully accurate secondary STAB, launch at Grasses among other things, occasionally gets free turns via confusion
  • Offers additional speed control against opposing Swift Swimmers, Gyarados, M-Latios, Volcarona, anything else Pelipper would appreciate outspeeding first before damaging
  • Affinity with Swampert is strong – possesses high preservation value at 1 HP if rain replenishment is required later
  • Modest max Speed to function sufficiently without and with Tailwind, + boost damage output to honestly impressive levels
  • Underpowered Brine has negligible drawbacks, overpowered Brine prevalent especially when Vortex is present, synergy present even with Bullet Punch; overall a move I like a fair bit more on the pelican than Scald
  • Not always in a position to instantly switch/leave Ludicolo alone if rain is overridden; whether it’s to scout, Tailwind or chip in with a weaker Brine, sacrificing Sash sometimes is in best interest
  • Sash therefore the item of choice for emergency situations in which Pelipper doesn’t want to Protect or switch in favour of a different play – Electric, Rock, other powerful moves base Swampert wouldn’t appreciate taking
  • Considering Pelipper is the weather setter, actually deals damage, can become fast and bait moves means her presence, or lack of should be assessed carefully in every battle – contribution potential can still be high by virtue of these factors, regardless of health
[Right slot #1]

Ludicolo (F) (“T.A.K.O.S”) @ Waterium Z
Nature: Modest
Ability: Swift Swim
IVs: 31/0/31/x[HT]/31/31
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Fake Out
- Scald {Hydro Vortex}
- Energy Ball
- Ice Beam


  • Swift Swim lead, fastest FO tied with opposing Ludicolo4
  • Speedy one-time nuke, all-important reliable Grass STAB (for Rotom-W) + Ice coverage means only select Pokemon are unfazed by Ludicolo’s toolkit
  • Scald chosen for consistency – Z-Surf decently more powerful but normally weaker from spread damage, induces friendly fire which is bad especially with Sash on the team, requires more Protecting
  • Doesn’t hit that hard with Z-move expended/against Water-resistant foes, but works well regardless with Pelipper + Swampert dynamic
  • Barely considered Protect as it seems a waste here – Ludicolo really enjoys STABs + coverage, aside from switching out of the odd Poison attack a fast rain-boosted Vortex or FO to scout/free up the left slot are very common and momentum-gaining opening plays
  • Preservation level changes depending on matchup but should always be assessed, whether it’s to reset the weather or help stall out midgame Trick Room; Charizard leads threatening Drought or Slowking4 (survives Energy Ball + Hurricane) being examples
  • 244 Speed stat in rain outruns Terrakion2; max may appear as wasted points here but 244 EVs means Ludicolo now ties with Landorus1/4 outside rain, anything lower and the Terrakion2 outspeed is lost – not worth it in my eyes
[Left Slot #2]

Swampert (M) (“Leg Day…?”) @ Swampertite
Nature: Adamant
Ability: Torrent ---> Swift Swim
IVs: 31/31/x[HT]/31/31/31
EVs: 44 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 204 Spe
- Waterfall
- Earthquake
- Ice Punch
- Protect


  • Second Swift Swim beneficiary, premier bruiser
  • Electric immunity and Rock resistance primes Swampert for early switches to take advantage of Rain turns; he therefore often gets to stay on field a lot of the time to sweep or punch large holes at the least
  • Standard moveset with Ice coverage again chosen to hit Grass, airborne Dragons etc. for SE damage
  • Thanks to natural bulk Grass is the one type that truly threatens Swampert’s life expectancy during rainy conditions; he and all other members having a SE hit on them helps the cause significantly, and can often be focused down with double targets/Protect + Ice Beam or Bug Bite
  • Opted for a slight Speed cut to hit 232 in rain and 116 outside rain, respectively outrunning Landorus2 and the 115s; didn’t consider Terrakion2 an important target here, with Ludicolo being faster and M-Scizor having Bullet Punch
  • Following from this, important that Ludicolo is faster since friendly fire EQ without Protect is inevitable, and a semi-common occurrence
  • Additional bulk EVs allocated to give Downloaders an Attack boost
[Right slot #2]

Scizor (F) (“Ronda Rousey”) @ Scizorite
Nature: Adamant
Ability: Technician
IVs: 31/31/x[HT]/31/31/31
EVs: 156 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 92 Spe
- Bullet Punch
- Bug Bite
- Superpower
- Protect


  • Backline glue Mega
  • Doesn’t directly thrive in the rain but matches up well against many things that threaten the other three; occasionally gets use out of Poison immunity but often the Poison types are good Vortex targets
  • As mentioned earlier Bug Bite puts a nice target on Grass types and is appreciated for Cresselia, Uxie, Mesprit etc.
  • Superpower patches up the Bug/Steel hole well, hitting Ferrothorn, Snorlax, Lickilicky for 2HKOs
  • Even if Superpower isn’t the killing blow, stat drops aren’t the worst thing if follow-up KOs are ensured through using it
  • 1 point faster than the uninvested Rotoms, outspeeds everything up to Heatran4 in Tailwind
  • Protect useful for shielding from Fire moves that Pelipper/Swampert can’t immediately remove, and to preserve health when EQ is used; a fourth move more reliable than any other option for Scizor
Field States

/

Lead options include:
Hurricane/Brine + Hydro Vortex
Commonly used to net early KO(s) that Ludicolo’s regular attacks wouldn’t achieve, especially handy for ganging up on TR setters. Depends on the AI trainers of course, but a fair amount of the time the team appreciates Pelipper putting her Sash on the line and throwing out a Hurricane or Brine; if the opportunity to dispose of one side early presents itself, within reason it’s a good idea to take it. This line of play is often very advantageous, and is why I think Waterium Ludicolo, not to mention an archetype such as Rain has performed so admirably in Multis. Vortex and Brine synergize well, while Hurricane is of course great for the likes of Decidueye, Trevenant, Exeggutor, Golisopod (First Impression rectified by Fake Out/Scizor switch), Scrafty to name a few.

Switch + Hydro Vortex
Swampert gets plenty of screen time and Rain turns through switching into Electric attacks that Pelipper baits, Rock moves to a lesser extent, or to take advantage of more passive sets that don’t pose much offensive threat. This most importantly cycles Drizzle to the ‘backline’ for replenishment later and preserves Sash in the event of dire situations. Provided Ludicolo’s life isn’t in great danger, this is what I like to dub an ideal momentum turn – perhaps only second to Pelipper/Ludicolo scoring an immediate double down – Swampert getting in safely with the max amount of rain turns available, while Vortex OHKOs or heavily dents a slot.

Attack + Fake Out
This combo is used often to prevent TR deployment while setting up for KO range next turn (Slowking4), or to scout diverse 1-4 set trainers with some more threatening than others.

Tailwind + Attack
Pelipper’s obviously the most immediate Tailwind candidate – evaluate the trainers you’re up against and determine whether it’s the efficient route to take; not always a clear cut choice (even against speed trainers) as although TW can set up future turns well, sometimes Ludicolo benefits from TW being skipped and something weakened via Hurricane/Brine to prime for a next turn KO.

Tailwind + Fake Out/switch
Exclusively seen against leads threatening to outspeed Ludicolo via a weather change or Mega evolution – aka Charizard, Alakazam or M-Latios. Ludicolo can stay in on Charizard leads since Vortex + Brine in the sun still KOs Y; ideal strategy for Zam is TW + Scizor switch so as not to gamble Inner Focus and remove any possibility of Tracing Swift Swim. M-Latios conveniently is 1 point slower than Ludicolo after a Dragon Dance, but is bulky so Ice Beam + Hurricane isn’t a guaranteed KO; TW bides more time and typically entices more boosting.

Protect is used sparingly in select encounters where Pelipper’s threatened (mostly by Electrics/Rocks) with other slot dissuading Swampert from switching in her place, or at 1 HP when attack-baiting is high. These moments however are few and far between, as Swampert is much preferred to be next to Ludicolo against almost everything that is not a Grass type.


/

My personal favourite orientation - damage out the wazoo and it happens fast! Pretty self-explanatory that the two Swift Swimmers in tandem enjoy each other’s company; 2x Ice coverage useful for teaming up on Water resists, and Ludicolo taking the odd EQ a worthy trade-off for clearing the field or eliminating one side. Few weaknesses exist with this duo, however one of the more prominent is Rotom-Wash; Energy Ball 2HKO’s both sets but be prepared to eat a Thunder Wave on Ludicolo.



/

Double switch is uncommon but might arise when SE hits are threatened on both Pelipper and Ludicolo. Scizor may not be as intertwined with Rain as the other members but still forms a healthy dynamic with Swampert – they can alternate Protects and possess the means to take out each other’s problem Pokemon. Between the former and good natural bulk on both Pokemon, this is also the best base for stalling out TR.


/

The rarest matchup, possibly executed through TW + switch if extra anti-Grass firepower is required (Sceptile, Whimsicott etc.) or the odd Poison move, but still very dependant on what’s occupying the other slot; Poison types for example are common Vortex targets regardless, same deal with Exploders but Protect + Scizor switch could be an alternate avenue. I’ve been guilty of gambling Alakazam’s Inner Focus with Fake Out during the streak, but TW + switch is the safer line of play.



I have a decent number of Battle Videos saved after 500, but truthfully none are too standout or differ from the assortment already on YouTube which I uploaded a while ago; I’ll keep them for now but
due to laziness or the fact no one cares about Multis I believe the selection here showcases how the team plays well enough.

To conclude, flat battery is a silly way to go out lol – I wish I remembered to plug in my 2DS during lunch! Didn’t achieve the goal that I legitimately considered possible, and thoughts of regret scattered throughout my playtime due to the slow progression, but ultimately happy with the end result; this writeup is likely incomplete or lacking true detail in parts but I’m glad there’s still something to show, and I hope you as the readers can at least glean something from my messy train of thought translated into text. Enjoy!
 
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suicune.PNG

North Wind (Suicune) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 100 SpA / 4 SpD / 60 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Ice Beam
- Tailwind
- Protect
Do you know what's required to actually obtain a legitimate 0 Atk Modest HA Suicune?

Regardless, please make your writeups relevant to the tree itself to avoid coming off so abundantly Fluke-ish from last gen's Maison thread. While I realise on the surface this looks like a targeted nitpick, the post is loaded with unhelpful info that never came into play during your streak, and has no real benefit to the reader. Some examples:

-The only Thundurus sets to carry Thunderbolt are Sets12; Thundurus 1 is uninvested and can't OHKO 0/0 Modest Suicune; Thundurus 2 holds Choice Specs and murders your cune from full health 75% of the time. No one will dispute that 252/92/4 carries semblence of bulk, but Thundurus had to have been pulled out of thin air because both damage calcs are on the exact opposite sides of the spectrum of irrelevancy.

-Coeur running Seviper with Z-Belch for the sheer irony is one thing, but unless I missed something, your team isn't built to glorify shitmons and give them a spotlight. There is nothing remarkable about indicating Hydreigon learns Belch (it does make a fun egg move to include, though.)

-Flash Cannon is not useful for hitting Fairies because the type is known for its special bulk and the move will only result in a bad trade. You're aware of Xio choking your leads pretty hard, so why even point out it learns the move? You don't even use it for likely the same rational thought.

-Fire is a useful attack type on Hydreigon, absolutely. But you give the impression that the threat posed by Ice types is largely mitigated by the move. A number of the less bulky sets it OHKOs carry Focus Sash on at least one set, among them Glaceon3, Froslass4, Abomasnow3, and both Weaviles; Vanilluxe34 survive this without needing a sash; Mamoswine34 may carry Thick Fat, tanking it more easily than Vanilluxe; handling these pokes safely would generally require Metagross or Lele to be present to compensate for the poor odds it has by itself. As an aside, Mega Abomasnow in TR is possible only against Sina, but I remember you as a Sun player.

-Mildly interesting to note Hydreigon fares the worst on your team against Volcarona when it fares far better than Metagross in most respects, including being able to attack without fear of Flame Body. Bug Buzz has pretty poor odds of a T1 OHKO and you carry Protect, and Dragon Pulse inflicts 51% minimum. Scald from that Suicune inflicts 53% minimum. While not inconceivable that circumstances (such as weather or partners) make this a huge gray area, it's a bit much to say it counters your entire team unless you were simply eyeballing all of your shots and repeatedly calling them poorly.

-Z-Focus Blast: See: Belch. There is little to be gleamed from this, so why?

-You greatly underplay the raw muscle of Z-Psychic in terrain for someone who used it. Mega Aggron and Steelix take so much damage from this that a hit from its partner finishes them off (31% min from Megagross ST, allowing for a low roll from Lele) and the vanilla versions have little hope beyond Sturdy. Volcarona and Zard Y are easily murdered by this move, and doubling into these targets with vanilla Psychic doesn't create hopeless scenarios either (as with Mega Steelix, Ice Punch from gross easily compensates for a cursed low roll from Lele.) Ignoring my own thoughts as to the layout of the team, having a backline trump card like that should solve more problems than it creates unless it's being used haphazardly and wasted. Unlike my Drampa, you have a huge boost from terrain by itself and the move isn't a liability when uncrystallized.

-You might point out that only Colress carries Alolan Muk 1 past any point with significance to players.

-If anything was just made up as you went along, it's the Metagross section. Blanket statements like "high attack specifically ignores steel being a weak offensive typing" when it's far more apt to say its perk is having Tough Claws with decent coverage moves that utilize it. Fully offensive Megagross has considerably poor bulk and yours has but four EVs off from the one used by the AI. You proceed to list a number of additional moves and discount them one by one for having either zero relevance or being suboptimal. People read writeups to gain insight to a team as it functions cohesively, not admire a single pokemon as an exhibit and learn (excuse me, "learn") how to use it by itself without relevance to the other three pokes alongside it.

It will be much easier to take your work seriously if you put less time into fluff and more into credible info. At the moment there's very little to set you apart from players marred by dishonesty/suspicion, such as the aforementioned Fluke.
 
Do you know what's required to actually obtain a legitimate 0 Atk Modest HA Suicune?

Regardless, please make your writeups relevant to the tree itself to avoid coming off so abundantly Fluke-ish from last gen's Maison thread. While I realise on the surface this looks like a targeted nitpick, the post is loaded with unhelpful info that never came into play during your streak, and has no real benefit to the reader. Some examples:

-The only Thundurus sets to carry Thunderbolt are Sets12; Thundurus 1 is uninvested and can't OHKO 0/0 Modest Suicune; Thundurus 2 holds Choice Specs and murders your cune from full health 75% of the time. No one will dispute that 252/92/4 carries semblence of bulk, but Thundurus had to have been pulled out of thin air because both damage calcs are on the exact opposite sides of the spectrum of irrelevancy.

-Coeur running Seviper with Z-Belch for the sheer irony is one thing, but unless I missed something, your team isn't built to glorify shitmons and give them a spotlight. There is nothing remarkable about indicating Hydreigon learns Belch (it does make a fun egg move to include, though.)

-Flash Cannon is not useful for hitting Fairies because the type is known for its special bulk and the move will only result in a bad trade. You're aware of Xio choking your leads pretty hard, so why even point out it learns the move? You don't even use it for likely the same rational thought.

-Fire is a useful attack type on Hydreigon, absolutely. But you give the impression that the threat posed by Ice types is largely mitigated by the move. A number of the less bulky sets it OHKOs carry Focus Sash on at least one set, among them Glaceon3, Froslass4, Abomasnow3, and both Weaviles; Vanilluxe34 survive this without needing a sash; Mamoswine34 may carry Thick Fat, tanking it more easily than Vanilluxe; handling these pokes safely would generally require Metagross or Lele to be present to compensate for the poor odds it has by itself. As an aside, Mega Abomasnow in TR is possible only against Sina, but I remember you as a Sun player.

-Mildly interesting to note Hydreigon fares the worst on your team against Volcarona when it fares far better than Metagross in most respects, including being able to attack without fear of Flame Body. Bug Buzz has pretty poor odds of a T1 OHKO and you carry Protect, and Dragon Pulse inflicts 51% minimum. Scald from that Suicune inflicts 53% minimum. While not inconceivable that circumstances (such as weather or partners) make this a huge gray area, it's a bit much to say it counters your entire team unless you were simply eyeballing all of your shots and repeatedly calling them poorly.

-Z-Focus Blast: See: Belch. There is little to be gleamed from this, so why?

-You greatly underplay the raw muscle of Z-Psychic in terrain for someone who used it. Mega Aggron and Steelix take so much damage from this that a hit from its partner finishes them off (31% min from Megagross ST, allowing for a low roll from Lele) and the vanilla versions have little hope beyond Sturdy. Volcarona and Zard Y are easily murdered by this move, and doubling into these targets with vanilla Psychic doesn't create hopeless scenarios either (as with Mega Steelix, Ice Punch from gross easily compensates for a cursed low roll from Lele.) Ignoring my own thoughts as to the layout of the team, having a backline trump card like that should solve more problems than it creates unless it's being used haphazardly and wasted. Unlike my Drampa, you have a huge boost from terrain by itself and the move isn't a liability when uncrystallized.

-You might point out that only Colress carries Alolan Muk 1 past any point with significance to players.

-If anything was just made up as you went along, it's the Metagross section. Blanket statements like "high attack specifically ignores steel being a weak offensive typing" when it's far more apt to say its perk is having Tough Claws with decent coverage moves that utilize it. Fully offensive Megagross has considerably poor bulk and yours has but four EVs off from the one used by the AI. You proceed to list a number of additional moves and discount them one by one for having either zero relevance or being suboptimal. People read writeups to gain insight to a team as it functions cohesively, not admire a single pokemon as an exhibit and learn (excuse me, "learn") how to use it by itself without relevance to the other three pokes alongside it.

It will be much easier to take your work seriously if you put less time into fluff and more into credible info. At the moment there's very little to set you apart from players marred by dishonesty/suspicion, such as the aforementioned Fluke.
I deleted the post because of your response. Happy now?
Because I genuinely do not know how to respond to that.
 
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Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
The Battle Tree damage calculator has just been updated!

In the last couple of weeks, I did a few changes and additions to the known and well-used calculator brought by turskain. I only had a couple of major wishes, but while I was at it, I ended up doing a little more than planned. Turskain ended up liking the changes enough to add them to his main calculator (turskain.github.io), so don't be too surprised if it looks different next time you use it!

Here is a full changelog:
  • All missing moves and items have been added to the sets (items are especially valuable when mass calculating Knock Off damage);
  • All post-40 Pokémon should now be included in the mass calculator (Legendaries12 and a couple others were previously missing);
  • An EV tool has been added under the EV boxes, they show how many EVs have been used and how many are left, to help create complex spreads while calculating;
  • Custom sets can now be selected in the mass calculator;
  • The KO chance now takes into account Sitrus and 50% Berries (YUM!);
  • Added some default abilities that affect the damage output for some Tree sets (Sheer Force on the Nidos, Pure Power on Medicham, Steelworker on Dhelmise, etc.);
  • Imported sets now default to level 50 when no level was specified;
  • Added a Battery button (dedicated to PikaCuber);
  • Added a Minimize button, which should provide accurate calcs for moves affected by Minimize such as Heavy Slam and Dragon Rush; the stat boost will also be taken into account when using Stored Power/Power Trip;
  • Added an Evoboost button (perfect time to try out my Eevee QR Code team!! :D);
  • Now defaults to Doubles (please don't kill me D:);
  • A few visual changes like the logo, colors, addition of a Cowmoo button...
I'm not a programmer and most of the changes were done only through trial and error; full credit for the code I used goes to squirrelboyVGC who runs the Trainer Tower damage calc and cant say / LegoFigure11 who run the excellent BSS / LGPE / lots of other stuff damage calc.

Let me know, here or by PM, if you encounter any issues and I'll do my best to resolve them.

Cheers!
 
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Thank you very much!
How do i select the mass calculator for past 40 sets?
(What i would find very useful was when you are looking at for Instance Latios-2, that there is a faster way to go to other Latios-sets than entering its first letters again and scrolling to the right set. By default you see Abomasnow as he is first in lexicographical order, but way more often you want to do calcs against several sets of the same specie than against Abomasnow. Maybe a button where you can click quickly through all 4 sets of the pokemon? I dont expect this to be done but i guess suggestions are welcome. I would find this very useful.)
 

Eisenherz

50% Berry enthusiast
is a Top Smogon Social Media Contributor
Thank you very much!
How do i select the mass calculator for past 40 sets?
(What i would find very useful was when you are looking at for Instance Latios-2, that there is a faster way to go to other Latios-sets than entering its first letters again and scrolling to the right set. By default you see Abomasnow as he is first in lexicographical order, but way more often you want to do calcs against several sets of the same specie than against Abomasnow. Maybe a button where you can click quickly through all 4 sets of the pokemon? I dont expect this to be done but i guess suggestions are welcome. I would find this very useful.)
The mass calculator is the "One vs All" and "All vs One" buttons, once you're in one of those modes just select the 40+ button and then Honkalculate once your Pokémon's info is in. If you want to calc against all Latios sets at once, this is probably the more useful way since you can scroll down to Latios and see all 4 results. Though I guess this is only helpful for planning, if you mean during a game you're playing where you don't know which set you're facing, going to the mass calc every time is probably not worth. This might be doable, I can't promise anything but I'll look into it!
 
Thank you! Wow that's useful, i didn't know that.
(I just noticed that Tyrantrum has Tough Claws as default ability which according to serebii should be Strong Jaw.)
 

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