Boosting in Doubles


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So as we all know, you can't really slap Swords Dance on some random Pokemon and expect it to sweep teams. Pokemon like Lucario have certainly tried and failed to do so, while the likes of Scizor and Gyarados can set up one or two boosts and go to town. The boosts aren't used for completely sweeping the opponent (though they are certainly able to), but for applying pressure. So if Scizor and Gyarados can so easily set up boosts while Lucario and Terrakion struggle to do so, what makes these Pokemon able/incapable of boosting?

(i have my own opinions but i'll post em later when you guys have had your say ;))
...for a minute there I thought it read "boasting", and was really excited

Well, on the topic of boosting, let's look at what is probably one of the most famous boosting sets in Doubles:

Quiver Before Me (Volcarona) @ Lum Berry
Trait: Flame Body
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Heat Wave
- Bug Buzz
- Quiver Dance
- Protect

Anyone who is experienced in Doubles (VGC especially) knows to pack something to deal with this evil moth. After a Quiver Dance, it can destroy teams, outspeed Latios and Tornadus, etc. Lum Berry is useful for Prankster Thunder Waves and Spores. 'Nuff said.

So we ask ourselves, why does this set work? A few reasons tend to come to mind:
  • Its STAB attacks hit common threats hard
  • It has the potential to force a lot of switches (thanks to those STABs)
  • It has a spread attack (bonus, not as necessary)
  • It has some useful resistances, notably to the Ice-, Steel- and Fighting-types
  • In this set's case, the speed boost lets it get the jump on a lot of threats (everything from Latios to Scarf Landorus-T)
  • Other people (who are smarter than me) can probably come up with a few other reasons
In terms of choosing set up, there are usually 2 reasons people pick these moves:

1) In order to do something unexpected with a filler moveslot
2) The craftier players (which doesn't include me, unfortunately) often choose these moves with specific goals in mind. For example, the infamous Swords Dance Scizor can A) give you an insanely powerful Bullet Punch and B) allows Bug Bite to OHKO Cresselia among other things, either preventing Trick Room from getting up or becoming a big threat under the opposition's Trick Room conditions
3) Some people (me) use these moves because they have become popular and these people don't really bother thinking about why

So, the key to utilizing these moves to success? That's not quite so simple to judge, but there are traits that set up abusers in Doubles will share. Looking out for these can help you decide when to and when not to try out these moves. The ones I tend to recognize as key traits:
  • Resistances to common attacking types; this will give you more opportunities as the opposition will have to switch more
  • Good offensive STABs and speed/priority; this is important because it tends to provoke the use of Protect, which gives you a set up opportunity. It also means you will hurt things after setting up.
  • Lack of priority weakness; you want to be hard to take down after you set up, otherwise all that hard work will go to waste
  • Ability to work well with common Wide Guard/Fake Out abusers; this is not as important, but synergizing well with Pokemon who can support a sweep with moves such as the above will help you achieve set up easier, which is good
Right, here's a criminally underused threat. I've no idea why Manaphy is sitting at around 1.3% usage.

Manaphy @ Wacan Berry / various other items

Trait: Hydration
- Surf
- Tail Glow
- Ice Beam / Energy Ball
- Rest

EVs: 248 HP / 252 SpA / 8 Spe (or whatever spread you feel like really)
Modest Nature

Experienced doubles players know how terrifying this harmless-looking thing can be when well-supported. In my mind it is definitely the third best set-up sweeper in doubles, behind Scizor and Volcarona, and it's not hard to see why:

- Tail Glow is an insanely powerful boosting move. Most boosting moves only give you +1 to an attacking stat except the widely distributed Swords Dance, which is susceptible to Intimidate on everything except Bisharp (someone should try that actually, people often play around Sucker Punch, which gives you great set-up opportunities).
- Hydration / Rest makes it difficult to kill off in rain, especially with FM/RP support.
- Hydration also means you can't just cripple it with Amoonguss's Spore or Thundurus's Thunder Wave, which is how many people would deal with a typical set-up opponent.
- Pure Water is a decent defensive typing: not many weaknesses and useful resists.
- 100/100/100 is excellent bulk. Manaphy is often difficult to kill in one turn even when double-targeted. It can simply Rest off all damage, effectively giving its partner a free turn.
- +6 252+ Manaphy's Surf vs 252/252+ Cresselia in rain: 12.5% chance to OHKO. And reaching that level of power requires only two turns of set-up.
- You have a choice in the third moveslot about what coverage to run. Between them, Ice Beam and Energy Ball hit everything Surf doesn't and they hit their targets hard, too. You can even drop Rest for perfect coverage.

However, Manaphy isn't perfect. Here are some flaws:

- Surf has a tendency to cannibalise teammates, which limits teambuilding options.
- You have to give it rain support, which means you have to run Politoed. Since the two share an identical typing, you lose out on synergy.
- It also needs speed control to work at its best.

So all in all, you really have to build a team around Manaphy to make it shine. If you do so, though, it is absolutely lethal.

Next on the list: Acupressure Shuckle :p.
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Boosting in doubles sure is a lot more different than in singles, that's for sure.
Gotta have the perfect team mate, lure or a seriously smart prediction to make them worthwhile.

Manaphy is a booster that should really get more use, and I really like cubed post about it, though what makes me sad is the lack of hearth swap.
Manaphy has lot of support potential, being able to pass the 3+ boost to a more powerful sweeper.

I tend to personally use:
252 HP - 252 Speed Jolly
-Tail Glow
-Hearth Swap

It tends to work nicely without further support and if you managed to pass the tail glow boost to something such as gengar, ludicolo in rain, special kingdra or basicly any special attacker that cannot naturally boost, it can really be a sweep right there.
Not to mention stealing boosts from a cocky opponent is also priceless.

Other boosting form I think that should also get more love is the classic swagger + persim. Though granted, not many pokemon can pull it off. (Aero + sableye combo comes into mind)


Forever Grande
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imo though, SwaggerLum is better than SwagPersim, since you won't always be using Swagger on a mate, and might want to avoid paralysis or sleep for a turn. Also, I personally favor a classic Lum Metagross + Swagger Thundurus-I / Cresselia.


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Dragon Dance Tyranitar
Swords Dance Excadrill
Growth Venusaur
Shell Smash Cloyster
Nasty Plot Thundurus-T
A speedy boosting Pokemon that has either a spread move, priority move or crippling move is pretty primed and ready to go, which is the main reason why Volc is so good. These are pretty much the only notable boosting threats I can think of: others are too frail and have no good spread move to survive long enough to sweep its foes (Darkrai), or are outrun by most weather sweepers (Terrakion and Garchomp).


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growth venusaur, smash cloyster, and nasty plot thund-t are all very underwhelming though. growth sucks because it relies on sunlight (venusaur needs a boost to OHKO ttar and even then leaf storm is illegal with chlorophyll, making lilligant better, which is funny) and that can be taken away very easily, so you need to be attacking or putting something to sleep with the time that you have with sun. smash cloyster is terrible because its sash gets easily stripped by ttar or abomasnow and then it can be OHKOed by either one, not to mention how badly trick room and mach punch (or bullet punch) screws it over. if you want to use cloyster, use choice scarf. thund-t isn't all that great in practice, but it certainly looks good on paper. thund just doesn't have the speed (in and out of trick room) to pull off a nasty plot rampage with only FM/FO support, and it often requires speed control in addition to the support you're already giving it, so there's just too many variables that go into pulling off a nasty plot to make it worthwhile imo.

what i would like you guys to notice about ttar, volcarona, and manaphy is that they all have only one or two weaknesses to either spread or single target moves. being good against either a spread or single move yet weak against the other can actually work in your favor because it makes your support much more streamlined and you don't have to worry as much against stuff your support can't handle. an example is the topmoth combo, which nollan has already analyzed for us:

  • Resistances to common attacking types; this will give you more opportunities as the opposition will have to switch more
volcarona is mainly resistant to fighting and ice, while it also covers psychic with bug buzz. this makes it synergize incredibly well with hitmontop and other pokemon you might add for weather support like (mainly) ttar, but it doesn't require much more coverage outside of that. those two pokemon are also generally useful, so you aren't going out of your way to support your booster with pokemon that only fulfill a certain niche. the resistances are mainly going to encourage you to set up more often in front of resisted pokemon, especially when a lot of doubles mons don't run any particularly surprising coverage moves.

  • Good offensive STABs and speed/priority; this is important because it tends to provoke the use of Protect, which gives you a set up opportunity. It also means you will hurt things after setting up.
  • Lack of priority weakness; you want to be hard to take down after you set up, otherwise all that hard work will go to waste
i've already touched on offensive STABs but speed is actually a big deal for boosters. the reason why i bashed smash cloyster and venusaur is that cloyster doesn't have the bulk to survive attacks afterward and venusaur can have its speed stripped away from it at any time. you need both bulk and speed to have a viable booster, though tyranitar can get away with this because of its natural bulk and the fact that its focus sash isn't readily broken by weather. volcarona has both bulk and speed thanks to intimidate and quiver dance's spD boost, and the lack of priority weakness certainly helps is cause since it's not going to be overly reliant on any defensive items besides lum. i like to make my volcarona more bulky to capitalize on this, especially when it's easy to remove ttar (the main rock slide user) with +1 HH/gem bug buzz.

  • Ability to work well with common Wide Guard/Fake Out abusers; this is not as important, but synergizing well with Pokemon who can support a sweep with moves such as the above will help you achieve set up easier, which is good
i'll disagree with nollan here however; energizing well with FM/FO mons is important, unless you're using scizor. amoonguss synergizes well with both manaphy and ttar (and gyarados, going back to my first post), excadrill synergizes with togekiss, and volcarona synergizes with hitmontop. each of these pokemon need to at least have the option of falling back on support pokemon for consistent setup, otherwise you're going to be wasting a moveslot in most battles.

so in short:

  • boosting pokemon need to have straightforward weaknesses that are easily patched by equally straightforward support
  • they need both bulk and speed, or qualities that produce similar effects (sash ttar)
  • they have to have power behind their attacks with only one boost. don't rely on getting more than one boost (venusaur).
so yeh i might've made a few mistakes in this post but i dont have time to check it over. regardless though, what other pokemon can you think of that fit this description, if any?
One booster I did try one afternoon when I was bored is Shell Smash Omastar. That thing is terrifying in the rain, it can easily plough through offensive teams on its own. Swift Swim + Shell Smash = outspeeding everything, even opposing Swift Swimmers, and it has a great special attack stat. In many ways it plays similarly to Manaphy, except it gets Muddy Water, something Manaphy can only dream of. Its decent defense also makes it live priority hits somewhat well, even after a Smash. In addition, because Shell Smash boosts speed, after a boost Omastar will be outrunning the unboosted metagame even if its chosen weather is removed.

However, there are many reasons why you'd probably want to use Manaphy instead: inferior bulk which makes set-up harder, a dubious secondary typing lumbering it with extra defensive weaknesses, and an inability to ever boost beyond +2, where Manaphy can often get to +6 thanks to Hydration / Rest. For that reason Omastar is more of a late-game sweeper, whereas Manaphy is dangerous throughout.

Anyone else tried Omastar in doubles?
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Generally I've noticed that a lot of the nasty plotters also are able to abuse their abilities in doubles as booster as they tend to have bulk, typing and/or speed:

For exsample:

70 HP and 90 to both defenses is pretty alright bulk, not the best but with darkrai's speed, it'll do.
Nasty plot, Snarl, Icywind/Blizzard. Snarl is very neat thing to abuse in doubles and after nasty plot its debuffing and damage is pretty solid.
Pair it with rage powder/follow me user for maximun plottings.

Bulky as any, nasty plot and surf.. trickroom? Oh yes. If you already have a trick room up it's pretty much certain the little king can cause some devastation.

Fast and has nice spd def, it has a nice support move pool on top of it. It tends to be able soften up the foe's pretty nicely before being taken down. Shame it seems to have bit of trouble fitting in sometimes though and has little 4 move syndrome.

-Porygon Z
Another nasty plotter that has wide access to spread moves such as discharge, blizzard, etc.. Unfortunantly it's speed is questionable which has caused some issues.
Regardless, nasty plotted 145 with plenty of spread is no joke in tailwind or otherwise out speeding situations.
I'm not really 100% on Porygon Z myself but I think it might have potential if it gets the support.


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ok these are great examples of what not to use. nothing against you or anything but in higher level play those mons don't make for very good boosters. darkrai and mismagius aren't that threatening even after a boost, and they have trouble setting it up. also they both suffer from 4MSS (darkrai typically has amazing coverage but when you give up a move for NP you get walled by a bunch of stuff. with 60 HP and 60 Def, Mismagius is super frail and won't be living for long enough to use Nasty Plot and if it sets up it also isn't too threatening afterwards. Slowking has the bulk but since it's so slow it'll be taking even more hits (takes the hits on the turn of setup then takes more hits from the many things that outspeed it before it finally attacks). I guess you could have Trick Room up but that's a lot of setup and is hard to pull off (also Thundurus would mess you up so much). Porygon-Z has decent bulk, but it isn't too threatening of a mon in general and would usually have better things to do with its time than NP.

in general when choosing to boost in doubles, you need to ask yourself if it is worth the time/effort to set up a boost and how often can you do it, not is it possible. sure, you probably could build a team w/ np porygon-z and a tailwinder and hop on the ladder, but you'd almost certainly be guaranteed to be better off using a more efficient strategy. an example of this is a team i made awhile back where I used SD Scizor and TG Manaphy. the main reason they were used is that thanks to its high attack, priority access, and good bulk + resistances, Scizor could set up an SD and would be hugely threatening to the opponent afterwards. similarly, after a Tail Glow, Manaphy had no problem steamrolling through teams. i probably could've tried something like NP Darkrai if I wanted to and tweaked my team to make it work, but it wouldn't have been worth the time to support it relative to the impact Darkrai has on a match after a boost. In general don't boost unless:

a) it makes a pokemon incredibly threatening afterwards (+3 manaphy w/ stab surf in rain? threatening. +2 scizor w/ priority bullet punch? threatening. +2 darkrai w/ lower bp single target move and lackluster coverage? not so much). even after asking yourself this, be sure to think if the boost is worth the moveslot you're using and the turn you're burning to set up (for example, sure you could use np on porygon-z but you could just as easily attack that turn and have an extra coverage move, which is alot better since you can deal damage instead of just being a sitting duck for a turn).

b) the pokemon has the bulk or set of resistances to pull it off (scizor has so many resistances that it's not hard to set up when needed). in general, pokemon who are really easy to deal with even after a boost due to fraility or a slew of common weaknesses make for poor boosters. you might think you can get away with just having fast and powerful pokemon who can ko everything after a boost, but in a tier filled with bulky pokemon and speed control this is not a very good idea. also, protect means that you can just as easily end up getting ko'd by the partner of the mon you tried to kill (you boost w/ mismagius, then shadow ball a rotom-w. they protect and ko w/ their ttar. you've just wasted two turns and lost a mon).

so yeah don't underestimate boosting moves but don't just slap em on a team and expect amazing results
Yeah Sorry I should've probably made the post less advertisive, I was bit tired and trying to post on the experience I've had using these mons.
Mismiagus and Porygon Z should've probably been dropped off as I already mentioned on the post that they have issues.

Darkrai Im still willing to protect a bit though, I find it to be worthwhile due of Snarl, hell, it's pretty much it's niche. Nasty plot + Snarl lets it deal decent damage and keep the drop on sp going on the foe that can cause bit of teeth grind.
Blizzard is pretty powerful coverage that hits both sides, unlike singles, the 70 accuracy isn't as big of a issue as you're likely to hit atleast one target (suck though if it is the steel one though)
Ofcourse I could probably just attack with the snarl, but then I find it that the balance of damage + drop doesn't feel as much paid off, and the spread of the damage on blizzard/icy wind neither feels as much paid off.

but eh, atleast we can agree on the slowking.


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since ive decided im not going to go to this fall regional, i'll talk about something ive been using for a while now; nasty plot thundurus. i used nasty plot thundurus-t for a few weeks when i picked up my rain room team again, but after seeing human's thundurus-i and my testing partner recommending i change forme, i switched to sub-plot thundurus-i (which is how i can talk about NP thund-t being lackluster).

Thundurus @ Electric, Flying or Ice Gem
Prankster, Timid
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Hidden Power Flying/Ice
Nasty Plot

so the premise of the set is to set up a sub and boost. that's not so hard, but of course ttar is all over the place and in general you're simply not doing this without support. the amoonguss on my team (and human's) help redirect single-target attacks and such, though it doesn't help the ttar weakness. if you skim over the team though, you'll notice literally every pokemon on it besides this thundurus is capable of dealing with ttar, so it's mostly just annoying because of sand and its subsequent special bulk. max speed is to outspeed latios and tie with tornadus, but mostly tornadus because it's actually pretty threatening in practice even though my team has become slightly more prepared for it (stone edge gallade in particular).

and now to put this against my little 'booster test':

  • boosting pokemon need to have straightforward weaknesses that are easily patched by equally straightforward support
thund is basically only scared of ttar and blizzspam stuff, which is covered nicely by gallade, escavalier and politoed. sub helps me wait them out, especially if the ttar is scarfed (and EVERY ttar is scarfed in vgc, i learned that the hard way)
  • they need both bulk and speed, or qualities that produce similar effects (sash ttar)
substitute makes a great substitute for bulk, since it can now live dmeteors and such with minimal effort values. priority goes a long way, especially since i can avoid other thundurus' t-wave and the fact that its sub can live 0-60 spA cress icy wind, though without any defensive evs my subs get broken by LO conk mach punch. its resistance to bug, steel and ground also makes it easy to set up in front of scarfed landog, scizor and hitmontop. i can also sometimes set up in front of conkeldurr, but usually i have to bait a hammer arm so my amoonguss can outspeed and spore it before it can ice punch me.
  • they have to have power behind their attacks with only one boost. don't rely on getting more than one boost (venusaur).
after a NP, thundurus can ohko latios with a gemmed HP flying and tbolt ohkos reasonably bulky stuff like metagross and with e-gem, it guarantees the ohkos and nabs some neat extras like slightly specially defensive rotom-w as well as max SpD thundurus with thunderbolt (SE hp ice deals around the same damage as an un-gemmed tbolt).

so yeah, this thund can be a monster with some obvious support like amoonguss and hitmontop. what's interesting about this set is that it has this 'early VGC11' feel since i know a lot of people used fast sub thundurus back in the day, but it just recently became good (imo). what do you guys think?
Sort of unrelated but on your TR/Feint Gallade wouldn't it make more sense to put some EV's into defense? I tried using one during VGC and I found generally speaking it's never surviving big hits like Draco Meteor anyway but the extra defense lets it take some physical hits/psyshock significantly better without costing that much of your HP and considering it's one of the few things to fully resist Terrakion's double STAB it's quite useful. Given I was never any good with the thing and always ended up mistiming my Feint, it was a hell more effective then the near infinite variations I tried sadly and proved itself maybe the second most effective Gallade variation I had experience with.

With Thundurus-I I'd orientate towards Flying personally since your main problem is the weak coverage and if Amoonguss is doing it's job properly you should have a clean run anyway. Prime goal is to set up that Nasty Plot and if the outcome (in this case Thunderbolt being consistently fatal instead of a one off shot) isn't happening then I'd consider it a bad payoff. It seems to make more sense to have that gem boosted HP Flying for everything else Tbolt doesn't get neutral on.

Also this is just me but I'd say your bigger worry is Mamoswine than any T-tar and would force you into a extreme guessing game due to it's offensive potential to OHKO either of them. It's always surprised me how effective it can be in the VGC with something to support it and in this case it legitimately threatens both Amoonguss and has the potential to pick off Thundurus with a Ice Shard if the Sub goes down.


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i've been using flying gem recently; though killing off enemy thundurus with gem tbolt was very useful for my team, amoonguss proved to be a bigger threat. mamoswine is dealt with via politoed and kingdra as well as gallade and escavalier, though i dont think escav can ohko with iron head and mamoswine could get lucky and break lade's sash with consecutive icicle spears. the defense evs on gallade sounds interesting, though surviving multiple blizzards and such has proven very useful and terrakion doesn't want much to do with gallade in the first place unless its sash is broken (and even then it's pretty threatening if i get trick room off). also on that topic, i've been using a more physically defensive amoonguss recently because of psyshock and the fact that it makes hitmontop and scrafty setup fodder for thundurus.

e: and also ive changed feint to protect on gallade, at least for now. it helps set up trick room more consistently.
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