In the faraway region of Galar the ancient emperors - Primal Groudon, Necrozma-DM, and Arceus - vanished in a single night. In their wake left a haphazard borderless world both familiar and the new. But as always, a new king is destined to rise. Borderless is that story - a team that seeks order and stability in this new kingdom, the crowning of a new king, and all before the borders of what's possible and what's not are still not fully defined.
StructureUpon release of the Galar Pokedex several months ago it was clear that Zacian-C would be a metagame defining Pokemon. It was one of the few legendary Pokemon that would be in the game, had great Fairy-Steel typing, and its design lent itself toward being an offensive Pokemon. Also immediately clear was the potency of Ground-types - most of what would be used in the Ubers tier such as Zacian-C, Zamazenta-C, Eternatus, Aegislash, Excadrill, and Tyranitar were all weak to Ground. Excadrill exploits this metagame weakness, is one of the few Ubers-viable anti-hazard Pokemon in Galar, and would also be capable of revenge killing Zacian-C, Zamazenta-C, and Eternatus thanks to Sand Rush and the availability of viable sand setters such as Tyranitar. The result is a sand-based offense core of Zacian-C, Tyranitar, and Sand Rush Excadrill.
Once competitive details of the game were leaked, Zacian-C became that much more justified, and Eternatus was revealed as a fast and bulky special attacker. Eternatus finds itself on most teams due to the sheer lack of special attackers in Galar, a lack of good specially defensive Pokemon, and its useful built-in Speed. Defensive Pokemon typically need to be aligned against physical attackers, especially Ground- and Steel-types, meaning that Eternatus is able to serve as a complimentary offensive partner capable of picking at physically defensive cores. Recover in combination with its bulk can make it annoying to get rid of, especially for more passive teams due to their low speed and lack of options to immediately punish.
Galar lends itself to stacking Pokemon weak to the Ground-type, which makes Ground immunities extremely important. Gyarados is one of the few good Ground immunities available, and finds itself being used for its offensive potency and ability to smash Ground-types with Water-type STAB. The new Dynamax mechanic further increases Gyarados' relevance as a Dragon Dance sweeper, can break many physically defensive Pokemon that Excadrill or Zacian-C struggle with, and is able to compress its coverage against the tier with just Waterfall and Earthquake. The other options for Ground immunities - Corviknight, Rotom-W, and Rotom-H, lose the ability to immediately threaten key defensive Pokemon, overall reduce breaking power, and simply don't fit as well for this archetype.
Unfortunately Ditto is an invaluable teammate in Galar due to its ability to blanket check setup sweepers, Dynamax Pokemon, and Sticky Web. Extremely stable true balances don't exist and there are few beatstick role compressors to chose from. The result is that Ditto is difficult to forgo, being a highly useful anti-offense Pokemon that has plenty of support to overcome defensive Pokemon. Tyranitar was changed to Hippowdon in order to improve the structure against Ground-types and offensive Steels, and to utilize a sand setter with better staying power at the cost of decreased security versus Eternatus. While Hippowdon isn't as physically threatening as Tyranitar, it does have a STAB Earthquake and Whirlwind to prevent true loss of momentum. All six Pokemon in this structure have super-effective matchups against opposing Eternatus, severely limiting its opportunity to come into play.
Ability: Intrepid Sword
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Detailing for this set was created using a similar mindset to early XY Geomancy Xerneas. Fairy STAB combined with Fire- and Psychic-type coverage is optimal for flexible offensive play, allowing Zacian-C to smack Eternatus, Aegislash, Corviknight, Ferrothorn, Toxapex, and opposing Zacian-C. Adamant 252 Speed Zacian-C outspeeds Timid Eternatus by one point, allowing for maximum Psychic Fangs damage against one of the tier's,most potent threats. Substitute increases this set's ability for flexible play as an offensive pivot, blocks Will-O-Wisp users, forces advantageous mindgames against Pokemon like Aegislash, and blocks Zacian-C from being copied by Ditto.
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Hippowdon lost access to Toxic in Galar, and potentially interesting boosting moves such as Curse, Stockpile, and Amnesia aren't useful at this time. The set is standard in order to free Stealth Rock from Excadrill, ensure longevity, and maximize Hippowdon's ability to check physical attackers such as Zacian, Zamazenta, Aegislash, Tyranitar, and Life Orb Excadrill. Stealth Rock and Sand provide anti-Focus Sash tools. This is also the most passive set on the team; however, STAB Earthquake is still effective at clunking the common Ground-weak Pokemon, and Whirlwind nullifies setup sweepers and phases out Shadow Tag.
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Anti-meta and anti-hazard, Excadrill has stellar matchup against the Galar metagame and is the only good anti-hazard Pokemon. Maximum Speed Excadrill cannot be trapped by Dugtrio in sand, and is able to revenge kill a Ditto that manages to copy this team's Adamant Zacian-C. Life Orb more than compensates for the Jolly nature, ensuring powerful damage output and cleaning ability, especially when Dynamaxed. Dynamax Rock Slide allows Excadrill to set Sand for itself and increases anti-lead options. Dynamax Iron Head and Earthquake grant Defense and Special Defense boosts respectively, and when combined with double HP from Dynamax turn Excadrill into an extremely fast and bulky sweeper.
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
Maximum Speed Eternatus optimizes matchup against opposing Eternatus and a Life Orb ensures the OHKO on even bulky Eternatus. Life Orb Dynamax Cannon offers 2HKOs on most relevant defensive Pokemon regardless of Dynamax and Flamethrower is needed to punish Zacian-C switches and smack Ferrothorn, Aegislash, and Corviknight. Recover gets Eternatus off the residual damage timer when it forces out a defensive Pokemon or threatens a revenge kill. Agility allows Eternatus to clean past Zacian-C, Sand Rush Excadrill, and Scarf Dugtrio.
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Earthquake and Waterfall cover nearly the entire metagame, allowing Gyarados to opt for Substitute, further easing setup against defensive Pokemon and stopping opposing Ditto. Jolly nature allows Gyarados to outspeed Timid Eternatus, Adamant Zacian-C, and Jolly uncrowned dogs when at +1. Leftovers increases Gyarados' longevity as a pivot and makes Substitute easier to click. Moxie helps compensate for the Jolly nature and lack of a Life Orb, allowing Gyarados to smack its potential checks much harder when they're brought in fresh. Gyarados has strong Dynamax potential, transforming its otherwise mediocre STAB while also setting rain for itself, or throwing out a substantially strong Earthquake while also boosting Special Defense.
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Def
IVs: 0 Spe
Standard Choice Scarf Ditto optimized for Ditto vs. Ditto matchups. Ditto is a revenge killer that does not require sand, completely ignores Sticky Web, and frees Zacian-C and Eternatus for safer play. Scarf Ditto is arguably the second best Pokemon in Galar since there are very few strong beatstick Pokemon and it's capable of copying the best Pokemon - Zacian-C, and with +2 attack thanks to a copied Intrepid Sword. Ditto is also one of the best weapons to use against opposing Ditto, as opposing Ditto cannot copy it.
Choice Scarf Darmanitan-Galar is highly annoying for this team. It has several neutral and super-effective targets for its strong Icicle Crash and the two Ice-type resists, Zacian-C and Ditto, are beat by a predicted Flare Blitz. Fortunately Stealth Rock and sand limit the number of times it can come in, and the team has ways of punishing locked Ice / Fire move.
Choice Scarf Gothitelle is a nuisance for all teams and this is no exception; however, the highly offensive archetype and the lack of trappable Pokemon substantially limits its annoyance as compared to other teams. Hippowdon is the only Pokemon worth Tricking, and the Gothitelle user has to ensure that it isn't simply phased out.
All six members of this team have super-effective coverage against Eternatus and sets such as Adamant Psychic Fangs Zacian-C, Timid Life Orb Eternatus, and Jolly Gyarados are specifically detailed to help alleviate pressure from this Pokemon. Good switch-ins simply don't exist even for defensive teams, and smart offensive play is required to keep it in check.
Zacian-C is the best Pokemon and a threat for all teams due to its Speed, lethality, and expansive movepool. This team structure has extensive redundancy against it for an offense, utilizing Hippowdon, Sand Rush Excadrill, and Choice Scarf Ditto, but this Pokemon remains a threat for all teams.
I hope you've enjoyed this tale with me... Until the next evening... Vale~