Coal to Diamonds

I hate this team. It's weird, because it's by far the best I've ever built, but its reliance on synergy in a metagame dominated by power makes it feel like I'm always about the lose until the last few turns, when I somehow piece together a win without understanding how. That's a big exaggeration since I'm still abusing Latios and I've had plenty of decisive games, but I've had more 1-0s and 2-0s with this team than any other I've used. And, at the same time, I love it because of how closely it plays.

There's a lot of really cool things about this team too: there's no Unova pokemon, no dream world pokemon, no weather abusers. It relies heavily on Rotom-W's upgrade so it wouldn't have worked last gen, but I like how it relies on good play and momentum in a metagame dominated by themed teams like Shell Smash/BP and Sun. And while it's not really possible to check all of the threats in the current metagame, it feels like this is as close as it gets. More than any team I've built in this metagame, this one makes me feel like I'm playing pokemon.

The title is mostly because half the pokemon and the alt I made reqs with are named after songs from Standing in the Way of Control, but partially from how the team was built (more than how the team ended up). I started playing following a long break after Drizzle + Swift Swim was banned. At that time, the ladder was littered with teams with cores like Tyranitar/Gliscor/Landros/Excadrill and Specstoad/Thunderus/Tornelos, trying to take the abuse of weather to the fullest. I wanted to try to make use of some underrated pokemon and underrated sets who are good against those cores. I was also looking for a balanced offense team, since it seemed the playstyle that benefited the most from Wifi clause: it seems like a gross waste of potential advantage to just get to +2/+2 and sweep or spam Hurricane when the opponent's team is known beforehand. Teams like this are becoming much more common and the pokemon ended up as standards so the name's not so appropriate anymore, but hopefully it's a forgivable indulgence...

As for accomplishments: like I said before, I made voting reqs with this team, staying above 1400 on several alts throughout the testing period. This wouldn't mean that much normally, but keep in mind that I'm not as good as the players who make reqs period after period... In the end, only Fire With Fire stayed in range due to laziness and I never laddered more than I had to from fear of hax, so I can't say too much about it other than that I've had a ton of fun playing it and it's been really good to me.

As for what I hope to get from the RMT: I'd like suggestions as to what I should do to carry this team into the post-Blaziken metagame and general fixes for holes in the team I've overlooked. I'm really proud of this team, though, so sorry in advance if I come off as bragging or defensive at any point.

At a Glance

Teambuilding Process
The team kind of built itself, so instead of a trail of sprites I thought I'd use this section to explain some of the thoughts that went into it. The pokemon I started with is Spikes/SR Deoxys-S. It's a weird pokemon to start with since it doesn't actually do anything in itself, but I thought it criminal how little use it was getting relative to how good it is (the few teams that had a D-S at the time used a Dual Screens variant). It forced me to focus the team since only balance and balanced offense benefit more from Spikes/SR. Next, I decided on Tyranitar + Azumarill as my core. My approach to weather -- if I'm not planning to abuse it, at least -- was, and still is, to pick the weather that suits the team best and counter the threats in that weather. Azumarill was so good against most of the teams at the time -- killing genies in rain and every abuser in sand -- that I wanted it on the team and Tyranitar was the perfect compliment. It helped that Tyranitar is the only weather pokemon good enough to really hold its own without abuse. Next, I knew I wanted a primary water resist and a secondary water resist. Since I already had three pokemon and didn't have too much space left, I decided on a few more criteria: I wanted a fire resist, a grass resist, two ground resists, and pokemon I could blindly switch into Rotom-W and Gliscor with momentum. I considered a lot of pokemon, from Celebi to Shaymin to Heatran to Doryuuzu to Latios, but in the end this pretty much meant a Levitator and Virijion, a pokemon I thought was horribly underrused and was happy to put on. I'd had my eye on a SubSplit Rotom-W for a while, so I picked that as my Levitator. Last, I picked Scizor as a steel and the perfect abuser of Spikes + SR.

After I had the general feel of the team down, I also spent a lot of time theorymoning the sets and working out cores and subcores, after pokemon went down, as I chose the pokemon. The idea was to have a team where, after the team preview, I could list the pokemon I wanted to sac and always have a playable team afterward. I wanted a "real" balanced offense team, focusing entirely on synergy without any thought for power.

As you can see from the "At a Glance", that isn't how the team ended up... I played a lot of matches with it and was moderately successful, but it really was just too weak. Not only that, it had a lot of weaknesses. I switched out Scizor for LO Latios for a more reliable way to beat other Virijion, then switched Virijion for Scizor for a better double-switch from Latios for Tyranitar. I changed Rotom-W to the standard set after being frustrated by Nattorei and changed my specially defensive CB Scizor to the standard version. I fixed the EVs on D-S, changed the team order, and then... finally, everything worked.

The Team

Psychosoma (Rotom-W) @ Leftovers
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 156 HP / 252 SAtk / 100 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
- Thunderbolt
- Hydro Pump
- Pain Split
- Hidden Power [Fire]

I lead with Rotom-W to try to confuse the other player. People were still messing around with choiced versions back then and often led with them to get quick damage with Volt Change (or a predicted Hydro Pump). The rest of the team is structured to look like Tyranitar has SR and Deoxys-S is an offensive variant. The idea behind this is to make it easier for Deoxys-S to get up hazards. Teams with CB Scizor and Tyranitar keep it down to one layer of hazards and teams with SD Scizor can force it to do that same. Deoxys-S needs to be Adamant in this metagame, so I also wanted to keep stuff like Scarf Jirachi away and possibly scare Garchomp out. SpD Jirachi also ruins my day, another pokemon who can't do anything to Rotom-W. Ideally, it makes my opponent hesitant to set up something like Gyarados in addition to guaranteeing the layers.

Practically, given the number of rematches at the top of the ladder, this was a lot of thought for absolutely no reward...

As for Rotom-W in general, even though it's a solid, standard pokemon, I'm baffled why it's not on every team. Once Blissey is gone via Tyranitar or Scizor, it just works its way through the standard stall team. Few teams have a pokemon who can comfortably switch into it with its strong STABs and great coverage. Its great typing makes it a fantastic utility pokemon and there's an absurd amount of Gliscor and Skarmory it switches into for free. It's bulky too, serving as a secondary check to Doryuuzu and Landros. It's a great way to build momentum against Rain and Sun alike, switching comfortably into both Ninetales and Politoad (well, it lives Specs Hydro Pump at least...) and threatening every pokemon on the standard team. I put it onto my team thinking it'd be great and was surprised: it's amazing.

I took the EVs from Iconic's RMT and put another eight in speed out of habit. In his analysis, he recommended 128 for max speed neutral nature base 70s, but... I haven't needed or wanted them. I've considered using Timid and the speed to outrun CB Gyarados several times, but that situation's come up in one or two games and the ability to hit Nattorei and Tyranitar as hard as possible comes first in my eyes. I'm guessing most players are using marginal speed or 128 speed, though, so I'm thinking about moving those two points of speed back into HP. However, the current iteration of the team doesn't deal with Rotom-W as well as the original so I'm a bit loathe to.

Fixed It! (Azumarill) (M) @ Choice Band
Trait: Huge Power
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Waterfall
- Aqua Jet
- Ice Punch
- Superpower

This was really great at the beginning the period and got progressively worse as people worked their way from the "abuse or die" mindset. I've been on the very of replacing it several times but there's nothing that can really replace it. Nothing in the metagame checks as many threats as well as it does. It has to bulk to switch into Excadrill's Rock Slide twice if I can prevent SR, so it's a fantastic defensive pivot as well. I hate that a good portion of the game comes down to 50/50 predictions when using this thing, however. I have to Superpower believing in the depths of my heart that Rotom-W is coming in, or Ice Punch with Latios, and I'll often lose the game if I'm wrong. There are times when all I need to do is force Excadrill out, but the next turn there's still the question of whether they'll double-switch back in. By miles, it's the best solution to the problem of checking Blaziken/Excadrill/Landros/Tornadus/Thunderus... but it's not the most enjoyable one. It was first real member of the team and I haven't touched it since putting it on.

As for the set: there's only one real Azumarill set and it works. I've considered Toxic > Ice Punch several times, to say "fuck you" to Slowbro and Burungeru, since I usually trap Lati@s with Tyranitar or Scizor. But, at the same time... a well played Slowbro doesn't care about Toxic and I've killed weakened Burungeru on the switch with Ice Punch (+ Spikes + SR + SS) before, where Toxic would have done nothing. I've also used Ice Punch to kill last pokemon Scarfchomp and such before. I really like Toxic as an idea, but I don't think it does as much as Ice Punch in practice.

I put 8 EVs in speed in the case of a speed tie with other Azumarill in rain or something. It did happen once. I'm a big fan of investing in speed in general, as you'll see on this team, since it's the only stat in which a marginal EV investment will absolutely win a game. I've considered investing in Def several times to take Doryuuzu's hits better, but I think that only really works in Rain. Max attack lets it hit as hard as its little arms can, making it much better at cleaning lategame.

Broom Person (Scizor) (M) @ Choice Band
Trait: Technician
EVs: 224 HP / 252 Atk / 32 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Bullet Punch
- Pursuit
- Quick Attack
- U-turn

Oh king of OU, where hast thou gone? Scizor's fairly common in this metagame, but everyone's busy spamming SD sets. Well, "using" more than "spamming", since it's the better set. Still, CB Scizor has an important niche as a partner for Latios. There aren't many pokemon in the current metagame who like taking a CB U-turn and it's perfect for pressuring the Tyranitar Latios incessantly baits. Often, the first part of the game is something like "bring in Latios on Virijion, bring in Scizor on Tyranitar, U-turn" until Spikes have brought Tyranitar into DM kill range. It's also a great "catch-all" with its two priority attacks and Pursuit, patching up weird weaknesses to things like Gengar. I don't understand why people say Wifi clause nerfed Scizor, since hitting stuff with U-turn and forcing switches was always more valuable than the actual scouting. It's weakened by the presence of Gliscor and Skarmory on so many teams, but Rotom-W and Latios are brilliant for getting momentum when those switch into U-turn, depending on what my opponent has left. Scizor/Latios/Rotom-W is by far my favorite of the "cores" on this team: with a good prediction, it can take an even game to completely winning in a matter of turns. Not only that, it's not difficult to play such that the impact of misprediction is limited. Sometimes I just lose Latios for nothing, though... usually when I don't need it, though. Scizor's also essential for dealing with opposing D-S, as mine is low.

I have Quick Attack over Superpower because I don't feel there's enough Superpower hits in this metagame. Heatran is nonexistent and U-Turn is the better option against Magnezone given how much of this team just shits on it. Quick Attack notably hits Rotom-W, Thunderus, and Ulgamoth significantly harder. Formerly Blaziken too, who was a huge bother to this team. I miss Superpower occasionally against Chansey or Nattorei, but just the threat -- since Quick Attack never comes out at the beginning of the game -- is enough to get most people to switch, which is the point of it. Pursuit is important against Lati@s, reducing the pressure they put on Tyranitar. Though, Scizor can't take hits at all with this EV spread.

I'm using this EV spread because the reason I'm using Scizor is to weaken the opposing team for Latios and Rotom-W and clean up with priority in the lategame. I was originally using a spread designed to take 2 Draco Meteors from Latios and so on, but... I found myself just missing KOs on things like Thunderus and Latios far too often. And then I noticed myself using it to take physical attacks even more often than I was using it to take special ones. So I just gave up on it. It's a lot more fragile and the team as a whole is a lot more unstable now, since it can no longer take Specs Surfs, but the reward is much, much greater. I threw a ton of speed on because I got tired of people thinking themselves clever for running a ton of speed on Tyranitar... since I only have 5 real members, every one is essential, but Scizor is especially so. And Scizor's not doing it's job if it can't confidently U-turn.

Paper Tiger (Latios) (M) @ Life Orb
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)
- Draco Meteor
- Psyshock
- Recover
- Hidden Power [Fire]

This is the only intentional nickname on the team. It's a little joke about all the fanfare over Specs. Specs is a great set, but I don't think enough people realize that every time Specs Latios uses Draco Meteor, it concedes significant offensive momentum. And that, every time it uses Psycho Shock or HP Fire, it trades itself for an opposing pokemon if and only if it predicts correctly and just dies when it doesn't. Surf is the only real safe move and it's 95 BP without STAB and NFE against Nattorei. Seeing all the Specs in the metagame, I wondered why so few people were using LO, which has much more survivability and versatility for only marginally less power. LO does miss a few significant kills, like Mew after SR and fully SpD Quagsire, but the presence of Spikes fixes a lot of those. In exchange, it forces switches and does damage without conceding the slightest momentum -- provided discretionary use of DM. And, it Recovers it all off at the end of the day. It's a bit hard to use Recover sometimes, but it punishes opponents harshly for trying to use death fodder and keeps it strong through the game against stall. This is by far the best Latios I've used and it's the team's centerpiece, it's darling.

You'll note, however, that it's completely walled by Tyranitar. Since Recover lets it run only three attacks, I decided to maximize synergy over utility. HP Fire kills Nattorei for Rotom-W, keeps Scizor from setting up, and serves as a secondary check for specially defensive Scizor in the endgame if I make a big mistake with Rotom-W. It's also useful for killing SpD Jirachi after Spikes + SR if it doesn't have Protect, but that rarely happens. Psycho Shock will kill Blissey or Chansey after Spikes + SR if I can catch them on the switch and gives me a second STAB move to use against pokemon like Venusaur and Burungeru. Barring Tyranitar, Psychic is a very solid attacking type in the current metagame and is great for pressuring teams without conceding DM once Tyranitar is gone. Or before, if the other team doesn't have one. Draco Meteor is Puff the Magic Dragon, Uncle Gespacho, the Ex-Wife: 140 BP with STAB is no joke, even without Specs. I try not to use it recklessly though, since mispredicting costs me all the momentum I've built over the game. By the time I start using it, I should be getting a kill every time Latios switches in. Recover rounds things out.

The EVs are boring. I want max speed to at least tie with other Latios, a pokemon I can be a be weak to. Max SpA is to hit as hard as possible. I've considered dropping SpA to hit some benchmarks and throwing the rest to bulk, but since the point is to force switches and wear the other team down more than kill stuff, it didn't feel right.

Holy Water (Deoxys-S) @ Focus Sash
Trait: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Stealth Rock
- Spikes
- Taunt / Fire Punch
- Superpower

No, I didn't mess the EVs up. I just didn't see the point of running speed on this: with no investment, it's still faster than +1 base 70s and there's nothing else that the other player should be leading with. I started with 188 Spd to outpace +1 Kingdra, then dropped it to 88 Spe to outpace +1 Heatran, then dropped it entirely because I never had to do either of those things. The extra bulk does some notable things like make Seismic Toss a 4HKO without Sandstorm and Gliscor's EQ a guaranteed 3HKO and sometimes 4HKO. Nattorei's Power Whip is always a 3HKO. I should probably split the bulk between HP and Def such that Gyro Ball is always a 3HKO, but I think the investment would take so much from attack that I couldn't KO Tyranitar with Superpower. Overall, I'm not sure why this spread isn't standard for Superpower D-S in this metagame.

Changes I've been considering: an Adamant nature is necessary to OHKO 252/0 Tyranitar with Superpower, but only 180 EVs are necessary beyond that. I've been thinking of putting those into SpD or Def but I'm not sure it's worth it. I often use Superpower to hit Nattorei and I occasionally use it to hit Magnezone and I sometimes use it to hit Scrafty if D-S is still alive when it comes out to DD. Similarly, like I said, I've been thinking about splitting the 252 HP EVs between Def and HP to help it take Gyro Balls a little better. If anybody else has had experience with a D-S like this, I'd be happy to be told what's up.

The moves themselves are pretty self-explanatory. Superpower hits hard against the pokemon it needs to hit and Spikes + SR are the point of this team. I usually use Taunt since this team is really weak to Shell Break/BP teams without it (my usual strategy involves hitting their Deoxys-S and going to Scizor to U-turn to my own Deoxys-S). However, Fire Punch does some neat things like OHKO LO Scizor. It does 85% min to the usual 248/0 Scizor if I wait until the midgame to get hazards up (or it happens to be alive). It's useful for weakening pokemon like Nattorei and Forretress for the rest of my team. The latter is the main reason I run it, since it switches into Deoxys-S for free without it.

Focus Sash may seem counterintuitive with bulk, but there's no way this thing is going to live a Surf from Specstoad otherwise and I need to get two layers to win against most Rain teams.

Living Rose (Tyranitar) (M) @ Choice Band
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 Atk / 244 SDef / 12 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Crunch
- Superpower
- Aqua Tail
- Pursuit

This Tyranitar was on the first team I built coming back into pokemon and it's been on every team I've built since. It's not perfect but I'm a huge, huge fan. Dark is a solid attacking type in the current metagame and there aren't too many pokemon who can take boosted hits from Tyranitar. It's my second layer of defense against Reuniclus, since Scizor usually gets worn down in the midgame, but it's far more important as a ridiculously strong weather changer. Even when it's burned, it does a number against most of the pokemon on the usual sun team. Since other weather teams usually get their weather up on Deoxys-S, I can usually just bring this in to cancel their weather while threatening whatever from Tyranitar's massive attack stat.

The EVs are a bit weird. I was looking to maximize attack to make the most out of the Choice Band while maintaining acceptable bulk. It just works because of Tyranitar's huge bulk in Sandstorm. Investing in SpD gets twice the raw benefit of investing in HP, letting Tyranitar take a DM and -2 DM from Specs Latios at full HP after SR. If I'm playing well, I shouldn't have to do this, but it's a possibility. Sadly, however, it can't take 2 Specs Surfs. The situation hasn't come up enough to really convince me to change it but I think it's something I should consider more seriously. I don't want to invest too much in bulk since all the investment in attack is magnified through the CB, but I should probably invest more. If anyone has a spread they like for CBtar, as with Deoxys-S, I'd love if they'd share. I love hitting as hard as possible too much for my own good. The speed is in case I need to tie, though most Tyranitar are either much faster or much slower so I should probably get rid of it...

The moves are standard, except for Superpower > Stone Edge. It's a bit weird not to have Stone Edge on CBtar, but I didn't see the point without the speed to outpace Skarmory. Superpower hits Nattorei and Chansey, the other pokemon I'd arguably use Stone Edge on, much harder without the awful issues of accuracy. Against Rain teams, Superpower gives me a great attack to randomly fire off. Most of the time I have to switch after one attack, so the defense drop doesn't concern me. Aqua Tail is great for surprising Hippowdon on the switch and preventing SR a lot of the time, though it's much less common now than then. Water's great neutral coverage is still an excellent reason to use it, however. Crunch is strong STAB, Pursuit kills Lati@s and Blissey, the biggest enemies of Rotom-W. Tyranitar holds the team together, forcing other teams to fight for the weather, supporting Rotom-W and Latios, and getting rid of problem pokemon.

In Conclusion
Thanks for reading! And thanks for helping, if you do!
I'm not terribly in the mood to do a huge threat list after writing all that, but these are some of the pokemon I've had the biggest problems with:

Jirachi - I don't care about most variants since Spikes + SR wears them down, but SpD Jirachi is a huge asshole to this team. It's not so much that I'm actually threatened by it, because it can't to anything to Rotom-W, but so much of the time it just flat kills my momentum, which this team is built around. I basically have to switch to Rotom-W, try to paralyze it with Tbolt -- or predict its switch properly -- and either stall it out or wear it down with FPs and Scizor. Which is a risky enough affair without having Rotom-W, one of my precious few pokemon, crippled. You'd think Scizor would work, but it can't do more than Jirachi can wish off and it gets Iron Headed to death. I don't lose to it, but it's a huge pain.
Doryuuzu - I have Azumarill and Rotom-W so it's managable, but a well-played CB variant gives this team nightmares. Even with SD, it's just hard to deal with without Gliscor and I'm not entirely sure how to fit Gliscor in without destroying the team synergy. I've been thinking of replacing Azumarill but remain unsure.
Reuniclus - I keep saying this and it's a bit weird that I'm saying it with both Scizor and CBtar, but it's true. Nothing switches in comfortably, especially when Scizor is worn down. A good player's not going to bring it in until a death in the endgame -- not that this team gives it too many chances -- and Trick Room variants ruin the team when it's weakened and even CM variants force awkward plays.
Rotom-W - Latios is my only decent switch and it's not going to like a Twave very much. Furthermore, Rotom-W's often paired with Tyranitar to get rid of Lati@s. A lot of pokemon can sorta take a hit and damage it back, so it's manageable with good play but it's not fun.
Forretress - It spins and gets up Spikes and Toxic Spikes and even when half my team has Fire move, it's hard not to lose momentum against it. Sturdy means it forcibly gets up Toxic Spikes which is a pain since I use Tyranitar's Pursuit to beat most Blissey and poison forces me into a lot of marginal situations given Wish and Protect. Barely made managable by Scizor and how weak standard stall is to Rotom-W, but it still keeps me from getting hazards up and that's a huge pain.
Deoxys-S - This team does not like Spikes very much. This team's also not a fan of operating without Spikes. If the opposing D-S isn't Dual Screens or offensive, I'm going to go at least the first five or so turns without hazards while the opponent has SR and the initiative. Given how frail most of the team is, this is bad news. I can sometimes recover, but I'm still starting with a big disadvantage.
Garchomp - The Sub-SD variant forcibly gets a Substitute on a significant portion of the team, at which point I need to pray Draco Meteor and Bullet Punch and Aqua Jet all hit. Scarf variants are annoying but handled but Spikes and good prediction and Band variants get one or two kills, so others are manageable. Even without Sand Veil, all variants would still be a threat to the team. Sand Veil makes it a huge, huge threat.

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