Doubles Overview, Benchmarks, and Q&A Thread—Read before asking!

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Ever since ADV, doubles has steadily gained headway into the competitive Pokemon scene. Every generation GameFreak has refined the Doubles metagame and by the sixth generation it has ripened considerably. It's a shame that the only widely supported version of this format (VGC) is one over which the players have no control! However, with the awesome Pokemon Showdown! now supporting Doubles format, we now have all the tools necessary to mold our own version of the format that made VGC so popular and help shape our own Standard Doubles metagame!

THE RULES

Note that, rather than following many of the conventions which Nintendo and VGC have laid out, we will be experimenting and setting new rules and bans, so many things are slightly different. Here are some noteworthy difference from the ruleset of current VGC 2014:

1) 6 vs 6 instead of 4 vs 4
2) Pokemon default level 100 instead of level 50
3) Item Clause OFF
4) OHKO Clause ON
5) Evasion Clause ON
6) Soul Dew Clause ON
7) Moody Clause ON
8) Swagger Clause ON
9) The following move is banned from play
  • Dark Void
10) The following Pokemon are banned from play
  • Mewtwo
  • Lugia
  • Ho-oh
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Rayquaza
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Giratina, Giratina-O
  • Shaymin-Sky
  • Arceus
  • Reshiram
  • Zekrom
  • Kyurem-White
  • Xerneas
  • Yveltal
11) The following items are banned from play
  • Salamencite
As you may have figured out by now, this will be a drastically different metagame from the more familiar VGC metagame. VGC knowledge will certainly be beneficial, but a handful of new additional battle pieces will certainly alter the face of Doubles.

DOUBLES BASICS

The true gem of Doubles does not lie in such minute differences in rulesets - it's the various strategies that are born and made viable by the virtue of having an additional partner and an extra opponent on the battle field simultaneously. Such battle setting results in a fast and furious play unimaginable in Singles play. If you think you have time to dilly dally with setting up hazards and some brainless volt-turn spam, think again! Since so much happens in a span of a single turn, on-the-spot decision making and intuition are tested heavily in Doubles. A thrilling new challenge unfounded in Singles!

Another major appeal of Doubles is the increased viability and deeper nuances of Pokemon moves. Here are some quick overview of such moves:

Protect - +4 Priority. Undoubtedly the most important move in Doubles; it shields whatever moves targeted at the user and without the need to blindly switch out and let another one of your Pokemon to take a hit, too! A well-executed Protect means wasted turns for the opponent, whose attacks utterly fail to do anything while your other Pokemon can ideally take the attacker out. Protect also shield your Pokemon against Fake Out flinches, a devastating move in Double. Stalling out Tailwind or TR turns serve as another purpose for using Protect.

Feint - +2 Priority. With Protect being such a pivotal move in Doubles, it's no wonder that a counter-move in Feint would see some use! It comes in handy when you need to connect with the target Pokemon on that turn NO MATTER WHAT. Feint also breaks other protection moves, including Wide Guard, Quick Guard, and Spiky Shield.

Fake Out - +3 Priority. This is another prevalent move in Doubles, and it's a game-breaking one, too. A super-priority flinch move renders one of the opponent's Pokemon immobile and vulnerable to assaults. Just like in Singles, Fake Out can be seen from a mile away, but the Fake Out user can actually take advantage of this, forcing the opponent to use Protect. Fake Out's greater utility in Doubles in turn increases the value of Inner Focus.

Spread Moves - These moves target multiple Pokemon - some only affect both enemies while other spread moves also catches your ally, too. Such distinctions make otherwise obscure moves in Singles, such as Heat Wave and Rock Slide, to have a specific niche in Doubles!

All spread moves's power is reduced to 75% of its original base power (so Earthquake is a 75 bp Ground type move, while Blizzard is a 82 bp Ice type move), but this reduction is more than compensated by hitting more than one target. If it's hitting both foes, it is effectively hitting with 150% of the moves original power (75%*2). When there is only one target power on the field, the spread move hits the opponent with 100% of its original power.
Notable Spread Moves that Targets Only Enemies
  • Blizzard (82 bp) & Icy Wind (41 bp)
  • Rock Slide (56)
  • Heat Wave (71) & Eruption (112)
  • Muddy Water (67) & Water Spout (112)
  • Pixilate Hyper Voice (87, Fairy-type)
  • Snarl (41)
  • Dark Void (banned)
Notable Spread Moves that Target Enemies and Ally alike
  • Explosion (187) & Selfdestruct (150)
  • Earthquake (75)
Wide Guard / Quick Guard - +3 Priority. BW has added new protection moves to doubles. Unlike Protect, these Guard moves protect both the user AND the ally from spread moves and priority moves, respectively. This means that one Pokemon can guard for Earthquake or Fake Outs, thereby wasting the opponent's turn, while its partner can go on the offensive.

XY has further buffed these two moves; both Guard moves can be used consecutively without fail! Quick Guard now also blocks non-damaging moves from Prankster Pokemon!

Helping Hand - +5 Priority. A move designed specifically for Doubles, this move boosts the power of the user's ally by 50% for one turn, which can change a 2HKO into a OHKO. Such a difference is significant in Doubles, as knocking out the opponent effectively means cutting down on the opponent's offense by half for that turn. Thus, Helping Hand user pairs nicely with a fast Sweeper like Thundurus or Latios. Helping Hand has +5 priority, so the helper can be a slow bulky supporter like Cresselia, and it is used before Prankster Taunt.

Follow Me / Rage Powder - +2 Priority. Another move tailored for Doubles, but this time all non-spread moves are re-directed to the user of Follow Me or Rage Powder, thereby keeping its partner untouched. Spread moves like Blizzard and Earthquake still hits both users, though. This move comes in handy when you are trying to set up with your other Pokemon. This support move has +3 priority, so this user can even redirect fast priorities barring faster Fake Outs to itself! XY nerfed Follow Me / Rage Powder by lowering its priority bracket one below Fake Out - faster users can no longer re-direct Fake Out with these moves :( Grass-types and Pokemon holding Safety Goggles also ignores Rage Powder.

Tailwind / Icy Wind / Thunder Wave / Trick Room - Similarly to Singles, having the first move is almost always more advantageous than attacking second. Tailwind, Icy Wind, and Trick Room are prevalent moves to control Speed and attack first. Even though 4-5 turns go awfully quick in Singles to do anything productive, in Doubles it is usally half the game or more! Icy Wind (or Electro Web) is also an amazing utility move, a spread move that drops BOTH enemies' Speed by one stage.

Move Order - Who moves first is often a frequently confused topic, since a Pokemon's Speed can change in the middle of a turn, making faster Pokemon slower. The move order is pre-determined at the beginning of the turn, so any changes in the Pokemon's Speed would only affect the move order in subsequent turns. Here are some scenarios:
  • Your Talonflame sets up Tailwind. Your Heracross will not move before the opponent's Charizard Y until the following turn
  • Your Thundurus paralyzes the opposing Latios with Thunder Wave. However, Latios will still move before Garchomp until the turn ends.
  • Your Charizard Mega Evolves into Charizard Y and summons sun. Venusaur's Chlorophyll wont kick in until the following turn.
  • The above scenario is different from a case where the weather is summoned before the beginning of the turn (ie if you used Ninetales to summon sun before the turn begins then Venusaur has its Speed doubled from turn 1).
EVING BENCHMARKS—COMMON THREATS AND ATTACKS IN THE METAGAME

It is a well-known fact that EVing your Pokemon can be essential to a team's success in the Doubles metagame. It is something so important that a whole Topic of the Week was devoted towards exploring the best way to maximize the effect of your EVs. However, many people may find it daunting to attempt to keep track of the many different benchmarks there are in the Doubles metagame, and will thus resort to inferior 252/252 spreads as opposed to finding spreads that will best fit their team. This list's goal is to provide an easy to access list of benchmarks to make it easier to calculate spreads for your Pokemon. In addition to the Speed benchmarks, there is a list of important offensive and defensive benchmarks to consider when EVing that is available below. Sadly, this list is likely missing things, so if you feel that there is an important benchmark being left out, be sure to mention it.

For Pokemon affected by stat boosts and drops, all non-integers round down.

Speed Tiers

This spreadsheet does not contain all notable sets: it only has benchmarks of 0 or 252, with a few exceptions where a Pokemon which EVs to hit a benchmark at a certain boost does not have that boost. The tiers highlighted in yellow are common targets for creep, or benchmarks to be especially aware of.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13iusTLkC-HQqXFlAx0jlZ18oYmN5QdmFXPHn9eveEcU/edit#gid=0
Offensive Benchmark (Opposing Pokemon you want to inflict damage / KO)
* - Indicates that you should consider accounting for Intimidate drops if calcing physical attacks
  • 252/252+/4 Cresselia
  • max HP & max Def Politoed
  • min HP Latios
  • 44 HP Landorus-T*
  • max HP Heatran
  • 252/176/72+ Amoonguss
  • 252/64/0 Charizard Y-M
  • min HP Kangaskhan-M
  • max HP Kangaskhan-M
  • 252/100/40 Rotom-W
  • 244/108/72 Thundurus
  • 252/176+/72 Togekiss
Defensive Benchmark (Opposing Pokemon's moves you want to tank)
Physical:
  • LO Brave Bird from Adamant Talonflame
  • Earthquake from Landorus-T
  • Rock Slide from Landorus-T
  • LO Rock Slide from Terrakion
  • +6 Aqua Jet from Azumarill
  • LO Close Combat from Terrakion
  • Meteor Mash from Mega Metagross
  • Return from Mega Kangaskhan
  • LO Psyshock from Latios
  • LO Secret Sword from Keldeo
  • Diamond Storm from Mega Diancie
  • Fake Out + Return from Mega Kangaskhan
  • LO Knock Off from Bisharp (with or without item)
  • LO Sucker Punch from Bisharp
Special:
  • LO Draco Meteor from Hydreigon (Modest)
  • Hydro Pump from Modest Ludicolo (in rain)
  • Heat Wave from Mega Charizard Y (in sun)
  • Overheat from Mega Charizard Y (in sun)
  • Giga Drain from Modest Ludicolo
  • Moonblast from Mega Diancie
  • Ice Beam from Kyurem-B
  • Shadow Ball from Aegislash
  • Choice Specs Hyper Voice from Sylveon
  • Overheat from Rotom-Heat

WHAT ABOUT SUSPECT TESTING?

Doubles, being an official tier, does have its own suspect testing system. We have a semipermanent council of top battlers who periodically decide on suspects, with user input, and then ladder and activity requirements for a vote.
As of now the council is....
Contact the tier's co-leaders if you have any questions about the process. Stay tuned for the next suspect testing thread, too!

WHAT'S NEXT?

Start playing on Smogon Doubles ladder! Compete in the Doubles Tournament Circuit for a custom banner labeling you as the Doubles champion. Participate in projects that we will be creating in the very near future, and discuss / share / theorymon some cool doubles sets, combo, or strategy with the rest of us! Contribute in C&C writing and discussions! Rate teams of Doubles! There are many opportunities to earn badges and have your contributions and achievements in Doubles recognized!

Also we have a room on Pokemon Showdown! for the very purpose of discussing Doubles OU! You may also sign up in Smogon's Battling 101 program to be assigned with a Doubles tutor!

Come and play Doubles! We welcome your company :)

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

Basic Guidelines when Asking a Question

1) Please don't ask anything in the FAQ, especially #1.
2) If your question can be answered by a quick Google search, I am liable to be a patronizing asshole and respond via letmegooglethatforyou.com. In the case that this happens, remember it was your fault.
3) Do not ask about anything illegal such as ROMs.

FAQ: (Please don't ask these here or anywhere else)

Q: (When) will [Insert pokemon/move/item/etc] be (un)banned?

A: The Doubles Council is diligently playing and monitoring the metagame at all times. If they are considering banning or unbanning something, they will post a thread about it, so you'll know. If they're not considering such a thing, you're not going to convince them otherwise, so don't bother.

Q: How do I calculate damage?

A: With this. Make sure the "doubles" tag is highlighted or spread moves will be 33% stronger than they should be.

Q: Can I chat about Doubles anywhere in real time?

A: Go ahead and join the Smogon Doubles room on Pokemon Showdown to chat about our metagame and its derivatives!
 
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Pocket

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MagikaripIsOP

Here is a general overview of Doubles's ruleset, which hasn't really changed from the transition from BW2 to XY other than Sky Drop being unbanned and the addition of Xerneas and Yveltal in the Pokemon banlist.

The principal differences between the two metagame is that Doubles is 6 vs 6 as opposed to VGC's 4 vs 4, and we have traditional smogon clauses intact (for now), such as sleep, OHKO, and evasion clauses. We do not have an Item Clause like VGC. We also have a much smaller banlist than VGC (2014 ruleset of VGC only permits the use of Pokemon that can be captured and bred in Kalos, whereas Doubles allow any Pokemon that aren't listed in our banlist). Oh yea, Doubles prohibits the move Dark Void, whereas VGC unbanned it fsr ;/
 
We have been looking through the old sets a bit. Gyarados' support set is basicly the same as its VGC counterpart without the awkward Lv50 roundings. It does have a Careful nature instead of an Adamant one; why the change of heart?
 
You'll typically get that info by reading the set comments; in this case, the evs are to survive -1 rock gem terrak stone edge, wacan-buffered thundy-t thunderbolt, and modest gem hydrei dm 100% of the time and outspeed min cress. You fall 36 evs short of this goal if you go adamant, even after stealing the 60 attack EVs. Obviously, if you prefer more power and dont care about one of those calcs then you can put some defenses into atk instead
 
We did read the comment and they looks the same for the most part, although it appears like the VGC set was not kept up to date: Thundurus-T did not exist back then and the analysis ignores it. Pardon us, when we have caused too much inconvenience.

Not that it matters too much now that Gyarados has gained the ability to hulk up. Adamant 252/0 Mega-Gyarados can stomach one of Thundurus-T's Thunderbolt on its own.
 
I've been trying to decide on a nature/EV spread for amoonguss but I can't decide.
The VGC '12 set recomendation lists Sassy/Calm with 252 sdef and 4 def EVs, but lists full defense investment (252 def and bold) as an alternative.

My question is: Do you think physically bulky would be better in this metagame? From what I've read this metagame has more physical pokemon in comparison to last gen, and full defensive investment will let Amoonguss survive a life orb brave bird from talonflame 75% of the time.

Mega tyranitar is on my team, do you think physically defensive would be better for redirecting fighting attacks to amoonguss with rage powder?
 

Pocket

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Steel_Samurai, here are Tyranitar's weaknesses and how these types of moves present themselves:

Fighting - physical
Ground - spread
Water - special
Grass - both
Steel - physical
Fairy - both
Bug - both

By looking at Tyranitar's weakness like this, it does make sense to make Amoonguss more physically-oriented. However, this is only looking at a vacuum with only Tyranitar in mind. If you already have Pokemon like Landorus-T or Gyarados that can deal with most physical threats, then a specially-defensive Amoonguss would be appreciated to deal with Rotom-W, for instance. I would not even consider using Amoonguss as Tyranitar's set up supporter, since Breloom, one of the common predators of Tyranitar, is immune to Rage Powder and Spore. Togekiss would be a more appropriate Follow Me supporter, imo.
 
Togekiss is a better help for sure unless you really fear Water or Steel types, as Kiss doesn't like Bullet Punch any more than TTar, and doesn't have the resistance to water types that Gus does.
 
Thanks for the responses guys. I'm trying to build a vgc team in game so togekiss wouldn't be legal, but looking back I don't really need a set up for TTar. I actually do run gyarados on the team for resisting many of TTar's weaknesses. I was just kind of interested in amoonguss. I might just try it on a trick room team eventually
 

Pocket

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Steel_Samurai, you can still keep Amoonguss, since it's a solid Pokemon in general. It can certainly assist Gyarados, by redirecting Electric attacks from Rotom-W, etc with Rage Powder, and ofc there's always Spore.
 
What are common Psychic and Flying types that you see in doubles?

Edit: Oh, just noticed the viability rankings.

Edit2: Do you guys think Synchronoise on a TL Sigilyph would be viable? It got bumped to 120 BP this gen.
 
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Lolk

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Unitas really just build a team with a variety of typed Pokemon and moves and jump on the ladder. First-hand experience always, for me, helps the most. I would recommend picking Pokes from this list since the community has already decided how these Pokemon are more suited for the current metagame. Protect/Fake Out/Wide Guard are all great moves you should take advantage of.

But seriously, just jump in and battles will show you all you need to know :)
 
What are common Psychic and Flying types that you see in doubles?

Edit: Oh, just noticed the viability rankings.

Edit2: Do you guys think Synchronoise on a TL Sigilyph would be viable? It got bumped to 120 BP this gen.
Sigi can't compete just based on raw stats alone. 120 BP from only 103 sAtt isn't too terribly powerful even before factoring that it will restrict your teambuilding and that it doesn't even work most of the time.

What is the best way for someone interested in doubles with no prior experience to start playing?
Go onto the Smogon IRC(find it on the home page) and enter the #doubles room to ask for help, battles and chat.
 

Darkmalice

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What are common Psychic and Flying types that you see in doubles?

Edit: Oh, just noticed the viability rankings.

Edit2: Do you guys think Synchronoise on a TL Sigilyph would be viable? It got bumped to 120 BP this gen.
Viability rankings do not equal how common Pokemon are. If you want to find out how common those types are, look at the usage statistics. http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/official-smogon-university-simulator-statistics-—-november-2013.3494159/

Viability rankings show how good certain Pokemon are. Sadly the list is only for prebank and is missing Pokemon. However, players should take both the viability rankings and how common Pokemon are into account when getting a feel of the metagame.

And Synchronise is a crap move. Who cares if it's 120 BP if it only hits Pokemon of the same type; it can only hit a few Pokemon and will often be hitting not very effectively. Never use it. Sigl as youngjake93 also said is not a good Pokemon (probably E rank worthy).
 
Viability rankings do not equal how common Pokemon are. If you want to find out how common those types are, look at the usage statistics. http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/official-smogon-university-simulator-statistics-—-november-2013.3494159/

Viability rankings show how good certain Pokemon are. Sadly the list is only for prebank and is missing Pokemon. However, players should take both the viability rankings and how common Pokemon are into account when getting a feel of the metagame.

And Synchronise is a crap move. Who cares if it's 120 BP if it only hits Pokemon of the same type; it can only hit a few Pokemon and will often be hitting not very effectively. Never use it. Sigl as youngjake93 also said is not a good Pokemon (probably E rank worthy).
Ah, I forgot about usage statistics and pokebank. Thank you.

It's probably a bad idea like you guys are saying, but I'm gonna see where Sigilyph + Synchronoise gets me online.
 
How does mega charizard Y drought mechanics work in relation to chlorophyll?
Would the mon with chlorophyll move first after charizard activates megastone? or that occurs in the next turn
 

Pocket

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It occurs next turn, because attack order is determined at the beginning of the turn. Since Venusaur does not have the chlorophyll Speed boost at the beginning of the turn, it would not move before a faster Pokemon like Latios or Charizard. On the other hand if you lead with Ninetales, which can summon Drought at the beginning of the turn, then Venusaur will be moving first before any non-scarfed or non-priority attacks.
 
Let's come back to Gyarados: We want to tailor a non-mega one for good use. The drop in power of Thunderbolt allows it to survive Thundurus-T's assault with less points in SDef so it might be possible to cover all relevant threats with an Adamant nature.

Now, Rock Gem practically does not exist (yet), but just in case: Is the damage boost of the Normal Gem the same as in the 5th gen or less?
 

Lolk

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The normal gem is now X1.33 instead of X1.50

edit: Fuk the internet.
 
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Lolk

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yea i was thinking 1.3 but i made a quick google search to check. What kind of heart does a person have to answer incorrectly on yahoo answers ;;
 

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