SM NU Earthquake

Finchinator

IT'S FINK DUMBASS
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NU Leader
EARTHQUAKE
Name inspired by this game and this log
Hey guys, Finchinator here with an NU team today. While I am perhaps most known for my play in BW OU and contributions in SM OU, I have consistently played NU since early in ORAS and today I wish to showcase a team that represents a pretty strong archetype in the current metagame. While it is by no means the only team of its type in the tier, I feel that Earthquake is one of the most dynamic and high-upside teams out there right now.

Before I move forward with this RMT, I must give some context and background -- this team is based off of a similar build made by lo shohei ohtani toyotas, who employed 3 Sand Rush users and Spikes support instead of just 2 and no Spikes. His build was similarly dynamic, but something that I viewed to be too risky and inconsistent for comfortable usage from my own perspective, so I made this team that was based around the same concept, but watered down a bit. This is his team and he used it during the Venusaur suspect test initially, but also in NUPL here and here. While I did fully create the team I am showcasing here, I feel it would be in poor taste to not credit him for the concept and some inspiration behind it. Moving forward, let's get to the team!


The teambuilding process sadly is not one to necessarily elaborate too much on. I knew that I wanted this to be a Sand team with an Eject Button Regenerator Pokemon and at least Stoutland + Sandslash. Meeps's team had Slowking, but its spread made it basically an inferior Slowbro given the EV allocation and Slowbro is generally the more splashable of the two, so I added Slowbro, especially seeing as it paired better with Specially Defensive Gigalith with the Sand boost. From there, I knew I wanted more momentum heavy Pokemon, some out-of-sand means of Speed control, Defog, a secondary Vanilluxe check, and a Grass check among other things. These roles all were compressed into Specs Whimsicott and Silvally-Steel quite well. Neither of these Pokemon are particularly special or out-of-the-ordinary, but they do precisely what the team needs and fit the mold perfectly. To learn more on how the team functions and some of my justification and thought processes surrounding it and its impact on the metagame, I would strongly advise reading this post. Now I will go through each Pokemon and set one-by-one.


Gigalith @ Smooth Rock
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 248 HP / 252 SpD / 8 Spe
Careful Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Toxic
- Superpower
- Stone Edge

Gigalith is the basis of this team as multiple members hinge on Sand being up, which it sets and keeps up for a fairly long period of time thanks to its item Smooth Rock. Stealth Rock is a necessity on this bad boy seeing as it sets them somewhat reliably and the team lacks another stable Stealth Rock setter. Toxic is also of vital importance seeing as it allows for you to chip Pokemon like Slowbro, Diancie, and Palossand to open up for both Sand Rush users later on in the game; it is also worth noting that the combination of Sandstream and Toxic chip wracks up very easily over just a couple turns, which is a large reason for the long-term success of the team. Superpower is an underrated and necessary attacking move on Gigalith to hit a number of Steel types and some other stray threats. It may seem odd to pack Superpower without any attack investment on a Specially Defensive Sandstream setter, but keep in mind that Gigalith has 135 base Attack and there are a number of relevant targets in the current metagame such as Silvally-Steel, Ferroseed, and Klinklang that all otherwise take advantage of Gigalith and stay outside of Stoutland Return range. Finally, Stone Edge rounds out the set as a strong Rock STAB attack. The EVs are entirely straightforward -- they allow you to maximize bulk on the special end while creeping opposing Gigalith a little bit, but not quite enough to catch-up to Slowbro, Slowking, Palossand, and other Pokemon that have slightly higher base Speed. Overall, Gigalith can either run Smooth Rock sets that are all similar to this variant or Choice Banded sets and the latter is not optimal when you have two Sand Rushers and want Smooth Rock to maximize Sand turns. Taking that into consideration in conjunction with the supportive needs of the team led me to believe this set was ideal and it has worked quite well throughout my time using the team.


Sandslash @ Groundium Z
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Knock Off

Sandslash is probably the closest thing to a win condition that this team has, but, regardless of that and more importantly, it is one of the two Sand Rush abusers that make this team as potent as it is. First and foremost, Groundium Z is the item choice to maximize damage output on bulkier Pokemon with Earthquake, especially when boosted by a Swords Dance. At +2, a Z-Earthquake is able to oftentimes eliminate defensive staples such as Slowbro, Palossand, and Ferroseed. Sometimes you will need a little chip, but with Gigalith setting up Stealth Rock, Sandstream, and potentially getting a Toxic off, it is almost always enough to do the trick. Once these common defensive responses are either forced out or eliminated, then Sandslash or Stoutland has a path to sweep or at least pick-off multiple kills while Sand remains up. On top of this, Stone Edge and Knock Off are coverage moves that Sandslash opts to use. Stone Edge is mainly for Flying types such as Xatu, Braviary, and Vivillion; however, it is also very useful for levitating threats such as Cryogonal and Vikavolt, too. Knock Off is probably the most replaceable move, but even then it is easily the best option as it can remove Eviolite from Tangela switching-in, which is necessary to win this match-up, while also eliminating Rotom, Sigilyph, Mismagius, and other weakened Flying/levitating Pokemon without having to risk a Stone Edge. Jolly nature is necessary for outrunning Scarf Rotom with Sand up, which is probably the second most common Scarf user in the metagame behind Passimian, but also it is very much appreciated for when Sand is not up as you can outspeed a number of things such as most Xatu and all Incineroar. Overall, Sandslash is almost always a vital component of the gameplan going into every match and it can often straight-up sweep opposing offensive teams that are not sufficiently prepared. If it is not sweeping, it is either setting-up for Stoutland to do so later on in the game or cutting-off opponents from gaining any offensive leverage while also making progress itself.


Stoutland @ Choice Band
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Return
- Superpower
- Iron Head
- Crunch

Stoutland is pretty much a staple on most Sand teams seeing as it is the easiest Sand Rush abuser to use and also probably the most consistently effective. While it lacks the sweeping potential of Sandslash, it makes up for that and then some in raw power and ability to force switches. Choice Band is the most common item on Stoutland and I also happen to be using it as I do not need any funky Z move or lure set when I just want to maximize damage output and breaking potential. Return is, more or less, mandatory on any Stoutland in order to have a strong STAB attack without many drawbacks whatsoever. Superpower is also necessary as it is an optimal coverage compliment with normal STAB seeing as it lets you hit Rock and Steel types, such as Gigalith, Steelix, Ferroseed, Klinklang, Rhydon, and Silvally-Steel. Iron Head is often not used on Stoutland and people tend to frequent Stomping Tantrum in its place, but I prefer Iron Head because it's really easy to predict a Diancie switch when playing some offensive structures that utilize it as a Stealth Rock setter and from there Return is insanely free. Stomping Tantrum is more of a middleground move to click anyway as you still want to Superpower stuff like Gigalith and Steelix, but you may not want to hit a Garbodor or Toxicroak with a Superpower overpredict, so I find Iron Head to just be the move I click more often. It also can flinch the opponent which can be used as a bail-out, especially if you're in with one too many Sand turns remaining and need to panic stall until you can reset and get Gigalith back-in, which can work in emergency situations. Finally, Crunch is generally a standard fourth move, too, but sometimes people opt to use Pursuit. I do not find Pursuit necessary on this team whatsoever despite it being a ridiculously good move in general and I also find Crunch to be very helpful in the Palossand and Rotom match-up, so I opted to go with it and it has been quite useful when facing Ghost types since then. Finally, Adamant nature is used to also maximize damage output; it is only worth using +Speed if you are afraid of opposing Klinklang as you then outrun most at +2 in Sand (or +0 without Sand) and then you can revenge kill with Superpower, but that is not needed with Slowbro and Silvally-Steel in the back.


Slowbro @ Eject Button
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 248 HP / 232 Def / 28 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Slack Off
- Fire Blast
- Recycle

Slowbro is typically one of the metagame's defensive staples and it often runs a set with Scald, Toxic, Slack Off, and Psychic or Psyshock with Colbur Berry or a Z-move for one of the two STAB attacks it uses. This set is quite different, however, as it is meant to be a more in-and-out pivot type of defensive presence as opposed to the normal defensive wall and progressive chip oriented set. Eject Button is something I specifically took from Meeps and his team (he has used it on a number of cheese strategy based teams in the past, actually) and it works wonders with dual Sand Rushers here. For those that do not understand how it works, you usually lead Gigalith to set up Sand and if they lead something like Passimian, then you switch to Slowbro immediately on the U-turn or Close Combat they normally go for and Eject out to Sandslash and start to make progress. It also has a ton of early-mid game applications in general as you almost always want to get one of the two Sand Rushers in safely and this essentially assures it. Eject Button also prevents the switch-out from U-turn or Volt Switch, which assures you momentum, and can always be Recycle'd so long as you do not eat a Knock Off, which does happen sometimes, but often is not too crippling anyway so long as you play wisely around it or after it occurs. This game is the first tournament game I used the team in and is a prime example of it working out precisely as planned; oftentimes you have to work a bit more to straight-up win the game, but in some offensive match-ups it really is this straightforward! Scald is used as a water STAB that can burn opponents and just generally do what an otherwise passive Pokemon like Slowbro needs to make it a bit more threatening and to make people think twice before switching certain things in against it. Slack Off is there for recovery on top of Regenerator as you can really never have too much recovery on Slowbro, but honestly it is certainly needed for keeping Slowbro healthy for opposing Klinklang, Medicham and a few other stray threats, too. Finally, Fire Blast is the last coverage move I opt to use here over a psychic STAB and this is mainly to help with the Ferroseed match-up, which is otherwise insanely annoying. Dodmen suggested this to me when I was preparing this team for the HPL tiebreak game hyperlinked above and it has been the more useful of the two moves since then, so I have stuck with it. Bold nature and the EVs are meant to maximize relevant physical bulk while also having some creep in a fairly congested speed tier.


Whimsicott @ Choice Specs
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Moonblast
- Energy Ball
- Psychic
- U-turn

Whimsicott has actually fallen off a bit in recent months after being a top tier Pokemon at the start of SM. Regardless of that, it is a perfect fit on this team as it compressed a number of defensive roles with momentum and outside-of-sand speed. In addition, it is also a nice compliment to both Sand Rushers offensively as the things that tend to give them a harder time Whimsicott will be able to break through or at very least force out consistently, thus gaining momentum or making progress depending upon other variables within the game. Choice Specs is to maximize damage output and because you really want to weaken things for the Sand Rushers, but honestly you can get away with Pixie Plate if you'd like -- just not Life Orb as that with Sand is simply put not worthwhile. Moonblast and Energy Ball are both staples and STAB moves that hit a vast majority of the tier. If you are extra paranoid about Ferroseed, you can opt for Hidden Power Fire over Psychic, but with Silvally and Slowbro, I find it unnecessary, especially when Psychic hits Garbodor, Vileplume, and Golbat that otherwise all hard wall you. Finally, U-turn is the best last move and necessary in order to generate momentum. A common example of this is when they have a Silvally-Steel or Ferroseed, you almost always click U-turn early on and get the appropriate Sand Rusher in to take advantage of their coming in, which is usually Sandslash. Timid nature and these EVs simply let Whimsicott do what it needs to as often as possible given its role on the team.


Silvally-Steel @ Steel Memory
Ability: RKS System
EVs: 232 HP / 216 SpD / 60 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Flamethrower
- Toxic
- Defog
- Parting Shot

Silvally-Steel rounds out the team here and is a great utility that also is not particularly passive. Primarily, it is present to spread Toxic, Defog, check Vanilluxe, check grasses like Whimsicott, and pivot out with Parting Shot. The moves are almost always the same and they're quite straightforward. Toxic and Flamethrower make it so that it isn't entirely useless or passive offensively, even threatening Steel types like Ferroseed and Steelix. Parting Shot is to pivot out while weakening the opponent's offensive capabilities and Defog is to rid the field of opposing hazards, especially Spikes and Toxic Spikes. The EVs are to creep all Incineroar, most Garbodor and Xatu, and some other things that congest that speed tier, too, while maximizing special bulk otherwise.


This team is really fun to use and has had success in tournaments and on the ladder. Hopefully, Gigalith will get banned as Sand is ridiculously broken and I can retire this team. Until then, I hope people can enjoy it! Afterwards, I hope people can use it to remember the archetype that oftentimes dominated the metagame while Sand was allowed and playable. Thanks to everyone in the NU community for being so fun and welcoming over the past couple years and I am looking forward to playing more and more of the tier over time. I hope everyone who read this and tried the team had fun!

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