EDUcational thread: how to succeed as a dark horse (SPL TEAMS)

#1
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Welcome to my first ever teamdump thread!
As some of you may know, I was one of the lucky players to be a part of the latest edition of SPL, representing the Congregation of the Classiest on this amazing metagame that is Doubles OU. I ended up finishing with a very satisfactory record and, most importantly, having tons of fun with my first experience on SPL!
Unfortunately, I didn't really have very experienced Doubles OU players to help me practice and build, but I still got amazing input from Isa and Bouff who gave me some valuable matches and ideas to help me hone my teams.

Enough chitchat, let's get into the teams, shall we?
Week 1 vs Antosha (1-0)

Manectric-Mega @ Manectite
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 12 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Volt Switch
- Snarl
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Protect

Landorus-Therian @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 248 HP / 4 Atk / 8 Def / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- U-turn
- Superpower

Tapu Fini @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 72 Def / 156 SpA / 28 SpD
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Muddy Water
- Moonblast
- Calm Mind
- Protect

Victini @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Victory Star
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- V-create
- Bolt Strike
- Trick Room
- Protect

Snorlax @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 160 HP / 96 Atk / 252 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Return
- Curse
- High Horsepower
- Recycle

Kartana @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Sacred Sword
- Tailwind
- Protect


I worked really hard for this week. I had never been too successful building DOU teams in my opinion, so pressure was on! With the ban of Marshadow, I figured Metagross would be the threat to beat. Concerned with the Koko + Metagross combo, I decided to start building with a Mega that beats both of them. Volt Switch paired with an Intimidate switch in is a fairly easy way to shift momentum vs opposing Metagross, as you can deal solid damage on its weakest Defense while reducing its Attack, so an Intimidator that was immune to Ground would be ideal. Enter Landorus-therian! Tapu Fini was an obvious choice, as it gave the core some much needed resistances and offensive coverage I was lacking. Victini and Snorlax came to my mind next as I felt like I needed some offensive pressure, as well as something more reliable to hit Steel Types like Ferrothorn and some speed control. I wasn't a huge fan of Belly Drum when it came to consistency, as it felt very much like do or die most of the time and required being completely aware of which KO's are worth taking and which ones aren't, while Curse could slowly bring me into a nearly guaranteed win if I set up properly. Lastly, Kartana gave me the Steel type I was looking for as well as more speed control, a Z move and the coverage I needed.
My main leads with this team were Manectric + Victini and Manectric + Kartana.

Needless to say I wasn't expecting a 5 mon mirror, but there we were! It ended up being a pretty insane match and I was overwhelmingly excited to start my first SPL with a win vs an amazing player.


Week 2 vs Demantoid (1-1)

Gengar-Mega @ Gengarite
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 104 HP / 4 Def / 148 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Sludge Bomb
- Disable
- Protect

Kyurem-Black @ Assault Vest
Ability: Teravolt
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Atk / 96 Def / 140 SpA / 4 SpD / 76 Spe
Quiet Nature
- Ice Beam
- Dragon Tail
- Fusion Bolt
- Icy Wind

Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Nature's Madness
- Soak
- Protect

Kartana @ Grassium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 96 SpD / 160 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Tailwind
- Sacred Sword
- Protect

Landorus-Therian @ Mago Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 248 HP / 12 SpA / 28 SpD / 220 Spe
Modest Nature
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Stealth Rock
- U-turn

Incineroar @ Assault Vest
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 252 HP / 144 Atk / 72 Def / 24 SpD / 16 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Flare Blitz
- Knock Off
- U-turn

For this week, I decided to look at King Mish's last tournament teams and I noticed his matchups against Gengar + Kyurem-B weren't very good, so I started from there. Fini + Landorus + Kartana seemed to fit perfectly, as the first 2 dealt with the Fire types that can be problematic for the inital core, while also giving me a consistent combo and, most importantly, Stealth Rocks! Kartana synergized well with the team and, together with Fusion Bolt Kyurem, it gave me a solid excuse to use Soak! To finish it off, Incineroar gave me the Ghost and Dark resists while also beating Ferrothorn and Celesteela.

A mix of bad luck and a few rash decisions didn't allow me to take the win this time around, which I didn't take very lightly, but that only helped motivating me for the next rounds.


Week 3 vs Jhon (2-1)

Tornadus @ Misty Seed
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Acrobatics
- Smack Down
- Tailwind
- Protect

Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 128 Def / 36 SpA / 32 SpD / 60 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Heal Pulse
- Moonblast
- Scald
- Protect

Landorus-Therian @ Mago Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 248 HP / 12 Atk / 28 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Knock Off
- Stealth Rock
- U-turn

Manectric-Mega @ Manectite
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 12 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Volt Switch
- Snarl
- Overheat
- Protect

Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Atk / 44 Def / 144 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Leech Seed
- Power Whip
- Gyro Ball
- Protect

Tyranitar @ Darkinium Z
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Crunch
- Rock Slide
- Dragon Dance
- Protect

Teambuilding info can be found here: https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/doubles-ou-teambuilding-frameworks.3619759/post-7714367
The plan went perfectly and I'm glad I got to show off some of my ideas.


Week 4 vs Croven (2-2)

Charizard-Mega-X @ Charizardite X
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 48 HP / 252 Atk / 16 Def / 20 SpD / 172 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fire Punch
- Thunder Punch
- Dragon Dance
- Protect

Scrafty @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 240 HP / 212 Atk / 52 Def / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Knock Off
- Drain Punch
- Super Fang

Tapu Bulu @ Figy Berry
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Horn Leech
- Superpower
- Bulk Up
- Protect

Landorus-Therian @ Mago Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 248 HP / 12 SpA / 28 SpD / 220 Spe
Modest Nature
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Stealth Rock
- Knock Off

Aegislash @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Flash Cannon
- Wide Guard
- King's Shield

Blastoise @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 248 HP / 40 Def / 140 SpA / 80 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Follow Me
- Rapid Spin
- Icy Wind

Talk about a heartbreaking round. This is, in my opinion, one of my best creations and I didn't get to properly show its beauty.

My teammates and I were discussing the possibility of a set up based team for this week, as redirection could mess up some of the Hyper Offensive teams we had been seeing from Croven. They suggested Salamence, but I wasn't sold on it. Instead, I thought Charizard X was a better idea?
The fact the ZardX can beat both Koko and Metagross was what really caught my eyes and it definitely felt like something I could explore. Scrafty supported it with Intimidate and Fake Out, while Blastoise looked like the bulky Follow Me user I was looking for. Rapid Spin made it even better, as the rise in usage of Stealth Rock made me fear for my poor lizard's viability. Tapu Bulu gave me an alternative set up mode that helped with other Tapus, which I was struggling with a bit at this point. A special Landorus fit perfectly, as I needed a Ground immunity as well as another answer to steel types like Aegislash. To finish it off, my own Aegislash gave me the Steel type every team needs as well as Wide Guard support and a counter to Gothitelle.

Overall, I feel like my matchup would've been pretty tough if I didn't have Scrafty, so I figured from Team Preview that I had to preserve it at all costs. For some very stupid reason, I decided to sack it very early on and from there it was tough to comeback. Maybe if I had mega evolved on the last turn of Trick Room I could've had a shot, but I was afraid of Earth Power. As you can see, I wasn't on my best mindset and Croven deserved this win. I wasn't mad with anyone but myself.


Week 5 vs Biosci (3-2)

Incineroar @ Figy Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 64 HP / 28 Atk / 248 SpD / 168 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Flare Blitz
- Knock Off
- Protect

Tapu Fini @ Mago Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
Happiness: 0
EVs: 248 HP / 200 Def / 60 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Muddy Water
- Moonblast
- Heal Pulse
- Protect

Metagross @ Metagrossite
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- Ice Punch
- Stomping Tantrum
- Protect

Zapdos @ Misty Seed
Ability: Static
Happiness: 0
EVs: 232 HP / 132 Def / 56 SpA / 72 SpD / 16 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Heat Wave
- Tailwind
- Roost

Amoonguss @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 252 HP / 152 Def / 104 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Spore
- Rage Powder
- Giga Drain
- Clear Smog

Landorus-Therian @ Groundium Z
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 248 HP / 12 Atk / 28 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Knock Off
- Stealth Rock
- U-turn

During this round, I was in Australia to compete at the International Championships, so I didn't have much time to build something original that I could feel comfortable with. Instead, I reused a concept I was working on in VGC. For more info, check this link: https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/doubles-ou-teambuilding-frameworks.3619759/post-7714367
Obviously, I didn't have Intimidate on Incineroar back then, but there's no reason to not use it now, so I changed it to that on the export.

On the match itself, I ended up getting fairly luck and my good positioning allowed me to take this one. I was also late to my match, so I deserve being exposed for this round. Must've been extremely frustrating for Biosci and I know I've said this a million times, but I'm truly sorry.


Week 6 vs miltankmilk (4-2)

Latias-Mega @ Latiasite
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 216 HP / 40 Def / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Psyshock
- Ice Beam
- Calm Mind
- Recover

Muk-Alola @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 212 HP / 220 Atk / 64 Def / 12 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Knock Off
- Poison Jab
- Curse
- Protect

Aegislash @ Steelium Z
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Flash Cannon
- Wide Guard
- King's Shield

Landorus-Therian @ Mago Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 248 HP / 12 Atk / 28 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Superpower
- Stealth Rock
- U-turn

Rotom-Heat @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 8 HP / 248 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Overheat
- Volt Switch
- Electroweb
- Trick

Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 128 Def / 36 SpA / 32 SpD / 60 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Heal Pulse
- Moonblast
- Scald
- Protect

This is another team I'm very proud of. I started working on it on my flight to Australia while looking for Pokémon that I thought could have potential on the meta. Mega Latias was a Pokémon seeing a rise in usage in VGC and I decided to try it in DOU as well.

Muk and Latias make a very interesting combo, as Muk tanks the Ghost and Dark hits directed at Latias while Ice Beam takes care of the Ground types. Aegislash completes the core with the Dragon and Ice resists as well as Wide Guard protection for Muk. It also resists some types that the other 2 didn't resist. Landorus helped with Intimidate and against Ground types and Tyranitar, while providing Stealth Rocks. Rotom-H was an interesting pick. I needed another Pokémon to hit Fini that also took care of Steel types and wasn't weak to Ground. The Choice Scarf gave me a fast mode that made up for the lack of consistent speed control. Tapu Fini covered the coverage issues I had, mainly providing a Water and a Dark resist. Steelium Z on Aegislash was chosen because I needed more answers to Tyranitar and Kyurem-B.

The matchup looked amazing, as Latias walled Landorus and Zapdos, as well as Gastrodon AS LONG AS HE DIDN'T HAVE TOXIC! His Aegislash matchup was also less than ideal, as he didn't have a single Ghost resist while Metagross and Lele were both weak to it. He also only had 1 Fire resist, which I could try to exploit with Rotom. The Toxic on Gastrodon ended up changing the matchup completely, as all he had to do was take care of Aegislash. Our luck goes back and forth and, eventually, all of Latias' checks are gone and Heal Pulse + Calm Mind come through. It was a super intense match, definitely recommend watching.


Week 7 vs marilli (5-2)

Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 16 Def / 152 SpA / 88 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Muddy Water
- Moonblast
- Heal Pulse
- Protect

Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
EVs: 196 HP / 68 Atk / 244 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Return
- Belly Drum
- Stomping Tantrum
- Recycle

Scrafty @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 240 HP / 216 Atk / 52 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Fake Out
- Knock Off
- Drain Punch
- Super Fang

Mawile @ Mawilite
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 HP / 116 Atk / 140 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 17 Spe
- Play Rough
- Sucker Punch
- Psych Up
- Protect

Victini @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Victory Star
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Blue Flare
- Thunderbolt
- Trick Room
- Protect

Gourgeist-Super @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Frisk
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Atk / 244 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Trick-or-Treat
- Trick Room
- Seed Bomb
- Destiny Bond

Looking at marilli's past teams, there was an overwhelming amount of Lele offense, which made me consider a really crazy Trick Room team that feasts on those teams, but I eventually chickened out. Still, I wanted to keep the Trick Room plan, but decided to take the route of Snorlax + Ally Switch. I built something nasty with it, it even had Deoxys-Defense, but having a pure Psychic and and Pure Normal on the team made me struggle with coverage and synergy, so I started taking things off and on at a crazy pace and, eventually, I got to this mess. Obviously, when I say mess, I mean it in the most positive way the word "mess" can ever be seen as. The main aspects of the skeleton is that it has 2 setters, a Fake Out Pokémon, Snorlax, a Mega and the FWG core. Unfortunately, I eventually found myself with 5 physical Pokémon, so I made my Victini special. Huge shoutout to Isa for the Gourgeist idea. I initially had Ally Switch Trevenant, but Gourgeist is simply superior.

Going into the game, I notice marilli brought 2 Ground types. Of course, the one time I don't cover as well for Ground, this is what happens. Also, surprise, surprise, I only used Snorlax twice all tournament and guess which of my opponents brought Haze Fini? When I saw that move, I was ready to just click x and go cry in a corner, but Snorlax is broken and it did Snorlax things.


Week 8 vs MajorBowman (5-3)

Kapu-Friki (Tapu Koko) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 168 HP / 244 Def / 96 Spe
Timid Nature
- Electroweb
- Nature's Madness
- Volt Switch
- Sky Drop

Moostache (Landorus-Therian) @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 248 HP / 12 Atk / 28 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Fly
- Swords Dance
- Protect

Amoonguss @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 240 HP / 172 Def / 96 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Clear Smog
- Spore
- Rage Powder
- Protect

Azumarill @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Huge Power
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Aqua Jet
- Knock Off
- Belly Drum
- Protect

Innuendo (Metagross-Mega) @ Metagrossite
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- Stomping Tantrum
- Ice Punch
- Protect

Hydreigon @ Focus Sash
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Dark Pulse
- Flamethrower
- Tailwind
- Protect

Knowing that MajorBowman likes Bulky Offense, I figured it was time to bring one of my two favourite combos: Soak + Kartana or Nature's Madness Koko + Metagross. I was a bit afraid of Soak stuff, as Jake is also a VGC player and I figured he'd know how to beat it. However, I had just come up with a cool concept in VGC that could very well work in DOU as well, which was AV Koko + Flying type + Azumarill + Amoonguss. Metagross and Hydreigon cover for the defensive issues the core has and provide a Mega and speed control.

The match itself ended up being pretty cool, but words cannot describe how salty I was after watching that Gigavolt Havoc coming right at my Azumarill, just when I thought I had set myself up perfectly. I feel like having only one answer to Kyurem-Black ended up hurting me a lot and I probably should've thought more about that.


Week 9 vs Kaori (6-3)

Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Nature's Madness
- Soak
- Protect

Kartana @ Grassium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 96 SpD / 160 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Smart Strike
- Sacred Sword
- Protect

Metagross @ Metagrossite
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- Ice Punch
- Stomping Tantrum
- Protect

Kyurem-Black @ Assault Vest
Ability: Teravolt
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Atk / 96 Def / 140 SpA / 4 SpD / 76 Spe
Quiet Nature
- Ice Beam
- Earth Power
- Fusion Bolt
- Icy Wind

Zapdos @ Misty Seed
Ability: Static
Happiness: 0
EVs: 232 HP / 132 Def / 56 SpA / 72 SpD / 16 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Heat Wave
- Tailwind
- Roost

Landorus-Therian @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Happiness: 0
EVs: 180 HP / 164 SpA / 16 SpD / 148 Spe
Modest Nature
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Knock Off
- U-turn

What a perfect ending, finishing my first ever SPL by facing the person I have to thank for even being able to play on it. I'll be honest here, I had a pretty messed up week and didn't have time or mental stability to prepare at all. Looking at Sam's past teams, I noticed my crazy Jellicent Trick Room team would auto-win against most of them and I was really considering bringing it until the very last minute, but, once again, I chickened out and instead brought my second option in a Soak team I built for week 1. The concept is very similar to the team I brought vs Biosci, but more focused on the Soak strategy and with a much worse Trick Room matchup.

Looking at team preview, I start regretting everything. I have no idea of how I'm stopping that team from tearing me apart, but I decide to bring 2 Pokémon that would force him to pick only 1 KO as I could try to capitalise on the weak defense. He ends up not leading with the Sun combo I was fearing, which allowed me to set up Tailwind and give myself a chance at the game. In the end, I had to make some crazy plays to counter act that Typhlosion.


Shoutouts
Isa for giving me this amazing chance and being an outstanding manager.
Kaori for being an awesome friend and supporting me so much.
All the neccs, who made this experience unforgetable.
AuraRayquaza for helping me build many of those teams and practicing.
Bouff, Pohjis, Sacri' and Jimmy Turtwig for helping me scout and for the input on the teams, even if it was just to say they were fire.
emiforbes for being a jim.
Elise for helping me a lot with the coding of this post, you're the best.

This last part was totally Elise 's idea, don't blame me.

Kaori on the left, Elise on the right
 
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