General Doubles Metagame Thread

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Pocket

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#1
Doubles

This project is overseen by Audiosurfer, Joim, NixHex, Pocket, Pwnemon

VS

Ever since ADV, doubles has steadily gained headway into the competitive Pokemon scene. Every generation GameFreak has refined the Doubles metagame and by the fifth 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

Moderator's Note: Do not use this thread to directly compare Smogon Doubles to VGC. You can certainly talk about VGC strategies and how they can be applied to Smogon Doubles, but do not use this thread to bicker about the differences between the two metagames.
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 2013:

1) 6 vs 6 instead of 4 vs 4
2) Pokemon default level 100 instead of level 50
3) Sleep Clause ON
4) Item Clause OFF
5) OHKO Clause ON
6) Evasion Clause ON
7) Soul Dew Clause ON
8) Moody Clause ON
9) The following moves are banned from play
  • Dark Void
  • Sky Drop
10) The following Pokemon are banned from play
  • Mewtwo
  • Lugia
  • Ho-oh
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Rayquaza
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Giratina, Giratina-O
  • Arceus
  • Reshiram
  • Zekrom
  • Kyurem-White
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 - 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 - 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.

Fake Out - 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 base power is reduced by 75% (so Earthquake is a 75 bp Ground type move, while Blizzard is a 90 bp Ice type move), but this power reduction is more than compensated by hitting more than one target.

[box]Notable Spread Moves that Targets Only Enemies
  • Blizzard & Icy Wind
  • Rock Slide
  • Heat Wave & Eruption
  • Muddy Water & Water Spout
  • Dark Void (banned)
[/box]
[box]Notable Spread Moves that Target Enemies and Ally alike
  • Explosion & Selfdestruct
  • Earthquake
  • Lava Plume
  • Surf
  • Discharge
[/box]

Wide Guard / Quick Guard - 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.

Helping Hand - 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 bulky supporter like Cresselia.

Follow Me / Rage Powder - 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!

Tailwind / Icy Wind / 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 is also an amazing utility move, a spread move that drops both enemies' Speed by one stage.

Offensive Moves Benefiting Partners - Most of the times your Pokemon will be throwing moves at the two enemy Pokemon, but moves exist that benefit the partner instead, similarly to the previously mentioned Helping Hand
  • Swagger aimed at Partner holding Persim/Lum Berry
  • Beat Up used at Justified partner
  • Surf hitting Storm Drain/Water Absorb/Dry Skin partner
  • Discharge hitting Lightningrod/Volt Absorb partner
  • Gastro Acid aimed at Truant partner
WHAT'S NEXT?

Start participating in projects that we will be creating in the very near future, and discuss / share / theorymon some cool double sets, combo, or strategy with the rest of us! We would have some other additional interesting projects and challenges, too, to help make this metagame-carving process a fun one! We will keep track of those significant contributors who offer amazing feedback and increase competition of this tier through a leaderboard!

Also we have a channel on irc for the very purpose of discussing doubles and organizing challenges - go join #doubles!

Now let the birth of a potentially new official smogon metagame commence!
 
Last edited:

Solace

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#3
Pocket and I played a match, it was lots of fun!

http://pokemonshowdown.com/replay/doublescustomgame6635191

Mew is definitely a tough competitor since it's hard to kill and has a great moveset.

I think my team still has a few things to be tweaked, since I'm not really sure I'm liking the whole rain component of it at all. If anyone wants to try it out as a base team, here's the importable:

Shaymin-Sky @ Occa Berry
Trait: Serene Grace
EVs: 160 Spd / 252 SAtk / 92 SDef / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Air Slash
- Earth Power
- Seed Flare
- Protect

Politoed @ Choice Specs
Trait: Drizzle
EVs: 252 SAtk / 252 HP / 4 SDef
Quiet Nature
IVs: 30 Atk / 30 SAtk / 0 Spd
- Hydro Pump
- Ice Beam
- Focus Blast
- Hidden Power [Grass]

Kingdra @ Haban Berry
Trait: Swift Swim
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef
Modest Nature
- Draco Meteor
- Ice Beam
- Muddy Water
- Protect

Mew @ Leftovers
Trait: Synchronize
EVs: 252 SDef / 252 HP / 4 SAtk
Calm Nature
- Light Screen
- Softboiled
- Psychic
- Helping Hand

Landorus-Therian (M) @ Yache Berry
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 HP
Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- U-turn
- Protect

Hitmontop (M) @ Fighting Gem
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 HP / 4 SDef
Adamant Nature
- Close Combat
- Sucker Punch
- Wide Guard
- Fake Out
 

Level 51

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#4
Pocket told me to post about this... so here I am!

I've been using quite a novel strategy in VGC lately, which I've also brought into Smogon Doubles.

This team is based around the move After You:

  • After You

    — The target makes its move right after the user.
In addition to powerful spread attacks such as Eruption, Water Spout and Earthquake (whose users are, ordinarily, slower), After You can be a great boon, allowing Specs Heatran to Erupt with the 115 Base Speed of a Cinccino.

However, this strategy is extraordinarily weak to Taunt and Fake Out, as either move will basically have the effect of shutting down the whole side for one turn. This is further exacerbated by the Drizzle+Swift Swim legality, in addition to Excadrill being present in VGC/Doubles, causing the After You user, however fast, to be outsped. I personally counter this by using Tailwind and Klutz+Trick+Lagging Tail, but otherwise, it's fairly easy for opponents who I beat easily in previous games to defeat me in rematches.
 

Pocket

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#5
Interesting strategy, Level 51 - honestly, I totally forgot about After You until you mentioned it in #doubles (shame that you couldn't execute your strategy against me ;P)

But yea, Solace's Mew was a bitch against me - just didn't fucking die! I should've Hydro Pumped on turn 10 (the turn Mew used Psychic on Hitmonlee) so I could take it out the next turn, but for some reason that did not occur to me then. Also I totally forgot that my Heracross had Helping Hand, which would have helped me remove Skymin and thus a perfectly alive Kingdra that could've finished off that dastardly Landorus-T >:0 I'm still very rusty in doubles, lol ;/

Also that match highlighted the douchiness of Intimidate, which lowers the attack of BOTH enemies by one stage. Intimidate is such a solid ability in doubles, and so it's no surprise that Landorus-T has actually been proven more influential than the other therian formes in this playstyle (at least from what I've seen). Definitely be prepared for Landorus-T in doubles!

We don't have a ladder up, but if you guys want to play matches, join #doubles and ask any of us for friendly games ;)
 

Dusk209

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is a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
#6
http://pokemonshowdown.com/replay/doublescustomgame6699336
Me vs Pocket in a very gg. In this battle I used a combination of gravity (which is super underrated) and hypnosis. I also used prankster t-wave to help me flinch stuff in the face with shaymin and rachi.

http://pokemonshowdown.com/replay/doublescustomgame6702020
Me vs breh in another gg. I tried using a combination of tailwind, prankster + para, serene grace, and flinching moves in a very gimmicky team. Dunsparce is truly a boss.

Eagerly awaiting a ladder to pop up. This meta is epic.
 

Pocket

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#7
Man I have to give it to you guys - major props for already finding some innovative ways to play with the new additions. Hypnosis Darkrai paired with Gravity Mew; flinch-whoring with Shaymin-S and Jirachi x0x; Rather than para-flinch strategy, Icy Wind or Tailwind support may be more practical ways of making the 60% flinch tactic work, since it affects both opponents and wont be screwed by Lum Berry.

Mew seems to find itself a utility niche in doubles, but so far it seems more like a poor man's Cresselia, since the latter can provide dual screens, Gravity support, Helping Hand support, and more.

Here's another "just-for-fun" match between Nixhex and me - guys don't use Dunsparce, it sucks -_-;; I also have no clue what that Ludicolo accomplishes ;x

Pocket vs NixHex
 
#8
Have had nothing to do with this yet, but CHEERS!!!!!!

Great to see something that isn't singles battles on Smogon, and being viable.

I will be a part of this very soon!!! ^_^

(now if we could just get some triples going on around here)
 

Pocket

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#10
Another new toy that I forgot to mention in the OP - GEMS! Unlike Singles, where matches drag out, doubles matches only last for a handful of turns - thus you want every attack count! Gems are a nice way to offer an immediate 50% boost in a particular move without being choice-locked or in need of Helping Hand from a teammate. This extra power can obviously help seal KOs, which in doubles mean halving opponent's offense if you move first and potentially saving your teammate from dying to the opponent's attack. People who have played me can confirm my love for blasting their mon with a Water Gem-boosted Hydro Pump from Politoed!

However, it can be totally wasted on a Pokemon that would die without Gem boost or on a switch-in that resists the Gem-powered move, which can be aggravating for me ;[

Some of us on #doubles have wondered if gems would still be good in our metagame, since 6 vs 6 makes games notably longer than 4 vs 4 (a game may actually exceed 10 turns!) From the matches I have played, though, I believe they are still useful in doubles, despite facing full teams.

Oh and here's a fun game I played today against Level-51 - props to him for experimenting with many of the new additions (Deoxys-S and Darkrai) to the doubles metagame!

Pocket vs Level 51

At turn 4, no idea why I didn't aim Manectric's Thunder at Murkrow and Kingdra's attack at Deoxys-S instead of vice versa, but w/e. Kingdra is a b0ss
 

NixHex

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#12
Me vs. Level 51
This is a team I made in PO almost a year ago and imported it when PS! got doubles (it was the first file i clicked on lol). Killing Heatran at the end was a nice twist and was pretty pivotal. If I had gotten Power Whip miss hax, the game would have been his. Sometimes it just all comes down to end-game antics.
 

Pocket

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#13
Yea bunch of battles last night / this morning ;d

Things I learned:

~ I suck at using Heatran ;-;
~ Volcarona & Weavile is a sick combo
~ Hitmontop is still boss
~ Abomasnow & Kyurem is a deadly blizzspam pair
~ Deoxys-A is annoying b/c of its ungodly 150 Spe (kill it with priority / alter Speed!)
~ Tail Glow Manaphy ;F
~ Wobbuffet is useless once the Encore glitch is fixed
~ Shaymin and Darkrai are strong additions to this metagame that have seen much use
~ Sky Drop is a move now!

Here's another game vs breh featuring Sky Drop, Deoxys-A, Darkrai, and Shaymin: breh vs Pocket

If Deo-A had Superpower, it would have wrecked my team, or at least bring down a mon or two. Disable made a huge splash in this game (moreso than SKy Drop -.-), preventing Abomasnow from using Ice Shard. I should have played safe at the very end, taking out Abomasnow first and then Disable Wobbuffet's Mirror Coat so Shaymin could kill it without fear. I didn't expect Wobba to survive a HH-boosted Seed Flare :X

EDIT: Encore glitch - Showdown! randomizes the target of Encore-locked Pokemon, when in fact the Pokemon should have freedom in choosing its target
 

Level 51

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#14
Pockit versuss Level 52
So apparently I don't suck at doubles :DDDDDD

I've been testing out a TR + Hail team - somehow it seems that Hail is one of the most common weathers in Doubles, probably because of how devastating Blizzard can be. Pairing it with Trick Room really helped :o
Pocket said:
~ Abomasnow & Kyurem is a deadly blizzspam pair
Aye, this is true. Pity I never bothered to test it u_u
Pocket said:
~ Tail Glow Manaphy ;F
Tail Glow Manaphy is a real boon to my Hail Team - besides providing insanely strong Blizzards, it can also take advantage of the opponent's Rain (if they use it) to keep itself going for longer.

On this team I also happen to have a Masquerain, which I've been testing for TR:

Masquerain @ Focus Sash
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 252 SAtk / 252 HP / 4 Def
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Spd
- Bug Buzz
- Blizzard
- Stun Spore
- Struggle Bug

The idea was to have an Intimidator which could abuse hail... let's just say it didn't work out well.
However, on (somewhat) the same topic, do you think Struggle Bug could be useful as a Special form of Intimidate? Sure it might take up a moveslot and a turn to use, but might that be justified?
 

Diana

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#17
I tried this out yesterday and really enjoyed the metagame. Really fast-paced, as mentioned, considering games last like 8 turns.

I find Tailwind to be amazing and then some. Tornadus gets priority on it and Shaymin-S can set it up while already moving before most things. Combine that with Jirachi and you get a flinch machine.

If anyone's interested here's what I was using, it's probably not that great but I liked it.

Shaymin-Sky @ Charti Berry
Trait: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef
Timid Nature
- Tailwind
- Seed Flare
- Air Slash
- Protect

Hitmontop (M) @ Leftovers
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 HP / 4 SDef
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Wide Guard
- Sucker Punch
- Close Combat

Tornadus (M) @ Flying Gem
Trait: Prankster
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Tailwind
- Taunt
- Hurricane
- Focus Blast

Terrakion @ Fighting Gem
Trait: Justified
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
Jolly Nature
- Helping Hand
- Sacred Sword
- Rock Slide
- Protect

Chandelure @ Mental Herb
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 SDef / 252 HP / 4 SAtk
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spd
- Protect
- Shadow Ball
- Imprison
- Trick Room

Jirachi @ Occa Berry
Trait: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- Protect
- U-turn
- ThunderPunch


Chandelure's just there to mess with Trick Roomers if I lose Tornadus or if I see something like a Follow Me or Rage Powder user.
 
#18
However, on (somewhat) the same topic, do you think Struggle Bug could be useful as a Special form of Intimidate? Sure it might take up a moveslot and a turn to use, but might that be justified?
I've seen people use Snarl to the same effect, and it works pretty well. Only real difference is that most Struggle Bug users either suck or have 4MSS.
I tried this out yesterday and really enjoyed the metagame. Really fast-paced, as mentioned, considering games last like 8 turns.

I find Tailwind to be amazing and then some. Tornadus gets priority on it and Shaymin-S can set it up while already moving before most things. Combine that with Jirachi and you get a flinch machine.

If anyone's interested here's what I was using, it's probably not that great but I liked it.

Shaymin-Sky @ Charti Berry
Trait: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef
Timid Nature
- Tailwind
- Seed Flare
- Air Slash
- Protect

Hitmontop (M) @ Leftovers
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 HP / 4 SDef
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Wide Guard
- Sucker Punch
- Close Combat

Tornadus (M) @ Flying Gem
Trait: Prankster
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 SAtk / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Tailwind
- Taunt
- Hurricane
- Focus Blast

Terrakion @ Fighting Gem
Trait: Justified
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
Jolly Nature
- Helping Hand
- Sacred Sword
- Rock Slide
- Protect

Chandelure @ Mental Herb
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 SDef / 252 HP / 4 SAtk
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spd
- Protect
- Shadow Ball
- Imprison
- Trick Room

Jirachi @ Occa Berry
Trait: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- Protect
- U-turn
- ThunderPunch


Chandelure's just there to mess with Trick Roomers if I lose Tornadus or if I see something like a Follow Me or Rage Powder user.
I see I'm not the only one to discover Skymin+Hitmontop :P
Have you considered using a physical Tornadus instead, so you don't have to rely on 70% accurate moves?
 

Pocket

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#20
Thank you, Diana, for enjoying this fun metagame :)

Yea, Acrobatics > Hurricane; with Flying Gem it OHKOs Latios 93% of the time, which Hurricane fails at. You can also use Superpower > Focus Blast to dish more damage against TTar, too. Chople is common on TTar, though, so you may just want to go Protect there.

I find Yache Berry much more useful than Charti Berry on Shaymin-S, simply because Ice moves are so much more common in the forms of Ice Shard, Icy Wind, and Blizzard. Yache would help against the former two.

Also Close COmbat > Sacred Sword - the battles move fast so the defensive drops should not hinder you, while the 33% drop in power most certainly will :0. Helping Hand seems to me like an odd choice on an offensive mon like Terrakion, who would be better off dishing heavy hits of its own rather than supporting its team members. You should experiment with other moves instead, such as Quick Guard to protect Terrakion AND your partner from priority (good against Fake Out / Mach Punch / Ice Shard), Stone Edge to specifically nail one target hard / not be trolled by Wide Guard, or Earthquake, since you have two Flying-types that can pair well with Terrakion ;d

Also Chandelure without Heat Wave / Fire Blast??? please change that :0
 
#21
Oh yeah, I completely missed Chandelure. That set is done pretty much entirely better by Cofagrigus, so try that instead if you find it useful enough to keep.
 

polop

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#23
I decided to experiment a bit with the Kyurems. Blizzard spamming is strong, but what I liked most about them was that they could actually throw out a few Icy Winds (or in Kyurem without form case, Glaciate). That and its nice to resist Water-type moves from all the Politoed's I'm seeing X_X.

Speaking of Politoed, Musharna is amazing on rain. It stops Trick Room teams with Imprison and can idly stand by and boost Surf's power to huge levels (95*1.5*1.5*.75). It doesn't mind increasing the time it takes for it to die either with access to both screens. Its no Cresselia when it comes to bulk but still...

All the flinching going on is maddening X_X. I invested a slot in Bisharp (Inner Focus but I guess Defiant works too) to help take out these pesky Shaymin-S and have yet to be dissapointed.

Sky Drop is a hilarious way to annoy Trick Room teams, preventing Trick Room from going up turn 1 seems to rain on their parade (well one time they used an Amoongus but Fake Out + Sky Drop = :().

7) Sky Drop + Gravity Combo Ban
Just a random question but what happens if a person on a team uses Gravity when their partner is getting hit by Sky Drop ?_? Does this go into the ban or does the team using Gravity suffer.
 

breh

強いだね
#24
Just a random question but what happens if a person on a team uses Gravity when their partner is getting hit by Sky Drop ?_? Does this go into the ban or does the team using Gravity suffer.
The glitch isn't programmed on PS! (at least afaik), so nothing. Honestly this is one case where I'd much rather see deviation from game mechanics for the bettering of the game. Sky Drop is a move that more or less cannot be used in conventional online and it's more interesting to see whether or not it has actual use than just quickban it for the sake of staying true to the original.
 

Diana

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#25
Oh yeah, I completely missed Chandelure. That set is done pretty much entirely better by Cofagrigus, so try that instead if you find it useful enough to keep.
The only issue is that I find that my team needs that extra Fire resistance, and I found myself needing Shadow Ball over Heat Wave overall. That being said I may try the changes or something new altogether but I feel like my team needs more than Terrakion for Fire-type moves.

I'm good with all the other changes from Pocket, I'll play around with Terrakion's moveset a bit since Helping Hand was honestly filler.

Edit: Looking now I'm not quite as worried, I have a little insurance with Occa on Jirachi I guess. Probably going to replace Chandelure with something else.
 
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