General Doubles Metagame Thread

Status
Not open for further replies.
Even if the Sky Drop + Gravity glitch is fixed in game, in PS there is still some sort of separate Sky Drop + Gravity glitch (tested this in Doubles Custom Game awhile back). It is basically what happens in game, but it only lasts one turn after Gravity. Until this is fixed, my guess is Sky Drop will remain banned.
 
-What are good ways to come up with a starting point for a team?
I wanted to use Ferrothorn in rain. That's all. Just pick the mons you want to use and have fun. Really, not that difficult.

-What do you do in teambuilding once you've come up with your initial core?
What can support my Ferrothorn well? It was the starting point for me, and in the end the initial Balanced Rain team split into three different teams. There are many ways to support said Ferrothorn, through utilizing it as the defensive backbone of a team, or just being a part of a strong defensive core that can take hits all day.
Offensively - I have an offensive rain team.
Defensively - I have a rainstall team, mostly devoted to countering my opponent's strategies.
- And a full stall team, without Toed - just even more bulk to counter opposing strategies.

-How much of your team should be devoted to helping check opposing strategies?
I devoted entire teams to just checking opposing strategies. One is the rainstall team (Politoed + Ferrothorn + Jirachi + Jellicent + Latias + Conkeldurr), and when I decided this was not enough, I went with full stall (Ferrothorn + Jirachi + Jellicent + Thundurus-T + Conkeldurr + Cresselia). This has so much bulk that it can take everything TR can throw at it all day (as well as that Ferrothorn goes first in the twisted dimensions). Rain is still useful to cut residual damage on my team from Hail/Sand, so Jirachi has Rain Dance just in case. It works against most serious teams and es

-How do you go about revising your team once you've made it?
Playtesting, mostly on the ladder. If things don't work, I change them. Sheer bulk proved to be an answer to most problems though, and said ridiculous bulk can be hard to overcome for many teams.
 

Level 51

now accepting applications to join eggplant parms
is a member of the Site Staffis an official Team Rateris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris a Battle Server Moderatoris a Past Smogon Snake Draft Champion
Moderator
When it comes to teambuilding, I'm personally a very gimmicky player (as I'm sure Pwnemon would love to point out to you). The very first team I used in Smogon Doubles involved After You Eruption/Water Spout (which promptly lost to Pocket's proper team); since then, I've been trying to build some "proper" teams. This isn't very easy for me, though; I can't help but slip in one or two oddities into my teams.
I usually begin with a flavour for the team instead of a certain Pokemon I'd like to use. This usually ends up being something weird which no one at all uses like After You or Role Play, but once in a while I can base a team off a "proper" strategy like Tailwind Goodstuffs or Speed Rain. That usually works out quite well. After I have this theme/flavour, I pop off to Bulbapedia to find Pokemon capable of learning related moves (eg Tailwind for a Tailwind team). This leaves me with a solid core of exactly one Pokemon. :/ Once I have my "core", I slap on a couple of fun sweepers, which usually leaves me with one or two slots left. These are devoted to stopping Rain, Sun and Sand, because I don't usually end up playing any other styles. Unfortunately by the end of my build almost my entire team is either reliant on Rain/Tailwind/whatever or dedicated to setting it up.
After having a few "friendly" battles via #doubles and doing a quick run of the ladder on PS!, I usually spot a few items that need changing, a few Pokemon that desperately need one move or another or some useless Pokemon that comes out and dies instantly (typical -_-). Sometimes I just scrap the whole team (this happens especially commonly if it's one of the aforementioned weird teams).
So yeah in case you were wondering, that's why I never make any good teams.
 

Audiosurfer

I'd rather be sleeping
is a Tutor Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
Topic of the Week 5

You know what this thread needs? A new Topic of the Week! First off, Best Poster goes to Blankzero for his post, which gave insightful thoughts as to good ways to teambuild in this metagame. He also focused more on overall team ideas in teambuilding as opposed to trying to force yourself into certain archetypes, which is a common pitfall that people can get into. Other good posters include Nollan and Audiosurfer for effectively going through their thought processes in teambuilding.

Points breakdown:
+3 - Blankzero
+2 - Nollan, Audiosurfer
+1 - Lagalag4, Level-51

Onto the new Topic of the Week: Choice Items


Plenty of people are aware of the downsides associated with using Choice Items in the Doubles metagame, but few people actually assess both sides of it. In this topic, we'll be focusing on analyzing the roles of Choice Items in the metagame. This means talking about things such as what are their upsides, what are their downsides, when are they best to use, what are some good Choice users, etc. so try and go in-depth about your thoughts on Choice items in your posts.
 
Choice Items are one of the bigger double-edge swords in this meta. Do you really want to be locked into a certain move, even though the payoff for getting "Choice-Locked" is certainly worth the risk, you can really get into trouble at the same time if used incorrectly. I won't copy the post below, but I will attempt to give a few good Choice Item sets and explain their effectiveness in the current Doubles Metagame here on Smogon (PS!).

The first I am going to post may be a bit cliche, but the set works well. I'm talking about Choice Scarf Landorus-Therian.


Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Jolly/Adamant Nature
-Earthquake
-Rock Slide/Stone Edge
-U-Turn
-Filler

ScarfLandog is one of, if not the most, common Landorus-Therian set in the current Doubles Metagame, and rightly so. While it lacks the help of Yache Berry, or the surprise factor of Normal Gem Explosion, or even Focus Sash, it still has a ton of merits, mainly being a fast way to switch and come back to spam Intimidate. It's 91 Base Speed, while not stellar, give it enough speed to outrun many things and hit hard. U-Turn is a great disruption tool against Cresselia, thinking it can spam Icy Wind against it, giving it a second chance to come in and wreak more Intimidate havoc on the other team. This guy actually makes a very good VoltTurn pair with the below mentioned Specs/Scarf Rotom-W, as Rotom can eat the Ice attacks aimed at Lando, while Lando can stomach Grass types at least neutrally. While this set lacks the more immediate power of, say, a Choice Band, it still has a monstrous 145 Base Attack, able to dent so many things not immune to Earthquake, or spamming a very fast Rock Slide to try and Flinch the opponent into submission.

Speaking of Scarfed Rock Slide Spam, the next set may seem a bit out there as far as most Ladder players are concerned, and it hasn't seen a lot of usage lately for some reason. This next mon I'm going to talk about is Choice Scarf Terrakion.


Terrakion @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 HP EVs: 8 HP / 164 Spd / 116 Def / 220 Atk
Adamant Nature
-Rock Slide
-Close Combat
-X Scissor
-Earthquake

(EVs adjusted after Laga's post below)

Choice Scarf Terrakion is one of the fastest Scarfers available in the metagame, only outsped by the Lati's, of which you won't usually see, as Latios likes Dragon Gem more than Scarf, and Latias is way down at around 40ish even in the 1850 stats, and usually is seen running a support set. 130 Base Attack STAB Rock Slide is a fantastic thing, as Rock is a great attack typing in the Doubles metagame. The extra Flinch chance is just icing on the cake, as is the powerful spread move without the headache of playing around with Protect or Flying/Levitate that EQ users have to deal with. Some folks might be surprised to not see Choice Band slapped on here, as 108 Base Speed is still very fast, and CB Rock Slide is pretty threatening, but I prefer the speed offered by Scarf, which lets me outrun and KO Latios, while not getting outsped by mid-speed Scarfers like Cloyster (but I'll get to that later). If you wish, Choice Band is also a great set, but I would slash Quick Attack onto X Scissor or EQ, as you're going to want Priority if you're going to forgo a bit of speed for more raw power.

Now that I've hit a couple physical powerhouses, I'm going to shift focus over to some more Specially oriented Choice mons. The first is Choice Specs Politoed.


Politoed @ Choice Specs
Trait: Drizzle
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 HP 252 HP / 194 SAtk / 58 SDef / 4 Spd
Modest/Timid Nature
-Surf
-Hydro Pump
-Ice Beam
-Hidden Power Electric/Grass

(Edited my EV Spread after Audiosurfer's post below)

This little guy is a certified monster. There's very little that can stomach Choice Specs Hydro Pump in the rain without absorbing it entirely (Jellicient/Gastrodon) or 4x Resisting it (Kingdra). If you don't want to deal with the miss chance, or are just spamming with Gastrodon, Surf is a great option to either Slash, or as its own option entirely in case you want the power option. This guy is a good idea if you really don't ABSOLUTELY want to keep Politoed around forever, or just don't mind losing him. While some may see this set as inferior to standard Defensive Toed, I see it more as a powerful alternative, as it doesn't just sit around Scalding all day then switching out to reset Rain, making it little more threatening to your opponent. This set can also be used as a Water Gem set, but that is a discussion for another week's topic, and I'm not in charge of that.

Finally, I will do one last mon that has been a new addition in the Doubles metagame, as it is banned in VGC. I'm talking about Choiced Kyurem-Black.


Kyurem-Black @ Choice Scarf (or Band)
Trait: Terravolt
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe (or HP) / 4 Def
-Outrage/Dragon Claw
-Fusion Bolt
-Ice Beam
-Earth Power

Kyub is one of those mons that we probably haven't completely explored in Doubles (ok, yes we have, we even have a Power Herb Set) due to it's banned nature in VGC. This gives us a good opportunity to run weird things that some people that are used to Doubles might not think of, and Kyub is one of them! With a monstrous 170 Base Attack (!) and a very decent 120 Special Attack, Mixed Scarf Kyub is just a really great mon to throw around. Despite his weakness to Bullet/Mach Punch, Neutrality to Fire, and Rock Slide weakness, it's so bulky (125/100/90) that it really doesn't always care what's getting thrown at it, because chances are, it'll live it, and then hit back really effing hard. Scarfing it gives you a Base 95 Speed mon, but faster. And it still hits like a truck, even with Dragon Claw. Outrage can be used as well, although locking yourself into it might be bad for you if you miss the mon you want to hit, or it Protects. If it doesn't though, watch out, because the Kyub Truck will plow through it indifferently.


I think that about does it for me though. Just keep in mind that Choice Items ARE effective in Doubles, but you may want to look at whether or not another item, like Life Orb, Expert Belt, or a Gem, will do a better job.
 
When looking at Choice Items, the first and foremost thing to remember is that they lock you onto a move, and this can be a very risky play in a metagame where switching is less effective. Does this mean that using Choice Items is a horrible choice? Yes Of course not. I will show a few (three) example sets that are very popular.


Rotom-Wash @ Choice Specs
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 240 HP / 252 SpA / 16 SpD
Modest Nature
- Thunder / Trick
- Hydro Pump
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Hidden Power [Grass] / Trick
- Thunderbolt

First off, we have the classic Specs Rotom-Wash. This set is well known, and for good reason. It is a nice method of Rain countering, as Specs Thunder will OHKO the majority of Rain abusers. Scarf Rotom, while less common, is also a nice choice (pun intended). The given spread allows it to tank Giga Drains from Ludicolo 100% of the time with no previous damage. We all know how this set works, so I'm not going to waste my time explaining that.


Chandelure @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Flash Fire / Flame Body
EVs: 16 HP / 252 SpA / 240 Spe
Modest Nature
- Overheat
- Shadow Ball
- Energy Ball / Hidden Power [Ice]
- Heat Wave

To be honest, I hardly ever use this set, but I know it works from experience against people who have used it ;) . Chandelure is well known as a Trick Room setter, and immunity to Fake Out helps its case a lot. However, many people overlook the fact that it actually has a perfectly decent base 80 speed. This is where Choice Scarf comes in. Many people will expect Trick Room, so they assume it is IV'd to be very slow, and as such you can get the jump on them. The set has effectiveness outside of surprise factor, though. The sheer speed of this set helps Chandelure outspeed the majority of the tier, and with its massive 145 SpA, it can deal massive damage throughout the battle. This set also enjoys the Fake Out immunity, as it doesn't mind losing Protect as much if it doesn't have problems against Fake Out. The spread provided allows it to outspeed everything up to positive 125's, while still hitting as hard as possible. The rest is thrown into bulk, since it has no reason to be in speed (252 will speed tie Shaymin-Sky, but no other benefit would be provided, and a speed tie is generally not very promising). Timid can be run, though the only thing it will jump over is Shaymin-Sky, and some rare 130s like Aerodactyl (Deoxys-Attack will still be faster).


Tyranitar @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 36 HP / 252 Atk / 220 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Crunch
- Rock Slide
- Fire Punch / Ice Punch
- Low Kick / Ice Punch

This is probably one of the most common Choice sets apart from Rotom-Wash. With a Scarf and the given speed investment, Tyranitar outspeeds everything up to base 110's with a positive nature. Think you can finish Tyranitar off with that Dragon Gem Draco Meteor off of Latios? Think again. It Crunches you first and swallows the Dragon whole. It also deals up to 88% to Hydreigon with Low Kick, and a 87.5% chance to OHKO Scizor with Fire Punch, while a Steel Gem Bullet Punch only has a 6.25% chance to OHKO. In addition, it has a 43.75% to OHKO Terrakion, and scores a 2HKO on Heatran. However, without Protect, Tyranitar despises Fighting-types even more (you probably shouldn't take your chance at that OHKO on Terrakion).

~Conclusion~
Overall, Choice items are an option that you need to put thought into. Ask yourself these questions:
1) With this pokemon suffer a lot from the inability to use Protect?
2) Does this pokemon miss out on a lot of utility moves?
3) Do I have good synergy with teammates that allows me to switch out with more safety?
4) Will this pokemon have to switch out too often to make it an effective holder of a Choice item?
These questions will help you consider the merits/consequences of having a certain pokemon choiced. Choice items can help enhance a pokemon, but they also come with risks (yet another risk vs reward situation). Using these items with careful thought and consideration will help you make the best out of your teams.

~Afterward~
As a last note, I'd like to put forth an example VGC team from 2012 Worlds, used by Wolfey to score a 2nd place finish in Masters, which shows the best way to use Choice items effectively:
http://nuggetbridge.com/reports/eggscelent-execution/
There are a lot of unique aspects to this team, but the one I will focus on is CB Terrakion. When explaining it, Wolfey makes the point that it helps add some raw power to the team. This is a nice example of how to use Choice items. However, the bigger point I would like to make was mentioned under his Hitmontop comments. Specifically, he says: "My team was built to switch around nearly every turn if possible so Close Combat’s drawbacks were never an issue. " This is very true for Choice Band Terrakion as well. Choice items work very effectively in the bulkier teams that are designed to switch around with more ease. As such, synergy (as previously mentioned) is a key area in determining whether or not to use Choice items. If you can switch out to something bulky (better yet, have multiple options), you are going to be able to use Choice items with less risk. In a more offensively inclined and faster paced team (Tailwind, Sand Rush Excadrill, etc), you are going to have difficulty switching out and as such Choice items will generally be a worse option.
 

Laga

Forever Grande
is a Tiering Contributoris a Community Contributor Alumnus
oh my gosh a new topic of the week and I haven't even seen it. FFS.
anyways, hell yeah I am posting for this one too :D

Basically, as said in the base post for this TOTW, Choice Items in doubles is something many players know as not all that good. Basically, being locked into a move can give your opponent a free switch (which can be frickin deadly in doubles), and it can also force your pokemon out. All of this can probably lead to the conclusion in most people's minds that Choice Items are not to be used too much, and if used, become "one-trick ponies". You could call them semi one-trick ponies, as they do succeed in catching opponents off guard, but you can still use the boost that they provide more than once (in fact if you usually only get to use the item once, you should probably not be using the item, but a gem / life orb / focus sash)

Since a lot of the posters got here before me (you fuckers), and they all showed a lot of good users of the items, I shall try explaining when, when not, why and why not to use Choice items, instead of listing specific pokemon that use these items well.

To start off, I shall overall tell you what forms a good Choice item user. A couple rules of thumb that I like to use is that 1) your pokemon needs to have a spammable STAB move, which would preferably be a spread move in my opinion and 2) your pokemon should not be one that relies on protect. Good examples of this would come from sets already posted by Blank and Nollan.
Rock Slide = Tyranitar, Landorus-T, Terrakion
Surf = Politoed, Strong Swift Swim Surf / Muddy Water Spammer(s)
Heat Wave / Eruption = Chandelure, Heatran (I am surprised no one has posted about this one, since Trick Room Specs Eruption spam is legit)
Earthquake = Landorus, Terrakion.
As you can see, most of the choiced pokemon like to have a spammable spread move or 2.

~ Choice Scarf ~


I know Scarf Salamence isn't that good in doubles, but it's a cool picture :p

Choice Scarf is probably the Choice Item I personally favor in the doubles metagame, and I shall explain why when I get onto Band / Specs. Basically, Choice Scarf is an item that provides a unique boost. Aside from Quick Claw or something (which you btw definately should not use), no other item will help you outpace opposing pokemon. Because of this, Choice Scarf is an item that no other item can legitimately compete with in doing it's job, unlike Band or Specs.

The whole idea with using Choice Scarfed pokemon is that you get easy Surprise KOs or have something in your pocket for big problems like Terrakion for Modest Rain Kingdra etc. When I use Scarfed pokemon, I always use them for 1 of 2 reasons (or both) = 1) swiftly outspeeding threats that the team has trouble with (they never see it coming), or 2) to spam (usually Helping Hand boosted) spread moves without fearing to be outsped. If the pokemon is used for anything else, but similar jobs, you should probably be using a Gem, Expert Belt or Life Orb.

~ Choice Band / Choice Specs ~


couldn't find good pictures :(

When it comes to Choice Band / Specs, this is where you need to support the pokemon a good deal to optimize it's performance. I personally like to use bulky Band / Specs pokemon, since frail offensive pokemon like to use Life Orb / Sash / Expert Belt / Gem. This is because these kind of pokemon absolutely LOVE the move Protect to shield off damage directed at them (which will usually kill them). Furthermore, I recommend fitting your Band / Specs pokemon on Tailwind, Trick Room or Thunder Wave teams, depending on it's speed tier, since it is otherwise very weak to fast pokemon that hit hard (no Protect for them). Supporting these pokemon will result in a very high reward, as they can spam their moves very easily, especially with correct prediction (obviously not neccessary if you are using spread moves).

This said, if your pokemon likes to use Protect or is not on a speed controlling team, you should probably be using a Gem, Expert Belt or Life Orb.

~ Conclusion ~

Choice Items are often looked upon by doubles players as outclassed by Gems and Life Orb considering how good a move Protect is on offensive mons, but if you use them properly, and on the correct teams, they will reward you with consistant power or speed whilst not chipping away at your health. Also, if you don't have anything to switch into safely from your choice locked pokemon (good defensive synergy + bulk), DO NOT use Choice items. Just don't.

If you follow the guidelines I have put forth for these items, you should be able to suck as much at using Choice items as I do acquire some knowledge about using Choice items in the doubles metagame. Hopefully you would choose to discover some good Choice item abusers, but you could of course also resort to the choice of browsing Nollan and Blank's posts to find some already discovered strong users of the items, so you don't have to think too much about discovering them yourself :p
 

Level 51

now accepting applications to join eggplant parms
is a member of the Site Staffis an official Team Rateris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris a Battle Server Moderatoris a Past Smogon Snake Draft Champion
Moderator
Sorry guys, but can we please keep this Topic Of The Week thing more to a discussion than a bunch of mini research paper-esque posts (I mean look at them, you even have Conclusions and Afterwords ffs)? I know you all want leaderboard points (so do I, everyone likes points), but while they may be useful for beginners to learn the meta, currently all we're getting is a barrage of unrelated posts (except for Laga referencing Nollan and Blank like once). In my opinion, what we have so far would be more useful in the Doubles Hub (once chaos gets the SCMS up). Thanks!

Speaking of the SCMS and the Doubles Hub, I PM'd chaos about separating the Doubles Hub from the OM Hub so it would get its own Hub. No reply yet, and yes I already asked Joim but he says it's "not for him to decide".
 
Sorry guys, but can we please keep this Topic Of The Week thing more to a discussion than a bunch of mini research paper-esque posts (I mean look at them, you even have Conclusions and Afterwords ffs)? I know you all want leaderboard points (so do I, everyone likes points), but while they may be useful for beginners to learn the meta, currently all we're getting is a barrage of unrelated posts (except for Laga referencing Nollan and Blank like once).

Once people start posting regularly again, we can get back to discussions. Right now though, we don't have enough activity, so the posts are gonna be quality, even if hey aren't super related.
 

Audiosurfer

I'd rather be sleeping
is a Tutor Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
I'd like to second Level-51. These are meant to bring some good discussion, not just have some detached statements (not saying that the previous posts were bad because they weren't, just keep in mind trying to tie it in with what others are saying).

As some of the other posters have said, one of the things that makes Choice items in Doubles effective is that they're often unexpected. This is also why I think Choice Scarf is the best of all of the Choice items in this metagame. The +1 to Speed can be very useful in nabbing some surprise KOs on things expecting you to outspeed them. An example of this is a Choice Scarf Hydreigon I've been using for like a month or so. Pokemon like Genesect and Latios usually have an easy time of picking it off, so they'll stay in and attack. Then, I can pick them off with the appropriate coverage move. In short, when looking at Choce mons, if you want to take full advantage of surprise factor, be sure to pick something that can lure in mons that give you problems. Set is as follows:


Hydreigon @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 96 HP / 252 SAtk / 160 Spd
Modest Nature
- Draco Meteor
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Earth Power
EVs let you outspeed up to Modest Rotom-W and live things like LO Breloom's Mach Punch.

Something else that needs to be emphasized with using Choice mons is EV optimization. I know this was a previous ToTW, but when you can't use Protect to shield you from taking damage and you're locked into a move, trying to make sure you can live through specific hits becomes even more important. For example, take a few of the sets that Blankzero and Nollan posted. Sets like Specs Rotom-Wash and Specs Politoed are very effective Choice users, but with more optimized EV spreads they can perform even better.
Changes:

Rotom-W: 252 HP/252 SpA / 4 SDef ---> 252 HP / 240 SpA / 16 SDef
It seems like a small change, but the extra 12 EVs allow you to live through a Giga Drain from LO Modest Ludicolo guaranteed, which is very important when using Rotom as a rain check. Look what it does in return:
240+ SpA Choice Specs Rotom-W Thunder vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Ludicolo: 274-324 (91.63 - 108.36%) -- 50% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Life Orb Ludicolo Giga Drain vs. 252 HP / 16 SpD Rotom-W: 252-299 (82.89 - 98.35%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
Now you have a more assured check in exchange for a negligible amount of EVs, which can be very important when you're relying on Rotom to beat Ludicolo in a tournament or something.

Politoed: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe ---> 252 HP / 194 SAtk / 58 SDef / 4 Spd
This change is bigger than the previous one, but still achieves the same goal of making the set more effective in its role. With the added Special Defense EVs, you can survive a Dragon Gem Draco Meteor from Latios and fire off an attack. 4 Speed lets you outspeed Metagross and OHKO with Hydro Pump in the rain before it can slam you with an attack first. Here are the calcs:
194+ SpA Choice Specs Politoed Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Metagross in rain: 390-460 (107.14 - 126.37%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Latios Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 58 SpD Politoed: 324-382 (84.37 - 99.47%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

So yeah, keeping in mind the EV spreads you're using and not falling prey to the urge to just slap on 252/252 spreads is especially important when using Choice locked Pokemon, and is something you all should keep in mind (I know we made a benchmark list from the EV optimization Topic of the Week, so you can check through that as well)
 
I'd like to second Level-51. These are meant to bring some good discussion, not just have some detached statements (not saying that the previous posts were bad because they weren't, just keep in mind trying to tie it in with what others are saying).

As some of the other posters have said, one of the things that makes Choice items in Doubles effective is that they're often unexpected. This is also why I think Choice Scarf is the best of all of the Choice items in this metagame. The +1 to Speed can be very useful in nabbing some surprise KOs on things expecting you to outspeed them. An example of this is a Choice Scarf Hydreigon I've been using for like a month or so. Pokemon like Genesect and Latios usually have an easy time of picking it off, so they'll stay in and attack. Then, I can pick them off with the appropriate coverage move. In short, when looking at Choce mons, if you want to take full advantage of surprise factor, be sure to pick something that can lure in mons that give you problems. Set is as follows:


Hydreigon @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 96 HP / 252 SAtk / 160 Spd
Modest Nature
- Draco Meteor
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Earth Power
EVs let you outspeed up to Modest Rotom-W and live things like LO Breloom's Mach Punch.

Something else that needs to be emphasized with using Choice mons is EV optimization. I know this was a previous ToTW, but when you can't use Protect to shield you from taking damage and you're locked into a move, trying to make sure you can live through specific hits becomes even more important. For example, take a few of the sets that Blankzero and Nollan posted. Sets like Specs Rotom-Wash and Specs Politoed are very effective Choice users, but with more optimized EV spreads they can perform even better.
Changes:

Rotom-W: 252 HP/252 SpA / 4 SDef ---> 252 HP / 240 SpA / 16 SDef
It seems like a small change, but the extra 12 EVs allow you to live through a Giga Drain from LO Modest Ludicolo guaranteed, which is very important when using Rotom as a rain check. Look what it does in return:
240+ SpA Choice Specs Rotom-W Thunder vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Ludicolo: 274-324 (91.63 - 108.36%) -- 50% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Life Orb Ludicolo Giga Drain vs. 252 HP / 16 SpD Rotom-W: 252-299 (82.89 - 98.35%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
Now you have a more assured check in exchange for a negligible amount of EVs, which can be very important when you're relying on Rotom to beat Ludicolo in a tournament or something.

Politoed: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe ---> 252 HP / 194 SAtk / 58 SDef / 4 Spd
This change is bigger than the previous one, but still achieves the same goal of making the set more effective in its role. With the added Special Defense EVs, you can survive a Dragon Gem Draco Meteor from Latios and fire off an attack. 4 Speed lets you outspeed Metagross and OHKO with Hydro Pump in the rain before it can slam you with an attack first. Here are the calcs:
194+ SpA Choice Specs Politoed Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Metagross in rain: 390-460 (107.14 - 126.37%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Latios Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 58 SpD Politoed: 324-382 (84.37 - 99.47%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

So yeah, keeping in mind the EV spreads you're using and not falling prey to the urge to just slap on 252/252 spreads is especially important when using Choice locked Pokemon, and is something you all should keep in mind (I know we made a benchmark list from the EV optimization Topic of the Week, so you can check through that as well)

Awesome post ASurf!

I'll go ahead and strikethrough my old 252's and replace them with these, as these sets are much better overall. Mine are just super simple lol.
 

Laga

Forever Grande
is a Tiering Contributoris a Community Contributor Alumnus
Level 51 actually has a good point in discussing posts rather than analyzing each for ourselves, and Audiosurfer also mentioned EV optimizing choiced pokemon, so I'll try optimizing some EVs for one of the sets posted because I have time :)

Also, by the way, as blank already said, great post Asurfer :D

First, here is modified Choice Scarf Terrakion as I think they should look like. Take this as a reply to blank's Terrakion :]


Terrakion @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Justified
EVs: 164 Spd / 108 Def / 236 Atk
Adamant Nature
- Close Combat
- Rock Slide
- Earthquake
- Sacred Sword

Here are some calcs to show things that it is built to survive.

252+ Atk Life Orb Technician Breloom Mach Punch vs. 0 HP / 108 Def Terrakion: 273-322 (84.52 - 99.69%)
252 Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 108 Def Terrakion: 258-306 (79.87 - 94.73%)
252+ Atk Life Orb Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 0 HP / 108 Def Terrakion: 273-322 (84.52 - 99.69%)
252+ Atk Choice Band Kyurem-B Dragon Claw vs. 0 HP / 108 Def Terrakion: 255-301 (78.94 - 93.18%) (Scarfed Outrage will also fail to KO)
252+ Atk Rhyperior Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 108 Def Terrakion: 276-326 (85.44 - 100.92%) (I know it's sketchy, but if you really want to be sure of this one, try using a spread of 8 HP / 116 Def which is max dam of 99.69)
252 SpA Latios Psyshock vs. 0 HP / 108 Def Terrakion: 254-302 (78.63 - 93.49%) (Very important calc, as Gem Boosted Draco Meteor will not KO if in Sandstorm)

I started with trying to find a good defensive benchmark to sit at for Choiced Terrakion, as it is very weak to Earthquake and physical priority moves like Mach Punch and Bullet Punch. I started looking for common threats in the doubles metagame that barely KOd 4/0 Terrakion and I found a good EV amount to place in Defense to lighten it's weakness to these moves. I wanted the Terrakion spread to always survive Life Orb Mach Punch from Breloom. This is obviously because of the fact that Breloom is a thorn in the side of Choice Band / Scarf Terrakion since it lacks the protect, and Life Orb is one of Breloom's more used items. To live a Life Orb Mach Punch from Adamant Breloom (and therefore also Life Orb BP from Scizor), you need 0 HP / 108 Def investment. This coincidentally also means, that you survive CB Dragon Claw from Kyurem-B, Jolly 252 Atk Lando-T's Earthquake and Psychock from Timid Latios.

The Speed EVs are there to outspeed max speed Deoxys-A with a positive nature. This also allows it to outspeed opposing Timid Scarf Chandelure and in Landorus-T's case, you either outspeed it, or you live the Earthquake with certainty (Adamant vs Jolly Lando-T).

The rest goes to Attack, nature included (Adamant) to hit as hard as possible whilst doing it's job consistently against the foes listed above. Sacred Sword > X-Scissor always btw, because it only hits Celebi, which sucks so badly in doubles. Also, using Close Combat will obviously prevent you from living these key attacks, but keep in mind that power is necessary sometimes.

The only thing that I would like to examine is whether or not there are any common special attacks that are extremely close to being a max 99.69% damage output, and if there are, just come on #doubles (irc) and tell me, as I will then edit it to fit the optimization. I just know that I was thinking mostly about living a few physical SE hits from usual Terrakion "checks" and "counters" :p
 
I'd like to second Level-51. These are meant to bring some good discussion, not just have some detached statements (not saying that the previous posts were bad because they weren't, just keep in mind trying to tie it in with what others are saying).
To be honest, I think people missed the point of my post. The sets were just some examples of viable Choice users to show they are an option. What I was really trying to get at was the importance of synergy and bulkier pokemon. This allows a Choice user to switch out with relatively much more safety, minimizing the risks associated with Choice items (disclaimer: my post was actually completed before blank's, which is a large part as to why it doesn't seem related to his in any way, and why it is sorta research papery, since I wanted it to be a starting point :<). Anyways, hopefully we can get more of a discussion going on this.

So, EV optimization is an important thing, but to honesty, I don't see how this pertains to only choice items. Almost any set there is would benefit from a more optimized spread, for example, blank has mentioned to me the 20 Spe spread on Bulky Thundurus, allowing it to jump over max speed 70s, and other bulky Thundurus. Cresselia also tends to run a huge variety of spreads, depending on what you want it to be able to tank. It makes a point that the generalized spreads from Blank and my posts are not the most effective, but in almost any case, a 252/252 spread is not the best you can do. Still, Audiosurfer reinforces a strong point in the surprise given by Choice items, especially Scarfs. Due to the lack of Scarfs in Doubles (not the sort of thing required on a team like it is in Singles), you can simply EV spread the speed to get the jump on whatever you need to, then throw the rest into bulk and power as you see fit. I still hold my ground in the synergy concept though, as I think it is one of, if not the most important part of Choice items. You need to be able to get the Choice user out safely so that he/she can change moves. Without this, your Choice user will become bait, and in many cases, it will simply lose you the game because you can't switch and the move you are locked on to cannot deal much damage, if any, to the opponent. Choice Hydreigon, for example, enjoys Cresselia for backup when it needs to switch. Bug attacks, however, will still be an issue, so something like Togekiss or Thundurus would be a good second option in those cases. For more details on this, see my conclusion/afterward above. I also feel the need to reinforce my 4 questions from the conclusion:
1) With this pokemon suffer a lot from the inability to use Protect?
2) Does this pokemon miss out on a lot of utility moves?
3) Do I have good synergy with teammates that allows me to switch out with more safety?
4) Will this pokemon have to switch out too often to make it an effective holder of a Choice item?

While you all might be thinking "Yes Nollan, we've seen your post, no need to repeat everything again", I really feel people focused more on the sets than the points I was aiming at. Protect is obviously a big issue, and things like Terrakion aren't going to enjoy missing it, which can be a problem. Utility moves are a mild issue, and the real concept there is whether it is better at support or attacking. Synergy is what I believe is the most important thing. It is the reason Choice Scarf Terrakion is an option. Without any synergy, Terrakion is not going to be a very good idea, and it would be completely inferior without Protect. The ability to switch to something bulkier and less priority weak is what makes it truly shine. I have gone on and on about this, so I'll leave it at that. Switching often is an issue that varies on the synergy. If you don't have much (defensive) synergy, it is not going to be a good idea, especially if you have to switch often. The better that synergy/bulk gets, the more you can need to switch before it becomes too risky/not worth it.

Summary (for those who hate reading):
-Synergy is really important, for the rest of it please read the paragraphs posted above.
 

Laga

Forever Grande
is a Tiering Contributoris a Community Contributor Alumnus
So, EV optimization is an important thing, but to honesty, I don't see how this pertains to only choice items.

My point (and probably Asurfer's) was really to show that choiced pokemon really benefit from EV modifying to survive hits that usually threaten to KO them before they can move (Punching Terrakions, Draining Rotoms), as these pokemon lack Protect. The same with Asurfer's suggestions of spreads, since they really can be the difference of Choice Items being effective or just being a liability on the pokemon using it.

As for the rest of the post, great emphasis on the 4 questions that you put out (I know you already posted them, but they are really good), as they can really help to choose whether or not the pokemon at hands is a good Choice Item abuser. I would probably add 5) Will this pokemon suffer a lot from not being able to switch up moves? (needs spammable moves)

Also, a little comment to the guy thinking about making the next post. Make it shine, this thread is hitting #1000 :D
 
999!

Arcticblast edit: Actually, you got post #1000. However, because there's no substance to this post, it doesn't count. Sorry :p

Blank edit: You're mom has no substance! :D
 
So since this is (the actual) post #1000, I think I will try to make this shine (aka very huge). First off, I agree with Laga's recommendation on that Q #5, as it if important, though that question is in theory what Question #4 includes, since needing to switch moves often will result in having to switch often.

To commemorate this being (the actual) post #1000, I have made a list of Choice item sets in Doubles, feel free to comment on it to make it better and more accurate. It is currently located here (sorry for no cool pictures). This should help discussion a bit as well, giving posters various sets to use for examples/emphasis in their posts. Note that I shifted some EVs a bit on several sets, like the Choice Scarf Kyurem-Black set. I will update it as the discussion continues.

I have also updated my EV spreads in response to Audiosurfer's post, though I did my own spin on Rotom-Wash. Still, I hope we spend more time dwelling on the merits and risks of Choice items rather than the particular optimized EV spreads of them.

When it comes to Choice items, I agree with Audiosurfer in that Scarf is probably the best Choice item due to the high amount of surprise associated with it. Since speed is more stationary than Attack or Special Attack, many Scarf sets have very specific EV spreads associated with them. Another thing to note about Scarfers in particular is that the best ones tend to be Ground types, due to their immunity to Thunder Waves, which are very common in Doubles (mostly because of Cresselia and Thundurus). While they still despise Icy Wind, that can be remedied by switching, which Choice users will be doing a lot anyway, while Thunder Wave is more or less going to last until the Scarfer's dying day. If you are using a Scarfed pokemon, you also want to have a few things within the team:
A) Trick Room counter, because Scarfers (very obviously) despise Trick Room. At the same time, Scarfers with Trick (very few of those outside of Rotom-Wash) will be good at giving Trick Room some trouble, but you definitely want to pack things such as Dark-types, Taunt users, Trick Room reversers, etc.
B) Synergy. I'm done explaining it. Just have good synergy.
C) Avoid too much speed control. There is no point of a Scarfer if your team is spamming Icy Wind, Tailwind and Thunder Waves, everything on your team is going to be faster than the foe anyway.
I think that about covers it, in general, you want your Scarfer to have a reason for its existence on your team outside of surprise value.

When is comes to Specs and Bands, things get a bit more complicated. The high presence of Gems, which are basically a CB/CS boost for 1 turn, really make it difficult for these two items to find a spot of usefulness. First off, you are going to want something bulky, as the Gem is going to be better if you only last 1-2 turns. Second off, make sure the Choice item is going to be scoring you some important KOs, not just coming closer to a OHKO when you already had a 2HKO before. In other words, if a Life Orb is scoring all the KOs that a Choice item is, then the Life Orb is going to be better. Finally, you generally want to pack spread moves on Banders/Specs. The high power boost provided will allow you to spam powerful Heat Waves/Earthquakes multiple times. Without a spread move, you can only KO one pokemon per turn, and that means being exposed to the other attacker, which is going to make a Gem w/ access to Protect better in most cases.

Well I hope this was a good #1000 post. I am a bit tired, so I'm hoping I don't sound completely stupid here. xD
 

Arcticblast

somebody stop me
is a Forum Moderatoris a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion
Moderator
One Choiced Pokemon I found highly useful is Scarf Kyurem.

Kyurem @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Pressure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Modest Nature
- Draco Meteor
- Blizzard
- Earth Power
- Protect

Are those EVs optimized? No. Could this set be improved? Probably. Did it do what it needed to do? Hell yes. I basically just used this set as my win condition on my Blizzspam team. It was meant to hit fast and hard right off the bat, and it did a pretty damn good job at that. Even when I couldn't spam Blizzard, I could come in and Draco Meteor a Volcarona or Earth Power a Heatran, with Kyurem's great natural bulk allowing it to take a couple hits when necessary. Unfortunately it had its drawbacks - namely priority and Trick Room teams, although the former was somewhat mitigated by Hitmontop. I might have posted it before, but here is the team I used this on.
 
Well I've modified the Scarf Kyurem set a bit as follows:

Kyurem @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Pressure
EVs: 104 HP / 252 SAtk / 152 Spd
Modest Nature
- Draco Meteor
- Blizzard
- Earth Power / Hidden Power [Fire]
- Dragon Pulse

The given bulk lets it always live a Steel Gem Scizor Bullet Punch and Life Orb Breloom Mach Punch. The speed gets the jump on positive base 130s and up. Hidden Power [Fire] is a nice option, allowing you to take out Scizor after tanking its Bullet Punch. Dragon Pulse over Protect to fix the derp, obviously. I'd say more, but there isn't really anything more to say.
 

lucariojr

MS State Pokemon!!!
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Top Contributor Alumnus
here's my two cents on a few choicemons that i've come across on GBU randomwifi, have been impressed with, and i think might be worth trying in smogdoubs.


@ Choice Band
Adamant Nature
Mold Breaker

Earthquake
Drill Run
Rock Slide
X-Scissor / Iron Head

When Sand Rush is allowed, you might wonder why Mold Breaker would be any good. Well, given the amount of Speed control people stack on their teams already, having that amazingly fast Speed isn't as important. Also think about Excadrill's checks. Most of them rely on Levitate to neuter Excadrill, but with Mold Breaker nullifying this, Rotom-W suddenly becomes a shaky check (so to speak) to Excadrill. Drill Run is actually a good move for this Excadrill considering Mold Breaker nullifies your own Levitate, and actually does more damage to one Pokemon, going as far as to having a 80% chance to OHKO Metagross as opposed to Earthquake's 43% chance. Since I haven't actually used it myself, here's R Inanimate's team report featuring CB Mold Breaker Excadrill, which will probably explain it much better than I can.

@ Choice Scarf / Choice Specs
Timid/Modest Nature
Levitate

Thunderbolt
Blizzard
Hidden Power Fire
Trick

Even though it might be outclassed by Kyurem in this metagame, I feel like Rotom-F is better equipped to handle Scizor and Water-types, along with having Levitate, just in case you're using an Earthquake user or you're needing an immunity to it. It also has Trick, which pretty much cripples support mons or physical attackers (think Torn-I locked into a 55 BP Acrobatics), though I will say that Tricking Choice Specs onto Cresselia is seldom a great idea.


@ Choice Specs
Timid/Modest Nature
Levitate

Draco Meteor
Psyshock
Thunderbolt / Hidden Power Fire / Grass Knot
Trick / Dragon Pulse

I know what you're thinking. Why use Choice Specs when you have Dragon Gem? Well, why do people use Life Orb? The answer is that it allows for multiple high-powered Draco Meteors, which is exactly what Choice Specs does, only it powers up all of Latios's other moves just as much as Dragon Gem. Furthermore, Specs Latios's Draco Meteor is effectively 'only' -1 Special Attack, meaning that you can fire off another Draco Meteor and it will still deal decent damage. As another testament to Choice Specs's power, Psyshock OHKO's just about any Amoonguss that don't run Bold 252/252 (it OHKO's Calm natures up to 164 Defense EVs as opposed to Life Orb only KOing up to 44 Def), and even then, you could just switch to Psychic! Dragon Pulse is there in case you don't want to lock yourself into a steadily declining Draco Meteor, but it can get redundant sometimes so I think I'd prefer Trick to cripple random stuff.
 

Arcticblast

somebody stop me
is a Forum Moderatoris a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion
Moderator
Why the hell does CS Kyurem have Protect Arctic?
Protect is a great move on Scarfed Kyurem. They never see the Choice Scarf coming after you bluffed it so well :cool:;)
because Protect is the best move ever obviously I mean how can you call yourself a doubles player if you don't acknowledge that

In all seriousness, I didn't really use it much. (I didn't use Draco Meteor or Earth Power much either, really.) It got me out of a couple tight spots, but that's about it. Nollan's set looks pretty solid, although I'd probably go with Earth Power and HP Fire instead of one of those and Dragon Pulse for the last two slots - it's hard to sweep when you're Choice-locked into a single target move, and Draco Meteor is a lot better for revenge killing.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)

Top