SM OU Hoopa-Unbound + Venusaur-Mega Balance - reached 1928 (#21) so far


This team was originally built for a tournament (TLT) game. My opponent was using lots of HO's. I also wanted a good matchup vs double dance Mew. So, I started to build around scarf Landorus and Hoopa-U. The other pokémon were added to have at least even matchups vs most teams.
I reached #21 on the ladder so far with 1928. I publish it anyway because I figured it'd be nice for people to have it before Sword and Shield comes out.

ladder peak.jpg

I'm gonna talk about the different synergies first before talking about notable matchups and show you some replays. At the end I'll cover the bad matchups with replays as well, and eventually feature another « version » of the team that resolves them but have other weaknesses.

I lacked a few replays due to wanting to publish the team before Gen 8. Therefore, 4 games featured in the replays were played vs myself. These replays will be put in italic.

Study of the different synergies


Landorus-Therian (M) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 244 Atk / 56 Def / 208 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- U-turn
- Defog

I started the team with a scarf Landorus as an offense killer. It does exactly what scarf lando does, which is being immune to ground and electric and provide momentum. It also provides speed control for the team.
This lando is basically max attack to better deal with Lopunny and Gallade (244 giving the same rolls than 252 on these two).

  • HP Ice can be used instead of Defog to catch Landorus and help vs Landorus, Garchomp and Gliscor, helping especially vs fast Gliscor. Defog helps for spiking ferro matchups. It also helps removing koko's screens and gives Landorus more opportunities to switch in.
  • A more bulky set would be used for Kartana, zard-X, Mawile and Pinsir but I'll come back to all these matchups later so you can see that they're already dealt with.


Hoopa-Unbound @ Choice Band
Ability: Magician
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Hyperspace Fury
- Gunk Shot
- Fire Punch
- Drain Punch

I then went on with Hoopa-U. It's a stall/balance breaker for the team. It capitalizes on bulky psychics that wall Venusaur such as Mew, Latias or Reuniclus. It also weakens/baits in Tyranitar for Venusaur as well as capitalizes on Gliscor/Toxapex cores that can outstall leech seeds, unless Gliscor is fast, which happens. Also, its high SpDef helps it switch in to Zapdos or Rotom-W that sometimes annoy fini. Finally it considerably shortens games which helps you not run out of Synthesis PP on venu.

Note :
  • Vs stalls or balances with trappers, hoopa won't win by itself. Tho it will help etablish win cons by taking at least one kill, hard switching the trapper often being a loosing play.
  • It also doesn't break the rare Buzzwole stalls.
  • Hoopa-U is the the double dance Mew / Z-Celebrate Victini counter.


Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 248 HP / 24 Def / 32 SpA / 8 SpD / 196 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Scald
- Nature's Madness
- Defog

Tapu Fini is the Ash Greninja counter in the team, as well as the Hawlucha counter. It provides defog support for the team. It also pairs well with Celesteela and Venusaur, being a Fire resist, helping vs Heatran and Victini, defogging vs Heatran. It's also a Kommo-o check, pairing well with Venusaur again. Its Misty Surge ability prevents Venusaur from being parad by Zapdos/rotom or burned by rotom and prevents hoopa from being burned by will-o-wisp or scald from rotom or pex as well as by Searing Shot from Z Victini. Finally it allows Garchomp to deal with any zard-X set, thanks to the dragon damage diminution.
About moves, Scald is used for Heatran and Gliscor. This fini doesn't run taunt, though hoopa already stall breaks. About EVs, this fini is 2 points faster than Modest max Speed Heatran, allowing it to cripple some Landorus as well as other fini and eventually Gliscor. The Def EVs allows it to survive two +1 flareblitzes from zard after rocks and leftovers as well as two returns from Lopunny after rocks and leftovers. Offensive investments are for the 100% OHKO on Hawlucha after rocks, helping vs offensive tran as well.
at 93.75% of its health : +1 252 Atk Tough Claws Charizard-Mega-X Flare Blitz vs. 248 HP / 24+ Def Tapu Fini: 150-177 (43.7 - 51.6%) -- 10.5% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery | 252 Atk Lopunny-Mega Return vs. 248 HP / 24+ Def Tapu Fini: 136-162 (39.6 - 47.2%) -- 0.4% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery

Note :
  • Scald can be used to burn Tornadus-T, helping hoopa if need be.
  • Alternatively, Grass Knot can be used for Rain matchups and Haze can be used for Volcarona matchups, both being bad matchups we'll cover. Haze can also be used to keep zard-x at +0 speed to revenge kill it with lando and therefore not taking damages on Garchomp. However, you'd need to remove either Scald or Nature's Madness, leaving you either weaker vs Heatran/slow Gliscor (in Scald's case) or Toxapex, AV Mag + Torn builds or Rotom-W + Pinsir builds (in Nature's Madness' case), which I don't advise on ladder. We'll cover these later.


Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 248 HP / 28 Def / 232 SpD
Sassy Nature
- Heavy Slam
- Flamethrower
- Protect
- Leech Seed

Celesteela is the Psychic spam check as well as a Grass spam check, pairing well respectively with Venusaur and fini. It's another Stored-Power Latias counter, a Scizor counter and another scarf lando counter. It also helps vs SD Gliscor.

Note : A SpDef version was choosed to better check Psychic spamming teams. However it leaves it weaker to Pinsir, vs which the game plan is often keeping rocks up.


Venusaur-Mega @ Venusaurite
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 68 SpD / 16 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sludge Bomb
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Leech Seed
- Synthesis

Venusaur-Mega's role at checking Grass spam overlays with Celesteela, allowing the team to completely neuter these teams, as well as giving the team more leeway vs Kartana, helping fini. Venusaur also helps vs Mawile and is the bolt/beam counter and Magearna counter. It deals with volt switchers paired with lando/Garchomp and is another water resist to ease pressure on fini.

Note : You'll almost never have to but sometimes PP stalling Magma Storm can be a game plan.


Garchomp @ Rockium Z
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 4 HP / 236 Atk / 16 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Swords Dance
- Stealth Rock

Finally, I added Garchomp for more speed control as well as a rocker. It's also another Fire resist for Venusaur and Celesteela, checking Heatran as well as choiced Victini.
16 Def EVs were chosen to allow Garchomp to survive +2 Mawile's Sucker Punch after rocks with better odds.
+2 252+ Atk Huge Power Mawile-Mega Sucker Punch vs. 0 HP / 16 Def Garchomp: 295-348 (82.6 - 97.4%) -- 25% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

Note :
  • I'd advice to put hp ice zapdos / rotom-w in range of Z Rock to better set up rocks.
  • 236 and 240 Atk EVs have the same rolls on skarm and Celesteela (rolls are different vs clef but chances to kill remain the same and you won't get chip on non set up Clef prior most likely). Therefore, I opted to put the remaining 4 EVs in HP.

Some notable matchups

vs Hyper Offense

This team was especially written to beat hyper offensive teams thanks to scarf lando. Here are different matchups vs HO:

This team also does very good vs the popular Adapt or Die Psychic spam offense :

It does very good against sticky web offense as well thanks to scarf lando not being affected by webs. Tho, there is a case for Heracross-Mega under webs, which outspeeds fini and isn't threatened by lando. However this matchup isn't unbeatable thanks to fini or Garchomp being able to tank one hit at full health and dealing big damage in return, or thanks to Defog if you find the opportunity :

Blacephalon is a common threat in hyper offensive teams. We'll cover its case in the bad matchups session.

vs Bulky Offense

Here are different matchups vs BO :

The limited speed control tools let this team sensitive to powerful breakers such as Medicham, Manaphy or the rarer Suicune. However, Suicune can't switch in easily due to double leech seed and the ability to every slower member of the team to take one hit from Medicham helps with dealing with it.
Here are two examples vs Medicham : /

Manaphy can be dealt with using momentum. However, we'll cover the rain matchup in which Manaphy often finds itself into in the bad matchups session.

Likewise, a fast fini with taunt is also a threat, but defeatable :

Finally, the recent Synthesis Kartana can be annoying for the team by walling Garchomp and Hoopa-U that didn't use Fire Punch. However, you can bait its Z by setting up with Garchomp then switching to one of your walls, allowing Garchomp to now beat it.

Vs Balance

If the opposing balance doesn't have a Tyranitar, Hoopa-U almost gives you auto wins. Here is an example vs a Gliscor/pex team. The game is haxxy but it's still a showcase of the matchup :

The team also has a great matchup vs the Venusaur Bisharp team originally written by Wishkiller ( thanks to hoopa if Bisharp isn't the Pursuit variant as well as Garchomp.

As precedently statued, vs Pursuit Tyranitar, hoopa won't win by itself. But often, it can help etablish win cons by taking at least one kill, hard switching the trapper often being a loosing play. There are teams vs which you can't do that however, (for example : / since they have lots of opportunities to scout what move hoopa locks itself into with pex or Tangrowth before switching to Tyranitar.

Finally, I wanna highlight the Knock Off Tornadus-T matchup. This version being able to chip at Celesteela makes it more threatening. However, it can't switch in on repeted Sludge Bombs and fears Scald burns / Sludge Bomb poison. Breaking with hoopa or outdamaging with Venusaur can be a game plan vs these teams : /

Vs Stall

We already covered stall with trapper matchups as well as Buzzwole stall matchups. Hoopa fully deals with any other classic version : /

Note : This team contains 2 Leech Seed users, 2 Stone Edge users and 1 Gunk Shot user. Sometimes you'll have to hit to win and won't.

Difficult matchups

Common matchups

The only mons being able to tank hits from Swampert not being able to threaten it in return makes Rain matchups very difficult : / (vs manaphy rain)

Nothing in the team tanks a +1 Z from Volcarona while threatening it for a KO. Its an unwinnable matchup bar crits with fini's Scald (or opponent's misplay). Here are examples of battles vs it :

A Specs Blacephalon is only outsped by lando while not being walled and dealing with a Scarf or Z one restrains your plays too much. It's a winnable matchup, but very hard :

Teams using Magnezone and a pokémon you need Celesteela versus are difficult matchups depending on the pokémon. However they aren't unwiable matchups :

Rarer matchups

The aforementioned Buzzwole Stalls are unwinnable matchups bar crit with hoopa's Fire Punch. A fast Gliscor with Taunt is also unbeatable since you can't rely on Celesteela to wear it down enough.

Other « version » of the team

other version.jpg

This team resolves all the aforementioned bad matchups (besides Buzzwole Stall). However, it has some other issues :
  • Excadrill removing hazards without being threatened by the setters​
  • Fairium Z Koko that 6-0s except if you hit it first with Heatran​
  • Whirlpool fini that prevents you from switching back and forth between pex and Latias, which is the way of dealing with another Taunt fini set​
  • any Dark type that isn't affected by Toxic Spikes such as Gyarados, Sableye, Hydreigon or Bisharp​

Feel free to make suggestions or ask something regarding the teams or plays in the replays.
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