VGC I Accidentally Made a Decent Team

Bull Of Heaven

99 Pounders / 4'3" Feet
is a Pre-Contributor
Since the start of social distancing, I've gotten into playing the VGC format for the first time ever. Double battles were never my thing before, but it's turned out to be fun. I'm not very good at teambuilding yet though.

So there I was, playing around with an absolutely terrible gimmick on the VGC ladder, when I made a few tweaks to my team and ended up with my most successful build yet. I even bred the Pokemon in-game so I could use this team in the May IC, though I think I only went slightly over .500 in that. I guess I'm going to retire it now, but I've really enjoyed using it, so here's an RMT.

Team history below, in case you're wondering just how bad the original gimmick was.


Okay, so the original idea was a VGC Sticky Web team. Ribombee would try to set up Webs, Silvally would boom, and the non-lead Pokemon were all strong attackers that aren't especially fast (basically whichever such attackers I happened to think of). Oof.


With Sticky Web not working, I tried a swamp version with Water Pledge Inteleon and Grass Pledge Silvally. It was almost better, but the swamp just doesn't last long enough.


After going back to the original build, I thought I'd add the basic Snorlax/Ribombee" combo to give it another dimension. Dracovish wasn't pulling its weight, so it was what I dropped for Snorlax. At this point I thought of the team as having three "modes": Snorlax + Ribombee, Tyranitar + Excadrill, and Silvally + Webs. But...


...I soon realized that Silvally + Webs wasn't really adding anything to the team. Nothing still depended on Webs; Excadrill had Tyranitar support, Tyranitar didn't need to outspeed things, Snorlax had Speed Swap support, and I had already switched to Scarf Chandelure a while earlier because other sets hadn't been fast enough even with Webs. On top of that, Silvally was just bad, often failing to get the KOs it needed with Explosion, or even to get the Explosion off at all. The Webs gimmick was useless, so I finally got rid of it.

Gastrodon stood out as a replacement, since the team has so many Water weaknesses. So I gave it a try, and watched my rating suddenly take off for a bit.

One last note before we get into it: I have no idea how to do VGC EV spreads, but I know how to slap a quick 252/252/4 together.

The Team


Chandelure @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Infiltrator
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Heat Wave
- Shadow Ball
- Energy Ball
- Trick

Scarf Chandelure is sort of a complementary attacker. It's not usually the main focus of the offense, but it's a splashable threat to beat different kinds of opponents that might give its teammates some trouble. Most importantly, it nicely keeps up the team's overall offensive pressure. I used to Dynamax Chandelure fairly often, but at some I mostly stopped. It can still Dynamax sometimes.

Heat Wave is, of course, the most important attack, since it hits both opponents for big damage. Shadow Ball is the obvious second STAB attack, and is good for pressuring things like Dusclops and maybe sometimes Dragapult. Energy Ball covers Ground- and Water-types. I almost never use Trick, and have considered dropping it for Psychic, but I've kept it for the access to Max Guard. And the handful of times I have used Trick, it's been fairly clutch, most notably shutting down and entire side of the opponent's field by locking their Gyarados into Waterfall while I switched Gastrodon in.

I've thought about trying Charizard in this spot to patch up the team's Ground weakness, especially against Earthquake Excadrill (big threat; can beat both of my Pokemon at once instead of beating only one and then dying). G-Max Charizard could also give the team yet another offensive boost thanks to G-Max Wildfire. But I never tried this for a few reasons: (1) I just like Chandelure more; (2) Chandelure has Grass coverage that's usable outside of Sun/Dynamax; (3) I never quite figured out the value of Shadow Ball to this team; and (4) I eventually just stopped testing new things.


Excadrill @ Life Orb
Ability: Sand Rush
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- High Horsepower
- Iron Head
- Rock Slide
- Protect

At some point, this emerged as the main attacker on the team, and by far the Pokemon I Dynamax most often. I used to wait to Dynamax, and try to pick the right Pokemon at the right moment, but now I often Dynamax Excadrill within the first few turns. With a Sand Rush boost via Tyranitar, and boosts to its defensive stats from its Max Moves, it can be very hard for an opponent to overpower.

High Horsepower and Iron Head are obvious STAB, and give the aforementioned defensive boosts as Max Moves. Since they're equally strong Max Moves in neutral matchups, I can choose whichever boost seems best in the moment. Rock Slide is good for its spread damage and flinch chance, especially with Tyranitar also using it in the same turn. Max Rockfall also gives Excadrill a situational way to set up its own sand without Tyranitar. Protect does what it does.


Gastrodon-East @ Rindo Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Earth Power
- Clear Smog
- Recover

Great glue Pokemon. The main reason to use it is, of course, that Storm Drain gives valuable cover to Chandelure, Excadrill, and Tyranitar. It also keeps me from just losing to Dracovish. In-game especially (i.e. not on Showdown), I ran into a lot of opponents who didn't seem to know what Gastrodon does, and sometimes just handed the whole battle to it.

Gastrodon is also the closest thing this team has to a defensive backbone, and can sometimes pull a game back from the edge of defeat just by surviving for a while.

The STABs are decent for chip damage after a boost, and Scald lets me fish for burns. Clear Smog chips the ubiquitous Fairy-types, and is a sometimes-useful panic button against setup threats. Recover is important for keeping Gastrodon alive, especially without Leftovers. The Rindo Berry was the only item I ever tried on it, and it kept Gastrodon alive in enough clutch moments that I think it was the right choice. The other moves that I seriously considered were Yawn and Protect, but I don't think there's any moveslot that I would want to open for them.


Ribombee @ Focus Sash
Ability: Sweet Veil
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Ally Switch
- Speed Swap
- Moonblast
- Protect

My favourite Pokemon to use on this team. It has two distinct roles, depending on how I'm approaching the game, so it just feels like a such a good fit.

Ribombee either leads alongside Snorlax, or is in the back if I'm not bringing Snorlax and the opponent has a Fighting-type or Dragapult. With Snorlax, it wants to use Speed Swap at least once; I did sometimes go on to mess with the opponents' Speed, and I once Speed Swapped Snorlax a second time to handle Trick Room. Ribombee often dies to quickly to accomplish all of this, but that's okay, because the first Speed Swap is what's important.

Speed Swap can be useful to other teammates too, but I didn't use it as often as I expected. I did once get through a game by Speed Swapping Gastrodon so that its Recover went before the opponents' attacks.

I originally had Dazzling Gleam instead of Moonblast, but my team was seriously against Fighting-types. Switching to Moonblast to maximize the damage on a single target, and changing my lineups so that I could strategically save Ribombee to counter Fighting-types, just about solved that weakness. It also saved me against Dragapult sometimes.

Ally Switch and Protect can drag things out so that my other Pokemon can more easily do their jobs. No room for Pollen Puff, but oh well.

Focus Sash might not always be ideal on a sand team, but Ribombee's role is often fulfilled if it just takes one hit and gets off a Speed Swap or Moonblast. Not surviving the end of the turn isn't usually a problem, and not taking a hit at all would be.


Snorlax-Gmax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 252 Def / 12 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Belly Drum
- Double-Edge
- High Horsepower
- Heavy Slam

This is G-Max Snorlax on Showdown, but I didn't have one in the actual game, and I figured regular Snorlax would do. I do have a G-Max Snorlax now, but it doesn't have Gluttony. Oof.

Anyway, this is the Pokemon I brought least often, I think because I never really figured out what a "Snorlax matchup" looks like. In the end, I tend to just use it if there's no other obvious choice at preview, or I see a matchup where my other Pokemon simply can't cover everything. In a way, Snorlax is the team's "oh shit button". I did make a deliberate effort to use Snorlax more often toward the end, and it got some good results in the IC.

Snorlax is almost always a lead next to Ribombee. I do rarely bring it in the back, mostly against Trick Room teams, but it wasn't nearly as good in that role, and it was usually hard to make room for it. Mostly, it just sets up a Belly Drum, [hopefully] receives a Speed Swap, Dynamaxes/Gigantamaxes, and tries to do as much damage as it can. I picked the coverage moves for their Max Move defensive boosts, and admittedly never put a whole lot of thought into them.

Max physical bulk Snorlax was amazing in the IC, surviving all kinds of hits that the opponents probably expected to KO, and not especially missing G-Max Replenish. The Speed drops from Max Strike were less useful than I hoped, though; things like Trick Room, Defiant/Competitive, and Mirror Armor (someday I'll learn how that one works) made it kind of a double-edged sword.

My lowest moment in the IC was when I somehow forgot[?!?] to Dynamax Snorlax, accidentally targeted a Dynamaxed Pokemon with Heavy Slam, and watched Snorlax get knocked out. It was turn 2, and I just forfeited there and took a break for a bit.

Tyranitar @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Rock Slide
- Crunch
- High Horsepower
- Protect

I think of this as basically an "offensive support" Pokemon. It can fire off powerful attacks, and is a huge threat in its own right if the Weakness Policy is activated, but it's mainly here to complement Excadrill. It does this through two main things: Sand Stream and offensive pressure. With both Tyranitar and Excadrill on the field together, even most big threats can only knock one of them out before taking a big hit from the other (this is, notably, my main way to beat Coalossal + Dragapult). Having Rock Slide on both of them is also nice sometimes, for Rock Slide reasons.

Moveset is STABs + coverage + Protect. Almost never Dynamaxes, but still hits hard. Also great for changing unfavourable weather, of course.

Lineup Notes

While they didn't cover every situation, and there was a certain amount of "going with my gut," I had some general guidelines that I followed when choosing my Pokemon for each battle. I'm not yet good enough to predict an opponent's leads, though I'm familiar enough with this team that I was starting to recognize patterns in how opponents dealt with it eventually.

The most common lineup is:
  • Leads: Excadrill + Tyranitar
  • Back: Two of Chandelure, Gastrodon, and Ribombee
I'm very likely picking Gastrodon if the opponent has a Water-type. I'm very likely picking Ribombee if the opponent has a Fighting-type, and probably not otherwise. Chandelure is good in most matchups, and is pretty much mandatory if the opponent has Durant or Corviknight.

Chandelure/Gastrodon can lead instead of either or both of Excadrill/Tyranitar if that just seems to make a lot of sense in the matchup. Chandelure leads against Durant teams, since they tend to use Durant as a lead. Tyranitar is less likely to lead against a weather team, since I want to be able to switch it in and change the weather. Notably, Excadrill + Chandelure is still very good for establishing offensive pressure. Ribombee doesn't lead in this mode, as I don't want to risk it going down before the opponent's Fighting-type does.

Snorlax doesn't usually come at all in this mode. It's mostly saved for the Snorlax mode, which is, of course:
  • Leads: Snorlax + Ribombee
  • Back: Any two of the others
Which Pokemon I bring in the back is again matchup-specific, but it's most often Excadrill + Tyranitar. That gives me a whole other powerful offensive combo to set up once the first one is stopped.


This won't be a full section, because honestly I took longer than I meant to to write the RMT, and it's not all fresh in my head anymore. But here are some notes:
  • Opposing Sand Rush Excadrill can be a big problem, especially if it has Earthquake or a Focus Sash. Fortunately, my own Excadrill usually outspeeds these, even though it isn't max Speed.
  • Corviknight and Durant are deadly if they successfully play around Chandelure. Gastrodon can sometimes stall Corviknight out, but not easily.
  • I usually prevent Trick Room by leading Excadrill + Tyranitar or Excadrill + Chandelure and double-targeting the setter. But when that occasionally fails, it's a tough matchup. Snorlax can do decent anti-TR work sometimes, but it's rare that I have room to bring it to those games.
  • Incineroar can be a big headache if it pivots in and out.
  • Dynamaxed Water-types emerged as an previously-unknown threat in the IC. They just run through the team if I don't have Gastrodon, and can put on a lot of pressure even with it. Also Water attacks that can't be redirected.*
*Which apparently includes Water Pledge? You'd think Bulbapedia or something would say so. I was very confused for a bit.

Final note: No idea how this team would do in a Bo3.


Cool team!

You could always go for Sitrus Berry on Snorlax and then you don't need Gluttony since you don't have one like that in-game
also, was the Water Pledge used in Combination with Grass Pledge? because that would be why it wasn't redirected since it isn't actually a Water-type move, but instead a Grass move.
Cool team!

You could always go for Sitrus Berry on Snorlax and then you don't need Gluttony since you don't have one like that in-game
also, was the Water Pledge used in Combination with Grass Pledge? because that would be why it wasn't redirected since it isn't actually a Water-type move, but instead a Grass move.
No way, going back up to 83% over 75% health is way better, and thick fat is not the best on offensive lax
This team definitely has potential, though I think these changes could help the team out.

We'll start by gutting some of the current members. Chandelure, Snorlax, and Ribombee, get them out of there. You've stated how you almost never bring Snorlax, so better to replace it for something that you will use. 9 times our of 10, Ribombee is on a team purely for Lax support, and since you've already established that you rarely bring Lax, bye bye Ribombee. And Lastly, Chandelure just doesn't really add much to your Ttar-Exdadrill-Gastrodon core that you have. These three replacements should help deal with any weaknesses that core has.

Togekiss @ Babiri Berry
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 252 HP / 200 Def / 56 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Follow Me
- Protect
- Ally Switch
- Dazzling Gleam

This Kiss set will give you that redirection that you'll need to keep your main offensive pokemon healthy. Plus its flying type makes for a great swap in against any possible incoming ground attacks. Babiri Berry will also allow it to live a Max Steelspike relatively well, allowing you to get good damage against those Corvinight and Durant that give you trouble.

Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Hydro Pump
- Thunderbolt
- Protect

Rotom Wash can allow you to make quick work against opposing Incineroars, Excadrills, and Corvinights along with any Water types that aren't named Gastrodon. And thanks to Togekiss and Rotom-Wash's decent enough bulk, you can easily get away with Nasty Plot, allowing you to make a decent sized threat on the spot.

Incineroar @ Figy Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 244 HP / 60 Atk / 84 Def / 108 SpD / 12 Spe
Careful Nature
- Fake Out
- Parting Shot
- Flare Blitz
- Darkest Lariat / Protect

Your final new member is Incineroar. It can allow you to shut down Prankster Whimsicott and Gale Wings Talonflame (depending on which vgc format you're playing on {i.e showdown or the official SS ladder] Talonflame may/may not be currently legal) by not only breaking their sashes, but also preventing them from setting up tailwind. Parting Shot can reduce the threat level of an opposing pokemon and can let you bring in a member more suited to take on said opposing mon. Flare Blitz can let you deal some good damage once Incineroar's close to death. And as for the last slot, you can either go Protect or Darkest Lariat. I'm not completely sure which one your team would prefer, so I'll leave that choice up to you.

Hope these changes help you out.
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