Gen 2 I went through a teambuilding exercise and wrote some words about it

Jorgen

World's Strongest Fairy
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion
tl;dr I make a shitty team and still try to make it sound like I'm hot shit

enjoy

Ever wondered how teams work in GSC? Well, here's a little example of a teambuilding exercise I went through. This particular example is of a team that DOESN'T work, but there's plenty to be learned from counter-examples. I also go through an exercise to try to "fix" the team, which still feels kinda sub-par, but still forces more wins than the original version.

My main idea going into team-building went something like this:
-Steelix is a pretty nasty wallbreaker because he can force his walls to eat Explosion thanks to Curse.
-However, one thing that Steelix doesn't want to Explode on, and that simultaneously steals a lot of momentum in the Spikes game, is Cloyster.
-If I can support this with a mon that can get quick Cloyster kills, Steelix gets really dangerous.
-Tbolt Ttar can get quick Cloy kills. Also backs up Steelix as a Phazer to free him up to Explode.

So here, my team looked like this:
Steelix @ Leftovers
-Earthquake
-Explosion
-Curse
-Roar

Tyranitar @ Leftovers
-Crunch
-Pursuit
-Thunderbolt
-Roar

I use Crunch because it lets Ttar do all the other Pursuit jobs it could ever want. From there, I filled in the rest of the team. Obviously, Snorlax needs to be on here somewhere, and with all these Ground weaknesses piling up, it seemed natural to toss Zapdos on the team to avoid that being a huge issue.

Snorlax @ Leftovers
(Set TBD)

Zapdos @ Leftovers
-Thunder
-HP Ice
-Rest
-Sleep Talk


From here, I still wanted other Ground counters. I also notice I don't yet have anything to play the Spikes game. I also have 3 Fighting weaknesses and only Zapdos to address Machamp so far. It seems increasingly obvious that Starmie is the only thing able to plug all the holes I'd need to with this slot:

Starmie @ Leftovers
-Surf
-Psychic
-Recover
-Rapid Spin

Starmie also helps deal with stuff like Tentacruel and Charizard that could otherwise be a royal pain and limit my options for the last slot. With my options sufficiently opened up, I figured I'd want another Explosion to synergize with Steelix's, possibly allowing double-pronged targeting of possible lynchpins of the opponent's defenses. Having only 1 Explosion is rarely useful offensively. Zapdos is often a pretty annoying mon to deal with, not to mention CharmBreon can also cramp Steelix's style. One dude who does a good job of countering both, all while shoring up possible Vap problems and giving me yet another look against Grounds (Starmie is really not something you want to be your primary answer there), I have Exeggutor:

Exeggutor @ Leftovers
-Psychic
-Giga Drain
-Sleep Powder
-Explosion

I had toyed with the Thief idea to ensure relevant sleep, but in the end I chickened out against the PursuitTar menace. Giga is more useful for limiting Vap and Suicune, and its healing is actually a lot more relevant than you'd think in terms of letting Egg stick around to get the boom off.

From here, I finally decided to settle on a Lax set. I noticed Ttar could take out Ghosts and make life hard for Miltank, whereas you can't necessarily rely on Steelix to Explode on Skarm. And if Steelix did Explode on Skarm, that'd open up Exeggutor, so I already had a plan to capitalize on that. And then there's the Umbreon double-team. Seems like plenty of ways to get FB Curselax rolling:

Snorlax @ Leftovers
-Double-Edge
-Fire Blast
-Curse
-Rest


The overall theme with this team was to have stall-like defensive coverage against key threats while also having offensive strength. Borat-esque Explosion teams tend to run into problems against Ttar and Tenta and Charizard, which this team avoids by emphasizing the defensive more and packing Starmie. They can also struggle to have sufficient coverage against all forms of Curselax, whereas this team has Steelix and Ttar to give a solid answer to FB Lax while having 2 high-defense Phazers that an EQ Lax would need to muscle through. Of course, this all comes at the cost of offensive pressure: I lack Spikes and some Explosions, with only Pursuit to really show for it. My idea, though, was that I'd have still enough Explosions to get rolling with just a little bit of Pursuit support, all while avoiding those annoying team matchup problems.

This idea is, however, flawed. Let me pose a not-at-all-ridiculous (in fact, a pretty good) stall team that would completely wall me and ultimately just wear me down:
-Suicune
-Skarmory
-Tyranitar
-Raikou
-Snorlax
-Forretress

This team puts up basically every stop my offenses fail to break through, all while having a pretty good Spikes game, especially when you look over at my own comparatively underdeveloped Spikes game. You'd think I'd be able to generate something with Explosions, right? Well, here's the thing: Steelix's most natural Explosion in this scenario is catching Suicune, who... isn't really needed to wall anything else. Exeggutor is kind of inconvenienced by it, but really, with Giga Drain being a small chance at a 3HKO, and with this stall strugging against Steelix without Suicune, and with three other great answers to Egg, it's unlikely that Egg ever sees Cune. Of those three answers to Egg, Skarm is the best. Egg could even put it to sleep, Skarm doesn't care. Psychic is only a slight chance at 6HKO even with full sleep turns, and Skarm isn't really needed against anything else on the team. It's an annoying case of divide-and-conquer, and it's hard to see a good continuation from there. You'll notice I have a Snorlax who's unable to muscle past Ttar because of my lack of Spikes (Starmie's passiveness really shining through), a Zapdos that doesn't get any help at all (there's no reason for Egg to get a chance to Explode on Raikou with Skarm around, let alone Ttar and Forretress to back it up just in case), and a Ttar who's basically dead weight with nothing to Pursuit.

Against this sort of team, I'd need to rely on dumb luck and surprises. Opponent gets careless and lets Forry die to Lax FB. Opponent brings Ttar in on Egg after letting Skarm take sleep, scouting out HP Fire but instead getting (sort of) crippled by GD. Then Lax critting its way past the Ttar. All in time to not succumb to Spikes, which WILL be down with Forry laying them (thus keeping Starmie from immediately coming in). Perhaps the Forry isn't an HP Bug variant, though, in which case Ttar might carelessly come in to try to Pursuit me, thus letting me cripple him back. Speaking of Starmie and carelessness, maybe Zapdos para's that Raikou and gives Starmie a chance to KO on FPs and shit. Maybe, just maybe, Suicune gets crippled by Ttar Tbolt para and lets me KO that way, thereby opening Steelix up to Explode more usefully on Skarm and maybe giving Egg ideas of nabbing that Raikou. Perhaps my only legit chance of winning comes from a concerted effort of Ttar Tbolt and Steelix EQs on the switch, coupled with hoping the Suicune is not a STer (it SHOULD be a STer, but Vap fears might prompt Roar). Then Steelix might be able to get past a sleeping Cune with +1 EQs rather than boom, which in turn would draw Skarm in at some point and allow an actually-useful Explosion. Still, you note a lot of conditionals and ifs that I have no control over, no ability to enforce - this is a sign of a bad offense.

The fact that he can basically guarantee Spikes cannot be understated. Starmie is rarely a full stop to Spikes on its own, but in this particular case I'd have plenty of recourse against a Cloy team due to Starmie's natural advantage and my Tbolt Ttar, which can also handle spinblockers. Forry, however, just kinda manhandles me with HP Bug threats and inability to be Pursuited by Ttar. I'd need him to take Sleep or a careless FB with it, neither of which I can reliably force. All the while, I can't force a break through his defenses, so he holds strong and watches me wither and die, likely ultimately breaking through my Spikes-worn team with his Snorlax or Raikou.

How could we fix such a team?
(warning: this is where I begin to lose focus and kinda take the shotgun approach to presenting ideas)

As we can see, Starmie and Ttar are the weak links here. Ttar at least has utility against a possible FB Lax in this scenario, and is kind of driving my team concept, so he's not the weakest link. If we try to go MixTar, too, we lose the ability to back up Steelix with another Phazer and therefore the ability to freely use it to wallbreak, which also kinda flagrantly breaks the concept of the team (not to mention paradoxically reduces its own effectiveness, as a Steelix unable to Explode freely can't necessarily get Suicune out of the way for mixed Ttar to be useful). You'd also need all 4 attacks for MixTar to really be scary, even without Suicune, which means no Pursuit and, consequently, all the benefits you kinda rely on with that. The theme of this team seems to be insufficient wallbreaking and poor synergy with sweepers, so what we probably don't need is another attacker that tends to function more as a matchup-dependent sweeper than a wallbreaker.

The other option is to trade out this weaksauce Starmie, but there's not a lot of great options that can still play the Spikes game. Perhaps a Forretress of my own, with HP Fire + Toxic to ensure I can keep Spikes against another Forry, then use Tbolt Ttar to help out against Starmie and Cloy. Problem is, this makes me mad weak to some of the stuff Starmie was supposed to help with: Ttar, Tentacruel, Charizard, Grounds, and Machamp all have much easier lives now. I guess Explosion > Toxic would be an option to mitigate this somewhat, but then there's no reliable way to weaken Starmie so that Ttar may one day force it into a dilemma. I guess there's some give-or-take here: after all, Starmie being dead weight and therefore forcing you to play 5-on-6 in common matchups is probably worse than being swept by the odd Charizard, even if the latter is a much more obvious cause of your loss. So Forr may actually be closer to a (local) maximum, but it does kind of go against the philosophy of the team and is still riddled with obvious weaknesses, so let's try to find another fix.

Okay, so what of other possible changes? Egg running HP Fire over Giga Drain might work, as it allows Egg to circumvent Steels and possibly get at something good. The problem with this plan, however, is that Ttar still can't be broken easily. Maybe you can Sleep it and then pound on it with +1 Lax DEs, which actually isn't a terrible plan. However, if you don't get the Sleep, or Ttar starts rolling (you struggle to switch in on it, and with no GD deterrent a mixed Ttar is a lot more likely to find opportunities to get good hits in), there's not a great way to follow up. So it's basically live or die by the accurate sleep, which is a dicey plan, but probably better than the futility of the above scenario. Running Vap > Starmie is a possibility in this situation; Starmie's hardly a sure bet to keep Spikes off, we've already seen how useless it can be, and Vap might actually make use of some Explosion holes or even break that pesky Raikou. Not to mention it shores up the Ttar weakness. Of course, then we run into Tentacruel issues, but that's a rare enough matchup to tolerate (although it should be getting more common imo). Perhaps AA Vap, but then you struggle to keep Vap active and may as well just run Suicune.

There's also another potential fix: run a fourth attack on Lax! If you can add, say, EQ to that last slot, you can smash right through the Rocks while not needing to rely on the Skarm Explosion kill from Steelix, and problem should be solved, right? Plus the surprise KO will be a lot more likely, perhaps likely enough to mitigate the fact you can't force it per se. There's other options like LK and Toxic, too. I wouldn't do a SD set here because that makes all three of your Raikou answers Exploders, which means you have three wallbreakers that do not target Raikou. They all go boom, Raikou sweeps you. Not a fun way to end a match. So Lax needs to sweep. I also wouldn't use a Rest set either because mixed Resting Lax tends to underwhelm; he'll probably get more health back from free lefties due to Curse anyway, all while staying active (something I find a Rest mixlax struggles to accomplish).

Even without blowing up a multi-attack non-Rest Lax, though, you'd probably want another Raikou answer with both of your other main ones being Exploders (which you intend to use to wallbreak). Raikou is the bigger deal here because when push comes to shove, you can always go for Zapdos dittos, not to mention that Zapdos gets targeted by Explosions. Anyway, a possible response to this is a Raikou of your own, which would go over Zapdos. This would also help against the Tenta and Charizard threats that might otherwise prompt you to keep Starmie over a Spiker like Forry, and any weakness that emerges against Nidoking could be answered by an Exploding Forry (which we established wouldn't be best last paragraph, but let's roll as though it were just to make the following point hit that much harder). However, you'd be even weaker against Machamp, EQ Ttar (don't sleep on it!), and Grounds like Marowak, so to preserve the "don't lose obviously to shit" principle, Starmie will need to be kept should Zapdos be replaced by Raikou. Grounds, particularly Nidoking, get pretty rough to handle, but it's not an insurmountable challenge, and now you've semi-safely inserted a Lax that's much more capable of breaking teams open without Spikes support.

If push comes to shove, you might be able to try a ST Suicune here to mitigate Ground problems a bit here (or even Vap to potentially blast through opposing Raikous and make use of holes opened by your Exploders, although being slower than Nidoking is not great), but I feel like not being able to do ANYTHING about Spikes without a flier and with so many non-Rest mons can be pretty brutal. ALTERNATIVELY, I could keep Zapdos and run EQ > Tbolt on Ttar. Is it janky? Yes. But it would give a semi-decent answer to Raikou that the team would appreciate (remember, Zapdos isn't as big a deal because I can force plays against it).

Overall, the original team was flawed, and attempts to address its shortcomings revealed other shortcomings. The main takeaways, imo, are:
1 - Don't sleep on Suicune! Offenses need a way to not only wallbreak it, but capitalize off that. Having no sweepers ready to capitalize off the lack of Suicune kind of doomed the central concept from the start, considering that's one of Steelix's wallbreaking possibilities (the original Steelix wallbreak, actually, before Suicune dipped in popularity, Zapdos got Hidden Power, and Steelix consequently decided to start Exploding on Zapdos instead). You can generalize this to "you should ensure your team has offensive synergy" instead, as we found some lame ducks and a Zapdos that couldn't get free in the example above.
2 - Don't be too passive! Especially on teams that rely on attacking, rather than Spikes, for offense. Needing to rely on Starmie put the nail in the coffin for this team, as it did NOTHING to help my offenses and only very weakly addressed my Spikes game. You could make this more specific by changing it to "Starmie sucks" instead, because it really, really does.
3 - No team is perfect. Just make sure you have SOME play against your weaknesses, rather than trying to ensure your answers are air-tight. (One way to have play is to be FASTER, by the way, so Speed really matters when teambuilding, and it's better to be "weak" to slower threats like Marowak than faster threats like Nidoking). If you try to do the air-tight strategy, you'll run into problems that go a little deeper than the surface level. This example team's philosophy of trying to do offense while having "perfect" defenses for any matchup revealed that its offense was not actually sufficient!
 
Hp Fire > Sleep Powder can be a nice alternative. You can try to explode on Raikou or to weaken Tyranitar with Giga Drain, which is fine too. Spowder + Hp Fire is also good imho. Should Steelix explode on Zapdos, Gutor with Hp Fire would do a lot of damage.

Still Drumlax can drum against your starmie, expecially if paired with Cloyster, and you don't have many answers to that. Confuse Ray or Reflect on Starmie would help.

Also your answers to Curselax with Eq and DE+FB+EQ Lax are not so great. That Reflect or Starmie may be really helpful
 

Jorgen

World's Strongest Fairy
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Both good ideas. Trips-attack Egg actually came to me a few minutes after posting, and it's probably the best set for this team. Reflect Starmie I didn't really consider, but on top of mitigating Lax threats (I mean you're right, with all-special Ttar, no Spikes, prime setup bait in Starmie, and only one faster Explosion that would rather be used to wallbreak, Drumlax is more of a problem than it usually is), it also lets Starmie spin on Forry maybe (which really only delays the inevitable, but still). I guess I wanted to keep Psychic because it deals with Tenta better, as I'm kinda high on Tenta right now and this team is kinda weak to it otherwise.

Really, this is an Explosion team that wants more Explosions. That's the main thing to it. More Explosions means more flexibility with what you can Explode on and still be able to wallbreak.
 
I'd have to agree that having zero durable counters for EQ CurseLax (literally the oldest thing in the book) is not by any stretch "stall-like defensive coverage against key threats". And that luring Cloyster is only really "worth it" if you're running Forretress or some other spinner that's NOT Starmie (ie, something that can remove Spikes but needs Cloyster to be dead to do so).
 

Jorgen

World's Strongest Fairy
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In theory, any team without Skarm lacks a "durable EQ Lax" counter. Steelix is plenty for EQ Lax is many cases, although on this team it kinda stinks because of Starmie. This could be rectified somewhat by the Reflect idea.

Ttar wasn't exactly meant to be a "lure". I mean it'll catch Cloy by surprise pretty frequently, but even with Tbolt being common knowledge, the idea is that it can double on Cloy or something, abuse the fact that it's almost never 2HKOed, and then threaten to 2HKO in return with Tbolt + (Tbolt again / Pursuit on the switch). Starmie is not going to prevent Spikes forever against a Cloy team, worst case they have a spinblocker, best case you need to let Spikes stay down for a few turns because Starmie is poisoned and needs to Recover. So being able to relieve Starmie of that pressure is nice. Not to mention that beating Cloy was about opening up opportunities for Steelix to go boom, which Starmie doesn't accomplish even though it shuts it down pretty nicely.

Steelix + Ttar is pretty redundant. I figured it might work out if I believed hard enough, but then again, when I saw that I'd need a Starmie, I should've known it wouldn't. Have I mentioned how terrible Starmie is yet?

Team #1 I've definitely used (or at least built) before. It's good stuff. I haven't used Jumpluff though, Egg just seems better. Often I'll use Gengar > Machamp, with the idea that Machamp is kind of a shaky primary answer to anything if it lacks Rest, most mons Ttar is supposed to beat can still give it a hard time anyway, and Gengar adds Speed, an extra Explosion, and lots of other cool stuff (including being a decent second look to Tentacruel!).

Team #2 sort of violates the rule I tend to use, which is "use an Electric", although there's definitely been more than one time where I've felt that to be overly restrictive. Vap and FBLax would probably require Cune to be a Roar variant, which won't hold up well against the latter and in general I kinda prefer Cune to be a Sleep Talker. Especially on that team, where nothing else outside of Lax can really do that, and ST Lax without Pursuit means Missy gets a lot of openings. Also that Cloyster is probably never going to keep Spikes against a Starmie team (the only goddamn time Starmie would actually be useful is when it'd be used against me :( ).

Team #3 I've used, but in true "gotta use an Electric" fashion, it had Zapper > Heracross. With Zapdos you can paralyze Raikou. Then again, that can run into Ttar issues, but Heracross just feels like it's not doing much for that team other than covering Ttar (and even then, Fire Blast can make things dicey). I just tend to just accept not having a 100% answer to it for reasons established before. Although having Machamp + Charizard is an idea I've toyed with before, considering both enjoy having Cloyster take out Starmie for them.
 
In theory, any team without Skarm lacks a "durable EQ Lax" counter. Steelix is plenty for EQ Lax is many cases, although on this team it kinda stinks because of Starmie. This could be rectified somewhat by the Reflect idea.
I said "EQ CurseLax" (DrumLax is less of an issue thanks to its riskier nature; without significant support or misplays it is not a sweeper threat, while CurseLax threatens unstoppable rampage). Miltank and Umbreon count; even Charm Clefable is effective for quite a while and there's a couple of other weird answers like DCurl/Rest Forretress.

And I'd agree that Steelix is often enough on an offensive team. What I was objecting to was "stall-like defensive coverage against key threats", which you stated as part of the idea of the team. EQ CurseLax is probably the most key threat in existence, and your coverage of it is not at all "stall-like".

Ttar wasn't exactly meant to be a "lure". I mean it'll catch Cloy by surprise pretty frequently, but even with Tbolt being common knowledge, the idea is that it can double on Cloy or something, abuse the fact that it's almost never 2HKOed, and then threaten to 2HKO in return with Tbolt + (Tbolt again / Pursuit on the switch). Starmie is not going to prevent Spikes forever against a Cloy team, worst case they have a spinblocker, best case you need to let Spikes stay down for a few turns because Starmie is poisoned and needs to Recover. So being able to relieve Starmie of that pressure is nice. Not to mention that beating Cloy was about opening up opportunities for Steelix to go boom, which Starmie doesn't accomplish even though it shuts it down pretty nicely.
My point is that running something whose purpose is "kill Cloy" is most effective when you can exploit that. It's like the bind with Cloyster in RBY; Clamping Starmie and then going to Chansey is redundant, because Chansey can switch in anyway. Here, running something to kill Cloy and also Starmie is redundant, because Starmie doesn't need Cloy killed; it can Spin those Spikes fairly reliably anyway. If you were running a different spinner, like Forretress, which actually can do things with dead Cloy that it can't with live Cloy, there'd be better synergy.

Not to mention that if you want something that can double on Cloy and apply pressure, there are better options than bloody Tyranitar. Break out Gengar or Tentacruel or something that isn't weak to Cloyster's main STAB and outsped. Even Dragonite would be a better idea if you're not trying to "lure".

Steelix + Ttar is pretty redundant. I figured it might work out if I believed hard enough, but then again, when I saw that I'd need a Starmie, I should've known it wouldn't. Have I mentioned how terrible Starmie is yet?
If it's so terrible, why's it still A-rank in your thread? I seem to recall clamouring for it to be B more than once. :P

Team #2 sort of violates the rule I tend to use, which is "use an Electric"

Team #3 I've used, but in true "gotta use an Electric" fashion
The issue is building an Electric-less team that doesn't get rekt by Roar Suicune (and to some extent Skarmory) + Spikes. I think beyond that it's not necessarily that big a deal, though the required amount of kludges to avoid the aforementioned defeat in detail might itself render the team suboptimal. Spin/Rest Cloy + Pursuit support might be enough to make it feasible? IDK.
 

Jorgen

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I was talking about CurseLax. Main point wasn't actually to make this a "stall" team, because imo that would require Spikes of my own. It was more "stall-like" in the sense that you can cover threats by tanking them rather than needing to (at least threaten to) Explode on them the way other Explosion teams would need to. Also Charmers are so vulnerable to Spikes and getting DE'd on the switch. They're at least better than Growlers though. Growl Blissey especially; that does not work as a Snorlax check, and I only say that because I've definitely seen it employed as such (and won against it by just going for a crit DE).

Steelix was meant to be the thing that exploited Cloyster's absence. Ttar was meant to Pursuit it, thereby opening up an Explosion lane for Steelix, who otherwise gets blocked by Cloyster. I kind of assumed that from there, when coupled with Egg, I'd have enough to bust open an opposing team. Then I played the team through, and saw this wasn't quite the case. Steelix just doesn't target anything specifically enough with its Explosion. Also, the secondary idea with Ttar here was flawed; if I need to use it to Pursuit Cloyster, it's not going to be healthy enough to step in for Steelix vs Snorlax after it Explodes.

I've definitely theorycrafted a team with Marowak as the thing that exploits Cloy's absence with this sort of Ttar set. Definitely a much more active solution, although I wanted to see if I could sacrifice some of that activity for a more defensively useful option.

I guess Starmie is still A-rank because I respect it enough when teambuilding to have a plan for it. Like, you need to have a plan to get around it if you want Cloy to keep Spikes, or for Charizard/Machamp to sweep. You can kinda get away with not explicitly preparing for most other B-rank mons. It doesn't help that Starmie lives to remove Spikes, and you can often just let Spikes wear down stuff like Umbreon and Machamp for you.

The main thing I tend to worry about without an Electric is Vap. I don't like being without a mon that can actively kick it. RoarCune can also be annoying if you can't kick it, although it's more about generating a subtle advantage with SpikesRoar rather than straight-up sweeping you, and therefore doesn't force an instant response and gives you more play.
 
There are other ways to beat Vaporeon. For example RoarCune effectively counters non-HpElectric-Vapo. If you have Suicune in your team, you'll just need someone to finish off Vapo as a last pokemon. For example a faster exploder or an encorer.

Another thing you can do to stop Vaporeon is exploiting its grass weakness by using something like Exeggutor, Meganium, Venusaur etc. Or you can have electric moves on non-electric pokèmon, like Starmie and Blissey (not sure about Blissey's effectiveness though).

Conflict's team #2 and #3 both have a way to deal with Vaporeon. The #2 has an interesting Dragonite. Maybe an exploding Cloyster. And of course Snorlax, for no AA Vapo. Still, I don't like Suicune in that team. Maybe stalk Machamp with eq or Vapo would be better.

Team #3 has an Exeggutor. Considering the goal of the team is sweeping with Charizard, you don't necessarily need to explode on the electrics. You can try Stun Spore + Giga Drain + Psychic + SP/LS/Moonlight lol so you won't fear losing your Vaporeon counter. Snorlax+Cloyster+Heracross will be enough for Ice Beam Vaporeon.
 
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I was talking about CurseLax. Main point wasn't actually to make this a "stall" team, because imo that would require Spikes of my own. It was more "stall-like" in the sense that you can cover threats by tanking them rather than needing to (at least threaten to) Explode on them the way other Explosion teams would need to.
Except Steelix takes 30-40% damage each time it forces EQ CurseLax out. It's a much shakier answer to it than even Miltank.

Also Charmers are so vulnerable to Spikes and getting DE'd on the switch. They're at least better than Growlers though. Growl Blissey especially; that does not work as a Snorlax check, and I only say that because I've definitely seen it employed as such (and won against it by just going for a crit DE).
Agreed on Blissey. Umbreon's pretty hard to break, though, particularly with Moonlight.

Steelix was meant to be the thing that exploited Cloyster's absence. Ttar was meant to Pursuit it, thereby opening up an Explosion lane for Steelix, who otherwise gets blocked by Cloyster. I kind of assumed that from there, when coupled with Egg, I'd have enough to bust open an opposing team. Then I played the team through, and saw this wasn't quite the case. Steelix just doesn't target anything specifically enough with its Explosion. Also, the secondary idea with Ttar here was flawed; if I need to use it to Pursuit Cloyster, it's not going to be healthy enough to step in for Steelix vs Snorlax after it Explodes.
Well yeah, Explosion isn't an end, it's a means; setting up some sort of weird counterplay just so you can use an Explosion is getting into Rube Goldberg territory. I'd rather come at it from the other direction; use something that wants Cloyster gone, and then use Steelix to blow up Cloyster.

I guess Starmie is still A-rank because I respect it enough when teambuilding to have a plan for it. Like, you need to have a plan to get around it if you want Cloy to keep Spikes, or for Charizard/Machamp to sweep. You can kinda get away with not explicitly preparing for most other B-rank mons. It doesn't help that Starmie lives to remove Spikes, and you can often just let Spikes wear down stuff like Umbreon and Machamp for you.
You have to count Machamp weaknesses, you worried a lot in this thread about Tentacruel, and one of the most common newbie mistakes is to build teams that are rekt by Misdreavus and TrapPass Umbreon. You say you used to accidentally build a lot of Rhydon-weak teams. And Starmie's only a problem when you have two or more things walled by it; otherwise, it just neutralises one (or zero) of your Pokemon and makes it not do anything that game - but Starmie's not doing anything else either.

Remember that your definition of "B-rank" is: They have some flaws that prevent them from being as consistent as the higher-ranked Pokemon, but are nonetheless powerful and should be taken into account when building a team.

And your definition of "A-rank" is: versatile enough to fit onto just about any team.

Are your definitions not actually the criteria you're using? If this is the case, you need to fix them.

Anyway we're getting off topic, we might want to move it to that thread.

For example RoarCune effectively counters non-HpElectric-Vapo.
Roar Vaporeon gets past it too.

(That reminds me, I was thinking about this months back and considered Roar Vap as a solution to a lot of the problems posed by running Electric-less.)

Another thing you can do to stop Vaporeon is exploiting its grass weakness by using something like Exeggutor, Meganium, Venusaur etc. Or you can have electric moves on non-electric pokèmon, like Starmie and Blissey (not sure about Blissey's effectiveness though).
Run the damage calcs. Vaporeon is very specially bulky; STAB Grass moves and non-STAB Thunderbolts (aside from Gengar's) don't tend to get 3HKOs and as such don't work well against Sleep Talk Vap (particularly Giga Drain with its low PP). Non-STAB Thunders are strong enough, but Thunder itself is inaccurate and as such you're still talking about unreliable 3HKOs. SubSeed Egg is a pretty solid answer, but it's not its Grass STAB that enables it.

You can try Stun Spore + Giga Drain + Psychic + SP/LS/Moonlight lol so you won't fear losing your Vaporeon counter. Snorlax+Cloyster+Heracross will be enough for Ice Beam Vaporeon.
Egg learns Synthesis, not Moonlight. And that set, even with Synthesis, isn't that good a counter for Sleep Talk Vap. You're relying on getting a 40% 3HKO through RestTalk (which, remember, makes 5/9 of what would have been 3HKOs into not-KOs) before running through 8 PP, or getting the 10% SpD drop (and that only forces it out, it doesn't kill it).
 
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Run the damage calcs. Vaporeon is very specially bulky; STAB Grass moves and non-STAB Thunderbolts (aside from Gengar's) don't tend to get 3HKOs and as such don't work well against Sleep Talk Vap (particularly Giga Drain with its low PP). Non-STAB Thunders are strong enough, but Thunder itself is inaccurate and as such you're still talking about unreliable 3HKOs. SubSeed Egg is a pretty solid answer, but it's not its Grass STAB that enables it.

Egg learns Synthesis, not Moonlight. And that set, even with Synthesis, isn't that good a counter for Sleep Talk Vap. You're relying on getting a 40% 3HKO through RestTalk (which, remember, makes 5/9 of what would have been 3HKOs into not-KOs) before running through 8 PP, or getting the 10% SpD drop (and that only forces it out, it doesn't kill it).
Egg learns both (or at least it used to, back in NB). Okay, the grass mons probably need Leech Seed + grass move to be more realible. I feel Psychic + LS + Giga Drain Exeggutor is pretty much enough to counter Vaporeon if you want to. Of course it doesn't kill if you switch. That's true even for electrics. Venusaur has a high crit chance Razor Leaf and also learns cool things like Growth (and that's a pretty strong answer to vaporeon) and Roar. Meganium probably needs Razor Leaf + Leech Seed + Light Screen and it's actually not very reliable, but still the crit at the right moment will beat Vaporeon, also considering that WITHOUT Light Screen a +6 Vaporeon can't even 2hko Meganium with Leftovers. And there's leech seed. And Light Screen.

Of course the electrics are still the best
 

Jorgen

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All you really need is Seed. Psychic hits for 119-140 damage, seed for another 57, for total DPT of 176-197 before leftovers. Vap recovers 28 per turn with lefties. Vap has 463 HP. Even minimum DPT you get 3*176 - 2*28 = 472 damage.

Of course, Ice Beam messes things up a bit, there's no way you live two +1 IBs with Leech Seed alone. Can Giga help with that? +1 IB does 287 min damage. Giga Drain recovery gives you a maximum of 94 HP back. Seed recovery gives you 57 HP back. Lefties another 24 HP. Egg has 393 HP. 2*287 - 94 - 57 - 24 = 399 damage. Thus, no chance to beat Vap even in this pure 1-v-1 case (let alone switching in on Growth, which is more common).
 

Mr.E

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But then luckily its Ice Beam Vaporeon, so you should probably be able to find another way to beat it anyway.
 

Jorgen

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It's actually trickier than you'd think. I mean, IB Vap should not run Rest as its fourth, and if it does, what you say holds: IB Vap stinks. However, HP Electric/Roar for Suicune, or AA/BP to get around Lax are what you should be using, and all of those options make for a much scarier Vap set.
 
It's actually trickier than you'd think. I mean, IB Vap should not run Rest as its fourth, and if it does, what you say holds: IB Vap stinks. However, HP Electric/Roar for Suicune, or AA/BP to get around Lax are what you should be using, and all of those options make for a much scarier Vap set.
...but one that doesn't come in on Skarm/Miltank literally forever and Tyranitar/Steelix basically forever the way ST Vap does.
 

Mr.E

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I wouldn't say Ice Beam Vaporeon stinks but it seems like a pretty niche moveset, since obviously whatever move you're not packing to accomodate it makes Vap much less generally useful for the primary gain of improving the Eggy matchup. (It doesn't necessarily even beat it due to being vulnerable to sleep without Sleep Talk, pending Sleep Clause.) Rest is bad without Sleep Talk or Acid Armor, Sleep Talk is obviously bad without Rest, Acid Armor is kinda limited since you're still gonna take a beating trying to outduel Snorlax without Rest. Baton Pass is fine, of course, but kinda defeats the purpose of having Ice Beam since there's no reason to keep Vaporeon in against Eggy if you have that. It's pretty limiting.
 

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