VGC Requiem of the Rainstorm

I've been playing VGC since about 2014, but am still learning the ins, out, and idiosyncrasies of VGC 2020. That said, I've managed to build a team that seems to work really well; from about 45 battles of testing on Battle Stadium with a pretty good win/loss ratio, there aren't a ton of playstyles that it overly struggles against, and every battle I've lost I've been able to look back and figure out a path to win by playing differently (as opposed to "my team had no way to deal with this opponent").

Latest update: With this team I'm currently sitting at around No. 4000 in the world, with a record of 38W/20L.

Team at a Glance
:gothitelle: :politoed: :magnezone: :kingdra: :amoonguss: :incineroar:

I wish I could explain the teambuilding process, but the truth is that the rain core of Gothitelle/Politoed/Kingdra/Amoonguss just fell together all at once, and then my friend (who's way better at VGC than I'll ever be) suggested Magnezone and Incineroar for the last two Pokemon. The team itself is a 3-mode team, being able to operate as either Rain, Trick Room, or Perish Trap; sometimes running multiple at the same time. It's also very heavily built around obtaining an advantageous board position while using Gothitelle to prevent the opponent from doing the same.

Another confession: I still haven't figured out how to come up with good EV spreads, so most of mine are taken from Pikalytics.

Anyway, without further ado, on to the team!

Steorra (Gothitelle) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Shadow Tag
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
EVs: 244 HP / 28 Def / 236 SDef
- Trick Room
- Helping Hand / Fake Out
- Psychic
- Protect

The undisputed star (heh) of the team, it's difficult to express how powerful Gothitelle is if played properly. The thing about it is that its mere presence in Team Preview forces the opponent to respect it, since if you lead the wrong way against Shadow Tag, you will lose. Not only that, but Gothitelle is threatening when paired with literally any other Pokemon on this team, and each partner is threatening in a completely different way. Politoed? Hope you're ready for Perish Trap. Magnezone? Trick Room's going up and it's wreaking havoc with Dynamax. Kingdra? Same, but without Trick Room. Amoonguss? Lots and lots of Spore. Incineroar? Those stat drops aren't going to be easy to get rid of, plus Trick Room will still be going up. And that's not even mentioning the option to not lead Gothitelle at all, thereby punishing the opponent for trying to counter it. Gothitelle puts so much pressure on the opponent right from Team Preview, and I think it's a criminally underrated Pokemon in the current metagame.

Onto the set itself, I went with a fully defensive spread since Gothitelle's job more often than not is to sit on the field and not get KO'd. It's difficult to say whether the metagame is currently more Physical or more Special, but it currently invests mostly in Special bulk, especially since Incineroar can provide Intimidate support. Trick Room, Protect, and Psychic are all givens and non-negotiable (though Psychic -> Psyshock or Expanding Force is an option), but I'm absolutely torn on Helping Hand vs. Fake Out. Fake Out supports Kingdra on the turn it Dynamaxes to setup its own rain, as well as Politoed if I want to try Perish Trap or Amoonguss if I need to Spore something; however, Helping Hand is more consistently useful, especially when Gothitelle is paired with an offensive partner. Advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

Nickname comes from the Octopath Traveler boss.

Mr. Frog (Politoed) @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Drizzle
Calm Nature
EVs: 252 HP / 180 Def / 76 SDef
- Scald
- Helping Hand
- Perish Song
- Protect

Politoed is the glue of the team and is useful in all three modes. I don't typically like leading it unless it's alongside Kingdra and I feel confident enough to go straight on the offensive, but it's the Pokemon I bring the most consistently, even moreso than Gothitelle. The EV spread is once again bulky, since Politoed is another supporter on this team.

When playing with Politoed, I try to keep it as healthy as possible until the endgame, and then try to use Perish Song. As a player I find Perish Song incredibly useful as a secondary strategy, since I have a... history... of playing the earlygame and midgames well and then throwing due to a misplay later on. But if I can get an early lead with, say, Kingdra, and then Perish Song when the opponent is down to 2 Pokemon, all I have to do to win the match is switch around and survive for 3 turns which my team is very good at doing. Perish Song is also decent in the midgame to force a troublesome opponent to switch out, or to force the opponent to switch in a Pokemon that they wanted to keep in the back.

A goofy nickname for a goofy Pokemon, of course.

Gauss (Magnezone) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Magnet Pull Analytic
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SAtk
- Thunder
- Volt Switch
- Flash Cannon
- Body Press

"Hey, <friend>, what's a mon that works well in both Rain and TR?"

"Hmm... how about Magnezone?"

"Sounds good! I'll try it out!"

And try it out I did, and work very well it does indeed. If I decide to use my Trick Room mode, Magnezone is the Pokemon that I Dynamax. I went with Assault Vest as an item to shore up its bulk, as well as improve its matchup against things like Psyspam, which continues to be a common metagame trend though one that might be falling a bit now that people are finding ways to counter it. When Dynamaxed, Max Steelspike is the move I'll be clicking 80% of the time not only for physical bulk, but also to power up Body Press after the 3 turns expire, since it's a pretty weak move unboosted. Thunder synergizes well with rain, while Volt Switch is another tool that I can use to keep up momentum, especially if Trick Room is about to expire. Magnet Pull was its ability because I thought it might be funny to Perish Trap a Ferrothorn that way, though unsurprisingly that scenario never came up, so I've switched to Analytic because Magnezone will often be Dynamaxed and attacking outside of TR, and the damage boost comes in handy.

Named after the great mathematician and scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss.

Justin (Kingdra) @ Life Orb
Ability: Swift Swim
Modest Nature
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
- Draco Meteor
- Muddy Water
- Hurricane
- Protect

Though this Kingdra may be Modest, I am Adamant about one thing: Dynamax Kingdra is a veritable one-mon army. With two Pokemon that can potentially give it Helping Hand support, one that sets up Rain and one that stops its counters from switching in, it's ridiculous how much damage this Pokemon does. But that's not even the best part. Remember up in Gothitelle's description where I said that you have to respect its presence in Team Preview? The exact same applies to Kingdra: if you lead poorly against it, especially when paired with Politoed, you will lose. Having at least two distinct potential leads, both of which have different counters and both of which are devastating if not prepared for, puts an immense amount of pressure on the opponent in Team Preview and allows me to play some fun mindgames in Best of 3.

I'm not going to go very in-depth into the moves, item, or ability choices since I'm pretty sure they're the same as every other VGC Kingdra (though I have tested a physical set before that worked better than one might expect); instead, I want to explain a bit how I like to play it. Like I said with Politoed, I typically try to maneuver into a Perish Song endgame by picking up 2 KOs as quickly as possible. In particular, I try to have Kingdra remove the opponent's heavy hitters from play such as Cinderace, Dragapult, and Tyranitar, taking advantage of Swift Swim to stay faster than pretty much everything. From there, Perish Song with a combination of switching, Intimidate, Fake Out, and Protect is usually enough to win me the game.

Named after an old friend who did a lot of competitive swimming.

Fume-Shroom (Amoonguss) @ Coba Berry
Ability: Regenerator
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 156 SDef
- Spore
- Rage Powder
- Sludge Bomb Pollen Puff
- Protect

Amoonguss. What more is there to say? It does the exact same three things that it's done for almost ten years now: redirect attacks, put things to sleep, and improve the matchup against opposing Trick Room. Typically if I bring it it's the 4th Pokemon because I'm confident the other three can handle the opposition but might need some protection. It also has great synergy with Perish Song since it can redirect a few attacks, and then switch out to Regenerate the damage. Pollen Puff has come in handy a few times before; most notably, there was a battle where I had Incineroar in the red and Amoonguss out against my opponent's Rillaboom and Gyarados, and I correctly predicted Gyarados's Protect to Fake Out Rillaboom and Pollen Puff Incineroar to heal it, which ended up winning me the game.

I've modified the EV spread slightly to make Amoonguss more Specially defensive so that it can handle common Max moves a bit better. 156 SDef hits a multiple of 11 to get the most out of the Sassy nature, and then I think 236 HP makes it take less residual damage.

Nickname comes from one of my favourite plants to use in Plants Vs. Zombies.

Hobbes (Incineroar) @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Intimidate
Adamant Nature
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SDef
- Fake Out
- Flare Blitz
- Throat Chop
- Parting Shot

And speaking of Amoonguss, at this point I realized that my team was pretty weak to it as well. Enter Goggles Incineroar, who really could not care less about the mushroom. Incineroar performs many roles on the team besides countering one single Pokemon, of course: Fake Out, while perhaps not quite as good nowadays due to Dynamax, is still a great move to have on a team; Incineroar is also a great Rillaboom counter (one of my tougher matchups) thanks to Intimidate and its typing. Parting Shot is an invaluable tool in repositioning the board, which as I've mentioned many times already in the RMT, is essential for its proper functioning. I originally had Snarl in place of Throat Chop, but while I still love the move: a) this team is way too passive without Throat Chop, effectively only having two Pokemon capable of doing real damage; b) Throat Chop significantly improves my Dragapult matchup, a Pokemon that I otherwise struggle against; and c) Flare Blitz in Rain just... doesn't work very well. Overall, I would say that Incineroar is the second "glue" member of this team.

Nickname comes from Calvin and Hobbes, of course.

Gameplay and Modes

Straight Rain

Leads: :politoed::kingdra:
Backup: :amoonguss:(:magnezone:/:incineroar:)

The most straightforward lead, but sometimes straightforward works. This is the most immediately threatening lead, with Max Geyser doing boatloads of damage but also resetting the rain if the opponent has the audacity to attempt to change it. The choice of 4th Pokemon generally reflects how I want the game to play out after both Dynamaxes end: Incineroar for Perish Song, Magnezone to close out the game normally. This is my go-to game plan if I can't tell the opponent's strategy at a glance from Team Preview.

Straight Trick Room
Leads: :gothitelle::magnezone:
Backup: :amoonguss::incineroar:

An alternative lead if the opponent looks like they have a good Rain matchup. A typical Turn 1 is to Dynamax Magnezone while setting up Trick Room, and then support it with Helping Hand. By the time Dynamax expires, Magnezone will ideally be at +2 or +3 Defense, at which point I'll switch Gothitelle out to put on more active pressure. This is also my go-to against Psyspam since three out of the four Pokemon couldn't care less about Psychic-type attacks. Amoonguss or Incineroar can be led in place of Magnezone, but the game plan is basically the same.

Rain Trap
Leads: :gothitelle::kingdra:
Backup: :politoed:(:amoonguss:/:magnezone:)

Gothitelle/Kingdra is a tricky lead, but one that can catch opponents off-guard if they're expecting either Straight Rain or Straight TR. The idea is to have Kingdra setup its own rain with Max Geyser while Gothitelle stops the opponent from switching around to change the weather. It also means I can have Kingdra run its rampage and then sack it while setting up Trick Room for one of my slow Pokemon to come in, or even switch Gothitelle to Politoed if the weather isn't currently in my favour. This lead is also annoying because Gothitelle wants both Fake Out and Helping Hand, which unfortunately it (probably) can't have.

Perish Trap
Leads: :gothitelle::politoed:
Backup: :incineroar::amoonguss:

This isn't actually a mode I use very often because I don't think Perish Song is viable until after the opponent has used up their Dynamax, but I've had it work before and I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention it. The basic strategy is to Perish Song and then aggressively protect Gothitelle through a combination of Intimidate, Fake Out, Rage Powder, Regenerator, and switching. In all, this isn't a strategy I'd use in tournaments, but it is pretty fun to pull off.

The one real use case for going straight for Perish Trap is if the opponent looks like they're going to try something gimmicky such as Chansey, but as said before that's not something that skilled players actually do.

Matchups and Threats

Psyspam generally isn't an archetype that I fear all that much since so many things on my team counter it. Magnezone takes basically no damage, Incineroar takes literally no damage, and Gothitelle takes basically no damage and forces them to stay in and attack for basically no damage. A clever player can make use of redirection and Ally Switch to force Indeedee to go down first, and then bring in a counter while allowing Alakazam to keep attacking, so I still need to be careful.

The other annoying thing to watch out for is Mystical Fire on random mons, usually targeting Magnezone to drop its SAtk.

Rillaboom isn't the easiest matchup for this team, which probably isn't a good thing to say about what's currently the most popular Pokemon. That said, I do have Incineroar to keep it in check, as well as Magnezone if it lacks High Horsepower. Since I find that more often than not people tend to lead with it, I can lead Incineroar to get the Intimidate off right away.

Sun is an interesting archetype to play against. Typically I like to lead Rain Trap (Goth/Kingdra) and then immediately switch in Politoed to get the speed advantage. Venusaur is the number-one threat because of Sleep Powder, so I'll often bring Incineroar as well to check it if I can't get the immediate Max Airstream off.

252+ SpA Life Orb Kingdra Max Airstream (140 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Venusaur: 185-218 (118.5 - 139.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Against a mirror Rain match I'll often forgo Politoed altogether, which can create some hilarious mind games as both I and my opponent expect the other to set up the rain. Magnezone works very well here, as does Amoonguss.

Truth be told, I haven't had the chance to test against Beat Up yet. A skilled player won't actually lead with it, but keep the strategy in the back until the right moment to set it up comes; however, just like my own team, I have to respect the possibility of a Beat Up lead. I would probably lead Rain Trap and force the opponent to choose between Beat Up and Tailwind, but watch this space as I keep practicing.

Dragapult is another difficult matchup since it's an offensive Ghost-type, meaning that it can threaten my "tricky" playstyle with its raw power but it can also switch out of Shadow Tag. It's also the main reason I'm running Throat Chop on Incineroar. Due to its decent Kingdra matchup I might be more inclined to bring Magnezone as my Dynamax instead, though Kingdra in Rain still threatens the OHKO onto uninvested Dynamax Dragapult with Wyrmwind.
252+ SpA Life Orb Kingdra Max Wyrmwind (140 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Dragapult: 351-413 (107 - 125.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Probably the only truly bad matchup. G-Max Resonance really throws a wrench into this team if it sets up earlygame, since it relies heavily getting early knockouts to position into my desired endgame. Magnezone does alright against it and Amoonguss can tank G-Max Resonance to Spore it, but it beats everything else pretty cleanly.

And that concludes what might be the most elaborate RMT I've ever posted on Smogon. I hope people will give me some advice to make it even better; in particular, benchmarks that I should be watching for but have forgotten about. Failing that, I hope people at least enjoyed reading about how this team functions.
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I really like the team you got here. It's super solid and can easily answer many common teams. Although I think a couple changes are needed to really help the team out.

Fake Out/Helping Hand -> Imprison
Psychic -> Expanding Force

These changes are for two reasons. 1: A way for you to deny opposing trick room without having to spam trick room yourself. 2: Imprisoning Protect AND Expanding Force. When you couple those with Shadow Tag, you'll definitely be giving opposing trick room teams a very hard time, especially when Magnezone can pick apart many common trick room leads.

Amoonguss -> Rillaboom

Rillaboom-Gmax @ Grassy Seed
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 156 HP / 240 Atk / 112 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Fake Out
- Grassy Glide
- Wood Hammer/High Horsepower
- Knock Off

This change is as a means to cover for some loose ends that your team has. The big one being a lack of physical coverage. With your current team, Incin is your ONLY physical attacker, which can cause you to greatly struggle against bulky assault vest users and Gmax Lapras, who I should mention wrecks the majority of your team. The set above is to mainly give your team extra trick room support, but if you feel as tho you don't need the extra support, then this set might suffice a bit better.

Rillaboom-Gmax @ Grassy Seed
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 156 HP / 240 Atk / 72 SpD / 40 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Grassy Glide
- Wood Hammer/High Horsepower
- Knock Off

The only differences are that this one has Ivs in speed and a little bit of Speed investment. This is mainly so that you can guarantee outspeed lapras and KO it with Wood Hammer/Grassy Glide (depending on whether or not you want Horsepower or not).

These changes should improve your team and help tie loose ends. Hope these changes help you out and Happy Climbing!
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Thanks for your feedback! I never even considered Imprison as an option on Gothitelle, but I was a big fan of Imprison Gardevoir in 2015 so I'll definitely give it a try. I am a bit nervous about Gothitelle having nothing useful to do once it's setup everything, though it might be worth it.

As for Rillaboom, I won't deny that my matchup against GMax Lapras is awful, nor that Rillaboom would improve it. That said, the role that Amoonguss plays on the team is extremely valuable, especially in Trick Room and with protecting the Dynamax mon. I'll do a bit of testing, though; I might well be surprised. (Also assuming that Serious nature in the second set is a typo and should be Adamant)

Also added Lapras to the threatlist in the OP.

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