Gen 3 [RMT] Balanced SkarmBliss Spikes

Hey all,

I've been using a team I made on the Gen 3 ladder. It's been pretty successful, going 30-2 or so. However, I think this may be due more to my skill as a battler than to proper team construction. The team doesn't feel quite right, and so I wanted to get some thoughts on it and see if anyone had any good suggestions to improve it.

The team generally functions by spreading paralysis and Spikes, then allowing either Tyranitar or Aerodactyl (usually Aerodactyl) to come in and sweep late-game with Rock Slide.



Swampert @ Leftovers
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 252 HP / 216 Def / 40 SpA
Relaxed Nature
- Earthquake
- Ice Beam
- Hydro Pump
- Roar

Swampert, my usual lead. Great at beating Rock Slide users, as well as Roaring out Pokemon to rack up Spikes damage. The Rock resistance is crucial, and its defensive nature combined with Ice Beam and Earthquake make it a great counter to many physical attackers. Its Spikes weakness hurts, but Blissey can Wish to heal it back up.



Skarmory @ Leftovers
Ability: Keen Eye
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
- Spikes
- Toxic
- Whirlwind
- Protect

Skarmory, here mainly for the Spikes and physical walling. Spreading Toxic also aids the nature of this team, which tends to be stally even though I'd prefer to end games faster. It doesn't have an offensive move, but I haven't missed having one. Toxic/Protect does enough work, and Protect helps get extra lefties and rack up the Poison damage, as well as scout for Fire Blast on physical attackers like Flygon, Salamence, and Snorlax. I haven't run into many Magnetons, but Magneton could be a big problem for this team if Skarmory dies to it early and then my Spikes get spun away-- luckily the rest of the team isn't weak to Magneton.


Blissey (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
- Wish
- Soft-Boiled
- Seismic Toss
- Thunder Wave

Blissey, probably the pokemon that does the most work on the team. It walls almost every special attacker, while helping to keep Gengar, Skarmory, and Swampert healthy with Wish, and heal itself with Softboiled. Thunder Wave spreads Paralysis, which helps Tyranitar and Aerodactyl sweep with Rock Slide. It doesn't clash with Skarmory's Toxic, because Blissey doesn't mind stalling out poisoned pokemon either. The last 4 EVs don't make much difference-- they could go in SpD too, but I don't really need them there, and I figured I might as well put them in Speed in case any Relaxed Swamperts might speed creep a bit. I haven't found Aromatherapy to be necessary, as Swampert is the only pokemon that I'm really afraid of getting statused-- avoiding status on Aerodactyl and Tyranitar isn't too difficult with their speed, power, and Taunt.


Gengar @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 172 HP / 148 SpA / 188 Spe
Timid Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Thunderbolt
- Ice Punch
- Hypnosis

Gengar, the team's spinblocker-- an important function, as Aerodactyl and Tyranitar really need the Spikes to get KOs on common pokemon like Forretress and bulky Waters. This Gengar can beat Starmie, the most common spinner, at least if they don't have Psychic. However, I'd really like a bulkier spinblocker for this purpose-- Dusclops could work, but unlike Gengar, it's not immune to Spikes, so I haven't put it on this team for now, as I lack a spinner currently. Currently, this Gengar doesn't seem to accomplish too much besides blocking spins and spreading an occasional burn, and it's still nearly 2HKO'd by Starmie's Surf, so perhaps it should be replaced.




Tyranitar @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 16 HP / 200 Atk / 120 Def / 172 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Rock Slide
- Earthquake
- Taunt

Tyranitar, the one pokemon that doesn't seem to fit well on this team. It generally doesn't accomplish as much as the other 5 members of this team, partially due to its Spikes weakness. The team may be too stally for Tyranitar to fit. However, the Sandstorm helps wear down walls, especially since I have 4 pokemon immune to Sandstorm, and Blissey doesn't really mind it. I usually reveal T-Tar later on in the battle so it has a better chance to sweep unhindered. Taunt is to help it beat Blissey and Skarmory.



Aerodactyl @ Choice Band
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 80 HP / 252 Atk / 176 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Double-Edge
- Rock Slide
- Hidden Power [Flying]
- Earthquake

Aerodactyl, the team's cleaner. Generally the last pokemon to be revealed. Usually, a victory is wrapped up by Rock Sliding the opponents' pokemon which are already weakened by Spikes and Sandstorm. Tyranitar's Sandstorm is very helpful for racking up needed KOs with Aerodactyl. Unlike Tyranitar, this pokemon usually seems to carry its own weight, helped by the Spikes immunity.

----

Overall, one of the team's main weaknesses that I've found is to Spikes. I've considered putting Starmie over Tyranitar to spin them away, but Tyranitar is one of the main pokemon that needs the Spikes removed, anyways-- other than Tyranitar, only Swampert and Blissey are vulnerable to Spikes, and Blissey can generally deal with them. My team also can't very well prevent Spikes from being set up, as specially defensive Skarmory can switch in freely on Swampert, Skarmory, or Blissey (the three main pokemon I use early game) and set up Spikes.

Another weakness is to Aerodactyl if Swampert goes down early, since it's my only Rock resist-- one of my losses was due to a Metagross exploding early on my Swampert, followed many turns later by an Aerodactyl flinching my Blissey, Gengar, Skarmory, AND Tyranitar to death. I'm not running max speed on Aerodactyl so that I can survive a Gengar Thunderbolt, but perhaps I should be, so I can at least have a 50% chance of beating other Aerodactyl and Jolteon.

----

Thoughts on the team? Does Dusclops fit better than Gengar? Should Tyranitar perhaps be replaced with a spinner, or do you think my team is decently positioned against Spikes anyways?
 
always always ALWAYS run max speed on aero. if you're not gonna go for the tie vs. jolteon/other aero, you could run adamant if you aren't afraid of raikou/offensive starmie - seeing as you have a bliss, you generally won't be.

spdef skarm is infinitely better because it's really hard to take out with mixed attackers (fire blast snorlax/flygon, thunderpunch/hp fire metagross, etc) and helps phaze out shit like suicune/celebi. its defense is so naturally high that you don't need to invest, especially with pert backing it up. if you feel too threatened by other spikes, put some speed on it and use taunt over protect.

ttar accomplishes a lot just by virtue of its sand, which makes aero a lot harder to counter, and is the best late game sweeper in the meta with dd... keep it.

without any anti-spikes measures, dusclops is gonna suck, so keep gengar. tox prot sdef skarm shits all over cloyster/claydol and can mess with starmie as well. i think you want giga drain on it over wisp so you can actually threaten swampert and force it out to take more spikes, making a ttar/aero sweep likelier. this also helps against pursuit tar.

blissey probably wants ice beam/flamethrower so it can actually touch opposing gengar (who outright beats you if it's got taunt).

swampert would benefit from protect over hydro or roar, the little bits of leftovers recovery add up and potentially blocking explosion is huge.
 
I agree with most of what's said above, although I think you should keep protect on skarm it really helps a lot with it's longevity. I also think dropping hypnosis instead of will o wisp would be better willowisp helps a lot against things like lax which give you trouble when paired with magneton, and burn is pretty crippling to most things that get hit by it. To add on to what he said, maybe try using a bulkier gar set, this will help it take neutral attacks better and can turn it into a more reliable check to mence and gyarados. Finally have you considered putting starmie over aero? I know you consider aero the more effective cleaner, but tar's sand is crucial in stall, and with a spinner you could afford to put hp bug over taunt which will make him more effective against celebi, claydol and flygon you may also find Ttar to be more effective when paired with a reliable spinner. If you decide to keep aero then ignore my suggestion about protect on skarm. You'll need taunt to prevent enemy spikes set up against your skarm. You could also consider using a calm mind bliss which will help a lot against zapdos and suicune who currently seem tough for your team.
 
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Deluks917

Ride on Shooting Star
The team looks cool I just to list some issues:

-The team looks very bad against CM/Rest suicune. Suicune can stall out Blissey with rest. And your only way to phase is Swampert who might easily get worn down. Especially since you have no spinner
-Opposing CM blissey looks really hard also. Your only good swap in is T-tar. And again T-tar can get worn down easily. And T-tar is vulnerable to dugtrio. At least run toxic on your blissey to help with this imo.
-I think hypnosis is very good on gengar and I would keep it. The combination of hypnosis and giga is prolly my favorite as it means pursuit tyranitar is not reliable at all vs gengar.

Admittedly you have wish support so maybe you can keep swampert/tyranitar healthy. But I would expect to get swept by suicune and CM blissey alot unless you make some changes somewhere.
 

McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
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Sup dude, hope you've enjoyed playing ADV OU so far, always nice to see someone having fun in this tier.

Now onto the team. I don't want to take any credit from you whatsoever but you're showing what is probably the most standard spikestacking bulky sand build in ADV ever. In fact, I have the exact same combination of Pokemons as a team saved on my computer for more than two years now, and I know many people who've used that very combination of 'mons together in a more or less recent past (Danilo, M Dragon to name a few). If anything, it shows that the team works just fine in general.

If you want any recommendations, I'll tell you I agree with pretty much everything BKC (kill yourself) said. The only thing you really have to change in my opinion is Blissey's set for the reasons CowboyDan mentionned. You're currently way too weak to CM Cune, CM Bliss and even CM Celebi. You really need to use CM Bliss or slip Toxic in your moveset to deal with these issues. I'd also strongly advice in running Ice Beam/Flamethrower over Wish so you can hit Gengar (a well played Taunt WoW variant would currently run through your team like butter).

Last but not least, I'd definitly keep Hypnosis on Gengar no matter what, you really don't want to get Pursuit trapped with that team.

Here are just some other considerations; you don't need to use them, but I think it's great to keep 'em in mind if you wanna try them out:
  • CB Ttar > DD Ttar, weakens Aero checks easier, will help against Suicune if you use enough speed, and will also help against Snorlax, especially if it's paired with Magneton.
  • Protect Swampert over Roar, cf BKC's post.
  • Taunt Skarmory, over Protect (and more speed then). Will make your team more offensive, it really comes down to preference, you lose in staying power what you gain in overall offensive process.
  • Adamant Aero > Jolly Aero. Technically, you can afford it since you run Blissey to deal with Raikou and offensive Starmie. On the other hand, you don't run any anti-spikes measure and it will get easily worn down, so it's up to preferences here. I personnaly run Jolly Aero in my build. Consider HP Bug over HP Flying on Adamant Aero, it's great to deal with Celebi and it won't let Tyranitar set up.
 
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BKC (kill yourself):

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try out max speed Jolly Aerodactyl. I thought about Adamant but I'd like to speed tie against Aerodactyl as I'm weak to it, and also +1 Adamant Gyarados can outspeed Adamant Aerodactyl, so Jolly lets me check it.

I'll also run SpDef Skarm instead. That will help out against stuff like CM Suicune (which I did know was an obvious weakness of this team; however, I haven't run into any of them yet, luckily).

The issue I see with running Taunt on Skarmory is that, sure, when they go out to their Spiker I can switch in Skarmory and Taunt it. But they've already gotten up one layer, and I can't stop them from switching out and doing it again later. Even worse, they can easily predict Taunt the second time it happens and take advantage by going out to a pokemon that doesn't mind being taunted. So far, my play against Spikers has just been to set up my own Spikes along with them, and Spikes is probably better for my team than it is for their team (although they might have a spinner). If I really wanted to Taunt to stop Spikers, T-Tar could probably do that just as well as Skarmory.

You and McMeghan are also absolutely correct that Taunt/Wisp Gengar is a big problem for me. I remember one battle in particular where that Gengar set gave my Blissey all kinds of trouble. The way I beat it eventually was by spamming T-Wave (even against a paralyzed Pokemon) when I predicted his switch to Gengar. Eventually I paralyzed his Gengar on a switch and he could no longer beat Blissey.

I'm not so sure that I need Protect on Swampert-- if I predict Explosion, I can go to Skarmory or Gengar, and Skarmory handles most Metagross handily in any case, so Swampert doesn't need to expose itself to that danger. Hydro Pump has been helpful to threaten Gengars and Skarmorys for me. I will keep it in mind for the future, though.

Deluks917:

I agree that I'm weak against Calm Mind Suicune, or any CM user in general actually! I haven't run into any CM Suicune yet, thankfully, so they may not be too common on the ladder. Given everyone's suggestions, I think I will try to run this Blissey set:

Blissey (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 Def / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
- Calm Mind
- Soft-Boiled
- Flamethrower
- Hidden Power [Grass]

I thought about running BoltBeam instead, but I think I want to better handle Jirachi and Tyranitar, especially since Gengar already has BoltBeam. This mainly leaves me weak against Taunt Gyarados-- none of my Pokemon can consistently beat him, except Aero-- but I don't think he's too common. I'm going to run max speed Jolly Aero so I can outspeed him at +1, though. The main loss here is that I can't Wish up Swampert, Skarmory, or Tyranitar any more, so the team becomes less stally and tries to end games faster. Thoughts?

CowboyDan mentioned running a bulkier Gar set. Anyone have any thoughts on that? I don't need any SpA investment to OHKO Gyarados, Salamence, or Flygon, or 2HKO Starmie so it might be worth considering. I usually don't end up attacking anyone with Gengar besides Starmie, anyways-- everybody else just gets Wisped. And no amount of SpA investment changes Starmie from a 2HKO anyways. I could run 252 HP/ 68 Def /188 Speed; that outspeeds +1 Tyranitar and takes physical hits better, almost like a Prankster Sableye without Recover.

McMeghan:

Thanks for letting me know that it's a standard build, haha. That reassures me that this combination of 6 pokes isn't stupid, especially since I know you're a respected battler. Definitely gonna try CM Bliss instead. I'll keep Hypnosis as well. Let me see if I have this right-- if a T-Tar switches into my Gengar, I can be fairly confident he wants to Pursuit me and doesn't fear Will-O-Wisp, so I should Hypnosis him and not Wisp, right?

Also-- props to Aim for liking the posts in this thread, haha. I post a lot on his vids under the name drunyon214.
 
So here's the updated team. I changed Blissey's moveset, and changed the EV spread on Aerodactyl, Gengar, Skarmory, and Blissey. Swampert and Tyranitar are unchanged.

Swampert @ Leftovers
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 252 HP / 216 Def / 40 SpA
Relaxed Nature
- Earthquake
- Ice Beam
- Hydro Pump
- Roar

Aerodactyl @ Choice Band
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Double-Edge
- Rock Slide
- Hidden Power [Flying]
- Earthquake

Tyranitar @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 16 HP / 200 Atk / 120 Def / 172 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Rock Slide
- Earthquake
- Taunt

Blissey (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 Def / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
- Calm Mind
- Soft-Boiled
- Flamethrower
- Hidden Power [Grass]

Skarmory @ Leftovers
Ability: Keen Eye
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Bold Nature
- Spikes
- Toxic
- Whirlwind
- Protect

Gengar @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 188 Spe
Timid Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Thunderbolt
- Ice Punch
- Hypnosis

One final question-- should I bring in Tyranitar earlier to get the sand up and start damaging the opponent's team? Or save it until later so it will remain hidden and have a better chance to sweep?
 

Triangles

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So here's the updated team. I changed Blissey's moveset, and changed the EV spread on Aerodactyl, Gengar, Skarmory, and Blissey. Swampert and Tyranitar are unchanged.

Swampert @ Leftovers
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 252 HP / 216 Def / 40 SpA
Relaxed Nature
- Earthquake
- Ice Beam
- Hydro Pump
- Roar

Aerodactyl @ Choice Band
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Double-Edge
- Rock Slide
- Hidden Power [Flying]
- Earthquake

Tyranitar @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 16 HP / 200 Atk / 120 Def / 172 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Rock Slide
- Earthquake
- Taunt

Blissey (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 Def / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
- Calm Mind
- Soft-Boiled
- Flamethrower
- Hidden Power [Grass]

Skarmory @ Leftovers
Ability: Keen Eye
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Bold Nature
- Spikes
- Toxic
- Whirlwind
- Protect

Gengar @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 188 Spe
Timid Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Thunderbolt
- Ice Punch
- Hypnosis

One final question-- should I bring in Tyranitar earlier to get the sand up and start damaging the opponent's team? Or save it until later so it will remain hidden and have a better chance to sweep?
Early, you need dat sand, its the S in TSS! I might even be inclined to lead it - lead tar is good for pivoting early, and some people will lower their guard for ddtar if they see a leadtar as they presume it's a cbtar or a pursuiter (they're quite common leads compared to dd).
Also id like to Optimise some EVs fresh from the adv lab, but i'm bound to secrecy because of SPL.
 
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destinyunknown

Banned deucer.
BKC (kill yourself):


I'm not so sure that I need Protect on Swampert-- if I predict Explosion, I can go to Skarmory or Gengar, and Skarmory handles most Metagross handily in any case, so Swampert doesn't need to expose itself to that danger. Hydro Pump has been helpful to threaten Gengars and Skarmorys for me. I will keep it in mind for the future, though.
You needed it before but now that you don't have Wish on Blissey, it's almost a must. Swampert is easily worn down without protect, especially considering you have no way of dealing with Spikes. Hydro Pump won't help you on that either, Skarmory and Forretress are usually Specially Defensive and will get all the layers they want with or without Hydro Pump. It might be nice to hit Gengar but Ice Beam does fine, and with Sand up and Blissey running the CM set, Gengar shouldn't be able to do much to your team. Might get a wisp or something if you're not careful but not much else.

So yeah definitely run Protect instead of Hydro Pump, you will notice the difference.

On Gengar: either the offensive or the bulky spread should work fine, this team might appreciate the staying power though because it helps when trying to use WoW/Hypnosis (misses suck).

McMeghan:

Thanks for letting me know that it's a standard build, haha. That reassures me that this combination of 6 pokes isn't stupid, especially since I know you're a respected battler. Definitely gonna try CM Bliss instead. I'll keep Hypnosis as well. Let me see if I have this right-- if a T-Tar switches into my Gengar, I can be fairly confident he wants to Pursuit me and doesn't fear Will-O-Wisp, so I should Hypnosis him and not Wisp, right?

Also-- props to Aim for liking the posts in this thread, haha. I post a lot on his vids under the name drunyon214.
Yeah this team (and slight variations) has been very popular for some time, and you would see it many times on the Smogon Tour. On T-Tar: depends on the opposing team really (if they have revealed Forretress then it's likely going to be Pursuit Ttar), but you should probably Wisp. Using Giga Drain helps with this though, but WoW+Hypnosis has a lot of utility...

I would recommend using Tyranitar (or Gengar) as the lead instead of Swampert though, they threaten more stuff and have better lead matchups than Swampert in general. I second McMeghan on using CBTyranitar btw (or at least give it a try) as it will help Aerodactyl to sweep.
 
DestinyUnknown: I took your advice and just now added Protect over Hydro Pump on Swampert. My Swampert actually lost earlier today to a Bulk Up Machamp because it didn't have Protect... but then again, I was using Hydro Pump to take it down.

I feel that to use Giga Drain on Gengar I'd need to pump more into SpA to make it hurt, but the SpA doesn't see much use outside of that scenario. With no investment I feel it won't hurt Tyranitar enough.

I have indeed been leading with Tyranitar since I started using the new version of the team. It's been working well. Getting the sand up early is helping, especially since it can be hard to switch Tyranitar in safely later.

I haven't used CBTyranitar yet, but I will give it a shot and try it out over my normal DDTyranitar!
 
Early, you need dat sand, its the S in TSS! I might even be inclined to lead it - lead tar is good for pivoting early, and some people will lower their guard for ddtar if they see a leadtar as they presume it's a cbtar or a pursuiter (they're quite common leads compared to dd).
Also id like to Optimise some EVs fresh from the adv lab, but i'm bound to secrecy because of SPL.
Are you still sworn to secrecy, or can you divulge some of those EV secrets? :)
 

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