Battle Stadium Sand "Bluff" Mode

Hello all! This is my first RMT and I tried to follow a format similar to one in the showcase, but feel free to point out if I'm doing anything wrong.

Sand "Bluff" Mode is a team built partially around Sand Rush and partially around a "surprise" win condition. Its the first BSS team I have been having consistent success with, so I'm happy to finally have something worth sharing and getting feedback on. A put a lot of work into building and refining this team and it makes what some might consider unconventional decisions, so I've spent a lot of time fleshing out this write-up. So given how much I have to talk about, let's just get into it!

Teambuilding Process

:ss/rotom-fan:

As much as an odd pick it is to start with, I became heavily interested in Fan Rotom during my last team-building effort. This thing has dumpstered more than a couple teams on my ranked climb. Due to its reputation as the “ugly duckling” Rotom, yet it being the basis for a lot of decisions in my team-building, a defense of this pick is probably in order to start out.

Several benefits of this Pokemon are obvious. It’s got access to both Nasty Plot and Air Slash/Max Airstream, allowing it to run the role of setup sweeper. One big thing it has over it’s NP siblings though is typing that not only resists opposing Airstream play but renders it immune to paralysis. But easily one of the biggest advantages this Pokemon has is access to Thunderbolt/Max Lightning with STAB. This means that many Airstream wincons trying to wait out the Dynamax storm in back are far from guaranteed an easy reverse sweep.

Fan Rotom’s STAB combo poses serious concern for a great number of top tier pokes. Reverse sweepers like Gyarados and Togekiss are severely weakened if not outright OHKO’d by regular +2 Thunderbolt. What’s more, it has multiple switch-in opportunities against popular walls like Corviknight (resistance to Brave Bird and Body Press,) Ferrothorn (resistance to Gyro Ball, though Leech Seed is annoying,) and Toxapex (Toxic is a nuisance but manageable if you get momentum, and Scald burns are whatever.) I reiterate that ts STAB bonus plays a huge part in these matchups.

There’s a lot more I could talk about, but several “big” concerns are addressed with the rest of the team-building process, so I’ll save some of the damage breakdowns and more nuanced matchups for the poke-specific breakdown below.

:ss/rotom-fan::ss/excadrill:

Excadrill is the only other surviving member of the last team concept, and was one of the main factors of Fan Rotom’s success. The idea was simple: Excadrill is a lure. If Fan Rotom needs a physical wall for setup, someone needs to grab their attention. Excadrill is exactly the kind of offensive presence to do just that. Excadrill’s merits are well-known at this point, so again I’ll leave the fine details for his breakdown below; in short, he’s an excellent standalone pick who demands respect at team select, and that’s the kind of psychological effect I try to take advantage of.

As I dived into the damage calculations, I realized that despite +2 STAB attacks, Fan Rotom still needed extra support in the late game. Non-bulky Dynamax Togekiss, for instance, only takes about 72-86% from +2 Thunderbolt (without item boosts.) What’s the go-to when you want consistent pressure on Flying-types? Stealth Rocks, of course. Originally I tried running rocks on Excadrill, but it often felt like Excadrill was being forced to choose between two competing roles--not a dilemma you want for one of your premier sweepers. But then the obvious answer emerged:

:ss/rotom-fan::ss/excadrill::ss/tyranitar:

Focus Sash Tyranitar. Rocks support, access to Thunder Wave and just a respectable combatant all around. Credit where credit is due: this Tyranitar concept was adapted from Tox’s hyper offense team from some seasons ago (link below in the breakdown.) This is where things really started to come together. I went from running Mold Breaker to Sand Rush Excadrill, and the genuine pressure to bring physical walls at team select is amped up. Overall, Tyranitar+Excadrill is a powerful pair, and Rotom-Fan and Excadrill are both capable of being wincons. Thus, the original core of “Sand Bluff Mode” was born.

So I haven’t explicitly addressed some of the threats to the original Fan Rotom wincon: Scarf Darmanitan-G (outruns it even at +1 and OHKO’s with Ice STAB,) Dracozolt, Toxtricity and Rhyperior (all three resist both STABs) come to mind as counters. Heat Rotom can also check Fan Rotom, with Specs Overheat particularly being a problem. The Tyranitar+Excadrill pair helps shore up for all of these: in particular, Sand Rush Excadrill under sand easily dispatches of Darmanitan-G and boosted Dracozolt.

:ss/rotom-fan::ss/excadrill::ss/tyranitar::ss/haxorus:

Next up: if Fan-Rotom doesn’t have targets to set up on, or Snorlax/Goodra are there to wall it, I want another option to win. In particular, stoppers like Yawn Snorlax pressure both Excadrill and Fan Rotom. While Snorlax is a big can of worms to find a hard counter to, I eventually settled on Lum Berry Haxorus. Haxorus is more or less for teams lacking heavy defensive investment. It wants to go fishing for snowballs with Dragon Dances and Max Knuckles, particularly against Yawn users and common Dragon-type targets like the Rotoms. Also of note, +1 Haxorus does outrun Scarf Darmanitan-G. In general, it matches up well against some of the things non-Mold Breaker Excadrill and Fan Rotom aren’t crazy about.

:ss/rotom-fan::ss/excadrill::ss/tyranitar::ss/haxorus::ss/ferrothorn::ss/dragapult:

From here, the last two members of the squad help anchor the team and shore up matchups that don’t necessarily have a clear win condition. Physically defensive Ferrothorn is the tanky backbone who gives the team much needed stall support especially for screens/veil play from things like G-Max Lapras. Life Orb special Dragapult is one of your standard “goodstuff” sweepers with excellent coverage, and gives the team a fallback Dynamax user who doesn’t mandate setup.

Pokemon Specific Breakdowns

:ss/rotom-fan:
Rotom-Fan @ Magnet
Timid Nature
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 52 HP / 236 SpA / 220 Spe
- Thunderbolt
- Air Slash
- Will-O-Wisp
- Nasty Plot

To summarize what I said above: this is your “standard” Nasty Plot + Max Airstream wincon but one that utilizes a unique STAB combo to give it an edge versus Max Airstream mirrors and reverse sweeps. Thunderbolt, Air Slash and Nasty Plot are self-explanatory. Will-O-Wisp is for bulky ground types like Excadrill and Rhyperior who try to switch into it. Again, the idea here is to switch into common meta tanks like Corviknight and Ferrothorn whose standard sets don’t have adequate answers to its defensive typing. For example, defensive Ferrothorn’s Gyro Ball does around 20% damage without boosts, allowing Rotom-Fan to set up comfortably and start a sweep.

Timid nature is mandatory, with 220 Speed EVs keeping it right above Jolly Gyarados and Timid Togekiss. The 52 HP EVs were based off of some hits from Dynamax Gyarados as well, with the rest of the 236 EVs going into Special Attack. The hold item for Rotom-Fan has changed several times; the most notable item prior to the current one was Lum/Chesto berry, which gave me switch-ins to Yawn Hippowdon but not much else. Recently though, I switched over to Magnet. The extra power creep hurts Airstream reverse sweeps even farther, and can actually consistently KO bulkier Togekiss builds with rock support. The other big thing here is that Magnet Thunderbolt just barely edges out super-effective Shadow Ball, the standard third attack for offensive Rotom-Fan. Shadow Ball then is mostly used for hitting Dragapult who resists Thunderbolt, so I’d rather free up the fourth move slot for Will-O-Wisp counterplay.

Now for some damage calculations:

First, let’s validate dropping Shadow Ball by comparing it with Magnet Thunderbolt:

Thunderbolt : 90 BP * 1.5 (STAB Bonus) * 1.2 (Magnet Bonus) = 162 BP
Shadow Ball : 80 BP * 2 (Super-Effective) = 160 BP

Under Dynamax, Max Phantasm has a small bump over Max Lightning but that’s not enough to make it worth running. If anything, Max Darkness would be more useful against Mimikyu since the Sp. Def drop through Disguise would make it easily killable. For now though, Will-O-Wisp is what I've got.

Now for matchup-specific calculations. This will focus on non-Dynamax Rotom-Fan to show just how deadly its +2 STAB Thunderbolt really is:

+2 236 SpA Magnet Rotom-Fan Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Dynamax Togekiss: 282-332 (73.4 - 86.4%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

Probably the most game-changing matchup. With Magnet and rock support, even bulky Togekiss variants aren’t safe under Dynamax. Plus I’m being super generous with giving it 252 HP EVs.

+2 236 SpA Magnet Rotom-Fan Thunderbolt vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Wacan Berry Dynamax Gyarados: 314-372 (92.3 - 109.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock

The rare Wacan Berry can’t even guarantee Dynamax Gyarados lives. Even without Stealth Rocks, there is a significant OHKO chance. Perhaps more significant is that this means unboosted Rotom-Fan can easily OHKO non-Wacan variants, though that’s a more situational matchup.

Gyarados dying to electric moves is nothing new, but we are in a crazy time where Dynamax allows for crazy survivability. Once again, having STAB behind the electric attack is what makes the difference.

+2 236 SpA Magnet Rotom-Fan Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Dynamax Lapras: 330-390 (69.6 - 82.2%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

Weakness Policy or Assault Vest for Lapras? Based on this calculation for Max HP Lapras, mashing Thunderbolt carries little risk. WP variants will be in easy revenge kill territory at worst, while AV variants will still see a sizable chunk of their HP gone.

:ss/excadrill:
Excadrill @ Weakness Policy
Adamant Nature
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
- Iron Head
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Endure

With raw speed being a luxury in gen 8, the opportunity to run Sand Rush over Mold Breaker was too enticing to pass up. Threats like Scarf Darmanitan-G simply have fewer opportunities to go ham with double speed Excadrill in the cards. All that being said, it’s worth reminding everyone that Excadrill isn’t always the Dynamax target. Excadrill’s role needed to be as fluid as possible, from taking over a match to doing post-Dynamax cleanup. Weakness Policy was chosen as a result to give it the biggest bang for the buck.

This Excadrill set runs your standard coverage trio. Iron Head and Earthquake are your STAB moves, and the defense boosts in Dynamax help with safely activating Weakness Policy. Rock Slide turns into Max Rockfall for personal sand setting purposes. The one surprise move here is Endure: this allows Excadrill to proc WP on healthier foes it can’t otherwise OHKO, though watch out for priority moves. It can also stall opposing Dynamax turns when applicable. No joke, Endure + Weakness Policy has bailed me out of more than one loss.

Endure also gives it much wanted access to Max Guard when it is called upon to Dynamax. Just as teams have gotten savvy about stalling Dynamax, those same concepts can apply to stalling sand. One thing Excadrill hates is having sand go down after taking a bit hit, as a speedier opponent effectively nets back-to-back attacks. Using Max Guard to stall out my last turn of sand flips the script: if I can tank at least one hit, I not only cast Max Rockfall and sand for my own back-to-back attack but potentially get the Weakness Policy boost on both hits. As a quick aside, never Dynamax early with a sand timer of 3 turns if you can avoid it. Losing Dynamax and sand simultaneously is a great way to tank all of your momentum.

Max attack and max speed EVs make up your standard Excadrill spread. This set currently runs Adamant though, which is a calculated risk. With more and more Togekiss builds moving towards bulk investment, this set can still get the leg up on both it and bulky Rotom builds. Being slower can also help proc WP "sooner." Up to this point, I’ve pretty much gotten away with it, but I may still switch over to Jolly. Offensive Rotom-W/H with max speed are problems, as Endure doesn’t matter and non-Dynamax Excadrill has no business face-tanking Hydro Pump/Overheat. Further damage research may be in order, so we’ll see where I eventually end up.

:ss/tyranitar:
Tyranitar @ Focus Sash
Adamant Nature
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
- Rock Blast
- Earthquake
- Thunder Wave
- Stealth Rocks

(Adapted from Tox's hyper offense team : https://tox.hatenablog.com/entry/20...d_+_Gyarados_mode_revisited,_feat__Gloom_(S4))

I’ve been amazed at just how much value I get out of leading with this beast. It’s not unusual for people to lead Dynamax into it only to get paralyzed or bopped with surprise coverage Earthquake. It helps that, despite being exploitable with a x4 Fighting weakness and mediocre speed stat, its reputable bulk and overall versatility can make it hard to read and can lead to some pretty strange decisions on the opposing side.

Taking into account the first two team members, the moveset was constructed to optimize both general and specific matchups. I generally want to throw out Thunder Wave immediately, as it generally covers the lead or its switch-in; I’ve actually been surprised to find that many leads are not running Lum Berry (I assume a lot of those lead Togekiss I encountered were fishing for a WP boost. Poor fools.) Stealth Rocks need to be prioritized after Thunder Wave if Airstream and Focus Sash play are concerns. Rock Blast is chosen over Rock Slide for its Sash/Disguise utility and complements Thunder Wave well in crippling setups. Earthquake is mainly to hit Dynamax Dracozolt leads and to guarantee Sand Rush Excadrill can revenge kill it without Dynamaxing itself.

The EV spread is a standard max attack and max speed spread with an Adamant nature; admittedly, it was thrown together pretty quickly and there could be some optimizations I’m missing out on. It’s something to consider moving forward at least.

:ss/haxorus:
Haxorus @ Lum Berry
Jolly Nature
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Dragon Claw
- Close Combat
- Iron Tail
- Dragon Dance

Haxorus is a physically offensive bulldozer with an amazing ability, but it’s generally held back by its lack of coverage against the meta’s biggest physical walls. But since my original Rotom-Fan core is built to handle that, Haxorus gets to come along as a great alternative win condition for teams who don’t have that defensive backbone. Haxorus is the other major lead outside of Tyranitar: if you get a good lead matchup against a status user or a Rotom, Dragon Dance into Dynamax can snowball out of control very quickly. No Stealth Rock support makes Sash play a risk though, so this is a judgment call that has to be made at team select.

Dragon Dance is obviously integral for set up. Despite wanting an early Dynamax sweep, I went with Dragon Claw over Outrage for safety and flexibility. Iron Tail is mandatory for Fairy-types like Mimikyu, who without Dynamax falls to +1 Max Steelspike even with Babiri berry. The third coverage option was between Close Combat and Earthquake; considering the snowball potential of Max Knuckle, the ability to hit Snorlax hard and the fact that I already have two Earthquake users, Close Combat was chosen.

Jolly with max speed EVs is required to outspeed Mimikyu with the same setup. From there, I obviously went with max attack. Lum Berry helps enable Dragon Dance setup, so Haxorus can deal with status leads and the increasingly-popular Yawn Snorlax.

:ss/ferrothorn:
Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
Relaxed Nature
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
- Gyro Ball
- Bullet Seed
- Leech Seed
- Protect

Despite being one of the more recent additions, Ferrothorn has already seen a lot of action. It’s my main "get out of jail" card for a lot of bad matchups and provides critical attrition support that helps the rest of the team sweep. In particular, opposing Excadrill and bulky waters are what Ferrothorn helps deal with.

Most of the moveset is pretty self-explanatory and does pretty much what you would expect Ferrothorn to do. Gyro Ball is the normal suspect for STAB. Bullet Seed was originally picked so I could have grass coverage somewhere on the team, but I will likely not keep this. This move will more than likely become Body Press to give another option against Snorlax and to hit opposing Ferrothorn. Leech Seed combined with Protect make for a great stall combo, but don’t get too predictable with Protect. Savvy opponents will call you out and use the opportunity to switch or do their own setup.

The HP + Defense EV spread is your standard physically defensive Ferrothorn build. However, since Ferrothorn is relied on for the G-Max Lapras matchup, I’m wondering if I should move some EVs into Special Defense. Leftovers is chosen to prioritize survivability, as Ferrothorn is relied on heavily as the primary defensive anchor of the team. Iron Barbs is worth bringing up due to the team’s lack of priority moves; Ferrothorn can kill Sash users like Lucario by switching into their priority moves.

:ss/dragapult:
Dragapult @ Life Orb
Timid Nature
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Draco Meteor
- Shadow Ball
- Flamethrower
- Surf

Outside of one oddball move, this is a standard “goodstuffs” Dragapult sweeper and the “I’m not sure what the best team comp for this match is so screw it” option. This build is set up to maximize consistency so it can get good value in and out of Dynamax. Of course, the opponent won’t usually know what kind of Dragapult it is until after its first move, so it’s still something that is hard to disrespect at team select.

Draco Meteor and Shadow Ball are your STABs, although that 90% accuracy on Draco Meteor has been way more of a problem than I care for. Flamethrower is to hit your Steel-types like Corviknight and Ferrothorn, and contributes to making it a good special sweeper replacement if the opposing team composition poses significant risk for Rotom-Fan. Adding Surf to this set was a desperate attempt to do something about Hippowdon, who otherwise likes to take a dump all over this team. Given the great deal of Flying-type coverage elsewhere on the team, it made me more comfortable dropping Thunderbolt in lieu of Surf.

As implied earlier, Life Orb was chosen for its ability to work in and out of Dynamax; furthermore, choice items were a risk given the team’s lack of defensive switch-ins to let Dragapult reset. Infiltrator makes more sense over Clear Body since this Dragapult is a special attacker who doesn’t care about Intimidate or the drop from Max Wyrmwind. No Thunderbolt means less damage against Aurora Veil G-Max Lapras, but either way that’s still a matchup better left to Ferrothorn.

General Strategy

The majority of the time, I’m running the Excadrill+Tyranitar pair plus one more. Lead with Tyranitar and try to set up and cripple as much as possible. If the enemy team hasn’t been properly scouted yet, do not be afraid to pull 1 HP Tyranitar for another opportunity to cast sand, assuming opposing entry hazards haven’t been set. You’ll have Sand Rush Excadrill and your third choice both as win conditions, so scout the enemy team and try to hold your Dynamax until you’re confident you know which win condition will work the best.

The “plus one” is the major variable to discuss. The following is a generalized decision-making process:

  • Rotom-Fan : Bring against teams that rely on physical tanks like Corviknight, Ferrothorn and Toxapex.
  • Haxorus : Bring against teams that rely on Rotom forms and special tanks like Snorlax and Goodra. If it looks favorable enough, lead with Haxorus and go for the snowball.
  • Ferrothorn : Bring against bulkier teams, opposing Ground/Rock-type play and screens/veil play. Pretty much a no-brainer bring against G-Max Lapras.
  • Dragapult : Fail-safe; bring against balance teams who have multiple answers to the threats above. Also bring against Hippowdon leads.

In matchups where you bring Ferrothorn and especially Haxorus, it’s important to remember that you are running all physical attackers. Make sure you size up the enemy team considerably so as to not get surprised by an opposing pick that shuts all three down (Burn support, Strength Sap, etc.)

When not running the main core, it’s generally Ferrothorn plus whichever other two best cover the enemy team, such as Rotom-Fan + Haxorus for maximum tank coverage. These team makeups tend to carry more risk, so leading properly and strategically managing Ferrothorn is critical. The team’s all-arounder Dragapult seems to thrive most in these situations and can do everything from leading to late-game Dynamaxing--often both in the same game--so it’s survival is usually the top priority.

When selecting my three, a key aspect of my strategizing process is to be thinking at least one switch ahead. If I lead with Haxorus, which pokemon leads on the opposing team would counter him and who will I bring to switch into them? If I don’t have a good answer, there’s a good chance I shouldn’t lead Haxorus. Putting together those “power pairs” is a big part of how I’ve built my team, and it can be seen from how I set up leads to how I set up the original Excadrill+Rotom-Fan pairing that the team was conceived upon. This is also what some might call a “reception loop.”

Notable Threats

:ss/aegislash:
Aegislash : I’ve had one or two dicey encounters with Aegislash, and I have some concern about how this pick limits my win conditions: Haxorus without Earthquake gets walled and Ferrothorn gets worn down by Close Combat. Any kind of boosted Shadow Sneak is also a problem for Dragapult. Rotom-Fan stands a chance if it has an opportunity to set up, but otherwise that task falls primarily on Excadrill. The matchup isn't insurmountable: Tyranitar and Excadrill working in tandem can certainly take it, but I felt it was worth bringing up nonetheless.

:ss/snorlax:
Snorlax : Despite absolutely being considered in my team-building process, Snorlax is still good at being Snorlax. Status absorber Haxorus was brought in direct response to Yawn Snorlax but that’s just one thing Snorlax does. Furthermore, Haxorus really wants to see some chip on Snorlax if it has to switch into a Yawn; otherwise a single Dragon Dance still puts you in one of those 50/50 “Do I Dynamax or not?” scenarios. If Snorlax Dynamaxes and I don’t, +1 Close Combat can only kill if Snorlax was already around 50% max HP. If I Dynamax and Snorlax doesn’t, I lose power in the transition to Max Knuckle and potentially leave myself open to a second Yawn. Tyranitar, Ferrothorn and especially Excadrill can help soften it up, but is it enough? As mentioned earlier, Body Press Ferrothorn could also help for non-Yawn sets.

:ss/hippowdon:
Hippowdon : Back when I ran Lum/Chesto on Rotom-Fan this was less of a problem, but under the current team build Yawn Hippowdown joins Snorlax as a troublesome crippler and is why I added Surf to Dragapult. Life Orb Dragapult can 2HKO with Sitrus Berry recovery factored in, but that’s pretty much the best thing this team has. Lum Berry Haxorus as an answer is pretty bad, as +1 Dragon Claw can’t even 2HKO (Outrage might be a consideration though.) Whirlwind is also a wrench that has to be considered for my setup mons. Ferrothorn is probably the best thing to absorb sleep if it has to be done, though battles of attrition will be made more complicated by the almost inevitable rocks play.

In Closing

And there you have it! If you got through all that, THANK YOU. Not much else to say on my part, so if you've got critiques or suggestions, fire away! To finish, here is a rental code and proof of "almost" peak (I've been a little higher but this is what I have for evidence):
 

Attachments

Cool team!

It's great that you've identified your weaknesses already - and you seem familiar with trying to play around them. It's difficult to change this team further without opening up new holes without drastic team changes. I think especially on the cartridge ladder environment it might just be best hoping for the best by leading Dragapult vs Hippo (however flawed), and just dealing with your other matchups so that you aren't stuck with 2 problem Pokemon that forces you to lead certain way - especially to 2 S/A Tier threads like Snorlax + Hippowdon that will often be paired with each other by virtue of being goodstuffs.

As for small changes, Taunt on Tyranitar may be pretty nice to not immediately lose momentum vs Snorlax and Hippowdon, and denies Curse Snorlax builds. But it worsens your matchup vs Aegislash and Excadrill, Sash Lucario, etc. quite significantly to the point I'm not sure if it's worth it, and I think you might have to tweak your team elsewhere or maybe just use EQ on Haxorus particularly for the Aegislash - it might be worth it because the Taunt will help you deal with Snorlax as much as Close Combat (if not more), but there may be a better way to resolve this hole that involves a bigger rehaul than I'm comfortable suggesting.

As for the things I'm more sure on, I definitely agree with you on Body Press > Bullet Seed on the Ferrothorn. Your Snorlax matchup is already mentioned, but i found your Ferrothorn matchup is surprisingly uncomfortable as well because you likely don't have a favorable switch cycle, so if you see either in preview you have to win by setting up with Rotom / Hax or double in Dragapult a lot and get some reads. This isn't unwinnable but because they are often combined with something else that restricts your team (like Hippo) that can be pretty crippling. Body Press doesn't really cost you a whole lot & it pressures both problem Pokemon.

Substitute on Excadrill something that might be worth trying on this particular team as it gives you yet another out vs Yawn Snorlax (that most Yawn Snorlax users should not be expecting), in addition to providing Max Guard and stalling Dynamax turns due to your high speed all the same. It doesn't stall out Dynamax Dragapult unlike Endure, and still doesn't help the Hippowdon problem directly, but gives you an extra out and can bait your opponent into activating the weakness policy on the "forced" attack to break the substitute.

Try these out and see any of these help or not. Cheers.
 
As for small changes, Taunt on Tyranitar may be pretty nice to not immediately lose momentum vs Snorlax and Hippowdon, and denies Curse Snorlax builds. But it worsens your matchup vs Aegislash and Excadrill, Sash Lucario, etc. quite significantly to the point I'm not sure if it's worth it, and I think you might have to tweak your team elsewhere or maybe just use EQ on Haxorus particularly for the Aegislash - it might be worth it because the Taunt will help you deal with Snorlax as much as Close Combat (if not more), but there may be a better way to resolve this hole that involves a bigger rehaul than I'm comfortable suggesting.
I would agree with you on this being a risky change. Excadrill is actually something I see lead rather frequently against Tyranitar, for instance. Tyranitar's ability to get some surprise trades against the opponent helps clear the way for a more comfortable Dynamax sweep and, in particular, EQ helps hit things like Dracozolt and Excadrill who TTar can't otherwise cripple with Thunder Wave.

As for the things I'm more sure on, I definitely agree with you on Body Press > Bullet Seed on the Ferrothorn. Your Snorlax matchup is already mentioned, but i found your Ferrothorn matchup is surprisingly uncomfortable as well because you likely don't have a favorable switch cycle, so if you see either in preview you have to win by setting up with Rotom / Hax or double in Dragapult a lot and get some reads. This isn't unwinnable but because they are often combined with something else that restricts your team (like Hippo) that can be pretty crippling. Body Press doesn't really cost you a whole lot & it pressures both problem Pokemon.
Yep, I already went forward with this change not too long ago.

Rotom-Fan actually likes to switch into Ferrothorn, although sometimes a teammate will try to take Leech Seed for it first. It's slightly uncomfortable but generally I know at team preview whether or not the NP + Airstream snowball potential outweighs the risk. But when Fan gets benched, you're absolutely right: I really did need something else to help with the Ferrothorn mirror.

Substitute on Excadrill something that might be worth trying on this particular team as it gives you yet another out vs Yawn Snorlax (that most Yawn Snorlax users should not be expecting), in addition to providing Max Guard and stalling Dynamax turns due to your high speed all the same. It doesn't stall out Dynamax Dragapult unlike Endure, and still doesn't help the Hippowdon problem directly, but gives you an extra out and can bait your opponent into activating the weakness policy on the "forced" attack to break the substitute.
I really like this idea. Excadrill has a somewhat average matchup with Snorlax and being able to surprise it with this makes things even better (I've seen what appears to be a lot of Yawn/Protect/Heavy Slam/Fissure builds lately as well, and Substitute play would absolutely crap all over it.) I didn't actually realize that Weakness Policy proc'd on substitute hits, so the move swap here seems like a no-brainer. Sparkling Aria Lapras/Primarina come to mind as more problematic matchups, but I already have to be leery of Ice Shard/Aqua Jet follow-up anyway so I'm not sure that matters too much.

Thank you so much for the feedback! At some point, I'm hoping to post an updated rental team with some of these changes as well as some more reflection on my experience with the team.
 
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I really like this idea. Excadrill has a somewhat average matchup with Snorlax and being able to surprise it with this makes things even better (I've seen what appears to be a lot of Yawn/Protect/Heavy Slam/Fissure builds lately as well, and Substitute play would absolutely crap all over it.) I didn't actually realize that Weakness Policy proc'd on substitute hits, so the move swap here seems like a no-brainer. Sparkling Aria Lapras/Primarina come to mind as more problematic matchups, but I already have to be leery of Ice Shard/Aqua Jet follow-up anyway so I'm not sure that matters too much.

Thank you so much for the feedback! At some point, I'm hoping to post an updated rental team with some of these changes as well as some more reflection on my experience with the team.
Btw WP won't activate on your Substitute, but it should make your opponent very weary of using status moves vs Excadrill and just go for the attack - which either lets you switch out to a resist or lets you Dynamax and eat the SE hit and activate your WP. So It won't let you do the get the x2 attack on an attacker that OHKOs you without spending your Dynamax before getting revenged by Mimikyu thing which is honestly a pretty cool tactical resource to win 1v1s you otherwise couldn't, but this improves the Yawn Snorlax matchup with minimal concessions.
 
Btw WP won't activate on your Substitute, but it should make your opponent very weary of using status moves vs Excadrill and just go for the attack - which either lets you switch out to a resist or lets you Dynamax and eat the SE hit and activate your WP. So It won't let you do the get the x2 attack on an attacker that OHKOs you without spending your Dynamax before getting revenged by Mimikyu thing which is honestly a pretty cool tactical resource to win 1v1s you otherwise couldn't, but this improves the Yawn Snorlax matchup with minimal concessions.
Ah, all right. That doesn't make the move swap as cut and dry as I thought, but its definitely still worth considering mainly because of bullying Yawn Snorlax who, in my experience, is by far the most popular Snorlax build right now. Thanks!
 

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