SM Doubles OU Seedy Beginnings

MajorBowman

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Introduction
Howdy friends, I'm MajorBowman. If you don't know me, I'm a member of the DOU Council and a Doubles Forum Mod, as well as a proud member of the SPL 8-winning Tigers. During SPL, I built a number of teams with my teammate and secretary miltankmilk, and I'm quite fond of all of them. However, this one in particular is absolutely my favorite, as it has some pretty fun yet very effective sets and led to the introduction of what has become a staple Pokemon in the metagame. I originally built and used this team in Week 2 of SPL 8 vs kamikaze and have used it multiple times in tournaments since, as well as to meet requirements for the Jirachi suspect test. Hopefully you all enjoy it as much as I do!

Teambuilding

Salamence is definitely my favorite mega evolution to use competitively, and after joining the DOU community after the ban in Gen 6, I've been very happy that I have the chance to use it again. I love how much raw damage Salamence can put out while still being considerably bulky and having team support options like Intimidate and Tailwind. I hadn't built a Salamence team yet in SM at this point, so I was eager to build a team around it for week 2 of SPL.


Tyranitar, while used very little in ORAS DOU, has become one of the top threats in SM DOU. Tyranitar's ability to check the 3 top mega evolutions in the tier (Salamence, Gengar, and Charizard) is basically unmatched, and having a weather setter to mess with opposing weather is quite valuable. Tyranitar makes Ninetales in particular quite useless, as sand negates its ability to set up Aurora Veil and Blizzard becomes inaccurate and unreliable. Miltankmilk suggested Tyranitar to go along with Salamence and I fully supported the idea, so we added it to the team.


Our next pick was Aegislash. While not the same monster it was in ORAS, Aegislash is still a great Pokemon in SM since it's one of the best checks to PsySpam and Tapu Lele in general. Aegislash was again miltankmilk's idea, and he had a pretty :fire: set to boot, so I just couldn't say no.


At this point, I knew I wanted some speed control. After getting nerfed in 3 separate ways, I knew Thundurus was out, and I also ruled out Thunder Wave entirely since it just didn't lower speed enough anymore. Trick Room would have been a decent option, but I instead opted for Tailwind because Salamence and Aegislash both greatly appreciate it, and I knew I could fill the team out with a couple more mid-speed tier Pokemon that could take advantage of Tailwind as well. Zapdos was such an easy pick for this role, as it can reliably set Tailwind multiple times during a game thanks to its naturally high bulk, typing, and access to Roost.


It's hard to build an SM DOU team without a Tapu, and this slot originally had Tapu Bulu to protect Tyranitar and Aegislash from Earthquakes. However, I wasn't a fan of Bulu at all and never felt that it contributed enough to the team in testing, so I switched to Tapu Fini. This Pokemon shot up the usage stats pretty quickly in DOU thanks to its great bulk and ability to either set up Calm Minds and sweep or just support its team with Misty Terrain and potentially Swagger (which raises its partners attack 2 stages but doesn't confuse them thanks to the terrain) and Heal Pulse.


Originally, I had Landorus-I in this slot. Jirachi was still legal at this time, and having an option to straight up OHKO it with Earth Power was tempting. Landorus-I also got clean OHKOs on Landorus-T and Salamence with Hidden Power Ice and could run either Sludge Bomb or Stone Edge for coverage, but overall I felt that Landorus-I was too frail and too slow to accomplish what I wanted. Instead of finding a replacement I just swapped to Landorus-T, since I liked the typing in this slot and another Intimidate option was great. Honestly you can never really go wrong with putting Landorus-T on a DOU team, I think we know that much by now.

Sets
--->

Item: Salamencite
| Ability: Intimidate ---> Aerilate
EVs: 52 Atk / 204 SpA / 252 Spe | Hasty Nature
Moves: Hyper Voice / Double-Edge / Draco Meteor / Protect
Like I said, I'm a huge fan of Mega Salamence, and I think mixed is easily its best set. Hyper Voice is such a spammable move that does a really surprising amount of damage thanks to Aerilate, and Double-Edge is incredibly powerful coming off Mega Salamence's base 145 Attack stat. Draco Meteor was mainly used to hit stuff like opposing Salamence or Landorus-T, but it clashed with my own Misty Terrain, which weakened Draco Meteor against grounded targets. Fire Blast is definitely worth considering in that slot to give the team a fire move to hit the now popular Ferrothorn. The EV spread is pretty simple, max Speed was an obvious pick to make Salamence as fast as possible and give it the best chance to eliminate other Salamence with Draco Meteor before they could attack. The minimal Attack investment (along with choosing a nature that didn't lower Attack) allows Salamence to always OHKO 4 HP Tapu Lele, and the rest was dumped into Special Attack. We picked Hasty over Naive so Salamence could take special attacks a bit better, as special attacks are generally more common in this format. Additionally, the 2 Intimidates on the team could help cover the slightly lowered Defense.


Item: Chople Berry
| Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 232 HP / 136 Atk / 8 Def / 132 SpA | Brave Nature
Moves: Rock Slide / Crunch / Ice Beam / Protect
While Tyranitar was miltankmilk's idea, I believe this set was mine. Since Tyranitar was meant to serve as a check to Salamence and Gengar, as well as a pseudo-check to Psyspam due to its Dark typing, I definitely wanted a Rock, Dark, and Ice move. I immediately ruled out a full special set since Dark Pulse is very underwhelming and not running Rock Slide would be a crime, but I opted for mixed instead of full physical with Ice Punch because Ice Beam will always OHKO Landorus-T, regardless of Intimidate. Running a mixed set meant I had to use a speed-lowering nature and therefore couldn't really take advantage of Tailwind with Tyranitar, but I felt that it was worth the coverage. Chople Berry was actually really good on this set, as it allowed Tyranitar to reliably survive a Superpower from Focus Sash Deoxys-A as well as Jolly Life Orb Landorus-T. The only Landorus sets that could OHKO this Tyranitar were Groundium Z and Choice Band, neither of which were very popular at the time. The Special Attack investment allowed Tyranitar to OHKO non-Assault Vest Landorus-T with Ice Beam, as well as 4 HP Mega Salamence with Ice Beam plus 1 turn of Sand Damage 100% of the time. The rest of the EVs were then dumped into Attack, which combined with an Attack-boosting nature allowed Tyranitar to deal some really solid damage with its two STAB moves.


Item: Ghostium Z
| Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 132 HP / 252 SpA / 124 Spe | Modest Nature
Moves: Shadow Ball / Hidden Power Ice / Shadow Sneak / King's Shield
Everything about this Aegislash set was miltankmilk's. He told me about this idea and at first I thought it was kinda crazy, but then I realized it was actually really clever. Aegislash can often times be a more passive presence in DOU, with sets like Substitute + Wide Guard being prevalent in ORAS. This Aegislash is anything but passive, and instead is meant to do a bunch of damage all at once. Never Ending Nightmare coming off Aegislash's massive base 150 Special Attack does a ton to anything that doesn't resist it, OHKOing some of the frailer offensive threats in the tier. Hidden Power Ice lets Aegislash steal KOs against Landorus-T and Mega Salamence while not having to blow its Z move. The last slot could have been Flash Cannon, but we felt like the coverage often wasn't necessary and opted for Shadow Sneak instead. Even though we went with a Modest nature, which lowers Attack, Shadow Sneak was able to consistently pick off weakened Pokemon, making Aegislash even more of a threat. The EV spread allows Aegislash to outspeed base 120 Speed Pokemon (read: Mega Salamence), and then we just went max Special Attack and dumped in HP.


Item: Misty Seed
| Ability: Static
EVs: 232 HP / 136 Def / 84 SpD / 56 Spe | Bold Nature
Moves: Thunderbolt / Hidden Power Ice / Tailwind / Roost
Ahh Misty Seed Zapdos, my masterpiece. Sun and Moon introduced four new items into the game that raised one of the defensive stats if their particular terrain was active; Misty and Psychic raised Special Defense, while Electric and Grassy raised Defense. I think the Seeds are amazing items on Pokemon like Zapdos that can stick around and heal themselves up for a while, so Misty Seed was such an easy choice. I was surprised that the seeds hadn't really caught on in DOU yet, but I went for it anyway and I was absolutely not disappointed. The moveset on this Zapdos was very standard. Thunderbolt and HP Ice provide near perfect coverage, Tailwind was the reason I picked Zapdos in the first place, and Roost makes Zapdos super hard to take down and allows it to set up Tailwind multiple times throughout a game. The EV spread gives Zapdos enough Speed to outspeed neutral nature base 75s like Tapu Bulu, allows Zapdos to survive a 252 Modest Deoxys-Attack Psycho Boost in Psychic Terrain at +1 Special Defense, and hits a jump point in Defense with a Bold nature. I'm really proud of this set and EV spread, and I think it easily is the most influential set I've built in DOU. A lot of players started using Misty or Psychic Seed Zapdos after I introduced this set in my SPL 8 Week 2 match, and I will shamelessly take credit for that trend until the day I die.


Item: Leftovers
| Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 16 Def / 152 SpA / 32 SpD / 56 Spe | Bold Nature
Moves: Muddy Water / Moonblast / Calm Mind / Protect
Standard ass Tapu Fini, really not a whole lot to say about either the set or the spread. I got the EV spread from qsns a while ago and I'm really not sure what it does other than hit a jump point in Defense. Tapu Fini was less of a focus for the team and more of a supporter with Misty Terrain and a secondary win condition with Calm Mind. While it was rarely the MVP of any individual battles, it always played an important part in negating opposing terrains and giving Zapdos that precious Misty Seed boost. I was skeptical about Tapu Fini at the beginning of the format, but once I gave it a try I saw that its use goes far beyond its mediocre damage output.


Item: Choice Band
| Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe | Adamant Nature
Moves: Earthquake / Rock Slide / Superpower / Explosion
While Landorus-T is quite the standard Pokemon, this set was a bit of a departure from the norm. Since this slot was originally meant to be something that could deal a ton of damage (Landorus-I), I decided to go with Choice Band Landorus-T to still have that damage output I wanted while adding Intimidate support. I didn't feel as though I needed Choice Scarf since I had a pretty reliable means of speed control in Zapdos, and Assault Vest didn't have the power I wanted. While dropping U-Turn on choice item Landorus is strange, I felt as though all the other moves were more valuable. Earthquake and Rock Slide are staples in any doubles metagame, and Superpower gave my team a way to hit Kangashan (which had not been banned yet) and Ferrothorn for huge damage. As soon as I picked Choice Band I knew I wanted to use Explosion since I already had a Ghost type to dodge the damage and Choice Band Explosion from a base 145 Attack stat is ridiculously strong. I went with an Adamant nature since there isn't a whole lot in that speed tier worth outrunning with a Jolly Nature, and Adamant just amplified the damage output even more. EV spread was nice and simple, hit hard and go fast.

Threats
Rain: While I have Tyranitar to reset weather, it can't switch into rain very well because of the pretty high chance it'll be taking a Water move. I can usually handle rain with Zapdos and Tapu Fini thanks to the Misty Seed, but if I find myself in a position where Zapdos has taken too much damage it can be pretty scary.

Bulky Leech Seed Steel types: I lumped Ferrothorn and Celesteela together because they basically pose the same threat to my team. If I don't have the right Pokemon out on the field, they can start setting up Leech Seeds and whittling away. The only ways I have to hit these Pokemon super effectively are Superpower for Ferrothorn and Thunderbolt for Celesteela. Ferrothorn is a little bit less of an issue than Celesteela because Salamence can Double-Edge it for a ton of damage (while taking a lot of recoil in the process), but Celesteela is a bit harder since Zapdos has no Special Attack investment at all. Switching Draco Meteor to Fire Blast would certainly help with both of these matchups, and I'm strongly consdering making that change.

Mega Gengar: Mega Gengar can be a bit of an issue since a lot of this teams value comes from being able to pivot into different threats. Shadow Tag prevents that, and Mega Gengar can hit most of this team super hard, except for Tyranitar and boosted Zapdos. Hidden Power Ice Gengar in particular is a big problem since it outspeeds and cleanly OHKOs both Salamence and Landorus. Tyranitar stops Gengar in its tracks, but if the other team has tools to manage Tyranitar it can be pretty annoying.


Conclusion
This is still my favorite team that I've built and used in SM. I think that it still handles the current meta pretty well even though it was built before two very prominent Pokemon were banned thanks to its flexibility and margin for error while playing. Huge thanks to miltankmilk for being my trusty building partner week in and week out. I'm pretty sure we built this team while I was staying overnight at the Berlin airport waiting for my flight home from a VGC Regional lmao. Hopefully you all enjoy the team as much as I do.
Salamence @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 52 Atk / 204 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Double-Edge
- Hyper Voice
- Draco Meteor
- Protect

Tyranitar @ Chople Berry
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 232 HP / 136 Atk / 8 Def / 132 SpA
Brave Nature
- Rock Slide
- Crunch
- Ice Beam
- Protect

Aegislash @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 132 HP / 252 SpA / 124 Spe
Modest Nature
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Shadow Sneak
- King's Shield

Zapdos @ Misty Seed
Ability: Static
EVs: 232 HP / 136 Def / 84 SpD / 56 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Tailwind
- Roost

Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 16 Def / 152 SpA / 32 SpD / 56 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Muddy Water
- Moonblast
- Calm Mind
- Protect

Landorus-Therian @ Choice Band
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Superpower
- Rock Slide
- Explosion
Thanks for reading!
 
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miltankmilk

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This team seems quite solid and I think it certainly is because of the genius input by other circus maximus tigres. (Wrawwwwn)
A few tweaks to make here, I'm sure you will agree they are for the best.

Tapu Fini-> Choice Scarf Tapu Bulu
Important change here, reducing EQ and BULLDOZE damage is a major key for ttar and aegislash while the grassy terrain's pseudo leftovers also benefits these two centerpieces of this team.

Tapu Bulu @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Wood Hammer
- Horn Leech
- Rock Slide
- Superpower

Misty Seed->Grassy Seed
After dropping the useless tapu fini, grassy seed allows the zapdos to sponge physical hits even better and allowing zapdos to run a more specially defensive spread. This allows better handling of pokemon like Salamence and Gengar should the terrain not be grassy enough to pop the seed.

Zapdos @ Grassy Seed
Ability: Static
EVs: 248 HP / 72 Def / 132 SpD / 56 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Roost
- Tailwind

Landorus-t ->Landorus-I
The sheer firepower and versatility of Landorus-I are a worthwhile addition to this team and allow better handling of opposing lando-t, aegislash, and all fire types. Astounding that a player of your magnitude wouldn't see this potential change and seize such an opportunity.

Landorus (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Earthquake
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Sludge Bomb / Rock Slide
- Protect

Hope these changes are helpful!
---------------------------------------
In all seriousness, it was a pleasure prepping with you each week and I'm happy that my view of SM doubles could be twisted and warped by a player of your caliber. Testing and building with you turned me into a much better DOU player, a more confident pokemon player and just a guy with one more good friend out traveling europe and playing pokemon. Glad I got to paint a few corners of your masterpiece that is fini-zap and wouldn't have wanted to win a trophy with anyone else.
 

Pocket

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MajorBowman, thanks for sharing the iconic team that transformed SM DOU forever! :afrostar:

IDK if ur retiring this team or not, but Curselax with Intimidate / redirection can be annoying to this team. One easy fix is to slap Flash Cannon onto Aegislash so it's not a literally free set up bait for Snorlax. You can even go Steelium Z / Corkscrew Crash route to finish off Snorlax that are skirting in the 55-60% health range (252+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Corkscrew Crash (160 BP) vs. 100 HP / 60 SpD Snorlax: 279-328 (57.4 - 67.4%)). Corkscrew Crash is also useful for scoring an OHKO on max HP TTar and AV Bulu, too.

There are additional tweaks you can do to this team to make it lax-proof, such as Taunt on Tapu Fini, Low Kick on Tyranitar, or Knock Off > Explosion on Landorus-T. Depends on how much you want to invest in taking care of this growing threat.

#teamarchive
 
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