VGC Song of Despair (Perish Trap, 1600 and climing on Battle Spot)

Perish Trap is a playstyle that gets a lot of flack in VGC. Because the strategy is fundamentally based on switching, positioning, and ultimately stalling out the Perish Count turns, many people find it infuriating to play against. That being said, it has also intrigued me for a long time. Since it demands the person playing it to have full control of the battlefield, it removes a lot of, shall we say, stressful elements of the game such as damage rolls and a good amount of prediction. In addition to this, if played properly it's possible to get a 100% win condition pretty early on in the battle.

After going through a few other iterations and experimenting with different Pokemon (RIP Murkrow), I've been using this team with decent success on Battle Spot. It's fairly standard as far as USUM Perish Trap goes, but it certainly gets the job done. I'm terrible at coming up with custom EV spreads, which is why a lot of them are just filler 4/252/252 ones.

Oblivion (Gengar) @ Gengarite
Ability: Cursed Body -> Shadow Tag
Timid Nature
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Shadow Ball
-Perish Song

It goes without saying that you can't have Perish Trap without Mega Gengar. I bring it to every single battle, leading with it probably 90% of the time so I can get the first-turn Perish Song. From there, I usually Protect -> Disable or Switch -> Protect again in order to survive the 3 necessary turns. Disable is awesome for locking the opponent out of moves that threaten Gengar; beyond that if I'm against a Landorus-T or other Pokemon that commonly has U-turn or Volt Switch, I can try to set it up so that they use it into a Protect so that next turn I can Disable it. Shadow Ball smacks Ghosts for obvious reasons, though it misses the OHKO onto Tapu Lele which is pretty bad. The EV spread is just filler; max Speed to be able to Perish Song and Disable as fast as possible, and max HP for survivability. With 170 base Special Attack, Mega Gengar really doesn't need any investment to do damage.

Deceit (Persian-A) @ Darkinium Z
Ability: Fur Coat
Timid Nature
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Fake Out
-Parting Shot

Alolan Persian is my primary Pokemon for board control. It seldom stays on the field for more than two turns since I usually play it by bringing it in, using Fake Out, and then switching out either manually or with Parting Shot in order to maintain momentum and refresh Fake Out for next time it comes in. It also has the option to Z-Parting Shot, in order to fully heal a team member (usually Gengar) that may have gotten chunked earlier in the game. Snarl is mostly filler, to be used if switching out after Fake Out would be suboptimal, but I enjoy having the option against Special attackers.

Sadness (Gothitelle) @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Shadow Tag
Sassy Nature
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SDef
IVs: 0 Spe
-Trick Room
-Heal Pulse

Another key component to every Perish Trap team ever, Gothitelle is a much bulkier trapper that I often switch Gengar into in order to preserve the trap. My reason for running full Special bulk is that a good chunk of the threats in the current metagame, especially those that threaten Gengar, are Special attackers, so it's important for me to be able to stand up to them. Gothitelle also functions as my Trick Room setter, giving me a decent secondary mode if Perish Trap has too much going against it or if the opposing team is just too fast. Heal Pulse is obvious for my team, since getting worn down usually spells disaster.

Inadequacy (Amoonguss) @ Eject Button
Ability: Regenerator
Relaxed Nature
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 84 SDef
IVs: 0 Spe
-Rage Powder
-Clear Smog

I love Amoonguss so much (I still love Breloom more, but it's not that VGC viable anymore so whatever). As referenced by its nickname, it's ridiculously difficult to take down, and it's great for buying time using Rage Powder and Spore while Perish Song turns tick down. The Eject Button, originally popularized by Wolfe Glick, enables me to Rage Powder, tank a hit, and then switch out to a partner such as Persian, while simultaneously healing with Regenerator and starting Perish Song. Alternatively, it's cool for switching out a trapper, taking the predicted hit, and then switching the original Pokemon back in. However, this is a risky play that relies on a prediction; since higher-ladder opponents are likely to be wise to it, I don't often do it. Clear Smog is the attacking move I chose since boosting opponents can be very dangerous; however, Sludge Bomb is definitely another option to hit the Tapus harder.

Torment (Politoed) @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Drizzle
Bold Nature
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 148 SDef
-Perish Song

Politoed is my secondary Perish Song user, being able to take hits significantly better than Gengar. It pairs well with Gothitelle thanks to its Trick Room support, or Gengar to have both the Double Perish option and Encore + Disable. It's also my most important Pokemon against Charizard Y and Torkoal since Sun hits *extremely* hard. The EV investment lets it live a neutral-natured itemless Thunderbolt from Tapu Koko on Electric Terrain; while this is kind of an arbitrary benchmark, it does give a good mixed defensive spread. Scald is Scald, good for smacking Landorus-T around and for fishing for burns.

Brute Force (Tapu Bulu) @ Light Clay
Ability: Grassy Surge
Adamant Nature
EVs: 252 Atk, with the remainder split between Spe and HP in a way I don't remember
-Light Screen
-Horn Leech

Tapu Bulu is a Pokemon whose presence I definitely enjoy on my team, thanks to Grassy Terrain's passive recovery, Earthquake weakening, and overriding other terrains, but I'm still not quite sure what I want it to do. I'm currently running Screens in order to increase my team's survivability even more, but I've been finding it very sub-par since there's always something better to do during my turn. I usually only bring it if the opponent has a Tapu Lele, since otherwise all it does it does is sit there. Advice on what I should be running on Bulu would be greatly appreciated. And yes, I know the nickname doesn't fit in with the rest of my team; I got it in a trade.

Common leads

My most frequent lead by far, Fake Out + Perish Song gets the ball rolling right away. Usually I bring Gothitelle and either Amoonguss or Politoed in the back, and try to time my switches so that once the opponent's leads faint to Perish Song, I have a Perish Song user in play so that I can immediately sing again. The biggest threat to this lead is if the opponent leads with two threats to Gengar, since then Fake Out doesn't protect it completely.


A good lead if the opponent seems to lack multi-target attackers, Gengar + Amoonguss lets me Rage Powder + Perish Song, and then immediately switch out to something like Persian to keep giving support.


Leading Politoed + Gothitelle is great since both of them are very difficult to OHKO without a Z-move and many opponents lead to counter Gengar instead. in addition, since it threatens Trick Room and Perish Song simultaneously, it almost guarantees that I'll successfully use one or both of them.


Persian + Bulu isn't a lead I use often, but it's good if for some reason I don't want to immediately use Perish Song or if I desperately need to get rid of the opponent's Tapu Lele.


(other Ghost-types as well but mostly Mimikyu)
Mimikyu is annoying as hell. It can switch out of Shadow Tag, is immune to Fake Out, threatens OHKOs onto both of my trappers using Never-Ending Nightmare if it has it, and is annoying to take down because of Disguise. Usually how I play against it is to either Spore it with Amoonguss and then ignore it, or bring Politoed and try to fish for Scald burns.

Not only does Tapu Lele hit incredibly hard, probably being the Pokemon that threatens the most OHKOs against me, but Psychic Terrain also blocks Fake Out. Gothitelle walls it but doesn't do a whole lot back, so more often than not I try to go with Trick Room mode against Tapu Lele. Metagross is also a huge threat for the same reasons.

Kommo-o is immune to Perish Song. Need I say more?

Thanks for reading this RMT! If you've got any suggestions for improving these sets (especially Tapu Bulu), advice would be greatly appreciated.
edgy nicknames, pls
Kartana or megagross / mawile would be good to fix some of your team's weaknesses. Preferably kartana, since dual mega really isn't optimal on a dedicated perish trap team. Kommo-o would still be a problem though. I'll go think a bit more at home.

Level 51

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Hey there, lucariomaster2! Normally I'd say that Perish Trap isn't a good archetype—it's incredibly inconsistent and it's pretty easy to work around, for example with commonly-run moves like U-turn or Volt Switch (which, for reference, are optimally used to hit the user's partner and guarantee a switch) or even Roar or Taunt. Z-moves also make Protect a lot less safe this generation, and can break a defensive core much more easily (as you mentioned above with Ghostium Z Mimikyu). However, since changing the nature of the team by including more offensive Pokemon isn't really a great way to rate a team, I'll work on improving the team's consistency instead. Here's some suggestions you may want to consider which could make your life easier:
  • Some move options on Persian: as you mentioned, Snarl isn't really helpful for patching bad matchups, and while it can be neat sometimes, I think there's some potentially better options in this slot. Icy Wind could slow down opposing Scarfers to be slower than Gengar, such as Landorus-T or Tapu Lele, so that you can hit them with a Disable on the following turn. Roar may seem a little counterintuitive, but keep in mind that you only need to set the full Perish Song + Shadow Tag combination once: if you can Roar out a problematic opponent early in the game so you have an easier time making Shadow Tag last through that first trap. However, if you down one of these paths it may be advisable to use a bulkier support Pokemon in this slot, since Persian isn't really built for this kind of support.
  • Clefairy: this one is a classic. One weakness of Perish Trap teams is that it's not super difficult to manipulate your opponent's Clefairy's main boon is being able to switch in and offer support on the same turn, thanks to Friend Guard, so you can keep Gengar alive even if you already expended your valuable Protect the previous turn. It also gets Follow Me, so it could be a good replacement for Amoonguss (though it won't have an Eject Button to use). You could also use it for the Icy Wind support I mentioned above, while Heal Pulse could be a good substitute to Z-Parting Shot, or Encore could help to deal with common setup Pokemon like Azumarill or Salamence. Finally, Helping Hand in combination with Mega Gengar's Shadow Ball could pick up some surprise KOs, as I'll discuss below.
  • Dewgong: another classic Perish Trap support, Dewgong has access to the full suite of support: Fake Out, Perish Song, Encore, Disable, combined with a decently low Speed stat make Dewgong a threat to faster, more offensive teams (think Koko/Metagross kinda stuff). I think it's very much worth considering.
  • Alolan Muk: this is new to Perish Trap, but it's actually a surprisingly good pick. Power of Alchemy means you can bring Muk in next to Mega Gengar when it's not safe to switch out Gengar, taking a KO but maintaining the trap with Muk and getting a free switch into another support Pokemon, whether it's a secondary Perish Song or something else. The main boon of Muk compared to Gengar and Gothitelle is that it actually has a good matchup, both offensively and defensively, against common Perish Trap headaches like Aegislash and Tapu Lele. It could potentially run moves like Disable or Snarl to further support your team, or just go on the offensive with Knock Off / Pursuit (to hit fleeing Ghosts) and Poison Jab. Just 108 Atk EVs with a boosting nature is enough to grab a Poison Jab OHKO on 4/0 Tapu Lele, while 140 Atk EVs with a Brave Nature lets you underspeed Aegislash and OHKO them with Knock Off while they're in Blade Forme.
  • EV spreads: your spreads are a little simplistic for Perish Trap, where surviving key attacks is very important. I'd suggest a couple of spreads for your two trappers:
    • Gothitelle: 252 HP / 180 Def / 76 SpD with a Relaxed Nature lets you survive a Mimikyu's Never-Ending Nightmare from Shadow Claw
      252 Atk Mimikyu Never-Ending Nightmare (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 180+ Def Gothitelle: 150-176 (84.7 - 99.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
    • Gengar: 60 HP / 4 Def / 140 SpA / 52 SpD / 252 Spe with a Timid Nature lets you survive a Tapu Koko's Life Orb Thunderbolt, while KOing 4/0 Tapu Koko and, more importantly, 252/4 Aegislash with Helping Hand Shadow Ball (if you choose to use Helping Hand from the above suggestions)
      252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 60 HP / 52 SpD Mega Gengar in Electric Terrain: 121-142 (84.6 - 99.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      140 SpA Mega Gengar Helping Hand Shadow Ball vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 148-175 (101.3 - 119.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      140 SpA Mega Gengar Helping Hand Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 168-198 (100.5 - 118.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Good luck with the team, it'd be interesting to see Perish Trap be a viable archetype in VGC 2018, though I think even with the improvements it may be a little too inconsistent for anything outside of dedicated ladder play. If you need any help with the EV spreads or some move selections, feel free to tag me here or drop me a VM!
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K. Level 51's sugestions are great, but Kommo-O is still a huge problem. The problem is with full perish trap teams is that apart from using perish trap, they really have no way to get KOs reliably. You could go with, say, skill swap on gengar to neutralise soundproof, but then you would have to give up disable or protect stalling. Or yknow, ignore the problem since no one uses Kommo-O anyway lol

Another option is to go a bit more offensive on your team. Tapu fini over bulu could work, as it would still override other terrains. A moonblast should be an OHKO.
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Level 51

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K. Level 51's sugestions are great, but Kommo-O is still a huge problem.
R-B-Y brings up a valid point which slipped my mind, but which has a decently easy fix—Clefairy can run Moonblast too, which cleanly 2HKOs Kommo-o after the Clangorous Soulblaze boost. The combination of Gothitelle's Psychic + Clefairy's Moonblast also KOs Kommo-o through its boosts, so that's another possible way around it.
Thanks for all the tips! I think I will try Tapu Fini instead of Bulu, as another way of dealing damage. Clefairy could also work, though Eject Button + Regenerator has been way too helpful to give up.

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