OU Spooktober - a.k.a Spinblocker Appreciation Month

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Spinblocker Appreciation Month

Introduction:
Right, so anyone who has remotely followed my tournament appearances / laddering / discord rants knows that for the last 6 months, I've been exploring the use of spinblockers in BW OU. Being Halloween month, this seemed like an appropriate time to compile my thoughts on the concept of BW spinblocking, share a handful of the more fun teams, and generally try and open up a conversation about elements of the hazard game that may be underexplored.

BW is a metagame that revolves around residual damage, with Stealth Rock and Spikes playing a particularly pivotal role. Many of the key defensive pieces in the format are grounded - Tyranitar, Ferrothorn, Politoed, and Jirachi to name a few, and as such Spikes Ferrothorn / Skarmory become a default slot on any team utilising Alakazam, Reuniclus, Thundurus-T, and so on. New players have it drilled into their minds by the old guard to make sure their teams have a plan against Spikes, be it through 1) relying heavily on Spike-immune Pokemon or 2) slapping Excadrill/Starmie/Tentacruel onto almost everything else. The result is a metagame where 60.5% of teams have a Spiker, and 62.8% of teams have a spinner, based on usage statistics from this years SPL.

However, BW OU is a metagame where spinblocking is generally considered to be dead. When the new generation came out in 2011, many users were immediately excited about the likes of Jellicent (and Cofagrigus lol) as top-tier spinblockers to make up for the loss of Ghost Rotom-appliances. However, it very quickly became apparent that the spinners got buffed way more than the Ghost-types and that the days of defensively invalidating a Spinner are long gone. In the modern game, offensive Excadrill and Analytic Starmie are broadly considered "unblockable" by traditional means, whilst Rain Dish Tentacruel has the potential to stall out the majority of Ghosts between Scald/Toxic+Protect in infinite weather. Thats not to say Ghost-types are completely unseen - Jellicent is an ever-present feature of the metagame and can block Tentacruel, but it is slapped onto teams as an all-purpose anti-Rain pick, and not so much to try and block Excadrill or Starmie.

This is a weird position for spinblocking to find itself in BW OU. Presumably the 62.8% of teams that carry a Spinner do so in order to patch up an SR/Spikes weakness, and as such there is a huge potential upside to spinblocking if you can pull it off. Even if we remove Tentacruel usage (considering it can be blocked by Jellicent), thats still 44.2% of teams that are reliant on Starmie or Excadrill that players have not been capitalising on. This statistic is the basis for my pursuit of reliable spinblocking in BW OU.

The Spinners:
Before we go on, we should define what sets the Spinners are running at this point in time.


Excadrill @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Force / Mold Breaker
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Rapid Spin
- Earthquake
- Iron Head
- Protect

Excadrill is the most common Rapid Spinner in the tier due to its important role compression of Spin, Steel-typing, and offensive prowess (notably serving as a Reuniclus check), as well as the fact it fits on the strongest archetype - Sand. With Ground/Steel-typing, it is the only of the 3 spinners that is guaranteed to heal turn-by-turn in Sandstorm, which players capitalise on by using Protect to give the mole surprising survivability. Excadrill commonly finds it way onto teams that have Spikes issues rather than Stealth Rock issues - this is mainly because a number of Sand picks are Skarmory/Ferrothorn set-up bait (including Skarmory and Ferrothorn themselves, Tyranitar, Gliscor, Landorus-T, some Garchomp, some Breloom, Celebi, and bulky waters such as Gastrodon, Rotom-W, Seismitoad, Slowking, and Milotic). Many sand mainstays including Heatran, Jellicent, and Terrakion are actually good against the Spikers but all it takes is one set-up bait partner for their survivability to be ruined too. Excadrill comes to the fore as the saviour of these bulkier sand playstyles by reliably keeping hazards off the field and let its teammates flourish. It should be mentioned that Excadrill is also capable of running a Mold Breaker set, more often on weatherless teams with Jirachi/Breloom, but this is a fringe playstyle that does not see significant usage.


Starmie @ Air Balloon / Life Orb
Ability: Analytic
Timid Nature
- Rapid Spin
- Hydro Pump
- Thunderbolt
- Ice Beam

A joke mon 6 months ago, but now back with a vengeance as one of BW OU's premier spinners. Starmie fits mostly on weatherless offense teams affectionately referred to as "Smurf", where it serves to remove Stealth Rock for Volcarona and Dragonite. These teams don't have many issues with Spikes at all - there's little to no set-up fodder on the team - but with Volcarona in tow there is a heavy priority on keeping SR off the field. Starmie is the preferred option for these teams due to its base 115 speed, which allows it to Rapid Spin on the entire metagame bar Scarfers and Alakazam - this offers an insane amount of consistency and many teams are completely helpless to stop Starmie from performing its job. A recent metagame shift has seen Starmie use Air Balloon over the more typical Life Orb, which makes it even more consistent - any time you have an Excadrill or Mamoswine on the field, you're now in danger of Starmie switching in and removing hazard with zero risk. As well as being a highly consistent, 1-time spinner, Starmie is also a scary offensive threat in its own right with Analytic-boosted attacks which scares everything bar Ferrothorn / Chansey.


Tentacruel @ Black Sludge
Ability: Rain Dish
Timid Nature
- Rapid Spin
- Scald
- Toxic
- Protect

Last but not least. Tentacruel is by some distance the most passive of the 3 common spinners and the only one that people make any sort of effort to spinblock, as such I won't go into a huge amount of detail here. Tentacruel is a fixture on a lot of Rain teams as your own Ferrothorn is complete set-up fodder for any opposing Spiker, and making a Rain team that just ignores hazards is difficult considering how reliant you are on Pokemon like Politoed, Thundurus-T, Keldeo, Tornadus etc - its almost always optimal to find room for Tentacruel.

A whole-team approach to spinblocking
The point I'm trying to get across here is that these three spinners are all incredibly good and, for the most part, deny spinblocking attempts. See below a crude, 1v1 match-up chart for each of the Ghosts I consider "borderline viable" and whether they outlive the spinner considering every move they could potentially switch in on. As we can see, the results are quite stark, with only Jellicent having remotely good match-ups. However, even Jellicent is inconsistent - switching in on either an Iron Head or Earthquake from Adamant Excadrill will ensure that the follow-up Earthquake will KO, therefore meaning that Jellicent cannot reliably spinblock Excadrill. Similarly, Jellicent loses to Analytic Starmie if it switches in on a Thunderbolt, which is far from ideal.

Table 1: Solo Ghost match-up chart:
SpinnerAttack:jellicent::gengar::froslass::chandelure::cofagrigus::golurk::sableye::rotom:
:excadrill:Rapid Spinwinwinloseloselosewinwinlose
Earthquakelosewinloseloseloseloseloselose
Iron Headloseloseloseloseloseloseloselose
Protectwinwinloseloselosewinwinlose
:starmie:Rapid Spinwinwinwinloseloselosewinwin
Hydro Pumpwinloseloseloseloseloseloselose
Thunderboltloseloseloseloseloseloselosewin
Ice Beamwinloseloseloseloseloseloselose
:tentacruel:Rapid Spinwinloseloseloselosewinloselose
Scaldwinloseloseloseloseloseloselose
Toxicwinloseloseloseloseloseloselose
Protectwinloseloseloselosewinloselose

However, there are ways to overcome this poor set of match-ups, and it involves looking at spinblocking through a whole team approach. For example, selection of your hazard setter can be important. By utilising Ferrothorn as your Spiker, you put Excadrill in a difficult situation where it is heavily dissuaded from clicking Iron Head due to the risk of Iron Barbs damage + Power Whip dealing heavy damage. Similarly, Starmie is dissuaded from clicking Hydro Pump or Thunderbolt against Ferrothorn. Although this is not a perfect solution, it is a way to improve consistency of spinblocking - ensure that your opponent has to make incredibly high risk:reward plays in order to successfully get the spin away (bear in mind Ferro+Jelli looks good here but its also the most spike-weak core in existance so you still have to use your brain).

Table 2: Ferrothorn + Ghost switch-in match-up chart
SpinnerAttack:ferrothorn::jellicent::ferrothorn::gengar::ferrothorn::froslass::ferrothorn::chandelure::ferrothorn::cofagrigus::ferrothorn::golurk::ferrothorn::sableye::ferrothorn::rotom:
:excadrill:Rapid Spinwinwinloseloselosewinwinlose
Earthquakelosewinloseloseloseloseloselose
Iron Head
Protectwinwinloseloselosewinwinlose
:starmie:Rapid Spinwinwinwinloseloselosewinwin
Hydro Pump
Thunderbolt
Ice Beamwinloseloseloseloseloseloselose
:tentacruel:Rapid Spinwinloseloseloselosewinloselose
Scaldwinloseloseloseloseloseloselose
Toxicwinloseloseloseloseloseloselose
Protectwinloseloseloselosewinloselose

The other, and in my opinion best, way to make spinblocking work in BW OU is to use your Ghost sacrificially alongside a fast revenge killer that can immediately threaten the spinner. Whilst this approach does not have longevity, BW games are often fast paced enough that players only get 1 spin chance, especially in the case of Starmie. This approach is therefore an incredibly reliable way of shutting down Smurf offense - suicide block the spin once with your ghost, then take the momentum with a fast sweeper that Starmie needs to switch out of. Design this well and the match-up is sealed. The best examples of partners I've used here are Scarf Tyranitar (Tyranitar traps Starmie, and Superpowers Excadrill), and Alakazam (KOs Starmie and Tentacruel, can remove chipped Excadrill with Focus Blast). As an example below, see how Alakazam's ability to always remove Starmie and Tentacruel (assuming Psyshock + Grass Knot coverage, with SR up + 1 turn of sand) drastically improves the spinblocking record across the board.

Table 3: Ghost + Alakazam revenge kill match-up chart
SpinnerAttack:jellicent::alakazam::gengar::alakazam::froslass::alakazam::chandelure::alakazam::cofagrigus::alakazam::golurk::alakazam::sableye::alakazam::rotom::alakazam:
:excadrill:Rapid Spinwinwinloseloselosewinwinwin*
Earthquakelosewinloseloseloseloselosewin*
Iron Headloseloseloseloseloseloselosewin*
Protectwinwinloseloselosewinwinwin*
:starmie:Rapid Spinwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
Hydro Pumpwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
Thunderboltwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
Ice Beamwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
:tentacruel:Rapid Spinwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
Scaldwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
Toxicwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
Protectwinwinwinwinwinwinwinwin
*depending on set, Rotom can guarantee enough damage on Excadrill to put it into Focus Blast range

Team Dump
Now the part that people have been bugging me about. Some of these are teams that people have seen already - 2 are very standard - but regardless here are some solid Spikes + spinblocker teams for anyone needing inspiration / looking to steal. Note that, yes, all of these are Psychic offense with Alakazam and Latios. Thats not a coincidence. I feel like Alakazam is the strongest partner with Ghosts due to its revenge killing capabilities vs Excadrill/Starmie/Tentacruel, as well as being a Pokemon that obviously benefits from Spikes already - its a match made in heaven. You'll see teams here that have other revenge killing options (e.g. Scarf Tyranitar, Landorus-T, Scarf Chandelure) but Alakazam is the go-to for me.I think Ghosts are certainly viable on other structures too, the synergy on rain would make a lot of sense but at least for this post... all Psyspam.

Basic Psychic Offense with Jellicent
:tyranitar::gliscor::skarmory::jellicent::latios::alakazam:

I think everyone has a version of this standard team in their builder - this is my own one. Used in RoAPL vs Bushtush this year knowing that he has a love for Rain stall / Sun stall / Weatherless stall / anything with a Chansey, and stallbreaker Jellicent does great in those match-ups. Unfortunately didn't get that golden match-up but this team is solid regardless. Jellicent + Alakazam serves as the hazard control core, with Jellicent beating Tentacruel handily and then Grass Knot Alakazam revenge killing Starmie after a block - Excadrill is tougher as if its well played, it can stay healthy enough to remove Jellicent and then stay out of Alakazam Focus Blast range. Gliscor + Skarmory helps a lot there though, so you have the potential to just play the longer game against Excadrill instead. Again, this goes back to tables 2 and 3 - best way to make consistent spinblocking plans are to make your Spiker difficult to spin on (e.g. helmet Skarmory) + a Ghost + a revenge killer.

SkarmJelli HO
:skarmory::jellicent::tyranitar::heatran::latios::alakazam:

My own adaptation of an Alakazam HO that Jimmy Turtwig used in SPL earlier this year. I've already done a full-write up for anyone interested, so won't go too in-depth here. Long story short, the team uses suicide lead Skarmory and Jellicent to get up hazards early and keep them up, enabling 3 special sweepers in Flame Charge Heatran, CM Latios, and Alakazam. Normally you would see Sitrus Berry or Air Balloon on Jellicent here which give you better match-ups against Starmie and Excadrill, respectively. Eject Button has quickly become my go-to item on Jellicent for these teams, as Jellicent is losing the 1v1 to Excadrill and Starmie so what you really want is to switch in to deny the spin, but get out before they actually 2HKO you - Button lets you do exactly this, get in scary threats to take advantage of Starmie/Excadrill all whilst keeping Jellicent alive for use later in the game. Eject Button also denies Rotom-W Volt Switches, which can be huge for this style of team that can't always find an electric-immunity.

SkarmJelli HO with double ghosts
1):skarmory::jellicent::tyranitar::chandelure::latios::alakazam:
2):skarmory::jellicent::tyranitar::chandelure::latios::alakazam:
This looks like insanity but it is basically just the team above but with a minor tweak: Chandelure over Heatran gives you another spinblocker in a pinch. You are never spinning against this team. One of the issues that the team above has is that Jolly Specially Defensive Excadrill can be a rough ride as it will force out Eject Button Jellicent, but then you've got nothing that can both outspeed and OHKO it. Chandelure can slot in over Heatran to let you perform that job. There are two routes to go down here: either Scarf Tyranitar + Balloon Flame Charge Chandelure, or Chople Tyranitar + Scarf Chandelure. Flame Charge Chandelure is slower than Jolly Excadrill but can't be spun on as it sets-up in the same way that Heatran could be. However, the variations with Scarf Chandelure are way way better vs Alakazam, and also reduce your reliance on your own Alakazam vs Starmie, so I recommend that one. Flame Body is an interesting tech here too - Chandelure will always live at least 1 40bp Pursuit from 88+ Tyranitar after SR and sand, meaning that in a lot of games you actually get two chances for a Flame Body burn (51% chance). Chandelure also helps a lot against Scizor! Obviously SR weakness is not ideal, but double fast Taunt thankfully shuts down a lot of the major lead Stealth Rockers (everything but Garchomp and Landorus-T). I think Chandelure can do some cool stuff with Fire Spin + Sunny Day + Solarbeam, on a Heatran-esque set, but its not a strong solo Ghost.

SkarmJelli HO with Landorus-T
:skarmory::jellicent::tyranitar::landorus-therian::latios::alakazam:

Same structure as the above two teams, but this uses SD Landorus-T as 1) an extra Skarmory breaker for Alakazam and 2) a highly reliable Excadrill revenge killer following the spinblock + eject button turn. The trade off is that the Mamoswine match-up becomes borderline unplayable, which is why I'm not a massive fan of this, but just wanted to show off some other interesting Ghost + Revenge Killer pairings that I've found to work.

Basic Psychic Offense with Gengar
:tyranitar::gliscor::ferrothorn::gengar::latios::alakazam:

Gengar + Psychics isn't anything new (see here for the 2011 OG and here for a 2014 redux) but its been a long time since the strategy has had a legitimate metagame presence. The core idea is that Ghosts and Psychics have an incredibly similar set of offensive and defensive characteristics which means that they share common counters - Gengar might as well be an offensive Psychic-type in terms of how it plays. It baits in the likes of Tyranitar, Jirachi, Scizor, and Skarmory and forces them to take damage which gives your Psychic-types open season come the end game. Gengar is considered poor amongst most of the playerbase but I think its underrated - people just use bad sets. The old school Shadow Ball / Focus Blast / Substitute / Pain Split or Will-o-Wisp sets are an absolute variance fuckfest as they completely rely on inaccurate options to hit the Alakazam counters. My personal stance is that any Gengar team that uses a Focus Blast / Will-O-Wisp set to remove checks for Focus Blast Alakazam is pretty unviable if you want a consistent w:l record. The set I really like uses Trick with Black Sludge (discussed with LuckOverSkill in this post) as a 100% accurate way to cripple a Tyranitar or a bulky Steel without needing to mess around with low accurate moves. Will-O-Wisp is still a nice option to have but its never the go-to option to cripple things and more just a good option to throw around once Gengar has already Tricked. Shadow Ball and Hidden Power [Ice] ensure you aren't walled burn the tier's go-to status absorbers - Gliscor, Breloom, and Reuniclus - whilst also doubling down on Gengar's underrated role as a hard Landorus-T answer. On the topic of spin-blocking, needless to say Gengar is not very good at it! The EV spread here is fast enough to beat Garchomp, with the bulk guaranteeing you'll survive a Jolly 252 Atk Sand Force Iron Head from Excadrill with SR and a turn of sand - this lets you always switch in once, and Trick Black Sludge the next turn, which should (hopefully) put them into Alakazam or Latios range depending on EV spreads and prior damage. Maybe you can opt for Hidden Power [Fire] here for the consistent damage on Excadrill rather than opting for Trick, I don't know - realistically most players aren't Iron Heading on the switch-in anyway. The HP investment here also guarantees that you survive one unboosted Hydro Pump from Starmie after SR, meaning that you can actually 1v1 if you first switch in on Rapid Spin. You can go for a more specially defensive spread to tank a Starmie Analytic Hydro Pump, but as you're slower than it anyway, there's never a guarantee that this is particularly useful - maybe with Sucker Punch. Thankfully, having Alakazam as a partner really helps out here as it can comfortably revenge kill Starmie from ~85% (i.e. SR and a turn of sand).

Basic Psychic Offense with THE BOY ROTOM BASE FORME
:tyranitar::gliscor::ferrothorn::rotom::latios::alakazam:

The cool one. Built this for week 1 of this years BWPL, having been using Gengar a lot but wanting a more consistent way to block Excadrill. Rotom emerges as the only Ghost-type that resists both Excadrill STABs, making it capable of blocking any Sand Force set at least once. Its too frail to serve as a consistent Excadrill switch-in across an entire game, but at the very least the combination of hazards, Rocky Helmet, and a potential Will-o-Wisp will keep Excadrill well within pick-off range of your Psychics in the back, therefore admirably performing the role of spinblocker. Rotom also has Volt Switch as a perk, forming a miniature volt-turn core with Gliscor to help get Alakazam and Latios into the game safely - this particularly comes in handy against Tentacruel, where the slower Volt Switch allows you to get Alakazam in for free without needing to sacrifice Rotom, where you would need to sacrifice with say, Gengar.

Stuff I think has potential but is still unproven


Golurk @ Custap Berry / Salac Berry
Ability: Iron Fist
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Earthquake
- Ice Punch
- Fire Punch

Bad mon for sure but being able to compress Stealth Rock and spinblocker into one slot must have some merit on a team somewhere. Credit goes to my BWPL teammates particularly SuperEpicAmpharos, ckw, and Nalorium who helped bounce ideas around, but we didn't work out anything solid with it. I can imagine a situation where it trades SR reliably with lead Garchomps / Gliscors, and then the midgame gets off a sacrificial spinblock with a good offensive partner (maybe ScarfTar) to give a really good Smurf MU on a team that wouldn't normally have a good one at all. Custap is just here because things like Excadrill EQ, Starmie Ice Beam, and Tentacruel's Scald in Rain leave you in perfect Custap range with the right EV spread, so you can actually make good MUs out of bad ones? Gets ruined by Protect though. Maybe someone else can work this one out because I didn't arrive on a final team I particularly liked here. edit: just realised that Salac actually overcomes your Protect issues, but it requires 252 Speed or to go Jolly nature - idea being that you EV to barely survive Drill EQ / Tenta Scald and then you force them out next turn at +1 Speed, could be interesting way to get SR and 1 spinblock + forced switch for some kind of offense


Cofagrigus @ ???
Ability: Mummy
- Trick Room
- Nasty Plot
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power [Fighting]

This is a lower tier set for Cofagrigus but can maybe put in some work in OU - I see it on some kind of HO team where you have the option of either using it as a spinblocker, or vs teams with no spinners, getting an extra late-game sweeper. Cofagrigus definitely has the most sweep potential out of any of the Ghosts so there must be some HO viability in there somewhere but again, I couldn't find anything I liked much.


Froslass (F) @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Cursed Body
Timid Nature
- Spikes
- Taunt
- Ice Beam
- Thunder Wave / Destiny Bond

This was a bit of a discussion topic on discord a couple weeks ago - someone said Froslass was unviable. I disagree, I think Froslass has the makings of a usable, but niche, HO lead pair. I envisage it being used with suicide lead Lando-T (SR / Imprison / Explosion) as an alternative way to get both hazards and a spinblocker into two slots. Most of the time you'd rather go Skarmory + Jellicent, but I'm sure there are teams where those aren't the optimal lead pairing and Lando+Froslass might suit there - who knows. Check out an BKC post here from 2014 to see some old school Spikes Froslass shenanigans, potentially worth trying in modern metagame.

Conclusion
later
 
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In the BWPL that just ended umbry ran suicide Froslass on HO, I'm just afraid it isn't very viable against sand because of ttar, and I think that's valid for most ghost types in the tier which is why their usage is so low. Anytime you attempt to block a spin, you risk a fairly free double into ttar. Of course, this is mainly just a problem against sand (although obviously ttar isn't the only pursuiter in the tier). I do think this is a super nice thread on spinblock matchups and synergies though!

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-583059
 
Eeveeto theorymoning from work post.

First of all, I disagree with many statements from the initial post , but I am not here for that. On the other hand, despite the above I appreciate threads like this one, cause they provide useful thoughts and information to new and not new players. I especially like the fact that many unranked Mons are mentioned, in fact last year during the lockdown I peaked the BW OU ladder by using an HO with Double Ghost, Froslass and Jellicent.

And to talk about other unexplored unranked Mons I came to this thread.

-If I don't remember wrong, Dusclops was an OU Mon in early BW (2010). Of course, nowadays everyone knows it's terrible (especially since Knock Off Mons are a thing), but it probably still has some use in very specific teams, due to the huge bulk. It probably can spinblock once or twice either Starmie or Excadrill, depending on the defense it invests on. It also can use the infuriating Mean Look+ Spite + Rest strat against shit like Ferro, Tenta or even Encore-Less Politoed.

-When I was bad (well, I am still bad after 11 years in this game, but I used to be WORSE) I experimented with Sub-Punch Dusknoir. It OHKOs non Chople Tar, but yes, almost no one will send it directly after seeing Sub. As a Spinblocker it probably is still able to beat non-LO Starmie and unlike Dusclops can use Trick to criple ( with Band, Iron Ball or Lagging Tail) the incoming counter. Trick Room+ Memento is another option.

-Shedinja is unviable nowadays, due to Tar being one of the best Mons, Hippo and Abomasnow being viable, and Arena Trap being banned. It could still probably work vs some Rains in which Tenta doesn't use Toxic, but its too risky.

-Between 2014 and 2016 I have seen famous Catalonian player and meme known as Misicloud using Misdreavus as the ghost in a very specific Rain team ( it was something like Poli, Ferro, Tenta, Thundy, Chomp, Misi). The niche Misdreavus has is Heal Bell, winning the Scald burn wars for Poli, Ferro and Tenta without the need to use Refresh. Funnily enough, it also walls Lando, non Sub Toxicroak ( with WoW) and some spinners like Donphan and Forr, while also forcing dangerous threats like Chomp and Terrakion to predict and use suboptimal STAB. Sure, Drill being unbanned ( which I still consider to be one of the worst tiering decisions) has made Donphan and Forretress much less used and as a consequence Misdreavus much worse, but I believe that a good builder could still make it work.

The last Mon I came to speak about is Spiritomb. Yes, Sableye exists and has Prankster + Recover, but Spiritomb has a much higher bulk and more importantly, Pursuit. With Pursuit, Spiritomb is the best Alakazam counter that exists in the game, at the same time walling some Reuniclus variants. As a Spinblocker, it's match-ups are the following:
-Excadrill: loses unless it switches into Spin or Protect and uses WoW.
-Starmie: always wins against Balloon one outside of Rain. Has good odds to win with Sucker + Pursuit against LO one outside of Rain. Has some chance to win against Rain one.
-Tenta. Loses without Rest. If Spiritomb has Rest and is Sdef, it can win, I am pretty sure that Tenta can't 3HKO without crits in rain. Pressure helps a lot in this match-up. Of course, Sleep mechanics make it hard to wake up, but the idea of Spiritomb would be to use it with Hippo/Ninetales/Abomasnow + Skarmory or Ferro as Spikers, in order to pressure Tenta with Hazards + another weather.
-Donphan. Hard to win if Sdef Tomb and switches in EQ, wins if switches into any other move and uses WoW. Easier if Tomb is Pdef, since EQ won't be dealing high damage. In any case, Donphan is bad vs both Ferro and Skarm.
-Forretress. Walls, although this doesn't matter much, since Forr will be putting Hazards and use Voltswitch.

Other advantages of Spiritomb are Sucker Punch to pick weakened threats, diverse movepool in general ( which I will expand on below) and Pressure, which can help to outstall low PP Moves such as DM from Latios and SE from Terrakion. The obvious flaws are being useless against Gliscor, Heatran and Mons with Substitute in general. 4 move slots syndrome is also something Spiritomb suffers from.
So, what moves would Spiritomb use? Unless the incredibly specific and hard to use Crotomb ( CM Restalk Pdef), Pursuit and WoW are musts, the first to differentiate from Sableye, the second to criple. Last 2 slots however have many options:
-Sucker Punch to pick weakened threats.
-Pain Split as recovery, useful against defensive teams, especially Sun Stall.
-Rest to beat Tenta. Needs more support, since waking up is hard.
-Sleep Talk to prevent physical attackers from switching in while Tomb is asleep.
-Foul Play. To fuck SD sweepers, especially Gliscor and Sub Lando and Chomp sets. More useful in Pdef Tomb.
-Psychic. Spiritomb happens to wall Toxicroak even when being Sdef. However Sub Toxi wins, unless Psychic is used.
-Rock Tomb. Generally if Spiritomb is alive and faces Volcarona, said Volcarona will probably be at 50% due to rocks, so with some damage it could be beaten by Sucker Punch. However, Roost Volca exists, so Rock Tomb allows our spirited friend to turn that match-up in its favor and even if Tomb ends up losing, Volca won't have the speed bolsted.
-HP Ice. Makes it less useless vs Gliscor and works vs some dragons and Lando.
-HP Ground. Same but for Heatran, especially if it uses Sub. Tomb can help vs Magma Tran with Pressure due to low PPs.
- Trick. Have fun with that Lagging Tail.
-Memento. At the cost of its life, Spiritomb can help some partner to set-up.


As I already said, almost all of the above is theorymoning. I have used Spiritomb, but never in a serious and long term team. Still, I think it has potential in this spike stacked meta. Hopefully you have enjoyed the post.
 
In the BWPL that just ended umbry ran suicide Froslass on HO, I'm just afraid it isn't very viable against sand because of ttar, and I think that's valid for most ghost types in the tier which is why their usage is so low. Anytime you attempt to block a spin, you risk a fairly free double into ttar. Of course, this is mainly just a problem against sand (although obviously ttar isn't the only pursuiter in the tier). I do think this is a super nice thread on spinblock matchups and synergies though!

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-583059
i made the team umbry used here and i don't really agree with your analysis. the idea with colbur froslass is you can always do something vs tyranitar lead and the majority of people will assume the froslass will be sash, thus not going for the move that ohkos. the idea isn't to have a long term spinblocker, but rather a lead that gets up spikes and doesn't let them get spun off immediately. the team is not designed to play the long term game where you will spinblock, so that's not really a consideration here.

i've already talked to umbry about the game, but i believe she had a few ways to guarantee a win and did not make the appropriate plays to do so.

1. she could have preserved the scizor by switching to jirachi when alakazam KO'd scizor, and then later using healing wish with jirachi to heal it up, and thus cleaning in the endgame
2. she could have not killed the tyranitar on turn 16 and then used agility with thundurus-t, thus sweeping bar a critical hit on crunch or quick attack.

both of these two things would have ended up winning her the game, even though she missed a crucial draco meteor against tyranitar, effectively eliminating her latios from the game.

froslass did what it was supposed to do here. froslass is actually superb vs sand, as spikes are extremely easy to keep up spikes against excadrill teams while using hyper offense, whereas tentacruel and starmie, which are not seen on sand ever, are much more difficult to stop from spinning, due to their typings, bulk, and speed tiers.

i have also made a similar team before and used it in bw global championship finals. here are the two froslass teams i've made.

team umbry used in bwpl finals
team i used in bw gc finals

they function similarly, where the idea is to keep up offensive momentum and not let the opponent have time to set up hazards or remove them. obviously that is not always possible, but there are ways to circumvent it on both teams. the latios set on both teams uses memento which is godsend on this type of team, it can allow the sweepers to set up easily vs a pokemon like tyranitar, while also functioning as a spinblocking method against something like excadrill or tentacruel. on the thundurus-t team, the idea with jirachi + scizor is that you switch jirachi into latios draco meteor, and then can freely pursuit with scizor. the volcarona is also sitrus berry in case stealth rock is to be set, bringing it in at 75% upon switchin rather than 50.1%

froslass shouldn't really be viewed as a traditional spinblocker at all, but to call it unviable in the metagame or bad vs sand is simply incorrect to me. it's obviously not going to be the same kind of consistent playstyle people expect from their old tyranitar gliscor spikes teams, but i believe offenses such as this are extremely potent in this metagame and will be able to win with intelligent play more often than not.
 

peng

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In the BWPL that just ended umbry ran suicide Froslass on HO, I'm just afraid it isn't very viable against sand because of ttar, and I think that's valid for most ghost types in the tier which is why their usage is so low. Anytime you attempt to block a spin, you risk a fairly free double into ttar. Of course, this is mainly just a problem against sand (although obviously ttar isn't the only pursuiter in the tier). I do think this is a super nice thread on spinblock matchups and synergies though!

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-583059
Echoing what TDK said here, this is actually an example of Froslass doing its job. I was actually on the opposing team in this finals and spectating it, we spent the vast majority of the game thinking it was unwinnable, and we only got bailed out due to 1) Meteor miss 2) Volcarona not being Bug Gem and 3) a minor and understandable mis-read of the win condition by umbry. Froslass successfully denied SR in the opening turns, and set 2 Spikes due to the panic it sets in with threat of Destiny Bond. For most teams you likely want Skarmory but umbry/TDKs team here is a solid example of one that likely wouldn't function as well with Skarmory+Jellicent.

To tackle the other point re: Tyranitar - I would consider it a net positive if my opponent is choosing to double switch around with Spikes up to try and control an incoming Ghost. Tyranitar is one of the primary Spikes targets anyway, and every team I've listed above wants Tyranitar to take Spikes damage. In that sense, things are actually going precisely to plan if they "predict" your Ghost coming in and switch to their Tyranitar to take SR + Spikes. Not to mention, a lot of the better Ghost sets are designed to cripple Tyranitar anyway, between Will-o-wisp, Trick, Rocky Helmet, Flame Body, whatever. I would 100% consider that a positive turn of events for the Ghost player and not the Tyranitar player. We could make a similar argument re: Latios vs Tyranitar - sure you can predict a Latios switching in and go to your Tyranitar, but like 80% of Latios teams actually want this to happen so that Tyranitar is forced to take damage for a partner. See TDK's teams above too - built fully in the knowledge that Froslass is Tyranitar food but putting it in a horrible position where it needs to decide between letting Spikes go up, or risking Destiny Bond vs a team with Latios, Thundurus, Volcarona... Tyranitar does not have a fun time against basically any Spikes + Ghost team, and the situations where you think Tyranitar "wins" are actually just things going pretty according to plan for the Ghost team.

Eeveeto theorymoning from work post.

First of all, I disagree with many statements from the initial post , but I am not here for that. On the other hand, despite the above I appreciate threads like this one, cause they provide useful thoughts and information to new and not new players. I especially like the fact that many unranked Mons are mentioned, in fact last year during the lockdown I peaked the BW OU ladder by using an HO with Double Ghost, Froslass and Jellicent.
Thanks for the post. I would actually be surprised if we disagreed that much - reading your post it feels like you think I dismiss other spinners outside of the big 3 too easily, and as those are more easily blockable (ignoring odor sleuth/foresight) I would wager you think that defensive "proper" spinblocking is on the whole more viable than I give it credit for. For the record, I think Donphan, Forretress, bulky Starmie, Hitmontop, non-rain Tentacruel and that type of thing are fine (mostly on fatter Sun teams), but I can't really write a thread covering both niche spinners and niche ghosts otherwise I'd spend all of it talking about 1v1s that have never ever occured in BW history like Donphan vs base Rotom. I kinda have to draw the line somewhere and the drop off from SF Excadrill/Starmie/Tentacruel to everything else is a really obvious distinction, but I'd welcome anyone who wanted to write up the application of the more niche spinners in the format.

On Dusclops - I was close to including it here because everyone and their mother has lost to Mean Look + Rest at some point in their BW career. The issue with that particular set is that once the surprise value is gone it can be real dead weight and its so passive that it can be abused. In terms of actual 1v1 match-ups against the spinners, Dusclops fares better than a lot of the other Ghosts that I've included but I'm not convinced how well it fits with the offensive mons that I think make up for the bad match-ups e.g. Jellicent + ScarfTar ensures you beat Starmie even if it catches Jellicent with Tbolt on the switch-in, but I'm not sure if you can make the same kind of thing work for Dusclops which always feels like its place is on incredibly passive teams. Without partners like that then you're full prediction reliant to not just lose vs SF Excadrill which feels like a horrible place to be. Happy to be proven wrong here if anyone can make some kind of Dusclops balance work, but I've only ever seen it on kinda bad full stalls where it relies on perfect prediction to spinblock with no room for error - not an issue with Dusclops per se but with the kind of teams that use it.

Spiritomb is a mon I've sat with in teambuilder a lot but like you said faces super tough competition from Sableye. If anything I would imagine Sableye actually outlasts Alakazam more reliably because it cares about SR/Spikes/Sand less and I would be shocked if Spiritomb had the longevity to Pursuit Alakazam twice, although that might not matter with priority etc. Super specialised mon for sure, I can see it being used and doing a job but definitely way more niche than Sab
 
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eden

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bunch of lass teams i was going through about 6 or 7 months ago(which is why a lotta them have king's rock...), i liked using colbur lass a ton back then and its cool to see more dedicated bw players messing around with it

some of them are just outlines, some things I wanted to figure out are: how to make this sorta team more flexible vs rain(not having to worry about the choice of scarfer in keld/latios), how to improve them a bit v jelli potentially(especially the volc luke ones), I tried to tweak rotom matchups by adding stuff like liechi nat gift cloy(maybe not necessary?) cm fblast gem keld etc

i tried iteration on stuff like: do i need/want a spinner/+diff choices of rocker+occasionally trying to stack taunts but the constants that i found myself enjoying were things like the zam/luke variants

I love having zam/luke etc to abuse layers, i frequently gave thought to lass+jelli

i originally had volc on these teams to try and punish ferro being a rocker+blasting through classic psy sands but one issue I found is if ferro isn't the rocker, sometimes you're super hard pressed to actually find that crucial turn: them holding back ferro/never spiking/bringing it in then doubling out/having twave etc there are numerous ways for ferro stuff to look to deny you - which is why I think having something that 100% forces ferro to stay in and take a hit(like liechi cloy removing rotom, so ferro is obligated to stay to kill it-> getting your classic volc setup) is how I envisioned it working(even considered mail on the volc so latios follow ups post this sequence don't ruin the game for you but this would require tweaking the rest of the sets accordingly), ice volc because with these teams I'm paranoid of giving nite etc setup room and never want to be forced to burn zam sash if possible

possibly now I'd try a psy gem volc/yache nite variant w scizor added on(having pursuit is definitely a godsend for this sorta team)

was never sure if yache or gem was better on nite either, if you yache nite, your games v scarf keld teams definitely get easier

i messed around w some fun stuff like taunt ice terrak/aspear loom/even tried metagross

gem keld was cool too i guess, potentially getting to melt rotom @ +1 w gem is p rad, not the most serious teams but if anyone can have some fun with them i'm satisfied, definitely recommend messing with the hwish turn jira cloy build that's lurking somewhere there

froslass HO's are incredibly fast paced, and finding a way to try and tweak these teams to soften the obvious rough matchups that they run into(rain being notable/scarf latios stuff being annoying[sand or rain], trying to make sure every member blocks setup from relevant stuff where possible to make sure you don't end up facing boosted mons etc, has been fun, hope someone else tweaks them even further

enjoy!

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen5ou-1200783696-u80qm1xparymh44ni8h5nf0gf8xwoc1pw

team with a v similar concept I got from asta which got me thinking about these sorta super fast paced teams in general(i realize that even going with volc on spinless teams is an option: given that you have the pace to end games way before your opp/are able to abuse different choices of rocker, but I really think spin is cool just as an emergency option - i'm not sure whether bisharp is actually good or not tbh - probably just a vanilla sd suit sciz works? was definitely fun to mess around with tho), and was what got me to mess around with multiple iterations of volc/nite/cloy teams(occasionally featuring mix jira)

another slightly off topic detour - mix jira's awesome to help pull apart sand, stuff like the jira/staraptor/sd balloon mold breaker exca(w exca ev'd for zam fblast post sr)/dgem nite/cb kyurem b/twind acro torn is the sort of stuff I love using -

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-540002 , staraptor bit of a joke mon, but I'm sure a better choice of mon there(like say volc etc), makes it much better - this is an updated version of a really old smurf HO from 2018 or so

i'm not really a bw guy, but i hope you guys enjoyed me rambling about it a bit
 
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SkarmJelli HO with double ghosts
1):skarmory::jellicent::tyranitar::chandelure::latios::alakazam:
2):skarmory::jellicent::tyranitar::chandelure::latios::alakazam:
This looks like insanity but it is basically just the team above but with a minor tweak: Chandelure over Heatran gives you another spinblocker in a pinch. You are never spinning against this team. One of the issues that the team above has is that Jolly Specially Defensive Excadrill can be a rough ride as it will force out Eject Button Jellicent, but then you've got nothing that can both outspeed and OHKO it. Chandelure can slot in over Heatran to let you perform that job. There are two routes to go down here: either Scarf Tyranitar + Balloon Flame Charge Chandelure, or Chople Tyranitar + Scarf Chandelure. Flame Charge Chandelure is slower than Jolly Excadrill but can't be spun on as it sets-up in the same way that Heatran could be. However, the variations with Scarf Chandelure are way way better vs Alakazam, and also reduce your reliance on your own Alakazam vs Starmie, so I recommend that one. Flame Body is an interesting tech here too - Chandelure will always live at least 1 40bp Pursuit from 88+ Tyranitar after SR and sand, meaning that in a lot of games you actually get two chances for a Flame Body burn (51% chance). Chandelure also helps a lot against Scizor! Obviously SR weakness is not ideal, but double fast Taunt thankfully shuts down a lot of the major lead Stealth Rockers (everything but Garchomp and Landorus-T). I think Chandelure can do some cool stuff with Fire Spin + Sunny Day + Solarbeam, on a Heatran-esque set, but its not a strong solo Ghost.
I was actually the person who originally brought up Air Balloon Chandy in one of our discussions in the BW Discord Server. I felt like Chandy had the unique ability to blank Drill's attempts of spinning against Psyspam and burning it, alongside Tar who attempts to trap you, if it tries to break your Balloon. I even had a team about it that I used for a bit on ladder, though I didn't really get too much mileage out of it due to Chandy not being too great as a sole spinblocker against Tentacruel and Starmie. I have to really give kudos to Peng for being able to make better use of the Air Balloon Chandy set though. I never really thought of how effective a dual Ghost core really was.
 

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