SwSh Battle Facilities Discussion & Records

marilli

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Endlesss Mode - AIs only - 23 wins

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Steel (Celesteela) -> Fire (Entei) -> Psychic (Mewtwo) -> Electric (Tapu Koko) -> Flying (Tornadus)-> Psychic (Azelf)

Golduck -> Crawdaunt -> Greedent -> Sneasel -> Pinchurchin -> Bisharp.

I started off with Golduck, Wailmer, Ninjask and Vespiquen vs Celesteela. I got through but used up all my Brine PP doing so. Entei was easy. I planned to ditch Golduck after I used up the Mega Kicks, but got Leppa Berry and I could yield the Barraskewda and Rhydon picked up along the way for the AI. Rhydon lasted all the way up to the final den, was a real G. I hopped onto Crawdaunt for the Mewtwo one. I swapped onto Greedent for Koko. Greedent got KOed early but AI being on Rhydon, Charjabug, and Seismitoad helped. Seismitoad's moves suck ass btw, I was trying to get a Ground type but then saw it's Toad. Here we ran out of Drill Run PP. I got too low on Sneasel so I swapped onto Pinchurcin risking Landorus. Icy Wind did a ton though, we were left pretty low starting the Psychic den with everything at <30%. I got to pick up Bisharp but Rhydon got KOed by Froslass. And Azelf took the final KO on Charjabug for the game.

Being able to pause endless is really nice, I swear I have friends...
 
Hi, I have no interesting results to show off yet. I was hoping I could discuss a bit about restricted sparring here. It's my favorite mode in the game, but I haven't been making much progress. My longest run is 22 wins on Normal. How do you guys do it? Should I start training up legendaries and ultra beasts instead? Looking into Moxie Mence and Moxie Gyarados
 
Hi, I have no interesting results to show off yet. I was hoping I could discuss a bit about restricted sparring here. It's my favorite mode in the game, but I haven't been making much progress. My longest run is 22 wins on Normal. How do you guys do it? Should I start training up legendaries and ultra beasts instead? Looking into Moxie Mence and Moxie Gyarados
I've written a guide that you can find in my signature. More directly to your question, if you're trying to get a really good streak, then yeah, Normal isn't the way to go (barring some mad scientist in the future making the infinite PP Ditto dream a reality). Salamence is better than Gyarados if you're deciding between those two, and Flying as a type should take you farther than Dragon despite the current leaderboard rankings.
 
I've written a guide that you can find in my signature. More directly to your question, if you're trying to get a really good streak, then yeah, Normal isn't the way to go (barring some mad scientist in the future making the infinite PP Ditto dream a reality). Salamence is better than Gyarados if you're deciding between those two, and Flying as a type should take you farther than Dragon despite the current leaderboard rankings.
Very useful guide. It's a lot to take in.
I must ask, do you think there's a better advantage to a special attacking lead?

I had a few team ideas. For Dragon I was thinking Salamence/Dracovish/Duraludon. I'm questioning if Dracovish is as useful for this as I first thought, though.

Grass has me thinking about double Grass/Steel with Kartana/Ferrothorn/Virizion or Appletun.

I found Orbeetle to be a particular threat that I think the guide missed. Another very bulky Trick Room setter, and then it has Room Service to be even faster in Trick Room.

I was thinking of Gyarados's use on a Water type team in particular
 
Very useful guide. It's a lot to take in.
I must ask, do you think there's a better advantage to a special attacking lead?

I had a few team ideas. For Dragon I was thinking Salamence/Dracovish/Duraludon. I'm questioning if Dracovish is as useful for this as I first thought, though.

Grass has me thinking about double Grass/Steel with Kartana/Ferrothorn/Virizion or Appletun.

I found Orbeetle to be a particular threat that I think the guide missed. Another very bulky Trick Room setter, and then it has Room Service to be even faster in Trick Room.

I was thinking of Gyarados's use on a Water type team in particular
Special attackers tend to get off to a worse start than physical attackers due to how poor Max Ooze is compared to the analogous Max Knuckle. Sludge Bomb is far more sparsely distributed than the myriad Fighting-moves, and it hits way less types super-effectively. Plus it only has 16 PP. They also have to contend with how widespread Light Screen is. Magnezone, Vanilluxe, Rotom, Swoobat, and Alakazam all have it. Magnezone has both screens and Vanilluxe isn't usually an issue anyways, but Rotom can definitely outspeed a special lead, and Swoobat and Alakazam are very likely to. On the other hand, not having to worry about Intimidate is nice, though that's not even guaranteed to show up on what has it. Overall I think special attackers are at a bit of a disadvantage, but not a huge one.

Dracovish's central gimmick (Fishous Rend) doesn't work in dynamax which definitely limits its potential, and being so reliant on a 16-PP move is also awful for longevity. I think it's certainly good enough to get you past your current stumbling block, but I wouldn't recommend it for longer runs. Kartana/Ferrothorn/Appletun is likely a good team, with all members having proven themselves in high streaks. I imagine the Grass team has more potential, but the Dragon one will have quicker games overall.

Orbeetle was not something I ever had problems with before, but 2 out of 3 of my last teams have had trouble with it and it is indeed a major pain when your lead can't OHKO it. So, fair enough.

Gyarados is probably the best water lead, and you should be able to get good results with it. Just make sure to pack an Electric-immunity.
 
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I finally cleared all 18 types in Restricted Sparring. I’ll only post team details for some of the types (the ones in bold), mainly the ones that seemed worthy of the type leaderboards. Here’s a clip showing all 18 of my type records: https://streamable.com/91k604

My win streaks after one* attempt per type:
Normal - 15 (Snorlax, Indeedee-Male, Porygon-Z)
Fire - 19 (Volcarona, Cinderace, Moltres)
Water - 29 (Starmie, Suicune, Dracovish)
Electric - 40 (Tapu Koko, Zapdos, Rotom-W)

Grass - 12 (Rillaboom-Gmax, Ludicolo, Ferrothorn)
Ice - 8 (Frosmoth, Darmanitan-G, Regice)
Fighting - 24 (Pheromosa, Terrakion, Scrafty)
Poison - 21 (Naganadel, Nihilego, Gengar)
Ground - 21 (Garchomp, Excadrill, Gastrodon)
Flying - 33 (Salamence, Landorus-I, Celesteela)
Psychic - 33 (Starmie, Tapu Lele, Bronzong)
Bug - 24 (Pheromosa, Volcarona, Scizor)
Rock - 22 (Nihilego, Terrakion, Aggron)

Ghost - 16 (Blacephalon, Chandelure, Spiritomb)
Dragon - 16 (Naganadel, Garchomp, Latios)
Dark - 5 (Tyranitar, Scrafty, Moltres-G)
Steel - 26 (Celesteela, Heatran, Scizor)
Fairy - 16 (Tapu Koko, Ribombee, Ninetales-A)


*Technically I restarted a few of the streaks when bad RNG occurred in the first 2 or 3 battles, but those were the only restarts.

I mostly used previously trained Pokemon transferred from past generations, as I didn’t feel like training more than a few Pokemon specifically for Restricted Sparring. However, I did change my old mons’ movesets and also used PP Ups to make these transferred Pokemon more viable for this mode.

I didn't look at any lists of AI Pokemon sets at all; since I haven’t been attempting any top records, I wanted to take a more relaxed approach instead of constantly interrupting gameplay to look at sets. However, my later type challenges certainly benefitted from my memory of AI movesets and behaviours that I’d previously encountered. I also didn't really look at any of the teams on the leaderboards (briefly saw them a while ago, but I forgot most of what I saw), although it wouldn't have affected my Pokemon choices anyway, as I mainly chose ones that were convenient, i.e. previously trained for other purposes.

If anyone has any questions about any of my streaks or teams, feel free to ask. Anyway, here are the teams for the sake of the leaderboards:

Electric-type Restricted Sparring - 40 wins: Tapu Koko, Zapdos, Rotom-W
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Tapu Koko @ Wise Glasses
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam
- Volt Switch
- Grass Knot

This Pokemon really shows how overpowered Dynamax is… at least for a fast mon that sets damage-boosting terrain. Despite having only 95 base Sp. Attack, Koko destroys so many foes because its first Max Lightning will already be boosted by Electric Terrain. It’s also ridiculous that it gets a 130 power Max Overgrowth for Ground-types, although replacing the preferred terrain is annoying. The terrain replacement is also an unfortunate effect of Max Starfall, but the power boost from 80 to 130 is necessary.

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Zapdos @ Leftovers
Ability: Static
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Rising Voltage
- Hurricane
- Roost
- Heat Wave

An obvious choice for a more defensive Electric-type that avoids Ground moves. Although I kept the offensive EV spread so it could still serve as a sweeper as well.

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Rotom-W @ Shell Bell
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Timid Nature
- Rising Voltage
- Hydro Pump
- Nasty Plot
- Hyper Voice

Didn’t put in much work, I only used this because I didn’t have any better Electric-types already trained. Levitate and Hydro Pump / Max Geyser obviously help against the dreaded Ground-types.

Overall, Electric was my best streak despite using a somewhat ineffective third mon. A lot of that can be attributed to Zapdos having Roost, but Tapu Koko’s slaying ability also really exceeded my expectations.

Psychic-type Restricted Sparring - 33 wins: Starmie, Tapu Lele, Bronzong
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Starmie @ Expert Belt
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Timid Nature
- Surf
- Expanding Force
- Ice Beam
- Thunderbolt

Five generations after I first used a sweeper Starmie in Emerald, it’s still an incredible sweeper in battle facilities. It’s still good in non-Dynamaxed form, but Dynamax really makes it ridiculous - 3 of its 4 Max Moves have effects that boost the damage of those types. It’s very satisfying to have both rain and Psychic Terrain in effect simultaneously.

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Tapu Lele @ Shell Bell
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 164 HP / 76 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
Modest Nature
- Psychic
- Moonblast
- Shadow Ball
- Draining Kiss

I just threw in this previously-trained Tapu Lele because of Psychic Surge - it was somewhat mediocre, would’ve been better with a Timid nature and max speed. Draining Kiss + Shell Bell can provide a lot of recovery though.

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Bronzong @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Def
Sassy Nature
- Psychic
- Flash Cannon
- Calm Mind
- Rest

This really exceeded my expectations, both in regular and Dynamaxed forms. It would probably be better to run a HP/Def spread, but this is what I already had - and it paid off in some situations, such as switching into a Magnezone’s Thunderbolt and setting up on it. The Defence boosts from Max Steelspike also helped.

Flying-type Restricted Sparring - 33 wins: Salamence, Landorus-I, Celesteela
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Salamence @ Muscle Band
Ability: Moxie
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 Def
Naive Nature
- Outrage
- Earthquake
- Dragon Dance
- Fly

Flying-type was one of my first streaks, so I didn’t realise it would be better to equip a Shell Bell; I also forgot to change its nature to Jolly. But it was still an incredible sweeper lead, as it essentially gets a free Dragon Dance boost after a kill with Max Airstream (because of that move’s effect + Moxie).

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Landorus-I @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Earth Power
- Sludge Wave
- Calm Mind
- Psychic

A simple choice for quick damage without any setting up required (only used Calm Mind about once). The moves are chosen to make use of Sheer Force. It was also a nice switch-in for Electric attacks aimed at Celesteela.

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Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 228 HP / 44 Atk / 116 Def / 116 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Heavy Slam
- Fly
- Leech Seed
- Earthquake

A previously trained Celesteela with EVs that I can’t remember the purpose of - but it gains Attack boosts from Beast Boost. Leech Seed + Leftovers + Fly was a very effective combination that helped its longevity, as well as the Def and Sp. Def boosts from Max Steelspike and Max Quake. I also sometimes used Max Guard to stall for healing.

Water-type Restricted Sparring - 29 wins: Starmie, Suicune, Dracovish
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Starmie @ Expert Belt
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Timid Nature
- Surf
- Expanding Force
- Ice Beam
- Thunderbolt

[Same description from Electric team] Five generations after I first used a sweeper Starmie in Emerald, it’s still an incredible sweeper in battle facilities. It’s still good in non-Dynamaxed form, but Dynamax really makes it ridiculous - 3 of its 4 Max Moves have effects that boost the damage of those types. It’s very satisfying to have both rain and Psychic Terrain in effect simultaneously.

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Suicune @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
Bold Nature
- Scald
- Ice Beam
- Calm Mind
- Rest

This is still one of the best bulky Water-types, especially since Calm Mind also boosts its offensive power. I hardly ever got any Scald burns, certainly not when they would’ve been useful.

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Dracovish @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Strong Jaw
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Jolly Nature
- Fishious Rend
- Outrage
- Crunch
- Psychic Fangs

Although it doesn’t want to Dynamax in most cases, it’s nice that you can use Dynamax to change to a different move after being Choice-locked - of course, this rarely matters since Fishious Rend is almost always the best move.

Steel-type Restricted Sparring - 26 wins: Celesteela, Heatran, Scizor
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Celesteela @ Leftovers
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 228 HP / 44 Atk / 116 Def / 116 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Heavy Slam
- Fly
- Leech Seed
- Earthquake

[Same description from Flying team] A previously trained Celesteela with EVs that I can’t remember the purpose of - but it gains Attack boosts from Beast Boost. Leech Seed + Leftovers + Fly was a very effective combination that helped its longevity, as well as the Def and Sp. Def boosts from Max Steelspike and Max Quake. I also sometimes used Max Guard to stall for healing.

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Heatran @ Assault Vest
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 116 HP / 4 Def / 172 SpA / 4 SpD / 212 Spe
Modest Nature
- Flamethrower
- Flash Cannon
- Solar Beam
- Earth Power

Solar Beam was only there for Max Overgrowth. I’ve found that Pokemon in middling speed tiers don’t work so well in this mode unless they’re defensive sets.

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Scizor @ Metal Coat
Ability: Technician
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Bullet Punch
- Bug Bite
- Swords Dance
- Superpower

Didn’t work so well, would probably go better with Roost and a more defensive EV spread.

Fighting-type Restricted Sparring - 24 wins: Pheromosa, Terrakion, Scrafty
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Pheromosa @ Expert Belt
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 SpA
Naughty Nature
- Brick Break
- Lunge
- Ice Beam
- Poison Jab

Probably could’ve changed Brick Break to High Jump Kick, but it was almost always Dynamaxed anyway. Stacking Attack boosts from Max Knuckle and Beast Boost is very satisfying and effective.

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Terrakion @ Assault Vest
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Jolly Nature
- Close Combat
- Rock Slide
- Iron Head
- X-Scissor

The Assault Vest goes well with the Sandstorm from Max Rockfall.

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Scrafty @ Leftovers
Ability: Moxie
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
- Drain Punch
- Crunch
- Bulk Up
- Iron Head

I didn’t really have any ideal Fighting-types trained for the third slot, so I used this mediocre set. Iron Head would help against Fairies if it could actually move before them…

Bug-type Restricted Sparring - 24 wins: Pheromosa, Volcarona, Scizor
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Pheromosa @ Expert Belt
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 SpA
Naughty Nature
- Brick Break
- Lunge
- Ice Beam
- Poison Jab

[Same description from Fighting team] Probably could’ve changed Brick Break to High Jump Kick, but it was almost always Dynamaxed anyway. Stacking Attack boosts from Max Knuckle and Beast Boost is very satisfying and effective.

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Volcarona @ Leftovers
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Timid Nature
- Bug Buzz
- Fiery Dance
- Quiver Dance
- Giga Drain

I wasn’t prepared for just how amazing this would turn out to be. It survived so many battles thanks to Leftovers, Quiver Dance, Giga Drain and Grassy Terrain from Max Overgrowth.

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Scizor @ Metal Coat
Ability: Technician
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Bullet Punch
- Bug Bite
- Swords Dance
- Superpower

[Same description from Steel team] Didn’t work so well, would probably go better with Roost and a more defensive EV spread.

Rock-type Restricted Sparring - 22 wins: Nihilego, Terrakion, Aggron
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Nihilego @ Wise Glasses
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Sludge Wave
- Power Gem
- Thunderbolt
- Grass Knot

Dynamax with 4 attacks really brings out its sweeping power, especially since it can stack Sp. Attack boosts from Max Ooze and Beast Boost.

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Terrakion @ Assault Vest
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Jolly Nature
- Close Combat
- Rock Slide
- Iron Head
- X-Scissor

[Same description from Fighting team] The Assault Vest goes well with the Sandstorm from Max Rockfall.

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Aggron @ Wide Lens
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 Def
Adamant Nature
- Head Smash
- Aqua Tail
- Rock Polish
- Low Kick

This mediocre mon that I trained back in gen 4 was just a filler due to my laziness with teambuilding, but at least it didn’t miss any Head Smashes (only had a few chances to use it before it died though).

Ground-type Restricted Sparring - 21 wins: Garchomp, Excadrill, Gastrodon
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Garchomp @ Shell Bell
Ability: Sand Veil
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 Def
Jolly Nature
- Outrage
- Earthquake
- Swords Dance
- Rock Slide

Garchomp is still so good that it hardly even needs Dynamax, but I went with Sand Veil to make use of the Sandstorm from Max Rockfall.

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Excadrill @ Soft Sand
Ability: Sand Force
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 Def
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Iron Head
- Swords Dance
- Rock Slide

Might’ve been better to use Sand Rush, due to its underwhelming speed tier.

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Gastrodon @ Leftovers
Ability: Storm Drain
EVs: 252 HP / 60 SpA / 196 SpD
Sassy Nature
- Surf
- Earth Power
- Recover
- Ice Beam

A good fit for Ground-type teams due to Storm Drain and Recover. Its special bulk becomes even more impressive with boosts from Max Quake.

Poison-type Restricted Sparring - 21 wins: Naganadel, Nihilego, Gengar
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Naganadel @ Wise Glasses
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Dragon Pulse
- Sludge Wave
- Nasty Plot
- Flamethrower

Nasty Plot was rarely used, partly because you can get the same boost from Max Ooze + Beast Boost. This mon was just as good as I expected.

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Nihilego @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Sludge Wave
- Power Gem
- Thunderbolt
- Grass Knot

Another mon that can use Max Ooze + Beast Boost for massive Sp. Attack boosts. Unlike my Rock team, this time I used Assault Vest, which works well with Max Rockfall’s Sandstorm for even more Sp. Def boosts.

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Gengar @ Life Orb
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Timid Nature
- Sludge Bomb
- Shadow Ball
- Protect
- Disable

This was just a filler that already had this moveset - Gengar hardly did anything, so I wouldn’t use it again.

Fire-type Restricted Sparring - 19 wins: Volcarona, Cinderace, Moltres
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Volcarona @ Leftovers
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Timid Nature
- Bug Buzz
- Fiery Dance
- Quiver Dance
- Giga Drain

[Same description from Bug team] I wasn’t prepared for just how amazing this would turn out to be. It survived so many battles thanks to Leftovers, Quiver Dance, Giga Drain and Grassy Terrain from Max Overgrowth.

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Cinderace @ Wide Lens
Ability: Libero
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Jolly Nature
- Pyro Ball
- High Jump Kick
- Iron Head
- U-turn

Libero with Dynamax was as good as I expected, especially since it can get Attack boosts from Max Knuckle. Wide Lens was for reliability with Pyro Ball and High Jump Kick when not using Dynamax.

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Moltres @ Shell Bell
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Modest Nature
- Flamethrower
- Air Slash
- Roost
- Scorching Sands

The addition of Scorching Sands made this more effective, partly because of Sp. Def boosts (from Max Quake) combined with Roost. It performed reasonably well, even though it was just a filler.

Fairy-type Restricted Sparring - 16 wins: Tapu Koko, Ribombee, Ninetales-A
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Tapu Koko @ Wise Glasses
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam
- Volt Switch
- Grass Knot

[Same description from Electric team] This Pokemon really shows how overpowered Dynamax is… at least for a fast mon that sets damage-boosting terrain. Despite having only 95 base Sp. Attack, Koko destroys so many foes because its first Max Lightning will already be boosted by Electric Terrain. It’s also ridiculous that it gets a 130 power Max Overgrowth for Ground-types, although replacing the preferred terrain is annoying. The terrain-replacement is also an unfortunate effect of Max Starfall, but the power boost from 80 to 130 is necessary.

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Ribombee @ Shell Bell
Ability: Shield Dust
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 SpD
Modest Nature
- Bug Buzz
- Moonblast
- Quiver Dance
- Energy Ball

Despite being quite frail, it survived quite a few battles thanks to Sp. Def boosts from Quiver Dance + Shell Bell, and the occasional Grassy Terrain from Max Overgrowth.

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Ninetales-A @ Expert Belt
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 HP
Timid Nature
- Blizzard
- Moonblast
- Nasty Plot
- Dark Pulse

I didn’t expect much from this, but it still disappointed me. I can’t recommend this at all.

Now that I've completed Restricted Sparring with all types, I might eventually revisit some of the types to improve my streaks with the more promising teams I used.
 
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I'm so mad Knock Off is transfer only. I really wanted to try out Kartana.
What sets does restricted sparring Ferrothorn run? I can picture moves like Metal Claw being involved.
 
Psychic is a type that everyone whose tried it has remarked on it not being very good, but honestly I didn't really believe them. Have you looked at the pool of Psychic types? They're good. There's several Regenerator mons (G-Slowbro even has a nice Poison type for Black Sludge and Bug-neutrality), Exeggutor has Harvest/Leppa with Leech Seed and Teleport, and Bronzong is a Steel-type with good overall defenses. And that's before Tundra, now there's the generally better G-Slowking, Cresselia with its massive defenses and potentially Recycle, and the wonderfully speedy and defensive Latias. What could go wrong?

Well, nothing I just mentioned is a lead. Psychic has a cool alternative to the usual Shell Bell fare in the form of Life Orb+Magic Guard, which both Alakazam and Sigilyph are fast enough to lead with. But having no Shell Bell leaves minimal recovery that likely requires Wish or Leech Seed for a longer streak. These are hard to fit, though, since Psychic is weak to some awful things. The abundance of special Pokemon makes AV Trevenant with its Poltergeist a major problem, and Scizor's typing with Swords Dance is also terrible. Opposing Alakazam are also awful with fast Light Screen and Shadow Ball, and Froslass is a nightmare to switch in to. Golisopod's First Impression is huge, often unavoidable damage for a lead, and Blissey basically can't be beat with special moves at which point Flamethrower burns are risked. And while the usual Trick Room duo of Porygon2 and Musharna aren't too hard to deal with, Orbeetle with Calm Mind and Shadow Ball can be horrendous. Oh, and the always-shitty Boltund can fire off super-effective Strong Jaw Crunches. While not every lead has problems with all of these, it's still a lot for the backline to deal with, and Pokemon with party-healing just don't help much with them.

But while the usual Shell Bell leads allow for more space in the backline, they're not that impressive in Psychic. It seems shocking that they're not honestly - so many Psychic-types have great offensive stats! - but almost nothing has an ability that helps with damage output, and they're predominantly special so they have to use the poor Max Ooze for a generic dmax offense boost (and most don't even have it period). Tapu Lele looked like my best choice, but I didn't love it. So while I had initially written off the Life Orb leads, the alternative caused me to reconsider, basically leaving the choice between Alakazam and Tapu Lele. Alakazam's speed is a godsend; it makes other Alakazam, Froslass, and Boltund a non-issue, and it helps greatly with not getting worn down by random shit like Tauros. But it absolutely cannot deal with Scizor ever, which I honestly think is the absolute worst mon to switch into for Psychic. It also has dicey rolls on Trevenant and Orbeetle, and just gets OHKOd by Golisopod. Lele, on the other hand, has 95 speed with no way to boost it, and it's also weaker than Alakazam. But it actually muscles through Scizor with Bug-neutrality and Psychic Terrain to block the Bullet Punch. It also has little issue with Golisopod due to not being weak to Bug and having the terrain turn 1. And while it's certainly going to be taking damage more often than Alakazam, it has Shell Bell to mitigate that, as well as a more robust backline. It was hard to say which one was really better.

...

*sees a good sparring run* owo, what's this?



Just kidding. Zoroark destroys any illusion of choice; in addition to all the mentioned flaws of Psychic you have to deal with this. Any switch is fraught with peril, and while there's not much to be done about that, the lead can at least mitigate the Zoroark problem. Normally leads have the least issue with Zoroark since they're likely faster and even a resisted hit will trigger its Eject Button. But when your STAB is Psychic, you can completely waste a turn and take a ton of damage from it. While Lele can still waste a turn, it at least doesn't take all that much damage, only up to 60% even when not dynamaxed. So Lele clearly wins the lead battle.

On the upside, the backline is much better than the lead as alluded to above. I initially tried Articuno and Metagross, which worked pretty well minus the glaring issue of Alakazam. I tried an Encore Alakazam to switch into Light Screen and Encore it, and while that worked perfectly for that and some other cheeky things, it didn't give the team a lot of backline flexibility since Alakazam can only switch into very particular moves. And with a subpar lead, that kind of flexibility is necessary. So I went back to Articuno with a more specially defensive spread to precariously, but still plausibly, deal with Alakazam.



And it was just enough to get Psychic over the coveted 100 threshold!


Tapu Lele @ Shell Bell
Timid/Psychic Surge
4 HP/4 Def/252 SpA/4 SpD/244 Spe
Extrasensory/Moonblast/Grass Knot/Calm Mind

As talked about earlier, I'm not a fan of Tapu Lele, but it's the best lead Psychic has as far as I'm concerned. Theoretically, Lele has great PP - Extrasensory has 32, Moonblast 24, and Grass Knot 32. The 4th move could be Psybeam for extra STAB PP, or more modest PP coverage options like Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball. In practice, though, Lele is just not consistent enough at depleting its PP to realize this 120+ PP dream. Part of the issue is its staggering lack of momentum. Its speed can't increase, and even its power on a 4 attack set has nowhere to go but down. It starts with the ideal terrain due to Psychic Surge and many of its moves overwrite said terrain. This means Lele has negative momentum, a rare feat. With that in mind, while Lele's initial power is impressive, it has a number of problems where, while not individually damning, it can never be in a situation where it can go "oh, I have boosted [stat], I don't need to worry about this anymore" and thus every problem is always a problem. This ends up being taxing on both Lele's health and the backline's PP, making depleting the theoretical 112/120 PP of a 4 attack Lele not feasible.

Hence, Calm Mind. This gives Lele a way to capitalize on good match-ups and smooth over problematic Pokemon in the back. It unfortunately reduces Lele's PP to 88 total, but I think it's a necessary sacrifice. It also doesn't do anything about speed and using Calm Mind is often not viable, but oh well. The damaging moves chosen are the obvious ones, STABs and Grass Knot for grassy terrain. Grass Knot's high PP is less important than you might think; I never fully deplete it. That being said I don't think the lower PP moves accomplish much over it.

I will say, for all the shit I give Lele, it is at least pretty good out of dmax, with 2 strong, accurate STABs. Since it doesn't get any benefit from max moves, for the numerous leads it can OHKO out of dmax there's no reason not to save dmax for later. It's not a particularly uncommon occurence for Lele to sweep without dmax if it can CM. This boon is also quite nice for optimizing Shell Bell healing.


Articuno-G @
Calm/Competitive
252 HP/188 SpD/68 Spe
Psyshock/Air Slash/Calm Mind/Recover

I talked about threats earlier, and Poltergeist came up multiple times. While its raw strength is almost impossible to switch into barring Normal types (which really aren't very good), Poltergeist is the easiest move to switch into when you take advantage of the fact that it needs an item to function. Mind you, Trevenant and Froslass still aren't easy to deal with. Trevenant's Skitter Smack is actually obnoxious given the prevalence of special attackers among Psychic-types, and Froslass burns, of course. Froslass needs Metagross's help, but Articuno is perfect for Trevenant. Skitter Smack is neutral and the drop gets inverted by Competitive, an ability that puts in a lot of work. Centiskorch is a problematic lead for Lele that Articuno isn't very good at setting up on, but when Lunge gives it +2 every time it doen't really need to! It's also helpful when setting up on the dangerous Shadow Balls of Alakazam and Orbeetle, since drops can let it go off earlier than usual. Dunsparce's Skitter Smack is annoying for Lele but happily seen with Articuno, and Goodra and Mandibuzz become very easy set-ups once Breaking Swipe and Snarl are used. There's also Parting Shot which triggers Competitive twice. Obstagoon's strong Lash Out isn't worth the risk, but Thievul is. No item also makes Knock Off do less!

Anyways, the set is pretty straightforward, Competitive shenanigans aside. CM+Airstream gives Articuno easy sweeps, Recover keeps it healthy. Articuno's coverage is crap so there's no need to deviate from STABs for damage. "Freezing Glare" is an unfortunate move to turn down since it just exudes power, but it's hard to argue the slight out-of-dmax power boost outweighs being able to OHKO Blissey. The speed EVs let it outspeed everything but Barraskewda and Accelgor at +1 with the rest in special bulk for Alakazam and Orbeetle.

Metagross @ Leftovers
Impish/Clear Body
252 HP/4 Atk/196 Def/52 SpD/4 Spe
Cosmic Power/Body Press/Metal Claw/Rest

Did you know Metagross learns Cosmic Power now? I didn't. I was going to use it as an Iron Defense sweeper, but Cosmic Power is so much nicer. Its 32 PP is really nice and lets me be fairly liberal with it - 3 with dmax, 4 without, generally. At +3/4 in both defenses, Metagross is nearly invincible barring crits from certain foes. Those get Body Pressed, but most other things take a slow death from Metal Claw. It has much better damage per PP than Iron Head, which is only exacerbated by dmax and its granularity. Attack boosts are nice too. Anyways, Metagross can take on almost every status threat that Lele cannot and a whole host of other problems like Perrserker, Escavalier, and Steelix. The biggest issue this set has is that some Pokemon like Amoonguss and Jellicent are nearly impossible to beat period or at least without spending a ton of PP, even if they do nothing back. But Articuno happens to be good against those stalemates.

The EVs let Metagross OHKO Marowak guaranteed with a +4 Body Press, and the 4 speed is not filler - it lets Metagross outspeed Magneton, which makes its AI ignore Electro Ball when it's slower, i.e. when Metagross is sleeping. If I were to use this team again I would use slightly more to outspeed Gardevoir and Milotic. Gardevoir is very bad to be slower than due to Grudge (Articuno beats it, though), and Milotic can be very wasteful on PP with a Scald burn before Body Press hits, though this can be played around by Resting and attacking once Metagross wakes up. Anyways, the rest of the EVs go to special defense, 4 attack is just so EVs aren't wasted.

Threats

:boltund:
Boltund is always dumb for slower leads, and Lele is always slower, so... Potentially Strong Jaw-boosted Crunch is terrible to deal with along Electrify shenanigans. Metagross is the answer to this, but it's at the mercy of Boltund using a good amount of Electrify (not an unreliable assumption, mind you).

:zoroark:
Calm Mind helps scout for this a bit, but any time a raw Psychic move is needed this can be pretty obnoxious. And when I switch something in? Leg ender at best, run ender at worst.

:alakazam::orbeetle:
These stymie Lele unless it has +2 for Zam, +1 for Orbeetle. Articuno deals with them, but crits are often fatal. At least Zam spends a turn setting up Safeguard, and Orbeetle's raw special attack is pretty weak.

:magnezone:
Always stops Lele unless it's at +2 or more. Steel Beam only does around 45% max to Metagross after Leftovers even with Analytic, so the best way to deal with this is to switch Metagross in and Body Press. I used to set up Cosmic Power, but it's frankly suicidal between Thunderbolt crits and paras. This leaves Metagross unboosted for the final mon, but it's better than risking set-up.

:blissey::jellicent::mienshao:
These are all similar in practice - low% burn/poison risks Articuno takes. Mienshao was particularly annoying to realize as an issue - Psychic Terrain blocks Fake Out and HJK is 4x resisted by Lele, leaving Blaze Kick as the best option. Theoretically Jellicent should prefer Brine on Articuno (97 > 95), but it seems to go for Sludge Wave, sadly.

:dusknoir:
Unless it has boosts Lele 2HKOs this and takes half from Shadow Punch. If only it had Poltergeist for Articuno to stall out with Metagross!

:cursola:
Ironically the least threatening Shadow Ball user despite having STAB. It can always waste turns as CM is set up (either Lele or Articuno) with Endure/Grudge/Spite which offsets its massive special attack, plus it's slow.

The Run

I don't remember a lot about the first leg, other than that Articuno got burned. Not by the listed threats, but by Froslass. I should elaborate a bit on how that's handled. The goal is to get Metagross burned, then stall out Poltergeist PP by switching between it and Articuno, at which point Metagross sets up. "get Metagross burned" can be the tricky part, though. If Froslass can't KO Lele, it goes for Will-o-wisp - easy. But if it can, then it seems to be a total crapshoot between wisp or Poltergeist. And if Lele isn't dmaxed, then that's the case even at full health. Going to Metagross is still the safest play, but Poltergeist on the switch is unfortunate. If Metagross is at max it can take a second one and Rest (which also dissuades wisp, so good to go for the switch stall), but even a few health missing (common, given how it sweeps) can tip it into possible KO range. If Froslass Poltergeists Articuno on the switch here, things are fine, but it can wisp which is unfortunately what happened here. The switch stall still works from there, but a burned Articuno is a shame. Anyways, Lele depleted most of its STAB PP before things got pretty shaky by 36, and since my goal was 100 I saw no reason to take a risk that would at most give me 1 more battle.

The second leg progressed pretty well for 27 battles, at which point Klinklang prompted a switch to Metagross. lol, it's Zoroark :) It granted mercy by using Foul Play instead of Night Daze, leaving Metagross with 30% or so. I sacrificed Articuno to bring back in Lele (it can switch back in if it's healthy, but here it was only at 50% or so), KOd Zoroark, then sacrificed Lele to the real Klinklang and set up Metagross from there. Obviously, I used my second heal here for a leg of only 28 battles.

The final leg almost had a disastrous start a few battles in, where I set up CM on a lead Day Lycanroc. It can't Accelrock with Psychic Terrain, so it's likely to set up SR instead (or Roar, which isn't a big loss) which is fine. It did just that, and in comes Froslass. Recall how I deal with Froslass - SR is a HUGE deal, in this specific case. I also had to deal with wisp/Poltergeist roulette, which I lost as it Poltergeisted Metagross, leaving it with 92 HP. Poltergeist does 82-98. Now I really needed to minimize Articuno switches, so I took a big risk. I figured - Poltergeist isn't a guaranteed OHKO which might steer it towards wisp anyways (and even if it was it might do it anyway), and even if it does Poltergeist it is slightly in my favor to survive. It burned Metagross and I immediately Rested. I let it use a second Poltergeist, burning 1 sleep turn. I then did 2 switches between Articuno and Metagross, leaving Articuno with half health. I could've done a third one and finished Poltergeist, but that would leave Articuno with a quarter, which is pretty hard to find opportunities to heal from. And I calculated that Metagross would be able to survive the final Poltergeist+Triple Axel, Resting as it woke up, so that would be ideal. But when I took more damage than expected, I realized I derped and thought Poltergeist did 92 max, mixing it up with my HP from earlier. Poltergeist got a max damage roll, leaving Metagross in certain death range from Triple Axel. There wasn't anything to do but pray and Rest, but I realized things weren't as dire as they seemed. Triple Axel has notoriously low priority from the AI due to being "20" BP, and in this case that would theoretically make it weaker than Draining Kiss, which didn't KO. And that's what it used! Metagross Rested and set up on the nerfed Froslass at that point, and Articuno healed up the next battle. I swear Froslass isn't that big of a deal for this team...

The other early problem this leg had was that it seemed really intensive on Metagross's PP at first (which I can't really blame on Lele needing a lot of switching - the first 3 leads of the leg were Porygon2, Musharna, and Miltank, which most leads need to switch from), but after only needing Metagross like, 3 times within 70-90 it more than balanced out. I nearly got fucked by Magneton FPing Metagross 3 turns in a row at 99, which would've been a frustrating way to lose, to say the least. Lele fell at 103 I believe, at which point Articuno and Metagross went for a few more battles, including 106 where it was only Metagross and it won despite being out of Cosmic Power and Body Press. With only 4 Metal Claws 107 was almost assuredly a loss, and last mon Skarmory sealed the deal for an excellent 42-battle final leg.

So there's Psychic. I really thought the previous runners were underrating it, but now that I've gotten my hands on it I share their negative sentiment. I'm certainly glad to be done with constant Zoroark anxiety for now ._.
 
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As with Ice and Mamoswine, I continued on my "let's my favourites shine in RS" quest. This time it was the turn of a new entry to my list of bruising, physical favorites: Galarian Zapdos.

I started tackling Fighting more or less two days before sb879's own steak, and I arrived at almost all the same conclusions that he did. So, please refer to his original post about status threats and the general approach to using Fighting, I have little to add outside that two sweepers can work (as you can clearly see), and that it is my humble but strong opinion that Blaziken should not go to waste.

As I started teambuilding, before sb879's own analysis, I had run in the same old problem: how the hell do I circumvent the status problem? How can I keep the team healthy overall? Is there any benefit to use rest with Fighting? To my own detriment and stupidity, I didn't think about Scrafty at all, but I somehow arrived at the conclusion that a Dark-type was necessary. When I will review Scrafty down below I will actually recommend that everyone considers a Dark-type for any streak for a variety of reasons, but things looked dire since I used the "every man for himself strategy" with a team consisting of Zapdos, Blaziken, and Dark Urshifu. The idea was: Blaziken can deal with Froslass, Urshifu with Pyukumuku while taking Toxic for the team and Musharna, and Drain Punch Urshifu should be the sacrificial lamb if anything goes awry.

As you may guess, it didn't work well. Untimely paralysis from Miltank (go figure how that thing Paralyzes probably 30% of the time while dealin 15 HP damage) and Lickilicky of all things (Lickilicky an issue with Fighting? How? Well, Max Knuckle from Blaziken is a roll...) continuously hampered my progression.

That's where sb879's appeal for Scrafty came in, and I incorporated Scrafty, albeit with a different approach. Hence, all credit to you. Without your guidelines about Scrafty's merits, I would never have achieved such a streak.

IMG_20201203_222208.jpg

And I actually think I left some crumbs on the table, but for my sanity I will move past Fighting.

There are a lot of apparently stupid choices in my team, but please read my reasoning.

(hey, irrelevant, but if you want to break records,do it in style!) Shell Bell
Speed Boost
Jolly/6hp, 252 attack, 252 speed
Flare Blitz (24PP) / Low Kick (32PP) / Brave Bird (24PP) / Thunderpunch (24PP)

The obvious question here is: what the hell does Brave Bird accomplishes on a Speed Boost Lead? Well, stay tuned, introduction first.

I agree with sb879's opinion that Zapdos, in a vacuum, is better as a lead that Blaziken, but here is where our disagreements start. I think that Blaziken into Zapdos is significantly better than the opposite, since as a switch in Zapdos offers a Ground immunity while Blaziken offers only a Fairy neutrality (not as useful given Blaziken's bulk) and dealing with Froslass.

I simply could not allow a mon who has insane STABS, can set its own weather, overpowered moves, coverage for Water types, immediate power, a built in Airstream every turn via Speed Boost to go to waste. I would actually argue that on a Mon that can make decent use of Knuckle as Blaziken, Speed Boost is more broken than Moxie, as it does not require a knockout to work.

Nature was far more of a cunundrum: while Speed Boost makes Speed a foregone conclusion after either one turn (Jolly) or two turns (Adamant), I ran into the problem of Turn 1 leads in the 132 (Adamant) to 145 (Jolly) range, which was far more dangerous than I imagined: Kingdra (dealt with by Scrafty, but not without sweating), Pikachu (don't laugh, it hits like a truck, it can be immune to Thunder Punch and is not OHKOed by Low Kick as it weighs like a nail) and Heracross are all things you absolutely do not want to take a hit from. So I opted for Jolly, missing out on some OHKOs but dealing with leads much better. Plus, in two turns Blaziken is likely to have either sun and +1 attack or +2 attack at +2 speed, so the power will be there regardless.

Then...what about Brave Bird I guess? First of all, the other options are either Earthquake (accomplished little outside of Drapion and Garbodor, and has lower PPs) or Knock Off (useful but weak, and both Psychic and Ghosts are dealt with handily by Scrafty). Secondly, it deals with a variety of...hironically, problematic Fighting mons: Conkeldurr which is cleanly 2HKOed only with Knuckle+Airstream, Sirfetch'd (dreadfully powerful and crit-friendly) and the obnoxious Julio Jones wannabe with its Light Ball (Passimian). It is also a valuable substitute for Max Flare/Flare Blitz on the last mon if you need the OHKO and you have sufficient Attack boosts, preserving much more important Stab PPs.

Fire Punch vs Flare Blitz? It's just a matter of power. In Dynamax, Max Flare Flare Blitz is 140 vs 130, meaning than in Sun it actually outdamages both super-effective Knuckles (Low Kick are the PPs you should be the most aware of) and neutral Knucles on resisted hits, especially important in the case of the dreadful Kingler (which is 2HKOed in Sun by Max Flare and it either weakens the initial Crabhammer or, if Sun is already up, it forces it to go for High Horsepower).

The unfortunate drawback of such a movepool is that Blaziken can be worn down by recoil on the last mon if you need to use either Flare Blitz or Brave Bird, but this is more manageable than you think: Shell bell will offset 30-35% of the recoil, and Blaziken only needs to be at roughly 40% health with both Zapdos and Scrafty available to survive the only hit either teammates cannot switch into (Ribombee).

If you need to take recoil, take it. Blaziken is far more likely to continue its onslaught while recovering damage than not and you have switch-ins for problematic mons. It actually takes consecutive encounters with Starmie, Ribombee and Cinccino as leads to worn it down sufficiently (it actually happened in the third leg of the record run, but the odds are in your favor)


Leftovers
Defiant
Adamant/ 50 HP, 252 attack, 4 special defense, 204 speed
Low Kick (32PP) / Fly (24PP) / Stomping Tantrum (16PP) / Brave Bird (24PP)

What the hell is this whack EV spread and, of all things, what purpose does Fly achieve that Drill Peck's 8 extra PP are worth?

First things first: the EV spread is tailored to outspeed up to Pikachu (again, don't laugh...), hitting 146 at neutral and everything after an Airstream Boost. The extra bulk did matter, and I loved my initial idea of a bulkier Zapdos. Initially I was even more adamant and went for 139 speed with a very bulky spread, but Pikachu, Heracross and Kingdra are not things you want to take hit from (TLDR: it's the exact same cunundrum as Blaziken's nature, but here you can settle with Adamant). 146 to 152 (max speed) actually does not matter, as it is surprisingly uncrowded and irrelevant: 149 Zoroark does little to Zapdos and reveals itself and gets out, potentially giving me a head start with a problematic next mon and an Attack/Speed boost (depends on what it disguises as), 152 Drapion is a bitch no matter what, and 152 Obstagoon is actually a target to underspeed because it's bound to do something stupid (it either Obstructs and gives me two boosts immediately, and Zapdos is insane outside Dynamax as well, or Parting Shot as I throw a party at +3 attack knowing that Obstagoon will come back to be slaughtered).

Secondly: Fly. When Shell Bell is taken and you need to gauge who will use Leftovers, you need to be creative with healing options. Hence, Fly. It happened multiple times (especially during the first leg of the record run, where I healed at freaking 48) that, with Blaziken out, Zapdos got 3 boosts on the first two opponents, taking maybe a little hit while in Dynamax, and then recovered 10 HP for free on the last mon with Fly. Spoiler alert: without Blaziken, Scrafty and Zapdos can go a long way but if and only if Zapdos in Dynamax can survive a hit from Starmie and Ribombee. 10 HP at a time, I got back multiple times from dangerous situations as I clawed towards the record.

All in all, while Zapdos is a better lead than Blaziken, I realized that it has an immunity to Ground attacks which Blaziken tends to attract, so it is a decent switch in/pivot on a variety of mons: Palossand, Torkoal, Sandslash, Marowak, Golurk, Quagsire, Sandaconda (who will actually boost you as Skitter Smack is its only option)... plus a very interesting caveat: if Blaziken has set sun up and both the dreadful Kingler or Seaking (don't laugh, again) show up, they will prefer High Horsepower/Drill Run or Bounce (which can be blue balled by Fly, another interesting use of the move) over Water moves, allowing a safe switch in to Zapdos, which can then attack or pivot to Scrafty and soften the perdicament.

Everything considered, anything but Defiant (who is still, in my opinion, very useful and B to B+) on this mon is A+: stats, bulk, typing, movepool. On all of three legs, it swept for an average of 10+ battles despite having only leftovers and a single partner in Scrafty.

I would actually recommend it as a lead for Flying (which I will tackle next) over Salamence: if it is this good as a secondary sweeper, I cannot fathom how good of a lead it could be with better PPs, Shell Bell, and a better backbone.

So dominant that I actually envisioned a whack strategy of Shell Bell Zapdos as the second mon which a Leftovers, Volt Switch Cobalion lead would bring in safely to dominate. As you can imagine, this strategy didn't work, but I think it could work with equally dominating mons on other types. Stay tuned for this, I may give it a try on Dark.

Big Root
Shed Skin
Careful, 252 HP / 142 special defense / 116 speed
Drain Punch (16PP) / Knock Off (32 PP) / Dragon Dance (32 PP) / Rest (16PP)

Another whack EV spread? Dragon Dance? What the hell?

It's actually another disagreement with sb879 about what is the best use you can make of Scrafty, but here me out a second here.

The EV spread is tailored to outspeed the 180ish speed annoying crew (Alakazam, Ribombee, Boltund, plus Starmie, Salazzle, Cinccino...) at +2 while retaining the most bulk possible. Secondly, Scrafty has weaknesses you cannot really switch out without risking compromizing either teammates. Plus, outspeeding actually means having the upper hand and, regardless, with Bulk Up you still have to risk taking critical hits (especially if you're outsped). Hence, I like to outspeed everything to minimize risk. Knock Off is actually invaluably better than Crunch (invaluable even for one simple thing: Rhyperior) and Shed Skin is insanely good.

It might be a convoluted concept, but putting it into action is far more straightforward: if you need to come in on the lead, set up to +5/+6 to minimize risks. If you need to come in on the secon mon, evaluate if something worse can be behind it and assess the situation. Usually +2/+3 is fine, but there is an unfortunate fact here deriving from using Blaziken: Blaziken is actually neutral to Fairy, so for example, if the opponent has Random Mon/Alakazam/Slurpuff, you will deal with Alakazam first without knowing if a fairy is in the wait. Simply put: be careful.

I hinted at the beginning of the report how I would boast about Dark as a useful typing, and here I am: there is a surprisingly amount of mons Dark simply eat as easy as breakfast either because they only pack Psychic attacks or Dark resists coverage: Musharna, Mr. Rime, Alakazam, Orbeetle, the obnoxious Porygon-2 if you can heal. A Dark type mon actually turns Musharna and Mr. Rime into healing stations for both the Dark mon and another mon if you don't have leftovers on your Dark (as I did): in the first leg, Zapdos healed twice back to full effortlessly by switchting and continued its onslaught.

THE RUN.

Generally speaking, both sweepers + healthy Scrafty is very solid, as Scrafty deals admirably with most faster threats and as a champion with status.

The first leg healed after 47, which I actually knew was an unrealistic pace to keep and saw an uncharacteristic extensive usage of Scrafty which, in hindsight, is the best option and leads to longer legs.

Blaziken went down at 32, not much before its theoric cap of 37 (which would be achieved only with 37 battles consisting of 3 OHKOs), due to an Intimidate Scrafty that did not go down to Knuckle and for whatever reason used Swagger. Blaziken hit himself twice, and went down, but with both STAB PP burnt. Zapdos was not that healthy in terms of PPs (70%-ish), as it saw extensive use due to an unduly amount of ground mons appearing. Around battle 15 it also had to deal with the dreadful Kingler. However, it trucked along amazingly, sometimes with Scrafty's help, and by battle 47 Scrafty had used all but 4 Dragon Dances, 2 Rests, 5 DPs and ten-ish Knock Offs. Zapdos ran out of both Low Kick and one of the flying moves (can't remember which), so I took the heal.

Leg 2 was, unbelievably, almost completely uneventful: both Ribombee and Starmie showed up not as leads, at which point they are not a problem for Blaziken. The unfortunate drawback was a relatively low use of Scrafty, hence Blaziken run out of all but one Brave Bird before going down around 80ish, and Zapdos could only run its stabs for a few battles before getting them all in the read. At battle 85 or 86, I can't remember, Starmie into Palossand saw my team got too low to continue, so I healed.

Now, 80+ wins in two legs is a remarkable achievement no matter what, so I knew the record was in my grasp provided I didn't do anything stupid. I actually set my eyes on 125 to 130 as a realistic conclusion, but it wasn't meant to be.
Blaziken returned and continued turning Mustard's house to smithereens, up to 104, when things got incredibly tense, and my luck clearly ran out and came back for a vengeance. An early Rhyperior got my team hurt (I love you Rhyperior, but seriously, you're a tough one to deal with) and, as I approached the record, things got awkward. Lead Ribombe led to Lead Starmie, and while using brave bird on last mon Passimian, red health Blaziken won 110. On 112, with all three moves at least in the orange, Conkeldurr showed up. I know from experience with Ice that, if you're low enough, Conkeldurr becomes suddenly dangerous because it deems Stone Edge a viable option. I cannot switch into Conkeldurr at all as you can imagine, so I took the risk with my most depleted mon (Blaziken). Of course, Stone Edge it was, and Blaziken went down.
75% Zapdos came in to continue in its stead admirably as usual, but at 114 I got, if I remember correctly, a bad secon mon Alakazam at 60% with no speed boosts, and I had to switch Scrafty in. Scrafty came in, boosted and disposed of Alakazam. Unfortunately, here comes Alcreamie with no Dynamax (eeeeeh....). Scrafty fought like a champion, DP it and got its health back, and incredibly survived Misty Explosion with 4HP. In following battles I found no way to heal Scrafty, Zapdos took a hit or two, up until the turn-waster Toxapex arrived at 118, depleting Dynamax with a couple of Baneful Bunkers, and here comes Palossand, which Zapdos can't OHKO without boosts. Now, Scrafty could theoretically have come in to a predicted Baneful Bunker and used Rest, but Toxapex actually never used it when I considered a switch, so it didn't matter.

As a last stand I went for the Brave Bird crit as at 4 HP Scrafty could not switch in at all, but it didn't happen. Hence, my streak went down at 117. A little bit disappointed for a 30ish last leg only, but overall very satisfied.

For the threat sections, I would like to refer to sb879's list, with a couple of differences (and underscoring that, with Blaziken, Skarmory and Scizor become non-issues, but Starmie becomes more unpredictable because Scrafty needs to be 100% healthy to deal with it as it can use Surf on Blaziken):

(Avengers Infinity War's trailer music playing in the background): Dread it, run from it, Rhyperior still arrives. As I said before, I absolutely love this mon with a passion, so I am very glad that it is such a threat in a format, finally. However, it is horrendous to deal with. Not killed by even +1 Low Kick if it rolls Solid Rock, it can only be dealt with with team effort. The best play is to switch in Scrafty as you play the "Rock Wrecker or Sandstorm?" lottery. Either Knock off Weakness Policy after Sandstorm or in the recharge turn, and either Drain Punch if it was Rock Wrecker or go immediately back to Blaziken on Heat Crash. Here, it should get KOed by either Knuckle or Low Kick (if I could only use Knock Off, it's a prayer). This leaves both Blaziken and Scrafty at 60% at best, but it is the lowest price you can pay for knocking it out.

stupidly powerful, crit friendly, physically bulky, and the Berry neuters Thunderpunch. The worst possible cocktail for Blaziken, in a nutshell. For some time I actually considered running freaking Solar Beam on Blaziken only for this thing (and not play the Lightingrod roulette with Seaking, but it's a lesser issue), until I learned how to deal with it, but it's still risky as hell. If Dynamax Blaziken is available, you need to absolutely go for Max Flare to lower Crabhammer's power. Then, if you get a high roll or you were at +1 attack, it's a 2HKO with Max Flare. However, Attack boosts are obviously not there if it's the lead, at which point you need to: 1) waste Dynamax to set Sun, 2) if it's not a high roll/crit, go to Zapdos as it either uses High Horsepower or Agility (pray it's not Agility). And then, eat Brave Bird recoil, no Dynamax, and two mons left if it was the lead. I don't like this mon at all to boot, unlike Rhyperior.

Kingdra gets also a special mention (but not a sprite, ah ah), as Scrafty deals with it as it lowers its Special attack to single digits but needs to be healthy.

Now, Fighting done despite probably leaving some wins on the table of an optimal run. I still have to decide if Flying or Dark come next, but hey I actually have to commend GF for this format, it's the best thing in Swsh by a landslide.
 
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What kind of team are you using? Coalossal is indeed a time and turn waster, but normal should have some mons capable of pressuring it (Diggersby, Heliolisk...).
Most of the longest running streaks haven't made use of such Pokemon. Every physical wall has Fluffy and hates Heat Crash. It can cripple stuff with Tar Shot and survive almost any physical hit. The only option is to hope Coalossal is the lead mon and let PZ 2HKO it.
 
Most of the longest running streaks haven't made use of such Pokemon. Every physical wall has Fluffy and hates Heat Crash. It can cripple stuff with Tar Shot and survive almost any physical hit. The only option is to hope Coalossal is the lead mon and let PZ 2HKO it.
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threa...scussion-records.3656190/page-13#post-8643145

the highest Normal run makes mention of how Coalassal can murder him if his Dynamax is already expended

https://www.smogon.com/forums/threa...ities-discussion-records.3656190/post-8573341
The second one doesnt, however good chance it just has Bewear kill it before it kills him
 
Coalossal is potentially problematic for Braviary, but easier than expected due to Defiant. Lead Coalossal is simple if it uses Tar Shot t1 as Braviary Bulk Ups, since at +3 Airstream 2HKOs and inverts the speed drop. If it Heat Crashes instead that's annoying, but +1 Airstream into +3 Steelspike KOs so as long as it uses Tar Shot the second turn it's doable. If it comes out when Braviary is already dmaxed that means it will know not to use Heat Crash and instead go for Tar Shot which is good, +0 into +2 Steelspike is not a guranteed KO but fairly likely. Bewear can take the reigns if Braviary's dmax wears off, but it's not ideal due to Flame Body risk, but there's not much to be done about that by that point.

Anyways, Coalossal is pretty obnoxious for many types, it's very hard to OHKO without Ground or Water moves, and not OHKOing can lead to Tar Shot into Endure which is terrible. And not going for dmax to lessen the impact of Endure is not a wise idea unless you have a non-contact option to avoid Flame Body, plus many leads take a ton from Heat Crash. It's definitely not just a Normal problem. Heavy Pokemon to dampen the impact of Heat Crash are ideal, but weight is a pretty arbitrary stat so there may not be good heavy Pokemon. I will say you are underrating Fluffy mon's ability to take it though, Bewear actually takes little damage and is only a bad idea if you have no way to heal the potential burn (like me!), and while Dubwool takes full BP Heat Crash it can dispose of Coalossal quickly with 2 Cotton Guards into Body Press, forgoing Rest to minimize crit risk.
 
Coalossal is potentially problematic for Braviary, but easier than expected due to Defiant. Lead Coalossal is simple if it uses Tar Shot t1 as Braviary Bulk Ups, since at +3 Airstream 2HKOs and inverts the speed drop. If it Heat Crashes instead that's annoying, but +1 Airstream into +3 Steelspike KOs so as long as it uses Tar Shot the second turn it's doable. If it comes out when Braviary is already dmaxed that means it will know not to use Heat Crash and instead go for Tar Shot which is good, +0 into +2 Steelspike is not a guranteed KO but fairly likely. Bewear can take the reigns if Braviary's dmax wears off, but it's not ideal due to Flame Body risk, but there's not much to be done about that by that point.

Anyways, Coalossal is pretty obnoxious for many types, it's very hard to OHKO without Ground or Water moves, and not OHKOing can lead to Tar Shot into Endure which is terrible. And not going for dmax to lessen the impact of Endure is not a wise idea unless you have a non-contact option to avoid Flame Body, plus many leads take a ton from Heat Crash. It's definitely not just a Normal problem. Heavy Pokemon to dampen the impact of Heat Crash are ideal, but weight is a pretty arbitrary stat so there may not be good heavy Pokemon. I will say you are underrating Fluffy mon's ability to take it though, Bewear actually takes little damage and is only a bad idea if you have no way to heal the potential burn (like me!), and while Dubwool takes full BP Heat Crash it can dispose of Coalossal quickly with 2 Cotton Guards into Body Press, forgoing Rest to minimize crit risk.
So, I totally didn't realize Dynamax made me immune to Heat Crash, and that Max Overgrowth 2-shots the thing. If it catches me post dynamax though, I'm not looking forward to it. If it catches me with Porygon-Z dead, it's probably over.

I had an encounter with Pyukumuku today, where I decided to just go for the OHKO and eat the Innards Out damage, knowing it potentially could've Mirror Coated me. It barely survived, and decided to go for Counter. Hooray.
 
First attempt at a DYNAMAX SINGLES streak
Streak: 69 wins

1608219951919.png

Cinderace ♂ @ Wide Lens
Jolly Nature
Ability: Libero
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Att / 252 Spe
- Pyro Ball
- Zen Headbutt
- Bounce
- Low Kick
1608220189045.png

Tyrantrum ♂ @ Weakness Policy
Jolly Nature
Ability: Strong Jaw
EVs: 252 Att / 8 Def / 248 Spe
- Psychic Fangs
- Dragon Claw
- Crunch
- Dragon Dance
1608220357974.png

Polteageist @ Focus Sash
Modest Nature
Ability: Weak Armor
EVs: 252 SpA / 36 SpD / 220 Spe
- Shell Smash
- Shadow Ball
- Psychic
- Giga Drain

The idea when creating this team was to have a non-setup sweeper in Cinderace and then have a setup sweeper for going against physical attacks (Tyrantrum) and one for going against special attacks (Polteageist). Cinderace actually only ever so often dies so I didn't really get the opportunity to have fun with Tyrantrum and Polteageist that much.
In one of my previous play-arounds I got swept by a focus sash - shell smash Cloyster so I was sure to start things off with Max Airstream to increase speed if it was equally the most effective attack (which it usually is), and then go back and forth with that and Max Knuckle if it makes sense to do so.
The only problem I kept running into was of course consistently beating Leon's Charizard. I definitely have to make sure I quick use Max Airstream before it does or he'll sweep almost my whole team. It also doesn't help that I have nothing supereffective against Charizard on my whole team, so it'll take a 2HKO for Cinderace and maybe more for everyone else. In hindsight, it might have been worth it for Tyrantrum to have Rock Slide instead of Dragon Claw, since I don't think I ever needed to use it (reminder that Strong Jaw makes Psychic Fangs more powerful than STAB Dragon Claw, so that's Tryantrum's main move). Not much to say about Polteageist; it did its job great.

LOSING BATTLE: vs Leon
Inteleon, Charizard, Rhyperior

Cinderace OHKO took out Inteleon easily with Max Airstream. Leon sends out Charizard. Cinderace's Max Airstream takes out half of Charizard's HP, but G-Max Wildfire brings Cinderace down to almost dying but then job is finished after the turn when G-Max flames burn him up.
Charizard is a special attacker so the recipe is to send out Polteageist. Polteageist gets off a Shell Smash right after taking a G-Max Wildfire. After the turn, it burns up a little and is almost dead. Shadow Ball kills Charizard, but the wildfire flames kill off my Polteageist.
It's now 1v1 with my Tyrantrum vs Rhyperior. Not the best matchup. It's going to take more than one hit to beat Rhyperior so Dragon Dance. Rhyperior uses Rock Polish. I thought Tyrantrum would still be faster than Rhyperior, but I was wrong. Rhyperior uses Earthquake and wipes out Tyrantrum.

Takeaway: Basically need to focus a little more on beating the only semi-difficult opponent in the game: Leon's Charizard, maybe by actually having a supereffective move on my team.
 
Ground is a type that didn't really interest me before from a teambuilding perspective; Krookodile/Excadrill/Water was just obviously the best team. Maybe an argument could be made for Steelix instead of Excadrill, but for the most part teambuilding just felt like slotting mons into a template. And post-Tundra...well, it's not much different, except Landorus is the obvious choice over Excadrill, sharing Bug/Grass neutralities and adding a Fighting resistance and of course legendary-tier stats. Admittedly, though, "Water" is not an easy choice since all 5 options have some sort of niche:
  • Seismitoad: The least useful, but strong Grass moves+Water Absorb is solid for an anti-Water mon. One of the bigger points of contention for this slot is Milotic, whose Rest makes it hard for passive options to overcome. However, Seismitoad lacks good recovery or boosting options to really work in this format.
  • Whiscash: Oblivious makes this immune to Gyarados's Taunt, and Dragon Dance is an excellent boosting move. I was really hyped for this at first until I started doing damage calculations at which point I realized Whiscash is, in fact, bad.
  • Gastrodon: Storm Drain and Recover are great, but I didn't see a good way for this to deal with Milotic.
  • Swampert: This gets Bulk Up now which is a huge PP upgrade over Curse. This is excellent in many respects and what I tried at first, but I came to the conclusion that a Water-immunity was really needed for Kingler and Crawdaunt, the former of which is especially bad for Krookodile since it survives at +1.

So that just leaves Quagsire. Somehow, its dopey self always finds a niche over its higher-statted bretheren. Nothing to do with Unaware, but rather Water Absorb and Encore. First, I do think Water Absorb is better than Gastrodon's Storm Drain for RS since you can never have too many ways to get health back. But the main niche is Encore. This gives Quagsire all sorts of ways to provide setup opportunities to the other members, and in particular it lets Quagsire deal with Milotic. I Toxic it, and once it gets low (under half) I slow Encore a hopeful Rest for Landorus to set up 2 Bulk Ups on (quick mechanics note: Encore forces 3 repetitions, not necessarily 3 turns. so if a slower Encore is used the Pokemon repeats the move for the next 3 turns, whereas with a faster one it will only repeat over the next 2 turns, since the first repetition was used on the Encore turn). Failing that, Ice Beam is Encored and Milotic will succumb to poison with no way to Rest. No momentum gained, but Quagsire and Landorus are a solid defensive core so it's usually workable.

This team seemed very promising with my first attempt getting an initial leg of 46 wins, but at battle 69 a very not-nice Froslass showed a big weakness of this team. I had been hoping to abuse Triple Axel's undersold power, as 20x4<110 theoretically makes Poltergeist a more attractive option, but as soon as I tried it Landorus got a Triple Axel to the face. Even if this wasn't guaranteed, Landorus would have to spend several turns Resting off the burn to not be in an awful position afterwards, so it was clear this wouldn't work. I went back to the drawing board and reconsidered if the Krookodile/Landorus/Water template was really optimal, theorycrafting other options like Runerigus and Steelix for the backline and Garchomp for the lead. In the end, I came to the conclusion that the best option was to stick with the same team and just let Quagsire take the burn. It rarely attacks, often heals for free with Water Absorb, and the burn protects it from other status risks like freeze. After a few very demotivating attempts where something very dumb would happen around battle 20 (better then than 100, I guess), I got this run:




Krookodile @ Shell Bell
Jolly/Moxie
36 HP/252 Atk/220 Spe
Bulldoze/Knock Off/Aerial Ace/Low Kick

Big Krook. I theorized back when I used this in Dark that Bulldoze might be better than Earthquake, and having tried it I'll say that's the case. The Ground move being weaker can be a problem post-dmax versus Pokemon that resist Knock Off (though these are generally Fighting-types which Landorus dominates), but the bigger issue is that using it with Knock Off means my strongest max move has only 120 BP. Notably, this makes Scizor and Milotic ranges at +1. While there are other issues here and there, that's the gist of it, and I think the 16 extra PP is worth the sacrifice.

Anyways, it's Krookodile, I'm still a huge fan even if it doesn't quite compete with the cream of the crop for leads. KnuckleStream with Moxie gives it absurd momentum, so once the lead is done it's usually smooth sailing. Its STABs are great too. Krookodile's myriad weaknesses are unfortunate, but this team at least neutralizes all of them (though that doesn't always translate to "is a good switch-in" unfortunately). With this good backbone in place, Krookodile gets the chance to shine with its 128 PP.


Landorus-T @ Leftovers
Adamant/Intimidate
252 HP/44 Atk/16 Def/196 Spe
Earthquake/Fly/Bulk Up/Rest

Intimidate+Bulk Up neutralizes a lot of physical attackers, letting Landorus set up and heal up with Rest. With an Airstream for a speed boost, it's a smooth sweep from there with Landorus's insane attack and excellent STABs. Crits can definitely be scary when utilizing this much stat modification, but versus most mons I need to switch this into there's room to buffer for those. This was not the case originally when I ran a more offensive variant with max attack, which worked fine with the amazing strat of "don't get crit" but frequently had no buffer for that possibility. I reconsidered how much attack it actually needed, and came up with the following benchmarks with Adamant:
4 Atk - OHKO Amoonguss with Airstream
20 Atk - OHKO +1 Tangrowth with +1 Airstream
44 Atk - OHKO Golisopod with +1 Fly

Golisopod is a huge problem for Krookodile, so I needed to be able to KO it even without dynamax (Quagsire gives Landorus a free turn of set-up with Encore). From there I kept the speed I had to outspeed Barraskewda at +1, and added a little extra to outspeed Lilligant and Vanilluxe unboosted, which are fringe cases but don't require much extra investment after the Barraskewda point. The rest went to HP and Defense, which made it much more consistent at setting up.

Lastly, this set's attacking PP is a little iffy (40 total), but I don't think Bulldoze would work here. When the only other out-of-dmax option is the 2-turn, imperfect accuracy Fly, having my other STAB be weak seems pretty bad. And there's literally no replacement for the Flying STAB.


Quagsire @ Lum Berry
Careful/Water Absorb
252 HP/156 SpD/100 Spe
Rock Tomb/Encore/Toxic/Recover

Quagsire mostly just wants to throw around Encore and Toxic, but Gyarados's Taunt necessitates a damaging move, and its typing doesn't bode well for Quagsire's STABs. Rock is the best type to hit it with due to being super-effective and avoiding contact (Rocky Helmet). Rock Tomb is chosen for its added utility of speed drops, which is mainly helpful versus Starmie and Froslass. For Starmie, Quagsire can switch in on Surf, lower its speed with Rock Tomb, then go back to Krookodile for free on Psychic and KO. For Froslass, once Quagsire is burned it will go for Poltergeist which Krookodile doesn't take too much from as it switches in and KOs. Speaking of burn, the Lum Berry might give the impression that it's a way out versus Froslass, but this switch doesn't work until something is burned to provoke Poltergeist (and as mentioned earlier, Landorus can provoke Triple Axel which is absolutely not safe to switch Krookodile in on). All it does in that case is prevent Quagsire from taking a Poltergeist. Rather, it's to mitigate status risks from Milotic/Golduck's Ice Beam and Porygon2's Tri Attack. Milotic in particular has several chances to freeze.

This is a rather fast Quagsire, though this shouldn't be too surprising since Encore needs some speed to function. The final speed point is to outspeed Crawdaunt and Encore Crabhammer, and along the way it outspeeds Crustle, Azumarill, and -1 Golduck. Golduck is nice to lower the speed of since the desired Encore is on Amnesia, which it uses often but not on cue. So being able to assuredly Encore that when it shows up is nice. -1 Milotic is also outsped, but the threat of Competitive and freeze together is too much of a needless risk when either option from the blind Encore is workable as mentioned earlier. Anyways, besides speed Quagsire just needs special defense since it takes a lot of Ice Beams from waters. It also acts as a bit of a complement to Landorus's Intimidate, though Quagsire's base special defense is a bit too low for this to totally work out as a reliable core (Gastrodon sneers from afar). Where they do complement excellently is how many water Pokemon's options to hit Quagsire are walled by Landorus.

Threats

:amoonguss:
Krookodile needs to be at +2 to KO this with Airstream, and Spore is problematic for Landorus. It's at least likely to use a turn setting up Ingrain somewhere, but how well this goes is mostly up to Spore RNG, both when/if it's used and how long the sleep lasts. While Landorus is very unlikely to lose to this if dmax is available, it may have to dmax with no boosts and at low HP, a perilous position to be in. And if dmax isn't available, it has to boost, use the 95 accuracy Fly, and make contact into a potential Effect Spore. While Amoonguss is often fine, I hate how out of my control it feels.

:tangrowth:
Again, Krookodile needs to be at +2 to KO this with Airstream. Though unlike Amoonguss's Spore risk, it can stay in and go for the 2HKO if it's at +1 and 2 turns of dmax remain, and just take a Grassy Glide to the face. Otherwise, the job falls to Landorus again. Due to Tangrowth's strength and priority, crits are disastrous here and I avoid Rest if at all possible, though if I need extra set-up due to dmax being off the table I'm forced to take the risk.

:abomasnow:
Usually only a problem as a lead due to Krookodile KOing it at +1, but boy is it an awful one. Krookodile can straight-up lose from full to Wood Hammer+Ice Shard, and Snow Warning further skews the odds in Abomasnow's favor. Landorus can switch in okay on Wood Hammer, but it has to Airstream immediately or it takes Ice moves. And if Landorus was weakened, it can be in Ice Shard KO range. Even if dmax takes it out of said range, the extra damage is still awful for what's already a risky position (comitting to dmax with no boosts).

:weavile::ribombee:
Shitty fast mons I'm at the mercy of without a speed boost. Both Krookodile and Landorus are some of the rare mons Weavile will Triple Axel instead of Night Slash (20x2>70/2, 20x4>70), and that hits like a truck. Since it still doesn't register as a KO it often Taunts instead (I'd say it's a coinflip), but I have no way to switch into this. Ribombee has a little more leeway since Quagsire can kinda deal with it in a pinch and Krookodile can also insure against it with Max Quake special defense boosts, but unlike Weavile it gives no Taunt freebies.

:froslass:
Mentioned earlier, but yeah Quagsire just has to get burned. I really don't think that's a big deal, though. Why only think? Well...

:milotic:
Also mentioned earlier, but yeah this has a ton of chances to freeze. Not mentioned is that it's pretty wasteful of PP. Because of Competitive, I can't really use what would be my dump move, Rock Tomb, to wait for Toxic to tick down (and speed it up a bit). So I have to use a lot of Toxic and Recover as I wait for it to get low, which its Leftovers doesn't help with. I mentioned earlier that Krookodile had a range against this at +1, and it's actually pretty favorable (13/16), except it's with Max Darkness and its "helpful" special defense drop, so in addition to risking a Scald burn I'm risking a ton of damage from +2 Scald. It's tantalizingly close to being a range worth going for, but it's ultimately not worth the risk. Nice to have in a pinch, though.

:scizor:
Not a problem as a lead since I can be assured it will go for X-Scissor (OHKO on normal Krookodile) as I go to Landorus, but if seen when Krookodile is at +1 and dmaxed it's terrible (+2 KOs it though). Then it might go for Swords Dance, which is horrible, especially since Landorus won't have dmax to buffer the dying Bullet Punch. So it's best to stay in with Krookodile. This is a decently favorable range (7/16), but again it's not worth going for due to the risk of Swarm. +1 KnuckleStream is the best option, but a ton of damage is still taken from X-Scissor.

:alcremie:
This leading and using Misty Explosion or Baby-Doll Eyes is very annoying. The former does a good chunk of damage (though mitigated by Max Quake) but more importantly deprives Krookodile of a Moxie boost, and the latter messes up Krookodile for later and potentially screws it out of a 2HKO. But Fake Tears+Misty Explosion is risky for the backline. As I'm typing this out I realize it may be best to just switch between Landorus and Quagsire until it explodes, so maybe this isn't that bad ._.

:kingdra:
KOd at +1, but with Sniper and Scope Lens this can end a run anytime in the lead. Niche and not much to be done about it, but should be kept in mind.

The Run

I don't remember much about the first leg (surprise), except that battle 20 made me nervous. Recall from earlier that I had a number of runs die at this point, and a Milotic lead felt like it would be a repeat of one attempt where it froze me twice, then kept me frozen for 8 turns as it Sleep Talked Ice Beam twice. Thankfully this time it only froze me once, though I didn't get the desired Rest Encore. Still, it proved to be a Quagsire-city encounter anyways, as the other 2 mons were Dedenne and Gyarados. I did find it amusing how much of a hell encounter that would be for just Krookodile. Anyways, I trucked along til battle 44 where I had a little gas in the tank still (~3 or 4 battles), but with Krookodile and Landorus at half it didn't seem worth the risk, so I took the heal.

In the second leg around battle 60, a Ribombee against a weakened Krookodile forced my hand to Quagsire. It's 3HKOd by Moonblast, but doesn't net that much health from Recover. Rock Tomb is thankfully a 2HKO, but this already-taxing process on Recover PP got even worse when Ribombee got a crit. In the end, Quagsire used around 9 Recover PP, leaving it with 3. There was another poorly-timed Ribombee where Landorus had to KO something without dmax and with some health lost, so the Moonblast took it into the red. Thankfully, a Musharna soon after that gave the opportunity to swap between it and Krookodile to spam Leftovers recovery. Another big thing I remember about this leg was a Crustle that should've gone smoothly - 2 Encores, whittle it down with Toxic. But I foolishly used Rock Tomb to speed along the process. I'd done that before, but this time brutally reminded me that Crustle gets Weak Armor, which gave another meaning to "speed along the process". The Iron Defense that had been Encored was now incredibly dangerous with Body Press. Thankfully, Landorus was able to survive a +5 Body Press, and use Fly to stall out a Toxic turn and KO on the way down. After that near-disaster, this leg went until battle 86, where I had an unfortunate run-in with last mon Tangrowth. I ended dmax with +3 attack/+1 speed, which is fine versus the vast majority of mons, but Tangrowth is an unfortunate exception. And Landorus was only at 60% or so, making set-up even more precarious than usual. It also wasn't like losing Landorus from switching it in like this meant I could scrape by with a win and take the heal after - I straight-up lost if Landorus went down. But since this leg was already 42 battles and the run well on pace for my goal of 120, I took the safest option and just had Krookodile Knock Off so Landorus would only need to attack once to finish it off (and risk only 1 crit). But Grassy Glide is only a 9/16 KO on Krookodile, who survived and finished it off after it set up Grassy Terrain. Still, I didn't think it was worth it to continue with such critical injuries, so I took the heal. Oh, and Quagsire's 3 Recovers from 26 battles ago? I only used 2 that whole time. The wonder of Water Absorb :)

The final leg went fairly smoothly for the first 20 or so battles, though I ran into another Ribombee lead at 105, thankfully with full HP to tank the Moonblast. Krookodile scraped by and Shell Belled its way back up to full, before running into another Ribombee lead 10 battles later. Unbeelievable! I nearly failed my goal at 119 when a post-dmax situation against Cinccino where Krookodile failed to get a speed boost threatened an outright sweep. Mercifully, though, it had Cute Charm with a 3 hit Bullet Seed, barely sparing the 60% Krookodile. Soon after that Landorus totally ran out of attacking PP due to it being overused (go figure) this leg. This issue was compounded by a Wishiwashi lead that Krookodile was too low to take a hit from. I had to go to Quagsire and Toxic it to death, only to be met with Drought Torkoal. Normally Landorus could deal with this, but obviously not without attacking moves. Sacrificing it would also mean Krookodile would have to take a lot of damage and risk a burn (it was only at 40% or so), so I decided to sacrifice Quagsire since its Rock Tomb would deal enough damage to let Quake KO, figuring that if I was going to squeeze anything more out of this run I would have to go all in on the Krookodile train. Said train had more fuel than expected, going for around 7 or so more battles. A turncoat Quagsire nearly ended the run at 127, but I got the +1 range and it didn't have Unaware. At 130, though, Cloyster pushed on the brakes with Razor Shell. I was surprised since it rarely starts with that even when it has the KO, but oh well. This final leg ended up being 43 battles, which makes this my most consistent RS run to date - 44, 42, and 43-battle legs.

You may notice I never mentioned Froslass burning Quagsire, and that's because it never happened. In fact, I literally never saw Froslass, even when I had a speed boost and it wouldn't matter. Lucky, to be sure, though I really feel like the burn isn't a huge deal for Quagsire. But admittedly I have no practical basis for that claim!

So, that's Ground. It ended up being fairly basic to build as I expected, but still pretty fun to play since Krookodile is such a monster and the backline is pretty flexible. And I'm always a sucker for Encore shenanigans.
 

Jumpman16

np: Michael Jackson - "Mon in the Mirror" (DW mix)
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200.jpg

Now why would I do that?

Maybe I like round numbers. Maybe I like the callback to when I quit at 100 for my Grass streak. Maybe I was completely out of PP and had only one poke left.

Or maybe I think that I could have won dozens more battles beyond 200 had I not made a seemingly trivial but ultimately costly error a few battles prior.

Target? You bet. Moving?! No way.



First, sb879 gets credit for showing us how ridiculous Xurkitree was, matching the pre–Crown Tundra record less than two weeks into the DLC2. Zapdos proved an excellent and somewhat necessary addition to the given Electric type. Raikou's speed, access to Calm Mind and great coverage moves seemed an invaluable combination.

But what *is* invaluable, anyway? The word itself, logically—what does it mean? "Beyond calculable or appraisable value; of inestimable worth; priceless."

When you can restore your PP over and over, it can translate into more fainted pokemon, more peace of mind for pokemon with finite PP, and more wins. Literally invaluable. That's why I looked long and hard at the Electric types that can use Recycle, put my faith in Magnezone and stuck with my Recycleppa strategy. And that's also why I quit where I did.

Key word above: can. If you thought Appletun was tough to use, try a pokemon that doesn't have reliable HP recovery (Rest will never check that box), can't use Leech Seed, and doesn't benefit from on-demand Grassy Terrain support. The Xurkitree and Zapdos I wanted to use largely did not vary in build, but Zone sure as hell did.

#1: Flash Cannon/Teleport

At first, I was in love with the idea of Teleport on Zone, especially with Leftovers on Zapdos. The concept of unlimited Leftovers recovery for Zapdos by way of the -6 priority Teleport, end-of-turn Leftovers recovery, then hard-switching right back to Magnezone was very appealing to me, so I tried a Flash Cannon/Teleport Zone. In practice, I realized that this had Zone incur too much damage, and Zone is definitely not an Appletun that can restore its HP at will.

#2: Flash Cannon/Toxic

I then tried Toxic over Teleport (Recycle and Rest are givens), comfortable with the idea of being able to hit everything. But that just didn't hit hard enough, and made for some hard-to-time situations where, when I needed to Rest with Zone, I risked being asleep for the next poke after Toxic killed something.

At this point I'll mention Drifblim—a massive threat for my Grass team as lead Rilla couldn't OHKO at +0, for sure, and still somehow an issue in Electric with two pokemon that outspeed and OHKO (Zapdos needs Max Lightning but whatever). The reason Drifblim (Trick, Flame Orb) is still such an issue for Zurk/Zap/Zone (#notsorry) is because, if Zone is out when something dies, it necessitates Rest on Zapdos unless I want to deal with having Zappy burned. It necessitates this because getting Leppa Berry Tricked at any point means it's gone, forever, so I can't just leave Zone in to take Trick.

Unless...Zone is still an Electric pokemon, and doesn't need *that* much speed to outpace Drifblim to OHKO. Zone sits at 80 speed minimum, and Drifblim is 92, and 93 speed only required 100 Speed EVs, 80 more than the 20 I was using already to outpace the six pokes 80–82. I realized that I needed Dynamax to be able to OHKO Drifblim anyway:

156 SpA Magnezone Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 0+ SpD Drifblim: 240-284 (96.3 - 114%) -- 75% chance to OHKO (75% chance to OHKO after accuracy)
(240, 242, 246, 248, 252, 254, 258, 260, 264, 266, 270, 272, 276, 278, 282, 284)

This is max HP, 100 Spe EV, rest in SpA, and no Def/SpD EVs. And still couldn't get the job done. Drifblim is only one pokemon, though, so I figured that I could utilize Dynamax to kill the rare Drifblim, and free up Zapdos to not have to use Rest, and run Roost+3 Attacks like sb879 did. With the knowledge that I had to use Dynamax freeing me to use whatever Electric move I wanted, I went with Charge Beam, for its sweeping potential and this calc:

68 SpA Magnezone Max Lightning (100 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0+ SpD Drifblim: 252-296 (101.2 - 118.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO (100.00% after accuracy)

68 EVs, not that many to free up a crucial moveslot on another poke. But 168 EVs total that were NOT going into the defenses of my team's backbone (Appletun was MegaCalm at 252HP/252SpD+) really started to pull Magnezone thin. Again, it needed all the defense it could get without reliable recovery.

#3: Charge Beam/Toxic

So while trying CB/Toxic for a bit seemed okay in practice, (at least it told Pyukumuku to fuck off). From my notes:

(after like four battles lol): this sucks, i won’t be able to rest after getting electric terrain up, and i will necessarily have taken some hits by charge beaming everything to...death

toxic is cool but the best sets are prob just:

rv/ac/ls/rest, 252hp/116def/4SpA/84SpD/92Spe Timid
press/id/recycle/rest, 252hp/236SpD/20Spe, Calm


You can see I'd flirted with the idea of Body Press/Iron Defense already at that point, and was thinking about the whole team. Charge Beam on Zone essentially meant I wouldn't have to use Rest on Zapdos, but CB itself made Zone's efficiency dicey, even before accounting for the 90% accuracy.

I did really, really like the idea of boosting in some way, just to make my Zone more invaluable. So I thought of Charge Beam/Flash Cannon briefly, to make use of dual STAB. But aside from the Electric Terrain clashing with much-needed Rest opportunities, CB/FC would leave Zone walled to hell and back by Volt Absorb Lanturn, which takes 40BP damage from Xurk's Grass Knot and beats Zapdos pretty bad too.

So I was back to the drawing board. Or back to Body Press, I should say.

#4: Body Press/Iron Defense

With very good base Defense of 115 and access to Iron Defense, Magnezone makes for an interestingly "reliable" sweeper. Body Press is my favorite move in SwSh (Meteor Beam is a very close second) given how it makes you rethink both offense and defense. (Meteor Beam makes you rethink offense when Gigalith, who learns no Fire moves in Gen 8, OHKOes 100% HP Scizor in RS with a crit with just one special move.) Zone's base stats (70/70/115/130/90/60) pointed to a MegaCalm spread for it that would allow it to take special hits pretty well, especially given its 12 resistances/immunities, and sharply boost its Defense and "attack" at the same time. Kind of how like Amnesia worked in RBY for you Genwunners.

The obvious problem with a mono-fighting set is Ghost-type pokemon. This should, in theory, have made Body Press/Iron Defense Zone a nonstarter. But I took a closer look at the ghost pokes in the RS, and discovered something pretty encouraging.

maybe i should use id/bp zone. no matter what i can't stay in on:

trevenant anyway (assault vest, eq) or
dusclops (eb fire punch) or
palossand (scorching sands) or
drifblim (trick) or
golurk (42% max from fc).
runerigus (ep)


I thought of those in my head, which encouraged me to really go with BP/ID and look up the rest of the ghosts in the RS.

froslass isn't something zapdos and xurk love taking on anyway. prob most annoying "i wish i could hit you" though
rotom will prob vs eventually anyway, which i want as i'm setting up IDs
jellicent can be ohkoed by xurk so
gourgeist needs to be switched out of anyway because of phantom force


So that's 10 pokes. 6 of them are ones that I figured Zone, even with some combination of Flash Cannon, Charge Beam and Toxic, had no business with. Especially Trev, Palossand, Golurk and Rune, who are immune to or take lol damage from Electric attacks (AV Trev takes less than 20% from Mega Charge Beam). Rotom, Jellicent and Gourgeist were ones I wanted Toxic/"Elec move" for, but were manageable, and Froslass was the real pain here, since spreading WoW blows and Zone with Rest and FC stops it pretty well.

Then I got to the 11th and final ghost, and laughed out loud:

ok lmao this settles it:

Cursola Ring Target Spite Shadow Ball Grudge Endure HP / Def Calm 42

+6 0 Def Magnezone Body Press vs. 252 HP / 252 Def Cursola: 173-204 (108.8 - 128.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO


It seemed like a poetic nudge in the direction of really trying this crazy strat, and ignoring Zone's 130 base SpA. More important than this Ring Target serendipity was the fact that I always OHKOed things like Lanturn at +6. Plus:

4 SpA Magnezone Flash Cannon vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Amoonguss: 75-88 (35.2 - 41.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO (100.00% chance to 3HKO after accuracy)
+6 36+ Def Magnezone Body Press vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Amoonguss: 74-87 (34.7 - 40.8%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

and that's just 36 EVs. AND amoonguss is megabold.


Not so much "crazy" as it was "reality." But would it prove invaluable for my team?

Team ZZZ in Action






Xurkitree ** CircuitCity® @ Shell Bell
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Rising Voltage
- Thunder Shock
- Volt Switch
- Grass Knot


So sb879 hinted that he'd dabbled with three electric moves despite having Dazzling Gleam in his 168 streak, and I settled on Volt Switch as my third from the very beginning, both for PP reasons and because Dazz didn't seem to help with the stuff I needed it to (Goodra, as he mentioned). Goodra is not OHKOed as a leadoff by Max Starfall, and is 2HKOed at +1 by RV + "VS". 144 total PP is a lot, and I found myself using TB a ton. 4 SpD EVs for Download Porygon2.



Zapdos ** Zappos!® @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
Level: 50
EVs: 212 HP / 116 Def / 4 SpA / 84 SpD / 92 Spe
Timid Nature
- Rising Voltage
- Air Cutter
- Light Screen
- Rest

I spent almost as much time messing with this as I did with Zone. Given that I needed to address Fire-types defensively (a defensive synergy problem that Raikou doesn't present), I needed a bulkier Zapdos variant that could check or counter every single Fire-type in the RS.

"Luckily," I do 102% min to Volcarona, for whom the Speed EVs (and Nature) are for (145 speed to its 144), with basically no-investment Max Aistream, and I take only 46-53% from Heat Wave. Thunderpoult does 83-98% to Torkoal, and Zapdos takes Drought Lava Plume only slightly worse than Volc Heat Wave (59% max), loving it when Torkoal uses Scorching Sands on the switch then Amnesia as it survives TP. Centiskorch similarly uses Sands and then eventually Burns itself out into Light Screen. Talonflame is destroyed by LS Zapdos, Salazzle doesn't have fire moves, Turtonator spams Shell Trap on Zapdos, and Coalossal is actually beaten pretty handily by BP/ID Zone:

252+ Atk Coalossal Heat Crash (40 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0+ Def Magnezone: 44-54 (24.8 - 30.5%) -- 99.6% chance to 4HKO (99.60% chance to 4HKO after accuracy)

That's unboosted.

Light Screen was a tough decision. It has a shitload of PP (48), and helps out Zone in many spots. I mainly have it for "throwover" PP purposes when I intentionally want to affect Pressure and don't want to Rest or burn valuable attacking PP, as I heal with Leftovers. Light Screen also makes an important Max Guard candidate in a pinch, compared to having to use a much more valuable Rest (or Roost) PP while dynamaxed.

Roost is obviously an amazing move through and through, but I strongly felt that to have the highest streak possible, I should not be using Roost more than two times, maximum against ANY one pokemon.

Hilariously enough, the only move on this set that was a lock from the beginning is the 40 PP Air Cutter. It's not even close. Given than I couldn't run more SpA (or "any," since 4 EVs in SpA is honestly a technicality of "they'd be wasted elsewhere"), I knew I wasn't going to be able to OHKO the Ground-types Zapdos needed to handle. This was somewhat comforting to realize, actually:

ok i have to switch zappy into marowak, krook, mamoswine and whiscash and immediately dynamax and airstream twice to best beat them. do remember that even if you had hurricane you'd need to both dynamax and airstream twice:

252 SpA Zapdos Max Airstream (140 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Whiscash: 169-199 (95.4 - 112.4%) -- 75% chance to OHKO (75% chance to OHKO after accuracy)


Missing can't be risked, so dynamaxing is required. Only Modest with literally 248 more SpA EVs would begin to OHKO these pokemon (or Wise Glasses), and that's just not what my team is about.

So I went with my gut and stuck with my strat. Zapdos started with Rising Voltage/Hurricane/Air Cutter/Roost and 150 Speed and ended with 145 Speed, Light Screen over Hurricane and Rest over Roost. Its defensive EVs also mind Download, and give Zappy just enough bulk to take Poltergeists on the physical end and Draco Meteors from Goodra on the special.


Magnezone ** AutoZone® @ Leppa Berry
Ability: Analytic
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 236 SpD / 20 Spe
Ball: Great
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Body Press
- Iron Defense
- Recycle
- Rest

I've said quite a bit about this out-of-this-world (heh.) pokemon already, and you may notice the shift from Calm to Bold. Bold allowed me to always affect these:

+6 0+ Def Magnezone Body Press vs. 252 HP / 0- Def Marowak: 164-193 (103.1 - 121.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+6 0+ Def Magnezone Body Press vs. 0 HP / 252 Def Sirfetch'd: 128-151 (99.2 - 117%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO

Marowak is a pain for Zapdos and Xurk to deal with, since Zapdos takes 56-66% from Outrage, Xurk 85-100%, and Zappy only does like 33% with Air Cutter. Xurk only does 70% min with Grass Knot even if I get it in safely on a confusion turn or with full HP so...I decided to give up the MegaCalm dream and give Zone the Defense it needs to always OHKO at +6. Calm can get to 144 Defense that checks this box, but then I realized that Sirfetch'd would also being a problem if I didn't kill it, which I do 95% of the time at +6.

I wish I could spare a few more EVs to guarantee this, which I technically could taking from HP and putting into Def, but having 140 SpD instead of 154 makes a considerable difference in taking all the Dragon Pulses and Psychics I set up on. The 20 Speed EVs again are amazingly useful, allowed Zone to outspeed six pokes guaranteed it otherwise wouldn't. 148 Def instead of my old 135 Def also allows Zone to always OHKO things like Wishiwashi it didn't before, and turns some 3HKOs into 2HKOs on semi-dengerous stuff like Aromatisse.

Nicknames!

Circuit City is what immediately came to mind for Xurkitree, and Zappos quickly followed suit. AutoZone was the logical thing to round it out, especially when adding all the ® symbols.

Also, by way of Max Move naming efficiency:

- Rising Voltage | Thunderxolt/TX
- Thunder Shock | Thunderbolt/TB (90 BP)
- Volt Switch | Thundervolt/TV

And Zapdos: Rising Voltage | Thunderpoult/TP (it's a bird. 100% credit goes to EeveeTrainer for this one.)


Threats

:Goodra:: What a piece of shit. This always uses the right move on Xurk (Bulldoze), wastes so much of Zapdos' PP (Air Cutter is like a 6HKO) and outspeeds Zone and threatens with two possibly-lethal hits. It's the PP wasting that's the biggest problem—it makes Zapdos have to Rest like three times every time it comes out. If Xurk is at +1 with Electric Terrain up, I 2HKO, as mentioned, but when this leads I groan audibly. A CH Draco Meteor only does 132 HP max to Zapdos and Pressure obviously helps a ton, but it's still on my screen for like 20 turns, and Lansat Berry always seems to proc.

:Vileplume:: Another PP threat to Zapdos. Xurkitree can't muscle through this without boosts, and Strength Sap gets it back to full easily. Moonblast SpA drops suck, but mainly for this reason—switching to Zone is never safe until Vileplume uses Corrosive Gas, or bye bye berry. If not for this somewhat odd mechanic, Zone would have a field day with this poke, but alas.

:Trevenant:: Does a crapload to Zapdos with Poltergeist, has EQ for my grounded Electric Types, and only takes 72-85% from Airstream. Lead Volt Switch out of EQ may make killing possible but it's a slim chance. Taking a Poltergeist in base form to extend Dynamax is risky (does 45-54%).

:Coalossal:: Can't be OHKOed, and has Endure to stall out Dynamax. Has to be played around very carefully.

:Cinccino:: Does a lot to Zone thanks to Metronome. A primary reason to keep Zone's HP as high as possible at the end of every battle.

:Flapple:: Similar requires a high-HP Zone as does a lot with Dragon Rush if it's Hustle, which it always is, literally. I've almost lost Zone from 100% to this thing because of a single flinch (and it using Dragon Rush three times in a row and hitting every time). 25-29% damage is a lot for a resisted move on 148 Defense. Thankfully Iron Defense completely negates Grav Apple Defense drop shenanigans, and Flapple seems to go for those like 40% of the time.

:Drednaw:: Threatens...absolutely nothing. Dies to literally everything but Airstream and is slower than my entire team. What a bad pokemon. I'm ashamed of myself for using this on my ingame team.

:Orbeetle:: Almost always elects to Trick Room, which Xurk doesn't like as it can't OHKO, and quad resists Body Press.

:Exeggutor:: Zapdos always OHKOs with Airstream and Eggy likes aiming Power Herb Solarbeam at Xurk, so there's that, but it usually Trick Rooms.

:Alcremie:: Random Misty Explosion puts the team out of position and Zone doesn't like taking it, certainly not at -2 (Fake Tears).

:Gardevoir:: You know what's fun? Doing 88% with TX (Mega RV) midway through a leg and having leadoff Gardevoir use Grudge (instead of Psychic Terrain like the bitch is supposed to). You have at least 25 PP for every move, and now you have to switch out of Dynamax. And if you don't Dynamax you risk taking a lot from raw Psychic. So much fun.


The Run

My first serious run with this team, I got to 40, and had literally 40 electric PP left. Figuring I needed to get to 60 in one leg to seriously threaten the 183 record, I always sought to conserve Xurk's PP while not doing something stupidly overconservative at the same time, like switching it out of lead Gyarados just to save a PP. After mowing down 45 pokes in a row with Xurk and healing at 56 in that run a few months ago, I lost at 60, but it was very informative.

When learning how to use the team, it was a serious struggle between "set up Zone whenver you can!!!!! conserve Xurk's PP!!!!!!!" and "can you just get back to 40 without being an idiot please." I can't stress enough how tough this was to follow in practice. You face enough Miltank and Dunsparce at battle 11 and 17, only to own yourself by forgetting to Recycle, or not being careful enough with Xurk's HP so you can take a Starmie/Mienshao 1-2 punch. But as I played, I figured out the right balance.

So, I've posted in Discord that this run had a first leg of 74, which I was able to follow with a ridiculous 79 somehow on what's supposed to be the "conservative" leg. Before this, I had a LOT of first legs where I died or did something stupid before that 40 mark. As I learned, I was able to get a first leg of 67 that really showed me that 200 was possible, if played right.

This "warstory" is devoid of actual battles, which kind of seems like a bit of a letdown. I do have some logs, and there were definitely dicey battles. Truth be told—a LOT of this streak was "boring" stuff like deciding to set up Zone on things like leadoff Amoonguss rather than power through with Zapdos Airstream. Figuring out that pokes like leadoff Milotic are actually godsends for Zone (25% max with Scald). Patiently jousting with pokes like Oranguru and Mr. Rime that Xurk can easily 2HKO with no real threat so Zone could be set up, at +0 SpD, but not letting them steal/copy my boosts through Psych Up/Copycat. Determining the right way to beat Goodra without losing too much PP. Being smart and diligent about keeping Zone's HP and PP high enough for the next poke or battle. Triple-checking to see if I still had my berry, which is surprisngly easy to forget to do.

This stuff wasn't actually boring, if you think about it. Being able to give Xurk a breather here and there by setting up Zone, patiently and smartly, was truly invaluable in the long run.

Well, "long" run. I'm sure that this seems like a weird flex or whatever to most, and I don't blame you for thinking that way The fact is that I did something dumb in between 154 and 200 that involved remembering a benign AI move-usage mechanic two seconds too late. Coupled with a lot of unusual bad luck, this crippled me, and I was only able to limp to 200. I am confident that I would have won dozens more battles otherwise.

And as sappy as it sounds, I believe I'll be able to recycle my experience, which has been invaluable—as have the pokemon, especially Zone—into a much better sparring session. The iterations, and "back to the drawing boards," and different scenarios all kind of came together to where my efforts became automatic. And I thought Zone was just an average Recycleppa pokemon...
 
Sword Battle Tower, round 2.

In the previous post I made here back in February, I said that I had thought about giving the Tower another try. And after thinking about it for a bit, I decided to do it. But I decided to wait until both DLC packs had been released so that I would have as many Pokémon as possible to choose from. The irony is that despite waiting for the DLC, all the Pokémon I ended up using were part of the main Galar Dex to start with.

Restricted Sparring has become the more popular format for this generation, and I definitely understand why. I have some things to say about it as well, but I will mostly be focusing on the Tower here.

My goal for the Tower this time around was to make original teams and use them for a self-imposed challenge, my goal was to win 200 battles at both Single and Double. So that’s what I did. I made two original teams, one for Single and one for Double. I decided to use Dynamax/Gigantamax but not any usually restricted legendaries. I went fun teams consisting of Pokémon I like even if they aren’t necessarily the best possible. Even so, my teams still worked very well.

I did not look up opposing movesets or run damage calculations while battling at the Tower. I decided to not take it as super seriously as I have done with several battle facilities in past generations, I just wanted to have a bit of fun. The reason being that the stakes were quite low and I did not feel motivated enough to take it all too seriously.

I want to give a shoutout and thanks to Eisenherz for hosting a super-awesome giveaway and giving me some Ditto that I used for breeding my team members, for taking over and running this thread after turskain (who in turn should be given credit and thanks for starting it in the first place), and for being an awesome person in general.

Below are the details for my teams and streaks.
For Single, I had an idea of building a team around a certain Pokémon which had yet to be used in the Tower (at the time). The Galar starters had been released with their HAs through Home, and the Isle of Armor gave them Gigantamax forms as well, so I thought I could make something cool out of that. I decided to build a team around my favorite Galar starter, utilizing its awesome HA and really cool Gigantamax form.

Format: Dynamax

Team:

1609429425261.png

Cinderace-Gmax (M) @ Life Orb ** Kick-Ash
Ability: Libero
EVs: 6 HP / 252 Att / 252 Spd
IVs: 31/31/31/x/31/31
Nature: Jolly
- Flare Blitz
- Low Kick
- Bounce
- U-Turn

1609429452221.png

Ferrothorn (M) @ Leftovers ** Wizardspike
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 150 Sp.def
IVs: 31/31/31/x/31/0
Nature: Sassy
- Seed Bomb
- Gyro Ball
- Leech Seed
- Protect

1609429474714.png

Gyarados (M) @ Lum Berry ** Ophion
Ability: Moxie
EVs: 14 HP / 252 Att / 4 Def / 4 Sp.def / 236 Spd
IVs: 31/31/31/x/31/31
Nature: Adamant
- Waterfall
- Bounce
- Earthquake
- Dragon Dance

Streak: 244 (ongoing)

I made this team while I still had a 7-day trial of NSO, so I made a rental version of it as well. Feel free to give it a try.


If the image doesn’t work, the code is 0000 0006 N071 50

Note that they do not have maxed PP for all moves, only for Bounce and Gyro Ball since these moves have a base PP of 5.
Either way, this was my team for Single. As said, I started building it around Cinderace, the backups became Ferrothorn and Gyarados in order to have a great offensive and defensive synergy. The team ended up becoming a FWG-core team.

The main strategy was to Gigantamax Cinderace if the matchup was good enough, then set up and sweep, or sometimes just sweep right away. Ferrothorn was mainly helpful against Water-types. Gyarados was a secondary Dynamaxer, it could also pull of a potential sweep without Dynamax thanks to Dragon Dance and Moxie. This team felt pretty good and it was also easy to play with in most situations. I didn’t face many problems along the way, I occasionally lost one Pokémon in some battles, but never two or all three.

Cinderace was the main Dynamax (Gigantamax) Pokémon for the team. I had seen some people in this thread who had used Gigantamax Libero Cinderace at Restricted Sparring to great success, but nobody had tried it at the Battle Tower. Knowing how great Protean Greninja was at the Battle Maison, I thought Libero Cinderace could be just as good for the Tower. Stormorbiter recently made a post with a Tower team featuring a GMax Libero Cinderace, but I had done all the battling with my team before that team was posted.

I went with Flare Blitz as the Fire move, it hits hard even outside of Dynamax at the cost of heavy recoil, but that was something I could live with. I wasn’t sure which coverage moves to go with at first, but ended up choosing Low Kick and Bounce. Low Kick was useful to hit Rock-types, it deals extra damage to heavy targets and since most Rock-types are pretty heavy, I thought it could work well. Bounce was mostly so that I would have a strong Flying-type Max Move, it seemed like the best alternative since it gives Max Airstream a stronger base power than what Acrobatics does. I disliked using Bounce as a regular move because it is inaccurate and a 2-turn move, but I used it when I had to. U-Turn in the last slot, I rarely used it but it happened once in a while as it allowed me to switch out to one of the backups while dealing damage in the process. Cinderace learns a bunch of other moves that could potentially be useful, but I went with these four and they worked.

As for the Max moves… G-Max Fireball was the strongest move, it gets a whooping base power of 160 independent of the base move. Add STAB to that, and you get a move with a base power of 240, without any drawbacks! It also ignores Abilities. This was very helpful against opposing Abilities that could otherwise be problematic, notably Flash Fire, Heatproof, Thick Fat, Disguise and Sturdy. Max Knuckle was a great way to hit Dark-, Normal- or Rock-types, and an alternative against Steel-types. It gets a base power of 100 with Lock Kick as the base move, slightly higher than the 95 it would get from High Jump Kick. The base power raises to 150 with STAB, which is really great. But the greatest of all is that it increases Cinderace’s Attack, making it deal even more damage afterwards. Max Airstream was very useful against opposing Fighting-types, it also raised Cinderace’s Speed which might not be all necessary since it is fast already, but one boost allowed it to outspeed the entire unboosted Tower which is good. Max Flutterby was rarely used, it had the side effect of lowering the opponent’s Sp.att which wasn’t super useful, but it was my strongest attack against opposing Psychic- or Dark-types. I always used it to annihilate any opposing Malamar. But most of the time, I used Max Knuckle against Dark-types in order to get an Attack boost.

I went with a Jolly Nature for Cinderace in order to make it as fast as possible. I’m not sure if it is the best choice though, Adamant might be better since Cinderace is already very fast and there were a few cases where I missed an OHKO on some targets. Still, a Jolly Nature worked. As for the EVs, I just maxed Attack and Speed since Cinderace doesn’t have particularly great bulk, it felt better to just make it as fast and strong as possible. Life Orb became the item of my choice, it gave an extra boost to all attacks at the cost taking some HP after every move. It was really great in combination with Dynamax as Life Orb only takes 5% of the full HP when the user is Dynamaxed. Libero is the obvious Ability as it is secretly a Protean in disguise (but don’t tell Greninja or it will be sad), changing type and getting automatic STAB on every move is amazing. It also has some great defensive uses too. I could change into a Fighting-type to tank a Rock-type move, or into a Flying-type to dodge a Ground-type move.

I settled for Ferrothorn as the first backup because it has great synergy with Cinderace. It is resistant to Water- and Rock-type moves, while being neutral to Ground. It can also hit all of these types for super effective damage with Seed Bomb. Using an offensive Grass-move on Ferrothorn seems uncommon, but I went with it and it worked. I picked Seed Bomb over Power Whip since it is more accurate, having lower base power didn’t matter much as it still KO’d a lot of stuff. Gyro Ball for secondary STAB, I considered Iron Head at first but ended up going with Gyro Ball in the end since Ferrothorn is slow enough to the point that it will generally deal heavy damage against most targets. I wasn’t sure which moves to go with in the last slots as Ferrothorn has a lot of great alternatives for support moves. I ended up going with Leech Seed and Protect in order to leech and recover HP from opponents and occasionally to scout which move they would use. Those moves worked, but I am not sure if this is the optimal set. There are many other potentially great alternatives. Regarding the EVs and Nature, I just took a spread at random, it is slightly more specially defensive, not sure if that is better. Leftovers felt like the best hold item for Ferrothorn, and Iron Barbs is the obvious Ability. I never Dynamaxed Ferrothorn, but I still gave it enough Dynamax Candies to max out its Dynamax level just in case it should be necessary.

Gyarados was picked as the last team member. I wanted something that was resistant to Ground and Fighting, so a Flying-type felt like the best choice. I was considering several others such as Dragonite or Salamence, but I chose Gyarados in the end. Waterfall was the main STAB move, Bounce was mostly for Max Airstream like with Cinderace, but it could be used as a regular move here as well if I had no other choice. I went with Earthquake as the last attacking move in order to destroy Electric-types. It seems like Power Whip is otherwise a very popular choice for Gyarados in order to counter opposing Water-types. I can understand why, but I never really had that much trouble against opposing Water-types with Gyarados (or with the team in general), and Earthquake worked for me. Dragon Dance in the last slot to boost Attack and Speed if given the opportunity.

Then there’s the Max moves. Max Geyser was one of the two STAB moves, it hits hard with a base power of 130 (195 with STAB) and sets up rain afterwards, making all following Water-type moves more powerful. Max Airstream for secondary STAB, it hits just as hard as Max Geyser while also raising Gyarados’ Speed which is never bad since it isn’t as fast as Cinderace. Max Quake was mostly used against Electric-types, it raised Sp.def too which was neat but never super helpful or necessary. Dragon Dance turned into Max Guard which could be a nice way to protect Gyarados as it doesn’t have a regular protecting move, but I don’t think I ever used it here.

I gave it a Lum Berry to hold in order to nullify status once a battle, it was also the only status protection the team had. Moxie felt like the better Ability in order to increase Attack with every defeated opponent, letting Gyarados snowball into an unstoppable destruction machine after a few boosts. I went with an Adamant Nature in order to hit as hard as possible, it can boost Speed with Dragon Dance and Max Airstream anyway. Jolly otherwise seems like the more common alternative when I look on the leaderboards, and while the extra speed can probably be very useful at times, Adamant worked for me. As for the EVs, I maxed Attack first for obvious reasons, then put 236 EVs in Speed. This gives it a Speed stat of 131 which becomes 196 after one boost. That is an empty Speed tier, outspeeding Jolteon-3, Accelgor-4 and Passimian-4.

So that’s the team. What issues did I face while playing with it? Not many, but a few that I feel are worth mentioning. First of all, I found Protect users to be very annoying as they wasted my Dynamax turns and I could not always KO them with a Max move when they used Protect. The same went for Focus Sash holders to an extent as it prevented me from getting instant KOs, but I could usually live with it. Since all three members of the team are all Physical attackers, it meant that Physical walls can potentially be annoying. I never had any real trouble against them though. They are also all Male, so Female opponents with Attract or Cute Charm could potentially screw me over, but I never faced any such opponents. Then there’s status as well, my only status protection on the team is Gyarados’ Lum Berry. But I never really had any major issues with the team getting struck by status either.

Two individual Pokémon that gave me trouble were Qwilfish and Eiscue. Qwilfish was annoying because it potentially lowered my Attack with Intimidate, often survived a Max Airstream from Cinderace, then proceeded to stall out my Dynamax turns with Dive/Protect, only to finally Poison Cinderace/Gyarados with Toxic. Never thought Qwilfish would be a Pokémon I would find annoying in a Battle Facility, but here we are. I also think I misplayed a bit against it. I tried to beat it with Cinderace instead of switching to Gyarados or Ferrothorn, they should be able to handle it better. If I play with the team again and face another lead Qwilfish, I think I’ll try that strategy instead. Eiscue was annoying because of several factors. An all-physical team against a Pokémon with Ice Face + Hail + Aurora Veil means trouble. I faced an Eiscue once and it was a bit annoying, but it was the last opposing Pokémon and Cinderace had boosted a bit so no real trouble there. And if I were to face Eiscue as a lead, I guess I could just use G-Max Fireball to ignore its annoying Ice Face Ability.

Against Leon, I played differently depending on his lead. If he started with a Water-type, I switched to Gyarados, Dragon Danced once, then Dynamaxed and swept. Gyarados was faster than his Charizard at +1 Speed. Against other leads, I usually Gigantamaxed Cinderace and did what I could. I was naturally faster than his Charizard as long as it didn’t boost with Max Airstream, and I could KO it with my Max Airstream if I had gotten to +1 Attack with Max Knuckle first. If Cinderace fell, I still had Gyarados as a backup. I never checked the Charizard sets but now that I check the ones Leon can use, none have any Rock- or Electric-type moves which means they are safe for Gyarados. I never used Ferrothorn against Leon since it would just instantly lose against his Charizard.

Most battles with the team were easy. The majority of them consisted of just Gigantamaxing Cinderace and winning, sometimes setting up and Dynamaxing Gyarados instead, or sometimes stalling and tanking moves with Ferrothorn. Unfortunately, most battles were both easy and formulaic to the point that the team became rather boring to play with in the end.

Before I started playing, I was unsure about how it would go with the team. I felt that the team had potential, but I expected to lose a couple of times on my way to 200 wins. That didn’t happen, the team was somehow much better than I had expected. I didn’t lose a single battle with the team, and I decided to continue for a while after reaching 200 battles just for fun. In the end, I ended up winning 244 battles in a row with the team. I had won 70 battles with the rental team I used earlier this year, so 314 – 70 gives me a streak of 244. It also means that I am currently at number #1 on the leaderboards for Dynamax Single which is unexpected but cool.

Here’s a “proof” of my streak:



I also got the Starf Berry after 200 wins (and another one after 300 wins). Though this was not my first Starf Berry on Sword, I had previously gotten both a Starf and a Lansat Berry after defeating the Dynamax Greedent at Dyna Tree Hill in the Crown Tundra.



Now, I can’t really prove my streak with this team in any good way. You can’t save battle videos in Sword & Shield, and I do not have a capture device or anything to do that outside of the games. I suppose I could have recorded some battles manually with my camera, but I don’t think the quality would have turned out very good. So I have no way to really prove anything. However, I have done the same thing I did for my Subway report earlier this year; I have written logs for most of the notable battles I had during the streak. I have lost details for some of them as I was not sitting by my PC while playing, I wrote them down afterwards when I was done playing the game for the moment.

Note that the numbers here refer to the total number of wins I had in Single, not the number of wins with just this team.
In battles 75-84, I met 3 Female Poké Kids in a row. The last of them Dynamaxed her Vespiquen on turn 1.

In the early 100s, I met another Female Poké Kid who was annoying. She had a team of Rotom (normal), Qwilfish and Weezing-G. I misplayed and I GMaxed Cinder right away, but she wasted all my turns by using Protect and switching out Rotom for Qwilfish. I switched to Gyara and managed to beat the Qwilfish, but blew my Lum because of Toxic. Then the Rotom came back, I had to switch to Ferro to stall and beat it. The same went for the Weezing. It was also very haxy as it activated its QC three times in a row, out of the four times in total that it attacked. Though that made no real difference as it was faster than Ferro to start with. While I won this battle with a clean 3-0, it was still quite annoying.

Another one in the 100-110s (I think). Lead Milotic, I U-Turned out to Ferro, only for the Milotic to be switched out for a SubPunch Conkeldurr on the next turn. It beat Ferro and fainted from Iron Barbs on the same round, but I sent out Cinder, GMaxed and swept both the Milotic as the last opposing Pokémon, can’t remember what it was.

Against Leon in battle #164. Lead Aegislash, G-Max Fireball, but the Aegi used King’s Shield to reduce my damage. One more Fireball next turn, dead. Out comes Rhyperior. Max Knuckle for about 95%, Weakness Policy activates, it uses EQ and brings Cinder to very low HP. GMax ends. If I attack, Cinder will faint from LO damage. I know Leon still has Zard left which is bad for Ferro, but Gyara should be able to handle it. I use Low Kick, both Cinder and Rhy faints. Out with Gyara, Leon sends out Zard. I didn’t know about the sets at this time, so I was hoping it wouldn’t have have a Rock- or Electric-move (which I know now that it doesn’t). Leon GMaxes and uses Max Overgrowth, I use DD. Gyara is at above 50%. Waterfall next turn, Zard faints and I win. A somewhat scary battle but still a fairly simple win.

Battle #175, against a Madame. Some misplay from my side made this one tougher than it should have been. Lead Milotic, U-turn out to Ferro but I take some damage from the Rocky Helmet. Scald, no burn. Another Scald next turn, now it burns Ferro. I Seed Bomb for a little bit of damage, then Leech Seed and Protect, maybe also Seed Bomb once more. Either way, Milo faints. Out comes Golurk. I do not expect it to have anything troublesome so I go for a Leech Seed, only to be hit by a Fire Punch! Ferro lives with a little HP left. I switch out to Gyara who takes another FP for minimal damage. I feel optimistic and go for a DD but Gyara gets hit by a Thunder Punch and faints! Out with Cinder. Thankfully I haven’t DMaxed yet, so I do that and defeat the Golurk with a Max Airstream. The last opposing Pokémon is Cursola, it is easily beaten by a G-Max Fireball.

Battle #184, another semi-tough Leon battle. Lead Haxorus, GMax and Max Airstream, Haxorus faints and I get a Speed boost. Charizard comes out. It GMaxes and I use another Max Airstream which doesn’t kill as I had at this point learned that GMax Zard lives an unboosted Max Airstream. It uses G-Max Wildfire which does a ton of damage as Cinder is now a Flying-type, it is also caught in the flames. I use Max Airstream again next turn, Zard faints but Cinder also falls to the flames on my side. Out with Gyara, Leon’s last Pokémon is fortunately Seismitoad. I manage to beat it with Gyara and Ferro, but it annoyed me with Protect and Bounce, the flames on my side also caused Gyara to take damage at the end of every turn.

Battles #215-224, several notable ones here:

First one was against another Poké Kid (Male this time) who started with an Accelgor that was faster and used Final Gambit against Cinder. If I hadn’t GMaxed, Cinder would have fainted. It was followed by an Escavalier that got DMaxed, but it was beaten easily by a G-Max Fireball, the last Pokémon was a Ninjask which I beat without issues as well.

In another of these battles, I faced a lead Dugtrio. I wasn’t sure what to do (it had Arena Trap so I couldn’t switch out). Checked the Base Speed stats of Duggy and Cinder, and learned that Cinder is 1 point slower! In retrospect, I should have checked the speed tiers for the Tower too, but I only did so afterwards and learned that the fastest Duggy in the Tower is Dugtrio-3 which has a Speed stat of 184, slower than my Cinderace which sits at 188. So no danger there. Either way, I decided to U-turn out though I was faster as explained above and I even KO’d the Duggy while doing so (though it is extremely frail, so no real surprise there). I sent out Gyara which set up and beat the remains of that team.

I also met three Black Belts in a row during these battles. The first and third was exactly the same one too.

Battle #245, annoying stall battle. Lead Qwilfish with Intimidate, it lowers my attack and then it wastes my GMax turns by using Protect and Dive. I don’t KO it, though it is at low HP once I’m done. I switch to Gyara, hoping that it will use Dive again, but it uses Toxic and blows my Lum. EQ for a KO. Out comes Wishiwashi. EQ for about 50%, it uses Endeavor and brings Gyara to 53 HP. EQ again for a KO. The last opposing Pokémon is a Jellicent. I go for EQ + Bounce but I don’t KO and it defeats Gyara with Scald. I then send out Ferro and get into a long stall war against the Jellicent, it can’t beat me with Hex and it doesn’t use Scald to try to get a burn, I Leech Seed and then Seed Bomb to damage it, but it takes little damage thanks to having using Acid Armor to boost its Defense at an earlier point. Seed Bomb keeps getting disabled by Cursed Body, and it uses Recover to restore HP when it gets below 50%. But it eventually runs out of PP for Recover, and I beat it.

Lastly, two battles in the 290s. I don’t remember the two first Pokémon in the first one, but I beat them with Cinder at the cost of running out of GMax turns. Last opposing Pokémon is a Centiskorch. I use Bounce since it might have Flash Fire, it uses Sunny Day and I miss on the next turn while it uses Overheat to KO Cinder. Out with Gyara. EQ for a 2HKO, Solar beam did thankfully not do that much.

The second was against a lead Gastrodon. I switched to Gyara and dodged an EQ, next turn DD as it uses Stone Edge. I DMax but it gets a QC activation and uses Stone Edge again, bringing Gyara down to just 14 HP! That was a bit close. I defeated the Gastro and the two remaining Pokémon (can’t remember which they were) with ease after that though.
I also wanted to show some images I took during the streak, just for fun.


Cinderace against Leon’s Charizard.


Gyarados against Leon’s Charizard.


This is from a battle where I met a regular Dynamax Cinderace.

And that’s it for Single.
For Double, I decided to go with one of my favorite strategies for Double (as well as Triple and Multi) in Battle Facilities: Speed control combined with powerful attackers. The new Speed mechanics in Gen 8 felt like they should make this strategy even better than in previous generations. I had an idea for a Tailwind setter, then I managed to come up with some good ideas for the rest of the team as well.

Format: Dynamax

Team:

1609429499263.png

Whimsicott (F) @ Focus Sash ** Bittersweet
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 252 Sp.att / 4 Sp.def / 6 Spd
IVs: 31/x/31/31/31/31
Nature: Modest
- Energy Ball
- Moonblast
- Tailwind
- Protect

1609429531181.png

Chandelure (F) @ Life Orb ** Light Me Up
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 20 HP / 4 Def / 252 Sp.att / 4 Sp.def / 230 Spd
IVs: 31/x/31/31/31/31
Nature: Modest
- Flamethrower
- Shadow Ball
- Energy Ball
- Protect

1609429484914.png

Gyarados (M) @ Lum Berry ** Ophion
Ability: Moxie
EVs: 14 HP / 252 Att / 4 Def / 4 Sp.def / 236 Spd
IVs: 31/31/31/x/31/31
Nature: Adamant
- Waterfall
- Bounce
- Earthquake
- Dragon Dance

1609429514752.png

Bisharp (M) @ Expert Belt ** Paladin
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 38 HP / 252 Att / 4 Def / 4 Sp.def / 212 Spd
IVs: 31/31/31/x/31/31
Nature: Adamant
- Throat Chop
- Iron Head
- Low Kick
- Protect

Streak: 224 (ongoing)

I don’t have a rental version for this team since I no longer had NSO when I made it.

The general strategy was to set up Tailwind (if necessary), attack and do what I could with the leads before one of them went down, then send out Gyarados, Dynamax at the best possible opportunity (if necessary) and win. Bisharp could help too if it was needed.

This team was heavily inspired by other Tailwind teams I had used in the past. I settled for Whimsicott as the Tailwind setter here after recently having used it to quite great success in the Subway in Gen 5. And in my previous round of the Sword Tower, I had used a rental team by Adamant Zoroark which featured Tailwind Whimsicott. I was considerin Talonflame or maybe Tornadus for this team, but Whimsicott felt like the better option. Unlike Talonflame, it still gets priority on Tailwind even when it is no longer at full HP. And Tornadus would require me to catch it first in Sword… which I was too lazy for.

I got most of the details for Whimsicott from Adamant Zoroark’s team. Energy Ball and Moonblast for the best possible STAB moves, I was considering Giga Drain or Grass Knot for a Grass-type move but I went with Energy Ball since it is powerful enough and has consistent base damage. I also considered Dazzling Gleam over Moonblast in order to have a spread move, but decided to go with Moonblast in the end. When playing with the team, I noticed that Moonblast lowered the Sp.att of opposing Pokémon very often. I learned afterwards that it has a 30% of doing so, not 10% like I thought before. I never noticed this in the past since when I have used Moonblast on other Pokémon, they have mostly been stronger attackers that have KO’d their opponent, so I didn’t get to see the side effect that often. Tailwind to get Speed control, then I went with Protect in the last slot for utility. I was considering some other support moves such as Taunt or Helping hand, but decided to not use them.

I decided to go with a Modest Nature for Whimsicott, and an EV spread that focuses on HP instead of Speed. Prankster lets me set up Tailwind most of the time, and Whimsicott is faster than the entire unboosted Tower during Tailwind even with no Speed investment. The Modest Nature and maxed Sp.att lets it hit a bit harder than Timid, while the full HP increased bulk a bit. I still gave it a Focus Sash in order to let it survive any move. It could tank many moves even without the Sash, but the Sash was useful to let it survive Poison-type moves and other powerful moves of types it is weak against, like STAB Flare Blitz. Prankster is the obvious Ability in order to give priority to Tailwind.

Next, I wanted a Pokémon that was powerful and could hit hard with strong moves. I looked at available Pokémon with high Attack or Sp.att, and I eventually settled for Chandelure. The reasons being that I really like it, and I had previously used a Chandelure on my Super Triple team in the Battle Maison in Omega Ruby to quite great success, so I thought it could be fun to use it again. Chandelure is strong but not very fast, so it really benefits from Tailwind. I was considering using Wide Lens and Heat Wave like I did on Omega Ruby in order to have a 99% accurate spread move, but I decided to go for Life Orb and Flamethrower instead. It meant that I had no spread move, but a bit more power. Shadow Ball for secondary STAB, then Energy Ball for coverage. It allows Chandelure to hit Rock-, Ground- and Water-types, which it is weak against. Protect in the last slot for utility. I went with Infiltrator as the Ability since I thought it could be useful against Light Screen and Substitute users. I met several opponents that used Light Screen during my streak, so it definitely felt like the right choice. A Modest Nature and maxed Sp.att to hit as hard as possible, then enough Speed to outrun the entire unboosted Tower during Tailwind.

In the third slot, I went with Gyarados. Why? Because all the previous teams I had used for the Tower had featured a Gyarados; both the four rental teams I used and my own team for Single. I thought I should keep that tradition alive by having a Gyarados on every single team for the Tower, so I went with it here as well. I just took the Gyarados from my Single team, I didn’t make any changes to it since it didn’t feel necessary. The Speed EVs lets it outrun the entire unboosted Tower during Tailwind or at +2 Speed, so there was no need to change it. On this team, it was the main Dynamaxer as opposed to just having a secondary Dynamax role. I still gave enough Dynamax Candies to max the Dynamax levels of the others as well in case of an emergency. But apart from Gyarados, I only Dynamaxed Chandelure, and only in one battle. It was mostly for fun, during a battle against Leon which I was about to win anyway.

Since Gyarados was the one that got Dynamaxed, I’ll only talk about the Max moves for it here. Max Geyser was one of the main STAB moves. It hits hard and summons rain, which benefits not only any upcoming Water-type moves from Gyarados, but also Whimsicott and Bisharp by lowering the damage from opposing Fire-type moves used against them. Unfortunately, it hinders Chandelure by lowering the damage of its Flamethrower and making it take even more damage from opposing Water-type moves. I had to play carefully if I had both Gyarados and Chandelure out on the field. Sometimes I didn’t think through things enough and used Flamethrower in the Rain, a stupid mistake which happened a few times. Max Airstream and Quake for secondary STAB and coverage. Not sure if I ever used Dragon Dance here, but I know that I used Max Guard at least once. I usually Dynamaxed Gyarados right away unless I was about to win the battle anyway, in which case it didn’t feel necessary.

In the last slot, I wanted something that resisted Flying, Rock and Ghost, so that the team would have perfect defensive synergy. I landed on Bisharp. It resists those three types while being weak to Fire, Fighting and Ground, which the rest of the team are resistant or immune to. Gyarados even covers all of these three types alone! Throat Chop and Iron Head for STAB, I was considering Sucker Punch over Throat Chop but since I was using Tailwind, priority didn’t feel as important. The Base Power is also lower, and if I mispredicted, it wouldn’t do any damage at all. I guess there’s also Knock Off which should theoretically be really great now that Mega Stones and Z-Crystals no longer exist, but it is transfer-only and since I wasn’t able to transfer Pokémon from previous generations, I couldn’t use it. Low Kick for coverage, it feels like the best Fighting-type move and coverage move for Bisharp. Protect in the last slot for the usual utility.

I went with Defiant since it felt like the best Ability for Bisharp, it could let me turn the tables against opposing Intimidate users and others who would try to lower Bisharp’s stats. It was useful in a few occasions. One time, I faced a Pelipper which used Icy Wind, I switched in Bisharp against it and chopped it away with a +2 Throat Chop. There was also some Pokémon I can’t remember which just spammed Snarl, and I also got a boost once from Leon’s Aegislash when it used King’s Shield. I went with an Adamant Nature to hit as hard as possible, Bisharp is not very fast so it doesn’t benefit from a Jolly Nature all that much, and I had Tailwind anyway. Regarding the EVs, I maxed Attack and then gave it enough EVs in Speed to reach a stat of 117 because it is an empty speed tier, it also lets Bisharp outrun the entire unboosted Tower apart from Cinderace-1/5 during Tailwind. I was unsure about the hold item though. Lum, Sash or Life Orb felt like good choices but they were already taken by the other team members. I was considering several other items, but settled for Expert Belt in the end in order to power up Bisharp’s super effective moves a bit.

So that’s the team. I usually set Tailwind at the start of the battles to get the advantage, then swept from there. I let Gyara come in and Dynamax when/if necessary. In somewhat tougher battles, Dynamax was usually the key to an easy victory. I didn’t even have to use the backups in every battle, the leads were often enough to settle the victory on their own. But the backups were still great, both of them had valuable uses at times. Against Leon, my strategy was to set Tailwind to get the Speed advantage, defeat at least one of his leads so that he would bring in Charizard, sacrifice one of my leads (usually Whimsicott) to safely bring in Gyarados and Dynamax, then defeat Charizard as well as the rest if he had anything else left.

At first, I wasn’t sure about this team either. I had won 244 battles without losing at Single, but how would it go at Double? I expected to lose a couple of times here like how I had expected to lose in Single, but it never happened. Similar to my Single team, this team was better than I had expected. I just kept on winning and reached 200 battles quite quickly, without major issues. I always had at least 2 Pokémon left at the end of each battle, but usually more than that. I continued after 200 as well, and in the end, I won 224 battles here. I had previously won 90 battles with the rental teams I used, so 314 – 90 = 224. I had no desire to reach #1 on the leaderboards for Dynamax Double since that would require me to win 502 battles, which I didn’t have enough interest in. Instead, I settled for at least 219 which would give me number #5 on the leaderboards. So that’s what I did.

Here’s another “proof” picture:



With this, I have won a total of 314 battles at both Single and Double. It was nothing I had planned, it just turned out that way.

I think this team was a lot more fun than my Single team since the battles here were a lot more varied and less formulaic, which made things more fun and enjoyable on the whole.

I got another Starf Berry here after 200 wins, no picture of it though (it is pointless as it would be identical to the previous picture I showed). Then I got yet another one after 300 wins, and then one more after 301 wins? I have no idea why or how that happened, I guess it must have been a weird glitch or something? Either way, it means I have one more Starf than Lansat, despite having done an equal number of wins at the Tower.

Like I did for Single, I wrote down battle logs for most of the close/interesting battles I had during the streak. Once more, the numbers refer to my total number of wins, not the number of wins with this team alone. And some details might be missing since I wrote these down afterwards too.
In the 90s, I got to face two trainers in a row who both started with Excadrill and Stonjourner. But they used different sets, so the battles turned out differently. I won both without major issues.

A somewhat scary battle in the late 110s. Lead Beheeyem and Liepard, I let Whimsi set up Tailwind and tried to have Chande Shadow Ball the Beheeyem, but Liepard Sucker Punches Chande to death before it can move (it also got a Crit, not sure if that mattered). Beheeyem sets Trick room. Not good. Out with Bisharp. Next turn Beheeyem uses Psychic on Whimsi and Liepard uses Endure, I KO Beheeyem with Bisharp’s Throat Chop and Moonblast the cat, it survives thanks to Endure and its Liechi activates. Ninetales comes out to replace Beheeyem. I go for a double Protect to scout, Ninetales FTs Bisharp. I switch it out for Gyara on the next turn. Not 100% sure what happened next but I either lose Whimsi or I got forced to switch it out, while I DMax Gyara and KO Ninetales with Max Geyser, then I send out Bisharp again to replace Whimsi. Last opposing Pokémon is Toxapex. I beat it with two Max Quakes (it used Baneful Bunker the first turn) while I Iron Head the Liepard to death. But Gyara has to tank two Sucker Punches along the way. If I hadn’t DMaxed Gyara here, I would not have been able to take those two Sucker Punches, and then I would probably have lost.

One other scary battle in the 130s. Lead Aegislash + Vikavolt. Both are slow, so no need for Tailwind. I FT Aegi and MB Vika, both survive. Aegi uses Flash Cannon on Whimsi, it lives with about 20 HP. Vika TWaves Chande. Next turn I set Tailwind since Chande is paralyzed and slower, Aegi kills Whimsi with Shadow Sneak, Chande kills Aegi with FT, Vika uses Mud-Slap om Chande. Out with Gyara, my opponent sends out Rotom (normal form). Not good. I’m not sure what to do here, Gyara is up against two Electrics, both which are immune to EQ/Max Quake. I also have a Paralyzed Chande with lowered Accuracy. I decide to gamble, so I Dynamax, then Max Geyser on Rotom, which faints. This sets rain… and I realize I made a mistake here as I let Chande use FT on Vika. It still faints, fortunately. Then there was some last Pokémon I can’t remember, but I beat it easily.

Battle #160 (I think). This was another somewhat scary battle. I don’t remember all the details for it though. It started against a lead Weezing-G and Chandelure, the Weezing had Neutralizing Gas which nullified all abilities, including Prankster. I set Tailwind, but the opposing Chande is faster and KOs mine with Shadow Ball before I can move, and the Weezing Sludge Bombs Whimsi to 1 HP. I have to sweep with Gyara and Bisharp afterwards, Gyara had to tank a Thunder from the Weezing after it survived an Iron Head from Bisharp, Gyara survived but would not have done so without Dynamax.

One battle in the 210s. I think it was #213, not sure though. I faced a lead Beheeyem and Togekiss. The Togekiss uses Follow Me to tank the Shadow Ball that was meant for Beheeyem, then Beheeyem sets TR. After that, I have to stall out the TR turns which fortunately went easy for the most part, then sweep with Gyara and Bisharp. Not super close but worth a mention anyway.

After that, another TR battle. This one was in the 220s, probably #223. Lead Mimikyu and Frosmoth. I FT Frosmoth and set up Tailwind since Mimi requires two hits to go down. But it sets TR. Not good. Mawile comes out to replace Frosmoth. I stall out the TR turns by using Protect, switching into resisted hits and sending out Gyara as Whimsi faints. Bisharp defeats the Mimi along the way. Last opposing mon is Accelgor, really weird choice for a TR team. I DMax Gyara to defeat the Mawile, then the Accelgor goes down too.

Yet another TR battle (third in a row!). I think this one was in the 240s. Not scary or close but still notable. I faced a team consisting of Oranguru/Lunatone/Solrock/Xatu, I tried to defeat the monkey on turn 1 with MB + FT, but it survived and set TR. Chande fell and I sent out Bisharp… which somehow was faster than both Lunatone and Xatu during TR. Really unexpected, the speed tiers at the Tower have some surprises for sure. Because of that, the battle turned was a little easier than expected.

Battle #245, vs Beauty Becka. This should have been simple, but became a closer than I wanted. Lead Drampa and Shiftry. I don’t set Tailwind. Shiftry OHKOs Chande with Sucker Punch, Whimsi Moonblasts Drampa for like 90%, activating its Weakness Policy. It brings Whimsi to 1 HP with Flamethrower. I send out Gyara. Tailwind + DMax, Max Airstream on Dramps which faints, Shiftry explodes and does like 40% to Gyara, Whimsi faints. Out with Bisharp. My opponent sends out Bisharp and Thievul. She then unexpectedly DMaxes her fox and it shields itself with Max Guard, blocking my Max Geyser. My Bisharp KOs hers with Low Kick though. Next turn Max Geyser, the fox falls and I win.

One battle in the 290s. It was against Ferrothorn/Mantine/Xatu/Togedemaru. I use Moonblast on Mantine and FT to defeat Ferro, Mantine sets Tailwind. Not good. Next turn, Whimsi sets Tailwind for me too and takes damage from Xatu’s Drill Peck, Chande uses Shadow Ball to defeat Xatu. Don’t remember exactly what happened afterwards, but I lost Whimsi at least. Togedemaru came out to replace Xatu, I FTed it and it survived thanks to Sturdy. Then I lost Chande as well and had only Gyara and Bisharp left. DMax, Max Gyard, Toge Nuzzle, Gyara protected itself, Mantine Waterfalls Bisharp but did not flinch and Bisharp KOs Toge with Low Kick. Only Mantine left and I take it down without issues, I believe the opposing Tailwind ended at this point as well.

Lastly, one in the early 300s. Lead Vanilluxe + Dragapult. Vani has Snow Warning. I set Tailwind, Dragapult Sucker Punches Chande which survives, then Draga goes down to Shadow Ball. Vani sets Aurora Veil. Not good. Out comes Cinderace. I mean to take down Vani with Moonblast + FT, but Cinder also Sucker Punches Chande, which now faints. Vani takes Moonblast damage and KOs Whimsi with Blizzard. Now I only have Gyara and Bisharp left against these two and an unknown third opponent. I still have Tailwind but they have Aurora Veil, I hope it won’t make them too bulky. Dynamax, Max Geyser on Cinder, which faints. Iron head on Vani, which also faints. Phew! The last opponent is Machamp, I KO it with a Max Airstream on the next turn.
Like with Single, here are some images from my streak just for fun.


From a battle against Leon, after he had Gigantamaxed his Charizard but before I Dynamaxed my Gyarados.


I think this is from the same battle. Here, I have Dynamaxed Gyarados and just defeated his Charizard.

And that’s all I have for Double.
With this, I consider myself done with the Battle Tower in Sword… for the second time. And maybe forever. I don’t know yet. I reached my goal of winning 200 battles at both Single and Double. Even better, I won 200 in a row on both formats! Though that does unfortunately not really matter in any significant way this generation (aside from the leaderboards).

Despite all the nerfs compared to the previous generations, the Tower was still pretty fun. But I felt that even with my self-imposed challenge, using Dynamax still made it way too easy. It would be better if more opponents in the Tower used Dynamax or even Gigantamax, that would make it more fair and more of a challenge. I also found it boring to constantly face Leon as the only boss trainer in every tenth battle. Knowing that he always has a Charizard in the back which he will always instantly Gigantamax also made every battle against him very predictable. I still like him as a character, but I wish he wasn’t the only boss trainer in the Tower. One more thing I like about the Tower (which I would never have thought about if Eisenherz hadn’t pointed it out in an earlier post) is how you can technically have multiple ongoing streaks at once for the same format. This has never been possible in any previous generation, so that’s really cool.

If I decide to return to the Tower in the future, I might try Classic instead of Dynamax in order to hopefully make it even more of a challenge. Looking back now, it is interesting to see that I have yet to lose in the Tower at all. I don’t think it is because my skills or the teams I used are super amazing or anything, but rather because the Tower itself is generally very easy as long as you use Dynamax, even with a somewhat self-imposed challenge.

I have decided to leave my streaks ongoing for now, so that I can return to them in the future… if I want to. I know about the new rule here which says that ongoing streaks will be marked as complete if they haven’t been updated for 6 months, and I think that’s a very good rule! It gives those with an ongoing streak a good reason to go back and continue on them or complete them. Because if they don’t, their streaks will be marked as complete. At least that’s how it feels to me. So I highly approve of that rule. Posting my streaks today means I have 6 months left before I must have updated them or completed them. Today is December 31st, so I have until June 30th before I must have done something regarding them. We’ll see what happens… if anything happens at all. If anyone has any intentions of surpassing either of my streaks, I want you to know that I will not battle at the Tower or even play Sword at all for a few months (or even more) once I’m done with the thing I’m currently working on in the game, so my streaks will not change at any point in the near future. And there’s actually a big chance that I’ll never continue with them at all. I thought I should say this even if the interest for the Tower is pretty low here in this thread.

But that’s enough about the Battle Tower. I want to talk about Restricted Sparring instead. In my previous post here in February, I said the following:

“I also consider myself done with Sword on the whole until the first DLC pack hits the world in June. Speaking of which, I'm really curious if the DLC will do anything to ‘update’ the Tower? Or add more battle facilities? Though that feels more like a dream than anything, but we'll see. It will at least give us players a large amount of previously unusable Pokémon to use in the Tower, and a few completely new ones as well, so that's something. And with the recent release of Pokémon Home, we have gotten a bunch of new Pokémon to use in the Tower as well, so that's cool.”

I had absolutely not expected the bolded part to come true, but now it did since the Isle of Armor added Restricted Sparring to the games, and the Crown Tundra added Endless Dynamax Adventures. I’m very happy about that.

So… what about these? First, let's talk about Restricted Sparring. Will I ever give it a try? The answer is that I’m not sure. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to complete it. Because I want to. It seems like a ton of fun. And unlike the Tower, it is an actual challenge that doesn’t require you to do something self-imposed. But… the truth is that I don’t really feel like giving it a try. At least not right now, and maybe I’ll never get around to it. I feel that it requires too much time, effort and resources. I have also lost a lot of interest in Pokémon on the whole recently. There’s also dexit which makes the whole thing less fun. I know I’m far from the only one, but even if I got Sword, and even if I liked the game more than I had expected, I am still unhappy about dexit. I really liked having access to all existing Pokémon in previous generations. Though I’m not sure if there are any more missing Pokémon that could be useful for RS (or the Tower, for that matter). It feels like most of the useful Pokémon have been added to the games now with the DLC, so maybe it would be okay anyway. But I am still missing a bunch of my favorites, which is a huge blow.

Regarding my potential future goals for RS, I don’t need to reach 100+ wins or get a high ranking on the leaderboards or anything like that. I don’t need to go that far. I would honestly be satisfied with just winning at least 5 battles in a row at every type so that I would have beaten all 18 types.

While Restricted Sparring seems fun, I feel that for me personally, it is just too little, too late. I like the concept of it a lot, and I really like how it has increased the activity here in this thread. I like seeing everyone else post about RS here, seeing how fun you all are having with it makes me happy. I wish I could share your enthusiasm and interest… but I can’t. That said, I am not going to say that I am never going to complete Restricted Sparring. Because I have said that about some things in the past and then I have still came back years later, only to complete them. Two notable examples are the Pokédex in HG/SS and the Super Multi line at the Battle Subway in Gen 5. Those are two things I initially said I would never get done because that’s what I thought, and then I ended up doing both of them anyway… even if it took several years in both cases. So I might go back and complete RS in the future, we’ll have to see. After all, going back to Battle Facilities long after they are the newest is nothing new to me. It has happened many times before, and it might very well happen again in the future.

Then, there's also Endless Dynamax Adventures. It is another thing I don’t think I’ll try since I don’t have NSO, and I have currently no plans to get it either. I’m not sure how reliable it is to play with AI partners either. It has worked well for me the few times I have played regular Dynamax Adventures, I have always made it to the end and successfully caught the legendary, but I’m not sure about it in Endless mode. So I’ll probably not try it. But I am still happy that it exists, just like with RS.

Unfortunately, this is not all. Recently, I have gotten burnt out on Pokémon. I have gradually been losing interest in the series for the past few years, and I can’t bring myself to be as interested in the games as I have been in the past. I have experienced a burnout before, which was from the end of 2008 to the English release of B/W, so I know this feeling very well. Unfortunately, it feels like only a miracle can restore my interest in Pokémon at this point. Dexit, yearly releases and the franchise not having gone in the right direction for me personally during the three latest generations are some of the biggest causes for this. But I also played the Gen 5/6/7 games so much to the point that I really need a break. Which is why I have planned to take a break from Pokémon soon. I just wanted to complete all the things I had left in Sword first, so I wouldn’t have anything left and no reason to go back to the game once I was done with everything. The only thing I have left in Sword now (that I had planned to do for the moment) is to make a mid-game team, which is what I am currently working on. Once that is done, I will take a break from Pokémon for a few months. Or that’s my plan, at least. We’ll have to see how it goes. I was originally planning to take a longer break from Pokémon this year as well, but then the Subway started gaining my attention to the point that I just had to go back and complete it, which meant my plan didn’t really work. While completing the Subway was really fun, I really needed that break. Hopefully I can do it for real this time!

I’m not sure about the future regarding my interest in Pokémon either. I don’t know if I will get any more new games after Sword. It depends on how they turn out, and how future games will handle dexit. Sword might be my final sendoff to the series… or it might not. Time will tell. Still, nothing can stop me from going back to playing the older Pokémon games if I want to, like I did with the Gen 5 games earlier this year or like I have done with many other older games in previous years.

With all of that said, I still like Pokémon. As mentioned earlier, Sword has been a ton of fun despite dexit and all other issues. I guess my feelings towards Pokémon right now are mixed, or as I’d rather put it, bittersweet (which is why my Whimsicott is named as it is). Klara gives a short but excellent summary of how I feel about Pokémon on the whole right now:



I also want to say something about the past in terms of the future. One thing I have been thinking about is to go back to several of my older games and complete most/all of the ongoing streaks that I have at the various Battle Facilities in them. Maybe I’ll go back and complete my ongoing streaks at Sword as well, but as said earlier, I’m not sure about it. With my streaks on Sword, I now have a total of 24 notable ongoing streaks across various games and generations. As for the streaks in my older games, I have decided that I am going to do it, but not when. Next year at the earliest, chances are I’ll at least get started on it at some point then. But we’ll see. Apart from that, I would also like to go back and complete certain Battle Facilities that I haven’t beaten, similar to how I successfully completed the Subway this year. I will not list everything again, but the two most notable are definitely the Battle Factories in Emerald and Platinum. Maybe one day I will finally complete both of the Factories so I can consider myself completely done with both Battle Frontiers once and for all… we’ll see what happens.

But enough with all of this rambling. To end this, how about some music? Here’s a song I really like, it is named Thoughts and I feel that it is a suitable way to end all of this. Listen and enjoy (if you want to).

That’s all from me for the moment. I can’t say where I will go next, but I will say that I am not done with Battle Facilities yet. I will return… one day.

Today is also the last day of 2020, so Happy New Year everyone! See you again in 2021.
 
Welp, I wanted to hit 500 before posting this but I also wanted to get something out before the end of the year so here we are. I am reporting an ongoing streak of 400 in Battle Tower Doubles. The team? Well, it's old, reliable LuchaLele, of course (with some minor adjustments)! As with my previous teams, this team does not use Dynamax. Let's get this started...

Hawlucha @ Psychic Seed
Ability: Unburden
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
IVs: 31/31/31/xx/31/31
Adamant Nature
- Low Kick
- Acrobatics
- Tailwind
- Protect

I've gone over Hawlucha before in my LuchaDeedee streak. Just like with the Tree version of this team, nothing's changed so there's not much to say about Hawlucha. It comes out, Psychic Seed activates after Psychic Terrain is set, and it's suddenly faster than every Pokemon on the Battle Tower roster. Of course, if Hawlucha is given an item via Trick or Switcheroo or is switched out (by Red Card or by myself), Unburden is no longer active and Hawlucha sits at its 138 speed. Thanks to Gen 8's updated Speed mechanics, Tailwind is way better than before and it allows Hawlucha's partners to immediately attack instead of having to wait a full turn to enjoy their increased speed.


Tapu Lele @ Life Orb
Ability: Psychic Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 220 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 31/xx/31/HT/31/HT
Modest Nature
- Psychic
- Moonblast
- Shadow Ball
- Protect

Tapu Lele has returned! While I did really like using Indeedee-M, the extra power Tapu Lele brings to the table is very much appreciated. While Lele didn't get Expanding Force, Psychic still hits like a truck and even harder thanks to Life Orb. Moonblast remains to be the preferred Fairy STAB as it also hits really hard. Dazzling Gleam was considered very briefly, but ultimately the power drop was definitely not worth the spread damage. I decided to go with Shadow Ball this time around over Taunt since nearly every single Trick Room setter in the Tower now holds Mental Herb. Hawlucha's Acrobatics+Lele's Shadow Ball can 2HKO pretty much every Psychic-type Trick Room setter (Oranguru goes down to Acrobatics+Moonblast). Shadow Ball is nice as it allows me to also hit things like Gengar and Froslass, preventing their Cursed Body ability from disabling Psychic or Moonblast. Psychic still does more neutral damage to a lot of things weak to Shadow Ball in terrain.


Dracovish @ Protective Pads
Ability: Strong Jaw
Level: 50
EVs: 12 HP / 252 Atk / 244 Spe
IVs: HT/HT/HT/31/31/31
Bashful Nature (minted to Jolly)
- Fishious Rend
- Psychic Fangs
- Crunch
- Protect

Dracovish really doesn't need a huge introduction. It comes in, and spams Fishious Rend. Easy, right? Well, I wish it was. The Battle Tower still provides some stuff that can stop Dracovish in its tracks in the form of things like Quick Claw, Water Absorb, Storm Drain, and Ferrothorn. However, they aren't usually huge concerns considering the rest of the team can handle a lot of the stuff that can normally stop the 'Vish from causing chaos. First off, let's go over the item of choice. Why Protective Pads? I didn't really want to run a Choice item here since I don't really like the idea of being locked into a move in facilities. I've used Specs Indeedee-M and I've also used Scarf Dracovish before, and I still didn't really enjoy being locked. So, I went on a quest to find a new item for Dracovish. I looked at items such as Mystic Water (another item I have used before), various berries, and even considered no item. Dracovish is just good. Then I saw Protective Pads. For those of you that don't know, this item was introduced in Gen 7 and protects the user from contact effects such as Rocky Helmet, Flame Body, Static, King's Shield's attack drop, Aftermath, Iron Barbs, etc. I figured since Dracovish is being used, Fishious Rend was going to be used a lot. This means, I would be taking a lot of potential contact effects and some of them could end up putting me in a bad position. Protective Pads removes that worry and I'm happy to spam Rend as much as I please. It helps that Psychic Fangs and Crunch are also contact moves that benefit from the Pads, so it makes it a worthy hold item. I love this item so much that I've been considering it on a lot of physical attackers for future teams. It's also really nice having Dracovish attack Aegislash as it uses King's Shield and it doesn't suffer an Attack drop.


Xurkitree @ Expert Belt
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 36 HP / 4 Def / 212 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 31/xx/HT/31/31/31
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Energy Ball
- Dazzling Gleam
- Protect

Finally, we have Xurkitree. I gotta be honest, I very much considered keeping Alolan Marowak or Duraludon here, but I felt that Xurkitree really works here since it provides a quick way to remove scary Water-types. Thunderbolt and Energy Ball are both really nice in removing a lot of this stuff that can otherwise, prevent Dracovish from using Fishious Rend. Of course, the Rindo Berry Water / Grounds can survive Energy Ball if Xurk has no boosts, but doubling up on those can also be worth it if the Pokemon next to them isn't super dangerous. This does make Leon a little frustrating when he has Seismitoad out though since his entire roster is scary. I put Dazzling Gleam here as it just seemed to be the best third attack to put there. Xurkitree still doesn't get a whole lot in terms of move variety, especially since it lost both Hidden Power and Signal Beam. Tail Glow wouldn't be bad either, but that's gone so rip. However, thinking about it some more, I doubt I would run Tail Glow here. Dazzling Gleam is nice for picking up KOs vs weakened foes, providing Xurkitree with two Beast Boosts instead of one which is very, very cool. Expert Belt definitely isn't needed vs the majority of the roster, but it does help me OHKO Leon's G-Max Charizard when Xurk has no boosts.

Galarian LuchaLele has some pretty scary threats that can be streak-enders. I'm sure this isn't all of them, but here's the ones I documented while playing over the past month.

Trick Room - Like any team that utilizes super fast Pokemon and Tailwind, Trick Room can be very bad. I'm pretty much forced to double up on pretty much any Trick Room setter or else I'm the slowest on the field for 5 turns. Some of the scary setters include: Mimikyu, Hatterene, Beheeyem, and Aromatisse.

Opposing Terrain - Rillaboom, Galarian Weezing, and Pincurchin can all change the Terrain on me thanks to their Hidden Abilities. This makes Tapu Lele's Psychic and Dracovish's Psychic Fangs weaker, and removes the team's protection from priority such as Fake Out and Sucker Punch (minus Hawlucha, of course, since it doesn't receive benefits from any terrain due to its Flying-typing). Rillaboom can be especially bad since neither of my backline want to take boosted Grass-type attacks, so its best to try and remove Rillaboom as fast as possible. Pincurchin and Weezing aren't too bad since they're both easily taken care of. Thankfully, Hawlucha's Psychic Seed still activates before any Terrain switches happen at the beginning of the battle.

Bright Powder - I hate this item. What a terrible item. I've had a lot of scary situations thanks to random attacks missing because of this item. Thank god Lax Incense isn't in the Tower roster. Bright Powder is scariest on Inteleon-2 since it can also use Double Team and BATON PASS any evasion boosts from Double Team to other teammates. Oh, it also has Muddy Water.

Quick Claw - I hate this item too. This item is most dangerous on the Gen 8 fossils since it means they can receive the double boost from Fishious Rend of Bolt Beak. Beware. Copperajah is another really scary Quick Claw user since it has super effective moves for the entire team so it's really unpredictable.

Red Card - This item isn't super dangerous, but it can put me in difficult situations. If Hawlucha is forced out due to Red Card, it loses its Unburden boost and has to deal with having a much lower speed for the rest of the battle. Alcremie is annoying since my leads can't OHKO it and it's hard to double up on since Red Card can force the first attacker out (Hawlucha). Heliolisk-1 is another annoying mon with Red Card, as it also carries Glare and it has 252 SpD EVs, meaning I can't just OHKO it with Lele reliably after setting Tailwind ( 220+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 0 HP / 252 SpD Heliolisk in Psychic Terrain: 121-144 (93 - 110.7%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO ). Thanks, Terrain nerf.

Fake Out - This is only really a problem for Hawlucha since everyone else is protected by Psychic Terrain if its up (which most of the time, it is). It can be incredibly problematic if the Fake Out user's partner can set Trick Room or Tailwind, as this could make things faster than my team and make things difficult. The best way around this is to usually have Hawlucha use Protect.

Item switches - Gen 8 Battle Tower provides a new evil: item clause breaks cause some sets to change their item. This usually means some stuff will have their item replaced with Sitrus Berry or Focus Sash and can make things very difficult if you're not prepared. Pay very close attention. Random Focus Sashes can make things scary.

Opposing Hawlucha - Specifically the Focus Sash Hawlucha. It makes things a little difficult since opposing Hawlucha will be faster than my own Hawlucha outisde of Tailwind if their Unburden is active.

Aegislash - Oh boy, where do I begin? I'm happy Game Freak had the balls to add this thing to the pool but damn, it is so scary. Set 1 can span Swords Dance and do massive damage with Iron Head and is very bulky on the physical side. Set 3 is a scary Weakness Policy set that punishes you if you're stupid enough to target it with a super effective hit while its in Shield form, and set 4 can murder Hawlucha with Life Orb. Another thing about Aegislash is King's Shield. Luckily, Protective Pads means Dracovish doesn't have to worry too much about this attack but it can weaken Hawlucha. Set 2 is also dangerous but not as dangerous as its the only set without King's Shield, but that's because it has Assault Vest and can take a decent amount of special attacks.

Just like my previous two streaks, I have recorded the entire streak so far and those battles can be found here. However, I did end up grabbing some of the more interesting battles from that dump and uploaded them separately. The whole playlist of individual battles can be found here. But, I figured I'd highlight some of them here.

This battle was tough since it featured Fake Out+Trick Room lead. I got very lucky near the end and managed to pull out a win but damn this one had me on the edge of my seat. This kind of stuff is scary and can definitely be a streak ender.

This one wasn't really a bad one, but it does feature Xurkitree completely annihilating Leon.

Eva leads with two Pokemon she can Dynamax. She chose Vespiquen here and uses Max Guard a couple of times. Nothing bad.

Hestia comes in with a scary Dynamax Gardevoir+Mawile rolls Intimidate thus weakening Hawlucha.

Specs Gengar and Life Orb Mimikyu lead! What am I to do!

Frosmoth-2 sets up Tailwind on me and Waldna reveals she brought her own Gengar to play.

And there we have it. This is honestly the most fun I've had with this gen's Battle Tower despite it definitely being incredibly underwhelming compared to past facilities. Here's hoping we get the 1k (knock on wood). Happy New Year! See ya.
 
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How to follow up two posts consisting of nearly doubling the previous Ground record and then somebody who achieved 200 and thinks the team actually fell short...hmm...let's try being funny I guess!

Wow! Impressive indeed! I guess we have a lot of time this year's holiday! Actually, this isn't funny in the slightest... Let's try something different...

Hello, it's me! The guy who beats records by an average of 3 battles and then comes bragging! What could have I possibly achieved this time? 51 with Rock? Hell no, fortunately! Ok, this is slightly better...

Usual readers of this thread may remember that I attempt to beat streaks following two very arbitrary rules:
  1. At least one team member needs to be a favorite of mine;
  2. I don't consider strategies such as Recycle+Leppa Berry (I don't even know how Leppa Berry is called in the italian version of the game, that's how familiar I am with the strategy...) or Encore: I usually play while cooking, lifting (fun fact: you can do 10ish weighed squats during the first Dynamax of a battle, especially if you have an extra activation like Blaziken's Speed Boost) or watching Netflix, so I may end getting distracted in unnecessary situations. My average concentration is enough for things like keeping tabs of damage taken or counting Rest turns, but not much more.
  3. Since CT dropped, I have another arbitrary rule: no UBs. I despise them, I don't think they look like Pokemon, and the least time they have in the spotlight, the better. They're the only things worth of perennial Dexit. Kudos if you like them, I'll admit some designs are actually quite funny. I just don't.
In RS, rule 3 is really an hindrance, since UBs usually have uneven stats (perfect for Dynamax) and Beast Boost, but hell I'm committed to never see abominations like Guzzord be born again.

With that in mind, I started looking at the mons+beatable streak combinations that I could possibly delve into without losing my mind. In my Fighting streak report, I hinted at how overpowered G-Zapdos is, so I was sold on it as the lead sweeper. That is, until I realized Salamence was available as well, with an enormous PP reserve (Dragon Claw-Arial Ace-Bulldoze-Steel Wing is 128 PPs). I both like G-Roadrunner and Salamence very much, and I actually have a Safari Ball, 6 ivs, Battle Tree record breaking Salamence in US that I still haven't transferred yet nicknamed Balerion (if you know the reference, you know it implies laying waste everywhere).

Unfortunately, unlike with Fighting, there is no way to keep Zapdos in reserve as the second mon without accruing weaknesses (the Ground immunity is unfurtunately not exploitable for obvious reasons, and everybody basically resists Bug regardless), so I looked at teambuilding to see which option was the best. The team concept I locked in was sweeper-physical wall-special wall, since Flying mons have all the potential to sweep thanks to Max Airstream. I then looked for a solution to circumvent the status problem and see if it was fittable in my team concept, starting by considering Heal Bell+Roost Togekiss, but I kept scrambling for solutions and to my surprise I found the biggest middle finger to status I've ever used in RS, even better than Scrafty. The only problem is that such a solution shares Salamence's typing (spoiler alert: it's not Dragonite. It's actually what you think it is), so I was sold on Zapdos.

With the Lead spot and the Status dealer spot decided (the status dealer doubled as the special wall), I looked for the physical wall, seeing if there was a potential for a secondary, occasional sweeper there. Still, from my Fighting report, you may recalled I'm in love with Dark Types: they have several healing stations available (Mr. Rime, Musharna, Pyukumuku if you can deal with status, plus soft healing spots like Meowstic, Orbeetle, Alakazam, Beeheyem or however it's spelled) and they also cover for Zapdos weaknesses pretty well. Hence, I was initially sold on Mandibuzz, with a fully invested Physically Defensive Air Slash/Dark Pulse/Nasty Plot/Roost set that doubled as a sweeper when possible. Bonus points: I bred a shiny Vullaby in the process. Both Mandibuzz and Altaria (haha, surprise!) have 100 speed at level 50 with uninvested neutral natures, which is insane for two walls.

So I tried: Mandibuzz and Altaria worked well, Zapdos is, as you know, borderline unstoppable, and the team reached the following streak in just two legs:

Flying first try.JPG

However, Zapdos went down at 68 with no PPs, and I remember doing something extremely stupid after 69, clicking continue with a 1 HP Mandibuzz instead of healing. You can connect the dots on how that went.

Knowing this team could easily break the record and realistically being able to reach 100, 105-ish wins, I nevertheless started noticing a couple of problems. First of all, for how good it was, Mandibuzz’s favorable switch-ins were few and far between (certainly fewer than I imagined), adding very few sweeps amidst Zapdos onslaught. Secondly, such a team accrued both Ice and Fairy Weaknesses. Now, Ice types are generally not a problem for Zapdos, but Cinccino and Froslass definitely are, while accruing weaknesses to Fairy is never good due to the Dreadful fast and powerful Ribombee.

Never would have I imagined that I would have swapped Mandibuzz out, but here we were: I swapped Mandibuzz for Bulk Up Corviknight, who has less healing stops but considerably more durability, PPs (more on this later), and, most importantly, more set up opportunities.

I think we should also take into consideration another arbitrary variable I came up with while thinking on how to preserve PPs: Lead Maximum Win Threshold (LMWT in short): take your lead total PPs, divide it by 3, and you get your theoretical max sweeps with the lead. While certainly a flawed metric, experience with both Fighting and Flying actually tell me that it is a good indicator to gauge legs’ length: the lead will often sweeps in 4-5 hits, not 3, but with switches and sweeps by a secondary mon, it actually was dead accurate on the record run bar for the third leg, where disaster struck around the record as in all my record runs (see: when I was reaching 110 with Fighting).

Armed with Corviknight and LMWT forecast, I renewed my attemps, finally reaching this:
Flying record.JPG

THE TEAM

Shell Bell
Defiant
Adamant/ 50 HP, 252 attack, 4 special defense, 204 speed
Low Kick (32PP) / Peck (56PP) / Stomping Tantrum (16PP) / Brave Bird (24PP)

The EVs are the same as in my record Fighting run. TLDR: everything up to Volcarona, 146 to 152 doesn't matter, rest is Bulk. You may be surprised by Peck replacing the obvious Drill Peck. It came down to LMWT calculations. With Drill Peck, Zapdos amounted to 104 PPs, for a LMWT of only 34.67, with a potential record, coupled with Corviknight sweeps, of about 105-110ish. Peck drastically improves that, despite being a terrible move outside of Dynamax. In Dynamax, however, is very usable, with 90 BP, STAB, and usually an attack boost under Zapdos' feathers. Plus, 95% of things weak to it that dropped to Max Airstream from Drill Peck did from Peck as well (Alakazam and Weavile are OHKOed even when using Peck). In all legs, I used far more than 32 PPs, telling me that I was right (more on this later).

The rest is the usual, as both myself and sb879 reported: unstoppable STABs, reliable bulk, and a not-top-notch but still very useful Ability. Now, if only this thing got Wing Attack...
(I really like my fancy balls) Rocky Helmet
Mirror Armor
Impis/ 252 HP, 252 def, 4 speed
Drill Peck (32PP) / Steel Wing (40PP) / Roost (16PP) / Bulk Up (32PP)

The incremental innovation that took me to 112, this is just an incredible mon. It walls all but a few physical attackers, dealing damage in the process. I know a PP restoring berry is probably more useful in the long run than Rocky Helmet due to how much Corviknight tends to burn Roost PPs, but I am convinced that the consistency of Rocky Helmet is invaluable. More often than not, I found myself Switching into a physical attacker that can only like, 4HKO or worse, Bulking Up twice or thrice, then Roosting, and than Airstreaming on a 50%ish opponent. No attack investment means that the first target (usually Sandaconda or something with a similar build: sturdy but not powerful) is not OHKOed unless at +4/+5, and there's where Rocky Helmet comes in, preserving PPs, and allowing sweeps while netting usually 20HP damage taken or something like that.

Corviknight's role is just like that: come in on a physical attacker (if it comes in easily and can sweep you should bring it in regardless if Zapdos can also sweep, because preserving Zapdos is much more important), Bulk Up and sweep - that's the reason of the purely physically defensive spread: net the least damage taken possible. It also doubles down as a wall to stupid things like Accelgor, cuts down 45% of Cinccino's health on Triple Axel. Mirror Armor is insane, reversing basically every peril of stat drops, laughing at Escavalier, and triggering a neverending cicle of trying to drop your speed while you boost on Tauros, Gyarados, Sandslash and Wailord at least.

One caveat: coming in on the first mon is tricky, as Magneton could be lurking in the shadows and that means disaster.

Leftovers
Natural Cure
Calm/ 252 HP, 252 special defense, 4 defense
Dragon Breath (32PP) / Hurricane (16PP) / Flamethrower (16PP) / Rest (16PP)

This is the biggest FU to status you may find, and it doubles down with very respectable bulk: relieved by Corviknight on the physical side, it can focus on SpD and status (a huge middle finger to that damned Magneton) to target things like Torkoal, the magnet boys and so on. Natural Cure is insane, allowing you to Rest at no cost (especially reliable when i switched Corviknight for Mandibuzz, as Corviknight and Altaria share no weaknesses but on the contrary wall some of their respective ones) and plan Rest PPs at the same time, while taking Toxic from Pyukumuku when you switch stall it, or again taking Will-o-wisp from Froslass (which remains a huge issue regardless) before going to Corviknight. Moves are, bar Hurricane for potential +1/+2 speed occasional sweeps, tailored to Altaria's use: most of its interactions will be wars of attrition (Torkoal, Magneton, Miltank if Zapdos is unboosted...) where both Dragon Breath's PPs and high paralysis chance come into play, as well as Flamethrower's. A very solid mon which I would highly recommend, provided (and it's a huge question mark) it doesn't accrue weaknesses with the rest of the team.

THE RUN

Heals: after 39, after 79, done at 112, with disaster striking at 90.

With the introduction of Peck, I corrected my LMWT per run at about 40-42 (theoretically, you could aim for more, but in reality you'll be left with nothing but 10 Peck PP, which is a recipe for disaster). In all legs I used far more than 32PPs, proving that I was right in switching Drill Peck out. Hence, I aimed at 120 to 125 as a realistic record.

I mentioned in an earlier post how it is feasible to underspeed Zoroark (from now on labelled with the technical term "the bastard") with Zapdos to save the bulk and get the upper hand after the first move. Zoroark is not a problem for a lot of leads unless, of course, the bastard disguises as something that forces you into Corviknight. It happened at 5, where it disguised as Accelgor as I switched Corviknight in. The bastard picks Flamethrower on Zapdos, which is particularly bad. However, I can go to Altaria, Rest if it burns Altaria, and then pivot back to Zapdos. That scare into the corner, I proceeded smoothly, unfortunately burning Roost PPs too early (after running out of Roost, Corviknight is on a timebomb, hence you should use it only on blatantly favorable matchups: Accelgor, Wailord, Sandaconda), and Zapdos went down at 39 while having only Peck. A good leg, hence I took the heal as I was around my estimated LMWT.

The second leg was eerily similar to the first, save for Pyukumuku's healing station at around 60 that was necessary. Once again, Corviknight was the first one to go down, and after 79, I took the heal in such a situation:
zapdos pp.JPG
Altaria.JPG
The third leg, however, was were disaster struck. The bastard returned, this time masked as Dusknoir. This time my stupidity is to blame. Dusknoir has an ability pop-up, but I brainfarted (Dusknoir is one of those mons both Zapdos and Corviknight can face, but I prefer risking status 3 times with Corviknight than once with Zapdos). To my defense, it was about 2AM probably and I was tired as hell.

At 87, I faced lead Quagsire, where I need to switch around Yawn to avoid either Zapdos or Corviknight falling asleep. Zapdos had to endure some tanking, and I broke the record with Zapdos at 1/4, Corviknight at half, and Altaria at full. Unfortunately, at 90 or 91, Conkeldurr showed up as the last mon, with Zapdos barely back at 1/3 and no attack boosts. To my consolation, Drill Peck would not OHKO, and there is no way I would lose Zapdos 10 battles into a leg. I know that against a weak target Conkeldurr becomes a problem because it suddenly behave erraticly, hence deciding to play the prediction roulette with Corviknight. I lost. Fortunately, the girl had seen uncharacteristic high usage (even for her standards) and was already at half PPs bar for Steel Wing, so it was a calculated sacrifice.

Things went smoothly after that, Zapdos tanked here and there, but saw high PP usage without Corviknight, and after 112 I had nothing but Pecks, hence dooming my streak when Ribombee came out and ended me.

MAIN THREATS (I'll list only the ones that inherently screw something up):

1609449169537.png
: the main issue due to her unpredictable behavior. It needs to hit Will-O-Wisp on Altaria lest becoming a riddle (if it hits, switching back and forth between walls is usually enough). Added bonus for its stupid behavior in picking Triple Axel or Poltergeist seemingly at random on Altaria.

1609449277338.png
:usually dealt with Altaria who breaks Sturdy with a couple of Flamethrowers, then Rests and then I go back to Zapdos. However, it requires Zapdos taking a Flash Cannon (which hurts, especially if Analytic). Bonus points for screwing Corviknight if it rolls Magnet Pull.

1609449546084.png
: requires+1Speed, otherwise it is annoying because it uses Rock Blast on Corviknight, which doesn't cause passive damage.

A lot of other threats (Alakazam, Torkoal, Tauros, Barraskewda)... are dealt by playing smart.

A little bummed by the third leg, but I'll make the argument that on such long streaks you're bound to either run into stupid bad luck with back-to-back-to-back bad matchups, or you're poised to brain fart at some point as I did with the bastard (and I've seen some other people with much more remarkable streaks falling to similar mistakes) due to tiredness or distraction. 125 to 130 is certainly doable, especially with better luck or with entirely different teams (Heal Bell, Wish, refresh are there for multiple mons, I just didn't like them bar Togekiss and that's a requirement for me).

Now, onto to either Rock (lower streak but stupidly hard, I've already tried... and my favorites there are Coalossal, Tyranitar and Rhyperior...ouch) or Normal (where I think I can put Snorlax to work).

Happy new year!!
 

Attachments

When I first used Dark, I was very close to 100 (96), but now that getting all the types to 100 feels like more than a pipe dream I figured I'd go back to it. I liked my previous team and wasn't too thrilled with the new tundra options, so I honestly thought I would just give that team another go up to 100 and call it a day.



...ooor maybe there was a bit more to experiment with here than expected!


Krookodile @ Shell Bell
Jolly/Moxie
36 HP/252 Atk/220 Spe
Bulldoze/Knock Off/Aerial Ace/Low Kick

Well...not here. It's still Krookodile. Moxie, great STABs, great PP, great dmax utility, great post-dmax. Just a great all-around guy.

Moltres-G @ Leftovers
Modest/Berserk
252 HP/80 Def/68 SpA/108 Spe
Dark Pulse/Air Slash/Nasty Plot/Rest

So, when Moltres-G's stats and movepool were first revealed, like most others I was very disappointed. It didn't necessarily seem terrible, but with its wonky stats and limited movepool it seemed like it couldn't work that well. And yet, months later Moltres seems to have wormed its way into solid positions in various singles tiers, including a recent shift in the OU VR over Zapdos-G (imagine telling someone that on release, lol).

Now for RS specifically, Moltres lacks Roost and defensive stat boosters. Flying is an excellent complement for a Dark team at least, but I didn't see how this would really work. NP+Airstream is a proven strategy, but Moltres has to heal with Rest. Even seemingly convincing victories like taking 20~30% at most from a mon are not that strong when Rest is the healing option. But where Moltres shines is its speed. I don't mean the literal speed stat, but rather how quickly it sets up. Those previous iffy victories can still let Moltres switch in, NP, potentially get hit under half and trigger Berserk, then Airstream for a speed boost and a very likely sweep. Hell, Moltres can even switch in on very strong attacks to immediately go off with Berserk and an Airstream boost, giving it +1/+1 without ever formally setting up. It also tends to get just under half, letting it still be able to take a hit in dmax, a helpful buffer.

Now the obvious issue with these kinds of set-ups is what do I do the next time I need Moltres? Well, the answer is that despite not having a ton of resistances and immunities (5 total), Moltres dominates a surprising number of Pokemon that it can heal up on. Some of these are also relevant to Krookodile's interests like Toxapex, Miltank, and Tangrowth, but there's also plenty of Psychics that Moltres can take the reigns on instead. Mr. Rime and Musharna are of particular interest since they let it and Drapion heal up to full with switching (Pyukumuku too), but there's also mons like Alakazam, Beheeyem, and Palossand that Moltes can easily heal on. So in practice, Moltres can usually find itself at good health for when its more desperado persona is required. In the end, I feel forced to reach the same conclusion it seems every singles tier did: Moltres is, in fact, good.

For the EVs, Moltres has enough speed to outspeed everything but Barraskewda and Accelgor at +1. The freeze risk on Barraskewda is unfortunate, but Moltres really needs all of its stats and can't spare EVs for that one case. The special attack with Modest lets it OHKO Scizor guaranteed with +1 Airstream, and then it maxes HP with the rest in physical bulk. Extra bulk can be somewhat counterproductive at times due to missing Berserk triggers, though of course having more HP is its own reward. Take the aforementioned Scizor. X-Scissor only actually does up to 44% making it seem a bit strange to EV a Berserk trigger for (it's somewhat arbitrary, but also lets Moltres work better versus this big threat when it's weakened a bit). But from full, Moltres can also take a second X-Scissor and then survive the Bullet Punch due to dmax and easily sweep with +3/+1 from taking a turn to NP. More bulk is also crucial when it comes to the worst hits like Kingler's Crabhammer and Mienshao's High Jump Kick where every point matters. Mienshao can actually KO Moltres from full with 2 high Reckless rolls (keep in mind the second hit is buffered by dmax), but it's still a nice option to have given how problematic Mienshao is.

Drapion @ Black Sludge
Careful/Battle Armor
252 HP/4 Atk/4 Def/164 SpD/84 Spe
Iron Defense/Swords Dance/Knock Off/Rest

If you remember my previous Dark run, you might think Moltres replaced Mandibuzz, but in reality this is the replacement. It uses a very similar set with 2 boosting moves and only 1 attack, but with some crucial advantages. Being able to use Black Sludge is a godsend, and so is crit immunity from Battle Armor. Knock Off also has more PP than Air Slash, and Drapion misses far fewer OHKOs due to its significantly higher attack. It lacks the speed boost from Airstream and Rest is unfortunate in so many ways (see Kingler: Drapion can survive a Crabhammer switch and then High Horsepower at +2 def, but takes too much to do anything but Rest after waking up. though since HH only has 10 PP it can be stalled out in a pinch), but its advantages are significant enough to outweigh these flaws.

The speed lets it outspeed Butterfree, who doesn't come up too often in RS write-ups but is arguably the absolute worst Pokemon to be slower than. Sleep Powder, Quiver Dance, Substitute...it doesn't need a lot of luck to outright sweep you. There's some other minorly annoying mons like Galvantula and Klefki along the way, but that's the big target. The 4 attack lets it OHKO Gyarados with a +5 Darkness (+6, Intimidate), and then the rest goes in special defense since Drapion's bases are fairly poor in that area and it can't boost its speed.

Threats

:ribombee:
bzzzz u lose lol

:weavile::mienshao:
Weavile actually uses Triple Axel for once which is as scary as you think, with Taunt to prevent Drapion from doing anything. Mienshao is even scarier, though as described above Moltres can be a potential out. Both at least give freebies somewhat often with Taunt and Fake Out, respectively.

:milotic:
Drapion and Moltres are both workable but a bit sketchy versus this. Drapion only gets 1 attack every Rest (though it gets a few before the initial one) so a lot of Rests are wasted. And Moltres can set up 2 NPs and trigger Berserk to OHKO Milotic with a +5 Airstream (Berserk might seem marginal here, but it's actually needed to secure this KO), provided it's at high health, though this risks a lot of status.

:porygon2:
Really obnoxious if it gets a Download boost off of Krookodile. Tri Attack is even more annoying than usual since the teamwide Psychic immunity means Tri Attack is used even after Conversion2. With the special attack boost, even Moltres's 125 special defense becomes hard to Rest without random Conversions thrown in there, and of course the persistent status risk while awake.

:dedenne::kingler::kommo-o::starmie::crawdaunt::crustle:
These are the big threats that Moltres uses Berserk for, and if it's not at high health they can be really bad. Obviously that's true of most switch-ins, but Moltres ends more battles than most at half health or so. Its healing opportunities may be plentiful, but these types of threats can get bunched up.

The Run

So to be honest, I remember even less of this run than usual. I know the first leg went on for 39 battles, with a bad Porygon2 freeze on Moltres ending its reign a few battles early. Krookodile quickly found itself needing a Moltres, and things got bad quick. Since it was the first leg I let it continue on longer than it should, but after battle 39 both Krookodile and Drapion were low and going further would just be suicidal. The second leg I remember basically nothing about, except that it lasted 50 battles, leaving me with my second heal used at 89.

The last leg I do remember, sadly. For various reasons Krookodile kept circling the drain, one of which was an annoying Sandslash. This is an annoying lead for Krookodile since it takes 2 hits and lowers its speed. But there's a pretty slick way to deal with it. Go to Drapion on the initial Rock Tomb, then to Moltres on the Sandstorm. Now it wants to Rock Tomb again, at which point I go back to Krookodile to take that (resistance+sandstorm immunity makes it better than Drapion for this). Now that it's faster with sand up, it will go for Dig, which is a 2 turn move that Moltres is immune to, letting it get a free NP and then Airstream KO. I did this earlier in the run and it went off perfectly. Here, though...when Moltres was out and I swapped to Krookodile, it used...Crush Claw? why??? it's weaker, you love lowering speed...come on!! I tried to set up the switch chain again, but it didn't use Rock Tomb on the way back to Drapion, it used Dig. Moltres got a free switch, but I wanted my NP without Rock Tomb interuption so I tried the Krookodile switch again. And again it used Crush Claw, and crit this time! Krookodile had lost 60% or so from baffling AI behavior. This time I tried to "predict" the AI (a foolish task, it seems) and go to Moltres immediately on what ought to be a Rock Tomb on Krookodile but instead might be a Dig, and got that at least, giving me my desired +2/+1 set-up. But Krookodile had a hard time getting back up for a bit after that. It finally found a merciful battle of a Jellicent lead (OHKOd without dmax) and 2 OHKOs to get it back up to 75%, and things were looking up. And then:


gg ez. That's not a KO without the crit. I was being glib in the threats section; this is bad but generally doable. It would leave Krookodile with critical HP, but an Airstream OHKO is an excellent way to start a battle, and with my backline in good standing it's perfectly reasonable to claw my way out of that hole. But no. Moltres picked up the KO and then fainted on something else (Berserk strats do not really work without dmax), leaving Drapion to finish the battle. It may have been able to pick up a few more wins, but I didn't really care at this point. Leg 3: 14 battles.

Obviously, I'm not that satisfied with this run, but it's hard to muster up the energy after an awful end like that to go back and get its rightful place around 130~140. For now, it's still another type over 100, and without any external pressure from the leaderboard I'll keep it this way. On the bright side, this will place all 3 Galar birds next to each other on the type leaderboards. Oh, and speaking of types over 100, this is the 12th one! We're getting there.
 
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Classic Doubles: two teams, very similar

I've been wanting to make a successful weather doubles team for a while, and I think I've stumbled across one. During one of my first attempts at a hailstorm team, I got a streak of 122 with Arctozolt, Ninetales-A, Virizion, Arcanine. I'm not going to go into too much detail for this team because it's very similar to the one with a longer streak. The differences are that in this team, Arctozolt has Low Kick instead of taunt, and we have Jolly Virizion @ Wide Lens (EVs Att/Spe) with Swords Dance, Close Combat (for steel types), Leaf Blade (for those pesky water/ground types), Stone Edge (mainly for Charizard).

Not too exciting, but How I Lost:
This team, however is much more interesting. Steak of 151. Let's get started on this fun hailstorm team.

1610162176599.png
Arctozolt @ Life Orb
Adamant Nature
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 252 Att / 20 SpD / 236 Spe
- Bolt Beak
- Icicle Crash
- Stomping Tantrum
- Taunt
1610162490725.png
Ninetales ♀ @ Focus Sash
Timid Nature
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Nasty Plot
- Blizzard
- Moonblast
- Protect
1610162700740.png
Arctovish @ Rocky Helmet
Adamant Nature
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 252 Att / 16 Def / 240 Spe
- Fishious Rend
- Icicle Crash
- Rock Slide
- Protect
1610162830177.png
Arcanine ♂ @ Assault Vest
Jolly Nature
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Att / 252 Spe
- Flare Blitz
- Close Combat
- Wild Charge
- Extreme Speed

Arctozolt
Alright, basically this hail team takes advantage of the combination of Slush Rush and Bolt Beak. It relies on the fact that Adamant Arctozolt with a Life Orb and Bolt Beak is extremely dangerous to all that don't resist it (or have annoyingly high physical defense). With Slush Rush, Arctozolt outspeeds all non-scarfed Pokemon except some Dragapult, which aren't even encountered very often surprisingly. Bolt Beak will OHKO most everyone except for grass/ground types, which Icicle Crash will do, and then Stomping Tantrum hits electric types unless they're annoyingly on an air balloon. Taunt, I discovered is important for weather teams, especially ones that heavily rely on speed like this one. Trick Room and weather changers are a huge nightmare. Taunt is used for pokemon that threaten to trick room or change the weather that Arctozolt cannot OHKO. This is only a few pokemon (listed alphabetically): Cherrim (sunny day + focus sash), Excadrill (sandstorm), Heliolisk (sunny day + focus sash), Leafeon (sunny day), Mimikyu (trick room), Musharna (trick room), Sandaconda (sandstorm), Leon's Seismitoad (rain dance), Steelix (sandstorm).

Ninetales
Of course, the obligatory Snow Warning pokemon on any hailstorm team. After a Nasty Plot, Blizzard does wonders, usually knocking both opponents out at once, if Actozolt didn't kill them already. Protect for when Ninetales can't KO a pokemon on her own and will need Arctozolt's help after it's done KOing something else. She's a great cleanup pokemon for Arctozolt.

Arctovish
As you can probably guess, this is Arctozolt's backup in case it goes down prematurely. It still utilizes Slush Rush but with Fishious Rend. Convenient that both Bolt Beak and Fishious Rend both OHKO Leon's Charizard when going first. Rock Slide is quite weak, but good for cleaning up two opponents at once. Arctovish is not quite as powerful as Arctozolt, but still does an alright job as a non-setup sweeper, especially since it's pretty bulky. I didn't know what item to put on it, so I just used rocky helmet. Offensively good against fire types that threaten the first two.

Arcanine
Last resort, and generally Ninetales' replacement. Intimidate + Assault Vest gives him some good extra bulk, and Extreme Speed is useful. Arcanine is not an ice type, but fits nicely into this hailstorm team as a typing counter. Defensively good against fire types that threaten the first two.

Team tactics
With exceptions, the way to start most battles is for Arctozolt to OHKO something (usually with Bolt Beak) while Ninetales Nasty Plots. Then on the second turn, Arctozolt OHKOs something else and Ninetales Blizzards the other to death. Then the last one comes out and doesn't stand a chance.
Biggest threat to this team which relies heavily on speed is, as mentioned before, Trick Room. The opponent Pokemon that threaten that are enemy number one. If Arctozolt can't OHKO it, then taunt it away. If Trick Room goes into effect, then we'll have to try to stall it out the best we can. Enemy number two is anyone who threatens changing the weather. Slush Rush is too important for this team to give it up. If the weather does change, switch out Ninetales to Arcanine so that Ninetales can eventually come back in to bring back hail.
After this and in general, the opposing Pokemon to target are prioritized along the lines of Drampa (with Cloud Nine), Shiinotic (Spore), Leon's Dragapult (can outspeed Arctozolt/Arctovish), Leon's Haxorus (Dragon Dance + Focus Sash), Fire types (resistant to ice and fairy), Steel types (resistant to Ice and Fairy), Ice types (resistant to ice and immune to hail), Water types (resistant to ice), Poison types (resistant to fairy).
One more thing. Leon's Rhyperior has lightningrod, and just an icicle crash wont KO it (unless it's a critical hit), so we have to wait for Ninetales to be able to Blizzard it to death before proceeding.
Leon is the toughest opponent, yes, but as long as either Arctozolt or Arctovish are in the game with full speed, his Charizard is no problem. The previous team did fall victim to Leon's Seismitoad's Rain Dance, so I know to taunt that dude if it ever pops up.

How I lost:
Vs Leon: Haxorus, Seismitoad, Rillaboom, Charizard
Turn 1:
Can't afford to lose to a Seismitoad Rain Dance again. Quickly taunt Seismitoad just in case.
Ninetales nasty plot. Haxorus critical hit close combat on Arctozolt (dead). Seismitoad did not use Rain dance but was actually packing a Mud Shot which hit Ninetales and lowered speed. Send out Arctovish in the late Arctozolt’s place.
Turn 2:
Blizzard should take out Haxorus, except with speed reduced, Haxorus Poison Jabs Ninetales to death first. Arctovish hits Seismitoad with Fishious rend but does not KO (almost does). Seismitoad Mud Shots Arctovish, lowering speed. Send out Arcanine. At this point I know I'm boned since there's no way I'll be able to get past Charizard with a slow Arctovish.
Turn 3:
Extremespeed will finish off Seismi—switched out and put in Rillaboom. I thought that even with the speed reduction that Arctovish would still be faster than Haxorus but nope. Haxorus Close Combats Arctovish to death. Now it's just Arcanine vs 4 Pokemon.
Turn 4:
Arcanine, thanks to Intimidate, withstands a Close Combat from Haxorus. Now a Flare Blitz on Rillaboom would’ve self-destructed Arcanine, so best bet was Close Combat on Haxorus which did KO him, but Rillaboom finished off Arcanine with the final move of the turn and the match.
What I Could've Done Differently to Win
It’s hard to figure out what I could’ve done differently to win. I definitely needed either Arctozolt or Arctovish at full speed to beat Charizard... I guess after the Mud Shot, I could’ve sent out Arcanine instead of Arctovish, knowing that I needed him alive at full speed saved. Then I could’ve had had Ninetales protect so that Haxorus wastes a turn. Meanwhile Arcanine would attack Haxorus for the KO (probably). Meanwhile Seismitoad would Mud Shot Arcanine. Yeah, ok, then Leon would send out Charizard who would take out Ninetales, and Arcanine I think would still be faster than Seismitoad and KO him. Send out Arctovish, and he sends out Rillaboom. Arctovish KO Charizard, Rillaboom hit Arctovish, and then Arcanine and Arctovish would be able to finish Rillaboom together. Still, I’d have to do a lot of anticipation on that matchup. Seismitoad lowering my team’s speed was the underlying problem here, something I didn’t bother to consider.



Overall, I realllly like this team. It's super fun to play with them. I just can't help to think that there's got to be someone that fits better than Arcanine. Well, since this was so much fun, I think I'm going to try creating a sandstorm version of this team with Dracozolt, Tyranitar, Dracovish, and Lucario.
 
Man I wish those fossils were around last games, I really wanted to make hail teams work but realistically Slush Rush users were all bad and there's basically nothing else you can do with Hail other than accurate Blizzards :(
Glad to see you're having fun with it
I didn't know what item to put on it, so I just used rocky helmet.
By the way, on offensive pokemon in facilities, when not knowing what item to use, Expert Belt is usually a underrated yet great option. Otherwise, berries (Lum / Sitrus / Pinch) also work.
 
Even Wide Lens and Mystic Water are options for a poke like Arctovish. The latter will bring Rend to a flat 204 bp, a nice spike in damage.

Freeze Dry is sadly lacking on that squad, since Swsh Tower has no lack of excellent fodder for the move <_<

Edit: as for the team loss, I don’t think taunting Seismitoads is going to be an effective solution at all, because not only did you learn that Toad1 may not use it, but Toad34 will also just attack immediately and inflict severe damage. This is an instance where Freeze Dry would come in especially handy. Giving them the opportunity to attack is just not worth it. Haxorus4 is also a beast, as you learned, and even with the (usually) bulky teams I run, I don’t like the suspense of lead Haxorus without Frisk. Hax4 hits extremely hard.

Leon has decent odds of packing Fake Out in two of his Rimes and that asshole Rillaboom4; I mention this because Cinderace4 can also do a real number on your squad. Add Aegislash into the mix and this team, while looking really fun, also looks like it isn’t well geared to steamroll several potentially unlucky Leon rolls.
 
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