SS NU The Rhythm Changes

Meri Berry

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Most RMTs have music, so I'll put the song I was listening to in order to calm my nerves in NU Snake Draft Semifinals. Its an amazing listen, and you'll likely have finished reading before the song is over.

Overview

:cresselia::copperajah::gastrodon::sylveon::talonflame::guzzlord:
(Importable above)

This is a team I worked on for NU Snake Draft, bringing it to win in Semifinals against Ren-chon for the Pablodors. I've built a few teams for them, plus friends on the Sjneasels (most notably Lilburr and Lyss), but this is definitely the team I'm the most proud of, and with the changes I've made to it since the Slowbro-Galar and rain infested meta, this team still holds up as a prominent metagame threat today. This can be seen through both Confide and I getting reqs with it for the Sigilyph suspect, as well as Confide winning with the modified version of the team that I'll present today in LTPL against Gama. Those replays will be below.

The team focuses on answering any breakers that try to set up or otherwise click buttons with defensive answers, and using Guzzlord to switch in on your opponent's defensive Pokemon and punish them by weakening their cores. With Wish and Heal Bell support from Sylveon, the team can either soften up the opposing team enough for Cresselia to sweep or can allow Guzzlord to break enough on its own so that a win is certain. Without further ado, let's dissect this team into its main parts.


Replays

Meri Berry vs. Ren-chon - Semifinals NUSD
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Confide vs. Eternal Spirit - Week 4 LTPL III
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Team

:ss/cresselia:
Cresselia @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Def / 20 SpA / 144 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Stored Power
- Calm Mind
- Moonlight

This Pokemon is what spawned the team as an idea; Cresselia is a bulky yet relatively fast and dangerous wincon that allows you to set up on defensive and offensive threats alike. The speed EVs are the most notable, benchmarking Adamant Tyrantrum - however, this benchmark outspeeds two much more notable threats in Bewear and Pangoro, allowing Cresselia to switch into Bewear more freely and to revenge kill Pangoro in a pinch. Bewear is the most notable of these, as Cresselia serves as your primary check to it - Talonflame can switch in and live a Double Edge, allowing it to fish for Flame Body, but Cresselia is the only Pokemon on the team bulky enough to consistently handle it. The rest of the EVs are used to maximize your physical bulk. It is important to note that these EVs were formally used for the Substitute set, which also fits on this team - the HP EVs give you exactly enough to give Cresselia 101HP Substitutes, which allows the Sub to live a Night Shade or Seismic Toss. However, I haven't found a reason to change these EVs, as I've found that the extra Special Attack can be helpful for +0 Moonblast and that Cresselia prefers the extra physical bulk, as it shrugs off almost all hits at +1 Special Defense.

As I've mentioned before, the set used to run Substitute over Stored Power. Alternatively, one could use Substitute over Stored Power or Moonlight. However, I've found that Moonblast + Stored Power helps break offensive teams a lot better. This team was made when Toxtricity was still in the tier, which could sit on Cresselia and fish for a critical hit. Even nowadays, I prefer Stored Power because this team struggles much more with Copperajah than threats like Bronzong and Mantine, and while Heavy Slam with 0 Attack does approximately a quarter of Cresselia's HP, Cresselia must Calm Mind to +6 to even make a dent in Copperajah with Moonblast. Stored Power also allows Cresselia to 1v1 Sigilyph, as Sigilyph does less than 50% to Cresselia with Psyshock and does more than 50% back with Stored Power. Given that this Pokemon is paired with the Heal Bell support from Sylveon, and it often gets a kill even while Toxic'd, I've seen no reason to change.

:ss/copperajah:
Copperajah @ Leftovers
Ability: Heavy Metal
EVs: 164 HP / 252 SpD / 92 Spe
Careful Nature
- Heavy Slam
- Heat Crash
- Power Whip
- Stealth Rock

Copperajah is a Pokemon that needs hardly any introduction, and this set and spread are no different. The spread uses the sample spread and creeps the speed by 8 EVs. The sample set allows you to creep 0 EV base 40s such as Golisopod and Dhelmise; however, mostly notably, this also creeps such Pokemon as Gastrodon, Mudsdale, and Bronzong, allowing Copperajah to outspeed them and pressure with its immaculate coverage. The extra creep helps Copperajah win speed ties and to creep Gastrodon, which normally runs 16 speed EVs to outspeed sample Copperajah as seen below.

Copperajah is a general special wall, being the primary specially invested Pokemon on the team. This allows it to deal with Dragon types as well as trickier Pokemon such as Celebi and An obvious pick for this team is Bronzong over Copperajah, which has more defensive utility as a Steel-type rocks setter with its access to Toxic and its better typing and ability. But, what Copperajah does is more valuable to this team, preventing most threats from hard switching into it due to the massive offensive pressure that Copperajah holds with its coverage and high base power moves. Its offensive presence is both a boon to break past tricky defensive cores, while also allowing it to prevent free turns for offensive mons.

:ss/gastrodon:
Gastrodon @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Storm Drain
EVs: 252 HP / 240 Def / 16 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Ice Beam
- Earth Power
- Toxic
- Recover

Gastrodon serves as the primary Tyrantrum and Drapion check, while also acting as a general Volt immune, Toxic spreader, and Water-type check. This set is the one that's probably changed the most over the team's lifespan; originally, the set had Scald over Ice Beam and Clear Smog over Toxic. The reason Clear Smog was on this set was simple; Galarian-Slowbro was a huge issue for the tier, and it gave me a direct check. It also made fighting against Sigilyph a bit simpler, as I didn't always have to Calm Mind war it from a disadvantaged state. As soon Galarian-Slowbro was removed from the tier, I changed it to Toxic to better support the team. Ice Beam was a more recent change suggested by Confide; this move allows for Gastrodon to pressure Rotom-Mow, which stops it from Volt Turning on your team for infinite momentum. This team struggles with Rotom-Mow, not because of its damage output but because of the Pokemon it brings in. Gastrodon makes the opposing player have to make predicitions and plays, which allows for Guzzlord and Copperajah to come in more often to take the Leaf Storm. The EVs are simple, with 16 Speed EVs to creep sample set Copperajah, and the rest invested in bulk.

Gastrodon is great glue for the team, switching into a fair amount of the tier and spreading Toxic. Its a great general check for a lot of physical and special threats in the tier, and an unrevealed Ice Beam can be deadly for many Pokemon such as Lum DD Flygon that might try to use Gastrodon as setup fodder.

:ss/sylveon:
Sylveon @ Leftovers
Ability: Cute Charm
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Wish
- Protect
- Heal Bell

Sylveon is another very self explanatory Pokemon, offering recovery to Copperajah through Wish support while also supporting the team against Toxic spam with Heal Bell. It also happens to be a general check to Pokemon such as Pangoro and DD Flygon, as well as a few special threats such as Diancie that its natural bulk is able to handle. An important note is that this set uses Cute Charm + Moonblast instead of Pixelate Hyper Voice. This was done to prevent sweeps from Throat Chop DD Flygon, which are otherwise threatening to these kinds of defensive cores. In my experience, they're common enough that its impossible to drop Moonblast, and doing so will likely lead to losses to that set in particular. Sylveon's fairy typing is a great asset to the team, giving alternative switchins to the massive amount of Fighting types that are able to pressure both Cresselia and Talonflame, and that combined with its bulk allows it to find many free turns that allows it to Wish and keep its teammates annoyingly healthy.

:ss/talonflame:
Talonflame @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 248 HP / 52 Def / 208 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Brave Bird
- Will-O-Wisp
- Roost
- Defog

Talonflame is a fantastic glue for this team, both serving as a generic Physical wall in with its amazing typing and speed, as well as Flame Body and Will-O Wisp to shut down almost any attacker. Talonflame is able to serve as a second line of defense for many threats, such as Pangoro, Bewear, Flygon, Drapion, Mienshao, and even a primary check to such threats such as Stealth Rocks Copperajah and Escavalier. Talonflame beats most common Stealth Rock setters, struggling mostly with Diancie and the occasional Golurk (which normally runs Stone Edge). The speed benchmark on Talonflame allows it to outrun Focus Energy Inteleon and SubTox Salazzle, both threats that this team struggles with to varying degrees, while giving it just a bit of extra bulk that allows it to fish for burns from Flame Body. The reason Will-O Wisp is used over Toxic is to immediately cripple Physical threats, allowing Cresselia to exploit and set up on them at a later time. Brave Bird is the best STAB move in this slot, allowing it to hit most Fighting types for significant damage while pressuring trickier Pokemon such as Vileplume still. I believe that this Pokemon is the best Defogger for the team due to its unprecedented versatility, and I think its one of the least replacable Pokemon on this team.

:ss/guzzlord:

Guzzlord @ Choice Band
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 104 Def / 152 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Outrage
- Knock Off
- Heavy Slam
- Earthquake

Band Guzzlord puts the "semi" in semistall, and is a large part of the reason why Substitute isn't necessary on Cresselia. Guzzlord comes in on Pokemon such as Copperajah, Bronzong, most Sigilyph sets, and really any Pokemon that's STABs are resisted. Knock Off permanently cripples defensive cores, allowing Guzzlord to claim items from most of the metagame and causes your opponent to play very predictably around your set. Also, most people assume that Guzzlord is largely special, relying on Draco Meteor for power, which makes the first Knock Off that much more deadly. Outrage is used for late game breaking, taking your opponent from a bad position to a nearly unwinnable one when their Dragon resists are chipped - this sets up for Cresselia wins very well in end-game scenarios. 152 Speed EVs outspeeds most defensive Sylveon sets, and Heavy Slam allows Guzzlord to OHKO Sylveon after Stealth Rocks damage from entry. After Sylveon is gone, Knock Off and Outrage become a lot more clickable and their team loses a lot of sustainability, so this lure is very effective at dismantling cores that rely on it as a Dark resist. Finally, Earthquake is less important, but can be used to predict Pokemon such as Arcanine and Bewear on the switch, doing more damage overall. The extra EVs go into defense to act as a better Ghost resist, as this team struggles with Golurk - however, this could be made SpDef for Pokemon such as Rotom-Mow that give this team issues.

Guzzlord turns out to be the perfect breaker for this team, softening up defensive cores for Cresselia to win while also adding its own defensive versatility. However, one thing to note is the very low amount that it recieves from Sylveon Wish due to its very high natural HP stat. Some matchups require you to play Guzzlord aggressively; this can become a problem if you let Guzzlord take too much unnecessary chip, as it struggles to heal back up afterwards due to this. Guzzlord also appreciates hazards being off, making effective Talonflame usage important to try and keep Stealth Rocks off.

Biggest Weaknesses

:ss/rotom-mow:
This mon can be very hard to deal with, especially Nasty Plot sets. Guzzlord and Copperajah are able to tank hits from it surprisingly well, but its ability to Volt Switch on the switch and let in breakers such as Mienshao allows Rotom-Mow to set up very hard to deal with VoltTurn cores. Ice Beam on Gastrodon must be used effectively to pressure Rotom-Mow, and this Pokemon must be kept in mind on preview to try and set up an adequate winpath with Cresselia.

:ss/salazzle:
Although Nasty Plot is pretty much beaten by Gastrodon and Guzzlord (to an extent), SubTox Salazzle is very difficult for this team. Most of the time, you must take advantage of Talonflame's speed and Gastrodon's typing to try and force it out, and then try to get a Heal Bell off safely so that you can stall it out.

:ss/copperajah: :ss/golurk:
These I group together, as both AV Copperajah and Golurk are nearly unwallable threats that require very specific answers. Guzzlord can still switch into both of them fine, but care must be exhibited so that they don't chip it too low. Talonflame is normally an answer to Jah, but Stone Edge hits it for an OHKO. The key to these matchups is designating a Pokemon to beating them on preview, and saving the most important Pokemon for later. Also, Cresselia is able to outspeed both of these Pokemon, so it can win games if these Pokemon are chipped even if they are still threatening.


Shoutouts

I'd just like to quickly shout out TonyFlygon and the Rattlers for giving me a chance to support their NU core in teambuilding, and especially bugzinator for introducing me into these competitive circles, supporting me in trying to improve, and overall being a great friend. I'd also like to thank the Pablodors for picking me up for NU Snake Draft, letting me build for them, and still giving me a chance to come back and prove my ability in Playoffs even after going 1-5 in the regular season. I'd like to shout out Confide for helping me with this team and for helping me out in general, and Chloe for making my time on this site a lot better.
 

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