panic on the brain
Hi everyone. In case you don't know me, my name is Jake and I've been playing VGC for a few years now. I've gotten pretty involved in the DOU community here on Smogon as well, so I'm hoping to contribute more. For the second year in a row, I am writing a report for the team I used to go 1-3 at Worlds Day 1. Exciting, I know. Last year I did it because, even though I realized after the event that the team had serious flaws, I personally loved the team and just wanted to talk about it. This time, however, I think the team is phenomenal and I just played so incredibly poorly. The same team went 6-1, 6-2, 5-3, and 5-3, so it's clearly capable of performing well. If you really don't care about a team unless it cut Day 2 then go ahead and click the x on the top right of the window I suppose, but I've never felt more confident in a team with which I performed so poorly. And with that, I present to you the newest archetype about to take the Pokeworld by storm: Sunny D!
The Beginning: A Very Good Place to Start
For the most part, if I use the word "we" in this section I'm referring to me and Tman, as we did most of the teambuilding work before sharing the team with a couple of our friends. The base of this team was a core of 4 Pokemon that both Tommy and I thought were incredibly good. I particularly liked the core because it had a pretty good matchup against the typical Big X teams, X being whatever their filler Pokemon is. I was quite comfortable bringing those 4 to every game against Big 6, so I was excited to build around it since the last two slots could be basically whatever I wanted. Side note: one thing you should know about me is that I always name my Pokemon after songs. So in addition to reading a super cool team report, you get 6 great song recommendations. Lucky you!
Playing God (Salamence) @ Salamencite
EVs: 20 HP / 108 Atk / 20 Def / 108 SpA / 252 Spe
- Hyper Voice
If God's the game that you're playing / Well we must get more acquainted
Playing God by Paramore
I feel like I don't really have anything to explain when it comes to Salamence, we all know it's the best mega in 2016 (sorry Kangaskhan). The original version of this team was somewhat weak to Weavile, so I put enough HP and Defense investment to always survive a -1 Icicle Crash. It might look like I just took the rest of the EVs and evenly split them in the attacking stats but that wasn't really intentional. I had 148 Attack originally and it just happened that I needed to take 40 of those EVs out for the defensive stuff. I didn't use Tailwind as much as I would on a Primals team because this team was slower by nature, but it was still a really nice option and I don't think anything else would have been any more beneficial.
Silence (Groudon) @ Red Orb
EVs: 236 HP / 176 Atk / 20 Def / 76 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
- Precipice Blades
- Fire Punch
- Swords Dance
And you're just killing me with silence / And you're just killing me with time
Silence by Mike Posner
Groudon is the most used Pokemon in the format for a reason: it's just that good. Since the plan with this team was to heavily utilize Trick Room, I went with minimum speed to have the best chance to attack first under TR. If this team had Icy Wind I would have considered a more creative speed stat, but I hate playing the speed tier guessing game when I'm facing other Groudon, so I just wanted to know that I would be slower than the majority. I used max speed Jolly for the same reason in the spring. The bulk on this Groudon allows it to always survive Earth Power from 252 Timid Groudon and a single target Precipice Blades from 252 Jolly Groudon. Swords Dance was an amazing tool on this team. If you can get into a position where you have Trick Room and Gravity up and the Bronzong still alive, you basically have a free turn to click Hypnosis and Swords Dance before OHKOing everything on your opponent's team.
Coffins (Bronzong) @ Chesto Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 188 Def / 68 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
- Gyro Ball
- Trick Room
How do you soften the thought of carrying coffins / We were so alive only to see us wither and die
Coffins by MisterWives
Speaking of Gravity, here's the culprit. Bronzong is so incredibly good in this format, if only because it can reliably set Trick Room against at least 4 members of Big X. We went with Heatproof because using Levitate with Gravity is kinda silly, and Heatproof guarantees you can take anything from Groudon at full health unless they have Overheat, and even then it's a damage roll. The EVs let Bronzong survive a Precipice Blades from Adamant/Brave Groudon 15/16 times with a dump in Special Defense. The set is pretty self explanatory, each move is necessary to the functionality of the team. It was originally holding a Lum Berry, but something we added later appreciated Lum more. We replaced it with a Chesto Berry so it could still take a Dark Void.
Ode to Sleep (Smeargle) @ Focus Sash
EVs: 252 HP / 212 Def / 44 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 8 Spe
- Dark Void
- Wide Guard
- Crafty Shield
- Spiky Shield
I'll stay awake / 'Cause the dark's not taking prisoners tonight
Ode to Sleep by twenty one pilots
Man my segues are on point today. Speaking of Dark Void, this is the little artistic beagle that we've all come to know
I see the Sunny, but where's the D?
Well, dear reader, I'm glad you asked. In testing this core, I used a number of different restricted Pokemon to compliment both Groudon and the entire core. The first iteration was just our Nationals team (Kangaskhan, Groudon, Bronzong, Smeargle, Xerneas, Weavile) with Salamence over Kangaskhan. I liked this team for the alternate fast Xerneas mode, but for some reason I haven't played too well with Xerneas since farming a couple super early format PC's with vanilla big 6 teams. I also figured there would be a lot of Xerneas hate at Worlds, so trying to force myself to learn Xerneas a bit more didn't seem like the most efficient option. The next pair I tried was Yveltal + Zapdos, which I liked a lot more. I was originally using Assault Vest Foul Play Yveltal with Swagger Zapdos, but Foul Play meshes weird with Salamence's Intimidate so I dropped Foul Play and Swagger for Dark Pulse and Light Screen for more consistency. Yveltal + Zapdos was very good against Ray Ogre teams and Yveltal itself obviously helped against Double Primals, but these two made the team irreconcilably weak to Weavile. I didn't think I would see too much Weavile at Worlds, but enough people were using it on the Showdown ladder to get me concerned and I didn't really want to risk a near autoloss at such an important tournament. Finally, Tommy suggested Dialga. At first I was pretty sceptical, but after listening to him talk about it and watching him play a few games with it, I thought it was a really good idea.
400 Lux (Dialga) @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 60 Def / 204 SpA
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Dragon Pulse
- Trick Room
We're never done with killing time / Can I kill it with you / 'Til the veins run red and blue
400 Lux by Lorde
Think about it for a second. What are the 3 things that Groudon dislikes facing the most? Salamence, Rayquaza, and Kyogre are the 3 things that have the potential to give Groudon a very hard time, and Dialga poops on them all. With the exception of the now-rare Draco Meteor set, Salamence can't deal with Dialga at all, so Dialga is able to either take a free KO, focus the partner, or set up Trick Room, whichever is most beneficial in the current state of the game. You have a 75% chance to OHKO 4 HP Mega Rayquaza, but enough of them are Focus Sash or Assault Vest that the 25% chance to miss the KO is mostly irrelevant. If they aren't sash or AV then they're probably Life Orb and will knock themselves out after one attack. Thunder is kinda weird, but it's the only way to consistently beat Kyogre. Thunder will 2HKO 252/4 Kyogre 75% of the time, and will almost always knock 252/172 Kyogre into Precipice Blades range. Dialga's neutral damage with Dragon Pulse is also pretty impressive. Most specially defensive Groudon will take around 45-50%, and it has a 90.6% chance to 2HKO 4 HP Mega Kangaskhan. The theory behind Thunder Dialga is that it singlehandedly makes the Ray Ogre matchup all but free and is a great bring vs Double Primal, which is usually accompanied by Salamence. One thought I had was to use Flash Cannon since it gives Dialga a way to hit Xerneas and the Fairy type redirectors that are sometimes present on Ray Ogre teams, but Thunder was so useful for the Kyogre matchup that I was fine sacrificing some of the other coverage. Besides, you have a 21% chance to paralyze Xerneas if you click Thunder so it basically makes Dialga a Xerneas counter. Dialga isn't really a Pokemon you should be bringing vs Xerneas anyway, so not having a way to damage it consistently is not a big deal. The 0 Speed IV with a neutral nature his a Speed stat of 95, which outspeeds Mega Salamence in Tailwind. The Defense investment allows Dialga to always survive a Precipice Blades from Adamant/Brave Groudon with 228 or less Attack EVs, and Groudon with any more investment only have a 1/16 chance to OHKO. With the Sitrus Berry, you also survive 2 Precipice Blades from -1 Groudon no less than 70% of the time, more frequently if they are less than max Attack. Mega Kangaskhan Low Kick will never OHKO with Sitrus Berry as well. While these calcs are cool, Sitrus Berry was most useful for tanking neutral hits and generally increasing Dialga's longevity. I get that it looks really weird on paper, but Dialga covers a lot of Groudon's poor matchups and I think that makes it more than worth using. Especially considering how popular Ray Ogre was at Worlds, I'd say that Dialga was a good call. I rarely brought Dialga against Big X in practice since Bronzong does that job much better. However, I really didn't have a problem with that as, like I mentioned earlier, the core 4 was specifically built with the Big X matchup in mind. The idea that you should be bringing both of your restricted Pokemon to every game is flawed anyway, so once you can get past that I think Sunny D is a perfectly viable restricted pair.
Mr.KnowItAll (Scrafty) @ Lum Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 116 Def / 132 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 15 Spe
- Fake Out
- Low Kick
- Knock Off
- Super Fang
It's such a tragedy / When people hardly speak / Try to live up to the person you pretend to be / You're Mr. Know-It-All
Mr. Know-It-All by Young the Giant
This last slot was the trickiest. We weren't really sure what we needed from this slot, so we wanted something that would be universally useful. The worst matchup for the 5 Pokemon so far was looking like Yveltal, and opposing Groudon could sometimes be annoying if they could prevent the Gravity Hypnosis mode. When I was talking to lexicon about Worlds he mentioned that he was testing what was basically our first 5 Pokemon with Scrafty. I mentioned the idea to Tommy and we both liked it, so I shared the details of our squad with Alex and he joined the cult. Scrafty is a Pokemon that I've generally seen as very mediocre in this format, but it filled a couple of niche roles on this team that made it valuable enough to use in my eyes. The extra Intimidate was very helpful in dealing with opposing Groudon, especially the purely physical variants. Fake Out is always a valuable move, especially on a team like ours with the potential to fire off Dark Void or set up Swords Dance or Trick Room. Scrafty helped with Bronzong mirrors, as the only other way we had to deal relevant damage to Bronzong was our Groudon. However, Super Fang was easily the best reason to use Scrafty. Scrafty was slower than both Groudon and Dialga, so if Trick Room went up it was very easy to chip a couple Pokemon for half their health and let either of the big hitters finish them off. When everything is so bulky it's sometimes hard to do consistent damage with your non restricted and non mega Pokemon, but Super Fang alleviated that issue. Having another Pokemon that could threaten slow Smeargle in Trick Room was pretty useful too, as Bronzong was previously the only thing that undersped it. We put Lum Berry on Scrafty since non-sleep statuses like Burn affected it a little more than Bronzong. With this EV spread, Scrafty always survives a full power Water Spout from Modest Kyogre and a -1 Double-Edge from Salamence with 148 or less EVs in Attack. I haven't seen any Salamence go any higher than that in Attack investment so I was fine with that limitation. Opposing Groudon have to be max Attack to even have a chance to 2HKO with -1 Fire Punch, and even then they would need to max rolls. A lot of Groudon struggle to even 3HKO Scrafty with Precipice Blades at -1 Attack as well, which made Scrafty a pretty safe switch into physical Groudon. The Speed IV allows Scrafty to underspeed min speed Smeargle. GreySong actually used Clefairy in this slot as he was given the team at an earlier stage of testing and we didn't know he was using it at Worlds until the morning of, but the rest of us had the cute little hoodlum.
Alright, but why should I listen to you? You went 1-3!
Yeah yeah, I had a bad day and played like I had never touched a 3DS before. Really can't talk my way around that. However, I like to think that I'm at least good enough to recognize a team that has the potential to be top tier, and I truly believe this team was worth using. Last year at Worlds I could think of a couple changes I would have made to the team if I could repeat the tournament, but I loved each and every part of this team and would easily use it again if I had the chance to redo Worlds. Two people made Day 2 using the team, and two more were one game away but got a bit unlucky in round 8. I'm not meaning to sound desperate for you to agree with my opinion or anything, but I guess I feel the need to justify the team after I couldn't do any better than a 25% win rate at the most important tournament of the year. If you've ever looked past a poor result to dissect a team, let it be now. I'm definitely interested in hearing your thoughts about the team, so feel free to comment and/or tweet at me and tell me any combination of "wow I love it you're so creative" and "lol you suck shut up." This is probably the most cynical post I've ever written, hopefully you appreciated my stupid humor.
Quick shoutouts to everyone who used the team at Worlds (Tman, lexicon, BlitznBurst, ProfShroomish, GreySong, Mihrab), I really love having people to talk matchups and plot gameplans with at tournaments. I'm glad you all believed in our little creation as much as I did. They might do their own reports and include a rundown of their matches over the weekend, so be on the lookout for those.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter at @MajorBowman_!