Resource USM CAP Good Cores

Jordy

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A strong core is one of the single most valuable things to form when creating a new team. Cores are typically made up of a group of Pokémon that, when used together, work excellently toward accomplishing a specific goal, and any good player uses them, intentionally or not. The majority of cores have varying characteristics that allow them to triumph in different areas, and depending on your team, cores can be built to succeed offensively or defensively. An offensive core is a group of Pokémon that are both focused towards and designed to enable the team to break through most other team styles while being balanced for general play. A defensive core is a group of Pokémon chosen to give a team a solid set of resistances and the ability to switch into many of the common and threatening attacks in the metagame, allowing it to stick around long enough to win the match. Overall, cores function as a fantastic base or starting point for a wide range of teams and they are commonly used while teambuilding to achieve a specific goal.


Posting Guidelines
  • Any person can post a core in this thread. The cores are broken down into four categories: offensive cores, balanced cores, defensive cores, and weather cores. When posting your core, please make sure to state which one of these categories your core falls under.
  • Although the way your core works may be obvious to you, this may not be the case for others. As such, when posting a core, please make sure to explain how the core operates and any other details you think are important to include. The explanations don't have to be essays; as long as your post has some substance and conveys the main idea behind the core, it's all good. Here are some things you may like to include when explaining your core:
    • Offensive Core: Should your core be an offensive one, such as Kyurem-B + Tapu Koko, you could explain how those two Pokemon work together to break down their similar checks and any other synergistic traits. You could also mention any weaknesses the core has and any partners you believe work well with the core.
      • Here is a good example of what we look for taken from the ORAS OU iteration.
    • Defensive Core: Should your core be defensive, such as Landorus-T + Ferrothorn, you could explain their typing synergy allows them to cover problematic Pokemon for one another, or any other synergistic attributes you feel are relevant. You could also mention any weaknesses the core has and any partners you believe work well with the core.
      • Here is a good example of what we look for taken from the ORAS OU iteration.
  • This goes without saying, but do make sure your post includes the sets your core is using. In addition, please try to include an explanation of any EV spreads deviating from the standard 252 / 252. Replays are also very helpful and highly encouraged when posting cores.
  • Please do not post a core that has more than 3 Pokemon because cores bigger than this can restrict building immensely.
  • Please be respectful of the cores people post in this thread. If someone posts a core that you think is ineffective or just plain bad, there is no need to jump at their throats. With that said, constructive criticism is welcome and encouraged - simply be nice!

Core Selection Process
  • This thread is being run by Jordy. I will carefully monitor the cores posted in this thread.
  • While the selection of good cores can often be subjective, we will take into consideration a variety of aspects before deciding which cores are featured in the archive. This includes quality of explanation, effectiveness of the core in the current metagame, and so on. We will carefully discuss everything and seek feedback from others to ensure the selected cores are of high quality.
  • When we decide which cores will be featured in the archive, we will try to announce them and provide brief explanations behind why certain cores were selected and why certain cores weren't. This feedback can potentially help give people a clearer picture of what we are looking for.
  • If a core is originally rejected from the archive, we can definitely provide some tips on how a set or spread can be tweaked so the core meets the standards we look for.
  • Just like with anyone else who posts a core, please feel free to bring up any concerns you might have with our posts and/or the cores we select! However, please be sure to be polite, and if it is a simple question/concern, we'd prefer it being directed to us in a PM.
So, let's commence the Cores. (WORK IN PROGRESS)





Note: I am well aware that there aren't many cores on this thread as of right now, this is to give incentive for people to post cores here.
 
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Gliscor + Ferrothorn
https://pokepast.es/c9dbac61184d2495

Basically Gliscor + Ferrothorn is a defensive core operating on offering a lot of utility, while checking many threats in the metagame together. Gliscor in general annoys a lot of defensive walls in the CAP metagame who don’t have SE coverage to hit it, like Pyroak, Arghonaut (if not carrying Ice Punch), Clefable, Toxapex (Scald does nothing), and I’m pretty sure the list goes on. What I find nice about this mon is that it can serve as a defensive wall while also stopping other defensive walls from trying to take advantage of it, not a trait you find everywhere. Taunt is there for that reason, and although not it’s main purpose, it can also force offensive checks/counters to Gliscor to use an attacking move if it’s hit with Taunt on the switch: examples being Greninja cannot Spikes, Mega Latios cannot Recover, and Tornadus-Therian cannot Defog. It also outspeeds Necturna and Taunts it before it can Shell Smash. Ferrothorn is a great partner to Gliscor because it can beat most water type answers to Gliscor & mons that carry coverage moves for it, like Mega Latios, most Greninja and Ash-Greninja, and Krilowatt. What Gliscor does in return is beat Heatran with ease, which Ferrothorn is completely vulnerable to. Gliscor can also take weak fire attacks from the likes of Celesteela, AV Magearna, and Pyroak, and either neutralize or be used a pivot against these mons. In addition, Ferrothorn’s Leech Seed can help Gliscor heal up even more on top of Poison Heal and if Gliscor opts to run Defog over Knock Off, the core basically checked off hazard control right off the bat, freeing up other slots on the team for more offensive mons. The Gliscor spread is taken off Smogon in the “Defogger set”, because it beats Heatran and HP Ice LandoT, but honestly the movepool for Gliscor is extremely customizable, so you could toy with the spreads and moves. As for Ferrothorn’s spread, it is from the CAP C&C analysis, which allows it to never be OHKOed by +3 Syclant’s Tectonic Rage, making Adamant LandoT’s Earthquake a 3HKO, and never being 2HKOed by Ash-Gren after rocks and lefties.
Good partners for this core would be a Volkraken counter/check, like Mega Latios/Pajantom/Krilowatt for the more offensive side since this core could use some offensive pressure, OR mons like Arghonaut/Gastrodon/Toxapex if one wants to continue the defensive route. The latter list in particular also relieves pressure off Ferrothorn to beat Ash-Greninja, something that could wreck havoc if given too many switchins. Answers to offensive Torn-T and Tomohawk also would be helpful, and can be provided by electric types like Zapdos, Tapu Koko, and aforementioned Krilowatt.​
 

Jordy

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Magearna + Pajantom

This is a core I recently came up with, and it's very effective. This core revolves around the fact that Pajantom can easily force in and trap Jumbao and Clefable, which will often allow Magearna to set up for free. Pajantom's also a decent check to Heatran, Toxapex, and can force damage on Celesteela, the 3 biggest issues Magearna has in the current metagame. In general, this core does very well at breaking defensive teams.


Magearna + Mega Alakazam

Magearna + Mega Alakazam is an amazing core, because Magearna will always force in checks like Toxapex and Heatran, which Mega Alakazam easily takes advantage of, allowing it to go in on the opposing team. Mega Alakazam also forces damage on Steel-types like Celesteela, making Magearna's job to break through easier.


Volkraken + Weavile

This is a very simple offensive core; Volkraken forces in Pokemon like Mega Lati@s, which it will U-turn on, giving Weavile a free turn to Pursuit trap them, allowing Volkraken to easily clean up.


Mega Sableye + Chansey

This is the face of stall.
 

Funbot28

Ayy panini, don't you be a meanie
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Mega Crucibelle + Tornadus-T

An offensive Regen core (pre-Mega of course) that can apply a lot of pressure to opposing balance teams due to the breaking powers of both Crucibelle and Tornadus-T can apply while still sustaining itself via Regen and Magic Guard. Mega Crucibelle can help Torn deal with checks such as Zapdos, Tapu Koko, and Heatran while Tornadus-T can check most Ground-types while still applying pressure to common Head Smash switchins such as Argonaut, Ferrothorn, and Zygarde. Mega Crucibelle can setup rocks to break through Torn's checks while Torn can potentially Defog them away to help vanilla Crucibelle come in more safely.
 
Hey, guys! Here are a few cores with the starters that have been proving to be extremely effective at the moment. Hope you guys try them out!


The CAP25 are finally live in PS and a bunch of sets have been running around for Caribolt, Smokomodo and Snaelstrom (my personal favourite). I decided to pick the Swords Dance set and create a team around it. While building, this core came into my mind naturally and I wanted to showcase it.



Snaelstrom @ Toxic Orb
Ability: Poison Heal
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 248 HP / 72 Def / 188 SpD
Impish Nature
- Spiky Shield
- Leech Life
- Aqua Jet
- Swords Dance

The given EV spread allows Snaelstrom to act as a great secondary check to potent special attackers such as Choice Scarf Jumbao, Alakazam-mega and Greninja-Ash prior to Battle Bond, while also mantaining it's ability to check physical attackers like Colossoil, Landorus-Therian and Zygarde very effectively as well.
Spiky Shield allows Snaelstrom to scout movesets and Z-moves as well as get passive recovery from Poison Heal. It also synergizes beautifully with the Kitsunoh's moveset (more on that later).
Leech Life is the main STAB for Snaelstrom. This move allows it to hit the whole metagame for good neutral damage while getting good recovery from attacks like Alakazam-mega's Psychic and Tapu Lele's Psyshock or Pajantom's Spirit Shackle. Facade isn't needed, in my opinion, because Leech Life provides a neutral STAB that hit the majority of the metagame for good damage (except the rare Plasmanta and Mollux).
Aqua Jet is good for priority, picking up KOs on weakened foes such as Crucibelle-mega and Landorus-Therian after a boost. Note that Snaelstrom has low attacking power even after a boost, so you'll need to weaken the opponent's team first. This is specially effective in conjunction with hazard setters such as Pajantom and Ferrothorn.
Swords Dance allows Snaelstrom's mediocre Attack get decent levels and pick up KOs on foes with it's STAB Leech Life (that also provides recovery for the attacks it'll tank before attacking).




Kitsunoh @ Leftovers / Colbur Berry
Ability: Frisk
EVs: 248 HP / 228 Def / 32 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Shadow Strike
- Wish
- Protect
- Will-O-Wisp

The next member of the core is defensive Kitsunoh. It's a very underrated threat in the metagame, capable of checking potent wallbreakers such as Crucibelle-mega and Medicham-mega as well as setup sweepers like Hawlucha with ease. It can also work as a secondary Psychic-type check, although you have to be careful not to wear it down too much and make sure you have another Psychic check. The given EV spread allows it to hit as much Defense as possible while outspeeding max Speed, Adamant Zygarde - potentially burning it for teammates to better check it.
Oh, I almost forgot. It also spin blocks and checks Tomohawk and some Tornadus-Therian variants, too!

Some calculations.

Shadow Strike is Kitsunoh's main form of STAB. It provides a potent option to break through pokémon like Hawlucha after the terrain seed boost thanks to its 50% chance to drop the defense of the opponent. It is also helpful to lower the defense of opposing walls for teammates.
Wish + Protect provides reliable recovery as well as potential for scouting movesets and Z-moves.
Will-o-Wisp cripples physical attackers like Crucibelle-mega, Hawlucha and Zygarde, helping Kitsunoh check them or weaken them for teammates.
Thanks to Kitsunoh's extremely diverse movepool, you can customize the set to help your team as much as possible. Options like Defog, U-Turn, Knock Off, Toxic and Earthquake are all welcome - it all depends on the needs of your team.





Latias @ Latiasite
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Ice Beam
- Roost
- Defog
- Earthquake

The last member of the core is Latias-mega. Thanks to the introduction of Caribolt and Smokomodo and these pokémon being extremely popular right now, Latias-mega can truly shiny. It's an amazing check to Fire-type pokémon such as Volkraken as well as Water-type attackers like Krillowatt.
This set is a bit unorthodox, but I'll get to the details soon.
The given EV spread allows Latias to outspeed as many pokémon as possible while maximizing her bulk. She is an excelent check to the likes of Volkraken, Smokomodo and Mollux (although uncommon, it can be troublesome for this core).

Ice Beam is here for a good neutral hit against Ground-, Grass- and Flying-types such as Colossoil, Jumbao and Tornadus-Therian on the switch. It is also fantastic against the likes of Landorus-Therian and Zygarde.
Roost provides reliable recovery, allowing Latias-mega to take hits repeatedly, while Defog supports Snaelstrom getting rid of hazards against the likes of Heatran.
Earthquake is unorthodox, but helps this core a lot, dealing crucial damage to the likes of Mollux (which this core can't really deal with well) and Heatran. I originally had Surf, but Earthquake has proven to be more effective overall.


Threats to the core:

Guts Colossoil - when teambuilding, you have to be careful about this pokémon. It's potent STAB Knock Off and coverage in Facade can obliterate unprepared bulkier teams, and this core is no exception - although Snaelstrom can decently check it.

Greninja-Ash - Snaelstrom is a good check prior Battle Bond, but if you let this core get too weakened, Greninja will thrive against it.

Strong Psychic-types - as I said before, this core only has secondary Psychic checks. You'll generally need a strong Steel-type to deal with the likes of Tapu Lele or Alakazam.

Bulky Steel-types - mainly Celesteela, you'll need to chip away at it with burns and Knock Off or add a great Steel-type counter.

Naviathan - well, it's a potent wallbreaker after all.

Fire-type coverage Aurumoth - although Aurumoth usually can't really touch this Kitsunoh, sets with Fire-type coverage can be a pain to this core. Be careful.

Here's a replay showing off the core in action: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7cap-828647758
Replay showing off Kitsunoh's role a bit more! http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7cap-828720381
Replay showing off Kitsunoh's defensive capabilities and Snaelstrom's pressure capabilities http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7cap-828896070

smokomodo.png
weavile.png


Probably one of the most popular cores with the CAP25 starters, the synergy between those two pokémon is undeniable. Weavile Pursuit traps pokémon such as Lati@s-mega, weaken walls with it's STAB Knock Off, hits Flying-types for super-effective damage etc. Smokomodo will then break the remainings of the opponent's team with it's devastating dual STAB. Here are the two variantions of the core I found to be most succesful.

Smokomodo @ Normalium Z
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Celebrate
- Earthquake
- Flare Blitz
- Gunk Shot

Weavile @ Choice Band
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Knock Off
- Pursuit
- Ice Shard
- Icicle Crash
Smokomodo @ Shuca Berry
Ability: Technician
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock / Defog / Taunt
- Bone Rush
- Flame Wheel
- Hidden Power [Ice] /Morning Sun

Weavile @ Choice Band
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Knock Off
- Pursuit
- Ice Shard
- Icicle Crash

tapu koko.png
hawlucha.png
caribolt.PNG


Tapu Koko @ Light Clay
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Light Screen
- U-turn
- Taunt
- Reflect

Hawlucha @ Electric Seed
Ability: Unburden
EVs: 96 HP / 252 Atk / 36 SpD / 124 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Acrobatics
- Substitute / Roost
- High Jump Kick
- Swords Dance

Caribolt @ Magnet
Ability: Galvanize
Happiness: 0
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Frustration
- Quick Attack
- Power Whip
- Swords Dance

Commonly seen in hyper offensive builds right now, this core has great synergy. Tapu Koko setups screens for Hawlucha and Caribolt thrive, one weakening the other's checks. A very solid core at the moment.
 
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Mega Heracross+Snaelstrom+Tapu Bulu

Snaelstrom is a potent sticky webber that finds reliable recovery in poison heal and leech life. Bullet Seed M-Cross runs the same set I am running on my OU Sticky Web team, which had Araquanid as a webber, but Snaelstrom is way better due to it's immunity to stupid status. Tapu Bulu can set up terrain to makes +2 Bullet Seed from Mega-Cross destroy a lot of things, also giving other pokémon like Snaelstrom extra longevity. Poison and Flying checks really work with this core. Using this with my bulky Tomohawk, which kicks as stops sweepers with Prankster Haze.
 

Frostbiyt

Not Exactly Helping
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Mega Heracross+Snaelstrom+Tapu Bulu

Snaelstrom is a potent sticky webber that finds reliable recovery in poison heal and leech life. Bullet Seed M-Cross runs the same set I am running on my OU Sticky Web team, which had Araquanid as a webber, but Snaelstrom is way better due to it's immunity to stupid status. Tapu Bulu can set up terrain to makes +2 Bullet Seed from Mega-Cross destroy a lot of things, also giving other pokémon like Snaelstrom extra longevity. Poison and Flying checks really work with this core. Using this with my bulky Tomohawk, which kicks as stops sweepers with Prankster Haze.
There are a few issues with this core.

This first is that this core has no answer to the best defogger in the format, Tornadus T, and also struggles against some of the other hazard removers available like Tomohawk, Zapdos, Pelipper, and Moltres(noticing a trend yet?). It is absolutely vital for a Sticky Web team to be able to deal with hazard removers. This core should prioritize an answer to removal over Sticky Web abusers

The second issue is that it has no way to deal with Flying types. Flying types pose a challenge for Webs teams due to the fact that they ignore the effects of Sticky Web. One way to somewhat address this would be by giving Snaelstrom ice beam to catch flyers on the switch, though this won't entirely solve the problem. You could also put Stone Edge on Bulu, again to catch incoming flyers.

Before I get to the last issue, I'll say that Mega Heracross and Tapu Bulu are pretty good choices for Webs abusers. But the EV spreads you used for both of them and the moves you chose for Bulu are not so great. Sticky webs don't set your opponent's speed to zero, you still need to outspeed them so you should really be running close to if not maximum speed on your Web abusers. Webs effectively give your whole team choice scarves, so what you should do is look at the CAP speed tier post and figure out where you want your Web abusers to be and EV accordingly. Also, bulk up and terrain extender are bad. If you want to run Bulu, I'd suggest either 3 attacks + Swords Dance or Choice Band.

Hope this helps
 
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Jordy

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Smokomodo + Weavile

Weavile has a good match up against the main checks to Smokomodo in Mega Latios, Mega Latias, and Tornadus-T. Once these are removed, Smokomodo will have a much easier time breaking through the opposing team.


Mega Crucibelle + Tapu Lele

Mega Crucibelle and Tapu Lele form a very potent offensive core in the current CAP metagame. With Zygarde leaving, a lot of people have resorted to checking Mega Crucibelle with Steel-types. These Steel-types are very easy to bait in with Mega Crucibelle and to punish with Tapu Lele, which will make it very easy for Mega Crucibelle to clean up late-game.


Arghonaut + Tangrowth

This core is very simple. Tangrowth can check Electric- and Fairy-types for Arghonaut, which it generally tends to struggle against. In return, Arghonaut handles Volkraken and Heatran.


Victini + Jumbao

Choice Band Victini + Jumbao is a very fun core. Jumbao provides Sun support for Victini, making it nearly impossible to switch into Choice Band-boosted V-create.
 

Beedrill-Mega + Tapu Lele

These two sets can each do a lot of damage, but by themselves easily lose momentum against certain counters. Mega Beedrill's U-turn is boosted in two ways with Lele, dealing with each of those counters.
1. It can flee from defensive fighting-types to set up a threatened KO (typically through Psychic) next turn. (fighting's weakness against fairy means it's dangerous to bring in dark-types)
2. It can gain guaranteed momentum against dark or psychic-types. Psychic Terrain protects Beedrill's frailty from priority like Sucker Punch. Bringing those pieces off the board can turn a Lele switch-in into a guaranteed KO via psychic.
 

Jordy

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I've updated the OP to account for the most recent nerfs. I'll also post a few cores that I've been liking.


Mega Alakazam + Greninja

This is an interesting core that I have been running a lot recently. The main appeal to this core is Mega Alakazam and Greninja's ability to overwhelm defensive Steel-types together. To add onto that, they're both also incredibly fast, meaning that the core's match up against offense is still quite good, despite primarily focusing on their ability to break through shared checks.


Magearna + Greninja

Similarly to the core above, this core also focuses on the fact that they can wear down Steel-types quickly together.


Rotom-Wash + Tangrowth
This defensive core is very similar to Arghonaut + Tangrowth, but manages to handle Tornadus-T, and in general, is much less of a momentum sink for bulky offense teams.
 

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