SM UU wings of snow, winds of time

Pearl

if we could weave rainbows
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Community Leader Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a defending SPL Championis the 7th Grand Slam Winner
UU Leader



❅ INTRODUCTION
I've been promising a RMT for more or less two years now, and with generation 7 having finally come to an end, it would just feel wrong if I did not bid farewell to it in any capacity, especially because Sword and Shield just don't look appealing at all to me, and I don't have any intention to keep competing in current generations for a while (and with that, people are finally free to call me crust without any hint of hesitation). There is a fair amount of teams I would've liked to showcase if I had the chance, but ultimately, this is the one I found most fitting for the occasion due to a multitude of reasons:
  • Among the teams of mine I like the most, this one is arguably the most influential of the bunch, having solidified its place as the go-to stall team in tournament play alongside Christo's Magneton + Mega Altaria stall and pif's Mega Altaria + Nihilego stall;
  • It is an extremely resilient team in the grand scope of things, having gone mostly unchanged even though it has been roughly one year since its creation;
  • It is a team that, besides capturing one of the biggest components of the UU metagame for the past year, also showcases one side of me as a player that not many people were aware of prior to this squad's creation, as I tend to play around with pretty much every playstyle without any obvious preference;
  • Posting this gives me a really good excuse to shout out my good friend TDK for all his contributions towards many of my squads, as he is essentially the team's co-creator (and has been feeding me EV spreads for basically a whole year and a half now).
This team was created around the time UU championship playoffs started last year, and I was looking to build a new stall team that I was comfortable with in case I felt like pulling that off against any of my opponents. It was originally going to get used in my set vs Adaam, but in an unexpected twist, he ended up picking ORAS as his tier against me in that, so I held it off until my games against Gondra, in which I used this team twice and finessed two wins with it. Around the same time I was at the lab thinking about the best way to make stall work in the UU metagame, TDK was also doing the same thing coincidentally, and we ended with what was basically the same team, except he was using Calm Mind + Electrium Z Latias instead of Mega Aerodactyl in the last slot, meaning that most of the decisions regarding EVs and sets on the Pokemon were mostly a joint effort (at least for the less intuitive parts of the team). I don't think the Latias version was ever used outside of ladder play, but this is how it fared in there, and I also had a ladder alt in which I only used this stall team to great success, though bragging about ladder results with stall has led to some unholy arguments in the past, so I'll refrain from extending myself any further in that regard. From there, I used this team extremely often in many tournament games, from SPL to UUPL, and while I mostly used pif's team during my UU Open run this year, TDK managed to make it to Round 6 of that same tournament with a decent amount of games on this particular stall team.

When it comes to the teambuilding process, there is not that much to speak of considering how linear most of the picks are, with only Articuno and Mega Aerodactyl being "new" as far as current stall builds go, and Aerodactyl itself has a long history of cameos on stall teams since XY UU. Blissey, Alomomola and Quagsire are the stall staples, providing it with much needed protection against specially oriented attackers, most set up sweepers and a ton of physically offensive Pokemon, as well as one of Heal Bell or Stealth Rock (Blissey) and longevity through Wish support. From there, Gligar does a much needed job of covering a myriad of hard hitters, mostly Fighting-types, that can pose an issue to the team's backbone otherwise, while also providing the squad with reliable hazard removal against most conventional hazard setters. For the last two Pokemon, I was looking at two things in particular: the ability to handle conventional stall breakers and a win condition. While stall can traditionally operate through squeezing the opponent out of resources alone, I personally have a hard time piloting teams that can not go on the offensive in any capacity. This sounds like a weird thing to read in context, but the truth is that an aggressively played stall team is one of the most ferocious match ups one can meet in a game of Pokemon, as it minimizes the chance a person gets to play to their few outs and attempting to fish for a critical hit, a status condition or anything of sorts, while capitalizing on the fact that, for whatever reason, there are a lot of people who expect the stall player to make little to no reads, which in my opinion, is only a valid way of playing Pokemon when the match up at hand is a true 100-0, which seldom happens in the game we play considering all kinds of bullshit that can infiltrate a competitive match. With that said, Articuno contributes to the team's functioning by letting Blissey run Stealth Rock and by being one of the few true answers to Stealth Rock users such as Empoleon, that would be able to get them up and spread Toxic freely otherwise. At the time of this team's creation, Articuno was also one of the most reliable answers to Stealth Rock Kommo-o (and the fact that it's so unreliable at doing so speaks volumes about how strong that Pokemon was), and even after its departure, there are still no Pokemon that could possibly replace the ice bird as far as all of its other roles within the squad's chemistry go. Mega Aerodactyl was the last Pokemon added to the team, and its presence automatically changes the squad's whole MO, since it introduces a couple of options that stall would not have otherwise, namely the ability to cover threats offensively by outpacing and threatening to actually KO them in one round, as well as giving this team the ability to strategically sacrifice some of its less needed pieces in order to secure kills on fleeing weakened targets with Pursuit, which this team resorts to a decent amount in its least good match ups.

During the last summer, many people brought up how absurdly good stall was in the UU metagame, and that action was required to prevent it from dominating as hard as it was. Even though I never expressed my thoughts on this whole ordeal formally (I tried my best to articulate my thoughts through the UU Discord, but I admit I probably should have gone beyond that), I believe now is a good time to talk a little bit about how this came to be, and how I feel about it. One of the arguments that was brought up at the time was that it was extremely easy to rack up wins with this play style in a ladder environment. This is factual, but analyzing this statement with a sole metagame in mind is extremely reductive, since stall as a play style is just superior at a base level for ladder play for a multitude of reasons: for starters, it has the biggest amount of autopilot wins out of any team archetype one could possibly use, which means some games will simply be switching back and forth between Blissey and Alomomola as Stealth Rock and Toxic kill every single Pokemon as they're unable to put a dent onto anything, a luxury neither bulky offense nor balance have, while hyper offense forces its user to use their brain anytime a Scizor is on the opposing team, and that shit had like 40% usage by the end of the generation. On top of that, it is arguably the best play style at capitalizing on opposing mistakes, considering that any progress is fairly easy to mitigate as soon as the opponent loses momentum, between the squad's two Defog users, Alomomola's Regenerator and Wish support, meaning that whenever there's a respectable skill gap between two people in a given game of Pokemon, stall tends to further amplify that, which combined with the first point, on average, a competent person using stall is going to be winning more often than a competent person using any other play style, as the latter has a bigger chance of facing match ups that are tougher to overcome or simply getting screwed up by a multitude of factors which aren't entirely reliant on skill expression, regardless of the tier that is being talked about. With that said though, I do believe UU stall went through a period in which it was way better than stall has any business being in any tier, but the solutions available to handle this problem were either straight up bad (banning Blissey and killing a multitude of bulky offense and balance teams that rely on it, while also getting rid of one of the best answers to Pokemon that are a pain in the ass to handle overall, such as Primarina and Latias) or weren't guaranteed to fix the issue at all (banning Alomomola or even one of Quagsire or Pyukumuku), while the death of stall as a team archetype (or its nerfing rather) was not guaranteed to improve the metagame as a whole at all. Just imagine if Primarina and Terrakion teams were able to exist without having to worry about sacrificing this match up at all. On top of that, I can't help but feel that the point we reached was not just a consequence of stall's components being too good in a vacuum, but the metagame in its entirety being a tad too unkind towards threats that were in fact good at handling this kind of teams. What I'm trying to say with this is that it is extremely hard to build functional squads against the rest of the tier with Pokemon such as Lucario and Haxorus, while more reliable stall answers like Infernape, Heracross and Celebi can be a little too restrictive in the whole team building process (having a Fire-type that handles Scizor so poorly or even a Grass-type that isn't Amoonguss tends to reflect poorly in other match ups that aren't stall). Without further ado, here is the team that started it all:


❅ CLOSER LOOK


Aerodactyl-Mega @ Aerodactylite
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 120 HP / 120 Atk / 16 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake
- Pursuit
- Roost


Although Aerodactyl is a glorified offensive threat, my experience with it this generation (and even back in ORAS) has led me to the conclusion that it finds itself at home on all types of defensive frameworks for a plethora of reasons, with the most important one being the fact that the little defensive utility it has does not go to waste even when paired with resilient defensive backbones such as the one in this build, as it is still an extremely valuable answer to traditional stall breakers that pose a threat to this kind of teams, such as Nasty Plot Togekiss, Work Up + Refresh Mega Pidgeot and Substitute + Calm Mind Chandelure. Plus, and as I have already mentioned briefly in the introduction, this Pokemon's presence within a team automatically opens up a lot of opportunities to make things happen in a game, thanks to Pursuit's immense playmaking ability, as well as the power it brings to the table with the combination of Stone Edge and Earthquake, which play a big part in keeping threats such as Nasty Plot Lucario in check.

There are usually two different ways Aerodactyl tends to be used during games: it either gets sent out proactively throughout a match, attempting to punch holes into teams that are lacking defensive answers to it and chipping opposing threats with Pursuit in the meantime, or it stays in the back the whole time until there is a clear opportunity to Pursuit trap a weakened target. The latter usually happens when the opposing team has a threat which Aerodactyl is clearly needed for, and throwing its HP lousily can not be afforded at all, while the former tends to be the way to go when there is a need to salvage a particularly hard match up, as is the case against Nasty Plot Infernape or the aforementioned Lucario, which often require aggressive switch ins to be pulled off against them in order to avoid massive damage. A "kill or be killed" kind of game, so to speak.

Roost and a bulky EV spread let Aerodactyl stick around for longer in games where it has to switch in directly into opposing threats. However, there are other options it can opt for besides what is showcased here. The original version of this team had an even bulkier EV spread, where Speed was dropped in favor of HP and Attack investment, and a basic spread of 252 / 252 / 4 is also usable, albeit worse at shrugging off repeated hits from many Pokemon. As far as moves go, Earthquake can be neglected in favor of Wing Attack, improving the match ups against Virizion, Heracross and Regenerator cores with Amoonguss, though the ability to OHKO Lucario and damage other Steel-types is sorely missed. Personally, I've never used any other combination of moves on Mega Aerodactyl, and don't see a real need to for the most part.


Articuno @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 248 HP / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Defog
- Freeze-Dry
- Roost
- Heal Bell


Articuno is the team's most obscure pick, and also the Pokemon that inspired the RMT's name. It wasn't exactly unheard of at the time of this team's creation, as it had already seen usage in a Smogon Snake Draft II game, as well as a couple of minor tournament games prior to that. However, I'd like to believe that this was the team that put it on the radar once and for all as a legitimate piece of defensive builds, since is the only Pokemon capable of safely removing Stealth Rock against Empoleon in the whole tier, while also being able to combat other hazard setters like Necrozma, Swampert, Nidoqueen and Aurorus, which Gligar isn't equipped to handle adequately. On top of that, its ability to learn Heal Bell allows Blissey to drop Aromatherapy, allowing it to pack both Stealth Rock and Toxic, making the team's functioning a lot smoother in a wide array of potential match ups. Freeze-Dry is an obscenely overpowered move that is balanced by its rather poor distribution. I legitimately can't count the amount of times I've won games over Articuno securing freezes onto things it has no business beating otherwise, and hitting Water-type Pokemon for super effective damage makes handling some fringe threats like Metronome Primarina a lot more manageable.

However, what lets this Pokemon shine the brightest is its ability, Pressure, which needs no introduction whatsoever. Having a Defog user with more PP available to it than the Stealth Rock user completely reverses many match ups against resilient Stealth Rock setters like Blissey and Hippowdon, which would be able to exhaust Gligar out of Defog PP if that was the team's sole method of hazard control. Another important aspect of Articuno as a Pokemon is that it is a Heal Bell user that can single handily exhaust a given opponent out of Toxic PP, which is pivotal to the team's success in a number of match ups, including the aforementioned Empoleon, and it can also contribute towards exhausting specific opponents out of PP on their offensive moves, like Kyurem and Suicune. In games where the enemy's Stealth Rock setter is able to beat both of the squad's Defog users, the usual way to keep Articuno relevant is by supporting it with Alomomola's Wish, since many Pokemon that get used to respond to the latter have a hard time hitting the ice bird for 50% of its HP.

As far as customization options go, there aren't many other moves Articuno would be able to run safely, with Freeze-Dry being the best offensive option on it by far, while Defog, Heal Bell and Roost are all vital to the team's proper functioning. When it comes to EVs, TDK and I tend to disagree a decent amount regarding the Articuno spread, and he tends to prefer a much slower and bulky EV distribution, which I'm not going to disclose because I honestly can't even remember what it does in particular. Personally, I feel that having an Articuno that can outpace opposing Togekiss goes a long way in games where Aerodactyl is not guaranteed to be a safe switch into it, as both Fightinium Z and Thunder Wave variants can be a nuisance to cover adequately when Blissey is not a safe initial switch in by any means.



Quagsire @ Leftovers
Ability: Unaware
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
- Scald
- Toxic
- Recover
- Haze


Unaware is a necessary Ability to any stall team, and this one is no exception. Even though Pyukumuku has been on the come up ever since the squad was made, Quagsire is still my preferred user of this ability on this team because of its superior match up against physical attackers overall, as the urchin is better equipped to deal with threats like Nasty Plot Infernape, Nasty Plot Lucario and Togekiss, but it is a whole lot worse off against Terrakion, Taunt Talonflame and other Pokemon that can threaten this build with their powerful attacks. Besides that, Quagsire has the added benefit of actually being able to threaten opposing Pokemon directly with Scald, which Pyukumuku sorely lacks, as well as the ability to deter Manectric's Volt Switch alongisde Gligar, which is a particularly big deal in ladder play. The other big thing that is worth noting in Quagsire's role within the team is its access to Haze, making it pivotal when it comes to handling bulky set up sweepers such as Calm Mind Suicune, Calm Mind Reuniclus, Dragon Dance Mega Altaria and more, which is a role that Pyukumuku is a lot worse at executing reliably due to its reliance on Block and Spite to drain opposing Pokemon out of PP.

When dealing with teams that have multiple set up threats checked by Quagsire, as is usually the case with hyper offense, it is important to make sure that this Pokemon's HP is always near full, as the squad's counterplay to those kind of Pokemon can be a little lackluster beyond Unaware, especially when Scizor is in the equation, as Mega Aerodactyl is unable to revenge kill that in any way. Another important consideration that comes with using Quagsire is scouting for opposing Z-moves, as some Pokemon that are traditionally countered by it can potentially break it that way, with some notable examples being Fightinium Z Terrakion and Cobalion. In those cases, Alomomola and Gligar can be used to scout neutral hits, while mashing Recover and hoping for the best is usually the way to go if they have already secured a boost.

Quagsire's EV spread is as standard as can be, with no real alternative in my opinion. As for its moves, Earthquake can be used in favor of Toxic, since the extra power should come in handy against a number of threats, with the most notable ones being Lucario and Infernape variants that aren't carrying Grass Knot. Curse is an option instead of Haze as well, but its low PP in comparison with Haze coupled with its lack of utility against Calm Mind users make it inferior to what the current set of moves provides most of the time.


Gligar @ Eviolite
Ability: Immunity
EVs: 252 HP / 224 Def / 32 SpD
Impish Nature
- Defog
- Earthquake
- Knock Off
- Roost


Gligar is the second part of the team's hazard removal core, and it usually handles Stealth Rock setters that do strong physical damage Articuno cannot withstand, like Cobalion, Mega Aggron, Mega Steelix, Rhyperior and so on. It's also a solid blanket check to a lot of the tier's Fighting-type Pokemon, which this team would struggle against even more if it weren't for Gligar's gargantuan physical bulk. On top of that, it's also able to stay in relatively safely on weaker special threats, as is the case against Choice Scarf Hydreigon and Rotom-Heat, and it contributes a lot towards generating momentum throughout a match, being able to cripple pretty much everything that isn't carrying a Z-Crystal or a Mega Stone thanks to Knock Off.

Unlike in ORAS and vanilla SM, Gligar can now run Immunity in tandem with Defog, which is the main reason why it finds its place as the primary hazard remover for bulkier teams now. As far as its role in a given game goes, it's important to note that its reliance on Eviolite is a big downgrade compared to when Gliscor was around in the tier, and Knock Off users such as Krookodile are better dealt with by Alomomola most of the time. Besides that, there is not much to be talked about when it comes to using Gligar, as it essentially boils down to switching it directly into a hazard setter, mashing Defog and seeing how the opponent reacts: if they keep trying to get hazards up, chipping at their health bar with Earthquake and Knock Off while utilizing Articuno to drain their PP should work alright. On the other hand, if they're more patient with their Stealth Rock setter and switch it out immediately, it might be wiser to play a more controlled game, especially if their Defog switch in is a Pokemon with Pressure like Suicune or Kyurem and Articuno can not directly confront the entry hazards user.

Beyond Defog and Earthquake, Gligar's moveset is customizable, with niche options such as Wing Attack being perfectly usable in order to combat traditional stall answers like Virizion and Heracross. There are also utility moves like Toxic, Curse and Counter that don't really have a specific target in mind, but can contribute towards catching opponents off guard. Personally, I'd never drop Earthquake or Knock Off, as both attacks serve a very clear purpose at checking Pokemon that would be able to cause a lot of damage otherwise, as is the case with Infernape and special variants of Lucario. Speaking of those two, another potential EV spread for Gligar would be 252 HP / 156 Def / 104 SpD with an Impish nature, which lets Gligar retain most of its physical bulk, while being able to shrug off a Nasty Plot boosted Fire Blast from Infernape after Stealth Rock damage if I recall correctly.



Blissey @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 248 HP / 216 Def / 44 SpD
Bold Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Seismic Toss
- Toxic / Confide
- Soft-Boiled


As I've said previously, Blissey is a Pokemon that really needs no introduction, and its role within this team's functioning is intuitive: it's a hard stop to pretty much every single special attacker that is viable in the UU metagame, with the exception of some less common threats that can be checked through its teammates, as is the case with Subsitute + Calm Mind Chandelure for example. On top of that, the pink blob also doubles up as this stall squad's Stealth Rock setter, and it's an excellent one at that, since its ability to stick around for long periods of time coupled with Toxic allow it to beat a vast amount of Defog and Rapid Spin users in the long run, fitting the theme of having an impeccable hazard control game that Gligar and Articuno started out. Besides that, Blissey can also shrug off hits from weaker physical attackers, as well as Pursuit from the likes of Scizor, Krookodile and Mega Aerodactyl, which can be helpful in most games.

Regarding the chosen set, Blissey is the Pokemon on this team that has undergone the most relevant change out of any member of the team. Halfway through the team's existence, people started resorting to bulky Calm Mind users with the ability to bypass status moves thanks to Refresh, Rest and Magic Guard respectively in Latias, Necrozma and also Energy Ball Reuniclus. When this happened, TDK and I decided to change the Blissey's set to Confide, as it can combat those threats that way. However, the lack of Toxic means that Celebi's reputation of breaking this team is now a reality. It also worsens the match up against other Latias sets, among other miscellaneous Special Attack-boosting win conditions. Choosing between one move or the other depends entirely on what one is expecting from their opponent team wise, with Toxic being slightly better in most match ups, while Confide nullifies the aforementioned Calm Mind users.

Blissey's spread is geared towards the physically defensive side, as it's extremely rare for a special attacker to be able to break it regardless of where its EVs are allocated, and the ones that can do so do it regardless of how much Special Defense Blissey runs, with the exception of Choice Specs Primarina, which can potentially break Blissey with its Choice Specs and Torrent-boosted Hydro Pump, hence the 44 SpD EVs in the given spread. Besides the whole debate between Toxic and Confide, there aren't any other moves which would make sense on this team, even if Charmflash's Serene Grace propaganda tries to tell you otherwise.



Alomomola @ Leftovers
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 40 HP / 252 Def / 216 SpD
Impish Nature
- Wish
- Protect
- Knock Off
- Toxic


Last but not least, Alomomola rounds the team out by providing it with a blanket answer to strong hard hitters on the physical side, thanks to its access to Regenerator, eliminating the need to lose momentum by having to stay in to recover off any damage caused by the opponent. When paired with the team's solid hazard removal, Alomomola is able to switch into all kinds of hits, including some pivotal ones like Choice Band Scizor's U-turn, that would be impossible to shrug off otherwise, but it's also extremely useful in cases where a Pokemon has multiple viable sets with varying answers, with an example of this being Mega Altaria, that can run both physical and special sets to a satisfying degree. The other crucial function this Pokemon has is utilizing Wish in order to keep the rest of the team healthy, making it harder for its teammates to get in KO range of stronger threats such as Swords Dance Terrakion. With that in mind, Wish and Protect are self-explanatory choices within the set, while Knock Off and Toxic are used to cripple the biggest amount of Pokemon possible, punishing bulky Water-types like Tentacruel, Empoleon and Primarina whenever they try to regain momentum back at Alomomola's cost, but also many other UU threats.

The only move this Pokemon could possibly use that isn't already in its current set is Scald, which can be ran over either Knock Off or Toxic in order to improve Alomomola's match up against physical Z-move users like Cobalion, Terrakion, as well as Nasty Plot Infernape and even Lucario. However, the two chosen moves cover the widest array of threats overall, while a Water-type STAB has never felt truly necessary to me throughout this team's lifespan. In fact, having Scald as Alomomola's primary offensive option gives Facade Mega Altaria yet another chance to run away with the game, which is not a favorable thing when taking into account its popularity as a way of counterteaming stall. When it comes to EVs, a physically defensive leaning spread helps Alomomola with its primary role of pivoting into strong physical attackers, but since investing into HP is not as efficient when taking into account Alomomola's high base HP, the Special Defense EVs aid it against weaker special attackers like Choice Scarf Hydreigon, while its Wish remains large enough to put any Pokemon on the team that isn't Blissey back at full health.

❅ THREAT LIST
Celebi - Celebi gets to kick off the threat list after all the "Pearl stall loses to Celebi" memes that bugzinator's awful showing in SPL contributed to disseminating, and that SoulWind's amazing display in the last Smogon Snake Draft helped clearing out. Seriously, all that needs to be explained about playing this match up is in that replay: use Blissey's Toxic and Seismic Toss to wear down its HP as it sets up and proceed to trap it with Aerodactyl. From there, use Articuno and the rest of the team to handle any secondary special attackers the opponent might have. Celebi can be a dangerous Pokemon to face depending on the team composition it is in, but overall Celebi teams tend to rely a tad too much on it to break, being left with very little to abuse Blissey's removal afterwards.

Virizion - The other meme. Extremely niche Pokemon whose only redeeming quality in the current UU metagame is being able to put a dent on this team. If Virizion is being used, it means that your opponent is not using a better Grass- or Fighting-type Pokemon like Amoonguss or Terrakion, so shame on them for that. Still, this is an extremely tough match up to deal with, especially if Virizion has Substitute to bypass the team's multiple Toxic users. The best way of dealing with it is by baiting its Close Combat with Aerodactyl or Articuno and using Gligar's Earthquake to break its Substitute afterwards thanks to the defense drop caused by Virizion's Fighting STAB. Articuno can trade damage with it one on one and Aerodactyl can pick it apart eventually, but it's very hard to recover from a situation in which Virizion can get a free Substitute on either Quagsire or Alomomola.

Latias, Reuniclus and Necrozma - If Blissey isn't carrying Confide, both Calm Mind + Stored Power + Refresh Latias and Energy Ball Reuniclus are team preview losses with very little that can be done about it. The only out in those cases is using Articuno's Freeze Dry and Aerodactyl's physical strength to try and break them that way. Besides that, other Latias sets can be relatively dangerous, with Choice Specs being able to trick its item onto Blissey, while traditional Calm Mind variants can threaten to 2HKO the blob with Psyshock. Necrozma is a more fringe threat that does exactly the same thing as the other two Psychic-types with its Calm Mind + Stored Power + Rest set. However, both Latias and Necrozma usually rely on Psychium Z to break past Quagsire, which means that dancing around that can potentially be pulled off, although +2 Stored Power does a lot of damage even through Unaware. Feel free to ignore this column if you're dead set on using Confide Blissey though.

Infernape and Lucario (Nasty Plot variants) - Both of them are special attackers that don't give a single damn about Blissey, which says enough about threatening they are to this team. They can force kills under the proper circumstances, but it's possible to chip away at their health bar to the point where Mega Aerodactyl is able to reliably dispose of them. First of all, it's important to identify which Z-Crystal they're packing, especially in Lucario's case, as it uses both Fightinium and Steelium Z frequently, but the latter makes it unable to remove Gligar in a single hit, while the former gives Quagsire some breathing room to get a Haze on it if necessary. In Infernape's case, it absolutely needs Firium Z to stop Gligar from getting a hit on it. The easiest turn to get damage off on both Infernape and Lucario is when they're setting up, especially if they go for a riskier opportunity. Besides that turn, the only Pokemon that can reliably force them out without any guessing games is Mega Aerodactyl, as its Earthquake is a clean OHKO on the Fighting-type Pokemon. Sometimes it's completely valid to go straight into Mega Aerodactyl on the turn they click Nasty Plot if losing any other Pokemon is a deficit that can not be recovered from in the match up at hand, but that's a play which can be rather hard to make most of the time.

Haxorus - Mold Breaker in tandem with Swords Dance makes Haxorus a set up sweeper which Quagsire can not deal with. This coupled with this squad's lack of Fairy- or Steel-type Pokemon means that a properly used Haxorus will always get a kill or two against this stall team. The usual way of handling it is by damaging it as it sets up and picking it off with Aerodactyl afterwards, though it's important to note the importance of choosing the correct Pokemon to sacrifice, since the game is more often than not still winnable even after Haxorus has done its job.

Stealth Rock setters that can beat both Articuno and Gligar - While they do not necessarily win by themselves, these Pokemon can create scenarios in which something else can run away with the game. Namely, teams with one of these coupled with a strong Pursuit user and a Toxic user that can match Gligar and Blissey (such as Empoleon) have the option of removing Articuno from the match and depriving the team of its cleric, making it easy to cripple everything else with status-inducing moves afterwards. Hazards also contribute towards putting key Pokemon in range of strong hits, such as Crawdaunt's Choice Band-boosted attacks. If any of these is paired with Froslass or Defog + Imprison Klefki, the situation becomes even more dangerous, as Alomomola is now unable to safely pivot into most strong physical hits, which should go a long way in dismantling this team.

Mega Altaria - Dragon Dance + Facade variants can repeatedly switch into Quagsire's Scald and win the game on their own after being burned. Basically, never click Scald when you see this Pokemon on the opposing team with an unrevealed set. More standard physical variants are usually dealt with through a combination of Alomomola's Wish and Regenerator, Quagsire's Haze and even Gligar and Articuno PP stalling it out of Return. It can be a tricky match up if the Stealth Rock setter backing it up is able to beat Gligar and Articuno, but it's still beatable in that case. Special and mixed variants are a nonissue.

Regenerator cores - These are usually unable to break stall, but they can prolong the game for 999 turns and secure a tie, and if you have to rematch somebody in a tournament after a game like that, it might as well be a loss mentally. With that said, it's rare for teams to have more than two Pokemon with Regenerator (unless you're playing McMeghan, and using this team against a man like that would be suicide in the first place), and proper usage of Knock Off, Blissey and Mega Aerodactyl's Pursuit can put the opponent in a chokehold eventually. It's also worth noting that teams with Mienshao tend to have a hard fitting cleric support, as this Pokemon is usually ran in place of a Fairy-type as a Hydreigon answer, so poisoning things is extremely helpful in those cases. If you see that your opponent is competent enough not to let you trap either of his Regenerator users, then the next step fishing for Freeze Dry freezes with Articuno, and if that does not work you can ask for a tie instead of sitting through the whole thing.

Heracross - It can be a tough match up depending on the team surrounding Heracross. The most common set (Flame Orb + Facade, usually with Swords Dance) is not hard to wear down through residual damage, but it can still pose an extremely big threat before going down. Gligar can hold it off for a bit, but even in the best case scenarios, it'll still be losing its Eviolite, which can be detrimental if the opponent's hazard setter is a physical leaning Pokemon that Gligar needs the extra bulk for, such as Mega Aggron. It can also be weakened with Mega Aerodactyl's Pursuit after some Close Combat defense drops, which is a risky move that has to be pulled off sometimes in order to avoid a loss.

Crawdaunt - The usual way of dealing with this is by guaranteeing that the opponent's hazard setters are properly dealt with. Afterwards, using Alomomola as the initial switch in to pivot into Crawdaunt's hits is the way to go, and from there Gligar can be used to switch into Crunch if Crawdaunt attempts to break the team that way. Can be an extremely dangerous threat if coupled with a solid hazard setter, but otherwise it's manageable a vast majority of the time. Swords Dance variants are arguably worse for this team in particular, but also less common and easier to secure a Toxic onto.

❅ PARTING WORDS
Sun and Moon holds a very special place in my heart all things considered; it is the first time I stuck around for a whole generation without any interruptions even though I've been playing competitive Pokemon for a while now. Besides that, I grew a lot during these last three years, both as a player and as a human being (whether I became better or worse is up to personal interpretation, really). I did many things I've always wanted to do on Smogon, including getting that coveted SPL win which got me to return to this game in the first place and much more: I got to see what it is like to lead a tier, became a tournament director (and got demoted from the position for being a drooling idiot), qualified for an official tournament's playoff stage for the first time ever (and even managed to win the whole thing in the process, which is something I would've never expected to pull off prior to that Grand Slam), saw Team Europe become a viable WCoP team for the first time since its inception, took part in an official tournament draft all on my own, wrecked the living shit out of UUPL back to back, among many other smaller things, good and bad, that filled my time around these parts. It definitely looks like I'm jerking myself off for everybody to see even though this is supposed to be a team showcase, but I truly wouldn't be able to do this without showing gratitude towards all the people and events that made my days work-horsing for this website a lot more enjoyable.

Last but not least, a big shout out to everybody who has read this RMT, and once again, an even bigger one to everybody who, throughout the years, has contributed in one way or another towards my happiness on Smogon. I'll see you all later, hopefully.

 

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