Q U E E N
I'm here, I'm deer and I'd like to say hello!
Xerneas graces the battlefield as one of the most devastating setup sweepers ever to be allowed in VGC. Geomancy is Xerneas's signature move and its most formidable set, as Xerneas is more than capable of sweeping through a team after the boosts. Not only does Xerneas sport a solid 131 base Special Attack, but it also possesses respectable HP and defensive stats that allow it to take most hits very well. Base 99 Speed is also a handy in a format where the majority of the restricted Pokemon are sitting between base 90 and 95 Speed. Furthermore, Xerneas's ability, Fairy Aura, grants it decent offensive pressure, which is especially handy when you find yourself not able to set up a Geomancy. Unfortunately, while it possesses a number of strengths, it also has to deal with a number of flaws. Xerneas doesn't have many viable options against Poison-, Steel-, and Fire-types besides throwing boosted Fairy-type moves at them. While base 99 Speed is nice, Xerneas can still be outsped by faster Pokemon such as Mega Kangaskhan. Also, the threat of Geomancy makes it very vulnerable to countermeasures such as Taunt, Encore, Gyro Ball, Thunder Wave, and Trick Room. While Xerneas isn't a deciding factor for using these moves, their existence makes Geomancy a bit less effective. Despite these flaws, Xerneas remains as a top threat in the VGC '16 format and should be respected as such.
name: Xerneas & Herb
move 1: Geomancy
move 2: Dazzling Gleam
move 3: Moonblast / Grass Knot
move 4: Protect
item: Power Herb
ability: Fairy Aura
evs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Geomancy is Xerneas's signature move and can turn Xerneas into a fast and destructive sweeper that is capable of wiping the opposing team in an instant. Moonblast is Xerneas's strongest STAB move and, when boosted by Geomancy, hits absurdly hard. Dazzling Gleam is a second STAB move and is recommended for its ability to threaten two Pokemon at once. Protect is there to save Xerneas from harm for that turn and give its partner a chance to take out any threats to Xerneas. Xerneas doesn't have many other viable coverage options, but +2 Grass Knot is capable of 2HKOing even the bulkiest Primal Groudon imaginable and OHKOing 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Kyogre. Hidden Power Ground is also nice for threatening Poison-, Steel-, and Fire-types, barring those with an immunity such as Crobat, Gengar, Talonflame, and Ho-Oh.
Power Herb is the only viable option, as it grants Xerneas an instant Geomancy boost. This simple EV spread allows Xerneas to hit hard as possible and, without a Geomancy boost, to outspeed a number of threats. A Modest nature can be used for more raw power, but then Xerneas risks being slower than Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza, and Kyurem that are running a positive Speed nature. A bulkier spread consisting of 44 Def / 212 SpA / 252 Spe allows Xerneas to tank a Life Orb Dragon Ascent from Mega Rayquaza.
Instead of mindlessly clicking Geomancy on the first turn versus an opposing lead dedicated to messing up Xerneas, you're often better off preserving your wincon until later in the game. Don't be trigger happy with Geomancy as there are plenty of tools that work against it. Xerneas's STAB moves are plenty strong to soften up enemies, which can allow for other partners to clean up. If you can, try to prevent Xerneas from taking too much damage as there are plenty of priority users in the format waiting to pick off a weakened Xerneas.
Primal Groudon is by far the best teammate Xerneas could ask for. Primal Groudon's typing allows it to eliminate troublesome Poison- and Steel-types that exist to ruin Xerneas's sweep. Additionally, Kangaskhan is a solid teammate since it has access to Fake Out, which can grant Xerneas a free turn to set up Geomancy. Kangaskhan is also really good at punching holes through opposing teams, allowing Xerneas to clean up without the use of Geomancy at times. Smeargle is another interesting partner for Xerneas since it not only possesses Fake Out, but also has plenty of other tricks. Smeargle can utilize Follow Me to redirect single target moves or Dark Void to put both opponents to sleep. Both of these grant Xerneas extra free turns to do whatever it pleases. Other redirection users such as Amoonguss and Togekiss make fantastic partners for Xerneas, as they're able to redirect single target attacks to keep Xerneas from harm. Salamence is another solid partner for Xerneas since it checks Primal Groudon pretty well and also has Intimidate to buffer physical attacks against Xerneas, making it slightly easier to set up Geomancy. Primal Kyogre also checks Primal Groudon, and can even abuse Xerneas's Geomancy with a Psych Up.
Psyshock or Psychic is there if you want a coverage option against Crobat, Amoonguss, Gengar, and any other relevant Poison-types. If you want an offensive set without Geomancy, you can use Life Orb or Choice Specs as a way for Xerneas to just dish out massive damage from the get go. However, keep in mind that the Geomancy set is infinitely better than every other offensive option Xerneas has. If you want to use a more supportive set, then Thunder Wave, Gravity, and Heal Pulse are options. Misty Terrain can be utilized to keep Xerneas and its grounded teammates safe from status moves such as Dark Void, but is hardly worth the moveslot. Thunder is an interesting move if you have a Kyogre on your team, as it hits Talonflame and Ho-Oh harder than Moonblast. Thunder also nails Crobat and opposing Kyogre.
Checks and Counters
**Steel-Types**: Ferrothorn, Aegislash, and Scizor all give Xerneas a hard time. Ferrothorn and Aegislash are able to OHKO Xerneas after a Geomancy boost with Gyro Ball and take a boosted Moonblast pretty well. Scizor can also OHKO Xerneas with a Swords Dance-boosted Bullet Punch before Xerneas can do anything.
**Poison-Types**: Amoonguss, Crobat, and Gengar all do a good job of punishing Xerneas. Amoonguss can easily tank most of Xerneas's hits and Spore it or even Clear Smog away a Geomancy boost. Crobat can Taunt Xerneas and prevent a Geomancy from happening or Whirlwind it away. Gengar can deal tons of damage with a Sludge Bomb before Xerneas can Geomancy and is then guaranteed to take a hit after that with its Focus Sash.
**Primal Groudon**: Groudon's typing and bulk allow it to take on Xerneas's STAB moves quite well. Groudon can then retaliate with its own STAB moves to deal massive damage back to Xerneas. Groudon can even Roar Xerneas out as it uses Geomancy.
**Ho-Oh**: Ho-Oh possesses massive HP and Special Defense, which allow it to shrug off Xerneas's attacks with ease, and can heal off the damage whenever with Recover. Ho-Oh can also 2HKO Xerneas with Brave Bird or inflict a burn with Sacred Fire and hinder its chance to sweep.
**Disruption**: Because Xerneas relies on Geomancy a lot, disruption moves such as Fake Out, Encore, Taunt, Whirlwind, and Haze really mess up Xerneas's gameplan since they prevent Geomancy that turn or nullify it altogether.
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