Featured RMT: "Cresselia Push" by Astamatitos

Original team by Astamatitos, with commentary by TAY.
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Choosing The Smog's first featured RMT out of Smogon's massive RMT forum was no easy task. It was important to pick a team that was powerful in its time, but I felt that it was even more important to select a team that was creative and exciting—a poster child for thinking outside the box. After looking through countless pages of teams, I ran into Astamatitos' Cresselia Push thread and found it to be a perfect fit. I will present it here for the benefit of anyone who was not fortunate enough to run into it previously:

Cresselia Push

First Glance:

Jirachi Cresselia Lucario Tyranitar Suicune Gliscor

As you can see for yourself, this is not your ordinary offensive or defensive team. Actually, if you don't bother reading what's located below, you'll think this is just another team of six random Pokemon pulled together.

To begin with, this team utilises Lunar Dance Cresselia, taking advantage of Cresselia's signature move. Allow me to elaborate on how I decided to build this team...


''Not many teams can counter Sword Dance Lucario and Dragon Dance Tyranitar more than twice.''

''What if there was a way to use each of these Pokémon twice in a team?''

''Wait?! Lunar Dance Cresselia, anyone?!?!?!"

Without further ado:

In Depth

Jirachi @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Iron Head
- Trick
- ThunderPunch / U-turn
- Stealth Rock

Scarf Jirachi is overall a really solid lead. It stops a huge array of leads, ranging from the suicide leads such as Azelf and Aerodactyl, to the bulkier ones, Swampert, Hippowdon, and Bronzong.

Gameplay: Jirachi makes sure I get Stealth Rock down no matter what, while it always steals the advantage early off my opponent thanks to Trick. Iron Head can be deadly should I be playing on a lucky day. :>

I have changed U-turn to ThunderPunch, as this gives me one more option to revenge kill Gyarados if it has already managed to get a Dragon Dance.

Cresselia (F) @ Light Clay
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 220 HP/124 Def/164 Spe
Bold nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Lunar Dance
- Psychic
- Reflect
- Light Screen

Introducing Lunar Dance Cresselia. "Use only if you acquire a surplus amount of bawls!"

This Pokémon is what keeps my team in line, which you will most probably witness as well after reading through the whole team.

Gameplay: The set is self-explanatory and simple to use. Keep Cresselia in 'til late game, where either Lucario or Tyranitar are heavily damaged (they should have have taken down most physical walls with them by then), bring this in, set up the two screens, and Lunar Dance for the sweep.

During mid-game, Cresselia can prove itself useful by serving my walling needs against Ground/Fighting attacks and generally attacks that can't hit it for super effective damage.

Lucario (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Atk/4 Def/252 Spe
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Swords Dance
- Close Combat
- Crunch
- ExtremeSpeed

Adamant Lucario still remains the number one physical threat. Period. Defeats most stall teams with ease.

Gameplay: Lucario will attempt to sweep two times. The first time is when I want to crack my opponent's defenses. I will start unleashing attacks left and right, while snatching any opportunities to Swords Dance. I won't hesitate to let Lucario absorb any status effects such as Thunder Wave from Celebi, as this will allow me to weaken said Pokémon next time Lucario attempts a sweep, thanks to Lunar Dance.

Tyranitar (M) @ Babiri Berry
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 Atk/4 Def/252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Dragon Dance
- Crunch
- Fire Punch
- Stone Edge

Tyranitar, unexpectedly, is my MVP every match. Nothing can safely counter Tyranitar.

Gameplay: Tyranitar works in a similar manner as Lucario. Babiri Berry is there because the first time I will attempt a sweep, I'll need Tyranitar to take out any CB Scizors that attempt to Bullet Punch. [I] Am sure all of you by now realised that Scizor is every DDtar's archnemesis, in the current metagame. Should this first step of taking out Scizor be achieved, Lunar Dance Cresselia will be waiting to heal Tyranitar giving it another chance to shine, this time with the exception of not having to face any Tyranitar counters assuming they have been weakened/taken out during the first DDTar attack.

Suicune @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP/164 Spe/92 SpA
Modest nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Calm Mind
- Surf
- Ice Beam
- Rest

I needed something to shrug off Fire attacks launched at Jirachi and Lucario. I also needed something which would be elementally oriented, while also being able to beat Blissey. Suicune instantly sprang to mind.

Gameplay: Suicune is usually my early switch in to the likes of Heatran and Infernape. Modest is there because I need to hit Celebi and Zapdos as hard as possible, while still maintaining enough Speed to outspeed both of their bulky variants. Definitely a Pokémon to look out for after it manages to get 2-3 Calm Minds under its belt.

Gliscor (M) @ Leftovers
Ability: Hyper Cutter
EVs: 252 HP/172 Def/84 Spe
Impish nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Swords Dance
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge / Ice Fang
- Roost

Swords Dance on a bulky Gliscor is really deadly since not many attacks pack the punch to hit it for enough damage.

Gameplay: In Gliscor, I've found the best Fighting/Bug defense someone can acquire in this game, as well as a dedicated, hidden sweeper which benefits from what my other physical hitters are trying to weaken. By the time I get this into the game, I'll have probably weakened my opponent's bulky Waters with Lucario and Tyranitar enough so that Gliscor picks up the trash at the very end.

Hyper Cutter accompanied with Stone Edge provide me with extra Gyarados support as they allow me to KO as it switches in on Swords Dance.

If Tyranitar/Lucario didn't manage to finish the game earlier, then this thing will.

Closing Words

I have stayed undefeated using this team for 15+ games so far, giving me a rank boost from 1615 to 1645, if that says anything.

Besides that though, I am constantly scratching my head in order to think of a safe, guaranteed way to stop Gyarados, which is pretty much what threatens this team the most. Most of the times I was forced to work around it resorting to Stealth Rock, sandstorm, Reflect, and Lucario's ExtremeSpeed. I'll need your opinion here... =[

For anyone too lazy or impatient to read the RMT, the idea behind the team is this: Dragon Dance Tyranitar and Swords Dance Lucario are both able to beat or injure one of their counters if it switches into their stat boosting move. However, they will often be crippled in the process, either by a status attack or a significant amount of damage. Cresselia's Lunar Dance allows either of these sweepers to come back at full health, ready to finish off the counter that stopped it, or to sweep in its absence. This strategy is particularly effective since both Lucario and Tyranitar are physical sweepers which are known for being able to break through physical walls. Cresselia's Light Screen and Reflect make it even easier to set up the two sweepers.

The Choice Scarf Jirachi lead is a perfect choice for this team. Although it does not carry a lot of late game power, it gets the team off to a fantastic start by blocking an offensive team's Stealth Rock (and defeating the lead regardless) or by crippling a defensive lead with Trick. Jirachi fits in perfectly with the defensive members of the team, providing an easy switch to Suicune or Cresselia in the face of a Fire- or Ground-type attack. Suicune is the all-around defensive player for this team, providing and excellent switch-in to Blissey and other special walls, a status absorber, and a lure for Blissey, Latias, Rotom-A, and Zapdos, giving Astamatitos an easy switch to either Lucario or Tyranitar to setup a sweep. Suicune also protects the team from Salamence and the odd Swords Dance Gliscor.

Although Gliscor is generally a poor offensive choice, on this team it can really shine. Even though it lacks the sheer offensive power of Lucario and Tyranitar, once either of them has cleared out (twice, hopefully) the opponent's bulky waters and phazers, Gliscor will have an easy time sweeping with Swords Dance and its STAB Earthquake. Perhaps more importantly, even though there are other Pokémon which are stronger offensively (e.g. Scizor, Salamence), Gliscor is preferable since it is provides fantastic insurance against Lucario and draws out Gyarados to be hit by Stone Edge. Without Gliscor, it is unlikely that this team would be able to deal with either of those Pokemon effectively, since there is a fair chance that Jirachi will be lost or crippled early in the game.

The idea that I really want to "push" by choosing Astamatitos' team as the Featured RMT is team building creativity. There is nothing wrong with using standard Pokemon to win—in fact it is often preferable—but without creative minds constantly pushing the edges of the metagame, the shifts in trends would be boring and predictable. Quite a few sets which are commonplace today (suicide leads, Dual Screen Pokémon, Tyraniboah, and Swords Dance Lucario, to name a few) were once fringe strategies designed to function in specific metagames. However, as time passed on, their effectiveness never faded and they are still used frequently today. So although Lunar Dance and Healing Wish never caught on, I still applaud Astamatitos for being creative and making a competitive team with such a neglected theme.

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