VGC Team Analysis

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Hi, I'm Danny Zollner aka TTS, and this is the team I created and used to both win the 2010 Newark Video Game Championship Senior Division tournament and place top 16 at the 2010 VGC Nationals. Smogon's ex-Administrator Skarm also placed in the top 8 at the 2010 VGC Nationals with a slightly modified version of this team.

The team is comprised of four primary Pokémon, and two alternates that are designed to be swapped in for certain situations, either in best of 3 format or if I had prior knowledge of my opponent's team.

The primary Pokémon on my team are Infernape, Palkia, Metagross, and Giratina. The alternates were Blissey and Kyogre.

Infernape @ Focus Sash
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Protect
- Encore
- Fake Out
- Close Combat

I chose Infernape because of the immense utility that it offers. It is the third fastest Fake Out user in the VGC 2010 metagame, behind Swift Swim Ludicolo and Weavile. A Jolly nature was chosen over Adamant since Jolly allows Infernape to outspeed many things that Adamant does not, most notably Timid Palkia.

Focus Sash and Protect were chosen to help the incredibly fragile Infernape stick around as long as possible.

Fake Out prevents targets from attacking, stops any slower Fake Out users such as the ubiquitous Hitmontop, and scares your opponent into using Protect to avoid being hit by Fake Out.

Encore capitalizes on the mind games that Fake Out plays with your opponent; if your opponent uses any supporting moves such as Protect, Roost, or Substitute, you can Encore them and force them to repeat the Encored move for 4-8 turns unless they switch. If your opponent is down to his or her last two Pokémon, Encoring them into a support move such as Protect effectively removes the Encored Pokémon from play for the rest of the game as long as Infernape remains alive to use Encore again in the event that the prior usage wears off.

Close Combat is Infernape's only real method of killing things – it can OHKO Blissey, Dialga, Smeargle, Weavile, and a host of other Pokémon weak to it, in addition to severely damaging any non-Psychic type Ubers with its impressive 120 Base Power and STAB. The defensive drops are insignificant to Infernape, since the majority of attacks will do enough damage to OHKO Infernape even without any defense drops.

Palkia @ Haban Berry
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Draco Meteor
- Flamethrower
- Protect
- Substitute

Palkia is Infernape's partner as a lead, and was more than likely the most common Uber in the VGC 2010 metagame. Palkia has a 4x resistance to the dreaded Water Spout, and takes neutral damage from any moves that aren't Dragon-type. Timid was chosen over Modest since Timid Palkia can outspeed every other Dragon type in the VGC 2010 metagame except for Latios and Latias, whereas Modest would be beaten in Speed by any Dragon types with a +Speed nature.

Haban Berry neutralizes Palkia's one type weakness, allowing it to survive virtually any STAB Dragon-type attack. The only thing who can still OHKO Palkia through Haban Berry without a critical hit is a Choice Specs Draco Meteor from something like Dialga or Palkia.

Protect was given to Palkia as well since it is a near necessity in double battles thanks to the increased survivability it offers.

Substitute is there primarily to give Palkia and Infernape a way to beat both Focus Sash and Choice Scarf Smeargles. It serves many other purposes, however.

I chose Draco Meteor over Spacial Rend or Dragon Pulse due to the raw power it offers. It can offer guaranteed OHKOs against several Pokémon that other Dragon moves can't, such as Toxicroak, Absol, and offensively EVed Giratina. Even with the Special Attack reduction, two Draco Meteors are stronger than two Spacial Rends (140 + 70 versus 100 + 100).

Flamethrower was chosen for several reasons. It gives Palkia a 100% accuracy move to use to finish off very low opponents instead of getting another Special Attack reduction from Draco Meteor or potentially missing. It also allows Palkia to hit Shedinja and Metagross, who resists Draco Meteor, for super effective damage.

Giratina @ Yache Berry
Trait: Pressure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Shadow Force
- Shadow Sneak
- Dragon Claw
- Protect

Giratina was chosen to protect my team against Explosion and Fighting attacks. Giratina has excellent defensive stats, even when EVed offensively. Jolly was chosen over a defensive nature or Adamant in order to allow Giratina to outspeed any neutral Speed nature Dragon-types, in addition to outspeeding or tying with any non-Choice Scarf Giratina. Outspeeding opposing Giratina is very important, as it allows you to use their own aggression against them, like so:

Turn 1:
Your Jolly Giratina uses Dragon Claw, Protect, or Shadow Sneak
Their slower Giratina uses Shadow Force and disappears
Turn 2:
Your Jolly Giratina uses Shadow Force and disappears
Their slower Giratina strikes with Shadow Force and fails to hit
Turn 3:
Your Jolly Giratina strikes with Shadow Force, significantly damaging or killing their Giratina or hitting whatever they switch in to take the hit in place of their Giratina

Using Shadow Force against opposing Giratina needs to be done carefully until you figure out whose is faster, in order to avoid having the above situation pulled off against you, instead of by you. If an opposing Giratina outspeeds Infernape or Palkia, then it has a Choice Scarf. If it doesn't outspeed either of them, but still outspeeds your own Giratina, then it also has a +Speed nature, and there is a Speed tie, assuming you have a (remove) 31 Speed IV.

Yache Berry was chosen to negate Giratina's most prominent weakness, Ice-type attacks. Yache Berry is often the difference between life and death versus Blizzard users such as Abomasnow and Mewtwo.

Shadow Force is Giratina's bread and butter attack. Its ability to break through Protect works incredibly well in combination with Metagross' Explosion. In any situation where my Giratina is faster than another Giratina, I effectively become immune to their Shadow Force attacks, since I can evade their Shadow Force with my own and hit them on the following turn.

Shadow Sneak allows Giratina to pick off weakened foes, and also allows Giratina to make any Sucker Punches used against it by enemies slower than it fail. This is especially effective versus Pokémon like Toxicroak and Hitmontop, who typically can only hit Giratina with Sucker Punch.

Dragon Claw was chosen to capitalize on the large amount of Dragon-types in the VGC 2010 metagame. It allows Giratina to deal significant damage to other Dragon-types in addition to giving it an attack to hit Normal-types with, who would otherwise wall Giratina due to Normal's Ghost immunity.

Metagross @ Custap Berry
Trait: Clear Body
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Brave Nature (+Atk, -Spe)
- Meteor Mash
- Bullet Punch
- Hammer Arm
- Explosion

Metagross was chosen to give my team a solid counter to Ice moves, especially when against the dreaded Abomasnow/Mewtwo Blizzard spam combo, as well as providing a solid physical and special wall who can also absorb Explosions quite effectively.

Metagross' EV spread is designed to allow it to survive a Modest Kyogre Water Spout. In rain, a Modest Kyogre Water Spout leaves Metagross with between 8.5 and 22.5% HP, which is low enough to activate Custap Berry and use Explosion on the next turn before any other +0 priority attacks can go off. Timid Kyogre Water Spout has a 71% chance to drop Metagross' HP into Custap activation range without any other damage being done. This was a trade off that had to be made, in order to allow Metagross to have a better chance of surviving priority moves after reaching critically low HP levels.

Meteor Mash is Metagross' signature attack, and packs a punch with 100 Base Power and STAB. The chance to increase Attack helps to negate the lack of attack EVs.

Bullet Punch helps Metagross make up for its slow Speed. It deals heavy damage to Pokémon such as Weavile and Abomasnow, and lets Metagross pick off weakened foes before they can attack again.

Hammer Arm serves two main functions. It gives Metagross type coverage that allows it to hit Dialga and Blissey for super effective damage, and things who resist Steel such as Kyogre and Palkia for neutral damage. It also lowers Metagross' Speed, which allows Metagross to use an enemy's Trick Room against itself.

Blissey @ Chople Berry
Trait: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 SpD
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Seismic Toss
- Toxic
- Softboiled
- Protect

Blissey's set is pretty standard. She was designed primarily to switch in versus teams that had a lack of physical attackers. I never used her during Nationals, but did use her once during the Newark regional.

Her EV spread is designed to give her as much survivability as she can get versus both physical and special attacks. Chople Berry is there to help her survive Close Combat, Low Kick, and Mach Punch.

Seismic Toss and Toxic give her coverage versus every Pokémon. Toxic can slowly work down special attackers who will have an incredibly hard time killing her, and Seismic Toss allows her to supplement Toxic's damage as well as hit Steel-types and Substitutes that Toxic cannot.

Softboiled and Protect allow Blissey to do what she does best – live through tons of attacks. Generally, if you manage to keep her alive and kill all of your opponent's physical Pokémon, you've won the game. Softboiled is used over Wish since Wish tips off your opponent that you'll probably be using Protect on the following turn, and that they should focus all attacks on Blissey's partner while it uses Protect.

Kyogre @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Drizzle
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Water Spout
- Thunder
- Hidden Power Flying
- Blizzard

Kyogre was my other alternate, and was never actually used at any point. I figured I'd include it for completeness' sake, though. She was designed to be swapped in on round 2 or 3 in a best of 3 format when my opponent's team exhibited an excessive reliance on either sun, hail, or sandstorm, or if their team lacked adequate Water resistances.

Kyogre's moveset is probably the most well known set in the VGC 2010 metagame, so I won't really go into detail about it. Water Spout is her brute force move, Hidden Power Flying hits Shedinja, Ludicolo, and Abomasnow, and Blizzard and Thunder offer type coverage and weather utilization.

No team is perfect, especially in doubles where luck matters much more due to the shorter match length, which typically is between 4 to 10 turns. That being said, Skarm and I did incredibly well with this team and I feel that its mixture of offense, defense, and strategy perfectly represent my playing style as a trainer. The main weakness of this team was its inability to drastically change strategies in the later rounds of a best of 3 situation. For the 1 match single elimination tournaments that it was used in, however, it worked incredibly well. I'm happy to have the chance to share my personal masterpiece with others now that VGC 2010 is over, and I encourage everyone who reads this to give double and triple battles a chance; they're a lot of fun! If you would like to learn how to play on a simulator instead of a DS, there is a working doubles simulator called Pokémon Online.

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