Featured Suspect RMT: "Present Danger" by Stellar

Original team by Stellar, with commentary by Twist of Fate. Art provided by CyzirVisheen.
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In deciding which team to select for this featured RMT article, I felt that it was important to choose a suspect team that was not only unorthodox and innovative, but also successful and easy-to-use. After browsing through several pages of suspect teams, I came across Stellar's Present Danger thread, which fit each of the criterion listed above. I will present his stellar team in this article for those that might have missed the original thread.

Present Danger

First Glance:

Gliscor Shaymin-s Metagross Manaphy Garchomp Lucario

I'm leaving for Greece for two weeks in about a day, so I don't really have time to continue using this team as much as I would like to. So, I decided that I would go ahead and post it in hopes of improving it for use upon my return. Currently, the team is undefeated (although I do know that there are some changes that need to be made!) and has allowed me to attain the #12 spot on the Suspect ladder with only about two hours of laddering. Overall, I'm very impressed with the team's performance. It flows together nicely and relies on resistances (and a touch of offense), rather than outright defense to manage the metagame's top threats.

In Depth

Gliscor (M) @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Veil
EVs: 248 HP/44 Def/216 Spd
Jolly nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Taunt
- Stealth Rock
- Roost
- Earthquake

Gliscor starts the ball rolling by preventing slower leads, such as Metagross, from setting up Stealth Rock early in the game. Gliscor stops Skarmory from setting up and makes a great switch-in against Scizor, Metagross, Garchomp, Lucario, etc. With a Jolly nature and almost max Speed, I no longer have to worry about Lucario as much. If Azelf appears turn 1, I will normally go to Shaymin who does not worry about Taunt. I can then hit Azelf with Air Slash (hopefully flinching), thus preventing it from setting up Stealth Rock or screens.

Shaymin-s @ Expert Belt
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 4 Def/252 Spd/252 SAtk
Timid nature (+Spd, -Atk)
- Air Slash
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Seed Flare

Shaymin-s does a great job of keeping opposing offense in check. Earth Power has proven to be invaluable against Modest Choice Scarf Heatran and Metagross. Shaymin-s' main duty is to take out Swampert (especially those with Roar) that give my team a lot of trouble. Hidden Power Fire helps against Special Defensive Skarmory who switch in hoping to absorb Seed Flare or Air Slash. HP Fire is uncommon enough that the Skarmory normally try to stay-in.

Metagross @ Leftovers
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 240 HP/80 Atk/188 SDef
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Bullet Punch
- Meteor Mash
- Explosion
- Pursuit

Although this particular Metagross set does not experience much success in the current OU metagame, it is more than welcome in the Suspect arena where Latios runs rampant. Metagross is not 2HKOed by any attack that Latios can launch, except for Choice Specs Hidden Power Fire (which just serves as Manaphy set-up bait). I can then catch Latios on the switch with Pursuit, dealing approximately 80% damage. If Gliscor managed to set up Stealth Rock early-game, Latios will be KOed upon switching into play again. Explosion helps take out troublesome set-up Pokémon (although I have to admit that I have exploded on random Substitutes a few times). Bullet Punch makes Sub-Seed Shaymin-s a bit more manageable.

Manaphy @ Leftovers
Ability: Hydration
EVs: 252 HP/96 Spd/160 SAtk
Timid nature (+Spd, -Atk)
- Surf
- Tail Glow
- Substitute
- Ice Beam

Although I didn't expect to have much success with this set, Manaphy has proven to be the most valuable member of my team. With 404 HP, Manaphy can set-up against non-CM Blissey with ease (just ask KD24 xD). The large HP stat also gives Manaphy a great deal of bulk, allowing its Substitutes to survive a wide range of attacks. It also allows Manaphy to take Latios' Thunderbolt assuming Manaphy still has most of its HP. Roar Vaporeon gives this a bit of trouble (I found this out in my battle against Hip), but Shaymin and Lucario are more-than-able to dispose of Vaporeon. 96 Speed EVs give Manaphy enough Speed to outrun non-scarf Heatran and +natured Mamoswine (and Lucario by extension). It also seems to outspeed the defensive Garchomp that has been running around lately.

Garchomp (M) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Sand Veil
EVs: 252 Atk/4 Def/252 Spd
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Fire Fang
- Earthquake
- Dragon Claw
- Outrage

Another invaluable member of this team, Garchomp is able to revenge-kill those Latios that did not fall prey to Metagross. It also helps against Shaymin-s and weakened Manaphy. Fire Fang is a decent option due to the possibility of Shaymin-s switching in on a predicted Earthquake or Scizor switching in on a predicted Dragon-type attack. Due to the fact that this set is extremely common, I don't really have much to say about it. I would just like to point out that Garchomp does an amazing job of opening up holes in the opposing team that Lucario is more than willing to exploit. Thunder Wave (or just Electric-type attacks in general) immunity doesn't hurt either!

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

Lucario is great in the current Suspect metagame due to its ability to set up against the various Dragon-type attacks flying around. +2 Extremspeed disposes of Latios, Shaymin-s, etc with little trouble while Close Combat can easily OHKO the multitudes of Tyranitar and Scizor running amok. Crunch helps against Rotom-A and can nail an unsuspecting Lati@s switch-in. As previously mentioned, Garchomp helps weaken a number of Lucario's counters (as does Shaymin-s). I'm pretty sure I OHKOed a Scizor that had switched into SR once, but was otherwise at full health. Adamant gives a much needed boost of power, allowing Lucario to deal the extra damage needed to KO its targets.

A quick glance at this RMT shows that Stellar does not have a specific Pokémon that his team centers around for a sweep, but rather utilizes his combination of six Pokémon in a manner that promotes synergy and great type-coverage. An interesting note is that he, in fact, has multiple Pokémon that can sweep teams single-handedly, including Tail Glow Manaphy and Swords Dance Lucario. Each of the Pokémon on his team complement each other in such a way that the majority of noteable threats in the suspect metagame are covered and effectively dealt with.

The Gliscor lead, although unorthodox in the standard OverUsed metagame, is quite a handly lead in the suspect metagame. Common leads include Bronzong, non-scarf Jirachi, and Metagross; Gliscor can prevent the setup of Stealth Rock by all of these Pokémon utilizing the move Taunt, and then proceed to set up Stealth Rock. Jirachi, although having the ability to outspeed Gliscor, are more defensively oriented on the suspect ladder, and thus are more succeptible to moves such as Taunt. Roost and Earthquake increase both the survivability of Gliscor, and allow it to hit suspect threats such as Garchomp and Manaphy for decent damage. In the face of Water or Ice types such as Gyarados or Mamoswine, Gliscor provides an easy switch to Manaphy, and a possible Substitute to sit behind. Setting the tempo of the match in Stellar's favor is exactly why Gliscor is a solid suspect lead.

Perhaps the most unique Pokémon on this team, and a reason for its success, is the use of Metagross. Utilizing a specially-defensive EV spread, Metagross can use its great typing to take Draco Meteors from Latios and Latias, and retaliate back with Pursuit. Because it is likely that the opponent will switch out their Latios/Latias, Pursuit usually ends up KO'ing these dragons with the help of Stealth Rock (which Gliscor almost always sets up early game). Metagross also serves as a great Shaymin-S switch-in, resisting Air Slash and Seed Flare (along with its Special Defense drops due to Clear Body).

Complementing the defensive backbone is a solid bulky offensive core. Shaymin-S always keeps the offensive pressure on the opponent by utilizing one of its four attacks. Serene Grace allows Stellar to abuse both Air Slash and Seed Flare, while HP Fire is simply there to catch specially defensive Skarmory for rather large damage after a Seed Flare Special Defense drop. Garchomp serves as perhaps the most solid revenge-killer in the suspect metagame, utilizing its powerful STAB attacks. Manaphy can setup on many common suspect Pokémon, including Bronzong and Blissey, and also provides the bulky water type that this team requires to handle opposing bulky offensive teams. Lucario is one of the best late-game cleaners, removing whatever the rest of the team cripples through its powerful Close Combat and priority move.

No team is perfect, however, and Stellar's team does indeed have one rather large weakness - fast Ice attacks. In particular, Mamoswine is rather threatening to this team because of its strong combination of Ground and Ice attacks. The only true check to Mamoswine on this team is Manaphy, who is EV'd to outspeed all Mamoswine (barring Choice Scarf variants, of course). The key to defeating Mamoswine is to bring in Manaphy on a predicted Ice Shard to take as minimal damage as possible, and proceed to most likely setup a Substitute and thus bring momentum back in Stellar's favor. If Manaphy is somehow defeated before Mamoswine is revealed, the combination of Lucario's Extremespeed and Metagross's Bullet Punch should defeat it. In regards to general Ice attacks, Stellar's team has ways to protect his three 4x Ice weaknesses, complementing them with three other Pokémon that resist Ice attacks. Type synergy is the real beauty of this team, making somewhat noticable weaknesess obsolete.

The success of this team lies in its ability to both hit hard offensively with overpowered sweepers, but also rely on a solid defense to be able to fall back on to take hits when necessary. With a few unorthodox sets and Pokémon added to the mix, team Present Danger encompasses most of what a competitive Pokémon team should be: successful, fun-to-use, and innovative.

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