Stay Afloat: Simple VGC Anti-Rain Tips

By TheMantyke. Art by RitterCat.
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Feeling Seasick?

I see a lot of newer players struggling against rain when they start playing. It can seem unbeatable with such a brutal combination of speed, power, and spread attacks. However, it's far from unstoppable. Bad rain teams are often plagued by redundant offensive coverage and poor defensive synergy, both of which you can exploit very easily. This article is built to help newer players who are struggling against rain to get an idea of what they need to do when battling and team building to come out on top.

Weather the Storm

These are some general team building tips I like to follow whenever I build a team to make sure it isn't hopeless versus rain.

Stack Water Resistances

I recommend this as the first step you should take if you find yourself swamped by rain. It's simple, but I've seen this overlooked countless times. You need a few Pokémon on your team that can stomach Water-type attacks through natural bulk and resistances. It's also important that these Pokémon can hit rain back for moderate damage. After all, you're not much of a threat to rain when they take measly damage from your attacks. Thankfully, Water-resistant Pokémon with decent Special Defense and good offensive prowess aren't too hard to find. Pokémon like Rotom-W and Latios have the typing to fit on nearly any team with relative ease and can slow down rain considerably. I personally try to put at least two Water-resistant Pokémon on every team I build, but you're free to play with that number as you follow other tips.

Speed Control

A lot of rain's power comes from outspeeding all of your Pokémon. If you neuter their speed advantage, rain becomes much less intimidating. Thunder Wave and Trick Room are the two choice forms of speed control against rain. Thunder Wave allows you to target specific Swift Swim users so your partner can outspeed and pound them. On the other hand, Trick Room allows you to spin a team full of high-speed Pokémon on its head. Using a partner Pokémon at around the 60-70 base Speed range or lower is usually best when taking the Trick Room approach as that's around the same Speed rain's slower members like Politoed and Scizor will be at. Additionally, please don't fall into the trap that your whole team needs to be suited for use in Trick Room with this approach; just one or two Pokémon to operate in it is fine. As usual, Cresselia is the speed control master and can weather rain's hits pretty well thanks to its crazy HP and Defense. The ever-annoying priority king Thundurus is great for this job as well, though try to include some sort of Fake Out support to make his life easier.

Punish Poor Defensive Synergy

With a few Water resistances and a little bit of speed control, it's time to exploit all those common weaknesses. Electric and Grass are your weapons of choice here. Electric resistances on rain teams are limited mostly to Grass-types, Thundurus-T, and the handful of Ground-types usable in rain like Gastrodon. Spamming Electric attacks works wonders versus rain, as they will often have little to sponge Thunders and Discharges. Grass is a really poor offensive type, but it's still handy against rain and snipes a few particularly annoying Pokémon. Just be cautious of giving something like Scizor a free switch-in. Rotom-W can stomach Surfs all day and slays rain with your choice of Thunder, Thunderbolt, Volt Switch, and / or Discharge. Late-game, once Swift Swimmers are removed or crippled, Thundurus-T can clean up with brutal Choice Specs Thunders. Rotom-C has the best of both worlds in terms of super effective hits, but it faces stiff competition from its washing machine brother thanks to its better typing.

Change the Weather

This is probably the most obvious option, but it's not always easy to fit a weather inducer onto your team. Additionally, a single weather inducer can't carry a team versus rain; you still need to take portions of the above into account. Don't bother with Hippowdon and Ninetales; Abomasnow and Tyranitar are the big two weather inducers here. Abomasnow can switch into Water-type attacks thanks to its typing, start up a hailstorm, and start hitting Water-types with its STAB Giga Drain. It even gives your team a stronger defense against Dragon-types with its Blizzards. It's great if you can find the room to put it on your team, but it does bring a hefty list of weaknesses that need to be accounted for. Tyranitar can't take Water-type hits as well thanks to its weakness, but it has a massive Special Defense stat under sand and is in general a really solid Pokémon. On top of removing rain, it can also act as your Trick Room defense, be your primary answer to Cresselia, or get the jump on Latios and genies with a Choice Scarf depending on its item, nature, and EV investment.

Rain's Main Pains

Now that you know what you'll need and what you'll need to do, here are some specific Pokémon often used for the job.


Rotom-W is awesome. A Water resistance paired with good Special Attack and Electric STAB go a long way for dealing with rain. If you ever find yourself losing to bog standard rain teams, grab one of these, slap on a pair of Choice Specs, and teach it Thunder, and you can blast through a large portion of them. The best part though is how delightfully easy it is to add Rotom-W to a team. It's valuable Water- and Electric-type coverage combined with its lone weakness to Grass and its immunity to Earthquake make it pair well with just about everything. Metagross, Latios, Cresselia, Heatran, Garchomp, Hitmontop... you name it and chances are Rotom-W will form a solid core with it. Just remember, Rotom-W is not indestructible. It only has modest base stats to work off of its great typing. It can be killed by Draco Meteors and Giga Drains. You still need to support it through speed control or Fake Out to get the most out of it.


The master of speed control herself, Cresselia is here to help you neuter the ultra fast Pokémon flying around rain teams. As explained previously, Cresselia's Thunder Wave and Trick Room can make Swift Swim users a hell of a lot less scary. Combine Cresselia with any other Pokémon on this list, and you've got a core that will make rain groan in annoyance. However, Cresselia has a fairly limited damage output, so make certain you have a partner with great offensive prowess to compensate. Cresselia also lures in Scizor, often rain's Steel-type of choice, so have a Pokémon on hand to dispose of it quickly.


Do not make the mistake of thinking Gastrodon stops rain cold with Storm Drain. It does not counter rain, it delays rain. If you have Gastrodon sitting out turn one versus rain, it's likely going to die to Ludicolo and leave you eating boosted Water-type attacks for the rest of the match. The threat of a Storm Drain boost can be enough to keep rain on its toes. Having a Gastrodon on your team makes rain reluctant to throw around Surfs, Muddy Waters, and Hydro Pumps. Gastrodon entices a lot of single target attacks, so use that to your advantage to make timely Protects while its partner attacks.


Here we have the Grass-type that can sponge Water-type attacks with ease and make everything easier for the rest of your team by canceling out the rain. As described already, Abomasnow is practically built to disrupt rain. Just be sure that if you're using Abomasnow, you account for its limitations. It has a huge amount of weaknesses to common attacking types like Fighting, Fire, Steel, and Rock. Additionally, its power is rather average at best, so be sure to include partners to pick up its offensive slack.


Some of you may be wondering why you would bother with something weak to Ice Beam as a means of dealing with rain. Well, think about that for a second. Sure, Latios is weak to Ice Beam, but your opponent needs to actually use Ice Beam to deal with it. For the most part, that means Ice Beams without STAB on Pokémon with average Special Attack attacking Latios's solid Special Defense. Latios's strengths against rain come from both forcing the use of underwhelming single target attacks instead of STAB-boosted spread attacks and the enormous offensive pressure created by the threat of Dragon Gem Draco Meteors. Like Rotom-W, it's also very easy to fit on a team with its unique typing and Levitate. Just remember, other members of rain can still deal with it fairly well. Scizor doesn't care too much about it and it'll get murdered by a healthy Kingdra.


Tyranitar can do a lot for a team, and removing rain is near the top of the list. Sand Stream's Special Defense boost makes it more comfortable for Tyranitar to enter on Surfs and other Water attacks. Most Water Pokémon carry a neutrality to both Dark and Rock, so it has no problem busting up most Pokémon with its massive Attack and neutral coverage. Just be aware that like Abomasnow and Cresselia, Tyranitar hates Scizor. Be certain to have a Pokémon on hand to deal with it.


If you're playing against a shoddily built rain team piloted by a bad or intermediate player, Ferrothorn is almost an automatic win. Ferrothorn is one of the main reasons why you'll see rain teams carry at least one powerful Fighting-type or even Fire-type STAB. Leech Seed will turn Politoed and Cresselia into giant health sources, while Power Whip and Thunder Wave handle the frailer, faster members of rain. However, be warned that Ferrothorn is still slow and lacking in damage output. Experienced players will know to preserve Pokémon that can hit Ferrothorn for super effective damage and make sure Ferrothorn's wasting one of your active Pokémon slots hitting for minor damage.


If you can consistently dispose of or cripple Swift Swim Pokémon by the late-game, Thundurus-T is the Pokémon for you. Modest 252 Special Attack Choice Specs Thunders will obliterate everything not resistant, immune, or named Cresselia. Slap on Helping Hand, and now Cresselia's scared too. Even in the early-game, Thundurus-T is a huge threat given a bit of Fake Out support. The big drawback of Thundurus-T is how frail it is; you need a ton of setup before it can truly shine. Reliably disposing of Swift Swimmers and speed demons like Latios and Kingdra is a tall order, but perfectly possible.


This thing is still all kinds of annoying. Amoonguss's Grass typing gives it that magical Water resistance and its natural bulk lets it sponge Ice Beams. From there, it's all standard Amoonguss shenanigans: Spore, Rage Powder, Giga Drain, rinse, repeat. Change every three months or 1000 miles. It can be hard to squeeze on a team since you need some pretty darn powerful partners compensating for Amoonguss's virtually non existent damage output, but its a major pain for rain and just about every other team.


Virizion is great versus every weather really, not just rain. Between Leaf Blade and your choice of Close Combat or Sacred Sword, it's hitting nearly everything on rain for large chunks of damage. It's a very well-rounded Pokémon, overall. The only large issue you'll find with it is a somewhat lackluster damage output with its base 90 Attack.


It just so happens that one of the premier Swift Swimmers around is also one of the best answers to rain. A 4x resistance to Water, uncommon weaknesses, and STAB Grass attacks means that rain has to slow down and dedicate single target attacks to the Mexican platypus pineapple abomination. Ludicolo even gets to choose if it wants to keep the pace with rain through Swift Swim or keep things slow and steady with Rain Dish and Leech Seed. Outside of rain, however, it's only working off of base 90 Special Attack and average defenses, meaning it can be underwhelming against other team archetypes.

Precipitation's Preparations

Of course, not all rain teams are poorly designed messes. Many of them realize how threatening a lot of the above Pokémon can be. These are a few Pokémon rain teams will typically carry to deal with common anti-rain threats. You'll need a plan to deal with these Pokémon as well.


Breloom has a good matchup against just about every Pokémon listed above. It has the Grass-type STAB to deal with Rotom-W and Gastrodon, the Fighting-type STAB to deal with Tyranitar, Abomasnow, and Ferrothorn, and Spore to shut down anything slower than it it can't kill immediately. Fortunately, Breloom is pretty slow and very frail, taking large chunks of damage from even resisted attacks. Hammer away at it as quick as you can before your active Pokémon start snoozing (though don't be simple about it or you might find yourself attacking during a Protect).


Scizor is a large threat to enemy weather inducers. It sees a lot of usage as rain's token Steel-type as it gives rain a way to quickly dispose of Cresselia and it enjoys the Fire damage reduction rain brings. Versus Scizor, keep your weather inducer sheltered so it doesn't eat a Bullet Punch or Bug Bite while your team's special attackers hammer away at it. Intimidate is also very helpful against Scizor, eventually forcing a switch.


Ludicolo is a bit out of place in this section. It isn't added to a rain team to stop what threatens rain most of the time; it just happens to do so. I thought I'd lend it special mention because it is a huge threat to two of the premier anti-rain checks, Rotom-W and Gastrodon. Ludicolo is very easy to fit onto a rain team and can throw around deadly Grass STAB attacks. Fortunately, it's also very frail and takes neutral damage from a lot of attacking types like Dragon, Fighting, and Electric. Be sure to play your Grass-weak Pokémon cautiously while your partner deals with Ludicolo.


Though it's not seen too often on rain teams, Gastrodon is sometimes seen racking up multiple Storm Drain boosts and switching into Electric-type attacks. It shuts down any Rotom-W lacking Hidden Power Grass with ease, which can be a huge pain if you're relying on it for a good chunk of your anti-rain defense. Try to target Gastrodon on its weaker defense and snipe it with Grass-type attacks.

You Will Get Wet. You Might Get Soaked.

Again, these are just a few simple tips for dealing with rain. Don't ever shut your brain off and think you're 100% indestructible against rain; you're not. There is no magical auto-win strategy for beating rain. Though there are bad rain teams with four Water-types and no Electric resistances you can beat quite easily, they're certainly not all of them. Rain is extremely deadly with a well-built team in the right hands. In fact, a well-put together rain team can be just a normal goodstuffs team with a Politoed and a Swift Swim Pokémon. Don't get overconfident with this advice versus rain; keep these tips as advice when team building and stay alert as you would versus any opponent.

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