NU Teambuilding 102: Cores

By Raseri. Art by Bummer.
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When you are new to a tier, most of your initial questions will be those that revolve around how to build a good team, what Pokémon are good to use, and what to use on a particular team. One of the best ways to learn how to play in new tiers is to take what has already been established as great and work with that. There is no need to work from the ground up! In this article, I've outlined a few of the most effective cores in NU, which are great starting points for a variety of different teamstyles, so no matter what you're thinking of using, you should be able to find something that can help you out!


Skuntank + Primeape

The best counters to Primeape are Musharna and Misdreavus, and Skuntank handles both of them very well. Indeed, the fact that it is immune to Toxic and Psychic, as well as resisting Shadow Ball, allows Skuntank to be one of the best counters to almost all of the Ghost- and Psychic-types in NU. For its part, Primeape can use U-turn a lot early in the game to weaken its common switch-ins, hence bringing Skuntank in for free and making its job easier in the process. However, Primeape can do quite a bit to make things easier for Skuntank as well. Primeape is able to remove Pokémon such as Probopass and Golem, which can both take advantage of Skuntank's presence. Thus, the two together form an effective offensive core that is able to take advantage of a lot of balanced teams, though they are walled by Alomomola if Skuntank lacks Taunt.


Scolipede + Seismitoad

Scolipede and Seismitoad together are one of the most effective hazard-setting cores in NU. It is a primarily offensive core that makes use of Scolipede's high Speed to set up Spikes or Toxic Spikes and Seismitoad's great typing and bulk to set up Stealth Rock. Seismitoad also matches up well against most of the leads that give Scolipede trouble, most notably Rock Blast Golem and standard Regirock. On the other hand, Scolipede is able to use its powerful Megahorn to damage the Grass-types that Seismitoad can't hurt at all. Despite being a primarily offensive core, they work in tandem excellently on more balanced teams as well. Bulky Scolipede and bulky Seismitoad together are able to set up hazards just as effectively as their offensive counterparts!


Probopass + Jynx

When you look at the most common checks to Jynx in NU, you'll notice they have a lot in common. Metang, Klang, Probopass, and Bastiodon are all Steel-types. What's the best way to defeat Steel-type Pokémon? Magnet Pull. Magnet Pull Probopass is essentially the best partner Choice Scarf Jynx could ever want. It is able to remove many of its most common counters, and can also set up Stealth Rock as an added bonus. It even has Volt Switch to get Jynx in for free! More defensive Probopass sets also work very well with Jynx, as they can use Toxic to wear down other Jynx checks, while still having Earth Power with which to threaten Steel-types. Jynx does not support Probopass nearly as much as it supports her. However, Probopass is very self-sufficient in its goals and generally does not need assistance from other Pokémon to accomplish them.


Zangoose + Swellow

Spamming STAB Normal-type moves used to have a reputation as one of the most consistently successful playstyles in NU. With the Pokémon that resist Normal-type moves in NU all being easily exploitable, it is easy to see why running more than one Normal-type can be effective. Zangoose has Close Combat, which allows it to break through the Rock- and Steel-types that wall Swellow. Swellow can take advantage of this through its blistering Speed—it is one of the fastest Pokémon in NU—in order to finish off the opponent. In fact, the only common Pokémon that can outspeed it are Choice Scarf users! Swellow is also able to support Zangoose through its access to U-turn. When a Rock-type switches in, Swellow can U-turn out of it and go straight to Zangoose, activating its Toxic Orb and also allowing it to fire off a Toxic Boost Close Combat! Another bonus to having similar checks and counters is that you can always sacrifice one of your two sweepers for a little extra damage so that the other can prosper. Sacrificing Swellow in order to weaken a common counter that it has with Zangoose could potentially allow Zangoose to start a sweep of its own!


Alomomola + Audino

Alomomola and Audino form one of the most effective defensive cores in NU. Both Pokémon have the ability Regenerator, which allows them to recover HP just by switching out, and access to Wish, which allows them to effectively support the rest of the team as well as each other. What gives them such great synergy is the lack of common weaknesses that Alomomola and Audino have. The biggest threats to Alomomola, powerful special attackers, are often walled by Audino due to its great Special Defense, while Alomomola is effortlessly able to take on the Fighting-types that scare Audino away. Indeed, the ability to switch around without worrying nearly as much about entry hazards as other cores makes Alomomola and Audino one of the most effective defensive cores in NU!


Torterra + Charizard

Charizard obviously hates Stealth Rock with a passion, as losing 50% of its HP just by switching in prevents it from sweeping teams. In particular, Choice Specs Charizard prefers being as healthy as possible, as it switches in and out a lot during the match. Enter Choice Band Torterra, a Pokémon capable of defeating nearly every common Stealth Rock user. Access to Bullet Seed is the primary factor that makes Torterra such a great Charizard partner, as the removal of the Rock- and Water-type Pokémon that can wall it makes sweeping much easier. Charizard is able to take out the Grass-types that wall Torterra so easily —Tangela being the most dangerous counter to Torterra—while Torterra can eliminate Golem, Regirock, and any other Pokémon that thinks about setting up Stealth Rock while it's on the prowl. This excellent offensive synergy makes Charizard and Torterra great partners. Their solid defensive synergy only adds to the power of the duo!


Starting with a common core is a simple way to learn the ins and outs of a tier. There is no need to start from scratch when learning something new; working with what has already been established is an effective way of learning! Hopefully after some experience with these common cores, you'll be able to come up with your own and top the ladder!

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