Friday, 24 July 2015

[VG] A Diamond in Hills of Sand

(click to enlarge)

Hello friends. This is it, my final team for the season as far as CP events go. At the same time, it's my best not only for the year but quite a long time instead. I'd have really loved to present it on Nugget Bridge, but alas, the results, the bloody results... Italian Nationals would actually have been a top cut appearance at the very least, but as you all know, I fucked up in the silliest way possible. This is not the team's fault. Then there also was the June International Challenge, which I probably would have had to win in order for anyone to care -- I lost a few close games too many, and thus finished thirtysomethingth globally, at a flat 80% win ratio with 24-6. Again, it's not the team's fault when I make a wrong play in literally one turn and end up losing just because of it. A team isn't there to hold your hands or something -- you are the Trainer, and the Trainer makes the decisions. With this one, I personally am enabled to make the best decisions.

Well, that's probably already more introductory rambling than there should be, really. Let's get going!

A Nighttime of Piecing It Together

I originally had intended to bring the Togekiss team, as shown last week, to Italy. Then I lost my confidence in it while using it, completely realizing that my own playing did play a solid part in the difficulties as well. Well, I don't know about you, but I just can't force myself to play better on command -- especially when half of it is based on losing the team-preview game, or stuff like that. Thus, all that really is in my power to change is the team. So let's blame the team because I can, I must be a terrible leader. *cough*

I frantically looked through all my options that remained, less than a full day before leaving. Of all teams I practiced with, none convinced me anymore, and further practice was only setting me up for failure at this point, because I was playing shit and by playing shit I would just ruin everything for my spirits. I was even as desperate as trying some Charizard/Talonflame Tailwind noob-mode trash, and...yeah, I already regretted it less than 3 games in. So I made another new team and this time I skipped the testing part but instead decided I'd go with it blindly. I knew well enough why every slot was what it was and there's not a whole lot more I could possibly ask for before an extremely important tournament.

Eventually, I registered, got my Battle Box locked and all that stuff, no going back allowed. It was only then that rumors of the tournament possibly being Best-of-Three Swiss were spreading, and ironically enough, it was exactly the only time in pretty much my life that I would have really hated this idea, hahaha. Yes, there may be a chance my team would be just fine in Bo3. Yes, I am a better Bo3 than Bo1 player. Yes, my team would be forced to play Bo3 anyway in case I was doing well. But still, I most definitely made this team choice based on the assumption that I would be playing Bo1 Swiss as usual, and that's the mindset I locked my Battle Box with! If we really had gotten Bo3, I'd still have wanted the Togekiss team, but yeah, that option was no longer available due to my Battle Box being locked. Fortunately, they spared my soul from the worst good news ever, and we played Bo1 as intended.

At team preview, I would look exactly like one of all those countless Cybertron copycats out there. It was more a coincidence than actually intended (not denying the inspiration though!), but most definitely I sought to take advantage of people going in with assumptions fatally wrong. I didn't want to care about what they could possibly do to make my exclusive tricks useless before I actually had that bloody Worlds trip in reach. Bo1 misinformation has stung me so often in my long time playing this game, now I wanted to be on the other end of it for once (insert evil laughter here ツ).

The Team

Get You Too (Rotom-Wash) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 12 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Hydro Pump
- Volt Switch
- Will-O-Wisp

And the Scarf Rotom is the one big surprise I have to offer. With the old-fashioned semi-offensive/defensive Sitrus Rotom, I got myself into bad endgames again and again, because I most of the time expected it to do more than it was actually able to handle -- most prominently, protect me from Landorus. But you know, it's Landorus. Landorus can do a lot of things, and he has three friends as well. Not counting your usual Rock Slide cheese, he would usually just U-turn out early game till he is no longer threatened. Right in Rotom's face. There hardly was danger in just targeting the Rotom with it as well, because its partner tended to be no threat. Now enter Choice Scarf. See that foolish Landorus attempt to get away again soaked to immediate death with an 80% chance. Now this is the kind of play that can bring you some momentum!

Thunderbolt and Hydro Pump are the main attacking moves, no way around them. I'm not using the supposedly more consistent Hidden Power Ice because it's just too weak to OHKO anything, and even if I'd somehow get it to do its job, I'd be most certainly locked into an absolutely terrible move afterwards, and lose momentum right again. Being locked into Hydro means that yes, of course I can see a miss, but it still at least is a threat to neutral targets and thus can't be just ignored. Volt Switch synergizes extremely well with a team completely loaded with Abilities that reward switching as well as great defensive typings. Aside from generally useful repositioning shenanigans, it most prominently lets me have an easier time winning that annoying weather war against Charizards -- unless they have, well, a Lightningrod user... And finally, Will-O-Wisp fills the last slot because I like to have an answer to obvious Sucker Punches and because I still like to put a mon or two on a countdown when the situation calls for it.

One could say, this Rotom technically is an Electric-type Scarf Milotic that trades an oft-useless Competitive Ability for some nice team mobility.

As ridiculous as the EV spread looks, it's probably good enough. Outspeeds Adamant Scarf Landorus and Jolly Mega Aerodactyl, has a 16n-1 HP number for my own sand and the maximum possible damage output. I'm fine with losing possible Speed ties with occasional other Scarf Rotoms because they (unless Mow) couldn't threaten mine, and having the slower Volt Switch means that I have the final say in what mons will be on the field after the turn. I have never seen it be outsped though, not even a rogue Jolly Landorus came my way.

Another One (Excadrill) (F) @ Life Orb
Ability: Sand Rush
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Rock Slide
- Drill Run
- Iron Head
- Protect

Back to running Drill Run. It's just more flexible and Earthquake hardly seems to be worth it ever, from my experience. Since I've never said it before, I like to put the 4 leftover effort points into Defense over HP because of Breloom: with 4/0, a max damage roll Mach Punch kills, and with 0/4 it doesn't.

Excadrill easily is one of my favorite mons in this format. In a way, it's like a Greninja, except it's leagues better because it doesn't come with Greninja's problems. First, it can't be stopped by Thunder Wave. Second, it's even faster. Third, it has a really helpful (and permanent) defensive typing. And if we then also look at the base stats... They are almost the best ever. Not only is the Attack absolute perfect for inflicting major damage, it's also fast enough to outspeed Timid Smeargles outside of sand, and then it even has enough bulk to survive a bunch of non-STAB or weaker STAB super-effective attacks without investment. (Well, in fact, this sucker Therian Landorus that everyone else uses as a Ground type happens to have better stats basically everywhere -- but he doesn't have the Steel type and that's quite a big deal for me.)

BitesTheDust (Tyranitar) (M) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Rock Slide
- Assurance
- Superpower
- Protect

All hail the King of VGC. I don't even know what we all were thinking when we believed Tyranitar was dead. I can only speak for myself, and what I can say about this issue is that I've only used Scarftar before, and Scarftar still is a random prince of mediocrity to me. Which brings me right to this set. I have actually used it a bit before, when I tried Scarf Milotic with the team, as explained in the previous article. I don't even know how it hasn't made it to my final teams earlier, because it was really good -- maybe I felt like I definitely had to put a Choice Scarf somewhere or something, I really don't know... (Well, Scarftar isn't completely without advantages: It can hit Kangs and non-Scarf Landos hard and fast.)

Now we all know that Tyranitar (most likely because Scarf is generally assumed) is a very popular target for status ailments. We also know that this Tyranitar/Excadrill/Salamence trios hates bulky Waters more than anything else and just having a Rotom won't solve this issue on its own. Normally, they would have a habit of getting Tyranitar Scald Burned and then congratulations, you suddenly have a painfully weak slot and it's on a countdown as well! Lum Berry turns the tables on them hard. With Lum Berry, you suddenly can spam Rock Slides on them -- and they're usually still slower -- without any fear of a Scald Burn happening. Unless they're willfully wasting the Lum Berry before, but you know, if they do that, they're not doing something possibly more productive with that slot. Seeing people bring Thundurus against me is especially funny, between two mons completely immune to Thunder Wave and then this Tyranitar that just doesn't care as well. And then there's also the nice bonus of having a mon that doesn't fear Dark Void, is able to Protect and even threatens the user.

The moveset shouldn't be too surprising otherwise, for me at least. Powering up Assurance has become even easier with this team and can do some things Crunch can't, so naturally I'm still using it. And Low Kick is still too weak, so I'm still not using it. And the Fighting move over anything else it still is because I have high interest in threatening/removing a bunch of Fighting-weak mons. The absolutely generic EV spread is needed for exactly that as well, because there's no outspeeding Bisharp without Jolly max Speed and I always want to do as much damage as possible with my offensive mons.

PlentyOfWays (Salamence) (F) @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Hyper Voice
- Double-Edge
- Flamethrower
- Protect

This is the only slot that changed between Nats and the IC. At Nats, I still had the generic special set. Afterwards, a few people talked me into trying Double-Edge as a way of hitting Charizard harder. Charizard usually comes with Wide Guard, so if Rock Slide is my only way of threatening it much, yeah, I have a problem. Charizard's special bulk almost feels like Snorlax-level ridiculous on neutral and unboosted targets, so you just want to hit it physically, period. I should have given Double-Edge a chance way before, but I was hesitant on it because I really hated to ruin my stats for it (and I already had unfortunate experiences using another mixed Salamence before, that may have negatively influenced me too). And then I just did it and never looked back, go figure. Screw those Dragon mirrors; having a worse position in them doesn't hurt as much as having Double-Edge helps in a lot of other cases. Flamethrower obviously had to stay because a team without a Fire move has to be a no-go.

And here we are looking at yet another boring EV spread because I simply have no idea what else I should run. First and foremost, I still want it to fulfill the job of a special Salamence, which is to rack up damage by spamming Aerilate Hyper Voice (and also not making the Flamethrower even more pathetic than it already is). Double-Edge never was more than a tech in this team, and in an ideal world I wouldn't even have to think about whether it kills something or not. One could imagine looking at calcs against Sylveon, Charizard and neutral Water types, but this happens to be quite a futile effort with what varying EV spreads they tend to have. And good players generally tend to make sure to optimize the physical bulk on them, so straight Double-Edge OHKOs are growing even more unfeasible for me. Hence, just chip them with whatever first and blast them off anyway with Double-Edge afterwards, easy.

Oh right, I wanted to include some talk about the choice of Nature. Timid was the first that got rejected, because it ruins Double-Edge's damage output in a way that I just can't imagine to be worth keeping the old bulk. And then Hasty I'd say is the ideal Nature in theory, because Mega Salamence has a natural talent to survive weaker Ice Beams or Hidden Powers, while on the physical side only ranges are shifted a bit and that is all. But still, I did end up going with Naive anyway because I considered the survival of repeated physical hits both more important and effective in this team. You know, I should be having that sand going a lot of the time, and then...yeah, randomly surviving Ice hits suddenly isn't as good anymore! And on the other hand, Intimidate Shuffling doesn't end up becoming unnecessarily risky.

Cheat Him (Amoonguss) (F) @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 212 Def / 44 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 4 Atk / 0 Spe
- Giga Drain
- Spore
- Rage Powder
- Protect

Yay, it's Amoonguss, everyone's favorite bag of pulp. It returned in favor of Togekiss because it has the more useful typing after all, and I always feared Kangaskhan and Bisharp a bit whenever I didn't have it. I still hate Safety Goggles and all that other stuff that could potentially punish Amoonguss, but still there is this nice thing about sand in particular that it helps you discover Safety Goggles before you walk straight into them. The sad/good part is...I can't rememember ever finding some when it actually mattered, hahaha.

So, about this EV spread now... It basically does the same as my non-sand one from way before: optimize between Metagross and Hydreigon. But...well...since the HP number of the old one apparently was even better than the new one, I have legitimately forgotten some other detail over the weeks or I in fact made a new spread for no sane reason. Weird. That's what I get for not taking notes of absolutely everything, total failure... But well, it has done its job anyway. I'm sorry to disappoint you who might have expected something great now. If I ever remember the full reasoning (if there is any), I shall reveal it to you.

StandTheHeat (Aegislash) (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 76 SpA / 100 SpD / 68 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 6 Atk
- Shadow Ball
- Wide Guard
- Substitute
- King's Shield

And the German sword once more, probably best sixth slot as usual (or should I say, whenever Gengar actually isn't the best sixth slot). Wide Guard is effective for locking a bunch of popular mons out of games and Substitute is needed because I can't beat Trick Room without it. The EV spread is now, for a change, actually interesting, but still somewhat random. Because I liked the bulk of the Weakness Policy set from before a lot, I took that as an inspiration and haven't given up much of it. I don't remember if this particular Special Attack stat does anything more than just give me an additional point. (But my attempt to reverse-engineer it reveals to me that Shadow Ball is a guaranteed 2HKO on 4/0 Mega Salamence with one round of sand, at least, should that ever matter...) Finally, the Speed is kinda arbitrary but it's very important. I wanted to make sure that I have the faster Aegislash in Aegislash mirrors but at the same time not lose the benefits of being slow against everything else. A Speed stat of 90 is a common Tailwind threshold and any Tailwind Sylveons should most definitely go at least for that, so I put my Aegislash just 1 point below at 89 so they can't answer my Shadow Ball with whatever move they have to hit Aegislash, should they really be fast. So yeah, that is the arbitrary part. And I wouldn't be surprised if there actually are a lot of even faster Aegislashes now, because everyone who runs Sublefties to begin with would be interested in having the faster Aegislash, really. It's kinda stupid and one of the various reasons why I'm really no big Aegislash fan at all. At the end of the day Aegislash is cancer, you know.

No comments:

Post a Comment