Friday, 17 July 2015

[VG] Quicksand Experiments (Featuring Togekiss)

(Artist: EnyaAdiemus)

Hello friends. I could have made another pun title here, but...sorry, no, not this time. I don't think this team is outright terrible or something -- it just ended up not being what I specifically wanted from my team. Thus, I didn't bring it to any bigger tournament. But still, I think the idea may be worth exploring a bit more, so here it is for anyone who needs some inspiration.

Turning the Known into Something Individual

We are starting somewhere before UK Nats (I posted the corresponding team last week, go check it out if you haven't already). In order to make sure I was definitely bringing the right party to the event that matters, I threw it into Battle Spot but changed at least one slot in every session. Before UK specifically, I only did this with (at least for me) fairly obvious slots. To mentally picture what I did, just take the eventual UK team as a basis, as I explain what changes I tried and why I rejected them.

Early Changes

Focus Sash Bisharp over Aegislash. This happens to constitute a party I saw Shinon using, probably successfully. I never changed my view from Bisharp being an outright bad Pokémon, but well, it's clear that Bisharp is a sound fit with 3 different physical attackers in the team already. And out of all Items to use for Bisharp, Focus Sash probably is the best one. It mitigates the fatal coin-flipping issue which is exactly one of the reasons why Bisharp is such a problematic mon to begin with, effectively increasing its consistency level from "painfully low" all the way to "acceptable". And as practice turned out, it really wasn't a bad way to fill the slot. I just felt Aegislash was still better after all, just personal preference and the desire to not be stuck with a triple Fighting weakness if I don't absolutely have to.

Choice Scarf Milotic over Azumarill, obviously. The beautiful beast that I created with my own hands, some of you may still be writhing in painful memories, hahaha. It was an interesting fit for the team as well, still very playable and with a nice arsenal of tricks at its disposal. I ended up rejecting it in the end because I felt like it took a bit more away than it gave. As in, Milotic was good but Azumarill was excellent. Azumarill was much more defensively solid and nigh invulnerable to Speed control, still had a semblance of the speed in form of a priority move and, again, dealt with Fighting types much better.

Traditional Togekiss over Amoonguss. Sitrus, Tailwind, the usual stuff, no surprises. Tailwind is a nice little trick we saw in Stuttgart's Seniors final (on the Salamence there) and there definitely was theoretical value in it, because out of all Speed manipulation methods out there, Tailwind is the one this team fears the most, so matching it with a Tailwind of its own is and has to be a possible answer. I ended up dropping the Togekiss soon again because its typing hurt me more than it helped. I may have gotten an usually bad draw of matchups though, as then for some reason were the Mawile days on Battle Spot for me. Mawile was a terrifying matchup without Amoonguss, and with Trick Room joining it I had an auto-loss that even Air Slash luck couldn't steal me out of alone.

And then UK Nats happened. You know the story. I was forced back to the drawing board again.

Encountering "Team RNG"

As I went with the Azumarill team unchanged on Battle Spot a bit more after the fact, I ran into Trainer Blacky from Italy with an 18XX rating I believe. Do you know them? The team was Salamence, Tyranitar, Excadrill, Sableye, Eelektross and Aegislash. Let me draw your attention to the Sableye first: It had Safety Goggles with Will-O-Wisp, Confuse Ray, Taunt and Recover. See, this is why Amoonguss is complete fucking shit -- I was legitimately unable to deal with this little pest, lol. I was fortunate enough that I still somehow brought the game's decision only to losing the Salamence Speed tie, but man, this was an ordeal!

Of course, it wasn't just the Sableye alone. At least two Rock Slides (if not even a third and a fourth, wtf) in it as well. The Eelektross could possibly introdice freaking Discharge on top of that, but I never saw it. And the Tyranitar...please take a deep breath, friends, ...had a Quick Claw of all things. This team was a living nightmare, I can see no one ever wanting to face it. So many ways to steal games from you when things were going to shit! You may have caught me sending warnings on my Twitter, and it turns out they worked, judging from how this guy, well, did not make top cut at IT Nats after all.

Now Sableye was a mon I was very familiar with from good old 2013. What I had just seen was enough to convince me to go and try it out myself again. I didn't just copy the complete RNG madness though. My draft was Salamence, Excadrill, Tyranitar with the regular Scarf, the same Sableye, Aegislash and a semi-offensive Hidden Power Ground Mega Venusaur. That was my own take of "team RNG", with less RNG and hopefully more consistency. It played weirdly, that's all I can say about it. I still think there was some merit to this particular double Mega choice, but there was no way of me ever growing comfortable with it simply because I had a lot of games where I brought Sableye and it did absolutely nothing of value. So this ended up being an adventure just as short as the in-game sessions before UK.

Dodrio Cup and Final Italy Preparation

And that was going on as well! While I would have had my Charizard team to use no matter what, I voluntarily opened up the option of bringing the sand to it, because I simply liked it at least as much (especially for Bo1; Charizard is a complete Bo1-hazard to me). I was unable to use my exact Nats team from before though, because both of my team mates had big interests in running Amoonguss, whereas I had the least problems in giving it up. Sableye/Venusaur as introduced above would have been a possibility, but you know, I didn't like it. I had to try out some more shit.

2013-style Life Orb Breloom and the generic anti-metagame Gastrodon are the most notable things I also tried in some ways and that didn't make any final team. Breloom as the substitute shroom basically was the sum of all the bad things about Amoonguss and Bisharp, so yeah, I didn't exactly feel good with that. If we're doing this kind of thing, we're keeping it at Sash Bisharp for at least some kind of safety period. And then Gastrodon, there wasn't a whole lot I could have done wrong with it, and there probably is a reasonable number of people who would agree. There were two main things I didn't like about it: first, the terrible Speed without any hotfix, which always was a potential of bad things to happen. Second, I felt like I wanted to bring Gastrodon against almost everyone, and thus I ended up at bad team preview games. As in, I'd actually want 5 mons per game and whichever I dropped, it had a huge potential to hurt me, but I would only know mid-game.

What I eventually settled with was a new Togekiss, as I'm showing it to you in the next section. Ultimately, the team ended up falling apart exactly for the same reason as the expectable Gastrodon build: It had theorymonical answers to virtually anything and even a nice load of tricks, but it really wasn't as streamlined as the original team from Japan anymore, and this hurt my playing especially in a Bo1 setting. I lost various practice games because I simply made decisions that didn't match well with my opponents' decisions. I also lost my Dodrio game...and that one against freaking Linoone of all things. I could john all the way now why this should only in happen in 1 out of 8 attempts at best or something, but who cares, I lost and that's all that matters. Anyway, all of this influenced my mindset negatively.

So, a few days before the final Nationals, I found myself in the middle of despair. I no longer had any team which I thought would be the definite right thing to bring. The trip was booked and all, so there was no good reason to just not go. I didn't seriously believe I could achieve anything there, and just decided to go with the Togekiss as a Hail Mary, and who knows, maybe I'd actually get a good day somehow. It wasn't cleanly better than the more expected quicksand builds, but it was different in a good way, and in case I did well with it, that would be even better.

But then, in the middle of the night, I got an entirely different idea, which made me drop the Togekiss team only some hours before I left for Italy. About that one I'll talk next week and you can very much look forward to that, because it's a really great team, I would say. But for now, here finally is the Togekiss team in all its glory! (No nickname theme this time because I'd have properly assembled that just before leaving, but didn't care enough to do it for online play only.)

The Team

Togekiss (F) @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Serene Grace
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Def / 4 SpA / 84 SpD / 60 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 1 Atk
- Air Slash
- Follow Me
- Thunder Wave
- Roost

And here it is, the new Togekiss and face of the team, Amoonguss replacement with a few nifty advantages in fact. Safety Goggles let it mimic Amoonguss's Grass-type assets a bit, sending status ailments past Rage Powders most noteworthily. With the damaging weather in my own team, I'm probably not putting forth too much effort in hiding the thing, but it's clear that I wouldn't even use it if it solely relied on the surprise. And then we apparently have Thunder Wave over Tailwind, which I think is underexplored and not an absolutely perfect, but still a good fit for this kind of team. With this, I have pretty solid and permanent Speed control over fast mons (or whatever Tailwind shit out there) that are neither Electric nor Ground type. Electric isn't a problem, because Tyranitar/Excadrill deal with them well enough, and Rotom just isn't fast enough to be worth Paralyzing anyway. Ground, on the other hand, definitely is a problem...which I should have some other slots for, at least.

Roost is just a slot I randomly tried because why not, might as well go and try if I can keep my status spammer around longer manually, now that I can't even have a Sitrus Berry and Leftovers are outright pointless. I'm not entirely certain if it's really worth not having Protect, but yeah, whenever I ran into a team that couldn't hammer into Togekiss with super-effective STABs easily, it was generally useful. Good old Air Slash, who would have thought, for the occasional flinch magic. Always glorious to troll an Aegislash so full of itself into Blade form without even getting an attack off.

The stats are slightly less physically defensive than they used to be. It still survives common Iron Heads, and not having to worry about residual damage as much made it easier. Better special bulk was definitely needed in this format of Aegislash, Thundurus and Charizard, and even going Calm eventually has again become a valid option. Finally, I kept the Speed for any uninvested Cresselias I might end up facing. Didn't happen, I'd have done nothing wrong with just throwing these points into Special Defense as well...

Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 84 SpA / 20 SpD / 148 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 6 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Hydro Pump
- Will-O-Wisp
- Protect

And here's the generic Ground check. I have said pretty much everything about it in the old Salamence team article, and the points from then still stand: It's just too small and tender for the tough workload it has to cope with. However, I can see it being very well less disappointing in Cybertron's new Incarnate Landorus sand team that he got top 4 at US Nats with, because that very Landorus takes a lot of the heat off Rotom (no pun intended).

All that being said, I blame both Rotom and Togekiss for losing multiple games to stupid Therian Landorus endgames. This was one of the most frustrating things about this specific team, and reassured me in making a strong point in hating Landorus at the team-building stage as much as possible.

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 last new slot, that shall be the infamous German sword. With how I introduced more Fairy vulnerability (and Landorus vulnerability, naturally), everything pointed towards Wide Guard, so I gave in. At the same time, I'd given up the 3-fast-3-slow layout and introduced an obvious Trick Room weakness this way. Substitute is useful for fixing that; if there is no Marowak in any team involving Trick Room, chances are that it really hates to face Sublefties Aegislash.

EV explanation I postpone to next week, since this slot will make a reappearance. It's a bit random though, so if anyone thinks they have a really good one, I'm absolutely interested.

The other 3 slots remained unchanged compared to what I posted last week, so I'm just leaving them here uncommented. I'll be back next week with my real season-ending team, and you shall not be disappointed. Other than that, there's someone else who tried to change the basic team up a bit as well and in a completely different way. You may want to check out his Report on Nugget Bridge too.

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

(Yes, it's just a "fake Togekiss/Excadrill" this time around. The real one doesn't deal too well with the metagame anymore...)

Tyranitar (M) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Rock Slide
- Assurance
- Ice Punch
- Superpower

Salamence (F) @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hyper Voice
- Dragon Pulse
- Flamethrower
- Protect

No comments:

Post a Comment