Monday, 24 October 2016

[VG] A Devil's Pact -- A Groudon/Yveltal Team Analysis

Hello world. Just yesterday, I've randomed my ass throughwon my first Premier Challenge of the season, and this post will focus on the team I brought. I probably have about as much to write about the circuit we currently have and I'll definitely do that too, just...not right now. That will have to wait for another day. Team report just before going into the last month of VGC 2016 it is.

Team Building and Expectations

My opinion on the format didn't change. I've tryharded it for 6 months and that was absolutely enough. For the last months of it, whenever things weren't looking to go well, I just wanted to have fun at least. An obvious way to do that is to finally play your favorite restricted mon. I've tried to make Yveltal/Kyogre work for quite a while and to no avail. Yveltal/Groudon, on the other hand, I touched only for brief moments just to confirm that it's way too inconsistent for my taste. But now that I don't really care anymore...the inconsistency isn't a problem anymore. I like Arash's idea to add Jumpluff a lot on paper, and even long before that Nats I already considered to run a big-6 variant with Jumpluff -- it's a nice partner to special Groudon (and also to Xerneas if you're using that).

On Saturday, my last 3 of the lineup were Gengar (Mega, Shadow Ball), Talonflame (Choice Band) and Kangaskhan. The first two were mostly added to beat Xerneas. Shadow Ball was there to enable Gengar to hit Groudon and Steels (and also to win Gengar mirrors I guess). Most offensive Talonflame to pick up late-game kills. Last slot could have been anything, really, so I just threw in Kang and said fuck it. Didn't even test the team because I didn't feel like playing Showdown. All right, now to the event. I finished Swiss 3-1 and almost bubbled (again), because this shitty program paired me with two 1-3s (again) all while my only loss was to a player leagues above me (again). Well, turns out my first-round opponent won his last round to go 3-1 and put himself on that heartbreaking 5th place -- so I got in. And then I just lost there. The team had absolutely nothing to deal with Klefki. This Klefki then also proceeded to win the whole thing, and if we also remember the last October PC, then these two winning teams have a thing in common: Prankster and Swagger.

The moment I saw that final play out, I knew I was gonna just throw in Thundurus and resort to the Swagger button for all matchups I can't win "normally". The move is just to good, and we also have established by now that Thundurus is very mediocre in this format if he doesn't have the only right move, as Lega put it. He knew all along. And well, there comes a nice and welcome bonus with it: a decent-ish out to some Speed control. All right, and while I was adding Thundurus, I also really wanted my good old friend Salamence back. Ultimately, the team ended up becoming Arash's six but with different sets in various places.

To describe the differences between my team and the much more famous older one in a nutshell: when Arash is flipping coins in 4 out of 5 turns, I'm flipping coins in just 3 out of 5 turns. This statement may look wrong on paper because I added freaking Swagger, but it's more a thing about my preferred play style: I'm more on the Wolfey/PokéAlex/Lajo side of things, I hate coin flips and I love board control. I appreciate to have many turns where little can go wrong, but the nature of this team archetype simply is that you absolutely can't be safe all the time. That being said, it's very clear that I too wouldn't have won without Sleep Powder doing its job.

The Team

Yveltal @ Life Orb
Ability: Dark Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Sucker Punch
- Knock Off
- Foul Play
- Protect

Set: You know it all, nothing...special here. ツ

Possible changes: I wanna say none. I considered Black Glasses after losing to Life Orb recoil a lot, so I asked Yuri (has anyone ever told you that "Yuree" is an ugly spelling?) about it and he gave me very important bits of information. Long story short: Black Glasses fuck up damage rolls big time. Could be made up with Adamant Nature I guess, but I'm not sure if I'd really want that. It may be a thing for anyone else out there to consider though.
Oh right, and I have a bad HP number for Life Orb here. It's just what I had on my game, so...

Groudon @ Red Orb
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
- Eruption
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Protect

Set: Standard special Groudon. The team will always hate facing Salamence a lot and Rayquaza is annoying too, so Hidden Power is very important.

Possible changes: Without a doubt, Eruption can be a terrible Fire move in a bunch of situations, but just as I said before, Hidden Power is too important. We can't afford a decent alternative Fire move.

Jumpluff @ Focus Sash
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Rage Powder
- Sleep Powder
- Encore
- Protect

Set: Sleep Powder is your trusty RNG to gain positions where none should be gained. Rage Powder is very useful when not facing another Grass type. You'd think that it's really sweet while firing off Eruptions and stuff, but...truth is, I didn't get to do that a lot, because almost everyone ran Kyogre at the event. But even then, Rage Powder was at least useful to control the Raichus, Mawiles, even the Kyogres themselves and what have you. Encore is another way to force win conditions or just be annoying, nothing new here. Protect for keeping the Sash when I want to keep it.
The EVs guarantee a Speed tie on Raichu and give Jumpluff a good chance to not be insta-killed by Return/Frustration Kangaskhans without Intimidate in play.

Possible changes: Safeguard somewhere could be nice. It's just as situational as Encore. Mental Herb to deal with Taunts is also a possibility, but won't help much against Gengars because they'll just outspeed and Sludge Bomb you away before you move. Needs testing and mostly lucky metagame calling, I guess.

Thundurus (M) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Swagger
- Thunderbolt
- Thunder Wave
- Taunt

Set: This has been around forever, the horror of many formats. I never really used bulky before in 2016 and Sash was already in use, so this was a fairly easy decision this time. And on top of that, there's little reason to care about Speed when no less than the whole remaining team run max Speed. It could turn out awkward in Thundurus mirrors though, didn't have to play them. Only Raichus. Way too many of them.

Possible changes: I am very inexperienced with true bulky Thundurus, so the EVs may not be optimal. I just threw on this spread because I was mad at how much damage even uninvested Kyogres do to Thundurus -- Origin Pulse still has a chance to 2HKO, I just kept it as low as possible. Anyway, things to look at: a nice Speed stat that costs as few points as possible, Thunderbolt damage rolls on Kyogres and possible physical threats that I didn't consider at all.
I also thought about a more annoying set with Leftovers and Protect for a bit, but after facing various Bronzong/Kyogre teams, I'm fairly convinced that Taunt Sitrus should still be the way. Without Taunt, all I could do to them under Trick Room would be freaking Swagger, you know, but with Taunt I can limit the Bronzong's options and thus make Groudon useful against Kyogre.

Salamence @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Hyper Voice
- Double-Edge
- Draco Meteor
- Protect

Set: Again, Ydon teams don't like Salamence on the other side of the field. People almost completely stopped running Draco for a while, and they'll all rue the day when they're up against a good old Draco Meteor Salamence. And if someone still runs Life Orb Rayquaza, it also helps with that. Oh yeah, and last but not least I just have to make clear how much better than Talonflame Salamence is: It's just way too hard to keep Talonflame alive as long as I need it, but with Salamence that's no problem at all.

Possible changes: The EVs, definitely. I just grabbed the only Draco one I had in my boxes and it's pretty fucking old. From what I remember from my time with double Primals, some Attack investment is needed to get good rolls on Kyogres. Additionally, it seems that Hasty is better at this point.

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
Level: 50
Happiness: 0
EVs: 84 HP / 124 Atk / 44 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Frustration
- Sucker Punch
- Power-Up Punch
- Fake Out

Set: Again just picked whatever from my boxes, and this was the lucky one. Didn't get to make much use of PUP, it's definitely not as good here as it is in a Xerneas team.

Possible changes: I don't know, just about everything I guess. In the tournament, I picked mostly Salamence. Options range from switching to DE/LK over running random shit like Icy Wind to replacing Kangaskhan completely. The thing basically is that every single Mega including other Kangs discourages me from using Kang and she doesn't help a whole lot in big-6 matchups as well. I consider Gengar again a likely candidate for taking the spot, or maybe even a non-Mega something. And Mawile probably not because it's just too helpless against Groudon and Bronzong when its purpose would be to beat all the common friends of these two.

Closing Words

Yeah, the team's quite unoptimized and chances are I'll not do too much on my own to improve it. If you really have no idea how to consistently force wins though (or, you're just a player who never loved safety to begin with), the team should be decent. No idea what else to say. Tweet me questions if you have some, I guess. Good night.

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