Saturday, February 13, 2016

VGC '16 Team/Core Showcase #1 - The Showdown Special

Welcome to a new series. The idea of this series is simple. With some popular teams and cores out there, why not do a series where I take a look at each of them and write about what they can do and maybe shed some light on them. The first one is the one I like to call the Showdown Special. This team is the standard and the best intro team in my opinion to use when you start playing VGC '16.

The team we'll be talking about today
kangaskhan-megagroudon-primalxerneastalonflamesalamence-mega
Why use this team?
  1. Easy to use if your trying to get a better understanding of this team or the format in general
  2. Can function either under the opponent's Trick Room or it's own Tailwind
  3. A very versatile team
  4. Multiple viable lead combos to consider using
Going into each individual member
groudon-primal
Groudon @ Red Orb
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 228 HP / 188 SpA / 92 SpD
Quiet Nature
- Earth Power
- Eruption
-  Flamethrower
- Protect

This is a simple special Groudon set. It's designed to hit hard and be slow to try to get it's sun up. The reason it has a slow speed stat is for Trick Room. Groudon can stay slow and benefit from both forms of speed control in Tailwind and Trick Room. It works really well with Xerneas since it can deal with Pokémon that resist Xerneas' stab like Ferrothorn and Bronzong. The EV Spread is designed to survive Earth Power from opposing Timid Groudon and from Timid Landorus-Therian holding a Life Orb, but if it's from Landorus-Incarnate, you might want to watch out.

xerneas
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Geomancy
- Moonblast
- Protect
- Dazzling Gleam

The standard way of running Xerneas, it relies on getting that Geomancy set up and thanks to that Power Herb, it can turn a 2 turn set up move into a 1 turn set up move. Moonblast and Dazzling Gleam are the best for Xerneas. I have seen Grass Knot and HP Ground, but those are pretty niche moves and should only be used for those situations when it's needed. The EV Spread is designed to hit hard and hit fast, which if you can set up a Geomancy, you'll most certainly be doing that.

kangaskhan-mega
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Double-Edge
- Low Kick
- Sucker Punch
- Fake Out

A pretty simple Kangaskhan set that uses it's natural bulk to deal damage. A 252 in Attack and Speed and a Jolly Nature allows Kangaskhan do major damage and take those hits. You can use an alternative EV Spread of 4 HP / 172 Atk / 76 Def / 4 SpD  252 Spe that takes a Low Kick from Mega Kangaskhan and while it wasn't calced for, you can take Dazzling Gleam from +2 Xerneas after the drop from spread damage. Double-Edge is the best move for a Jolly Kangaskhan since Return just doesn't do enough damage unless you have a Adamant Kangaskhan. Low Kick is your move for steel types and opposing Kangaskhan. Sucker Punch is your way of hitting things before they can try and attack, and then you have Fake Out to help with set-up, which I'll go more into later.

talonflame
Talonflame @ Life Orb
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Brave Bird
- Flare Blitz
- Tailwind
- Protect

The Smogon Bird from VGC '14 makes a triumphant return onto another standard team. Talonflame is caught doing the same thing from VGC '14: Hit hard while killing itself. It can do that with it's staple moves of Brave Bird and Flare Blitz. Another heavy offensive EV Spread allows Talonflame to do damage while killing itself with recoil damage. Tailwind is the supportive move to use for speed control and use it's ability to do it quickly. Other options are Quick Guard, Will-O-Wisp, and Taunt to help your Talonflame play a bigger role.

salamence-mega
Salamence @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 Atk/ 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naïve Nature
- Hyper Voice
- Draco Meteor
- Double-Edge
- Protect

Salamence is your other Mega for the team. It's main job is to be brought to situations where Kangaskhan wouldn't have a good time. The moveset is ripped from Aaron Zheng's (Cybertron) 2015 US Nationals set since it still functions in this metagame. Hyper Voice is the spread move for causing major damage to 2 targets, Draco Meteor is your Dragon stab for Pokémon like Mega Rayquaza and opposing Mega Salamence, and Double-Edge is essentially your nuke move for just blasting targets of the battlefield.  The EV Spread has changed those. A slower or less offensive spread isn't the best since you need to outspeed opposing Salamence and Rayquaza so you can try to take them out with a Draco Meteor.



Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Moody
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Dark Void
- Wide Guard/ Follow Me
- Fake Out
- Spiky Shield

The last member is without a doubt, the most controversial Pokémon in this metagame. The reason is that Smeargle is the only Pokémon that has access to Dark Void and Moody, so it can bulk itself up, increase it's accuracy, and make it faster so Smeargle can be more annoying. The EV Spread was made by Randy Kwa (R Inanimate) and after a Defense boost from Moody, you can survive a Power-Up Punch from Mega Kangaskhan. Dark Void is your most known move, and for a good reason. 80% chance to put a target to sleep and you can do that to both targets makes it 2 good to pass up, as well also better than Spore. Wide Guard was changed from Follow Me because it can help with the rampage of spread moves (Eruption, Precipice Blades, Origin Pulse, Water Spout, Dazzling Gleam, etc.), which is helpful. Fake Out to help set up. Spiky Shield is your Protect, but also when a target's physical hits that go into the move, they'll take a little damage. Follow Me is still a good option instead of Wide Guard.

Other members to consider
  1. for: A bulkier Tailwind setter
  2. for : A more focused Trick Room option
  3. for: If you choose Cresselia, then you can use it as a Trick Room option
  4. for : Bronzong creates a slow mode that can help a slower Groudon and also adds another answer for Xerneas, which Cresselia doesn't help with to much
Possible Lead Combos to consider
  1. : An offensive pin of Eruption/Flamethrower from Groudon and Dazzling Gleam from Xerneas that is hard to stop once it starts. Groudon can take the steel types out of the picture while Xerneas sets up and sweeps.
  2. : Khan-Artist. Kangaskhan can use Fake Out while Smeargle goes for Dark Void. Very prominent duo from way back in VGC 2014.
  3. : Smeargle and use Fake Out while Xerneas goes for Geomancy. Smeargle can also Follow Me to help Xerneas set up.
  4. : Talonflame can use Tailwind so Groudon can get off powerful Eruption. This lead is weak to Kyogre if it can get it's weather up first.
  5. : Kangaskhan can use Fake Out while Xerneas can use Geomancy. Functions very similarly to the Xerneas/Smeargle lead above. Also like the VGC 2014 lead of Kangaskhan/Gardevoir or the VGC 2015 lead of Kangaskhan/Sylveon, just with a new Fairy type to use.
  6. : Talonflame can use Tailwind to help Kangaskhan get off guaranteed hits. Functions similarly to Talonflame/Groudon, just more off a physically offensive lead.
What to do if your trapped under Trick Room?
  1. Your slow Groudon will be able to move early to use Eruption with good health
  2. Talonflame can use priority Brave Bird
  3. Xerneas will be bulky enough to take hits and dish out more hits
Proof of how strong this team is
  1. Markus Stadter was able to win the 2016 Stockholm Regional with these 6
  2. Randy Kwa has piloted a variant of these 6, just swapping Kangaskhan for Espeon
  3. Consistently makes the top of the ladder on Pokémon Showdown and Battle Spot
  4. My friend Nelson Pinero got 10th Place with this team at the Wakefield Regional, which was his very first Regional
  5. It has won 3 Regionals with these 6 and has made Top Cut at many events with these 6 or variations
How to beat/ handle this team
  1. Kyogre and Ferrothorn: can use it's bulk and take control of the weather
  2. Alex Gomez's Regional Runner Up team from Wakefield was equipped with ways to handle these 6. His team was Bronzong, Groudon, Kyogre, Smeargle, Talonflame, and Mawile
  3. Trick Room can turn the possible fast nature of this team into a disadvantage
  4. Ho-Oh can handle the team to an extent, but if Groudon carries a Rock move, it can be pretty difficult
  5. Thundurus can handle 4/6 of the team (Thundurus, Talonflame, Smeargle, & Xerneas). Being able to Taunt Xerneas, and Smeargle. Be careful though since they can act very aggressive to your Thundurus and its frailty in this new meta can be painful
Ending
  1. Hoped you enjoyed this
  2. Let me know what you wanna see in the future for this series
  3. Special thanks to: CSFlare, Acetrainer196, voodoo pimp, Markus Stadter, and Hibiki, as well as everyone else who commented on the thread I made to help with ways to beat this team.

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