Drifblim + Tapu Lele: Its place in VGC 2017

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Welcome back to another installment of the this VGC 2017 series, where the goal is to analyze a core that's performing very well in the  VGC 2017 format and tell you everything you need to know about it. Today, we'll be talking about Drifblim and Tapu Lele. Together, these two have been doing very well, so it's time to talk about why it's doing very well and give you the tools and knowledge necessary to beat it or use it.

Why use this core?

Originally, Drifblim's use in this core was replaced by Mandibuzz. The reason is because Mandibuzz was also paired with Tapu Lele and held the Psychic Seed so it could get a +1 Sp. Defense boost and allow it to take hits better and support its team. Along the way, some people have realized that in theory, Drifblim could do its job better thanks to its Unburden ability, which means that after it uses its item, the Unburden ability activates and it'll get a major speed increase so it can use its support moves. Combine this with Tapu Lele's major offensive pressure and you get a duo that instantly becomes a threat and absolutely needs to be prepared for.

Sample sets

Drifblim @ Psychic Seed
Ability: Unburden
EVs: 4 HP / 132 Def / 204 SpA / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Will-O-Wisp
– Shadow Ball
– Tailwind
– Rain Dance/Haze/Swagger

This is the Drifblim used by 2015 World Champion Shoma Honami to win the ONOG Invitational. The goal of this set to activate Drifblim's Psychic Seed as well as its Unburden ability to allow it to support the team much better. The EV Spread makes Shadow Ball a 2HKO on 252 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele and a 25% chance to 2HKO 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko. The defense investment makes 252 Sp. Attack Life Orb boosted Tapu Koko Thunderbolt a 2HKO, 252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic a 2HKO, 4 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade a 3HKO, and 252 Attack Garchomp Rock Slide is a 1.2% chance to 2HKO. The moveset is pretty simple. Will-O-Wisp is a strong move to neuter physical attackers. Shadow Ball is a nice STAB move, Tailwind is great for the speed control, with the last slot more team dependent. Shoma used Rain Dance to have a game plan against weather, but Haze is great for set-up teams like the Eevee ones, and Swagger is great to perform for the confusion and attack increase.

Tapu Lele
Tapu Lele @ Psychium Z
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 36 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 100 Spe
Modest Nature
- Psychic
- Moonblast
- Substitute / Dazzling Gleam / Taunt
- Protect

This is a pretty simple and straightforward Tapu Lele set that focuses on mainly using powerful damaging moves to take out threats. Because Tapu Lele isn't as bulky, I felt that increasing its bulk would be a great idea. The EV Spread allows it to survive Poison Jab from both Garchomp and Pheromosa, then KO them back with Psychic and Mooblast respectively. The 100 Speed allows it to outspeed neutral base 75 Pokemon like Smeargle and Tapu Bulu. The moveset is pretty standard. Psychic and Moonblast are your main damage moves with the 3rd slot being team dependent. Substitute can make Tapu Lele bulkier and stay on the field longer, Dazzling Gleam is a great spread move if need be and Taunt is great to stop status moves and Trick Room from being used.
(Ripped from my Tapu Lele analysis article, linked here.)

Further supporting the core
  - Under Tailwind both Garchomp and Gyarados can set up using Dragon Dance and Swords Dance respectively to start sweeping through a team.
  - Pheromosa & Tapu Koko can use their strong moves to put out a lot of outright offensive pressure.
 - Magnezone's mix of offensive and defensive potential can allow it to dish out a lot of damage.
 - Arcanine's Intimidate ability is great to allow it to support its team.
 - Snorlax acts as a nice Trick Room counter so it can threaten Trick Room teams just by its presence.

How to beat the core
Slower Tapus - If the opposing Tapu Pokemon is slower than Tapu Lele, it can possibly change the terrain on the field so it can change the terrain, which won't stop Drifblim from activating its item, but  weaken Tapu Lele's Psychic moves
  - As ghost types that commonly use Ghost type moves, Mimikyu and Maorwak can use their ghost moves to threaten them with a ton of damage right away.
Trick Room - Since the team is normally very fast, the threat of Trick Room makes sure that they'll have a hard time properly being able to do anything.

Success this core has had
  • Rachel Annand got 30th at the 2017 Oceanic International Championships
  • Martin Tan got 29th at the 2017 Oceanic International Championships
  • Zoe Lou got 1st at the 2017 Oceanic International Championships
  • Shoma Honami got 1st in the ONOG Invitational
  • Cameron Swan got 20th in the online São Paulo Challenge
  • Aaron Zheng got 1st at the 2017 Portland Regionals
  • Agustin De Cicco got 6th at the Bueno Aires Regionals
  • André Fumis got 7th at the Bueno Aires Regionals
  • Jeremy Gross got 10th at the 2017 Collinsville Regionals
  • Alberto Lara got 8th at the 2017 Collinsville Regionals
  • Jean-Marc Hérbert got 7th at the 2017 Collinsville Regionals
  • Justin Burns got 2nd at the 2017 Collinsville Regionals
Overall, Tapu Lele and Drifblim is a strong core that is having a lot of recent success in VGC and will most likely see even more in the future. From its nice mix of support and offensive potential, it can do very well in this format. I hope you enjoyed this article. Check out my older content and I'll see you guys next time. Bye!


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