VGC 2018 Core Analysis #1 – Rain Teams

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For years, Rain teams have been a very prevalent part of VGC, doing well at the World Championships multiple years its been viable and throughout multiple seasons as well. The goal of this article is to talk about how Rain functions in the VGC 2018 format and talk about it. Hope you enjoy and let's begin!

In-Game Facts about Rain

To understand Rain teams, let's learn some important things about Rain.
  • A Pokemon with the Drizzle ability will set rain on the field automatically upon entry.
  • A Pokemon with the Swift Swim ability will have its speed stat doubled in the rain.
  • Thunder and Hurricane gain 100% accuracy in the Rain.
  • The move Weather Ball transforms into a water type move and its power is doubled.
  • The power of both Solar Beam and Solar Blade have their power halved in the Rain.
  • In the rain, the power of water type moves are increased by 50%
  • In the rain, the power of fire type moves are decreased by 50%
  • The moves Morning Sun, Moonlight, and Synthesis only recover 25% of their max HP as opposes to the normal 50%

Why Use Rain in VGC 2018?

To understand how strong Rain is in the VGC 2018 format, you can look to Episode 13 of PokeStew where Tommy Cooleen (@TmanVGC) talked about the strength of Rain from his point of view, which you can check out here. The main thing to talk about is that going into this year, rain has not largely changed from other years. 

There have only been 2 main changes to Rain one being the addition of Pelipper which means that older ways of dealing with rain, mainly Grass-types which thanks to its flying type moves, have become a weaker answer to dealing with Rain. The other one is Mega Swampert, which has gotten better due to a mechanic change that deals with speed upon Mega Evolving, which will be covered later, but this change has made Swampert a lot better.

Now let's look at a sample set for each notable Pokemon that sets the rain thanks to the Drizzle ability. Please note that these sets are simply sampled options and if you have a problem with them when testing, feel free to change them as much as you need to.

Sample Set #1: Bulky Politoed

Politoed  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Politoed @ Mago Berry / Wiki Berry
Ability: Drizzle   
EVs: 140 HP / 92 Def / 68 SpA / 204 SpD / 4 Spe  
Calm Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Scald  
- Icy Wind / Ice Beam
- Helping Hand / Encore / Perish Song
- Protect 

The original Drizzle user, Politoed is very reliable due to how its able to take multiple hits. Due to its bulk, the idea of this set is for Politoed to support its team. The first thing to talk about is the EV Spread, which allows this Politoed to survive Double-Edge 252+ Attack from Mega Kangaskhan as well as Thunderbolt from 252+ Sp. Attack Tapu Koko outside of Electric Terrain, which are the 2 most important attacks that I wanted to have Politoed survive. After taking one of these attacks, it can eat its berry and heal 50% back to increase its longevity. 

Politoed's choice of moves is based on the role you want it to play on your team. Your main offensive water type move is Scald, which is very consistent damage which allows it to always provide at least some form of damage. The second move slot is a choice of ice type moves with Icy Wind for speed control to allow its partners to get the chance to do their job easier, or you can use Ice Beam for a strong ice type move, but I would expect to see Icy Wind used more than Ice Beam on Politoed. The third move slot is your support option. Helping Hand is very useful to allow you to increase the damage output of your Pokemon, which can pick up very unexpected KOs. Encore allows you to threaten passive play because if a Pokemon goes for a move like Protect, you can use Encore to lock them into Protect. The final option is Perish Song is more used on "Perish Trap" team, but can be used to give all Pokemon that are active on the field without the Soundproof ability 3 turns left before fainting, which discourages boosting stats from the opponent.

Sample Set #2: Offensive Pelipper

Pelipper  sprite from Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Pelipper @ Focus Sash
Ability: Drizzle
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Scald / Brine
- Hurricane
- Tailwind
- Protect

Pelipper is the newest Drizzle user in the games, as it has gained the Drizzle ability in the 7th Generation. While Politoed is more defensive in nature, Pelipper is a rain setter that barring from using Tailwind to increase the speed of its teammates, will spend the rest of its time on the field going for damaging moves. We saw how popular Pelipper was during the VGC 2017 format and what makes it especially useful is that most Rain teams in the past would struggle with grass types since the flying typing adds a new dynamic to the interaction.

This EV Spread combined with its Modest Nature focuses on allowing Pelipper to do its best to become an offensive sweeper. Scald and Hurricane are its STAB moves. Although Ice Beam is an interesting option, the team that will surround Pelipper will almost certainly have enough ice type coverage options to free Pelipper up of this burden. If you want an extra boost in speed to catch people off guard, you can use a Timid nature and using Brine over Scald can be very useful for dealing a very strong water type move when the target is under 50%, which in the past was used with very strong Z-Moves to pull this combination off.

Possible Partners to use

For discussing partners, each potential partner will have a pastebin that shows sample sets and some important information to know about. Since these Pokemon could be run in different ways, the goal is to show this off.


Ludicolo has been the most popular Swift Swim user in every format since the 4th Generation. This is thanks to its impressive offensive typing in grass, water, and ice type moves that you'll find on Ludicolo, it makes it incredibly hard to have something that can switch into all of those moves. Check out this pastebin for sample sets you can use on Ludicolo.


Kingdra has always been seen as the 2nd best Swift Swim user. This is because while Ludicolo can generally do well outside of the rain, Kingdra is a more niche rain abuser as it very much needs to be in the rain to be threatening as the singles set that utilizes Focus Energy and the Sniper ability isn't consistent enough. Click this pastebin for sample sets you can use on Kingdra.

Mega Swampert

Swampert has received a major buff in the way Mega Evolved Pokemon interacts with weather upon Mega Evolving. You can check out this video for more info, but what happens is once Swampert Mega Evolves in the rain, it automatically gains the Swift Swim ability and the speed boost in the rain. This alone makes it a terrifying Pokemon as Swampert can become the fastest Pokemon on the field and threaten with some big damage. Check out this pastebin for sample sets you can use on Mega Swampert.

Gothitelle and Mega Mawile

mawile-mega.png gothitelle.png
This duo works very well as adding it to your Rain team can give you a strong Trick Room mode that has been seeing a lot of success since the VGC 2014. Gothitelle's Shadow Tag ability is very important to trap 2 Pokemon that are at a disadvantage while using Pokemon like Mega Mawile to threaten them with a KO while they aren't able to switch out. Check out this pastebin for sample sets on these 2 Pokemon.

Other Options

These are some Pokemon commonly seen on Rain teams for various reasons. Electric types have for some reason, found a home on Rain teams since, in the rain, Thunder is 100% accurate. Incineroar's fire typing can help Rain teams against opposing steel types like Ferrothorn. Bulky steel types can use the rain to their advantage to survive fire type moves better. Finally, the Metagross and Tapu Lele core is very useful to add an offensive spin to Rain teams. Check out this pastebin for a sample set on each of these Pokemon listed above.

How to beat Rain

Opposing Weather

charizard-mega-y.png tyranitar.png ninetales-alola.png abomasnow.png
Rain teams love their weather, any Pokemon who can simply get rid of it is can be annoying. Tyranitar is probably the weakest of the 4 as a counter due to its weakness to water moves, but getting rid of the speed boost from Swift Swim users can be helpful. Charizard can set the sun to weaken the power of water type moves and threaten with a super-effective Solar Beam. Ninetales and Abomasnow both threaten with super-effective moves in Freeze Dry and Wood Hammer respectively to cause major damage.

Storm Drain

gastrodon.png cradily.png
Gastrodon can be annoying due to its Storm Drain ability redirecting Water moves but due to how popular Ludicolo is on rain teams, Gastrodon's effectiveness to annoy rain teams will be hindered. Cradily on the other hand as a Grass/Rock type can make it very difficult to beat Rain teams as the rock typing threatens Pelipper. To use Cradily in action, you can use this team linked here that was built by Alexander Kuhn (@hibikivgc) on his streams.

Bulky Grass Types

ferrothorn.png amoonguss.png
Bulky grass types are annoying for Rain teams due to be being able to switch into water type moves without taking too much damage. Amoonguss will struggle to deal with Pelipper due to its flying typing and access to Hurricane as well as its weakness to Ice-type moves but its good bulk will help it out. Ferrothorn, on the other hand, is very annoying for rain due to its bulk and great typing as well as its resistance to water moves. Access to Leech Seed allows Ferrothorn to heal up any damage it takes and you'll commonly see Ferrothorn holding healing items.

Sample Rain Teams

If you want to learn more about rain teams and use them to get a better feel for the core.
Thanks to some great changes in the 7th Generation, Rain as an archetype is going to very much have some fun as VGC 2018 advances. I hoped you enjoyed this. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Check back to the Nimbasa City Post for more VGC 2018 content and have a great day. Bye!

1 comment:

  1. Hello, love your analysis of the rain core. Would you be so kind to do the same for hail?


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