Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another CHALKY Team...Sorta: Battle Spot Doubles Season 12 Team

Artist: Raizy


Within the next few weeks, I'll be presenting some of my last VGC 2015 / Battle Spot Doubles teams I've used this season and explain in-depth the best two teams I've used on Battle Spot Season 12 to the release of the new format. I'm going to be honest here, I haven't played with these teams (well these two in particular) since early December but that was when the new VGC rules were released featuring restricted Pokemon (examples: Primals, Mega Ray). However this is going to be a two-part team reports since I used two cartridges to ladder at the time with distinctive squads though influenced by others VGC players. So here's one of my team reports.


Like I said, its been awhile since I've touched upon this team in particular featuring Mega Kangaskhan (I know everyone has used it) + Volcarona which gained a bit of traction about a month before Worlds. Speaking of worlds, most of my team was based on the Worlds teams that everyone (except competent competitors) criticized. Honestly there was nothing wrong with these teams since there were a bit of innovative movesets and interesting item choices people used to gain an edge at Worlds. Likewise let me go back to why I started using Mega Kangaskhan + Volcarona. Around July, I noticed a rise in Volcarona usage most likely after the Senior US National Champion Bennett Piercy used a support set with Tailwind/Rage Powder. After some thought considering Piercy's Volcarona didn't have Protect on his, I thought it be a great idea to have a semi-support/setup Volcarona with Rage Powder + Quiver Dance so it can guard Mega Kangaskhan from deadly Fighting STABs while Kang can setup with Power-Up Punch. The original concept of the team was to have Mega Kangaskhan or Volcarona break down opposing teams with setup and have the other + its partners clean up the battle in the late game. 

At first, the team similar to what I have didn't do as well and it was paired with double genie, Milotic, and Aegislash. After two weeks before Worlds, I stopped using this core thinking I couldn't think of a way to improve the team so is was discarded for the time being. After noticing what people were using in their World's teams like Shoma's Safety Goggles Thundurus, Lagos's Tailwind Hydreigon, and Giga Drain Volcarona from Hideyuki I decided maybe to revisit the team. For sure, the Battle Spot Doubles metagame changed a bit due to the popular usage from "CHALK" teams though everyone before called it  the Battle Spot Special with familiar Pokemon like Thundurus, Landorus-T, Kangaskhan, Cresselia, Heatran, or Amoonguss in incooperating the same team 

To be honest, I've only built about two-three VGC teams in the span of the last 2 months and kept using some old teams of mine for fun on the Battle Spot Ladder. During this time, I got some consultation with a couple of friend saying I usually drop a team after "experiencing a bunch of hax", to which they are right. Yes I admit I've been dropping teams after certain metagame shifts occur but I think its somewhat safe to say CHALK is still the best archetype or team structure at the moment. I already wanted to use Kangaskhan and Volcarona pair which I've actually tested out throughout the early July and into August. By the middle of September, I wanted to revisit the pair with some ideas and metagame shifts that occurred at this time.


Kangaskhan-Mega @ Kangaskhanite  
Ability: Parental Bond  
Level: 50  
EVs: 212 HP / 76 Atk / 60 Def / 4 SpD / 156 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- Fake Out  
- Return  
- Power-Up Punch  
- Ice Punch

-Outspeeds positive base 100 Pokemon.
-Takes a Superpower from Adamant 252  Landorus-T/Tyranitar (not boosted)
-Has a 95.3% chance to OHKO Landorus-T with an Intimdate drop with Ice Punch.

One of the most consistent Megas in VGC no doubt. I decided to look back at Kang for one last time for this team given how powerful it hits for for a low cost at times. The only notable difference from this Mega Kangaskhan compared with most others is no Dark-type coverage or priority ( I still don't count Fake Out as such). Instead Mega Kangaskhan has Ice Punch since with the rise of Double Genie usage Kangaskhan can at least hit Thundurus hard for super effective damage and even OHKO a standard Landorus-T after an Intimidate drop. Funny thing is prior to Worlds, there was a notable usage of Scarf Landorus-T so it can outspeed and deal massive damage with Superpower onto Mega Kang before it can retaliate. By about a month after Worlds, there was a significant rise in AV Landorus-T so Ice Punch Mega Kangaskhan was a great option to hit not these slower varients, but also other stuff like Mega Salamence, Hydreigon, Amoonguss, and others for super effective damage. Of course, this leaves me very weak to Aegislash, however the trade-off to hit these Pokemon, along with the 19% chance to freeze a target with Ice Punch was great and especially to great rid of the RNG-inducing Genies earlier. 

Fake Out goes in tandem with Volcarona or Hydreigon as it allows them to setup their respective move options while getting a safe Mega Evolution off. Return + Power-Up Punch are Mega Kangaskhan signature attacks as Return allows for Mega Kang to deal a great amount of chip damage while Power-Up Punch lets it bypass an Intimidate drops and setup to + 2. Most players already know this move combo alone makes Mega Kangaskhan threatening though smarter opponents can play around this. There are times where I have to Power-Up Punch one of my own Pokemon just to keep up with Intimdate drops or even Burn so Kang can either be at neutral at least. Again not much to say about Mega Kangaskhan though Ice Punch while having 19% chance to freeze a target can be almost game-changing. Of course freeze is probably the most hated status move but getting one off  can almost result in a free setup fodder for Mega Kang.  

The EVs are not as notable other than taking a couple hits better at the cost of full speed or attack investment. Mega Kangaskhan has enough investment to outspeed a positive base 100 Pokemon like opposing Mega Kangakhan, Entei, Mega Gardevoir, Charizard Y, etc. While this small deal might not seem notable but it can help give me clues to if I'm battling a bulkier variants if I outspeed, or pure 252 speed variants (or Pokemon faster than an actual 154+). Double Edge wasn't opted given I wanted to have Mega Kangaskhan stick around longer for a Power-Up Punch clean up and the recoil + damage from the opposing Pokemon will lose efficiency. 

Volcarona @ Sitrus Berry  
Ability: Flame Body  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 220 Def / 4 SpA / 4 SpD / 28 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Fiery Dance  
- Giga Drain  
- Quiver Dance  
- Rage Powder  

-Has an 18.8% chance to get OHKOed by an Rock Slide from an Adamant Landorus-T.
-Can take a Double Edge from 252 Jolly Mega Kangaskhan with Sitrus Berry bar crit.
-Outspeeds up to base 70 Pokemon with a positive speed nature like Breloom, Bisharp, regular Metagross, etc
-At +1 speed, outspeeds up to base 130 speed Pokemon like Mega Gengar.

For sure, Volcarona has two rather conflicting roles for this team but it has helped out in situations where I needed its support value or sweeping potential. I guess I should start with Volcarona's sweeping potential first then explain why Rage Powder instead of Protect. Volcarona has a base 135 Sp. Atk, 100 Sp. Def, and 100 base speed making it a fantastic special attacker and even a decent special pivot for things like a Flash Cannon from Aegislash or Hyper Voice from Sylveon/Mega Gardevoir. Quiver Dance is honest the crux of this set as it allows Volcarona to further boost of it highest base stats while becoming a long-term threat for my opponent. In tandem with Mega Kangaskhan, this can relive my main Mega from being less of a threat from my opponent's standpoint and attempt to focus on Volcarona instead. As far as my main Fire-type coverage, I've decided to opt for Fiery Dance since it can boost my special attack to another stage about 50% of the time. I know its somewhat inconsistent at time, but generally I'd either go for the setup with Quiver Dance immediately, attack with Fiery Dance, and see if I get any supplemental boost. Giga Drain is a utility option to have against certain Pokemon that threaten this team like Milotic, Suicune, Rotom-W, or other bulky Water-types while recovering lost HP.  I could use Giga Drain for Terrakion, however I'd rather save it for my other Pokemon to handle and +2 Giga Drain only has a 75% chance to OHKO a 4 HP variant.

Now onto the reason why I have Rage Powder over Protect. This choice came down with two decisions and that was about maintain offensive momentum and a surprise value. Rage Powder helps redirect Fighting-type attacks from Kangaskhan, Ice-type coverage for my other three mons, or any other fatal attack. Basically this tactic is a bit more useful if Volcarona manages to setup, however against Special attackers as it can take most special hits thanks to the Quiver Dance boost and even recover the damage lost via Giga Drain. If Volcarona has to deal with physical attackers, usually I try to bait out a Flame Body burns via direct contact moves especially from opposing Mega Kangaskhans (though I'd have an Intimidate drop to supplement this. Pretty much if I ever find myself in a situation where Volcarona can act as a solid redirection user I'll take the risk to preserve my win conditions. 

Landorus-Therian (M) @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Intimidate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 140 HP / 84 Atk / 4 Def / 92 SpD / 188 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- Earthquake  
- Rock Slide  
- Superpower  
- Rock Tomb / U-turn

-Same as before.

Not really much to go on Landorus-T given how good this Pokemon is thanks to its Ground/Flying typing, its Intimidate ability, and its many  movesets its sports. Almost throughout the season of Battle Spot Doubles 12 and even back when the VGC 2015 format, I really liked using Assault Vest Landorus-T given that most targets would attack into its weaker special defense stat with powerful Water-type and Ice-type attacks. Assault Vest covers this weakness as it allowed Landorus-T to take several special hits bar powerful STAB Ice attacks or Rain-boosted hits...I mean Landorus-T can't do it all honestly. The moveset is semi-standard with the exception of Rock Tomb over something like Knock Off or U-turn (which I did test out early season). Rock Tomb is to bypass Wide Guard users like Aegislash and hit key targets like Charzard Y or Mega Salamence so Mega Kangaskhan can OHKO them with its respective moves. One last thing to note about this Landorus-T set is the lack of Attack EVs in exchange for longevity and ability to pivot into the battlefield. 

Thundurus (M) @ Safety Goggles  
Ability: Prankster  
Level: 50  
EVs: 212 HP / 96 Def  /  92 SpD / 108 Spe  
IVs: 0 Atk  / 30 Def 
Timid Nature  
- Thunderbolt  
- Hidden Power [Ice]  
- Thunder Wave  
- Protect  

-Outspeeds Jolly Landorus-T + Neutral Max Speed Mega Kang, 
-Classic "Bolt-Beam" combo.
-Survives a Return from 252 Atk Mega Kang.

Surprising this Thundurus set without Swagger or Taunt has helped out in my main Battle Spot Doubles run given the fact there are games where I might rely on RNG stacking to bail me out (especially if I misplayed horribly). Here is just a classic Bolt-Beam Thundurus with STAB Thunderbolt and HP Ice to hit most of the Pokemon in the game at least neutral. Another reason for utilizing HP Ice was because the increase of Landorus-T, Amooguss, and even Mega Salamence allowed Thundurus to at least take on these Pokemon without fear of getting walled out or OHKOed immediately. Prankster Thunder Wave is useful to maintain speed control for the team especially with the Safety Goggles in play as I can paralyze a Dragon Dance Salamence as Amoonguss goes for the Rage Powder. Protect enables Thundurus to scout out/Stall out turns of Tailwind/Trick Room for support longevity for the team. 

As I alluded to earlier, Safety Goggles allows Thundurus to bypass Rage Powder and not get Spore'd by opposing Amoonguss/Breloom, and even getting attacks or Thunder Waves. Safety Goggles Thundurus can also help out against the popular Amoonguss / Belly Drum Azumarill combination as I don't have a clear answer for it aside from this. Honestly even with this strategy a standard Azumarill can live a Thunderbolt from  my uninvested Thundurus and if I get a low roll Azumarill can still get off the Belly Drum off. Honestly this exact scenario has happen on two occasions which one costed me the game, while the other match my opponent overpredicted and attacked into my protect. Regardless Safety Goggles has came in handy when Thundurus is up against an Amoonguss to paralyze or attack its partner on occasions. 

Hydreigon @ Life Orb 
Ability: Levitate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 16 HP / 4 Def / 236 SpA / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  
- Draco Meteor  
- Dark Pulse  
- Taunt  / Earth Power 
- Tailwind  

-Outspeeds base 95 Pokemon.
-Outspeeds Weather-Based Pokemon under Tailwind.
-2HKOs most Cresselias without Sitrus Berry
-Almost the exact same set as before.

This Hydreigon set carried over from one of my other teams after realizing Tailwind was a great speed control option for this team against weather-based archetypes  Rain or Sand. For about 4 months straight, Tailwind Hydreigon has been my standard set for the Pseudo-Legendary until I started using Taunt as another surprise utility move. Honestly the results where great but this leaves me in a poor matchup against Heatran or even some Sand-based teams with Excadrill as Hydreigon has to rely on its teammates or kill off its counters. As usual, Draco Meteor is Hydreigon's strongest attack often reserved for Mega Salamance, Amoonguss, Thundurus, Mega Kangakhan, and other Pokemon who can't take the hit. Dark Pulse is Hydreigon's main coverage option for Cresselia and Aegislash given these two are issues for the team in general. Hydreigon can threaten opposing Mega Salamence and Aegislash cores the ability to KO either mon and again  Earth Power is for Sand-based teams as well as Steel-types. Not much to say about Hydreigon other than the facts its certainly been my favorite Pokemon to use all year long. 

Aegislash @ Leftovers  
Ability: Stance Change  
Level: 50  
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 92 SpA / 100 SpD / 68 Spe  
Modest Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Shadow Ball  
- Flash Cannon  / Wide Guard
- King's Shield  
- Substitute  

-Same as this one shown here.

Aegislash pairs well with Volcarona as well as Hydreigon due to its ability to switch into Fighting-type or Rock-type hits from common Pokemon like Terrakion or Mega Salamence. Speaking of Terrakion, this team fairs poorly against it and I needed another Pokemon who can hard wall it as well as bring me back games. By the end of the Worlds, or the post VGC 2015 meta, most Aegislash sets were Substitute variants to lets its defense-weak blade form hide behind as it attacks. Shadow Ball is the main attacking move for Aegislash as it can deal with Trick Room teams when paired with Hydreigon and Flash Cannon is again for Terrakion, Mega Kangaskhan, or Tyranitar. I did try out Wide Guard for a bit and dropped Flash Cannon but after facing a couple of Whimsicott-Terrakion teams, I felt Aegislash wasn't able to cut it without the STAB Steel-type move. One reason why Aegislash got a teamslot was the rise of Perish Trap teams to deal with CHALK which is understandable. Aegislash can which out or play offesnsively well against these teams given both Mega Gengar and Gothitelle are weak to Ghost-type Shadow Ball from a Pokemon with 150 Special Attack. 

One last thing I want to say about Aegislash not about this team, but rather as a Pokemon in general. I really doubted Aegislash power ever since the announcement of the VGC 2015 rules though I knew not to underwhelm the thing. Now its almost one of my standard Pokemon I use given the nature of the current post VGC 2015 metagame and even till the start of the current ruleset as its been my main response for Xerneas. Ok I got off topic for a bit there, but still doesn't change the fact Aegislash is one of the best Ghost/Steel-type in the game. 


This is my final record with the team with my account name "May"  from my Alpha Sapphire game cart. I think I was able to get into the top 20 of the US rankings with this team though I won't celebrate it too much.  The only issue during my run (especially from 30 battles in) was how many the following 20 battles I lost about 14 due to a combination of poor risk management, experimenting sets listed, and a bit of "hax losses". Though I only counted about maybe 8-9 battles where the match was lost to something like Swagger rolls or crits and my inability to deal with them.  Yeah it kinda sucks to lost battles like that but you have to make the best plays or prepare for these circumstances. Thankfully I don't play as much anymore otherwise this would be yet another rant on RNG. I accepted the game as is and thankfully there aren't IRL people (not online) who boast about winning with luck on their side. I'll admit one think I notices about the current format unlike this one is the lack RNG swinging games with powerful restricted Pokemon like Pimal Groudon/Kygore, Mega Ray, and Geo-Herb Xerneas so that's made me come back to VGC style battling. 


If there was an event close by I'd go to, I probably would have used this exact team to try and top cut with at the very least, though time hasn't been my ally this year. I'm only posting about this team so I don't forget about it and the success it had on Battle Spot Doubles. For now I'm going to be invested on league battles and preparing for the VGC 2016 format so anyone reading this will see more content for the next few weeks...maybe with more fun Battle Spot Doubles teams in mind. 

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