Thursday, December 31, 2015

Azumarill the Champion: Last Battle Spot Doubles / VGC 2015 Team

Azumarill the Champion: Last Battle Spot Doubles / VGC 2015 Team
(at least for now)

Artist: Sephirona


Going to start off with this team report or RMT (whatever you might call it) with an apology for not posting this team earlier before the new VGC 2016 format was announced. As people are now simulating the VGC 2016 format on Showdown (again no In-Game Ladder though unlikely), I'd assume interest would be moved toward figuring out how to beat Xerneas + Primal Groudon or Scarf Smeargle + Quick Guard. I did plan to post this team and the other team centered around Kang + Volc early December, however the lack of time, testing out some VGC 2016 teams, and of course, not planning out for these team report schedules much sooner. Just a brief notice, this team is based on the Battle Spot Doubles / VGC 2015 formats and the Season 12 of Battle Spot Doubles as the record indicates. I just wanted to post these teams and some fun Battle Spot Doubles teams before I talk about the who VGC 15 format in sorta a review from a Battle Spot Doubles in-game ladder perspective. 

Background + Brief Teambuilding

After playing some Battle Spot Doubles Season 12 with some of the no pentagon Pokemon now available, I want to refocus on making another Mega Salamence / Aegislash / Entei core fir laddering given I've already am familiar with these Pokemon. Immediately I dropped the idea of having Rotom-W on the team given its I wasn't comfortable testing out offensive sets with Life Orb, and the low 50 Base HP. Sure this Pokemon has 107 points in both base defenses, however its not going to live as long with stuff like Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Gardevoir, Dragon-types, Amoonguss, Cresselia, and others who can sponge Rotom-W's attacks. In the end, I wanted a Pokemon who was somewhat bulky enough to take on Dark-, Dragon-, and Fighting-types while still resisted to Fire/Ice-type hits so Aegislash and Mega Salamence can switch on freely. With these features, Azumarill was a prime Pokemon to use with the rise of the Belly Drum variants in response to CHALK teams usage, though I didn't want to use Amoonguss at the time. Eventually AV Azumarrill, though not the most original set for Azu was the main item chose given with its base 100 HP / 80 Def / 80 Sp. Def can take even a STAB Thunderbolt from Thunderus.

Thundurus was my main go-to Electric-type Pokemon at this point given it's ability Prankster to spread Thunder Wave paralysis, and yes, Swagger certain targets when need be. I did notice somewhat of an Rock-/Ice-type weakness especially against a potential sand or rain team with their fast weather attackers. Breloom was the last Pokemon added here since it has Mach Punch to bypass the speed orders and form a duel priority core with Azumarill. With that here's the team in full: 


Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite  
Ability: Intimidate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 44 Atk / 212 SpA / 252 Spe  
Naive Nature  
- Double-Edge  
- Hyper Voice  
- Draco Meteor  / Flamethrower
- Protect  

-Standard Mega Salamence (from Cybertron's US Nats Team)
-Outspeeds base 110s and at least speed ties with opposing Mega Mence

Well if anyone had to guess, Mega Salamence is not dead. In fact by the end of the VGC 2015 and Battle Spot Doubles season, Mega Salamence usage did rose likely due it its potential to take on some of the common Pokemon in the formats like Mega Kangaskhan, Heatran, Landorus-T, Amoonguss, (look at that...4/5 of CHALK), and OHKO others like Mega Gardevoir, Charizard Y, or Sylveon with a Aerilate-boosted Double Edge. To be fair, most of these Pokemon can have a coverage option like HP Ice, Pixilate Hyper Voice, fast Dragon STAB, or good old Rock Slide to at least neutralize my Mega. Still regardless of Mence's quad weakness to Ice or Pixlate Hyper Voice, IMO it was the top 2 / 3 Mega Evolution by the end of the season... at least for me. 

Anyways Mega Salamence's EV spread was exactly the same as Cybertron's, however I did test out some other EV's spreads to balance out the damage output of Aerilate Double Edge / Hyper Voice. For some people who don't know, Mega Salamence is arguably among the best mixed attackers in both Battle Spot Doubles and VGC given how hard it hits with either those two attack I've mentioned. Aerliate Double Edge is almost as strong as a Parental Bond Return and deals about 69% to 4 HP Mega Kang. Hyper Voice has been Mega Salamence's cleaning option though not as strong as something like Sylveon or Mega Gardevoir's Hyper Voice due to the lower Sp Atk and lack of a boosting item/status. The main for Hyper Voice is to deal more damage against an Intimidate user like opposing Salamence, Landorus-T, Gyarados, or Scrafty though I have to be careful against Snarl users. Draco Meteor is for opposing Mega Salamence since some of them can breakthrough this team (aka Dragon Dance), however I have to risk the speed tie. Opposing Dragon-types like Hydreigon and Lati@s get hit hard with a Draco Meteor, but usually I scout if these Pokemon have Scarfs outspeed my Mence. Flamethrower was added later on since bar the Entei, my team doesn't fair well against Ferrothorn or even opposing Aegislash. 

Entei @ Shuca Berry  
Ability: Pressure  
Level: 50  
EVs: 132 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 188 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- Sacred Fire  
- Snarl  
- Will-O-Wisp  
- Protect  

-Outspeeds both Jolly Lando-T (non-Scarf) and Kang before it Megas.
-Can take a Banded EQ from Adamant Lando-T (and even single target as well).
-Can take one Double Edge from Jolly 252 Atk Mega Kangaskhan.
-Can take three Specs Hyper Voice from Modest 252 SpA Sylveon.

Man this Pokemon has come a long way with me ever since I almost one an online tourney with it, though I failed to deliver for Entei in those battles. Eventually I got another Entei set with Jolly and gave it enough investment to outspeed both Jolly Max Speed Landorus-T or Kangaskhan before it gets the full speed after Mega Evolution. If anyone can tell, this Entei was more of a utility set to allow my Pokemon to take either physical or special hits better with the combination of Sacred Fire, Snarl, and Will-O-Wisp. Sacred Fire is without the best Fire-type move in the game given the 45% chance to burn a target, and yes factoring in the 5% chance to miss as well. Likewise, Entei's task is mainly to burn physical Pokemon like Mega Kangaskhan, Tyranitar, Landorus-T, Mega Salamence, and others with either Will-O-Wisp, or from the Sacred Fire via switch ins. Another thing about Sacred Fire is how it can its a solid option against Focus Sash Pokemom like Breloom, Bisharp, Excadrill, or Terrakion given that most of these Pokemon are weak to Fire-type attacks, or are physical attackers themselves. Snarl is Entei's option to mitigate the amount of damage against both targets so special attackers like Sylveon, Mega Gardevoir, Suicune, Thundurus, Heatran, etc. The only other time I use Snarl is to get a KO against a Pokemon who is down to 1 HP with their Focus Sash, while reducing the other special attack by one stage.  In the end, Entei would probably go down as my favorite Fire-type Pokemon to use in the formats given how much work it can do for my team from a defensive standpoint. Sure I know the format was leaning somewhat in a hyper offense direction, but with Entei mitigating damage, and burning help close out games. 

Azumarill @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Huge Power  
Level: 50  
EVs: 196 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 44 SpD / 12 Spe  
- Waterfall  
- Play Rough  
- Aqua Jet  
- Knock Off  

-Survives a Life Orb Thundurus Thunderbolt bar crit.
-OHKOs Landorus-T and Heatran with Waterfall + Aqua Jet (Intimdiate drop)
-Has a 62.5% chance to OHKO Blade form Aegislash with Knock Off.
-Can live a Solar Beam from Modest Charizard Y.

After some thought about which Pokemon haven't I tried out yet, Azumarill was the only decent Water-type who fits this team somewhat well, specifically with the CHALK matchup. Since Thundurus had Sitrus Berry as its item (I'll discuss this later), Azumarill was given the Assault Vest so it can take most special hits like Pixilate Hyper Voice from Sylveon or a Thunderbolt from Electric-types. Azumarill was my team's primary response to Fighting-type Pokemon bar Breloom/Virizion (both are weak to Mence) given some of these Pokemon tend to carry a coverage option like Ice Punch or Rock Slide. If Salamence/Entei can either Intimidate/burns some key targets while get a couple Snarl drops, then Azumarill can tank most of these mitigated attacks bar crits and can proceed to steamroll against the opposition. Waterfall is one of the best Water-type attacks given the 20%  chance to flinch, though Azumarill doesn't tale advantage of this due to its low speed stat. Then again, Thundurus can Thunder Wave a key target as Azu can paraflinch my opponent with this combo. Regardless if Initimidated,  Waterfall from Azumarill will deal a chunk to most targets, especially against Landorus-T so one Aqua Jet can OHKO the following turn. 

I know in most situations, Landorus-T won't switch unto to an Azumarill, but getting that attack drop is all what my opponent needs to mitigate the damage to his own team. Play Rough is another standard option mostly for Dragons, Fighting, and Dark Pokemon which can potentially OHKO. Knock Off is mostly there for Aegislash and Cresselia, however removing items can help deduce what sets my opponent is running with their team. Finally, Aqua Jet gives the team its first form of priority and often used to take out weaken Pokemon like Excadrill, Tyranitar, Heatran, Landorus-T, or any other Pokemon likely weak to water. Even though I've doubted the power of this Pokemon many times, Azumarill was definitely the MVP for this team in multiple situations where at it has to do is either clean of the game, or at times wrestle out the opposition with its 100 HP / 80 Def /  80 Sp. Def bulk. No matter how many times this Azumarill got hit, it took most attacks and finished off the opposing Pokemon with its STABs or Aqua Jets. 

Breloom @ Focus Sash  
Ability: Technician  
Level: 50  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- Bullet Seed  
- Mach Punch  
- Spore  
- Protect  

-Standard Bread-and-Butter Focus Sash Breloom.
-Can OHKO Scarf Tyranitar with Mach Punch.
-Needs three Bullet Seeds to OHKO standard AV Azumarill 
-2HKOs most Water-type Pokemon 

Breloom's task for this team largely to put stuff to sleep with Spore, use its Technician STAB Mach Punch to pick off targets, and Bullet Seed anything else that isn't resistant to Grass-type. Not much to say about Breloom other than why I've started using it lately and before the new format rules where announced. While not as strong as say the other Grass-types like Amoonguss or Ferrothorn from a defensive standpoint, Breloom can win battles off of Spore mind games. Essentially, Breloom can allow at least one free turn for my other Pokemon to get off damage, or even spread their own status option. Catching targets off a switch is essential using Breloom since if they aren't either Grass-types, or even holding Safety Goggles/Lum Berry, this allows for another free turn against Pokemon as it hasn't taken the guarantee turn of sleep.  Breloom was honestly the one of the few Grass-type IMO who can handle Trick Room, Rain, and Sand while maintaining offensive pressure for my team. Breloom has been most helpful against opposing Azumarill-Amoonguss cores since I can either for Bullet Seed or Spore the Azu slot. By the end of the Battle Spot Double Season 12, people started using Sap Sipper Azumarill so now I'd pair Breloom with Salamence, or have Thundurus in the back who can deal deal with both Pokemon. 

Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry  
Ability: Prankster  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 160 Def  / 28 SpD / 68 Spe  
Bold Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def  
- Thunderbolt  
- Thunder Wave  
- Swagger  / HP Ice
- Protect  

-EV Spread is based on Thundurus having 30 in Def. 
-Max speed to outspeed Smeargle 
-Takes a Double Edge from Mega Kangaskhan (Jolly)
-Landorus-T's Rock Slide is a 3HKO with Sitrus Berry 

Throughout the year, Thundurus has been a "necessary evil" on most of my teams given how powerful it is with Prankster Thunder Wave, Swagger, Taunt, etc. For this moveset, Thundurus only has Thunderbolt as its main attacking option while I did switch between either HP Ice and Swagger since Landorus-T can be annoying for this team. Again I wanted Thundurus to spread as much paralysis against faster Pokemon given my team is still considerably slow to middling speed. Swagger I'll admit has been my safe-net in case something "goes wrong" and we need to get ourselves out of the negative odds. There is a stigma with Swagger given that its mainly used to either ensure special attackers don't attack as often, or hope to whoever +3 Kangaskhan faints itself. I will say relying on Swagger immediately against physical attackers is risky given you've just powered up a Kangaskhan or Landorus-T to +2 and both have 50/50 odds of OHKOing something, which is still great odds. Personally, Swagger isn't broken as one might think in doubles as the opponent can either switch out or have an item like Lum Berry to take the Swagger. Many battles I have to assume that Swagger won't work and I've only used it as a supplement like pairing it with Thunder Wave. Yes it sound like a dick move to paraconfusion someone, but I'm reducing the chance for them to be immobile (either from paralysis or confusion) for the rest of the at least one turn. In the end, Thundurus has been a great asset in buying almost pseudo free turns while maintaining speed control. 

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  
- Substitute  
- King's Shield  

-Same set from Kang + Volc team

I'm not going to discuss this Aegslash set for the team since it kinda obvious Aegislash is my Substitute attacker with STAB Shadow Ball and Flash Cannon to hits their intended targets. One thing I'll say is Aegislash has a better chance at stall out matches against opposing Kangaskhan provided I've burnt it with Entei so and about like 4 battles have come down to this scenario.  One thing I'll say is drawing Aegislash on the field will often force them to bring a response to it like their Fire-type/Ground-type Pokemon ( i.e Heatran, Landorus-T, Blaziken, Tyranitar, etc).  Azumarill pairs well in these situations for Aegislash as my opponent usually has to deal with the Azu first but might give Aegislash a free Substitute.  Given Aegislash massive defense stats and a plethora of resistances/immunities, it only becomes harder to take downe when anyone factors in all the potential burns, attack drops (Intimidate), or Snarls for either Mega Salmence or Entei.  Aegislash is honestly been the most consistent member of the team to day and likely will find itself in some of my new VGC 2016 teams. 

Highest Record with this Team 

(With my OR Cartidge) 

Final Thoughts/Conclusion

So there you have it, my last serious VGC 2015 / Battle Spot Doubles team I'll use in awhile. If there was one thing I've purposely disregarded in the article, its the lack or no mentions of any of the "No-Pentagon" exclusive Pokemon Aka Sheer Force Landorus, Defiant Thundurus, or Seismic Toss Kang. If anything, I didn't encounter any of those teams until I reached the 1800 on a couple occasion until I stopped around 1810.Of the all the exclusive No Pentagon Pokemon, Defiant Thundurus and Eruption Heatran are the most concerning, however I've only encountered them as I laddered with my Alpha Sapphire team. Well as stated earlier, I'm probably going to give sorta a review of my time with the VGC 2015 and Battle Spot Doubles formats around January regarding how I felt about the year. This team might be revisited, but only for any somewhat grassroot/unofficial tourney using Battle Spot Doubles rules since I could have made some improvements here and there, but as stated multiple times I'd rather focus on VGC 2016. If there is time, I might even go to the local Anaheim Regionals to see how I fare against other people, though I want to prepare as much as possible. 

Well I guess I'll leave this one last note... have a great 2016 year!

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