Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Overview of CHALK (Battle Spot Doubles & VGC15)

Overview of CHALK (Battle Spot Doubles & VGC15) 
(Sept 28, 2016)

Disclaimer: This "guide" is definitely long overdue, however given the renewed interest in playing Battle Spot Doubles in "preparation" for the VGC 17 Format for the Su/Mo, I've decided to make this guide for both new and old players. Going to cover all Pokemon "classified as CHALK", as well as other partners and replacements used alongside. Most of the EV Spreads will be from the "Smogon Dex" as these are "examples" only, so everyone is encouraged to research and test out EV Spreads on Pokemon Forever, Nugget Bridge, Smogon, etc. Again I'm covering "CHALK" as this is the one of the most common archetypes and Pokemon used at the moment, and with good success. That said, here's the guide:

(Artwork By @yudeyude123 on Twitter)

What is CHALK?

For those who never played Battle Spot Doubles, or possibly VGC 15, some might not be familiar with the term "CHALK". For those who've played those formats, I can assure this is by no means accrediting how "strong" of this archetype. However, I'll be stating CHALK's strengths, core members potential partners, and briefly mentioning some checks/counters to these Pokemon. SO CHALK. Even before the team archetype gains its fame by "sweeping" VGC 15 Worlds via placing high at Top Cut, this team was already been used countless times at both the Battle Spot Doubles ladder, and on simulated Pokemon Showdown. Specifically, CHALK is an acronym which stands for five specific Pokemon, whose usage stats are among the top ten or twelve of the Battle Spot Doubles / VGC Tours. These five Pokemon as ordered: Cresselia, Heatran, Amoonguss, Landorus-T, and of course, Mega Kangaskhan.

While many players don't know the exactly reasons why CHALK became "dominant" especially after worlds, it is safe to say these five Pokemon alongside those paired with them are no doubt "strong" in the multiple VGC / BS Doubles / other Doubles formats due to their offensive pressure, support presence, type synergy, and high value viability. One reason why CHALK became rather "strong" by the time of VGC 15 Worlds metagame, and until this point is because these Pokemon are all "consistent" and have ranked high on the Battle Spot Doubles ladder. Four of these members are valuable partners to Mega Kangaskhan, arguably the strongest Mega Evolution in the game, with two Pokemon who are resistant to Fighting (Cresselia/Amoonguss), one who can resist Fighting while provide Intimidate support (Landorus-T), and one who can handle just about most of the popular Mega Evolutions (Heatran). All of these four Pokemon enabled Mega Kangaskhan to maintain itself as the dominate Mega Evolution, to the point where these teams actually dominated and kinda "swept" Worlds at the Top Cut.

Following after VGC 15 Worlds and the backstage months of the Battle Spot Doubles Metagame, this penta-core is still rather influential, yet centralizing to this day. Many teams since have been based around maybe 3-4 members of CHALK, or "counter" the archetype directly. While some players do think of this archetype a "boring", or easy to play against if they are using the same team, don't. The thing about CHALK teams just like any general playstyle is there might be the same Pokemon, however the players might change the EVs, Movesets, Held Items and even some of the Pokemon to fit their personal preferences. For the sake of this overview, I'm not going to discuss all the possible "counters" to CHALK as its essentially up to matchup and how the players improve upon them without compromising their teams. Now here's an in-depth look at CHALK and some "honorary" members.

C - Cresselia
BS Season 16 Stats

Cresselia @  Sitrus Berry / Leftovers / Mental Herb / Safety Goggles / Rocky Helmet / Colbur Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 84 SpD (Example)
Bold / Relaxed Nature
- Ice Beam / Icy Wind
- Psychic / Psyshock
- Moonlight / HP Ground / Protect
- Trick Room /  Helping Hand / Thunder Wave / Calm Mind / Skill Swap

 Let start with the one the best support Pokemon in the Battle Spot Doubles and VGC format when allowed: the pure Psychic-type Cresselia. Just looking at the multiple "support" moves listed here and players can get idea as to why Cresselia is overused compared to other support-based Pokemon. First off, Cresselia sports an impressive base 120 HP / 120 Def / 130 SpDef in terms of bulky, by far the highest of any Pokemon. Though offense might not be Cresselia's strong suit, her true strength comes with its invaluable speed control options such as Trick Room, Thunder Wave, and Icy Wind. Given all three of these speed control options are somewhat vastly different when in comes to playstyle, this only make "guessing" Cresselia's moveset harder to predict, and what type of set the opponent is running. Typically the main offensive moves Cresselias tend to run are Psychic STAB to hit opposing Fighting-types who threaten Heatran / M-Kangaskhan, and Ice Beam / Icy Wind to hit Pokemon weak to the Ice-type, such as Dragons (M-Salamence, Garchomp, Hydreigon), and the infamous "Double Genies" in Landorus-T and Thundurus. One last note is Cresselia's Levitate ability allows another CHALK user, Landorus-Therian, to effectively fire STAB Earthquakes without risk of hurting its partner. 

In terms of items, Cress has almost an infinite amount of held items to consider, though lets review the most popular ones seen on BS Doubles. Sitrus Berry is used to regain about 25% HP, likely indicating Cresselia doesn't carry Moonlight for recovery, and be support-based. Mental Herb sets are opt to ensure Cress is able to setup the Trick Room field effect and having the Taunt user sorta "waste" a turn. Safety Goggles is an interesting choice, but this allows Cresselia to bypass "Rage Powder" redirection, and prevent herself from falling asleep against opposing Brelooms/Amoonguss from Spore. Lastly, Rocky Helmet and Colbur Berry are more so situational items which Cresselia can either inflict 1/6th damage against the opponent (can be paired well if it has Moonlight), or to allow it to survive a fatal Dark-type move from the likes of a Tyranitar or Hydreigon.

Due to Cresselia's rather flexibility in all the potential support (and unorthodox offensive sets), its near difficult to "predict" what kinda of Cresselia set is compared to the other CHALK members. Some of them might use a Trick Room Mode with relatively fast Pokemon paired. Other will suit themselves for a Calm Mind setup for the late game. Heck a few might not have any attacking moves, but carry pure support like Helping Hand, Skill Swap, Thunder Wave, etc. When dealing with Cresselia, make sure to have ways to prevent the Psychic-type from setting up potentially a Trick Room for her partners such as disruption moves like Taunt. If Cresselia is an "offensive" variant, be sure to inflict it her with some kinda of status ailment like Will-O-Wisp, Thunder Wave, or even Toxic to cut the suitability.

Remember to pay close attention in "Team Preview" as it can hint at what type of Cresselia the opponent is running. If the team composition is somewhat "bulky", or has a bunch of slow Pokemon, Cresselia might be a full Trick Room set. If the partners consist of strong, yet bulky Pokemon, then don't rule out the possibility of other support sets with Thunder Wave, or Icy Wind. 

Checks / Counters: Dark-types (Tyranitar, Hydreigon, Bisharp, Scrafty), Ghost-types (Aegislash, Gengar, M-Gengar), Disruption (Taunt, Encore, Swagger, Disable, Spore, Follow Me, etc),  Steel-types (Bisharp, Mega Metagross, Ferrothorn), and heavy-hitters (Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Mawile, Mega Salamence)

H - Heatran
BS Season 16 Stats

Heatran @ Leftovers / Shuca Berry / Air Balloon
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 180 HP / 252 SpA / 76 Spe
or EVs: 52 HP / 204 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest / Timid Nature
- Heat Wave / Flamethrower
- Earth Power
- Substitute / Flash Cannon / HP Ice
- Protect

Heatran is perhaps one of the best Fire-types in the most Doubles format for being almost near perfect when played well enough, though course not everything goes its way. Most of Heatran's most relevant Base Stats like HP / Def / Sp Atk / and SpD are exceptionally high for a legendary Pokemon (HP 91 / Def 106 / 130 Sp Atk / 106 SpD). When looking at the Fire-/Steel legendary, we cannot avoid the fact Heatran sports about nine, yes nine resistances, alongside  two immunities to Poison (part Steel-type), and against opposing Fire-type Pokemon with its ability Flash Fire. Some of these key resistances include the ever present Fairy-, Dragon-, Flying-, and Normal-type. Note those four typing carefully. Some of the top Mega Evolutions in BS Doubles and VGC 15 use those offensive types like Mega Salamence, Mega Gardevoir, Mega Charizard Y, Mega Mawile, Mega Metagross and of course, the infamous Mega Kangaskhan. Though some of these Mega Evolutions, can carry specific coverage options to hit Heatran hard, chances are this Lava Dome Pokemon is likely going to take those hits, and fire back with its Fire-type / Steel-type moves.

Not only can Heatran potentially take on most of the Mega Evolutions in the game, its still no offensive slouch either sporting a high base 130 Special Attack to abuse. Heat Wave or Flamethrower will be Heatran's go-to Fire-type attacks to hit opposing Steel-, Grass-, and Ice-type Pokemon, though players have to watch out for the occasional Flash Cannon aimed for Fairy-types. Given that most CHALK members might not enjoy taking say Fairy-type Hyper Voice, or random Ice-type coverage, Heatran can be used a simple defensive switch given its quad resistance to both types. Cresselia is often paired with Heatran to form a strong Trick Room option for CHALK based teams as Heatran acts the one of the main offense with its special Fire-type move. Usually Heatran carry Earth Power not only for Fire-type Pokemon, but for opposing Heatrans as well who are also quad weak to Ground-type hits.

There's a variety of different Heatran sets given how strong in usage they are. The most common set used is the "Sub-Lefties", which hence uses the Substitute to avoid Status, gradually recover HP back while using its resistances to it full advantage. Shuca Berry is another common Heatran item as it cuts the damage of Super Effective Ground-type hits which can play a huge role in opposing Heatran Wars. Finally Air Balloon has seen some increased usage on Battle Spot Doubles during "VGC 16" time, as this allows Heatran to be completely immune to all Ground-type hits, though if hit by any attack will lose its immunity.

Checks / Counters: Bulky Water-types (Rotom-W, Suicune, Milotic, Gastrodon), Rain (Politoed, Kingdra, Ludicolo, M-Swampert), Ground-types (Landorus-T, Garchomp, Excadrill), Fighting-types (Terrakion, Conkeldurr, Scrafty), and random HP Ground / EQ users.

A - Amoonguss
BS Season 16 Stats

Amoonguss @ Sitrus Berry / Rocky Helmet / Mental Herb / Black Sludge
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD or EVs: 188 HP / 164 Def / 156 SpD
Relaxed / Sassy Nature
- Rage Powder
- Spore
- Giga Drain / Sludge Bomb
- Protect / Energy Ball / Sunny Day

Almost every Doubles player has a good idea of what Amoonguss is, and what it can do for its partners. This Grass/Poison-type Mushroom might not look so intimidating compared to the other CHALK members at first, but it certainly is up there with Cresselia as the among the best support Pokemon in the game. Why you ask? Two words... or two support moves specifically: Rage Powder and Spore. With the Rage Powder support, Amoonguss can "redirect" any harmful attacks done to its allies (provided those attacks aren't from any opposing Grass-type, or Safety Goggles user), and can sponge those hits. Thanks to Amoonguss "Regenerator" ability, it can switch back and regain about one-third of its HP, while STAB Giga Drain can still be useful to replenish HP, and deal some damage back against Water-, Rock-, and Ground-types. Spore is the best sleep move in the game, and when paired with one of the slowest Pokemon like Amoonguss, chances are the targeted Pokemon will have to take one guaranteed turn of sleep.

So now that we've reviewed Amoonguss, what does does it provide for the CHALK-based teams? In terms of type synergy, Amoonguss is one of CHALK's few answers to opposing Water-types who can threaten Landorus/Heatran with Water-type moves, and possibly burn Kangaskhan with Scald. Recall Amoonguss is also part "Poison-type" so this allows it to redirect almost any Fighting-type hit charged against either Heatran and Kangaskhan, and it doesn't have to do this alone with Cresselia and Landorus-T's Intimdate support the mushroom. Perhaps the biggest advantage Amoonguss give to its CHALK teammates is the improved "Trick Room" matchup, as its is one of the slowest support Pokemon in the game. If Amoonguss is every in Trick Room, it can outspeed almost any opposing target, and get off a quick Spore before they can move. Course the player has to play around with "sleep turns", but this allows Amoonguss to temporarily neutralize Trick Room threats before it can harm its allies. Heck even Amoonguss itself can Spore the Trick Room user just setting up the field condition as the move is -7 priority, making Amoonguss move first before the Trick Room setter.

In terms of items choices, Amoonguss might carry the popular Rocky Helmet to deal chip damage against targets who deal direct contact damage to it. Mental Herb is an uncommon move, but can allow Amoonguss to get a Spore off on a certain Taunt user. For deal with Amoonguss, the best way is to either overpower the mushroom with  STAB / Super Effective moves, or just use things like Taunt or Safety Goggles to block such attacks. Given Amoonguss will be taking the damage, be sure to cover for the other Pokemon Amoonguss is supporting like say a M-Kangaskhan, M-Gardevoir, Azumarill, etc. 

Checks / Counters: Flying-type (Mega Salamence, Talonflame), Fire-types (Heatran, Char Y, Rotom-H, Arcanine, Blaziken), Ice-types (Mega Abomasnow, Mamoswine, Weavile), Steel-types (Mega Mawile, Aegislash), Psychic-types (Mega Gardevoir, Mega Metagross), Taunt (Thundurus, Gengar, Crobat), Safety Goggles, Lum Berry, and other "Grass" types (assuming Amoonguss doesn't have Sludge Bomb).

L - Landorus-T
BS Season 16 Stats

Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf / Choice Band / Assault Vest / Life Orb / Focus Sash
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
/ Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Superpower / Knock Off / Explosion
- U-Turn / Stone Edge / Rock Tomb / Protect

If there's a Pokemon who's certainly has little drawbacks aside its typing weaknesses, Landorus-T fits the bill perfectly. Blessed with the strong Ground-/Flying-typing, decent above average stats, a ridiculous base 145 Attack, rather trollish speed tier at 91, and of course Intimidate ability, there's few things wrong with Landorus-T. Before anyone mentions the quad weakness to Ice-type, or to bulky Water-types in general, I'll get to that in the end, but for now lets discuss the positives even further. With this base 145 Attack, Landorus-T has one of the strongest Earthquakes in Doubles when factoring the potential item boost it potentially receives. The "Intimidate" ability allows Landorus-T to drop the attack stats of both Pokemon on the field by two stages, meaning it can provide pseudo defensive support to allow teammates to take strong Physical-based attacks. Factor in how most "CHALK" members are already "bulky" with rather high defensive / HP values as is, then you have yourself a rather decently strong defensive team.

Why do I say Landorus-T has few drawbacks? Well ...there's no other Pokemon like Landorus-T who can do its job to provide offensive support with Earthquake / Rock Slide, and spread Intimates better. Even looking at its movepool potential, and any can see it has just about enough moves to hit everything on the opposing team neutrally, while have the last two slots for "coverage". Some of these coverage options include Superpower to hit Mega Kangaskhan hard, Knock Off to hit Ghost-/Psychic-types plus remove items, U-Turn to potentially "exit" the battlefield, while get in another Pokemon in return, or even the ever so cheeky Explosion to inflict massive damage (well Lando already has a base 145 Atk... so why not).

In terms of item selection, "Choice" items like Scarf, Assault Vest, and Band are popular options for Lanodrus-T, though there are some uncommon ones are listed down. Choice Scarf is probably the most "annoying" of the three as players have to deal with the potential Rock Slide Flinch end game with the boosted speed, however this does allow Landorus-T to outspeed most of the base 100s Pokemon (provided no speed control is in effect). Assault Vest is the second common choice on Landorus-T to bolster its Special Defense by 50%, allowing it to take potentially special-based Water-type or random Ice-type hits better. Finally Choice Band is the "strongest" Landorus-T set in terms of damage output. I mean ...pair a Pokemon with Base 145 Attack with a Choice Band and something is going to faint or get hit hard.

At the end of the day, Landorus-T is used primarily to provide the team with invaluable Intimidate support against other physical attackers, and maintain offensive pressure with the Quake Slide move combo. Even if Landorus-T is weak to Water-type hit, or possibly a Ice-type attack, it can always fall back to either one of its teammates like Amoonguss, Cresselia, or Heatran (bar Water-type) to tank such hits.

Checks / Counters: Bulky Water-types (Suicune, Rotom-W, Milotic, Gastrodon), Ice-types (Protean Greninja, Mega Abomasnow, Mamoswine,Weavile), Rain-based Teams (Politoed, Ludicolo, Kingdra, M Swampert), Burn Status (Rotom-A, Gengar, Arcanine),Wide Guard (Aegislash, Conkeldurr), Strong Special Attacker, Defiant / Competitive Users (Bisharp / Milotic), Random HP Ice users.

K - Kangaskhan-Mega
BS Season 16 Stats

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy / Inner Focus
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe or EVs 92 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Def / 52 SpD / 68 Spe
Jolly / Adamant Nature
- Return / Double Edge / Frustration / Facade
- Power-Up Punch / Low Kick
- Sucker Punch / Ice Punch
- Fake Out / Protect

We finally get to perhaps the strongest and most vital Pokemon of the "CHALK" core: Mega Kangaskhan. Aside Landorus-T, there's almost no drawback of not considering Mega Kangaskhan for just about any VGC or Battle Spot Doubles team there is. Some people (including myself), can go as far to say Mega Kangaskhan is the most centralizing Pokemon in Doubles, however that's a topic for another day. To put it bluntly, every team in VGC 15 or in BS Doubles these days has to prepare for Mega Kangaskhan, however the problem is this is easier said than done. To start off, lets discuss the ability, Parental Bond. Just the potential to hit the target twice, and gain any secondary effects off of this (think Power-Up Punch / Ice Punch), is incredibly powerful. Looking at Mega Kangakhan's natural BST, there's no "linger" stat aside is kinda abysmal SpA (funny enough some Kangs run Ice Beam), and the above average base 100 speed. The fact Mega Kangaskhan has the natural bulk similar to all the "pixie Pokemon" like Mew in the games makes it more threatening.

Most Kangaskhan users will opt to run the standard 4/252/252 EV Spread as it give them the best chance to outspeed other base 100s like Mega Gardevoir, or Mega Charizard Y. Some experience VGC / BS Doubles players might run more "defensive" Kangaskhan spreads to allow them to take a Fighting-type move like Terrakion's Close Combat, or an Overheat from Charizard Y. Cresselia and Landorus-T can provide Kangaskhan with both speed control and "artificial" natural bulk thanks to the Intimidate ability. Amoonguss can help Power-Up Punch Mega Kangakshan setup to +2 while redirect attaccks away from her, or possibly put key Pokemon to sleep with Spore. Finally, Heatran can help Mega Kangaskhan deal with pesky Steel-types like Aegislash while potential handle some of the other common Mega Evolutions in the game.

In terms of movepool, Fake Out is Mega Kangaskhan most used attack given its pseudo-Priority, and guaranteed turn to "flinch" the opponent, allowing for one of its teammates to setup (Trick Room, Sub, Spore, etc), or attack themselves. After Fake Out,  Normal-type STAB is used on Mega Kangaskhan to get the best damage output against the opposing team with moves like Return/Frustration (no drawbacks), Doubles Edge (hits hard, suffers recoil), and the rare Facade (low damage output initially, but can hit hardest when status). A Fighting-type move like Power-UP Punch or Low Kick is opted, though its really up to the player to decided if they want "long-term" sweeping potential or a strong Fighting-type coverage to begin the battle. Lastly, a Dark-type move like Sucker Punch rounds out Mega Kangs neutral coverage to hit Ghost-types with some addition of being a priority move. Keep in mind other Kangaskhan user might run other uncommon moves like Protect to scout or for attacks, and Ice Punch to hit opposing Dragons, and Double Genies (Landorus-T / Thundurus) harder.

In terms of preparing for Kangaskhan, players usually find ways to "neuter" its damage output like Burn status / Intimidate spam, or directly threatening them with STAB Fighting-type moves. Maintain some form of speed control against the Mega Kangaskhan so it won't hit "first", and potentially get knock out before the kangaroo starts wall breaking. Ghost-types like Aegislash and Gengar, though weak to Sucker Punch, can abuse this via "indirectly" using Status moves like Substitute, Will-O-Wisp, or even Toxic. Finally, Pokemon like Rocky Helmet Users, or Rough Skin / Iron Barbs wielders with this item can indirectly inflict chip damage against Mega Kangaskhan to the point where it might be weak to an opposing attack or faint itself. Even with all these options, Mega Kangaskhan will still use its teammates to help beat some would-be counters, so players must be able to "respect" and take into consideration them as well in key matchups.

Checks / Counters: Fighting-types (Terrakion, Virizion, Conkeldurr, Scrafty), Ghost-types (Gengar, Mega Gengar, Sableye, Aegislash, Jellicent), Will-O-Wisp (Gengar, Sableye, Arcanine, Rotom-A), Intimidate (Arcanine, Scrafty, Landorus-T), Rough Skin/Iron Barbs - Rocky Helmet (Garchomp, Ferrothorn, Amoonguss, Cresselia)

Other "Sixth" Members

Now that I've covered all the member of CHALK, here are five more Pokemon who are often seen with them. Keep in mind, these five Pokemon aren't listed together just because of personal preference, rather these are typically seen together with other "CHALK"-based teams. Some of these Pokemon are Megas who might not be as  threatening as Mega Kangaskhan, but are still rather strong in the doubles format. Some of these Pokemon form good type synergy with key CHALK members as detailed below. 

BS Season 16 Stats

Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry / Leftovers / Life Orb / Safety Goggles
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 HP / 120 Def / 36 SpA / 68 SpD / 28 Spe
or EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Calm / Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power Ice / Swagger / Grass Knot
- Thunder Wave
- Taunt / Protect 

 Thundurus-Incarnate is one of the most prolific Electric-type Pokemon in VGC given for its high Special Attack / Speed, but notorious for it "Prankster" support coverage. Though not a "member" of CHALK, Thundurus is probably the most paired 6th slot given for a number of reasons. Thundurus can provide "Prankster" Thunder Wave, basically meaning this status ailment will always have +1 priority, reduce the speed of the target to 25% of their original team, and the uneventful 25% chance of "full paralysis", or the Pokemon might not move for that turn. Given how valuable  priority Thunder Wave is, most Thundurus sets are actually built on the bulkier end to spread as much paralysis as possible for its teammates. Prankster Taunt is a great utility move to prevent the opposing team from boosting up their stats, status ailments, or setting up some form of Speed Control like Trick Room. Though "controversial" no Thundurus review cannot go without mentioning "Swagger". Essentially this is a 90% accurate Confusion-based nonvolatile status which raises the Attack of the opponent by +2, but the confusion hits will hurt slightly harder than normal at 50/50 odds. Problem with that is when paired with Thunder Wave and potential Rock Slides from Landorus-T, this combination has the potential to sway games to the Swagger user, in this case Thundurus-Incarnate.

One of Thundurus "best partners" is its fellow Genie-turn-Cat-thing Landorus-T as both are "immune" to electrical paralysis, threaten each others "counters" (EX. Landorus-T can beat Tyranitar, Thundurus can deal with Suicune), provide a RNG factor (mentioned above), and allows Landorus-T to freely spam STAB Earthquake. Note that Landous-Therian's Intimidate support bolster's Thundurus's longevity in the battle as it continue to spread paralysis, or attack consistently. Note that not all Thundurus-I sets are "support" as it still has a base 125 SpA and a 111 trollish speed to abuse. These Thundurus sets might utilize the Life Orb to further their damage output form their Bolt Beam combination of Thunderbolt and HP Ice.

Checks / Counters: Rock-types (Tyranitar, Terrakion), Ground-types in case lacking HP Ice / Grass Knot (Garchomp, Landorus-T, Mamoswine Swampert, Gastrodon), Electric-types (Raichu, Rotom-H, Raikou), Ice-type attacks (Ice Beam / HP Ice),  Rock-type coverage (Rock Slide), Quick Guard, Lightening Rod

Mega Gardevoir
BS Season 16 Stats

Gardevoir @ Gardevoirite
Ability: Trace
EVs: 108 HP / 124 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 20 Spe or EVs: 252 SpA  / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest / Timid Nature
- Hyper Voice
- Psychic / Psyshock
- Trick Room / HP Ground / Taunt / Imprison / Calm Mind / Encore
- Protect

The first "alternate" Mega Evolution on this list is one which became popular with the use of multi-speed control teams: Mega Gardevoir. What made Mega Gardevoir claim of fame in Battle Spot Doubles, and the past VGC 15 format is the ability-move combination in Pixilate Hyper Voice, one of the strongest Fairy-type spread moves in the game. With Hyper Voice already a spread attack, and Mega Gardeovoir's massive base 165 Special Attack, many Pokemon aside those it resist (Fire-, Poison, Steel-) can't take consecutive Fairy-type attacks. Trick Room on a base 100 Mega Evolution might sound off at first, but this allows Mega Gardevoir to essentially switch the momentum of the battle via hitting fast threats with Hyper Voice or STAB Psychic attacks. Keep in mind, offensive 4/252/252 variants are still viable as this allows it to run another coverage as listed above.

So why use Mega Gardevoir over Mega Kangaskhan? The answer is most of Mega Gardevoir's "partners" are actually CHALK teammates like Landorus-T, Heatran, Amoonguss, and even Thundurus. Note Landorus-T and Heatran can beat most Steel- and Poison-type Pokemon which already threaten Mega Gardevoir, while Thundurus resists Steel-type hits while providing Prankster Thunder Wave. Amoonguss is Mega Gardevoir's "preferred" partner as it can divert attention to away to allow the Fairy to setup Trick Room, and continuously use Hyper Voice. Keep in mind, one of Mega Gardevoir's weaknesses aside type advantages is its rather low physicall defense (HP/Def) compared to Mega Kangaskhan. This means strong hits like an Aerilate Double Edge from Mega Salamence, Double Edge from Mega Kangaskhan, or strong consecutive physical attacks can wear down the Pixie Mega fast. Just note, Mega Gardevoir is still a strong Mega to watch out in BS Doubles given its damage output.

Checks / Counters: Steel-types (Heatran, Aegislash, M-Metagross, M-Mawile, Scizor), Poison-types (Amoonguss, Gengar, Mega Gengar, Mega Venusaur), Ghost-types (Aegislash, Mega Gengar), Wide Guard, Strong Physical Attackers

BS Season 16 Stats

Sylveon @ Pixie Plate / Choice Specs / Life Orb
Ability: Pixilate
EVs: 188 HP / 68 Def / 252 SpA
Modest Nature
- Hyper Voice
- Psyshock / Helping Hand / Calm Mind
- Hidden Power Ground
- Protect / Shadow Ball

For those who want another powerful Pixilate user not named Mega Gardevoir, while retain other potential Mega options, then Sylveon is right for you. Though not as fast as Mega Gardevoir, Sylveon can hit just as hard, if not harder with Pixilate Hyper Voice, provided it has a Specs or a Calm Mind boost. Usually Sylveon is paired with Kangaskhan as the go-to lead / partner given its potential to almost OHKO every Fighting-type in the game with one Pixilate Hyper Voice, while Mega Kangaskhan can pick off weaken targets. Similarly to Mega Gardevoir, Sylveon retains most of the CHALK partners given Landorus-T's Intimidate support, Thundurus's Prankster Thunder Wave, potential Trick Room option from Cresselia, and Heatran's ability to threaten Fire / Steel-types (excluding itself). Sylveon's moderately high HP and Special Defense allow it to tank some neutral hits which would threaten Landorus-T or Heatran like an HP Ice / Ground respectively. With its Pixilate Hyper Voce in check, Sylveon can threaten Dark-type Pokemon like Hydreigon, Scrafty, Weavile, and Tyranitar which all of whom can 2HKO Cresselia. Finally Amoonguss can redirect harmful attack from Sylveon so it can setup Calm Mind boosts, or fire Hyper Voices.

The only notable issue with Sylveon is the fact is rather "slow" compared to most of the offensive members of CHALK so it can't immediately OHKO say fast Fighting-types immediately. Though not as low as Mega Gardevoir, Sylveon has somewhat below average Defense, which means a strong physical attack can overwhelm the Pure-Fairy-type. Interesting, some Mega Gardevoirs might run the move "Imprison" and make Sylveon near useless in battle as it locks Hyper Voice, Psyshock, and Protect from play, though this is really situational. Despite the shortcomings, player must be wary of the damage output Sylveon can inflict against its opponent's, otherwise battles can be swayed quickly.

Checks / Counters: Steel-types (M-Mawile, M-Metagross, Aegislash, Heatran, Scizor), Poison-types (Gengar, Mega Venusaur, Amoonguss), Fire-types (Arcanine, Charizard Y, Heatran, Volcarona), Wide Guard, Strong Physical Attackers.

Charizard Y
BS Season 16 Stats

Charizard @ Charizardite Y
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid / Modest Nature
- Heat Wave / Flamethrower
- Solar Beam
- Overheat / HP Ground / Tailwind / Fire Pledge
- Protect

Charizard Y is an interesting take of a potential CHALK member, however most of the partners from CHALK or from the "Sixth" slot are often paired with the beloved Fire/Flying-type. What makes Charizard Y important for some of these members is its ability Drought, which bolsters the power of all Fire-type move, and reduces the damage of Water-types by 50%. Note that some of CHALK's hardest counters involve "rain teams" and Charizard Y can easily keep the weather advantage via retaining it pre-Mega Form via Protect, or switching to maintain weather control. Some Charizard Y sets are standard 4 / 252 /252 EV spreads to at least speed tie with the base 100s, or have additional bulk investment added to take physical hits better. Even if the player commits to using up most of Char Y's Evs to HP / Def / Spe, remember Drought is still going to boost the power of Fire-type hits by 50% making moves like Flamerthower, Heat Wave, and Overheat strong to hit.

Players might see Landorus-T paired with Charizard Y to reduce the attack stats of the opposing Pokemon, possibly allowing Char Y to tank some rather fatal hits like Rock Slide or Double Edge once. Heatran can benefit from the sun as both of these Fire-type can aggressively target down the opposing Pokemon with Drought-boosted Fire hits. Sylveon actually forms a near perfect offensive synergy with Charizard Y as both can hit the opposing mons with powerful spread Fire-/Fairy type damage, which only opposing Heatrans and Fire-type tank decently well. Finally, Aegislash (I'll get into in later) can provide Char Y with Wide Guard support, while switch into opposing Rock Slides and other would be Super Effective hits. 

Checks / Counters: Fast Rock Slide users (Scarf Landorus-T/Tyranitar, Sand Rush Excadrill), Electric-types (Thundurus, Raichu, Zapdos, Raikou), Fire-types (Rotom-H. Arcanine, Heatran), Dragon-types (Mega Salamence, Hyreigon, Garchomp, Latios), Weather (Tyanitar / Politoed)

BS Season 16 Stats

Aegislash @ Weakness Policy / Leftovers / Safety Goggles / Life Orb
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 100 SpA / 156 SpD or EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Modest or Quiet Nature
- King's Shield
- Substitute / Wide Guard / Shadow Sneak /
- Shadow Ball
- Flash Cannon / Toxic

The final member for today is the Ghost/Steel-type is Pokemon Aegislash. Known for its Ability, Stance Change, Aegislash can switch between its two forms which augment either of its offensive / defensive stats, while suppress its the other stats. Most Aegislash don't use its base 150 attack stat, rather the same high-based special attack to hit Pokemon hard with STAB Shadow Balls and Flash Cannons. On occasions, Shadow Sneak is used to snipe out low HP Pokemon, and still hits rather hard with the base 150 attack. For Held Items, Aegislash might opt for the popular Weakness Policy to boost both offensive stats by two if hit by a Super Effective hit. Leftover is seen on more "defensive-oriented" Aegislash who are seen with the Substitute set to abuse its high resistances while maintain itself. Safety Goggles allow Aegislash to directly counter the powder-based moves like Spore and Rage Powder, ensure a 99% advantage against opposing Amoonguss. Finally we have Life Orb, which allows Aegislash to immediately wall break and hit the opposing targets, though at the cost of some HP.

For what it can do for CHALK, Aegislash can perform well against potential CHALK "mirror matches", though its rather situational at best. Substitute Leftovers allows Aegislash to take on the typical Cresselia / Amoonguss combination, while slowly regain HP back every turn. Wide Guard ensures spread moves from opposing Landorus-T, Heatran, Mega Gardevoir / Sylveon, etc won't damage it, or its ally. Though Kangaskhan can still hit Aegislash super effectively with Sucker Punch, as long as Aegislash doesn't attack the normal-type, it can potentially stall it out of those 8 Power Points. Heck some Aegislash even have Toxic + Substitute to stall out Kangakshan, though it will cost it a vital coverage option. 

Checks / Counters: Fire-types (Char Y, Heatran, Blaziken, Arcanine), Dark-types (Bisharp, Hydreigon, Bisharp, Tyranitar), Ground-types (Landorus-T, Excadrill, Garchomp...note be weary of Wide Guard), Ghost-types (Gengar), Snarl users (Suicune, Arcanine, Raikou)

There you have it, all the CHALK members discussed in details as well as some of the "common" sixth slot Pokemon used. Hopefully this guide can serve as a reminder to what people used in the both the Battle Spot Doubles and VGC 15 format, though I'll admit this was definitely late in the process to unveil. For those who have any thoughts and opinions regarding CHALK, VGC 15, or Battle Spot Doubles, comment down below. I'm trying to get back into form, especially with the new Pokemon Su/Mo launch day coming ever slow closely. Also "expect" more guides the coming days, so you ain't done see me yet. Well cya later!

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