Building a VGC team: threats to deal with

Hello Hat Lovers! Instead of posting one of my own teams I’m going to try and help players build their own. Today I’m going to look at some common metagame threats that your team will need to be able to deal with if you want to do well. Alternatively you could treat this as a way to find a starting point for your team and ways your opponent will try to deal with you.
Kangaskhan + Smeargle

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
-Fake Out
-Sucker Punch

Smeargle @ Focus Sash
-Dark Void
-King’s Shield / Spiky Shield

For whatever reason TPCI decided that not banning Dark Void was a good idea. Kangaskhan has Fake Out on the first turn to make it easier for Smeargle to get off a Dark Void. After that Smeargle can Transform into Kangaskhan and now your two sleeping Pokemon have to deal with two Mega-Kangaskhan. This strategy has a ton of faults in it, although many of them have to do with the RNG and can’t be exploited.

The first issue with this strategy is that Dark Void only has 80% accuracy. This means that you only have 64% chance to put both the opponent’s Pokemon to sleep. The other problem with this is that if your Pokemon get the turn 2 wake you’ll be able to take this combo down without too much trouble.

These are concerns for the user of this combo, but while these will prevent them from winning every time you still want to beat them even if you’re not one of their lucky opponents. So here are a couple of ways to beat this combo:

Insomnia Gourgeist: Gourgeist can’t be touched by Mega Kangaskhan, and if it uses Insomnia Smeargle can’t hinder it either.

Safeguard: Here at VGC TCG w/Hats we love ourselves some Safeguard. Meowstic can block Fake Out from Kangaskhan with Quick Guard while its partner can deal with Smeargle or stop it from using Dark Void for a turn. Once the Fake Out turn has passed Meowstic can set up a Safeguard or start Charming their Kangaskhan.

Lum Berry: By giving one of your Pokemon Lum Berry you’ll be able to get the jump on a Smeargle that thought it could incapacitate you with Dark Void.

Charizard + Venusaur

Charizard @ Charizardite-Y
-Heat Wave / Flamethrower
-Solar Beam
-Overheat / Air Slash / Dragon Pulse

Venusaur @ Black Sludge
-Giga Drain / Energy Ball
-Sludge Bomb
-Sleep Powder

The new Politoed / Kingdra of VGC 2014. Mega-Charizard’s Drought activates Venusaur’s Chlorophyll and boosts the power of its Fire moves. This lead generally double Protects on the first turn to active Chlorophyll before Venusaur can be attacked. After that you need to deal with Sun boosted Fire moves from Charizard’s base 159 special attack and Venusaur can start putting your Pokemon to sleep with Sleep Powder. This combo is harder to block when your Pokemon are put to sleep, but there are still plenty of ways to deal with the combo:

Garchomp + Talonflame

Garchomp will always out speed standard Charizards and OHKO with Rock Slide, while Talonflame takes out Venusaur with Brave Bird. This combo only fails if the Venusaur is carrying a Coba Berry.

Kangaskhan / Mawile + Meowstic

On the first turn Meowstic can set up a Safeguard while Kangaskhan Fake Outs into a Protect or Mawile Protects itself to be safe. On the second turn Kangaskhan can OHKO Charizard with Return and Meowstic either Swaggers the opponent to try for hax or Swaggers Kangaskhan so that it will be at +2 attack. If using a Mawile you can OHKO Charizard with a +2 Sucker Punch and Venusaur can’t touch Mawile.

Rotom-H (with Lum Berry / Safety Goggles)

Rotom-H can KO both Charizard and Venusaur with its STAB moves while resisting their common moves (except for Sludge Bomb.) With either Lum Berry or Safety Goggles you’ll be safe from Sleep Powder (Lum Berry also helps against Dark Void, while Safety Goggles shields you from all Powder and weather.)

Opposing Weather + Prediction

Having a Tyranitar or a Politoed shuts down Charizard completely and slows down Venusaur. If the opponent goes for a double Protect turn one and sets up the sun you can switch your counter weather in to shut them down. Mega-Tyranitar can also control the weather with proper prediction, so long as you Mega-Evolve either on the same turn or on a turn afterwards you’ll have the last say in the weather war.

Mega Mawile

Mawile @ Mawilite
-Play Rough
-Iron Head
-Sucker Punch

Mawile is one of the most popular Mega Pokemon right now. On top of its insane attack stat Mawile has a ton of resistances, good defensive stats, and Intimidate before Mega-Evolving. Like most physical Pokemon Mawile can be handled by burn and repeated intimidates. Mawile’s STAB moves are both resisted by most Steel types and Fire types, just be sure that whatever you decide to attack Mawile with can survive a Sucker Punch.

Mega Manectric

Manectric isn’t as popular of a Mega as Kangaskhan, Mawile, and Charizard which have higher stats and are easier to use. Regardless, Manectric is still dangerous in the hands of a good player. Volt Switch allows Manectric to use Intimidate over and over again while avoiding attacks heading its way. Before Mega-evolving Manectric supports its partner with Lightning Rod. Our favourite partner for Manectric has been Gyarados, which provides further Intimidate support and enjoys having electric attacks diverted away from it.

Mega Gengar

Gengar @ Gengarite
-Perish Song
-Shadow Ball
-Sludge Bomb / Disable / Hypnosis

We’ve already looked at Perish-trapping before, so I’ll make this brief. Dealing with PT is all about applying as much offensive pressure as possible and finding ways to switch out through Shadow Tag. Volt Switch and U-Turn can save one of your Pokemon from being KO’d by PS, just be sure not to Volt Switch into a Protect on the last turn. Ghost types can freely switch out and their Ghost STAB moves are huge threats to users of Shadow Tag.

Garchomp + Salamence

These two have been best friends lately. Double Dragons have been a powerful combination in the past, and continue to be effective despite the introduction of the Fairy type. Its tough to go two battles without encountering one of these Dragons, so you should have at least one way of dealing with them.

The standard Garchomp set is Jolly 252 atk / 252 speed with Earthquake, Dragon Claw, Rock Slide, and Protect. This always out speeds base 100s and is the second fastest Dragon type available after Noivern. Salamence is commonly Scarfed with a Modest/Timid nature and 252 Sp.Atk and 252 Speed. The common moves include Draco Meteor, Dragon Pulse, Fire Blast, Hydro Pump, and Rock Slide.

The first thing that comes to mind when countering dual dragons is to use Fairy types. I’ve been a fan of Scarf Gardevoir which is popular in Japan as an answer to dual dragons. Mawile and Azumarill can KO either with a Play Rough even after an Intimidate, Azumarill gets special mention because it is neutral or resistant to the dragons other moves, while Mawile gets Intimidate before Mega-Evolving.

Another way is to use your own dragons. A Salamence, Noivern or a Hydreigon holding a Haban Berry will likely catch the opponent off guard and allow you to KO their Dragon after they fail to KO yours. Both Garchomp and Salamence have a 4x weakness to Ice, so using something quick like Mega-Manectric with Hidden Power Ice can KO these Pokemon with ease.


Electric / Water
Electric / Fire

Rotom is possibly the most used Pokemon in VGC right now, although it owes this partially to its multiple forms. The popular forms of Rotom are its wash and heat forms. Rotom has great typing that allow it to wall many common threats. Both Rotom forms resist Fire and Flying, leaving Talonflame without a way to threaten either of them. Rot
om-H resists Fire and Grass, so Charizard can’t touch it unless it resorts to Ancient Power, which is only a 2HKO at best. Rotom-H also resists Fairy and Steel, adding Mawile to the list of things that it doesn’t care about. Couple these great resistances with high defences and solid attack and speed stats and you get a Pokemon that fits onto most any team.

Rotom like to spread burn with Will-O-Wisp, so physical attackers tend not to work well against them unless they carry a Lum Berry or Safeguard. If you can resist Rotom’s attacks or just be neutral against them and have high special defence you’ll be fine against them. The issue is being able to KO them before the Pokemon they wall can attempt to sweep.


Talonflame is a rather frail Pokemon with lower base stats across the board with the exception of its great speed stat. Yet Talonflame is still a threat because of Gale Wings, which gives all its flying moves +1 priority. If most of your team have low defence stats or are weak to Flying you will have a hard time dealing
with Talonflame. Talonflame can also set up Tailwind to support its team.

Talonflame isn’t too hard to deal with. Intimidate lowers its already so-so attack stat making it much more manageable. Pokemon that resist both its STAB moves such as Rotom-W, Rotom-H, and Tyranitar will be able to take anything Talonflame throws at them and KO in return. Quick Guard blocks Brave Bird. Another plan is to let Talonflame KO itself through recoil, Life Orb damage, and potentially Rough Skin / Rocky Helmet.


Kill it with fire!

If you don’t have any Fire attacks on your team, you will have a lot of trouble with Ferrothorn. Last year I had a game where I Leech Seeded my opponent’s last two Pokemon and they froze Ferrothorn, only for Ferrothorn to survive off of Leech Seed and Leftovers until it thawed out (then got frozen immediately afterwards and thawed out again.)

Having one Fire attacker on your team gives you a way to deal with Ferrothorn but if that Pokemon is taken out you’ll probably lose to Ferrothorn. If you have two Pokemon that can carry Fire attacks your opponent will probably decide that Ferrothorn isn’t a good Pokemon to bring against you.


Next time you build a team, ask yourself: will my team be able to handle these Pokemon? If not you’ll in for a rough time. If your team can handle these threats you’ve probably got yourself a solid team. There are plenty of threats that weren’t covered here, most of which are more obscure and aren’t seen as frequently. If you can develop a good sense of what a team is trying to accomplish from team preview alone you’ll be much more successful in this game.

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