Hello Hat Lovers!
Today I’ve got another team to do an analysis on. I don’t normally write about random stuff I play on Showdown but this team uses Umbreon and here at VGC w/Hats we celebrate when one of our favourites actually finds a team where it can function.
This team is similar to the team Tony Cheung used to win Washington Regionals. He kept quiet about it, and while Nugget Bridge revealed which Pokemon he used it didn’t reveal the strategy. Having lost to it in top four I knew all about it and how it worked. The main combo is Mega-Gengar and Raichu, who use various moves to hinder the opponent while KOing them with Perish Song. Outside of Perish Trapping, Raichu can also be used to help Gyarados and Kangaskhan set up with Dragon Dance and Power-Up-Punch respectively.
I played Tony’s team after Regionals and it wasn’t hard to see why it worked so well. However as more players learned how to deal with the team it became increasingly important to have a strong backup plan. There have been plenty of successful teams where the obvious combo is never used and its power is in the threat. An example of this is Alex’s US Nationals team which has Politoed/Ludicolo, yet he rarely brought both to a game. Another is my Washington team which had Charizard/Venusaur but only made use of the duo once. Another example is any team using Kangaskhan/Smeargle. When you see one of these combos in team preview its easy to feel like your hands are tied and you need to bring the two Pokemon on your team that deal with it, leaving you vulnerable if the opponent chooses not to lead with it.
Now that the introduction is out of the way onto the team:
Gengar is part of the team’s Perish Trap mode. After setting up Perish Song Gengar can use Protect and Disable to try and prevent the opponent from damaging it.
Shadow Ball is here because we need some way to deal damage in case we can’t win with Perish Trap. Sludge Bomb is an alternate consideration so you can deal more neutral damage as well as be able to hit Normal types like Smeargle or Kangaskhan. Substitute is also a solid option over Shadow Ball if you want to go all in with the strategy and accept the loss when Gengar is your last Pokemon, and it also makes that 31/31/31/10/31/31 shiny Gengar you hatched still remain optimal.
This EV spread was designed to survive a Choice Band Brave Bird from Talonflame, the standard is to just maximize HP to take hits on both spectrums but Gengar is getting 2HKO’d most of the time so it is better to maximize the amount of attacks you can survive rather then overall survivability.
Raichu is the partner for pretty much everything on the team. Fake Out helps Gengar use Perish Trap safely. Encore punishes any defensive or set up move and can shut down a Pokemon in tandem with Disable. Volt Switch allows Gengar to switch out and come back in on the same turn. Protect and Focus Sash help keep Raichu alive.
When not using Perish Trap Raichu also helps setup sweepers like Kangaskhan and Gyarados. Raichu provides Fake Out pressure to help these Pokemon use their setup moves safely and punishes Protects with Encore. Lightning Rod is a fantastic Ability that prevents the opponent from using Electric moves against you. Stopping Thunder Wave from crippling your Pokemon or any Electric attack from landing on Gyarados is a huge boon. This also blocks Volt Switch users from escaping Perish Song.
Since Umbreon is my favourite Pokemon in the franchise, I was very excited when I realized my team would benefit from a slow Baton Pass user. I’ve tried to make Umbreon work before, but every time I’ve ever put it on a team it was either a benchwarmer or dead weight in battle.
Umbreon’s job is to take a hit on the turn Gengar switches out and then use Baton Pass to get Gengar back in safely. Almost nothing can OHKO Umbreon and if Umbreon goes down Gengar still comes in at the end of turn. Inner Focus and Lum Berry make it difficult to stop Umbreon from doing it’s job, just be wary of Taunt users. Minimizing Umbreon’s speed makes it likely to be the last Pokemon to move allowing for safe Baton Passing. It also lets Umbreon hit Aegislash in blade form.
When using Umbreon outside of Perish Trapping be extremely cautious not to let it serve as set-up fodder. Kangaskhan sees Umbreon as a punching bag. Tyranitar, Gyarados and Charizard X all see Umbreon as set-up bait. Fighting and Fairy types will have an easy time powering through Umbreon with super-effective moves. Remember, Umbreon isn’t used for a reason.
That said, Umbreon can be useful against teams that have mostly special attackers. Combo this with Intimidate and your Pokemon will be tough to KO. Aegislash in particular won’t enjoy dealing with Umbreon at all as Snarl goes though Substitute and lowers its damage output.
Gyarados is the final Pokemon taken from Tony’s Regional team. Gyarados is a very bulky Pokemon and Intimidate makes it a great switch in which stalls out Perish Song. Gyarados also functions as a set-up sweeper alongside Raichu if you’re not going for the Perish Trap strategy. One thing I’d like to mention is that even though Raichu can redirect Electric attacks Gyarados still doesn’t fair well against Rotom-W as they can still burn you while you don’t do anything to them in return.
I had originally given Gyarados a Mega Stone so it would be stronger when I wasn’t using Gengar, but it was pretty lacklustre and I soon gave it a Sitrus Berry instead to help it survive attacks. After testing out the team I found the Tyranitar & Amoonguss was a really tough match-up and is very common on Showdown so I switched to Safety Goggles. While I lose out on Sitrus Berry I have a much easier time against Amoonguss and the lack of Sand Stream damage evens out the lack of healing against Tyranitar.
Aegislash ends up on most teams I make due to its great bulk and ability to wall opposing Kangaskhan. Once a Kangaskhan is locked in I can send in Aegislash and neither it nor Gengar will be afraid of the Kangaskhan and can patiently wait for it to die. If Kangaskhan’s partner isn’t threatening then everything is great! If the partner is a threat then that can be a problem that will probably have to be dealt with using Disable. Like Gyarados, Aegislash fits with both team strategies making it a valuable member of the team.
When not using Gengar the alternate game plan is to lead Raichu and Kangaskhan and try to set-up with Power-Up-Punch while Raichu provides Fake Out support and punishes Protects. I tried a similar strategy with Weavile before using Feint over Encore to break through predicted turn one double Protects, but Raichu is a safer way to go about it.
Since Raichu is using Fake Out before opposing Kangaskhan I’ve decided against going for the standard Jolly Kangaskhan and instead adding some additional power and bulk. The added bulk will hopefully ruin any attacks that were planning to OHKO standard Kangaskhan. This Kangaskhan is still faster then Smeargle after Mega Evolving.
When using Kangaskhan your partners are usually limited to Raichu, Gyarados and Aegislash. Umbreon can be useful if the opponent’s team carries almost all special attackers and it deals with Ghost types well which Kangaskhan always appreciates.
The final thing to mention is that I run Frustration over Return. This may seem like a trivial change but if a max happiness Smeargle transforms into Kangaskhan it’s Frustration will deal terrible damage as Smeargle retains it’s own happiness stat.
Reflections on Perish Trapping:
Perish Trap is what I consider the lazy mode of the team. If your opponent doesn’t have a great answer to it you can win easily with this combo. However, if the opponent knows exactly how to deal with this strategy you’ll find it doesn’t work as you want it to. Still the strategy beats scrubs and doesn’t require any luck to pull off unless your opponent has a Pokemon like Aerodactyl using Rock Slide going for flinches or a Prankster user using Swagger. Not giving low level players a chance to steal a win from you is a great trait to have, and against high level players you at least get a good idea of what they’re going to lead with as their options will likely be limited.
Here’s a replay of Perish Trap working as intended. When you play Perish Trap you want your games to play out like this one did. Perish Trap works great against opponents like this one that clearly didn’t know how to deal with Perish Trapping. Don’t expect this to work against high level players unless their team doesn’t have a great answer to it. A problem I’ve encountered on Showdown is that it isn’t obvious which players know what they’re doing, even ones with decent rankings. I’ve been faced with opponents that had a potential lead combo that dealt with Raichu/Gengar but had to guess whether or not they recognized the threat.
When not using Perish Trap:
When you’re not using Gengar you’ll instead have Kangaskhan to resort to. Raichu makes a great supporter for Kangaskhan as you can Fake Out opposing Kangaskhan, punish Protect and stop Aegislash from walling Kangaskhan. Gyarados and Aegislash are both great Pokemon in general, both are quite bulky and can deal good damage. Umbreon can be useful as an Aegislash counter and slows down opponents that lead with two special attackers, but risks being dead weight if the opponent can boost their stats. Gengar can still be used without mega evolving, but its moves and item make it suboptimal.
Ghost types are the biggest threat to the team. Kangaskhan can’t touch Ghosts and Gengar can’t trap them with Shadow Tag. Most Ghosts also survive a Shadow Ball (Aegislash, Focus Sash Gengar & Chandelure) or out speed Mega Gengar with a Choice Scarf (Chandelure) and retaliate with their own Shadow Ball. Sableye is the worst of the bunch as it can burn the whole team and nothing threatens to OHKO it.
Pokemon that out speed Raichu, have priority or have Rage Powder/Follow Me support are problematic when using Raichu. Not being able to Encore the Pokemon you want to can make Raichu pretty useless.
Something I’ve started counting on teams is the amount of imperfect accuracy moves it carries. The fewer moves you have with below 100% the fewer games you’ll lose to “hax.”
This team has two moves without 100% accuracy: Ice Fang and Snarl. Both of these attacks have 95% accuracy, which isn’t perfect but still pretty good. On the other hand, very few moves on the team have a chance for an added effect so the team doesn’t generate many lucky breaks.
So thats the Umbreon team. Its a shame that the only team Umbreon really fit in with was a Perish Trap team, but I’ll take it as I was convinced I’d never find a roll for Umbreon beyond being a benchwarmer.
Now its time for Mark to step up and make a Crawdaunt team