Early Metagame Rage: Tales of Gardemoth

I guess as an author for this site now I’m obligated to open like this, so greetings hat lovers!

This is the team I used for much of January. The team revolved around the use of Mega Gardevoir and Rage Powder Volcarona, with Imprison being tech’d onto Gardevoir to lock down Sylveon and some variants of Salamence. I thought the team concept was fun overall, because Gardevoir and bulky Volcarona are quite rare and it gave me an advantage over unprepared opponents. The only tournament I took this team to was a NuggetBridge Live, where I entered Top Cut as the #1 seed before losing in Top 8.


Salamence @ Choice Specs
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 248 SAtk / 252 Spd
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 SAtk / 30 SDef
– Draco Meteor
– Dragon Pulse
– Flamethrower
– Hidden Power Ground

Specs Salamence is a very bad Hydreigon. The biggest difference between them is that Hydreigon KOes just about everything with Draco Meteor, whereas Salamence knocks them down to a sliver of HP and activates Sitrus Berry. I stuck with Salamence because Intimidate was too valuable, even if everything about Salamence is inferior to Hydreigon. HP Ground on Salamence is really weird, but I never used that last slot anyway, and this team needs as many ways to hit Heatran as possible. The EV spread is basically 4/252/252 with the lowered SAtk IV taken into account.


Volcarona @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 244 HP / 244 Def / 20 Spd
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 SAtk / 30 SDef
– Overheat
– Hidden Power Ground
– Rage Powder
– Protect

It’s no Togekiss but Volcarona is one of my favorite redirectors in this format. Its resistance to Steel helped Gardevoir greatly, and Rocky Helmet and Flame Body in general discouraged physical attackers from attacking. Being a Fire type has a lot of perks for a redirector, because while Volcarona can’t redirect Grass types, it can scare them off, and Fire typing comes with plenty of resistances that allows Volcarona to pair well with a lot of Pokemon. The EV spread allows me to outspeed Bisharp and hit an HP number to minimize sandstorm + hail damage, while also having as much physical bulk as possible. I chose Overheat as my main STAB option because I never found myself to be attacking with Volcarona often, so I wanted to have as much damage output as possible when I did. HP Ground was added because I almost never found an opportunity to use Roost when I had it, and HP Ground gives me a way to hit Heatran who would otherwise wall Gardevoir + Volcarona. In general I liked Voncarona’s typing, but the secondary Bug typing was a let down: it causes Volcarona to take way too much damage from Landorus-T, the Fighting resistance did almost nothing for me considering Gardevoir already feasts on those anyway, and the most common Fighting type is Terrakion, who’s just going to Rock Slide you. Can we have Follow Me Magmar back pretty please?


Suicune @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 92 SAtk / 32 SDef / 36 Spd
Bold Nature
IVs: 30 SDef
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Tailwind
– Protect

The “Gardemoth” combo doesn’t like Talonflame, Heatran, Landorus-T, and generally fast Pokemon, so naturally, I added Suicune to the team. There’s nothing too fancy about the build: 92 SAtk was to OHKO Landorus-T, 36 Spd to speed creep Rotom-W so I can Tailwind before they pick off Suicune if it’s been weakened, and the physical bulk prevents Suicune from being 2HKOed by all variants of Talonflame most of the time. The rest of the EVs were dumped into SDef because I didn’t really need them anywhere else. With my Suicune there are 4 EVs missing because of the imperfect SDef IV.


Heatran @ Life Orb
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Modest Nature
– Heat Wave
– Earth Power
– Ancient Power
– Protect

This used to be a Hydreigon, but I kept getting convinced by people that having Heatran is almost mandatory if you use Gardevoir because of the synergy the two have. Heatran also gives me a way to deal with Sylveon, who would otherwise have a field day versus this team if I can’t Imprison it. While most people use the bulkier Substitute set, I’m a big fan of max speed Life Orb Heatran, because it allows Heatran to sit in a good speed tier and have a ton of offensive power while still maintaining bulk because of its typing and naturally good defenses. This would be Timid if I had one. Fortunately, this didn’t matter too much when I used this team because almost no one used max speed Heatran. Ancient Power is needed to hit Charizard for more damage because that thing can get out of control if I can’t deal with it quickly.


Gardevoir @ Gardevoirite
Ability: Trace
EVs: 252 HP / 68 SAtk / 188 Spd
Modest Nature
– Hyper Voice
– Psyshock
– Imprison
– Protect

The idea for Imprison Mega Gardevoir was given to me by Tony Cheung during one of the earlier Premier Challenges under the new ruleset. The idea was to use Imprison to block Hyper Voice from the ever present Sylveon and special Mega Salamence, while still maintaining Mega Gardevoir’s calling card in chunking HP with its own Hyper Voice. Being able to prevent the opponent from using Protect was also a powerful tool in certain situations. I used Mega Gardevoir a little bit in December and I never found myself needing a fourth move, so I was definitely intrigued by Imprison, and I then put in a lot of time trying to build a team with Mega Gardevoir. I think it’s a good Pokemon given the proper amount of support, but I gave up on the idea eventually because Gardevoir lacked a little too much for my liking. It can’t break through bulky Pokemon that typically carry a Sitrus Berry and sits in an awkward speed tier that causes it to not be able to trade damage effectively vs Pokemon like Landorus-T. In general, Gardevoir’s physical bulk is incredibly disappointing, especially for a mega. 252 HP in general increased Gardevoir’s staying power (specifically, it allows Gardevoir to survive Mega Gengar’s Sludge Bomb), 68 SAtk to KO Bisharp after it takes Rocky Helmet damage, and 188 Spd was to get the jump on non Scarf Landorus-T. I used Psyshock over Psychic because both would 2HKO Mega Venusaur and Amoonguss anyway, but Psyshock allows me to 2HKO Pokemon like Sylveon, Milotic, and Ludicolo.


Thundurus-I @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 196 HP / 168 Def / 100 SDef / 44 Spd
Bold Nature
IVs: 30 Def
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power Ice
– Thunder Wave
– Taunt

Thundurus was added just for more speed contrtol, and in particular, to give the team an extra option vs Talonflame. Thundurus is honestly a very bland Pokemon and there’s nothing too interesting about this set. The EV spread allows me to speed creep other Thundurus so I can Taunt them, and the defensive EVs were optimized to be 3HKOed by Terrakion’s Rock Slide while also having as much special bulk as possible. I also greatly prefer Swagger and Protect over HP Ice, but HP Ice wasn’t necessarily a bad option either because Thundurus would be helpless vs Landorus without it.

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