Surf N’ Turf Rings a Bell

Hello hat lovers!

This is the team I’ve been using for the past few months. The basic structure of the team started in January when I used Kyogre / Groudon / Mawile / Cresselia / Smeargle / Talonflame. I took the team to two PCs, finishing 3-2 at both, and while I thought the general premise of the team was strong, the fine details of it were quite lacking and I thought it needed fixing. Because of this, I chose not to use this team in the January IC, instead using Big 6 where I finished top 32. For much of February I was practising with Big 6 except with Thundurus over Talonflame (because I personally think Talonflame is a really bad Pokemon), and because I almost always brought Thundurus / Salamence / Groudon and rarely aimed to set up Xerneas or supported it with Smeargle, I found Xerneas and the team (only really because of the way I was using it) to be fairly mediocre and looked for alternatives. In a way, I combined my previous, unpolished team with Big 6 and came up with this. Bronzong was mostly inspired by a user on Pokemon Showdown who kept beating me with it, and after seeing Aaron Zheng win Anaheim regional with it, I realized just how strong it was against Big 6.

I took the team of Kyogre / Groudon / Salamence / Bronzong / Thundurus / Smeargle to Oregon regional, and even then, that iteration of the team was still fairly unpolished. Combined with lacklustre play from my end, I only went 4-3 as a result and missed out on gaining valuable CP. I didn’t have much time to practice for the Bellevue MSS just a week later, so I used the same team with one change. I played better for the most part and finished 4-2 and finished in the top 16, but still feel like I played my loss against Nicholas LeCrampe in round 4 really poorly and I feel like that that was my set to lose.

Nevertheless, I’ve become a huge fan of the archetype and have been improving the team ever since. I recently won my first PC of the 2016 format with it. I’ve also been testing Gavin Michaels’ (who finished top 8 at Florida regional) variation with Cresselia and Amoonguss and have liked it a fair bit also, but in general, I think Kyogre / Groudon / Salamence / Thundurus is a really strong core.

Kyogre @ Blue Orb
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Water Spout
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Protect

Groudon @ Red Orb
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
Adamant Nature
– Precipice Blades
– Fire Punch
– Substitute / Rock Slide
– Protect

One of the toughest adjustments I’ve found with this format is that the existence of Primals and their abilities have made Fire and Water types obsolete. Having both Primals was the only way to use Water and Fire moves with any sort of reliability, and on top of that, the Primals are the two restricted Pokemon that have the highest base stats and the most immediate offense. Their speed tier also fits Trick Room / Thunder Wave very well, a combination I’ve always had an affinity for.

At Oregon and Bellevue, I used virtually minimum speed on both Primals, because in theory, it worked best on a Trick Room team. However, after losing to Hayden and his faster Primals at Oregon, I realized that running some speed was beneficial. This is because it allows you to win mirrors, as it is easier to control situations where Trick Room isn’t up, as well as being an advantage when I choose not to bring Bronzong. I’m unfortunately withholding the specific EV spreads on these two for now because I still intend to use them in the NuggetBridge Major. They aren’t overly special though, just that there are some specific things about them that I feel give me a large advantage should my opponents not know about them. Just know that I greatly value bulk, which is why I’ve taken a liking to double Primals to begin with, and that I was able to hit much of the relevant defensive benchmarks that minimum speed Primals provided me with, and most importantly, both Primals hit speed stats that are low enough that they don’t cut into offensive or defensive investment, but high enough that I’ve been able to outspeed virtually every Trick Room double Primal team I’ve faced, which has been a great boon.

On Kyogre, I chose not to use either Origin Pulse or Thunder, both viable moves. I have little reason to use Origin Pulse, simply because it doesn’t provide enough of an advantage for me to warrant its spotty 85% accuracy and that Kyogre already has fantastic alternatives in Scald and Water Spout. Thunder would also be a strong option but unfortunately I feel that the other four moves are more important.

On Groudon however, there are little to no alternatives to Precipice Blades, and I had to break a personal rule in avoiding as many inaccurate moves as possible. The drop in power when switching to Earthquake is just enough so that I miss out on 2HKOing some bulkier Kyogre and Xerneas, and Earthquake is a spotty option when using Gravity Bronzong. Special attacking Groudon also doesn’t deal with Xerneas all that well. The last move has largely been filler. I’m a big fan of Substitute, in part because people often double Protect on the last turn of either Tailwind or Trick Room, and also because Groudon is fairly difficult to KO when you lack Salamence’s Hyper Voice, or when you are required to KO it in two or more attacks. Rock Slide has also been a surprisingly strong choice as well, especially when I use Helping Hand with Cresselia. It gives Groudon a second spread move that can also hit Flying types. Another popular choice for Groudon’s last move slot is Stone Edge, but I refuse to use it because I don’t want to give myself an aneurysm by having it and Precipice Blades on the same Pokemon. At Oregon and Bellevue I used Dragon Claw because I had some trouble with Rayquaza, but please don’t use that. It’s bad.

Bronzong @ Lum Berry
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SDef
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spd
– Gyro Ball
– Trick Room
– Skill Swap
– Gravity

At Oregon, I used a Brave Bronzong because I liked its ability to OHKO Xerneas when boosted. However, with more practice, I realized that the offensive investment really wasn’t worth it because Gyro Ball was always followed up with another attack from either primal. Bronzong is better served being as bulky as possible just so it survives strong attacks like Kyogre’s Water Spout, and even damage from resisted attacks can slowly chip away at Bronzong. The EV spread is lazy and the moveset is standard. Bronzong is a great Pokemon with double primals because of its ability to hard counter Big 6, as its set of resistances are further strengthened by potential immunities to Water and Fire.

Salamence @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 252 Spd
Naive Nature
– Hyper Voice
– Double-Edge
– Draco Meteor / Tailwind
– Protect

Fairly standard Salamence. Unlike Max I actually do use Tailwind, and while this may seem redundant and repetitive because I already have Thunder Wave and Trick Room on the team, this was added to help Kyogre. I noticed that a lot of the time, Kyogre wasn’t attacking at full HP, meaning its power with Water Spout was weakened. It wasn’t a huge problem but I felt that Kyogre could be more threatening if I provided it with more ways to move first, because you can’t Thunder Wave fast Ground and Electric types like Groudon, Landorus, Thundurus, or a Lum Berry user like Crobat. Draco Meteor was tough to give up in theory because this team has some trouble with RayOgre teams, but for whatever reason, I never found myself to be using the move very often and have found Tailwind to be quite valuable. Tailwind was also a tool that allowed me to have more instant offense, because Salamence can threaten a far greater number of Pokemon than either Bronzong or Thundurus.

Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 4 SAtk / 44 SDef / 100 Spd
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Thunder Wave
– Taunt
– Protect / Hidden Power Water

I think Thundurus is one of the best Pokemon in the format, but for one reason or another, it hasn’t seen as much usage as it has in previous years. No other non restricted, non mega helps as much against Big 6 or RayOgre as much as Thundurus does, and with HP Water, it is also an incredible tool to have in Double Primal mirrors. Most teams this season have started out relying far too much on a high speed stat in my opinion, which leaves them very susceptible to paralysis. Even Groudon, perceived as being the best counter to Thundurus, will get cleanly OHKOed by HP Water in the rain even without any investment, assuming Groudon only has 4 HP EVs. On top of that, virtually every team has one or two support Pokemon that will be brought to most games, and having Taunt helps neutralize those Pokemon, especially against the rise in Pranksters this season. The moveset on this is fairly standard. I feel like Protect on Thundurus has been more mandatory in this format than last year, but Hidden Power Water is also a strong choice. This specific EV spread allows Thundurus to out run positive natured Landorus-T (and subsequently max speed primals), to survive  Xerneas’ Dazzling Gleam, as well as positive natured Groudon’s Fire Punch. 252 HP also hits an even HP stat that allows for Sitrus Berry to activate after Super Fang. With Yveltal’s rising popularity it might be worthwhile to run 172 speed EVs to allow you to attack before Yveltal can Snarl you, but I have yet to test this change. Also, when using HP Water, the 4 EVs from special attack are shifted over to defense.

At Oregon and during the Bellevue MSS, I used a Jolly Thundurus, but was virtually the same in other regards. Wild Charge was only added to allow me to always KO Kyogre when coupled with either Salamence’s Double Edge or Groudon’s Precipice Blades, but I’ve since gone back to using a more orthodox special attacking set. This was mainly because I wanted to test HP Water, but I still think physical Thundurus has its merits.

Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Own Tempo
Level: 49
EVs: 228 HP / 244 Def / 32 SDef
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spd
– Fake Out
– Dark Void
– Crafty Shield
– Spiky Shield

Level 49 Smeargle doesn’t really lose out on stats the same way level 49 primals do, because it doesn’t have them to begin with. It is still able to survive a Double Edge from an Intimidated Kangaskhan. Other than this quirk, this set is the standard for Smeargle on a Trick Room team. Own Tempo is preferred over Moody because I actually rely on it to hit Dark Voids with Gravity up, as well as maintain its low speed. There are times where I wish I had Wide Guard or Follow Me over Fake Out, but I chose Fake Out because it’s more effective at helping Bronzong against teams that foolishly lack answers to Fake Out + Trick Room. Crafty Shield is essential to stop Taunt, Dark Void, and Spore, all things that trouble Trick Room.


Bronzong generally competes with Cresselia for a team slot as a Trick Room setter. On double Primals, however, I feel that Bronzong is the superior choice. Despite its weaker defenses, Bronzong takes less damage against more Pokemon simply because of its resistances. This is especially important against popular Pokemon like Xerneas, Kangaskhan, and Salamence, as those three have a more difficult time KOing Bronzong, and thus will allow for an easier time to set up Trick Room. However, Cresselia is still a great Pokemon and is worth considering, because it has access to Helping Hand whereas Bronzong doesn’t. I don’t think Cresselia is worthwhile on this archetype if Helping Hand isn’t used.

Amoonguss is an option over Smeargle, and in general, is a Pokemon like Thundurus that I think is criminally underused this season. Access to a sleeping move and redirection is still as powerful as ever, and unlike Smeargle, Amoonguss actually has bulk. It also becomes a greater option as Trick Room teams continue to gain popularity.



The single biggest threat to this team is Yveltal. I don’t have great ways to damage it and the game plan to beating it has largely come down to Thunder Wave and relying on Salamence to take it down. Yveltal isn’t unbeatable with this team, but it often takes too much attention to handle well, and being the Pokemon with the strongest priority attack in the game is unpleasant to deal with with a team that relies so much on speed control.

At the Bellevue MSS I lost to a player who had Giratina-O, which was a very tough Pokemon to deal with for the same reason as Yveltal: the team simply lacks the attacks to deal good damage to it, especially without Draco Meteor on Salamence. Mewtwo has also been somewhat annoying the few times I’ve played it, as it is capable of 2HKOing the Primals and OHKOing Salamence, all while being faster than all three. Thankfully Mewtwo is susceptible to paralysis and only carries single target attacks. Mewtwo and Giratina-O are both also fairly rare, so those two haven’t been as big of a problem as Yveltal.

Other people who use double Primals have also stated that RayOgre is a difficult matchup, however, I haven’t found that to be the case. Salamence and Thundurus are both very threatening to that archetype, and using those two carefully makes the match up a lot less difficult than it may look on the surface.

So that’s the team! Success with it at large events has been limited, however, I largely attribute that to my own poor play. I think double Primals is the strongest combination of restricted Pokemon, and the other four go a long way in covering some poor match ups those two may have.

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