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Battle Spot Doubles Teams using Alola Pokedex

Hello Hat Lovers!

By the time this is posted Pokemon Sun & Moon should be close to release. I’ve been longing for a format to experiment in. VGC 2016 is still the official format and I’m pretty much done with it. VGC 2015 is still enjoyable but I just can’t bring myself to team-build in the format.

In an attempt to satiate our desire to play competitive doubles and get a leg up on the format Kelvin, Hayden and I have been playing doubles with only Pokemon found in the Alola Pokedex and no mega stones. Obviously this format is far cry from VGC 2017. While I expect we won’t have move tutors in Sun/Moon we still used them in this format. We did ban Dark Void, as it wouldn’t be available until January and I expected it to get restricted to Darkrai in generation 7 (which ended up happening).

Here are the strongest teams we came up with:

Good Stuffs

GengarGarchompTalonflame

clefable 131Lapras Metagross

Good old good-stuffs. This team doesn’t have any specific set up or strategy besides deal damage and KO your opponent’s Pokemon. That’s not to say that there’s no synergy between the teammates. Each Pokemon’s typing compliments the typing of the rest of the team.

GengarGengar @ Focus Sash
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball
– Sludge Bomb
– Taunt
– Protect

Gengar is incredible in this limited format. Gengar has a higher speed stat than most of the format, couple this with a Focus Sash and the ability to 2HKO many Pokemon and you have a great Pokemon on your hands. Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb have fantastic coverage as well. Gengar can hit the Psychic types that try to set up Trick Room for super effective damage or Taunt them to prevent the set up. I originally used Will-O-Wisp on Gengar, but between the lack of good targets and low accuracy of the move I decided it wasn’t worth it. Getting rid of Gengar is a priority which makes Protect a good move even though we often saw Gengar forgo it in the past.

Kelvin and I both consider Gengar to be the single strongest Pokemon in this limited format. I don’t expect it to be as overwhelming as Pokemon like Mega Kangaskhan and Thundurus were, Gengar just can’t match the level of oppression these Pokemon had. I do expect it to be very strong in the early metagame and continue to be a solid Pokemon throughout the year.

The lose of Levitate hurts Gengar a lot. I still expect it to see use but GameFreak gave it quite the harsh nerf.

Garchomp @ Yache Berry
GarchompAbility: Rough Skin
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Claw
– Earthquake
– Swords Dance
– Protect

Remember back in 2014 when Garchomp was the best Ground type in the game? Well, Garchomp remembers. Garchomp can continue to use its standard sets from 2014 to good effect in this format. I feel like Garchomp will be weaker than it was in the past as there are so many good Fairy types in the Alola Pokedex. Without Rotom in the format I decided to use Yache Berry instead of Lum. Status isn’t as important as it was in 2014 and surviving an Ice attack that was expected to KO Garchomp can improve your position immensely. Even in a best of 3 you have more freedom with Garchomp if you aren’t threatened by any random Ice attack.

Talonflame @ Life Orb
TalonflameAbility: Gale Wings
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Brave Bird
– Tailwind
– Protect

Talonflame is stupidly overpowered in this limited format. Talonflame can score easy OHKOs against the fast and frail Pokemon on good-stuffs teams, while Gale Wings allows it to remain effective against Trick Room teams. Any good set up team in this format requires redirection (from the Clefairy line at that, no Parasect) and/or Quick Guard support (from your own Talonflame).

We learnt from data mining that Gale Wings will only work when Talonflame’s HP is full. This is a huge blow to Talonflame and makes it useless against/on Trick Room teams. Without Gale Wings Talonflame is still fast but there are notable Pokemon that outpace it, such as Weavile and Aerodactyl. This isn’t even to speak of all the priority hate from Psychic Terrain and new abilities. Talonflame may very well be unplayable in 2017 I at least got to enjoy this breif period of having it be the strongest Pokemon around.

Clefable @ Sitrus Berry
clefableAbility: Magic Guard
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 4 SpA / 76 SpD / 4 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Follow Me
– Helping Hand
– Protect

The Clefairy line are the best (and possibly only viable) Follow Me users in this metagame. OHKOs aren’t as common in this format so I chose Clefable for its higher survivability from multiple attacks. Clefable also boasts a stronger Moonblast than Clefairy, which is an important coverage move. Another advantage to use Clefable is that Magic Guard is actually pretty useful. In this format you can actually get away with super bulky stall teams. This has lead to Toxic becoming a viable move, which Clefable can ignore and redirect with impunity. Unaware also has its merits, as many of the following teams with focus on stat boosting.

Lapras @ Assault Vest
131LaprasAbility: Water Absorb
Level: 50
EVs: 92 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def / 124 SpA / 36 SpD
Sassy Nature
– Hydro Pump
– Freeze-Dry
– Ice Beam
– Ice Shard

Originally I had Milotic in this slot as my bulky Water of choice. I swapped out Milotic for Lapras to deal with a specific combo: Gastrodon/Slowking. This duo is really strong in this format (as I’ll go into detail later) and Lapras is one of the best Pokemon to deal with it.

Outside of that match-up Lapras is pretty strong in general. Lapras beats many Pokemon in the format 1V1, such as: Gengar, Garchomp, Talonflame and Milotic. Having Ice Shard as a priority move is surprisingly useful for finishing off Pokemon that survive with a Focus Sash. It can be surprisingly powerful with a Helping Hand boost.

Lapras is one of the few Pokemon in this format that actually had thought put into its EV spread. This Lapras OHKOs Garchomp with Ice Beam. I invested heavily into Defence because Lapras’s base HP is so high that investing in it isn’t especially useful.

Metagross @ Weakness Policy
MetagrossAbility: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Iron Head
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Protect

When looking for a Steel type to use in this format, Metagross was the obvious choice. Initially we didn’t find Metagross to be that strong. Metagross has a lot of common weaknesses and we hadn’t been using any Fairy types yet. Once Sylveon and Clefable started making their way onto teams Metagross got a lot stronger. Metagross has so many common weaknesses, but it can usually survive a super effective hit. I started using Weakness Policy to capitalize on this. +2 Bullet Punch is very strong against teams that aren’t very bulky. Like with Ice Shard on Lapras, Bullet Punch is surprisingly useful for this team. Aerodactyl is a big threat and super effective priority moves let you KO it without worrying about flinches.

Gastro-King

slowkinggastrodonHariyama

SylveonGengarTalonflame

This is a combo that Rushan has been using in every format it is available in. The main goal of the team is to set up Trick Room with Slowking and use Surf to power up Gastrodon. Gastrodon receives special attack boosts from Surf and sweeps with Muddy Water. This team was incredibly powerful as there aren’t any good Grass types in the format to combat Gastrodon.

Slowking @ Lum Berry
slowkingAbility: Oblivious
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Surf
– Psychic
-Flamethrower
– Trick Room

Slowking is the primary Trick Room setter on the team. Oblivious prevents Taunt from affecting Slowking, eliminating one of the easiest ways to stop Trick Room from going up. Surf powers up Gastrodon while dealing chip damage to both opponents. Psychic is for STAB coverage and Flamethrower is for Parasect (though you speed tie with Parasect). Lum Berry negates one status move like Spore.

Gastrodon @ Sitrus Berry
gastrodonAbility: Storm Drain
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Muddy Water
– Earth Power
– Ice Beam
– Protect

Without strong Grass types in the format, Gastrodon effectively was no weaknesses. Once Trick Room is set up you’re free to switch in Gastrodon and start building up Storm Drain boosts with Surf. Repeated Surfs and Muddy Waters will power through most Pokemon. Earth Power and Ice Beam provide important coverage.

Hariyama @ Coba Berry
HariyamaAbility: Guts
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 132 Def / 124 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Close Combat
– Knock Off
– Wide Guard
– Fake Out

Scrafty will be missed this year. In its absence, Hariyama is the next most suitable Fake Out user for dedicated Trick Room. Hariyama has fantastic coverage with Close Combat and Knock Off. Most of GastroKing’s counters are weak to Close Combat. Knock Off compliments Close Combat perfectly and removing items is very strong in a format without mega stones.

Originally I used Assault Vest on Hariyama and gave it Surf so that it could also buff Gastrodon. I decided to switch items so I could use Wide Guard for Sylveon. I gave Hariyama a Coba Berry so it could survive an attack from Talonflame.

Sylveon @ Pixie Plate
SylveonAbility: Pixilate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Hyper Voice
– Calm Mind
– Helping Hand
– Protect

Sylveon has been in an awkward spot in this format. We’re assuming that move tutors are going to be banned, which makes Sylveon nearly unplayable. This assumption led us to avoid using Sylveon, but it didn’t stop us from using move tutors in general. We eventually started using Sylveon once we realized this hypocrisy.

Sylveon is pretty overpowered once Trick Room goes up. If move tutors don’t make a return in Sun/Moon I won’t be too upset to see Sylveon lose Hyper Voice.

GengarGengar @ Focus Sash
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball
– Sludge Bomb
– Trick Room
– Protect

As stated before, Gengar is just really strong in this format. Gengar is useful for cleaning up after Trick Room goes down or when you need a second Trick Room to close out the game. I’m not exactly a Trick Room buff, outside of my first team back in 2012 (which wasn’t a good team) and a brief period in 2016 I’ve never used Trick Room in a tournament. That said, I’ve noticed that strong Trick Room teams usually have fast Pokemon that keep momentum in your favour after Trick Room goes down.

Talonflame @ Life Orb
TalonflameAbility: Gale Wings
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Brave Bird
– Quick Guard
– Protect

Talonflame is similar to Gengar in that it is a fast Pokemon that is effective when Trick Room goes down or if you fail to set it up. Unlike Gengar Talonflame functions pretty well in Trick Room with Gale Wings. Quick Guard is useful for the team to block opposing Brave Birds from ruining your plans.

When Kelvin first played this team it was so overwhelmingly positive against the teams I had. This was what led me to discover Lapras and made it a staple in our metagame. The other method Kelvin started using to counter the team was to include Pokemon like Misdreavus or Umbreon with Toxic.

Double Poli

poliwrathPolitoedWeavile

Talonflameclefairyaerodactyl

At the start of a new format (especially regional Pokedex formats) its important to look back to past for team ideas. Me and Kelvin wanted to try and use a Belly Drum setup team. Without Azumarill, the next best candidate we saw was Poliwrath. Back in 2014 someone used a team with both final forms of Poliwag at US Nationals. They didn’t make day 2 but the team was the talk of the tournament on day 1.

Poliwrath @ Sitrus Berry
poliwrathAbility: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Waterfall
– Brick Break
– Belly Drum
– Protect

Poliwrath can maximize its attack stat with Belly Drum and then double its speed with Swift Swim. This is a fairly simple set up with a high payout. The rest of the team is dedicated to helping Poliwrath sweep.

Politoed @ Choice Scarf
PolitoedAbility: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Surf
– Icy Wind

Politoed is required to set up Rain for the team. Having a Choice Scarf makes Politoed an effective Pokemon in its own right. Since Mega Charizard isn’t a thing anymore there isn’t much purpose for Rain Dance, so I’ve added Icy Wind for situational speed control that breaks Focus Sash.

Weavile @ King’s Rock
WeavileAbility: Pickpocket
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Knock Off
– Ice Punch
– Fling
– Fake Out

I’ve been having so much fun with Weavile in this format. Weavile has the fastest Fake Out in the format which allows you to dictate the pace of the game in the early turns. Fling & King’s Rock is really underrated here. This gives Weavile a second Fake Out. I expect Fling to see more play next format as it is a non-priority Fake Out for Tapu Lele. Fling also makes Weavile a great check to Gengar. You can break Gengar’s sash and flinch it, allowing you to KO it the following turn. Once Weavile has flung the King’s Rock it can even steel items with Pickpocket. I’m not sure this is an ability I actually want, I’ve had games where I take Life Orb at an inopportune time and I’ve had games where I take a Sitrus Berry and eat it right before the opponent had a chance to.

Talonflame @ Life Orb
TalonflameAbility: Gale Wings
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Brave Bird
– Quick Guard
– Protect

I saw opposing Talonflame as a natural counter to Poliwrath, so Quick Guard support was a natural choice. Talonflame gets to check other Talonflame while also doing Talonflame things for its team.

Clefairy @ Eviolite
clefairyAbility: Friend Guard
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 220 Def / 36 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Follow Me
– Helping Hand
– Protect

Redirection is a necessity for Poliwrath to function. With Sitrus Berry taken Clefairy was the logical choice for this team. The weaker Moonblast is unfortunate, but Clefairy is harder to OHKO and has Friend Guard. Helping Hand can set up a lot of surprise KOs, and everything on the team is faster enough to abuse it.

Aerodactyl @ Focus Sash
aerodactylAbility: Unnerve
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Rock Slide
– Sky Drop
– Wide Guard
– Protect

Aerodactyl is the fastest Pokemon in the format and can spam STAB Rock Slide which is honestly the most terrifying thing in this format if you don’t have a solid answer for it. Sky Drop is a cool move that gives you a lot of control over the field.

Despite being build with the sole intention of setting up and supporting a Poliwrath sweep, the rest of the team is very strong in its own right. There aren’t many bulky Pokemon but you have redirection and a lot of fast attackers.

Hayden’s Rain Team

This is a team that Hayden has been using. At first glance it didn’t seem like much but it takes advantage of a lot of things this format lacks like strong Grass types.

Carracosta @ Life Orb
carracostaAbility: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Waterfall
– Rock Slide
– Wide Guard
– Protect

Politoed @ Choice Scarf
PolitoedAbility: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Surf
– Hypnosis

Parasect @ Focus Sash
parasect  Ability: Dry Skin
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Def / 236 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Spore
– Rage Powder
– Wide Guard
– Protect

Metagross @ Choice Band
MetagrossAbility: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Iron Head
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Explosion

Goodra @ Assault Vest
goodraAbility: Sap Sipper
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA
Modest Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Flamethrower
– Power Whip
– Feint

Klefki @ Mental Herb
klefkiAbility: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 188 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Foul Play / Thunder Wave
– Safeguard
– Swagger
– Rain Dance

Conclusion

As new details emerge from data mining the full game, we can see many of these teams won’t be able to function as they did in our format. Talonflame faces a huge nerf going into generation 7 and Gengar also faces rough treatment. These were two of the strongest Pokemon in the format. While we haven’t found anything that really carries over to 2017 we still had a lot of fun and got a chance to satisfy the craving for doubles play that 2016 wasn’t able to fill.

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