For my first team post, I'll share something I've been having a lot of fun with over the last few months, the story of its development and my thinking behind it, and how to use it well.
Firstly, here are the team members. If I've done this right you should be able to click to jump to each one. If not, hey, it still looks cool and tells you the team members.
This team started out with me noticing mixed Blaziken being spoken of a lot as an underrated anti-meta mon. So I hatched one in game, then went about thinking how to make it more effective. Firstly, I realised that whenever I face a Blaziken, my first instinct is to Thunder Wave it. To solve that problem, Raichu seemed logical - not only did it have Lightningrod, but also a fast fake out, and encore to punish protects, as well as the threat of a bunch of other tech moves in Super Fang, Nuzzle, HP Ice, Volt Switch. It seemed a no-brainer then to add Azumarill, as I do quite like the Raichu-Azumarill combo that served Baz Anderson so well in last year's Nugget Bridge Invitational. Following from that, it was also pretty clear that I should include redirection, so I put in Amoonguss as well. Note that this has since changed to Clefable, robbing me of an FWG core, but I feel it was for the better.
After running through the Battle Maison Singles with Blaziken, Hydreigon and Aegislash, which I felt had good synergy in that format, I decided to put Hydreigon and Aegislash in the last two slots. Hydreigon didn't work as well in doubles as in singles, since it meant my team was way too special attacking, and weak against fairies, with few ways to hit them hard outside of boosted Azumarill and Aegislash. I liked Aegislash and its wide guard, so I kept that, but I felt I needed an Earthquake immunity, and something with intimidate that could hit hard physically. As I didn't have a mega at that point either, Salamence was a logical replacement for Hydreigon, and I haven't looked back since. I had a team that I felt supported Blaziken in its quest to vanquish most of the core now known as CHALK, and was able to operate effectively without it when necessary. Testing seemed to indicate that the team was able to execute its theoretical plans in practice,
Anyway, now to the individual Pokemon descriptions.
IV's: HP: 30 | Def: 30
- Hidden Power [Ice]
This spread is there to KO many of the top 12 mons. I know some people run as low as 16 Atk, to get more Special Attacking power, but I was happy with the calcs as they were, the difference at that point becomes trivial. 252/4 Kangaskhan is OHKO'd by Supepower, 4/0 Salamence is OHKO'd by HP Ice, which Landorus either has to run Focus Sash, Assault Vest, or ridiculous bulk to survive. Aegislash and Amoonguss can't take Overheats either (unless it is a Sassy Aegislash or something). Many times I can see 5 of my opponent's pokemon are weak to Blaziken in team preview, so it can be safely led then and whomp on stuff. Superpower also nukes neutral targets, often picking up KO's on Rotoms in the 60-70% health range. Now, Intimidate often affects Superpower's output, but I still find that doubling in to things can make that point moot if I know I can make that play to punish my opponent's switch, and I have plenty of fast Pokemon to help with that
I wanted a fast fake out so I wouldn't always have to protect with Blaziken on turn 1. Raichu doesn't need any complicated EV spread in my opinion, so I just maxed speed and Special Attack so its Thunderbolts might actually hurt sometimes. I don't feel like citing calcs is necessary other than to state the obvious regarding who is outsped by this spread. I chose Protect just so Raichu could hang around longer doing its Lightningrod job, and Thunderbolt so I wouldn't be switching with Volt Switch. Encore punishes Protects, Fake Outs, or other moves that might set my opponent back (like an electric attack). Together with Blaziken, Raichu can smush Double Genie leads, provided Thundurus doesn't carry Psychic (which I have seen), or Swagger. Jolly Scarf Landorus also can surprise me, but non-scarf sets have become popular, and I don't think Jolly scarf is the best way to answer people using things like Blaziken. Maybe because I'm salty about losing to it at times. Raichu also helps contain the threat posed by Rotom forms, particularly Rotom-H, as well as Zapdos.
This is basically the DamageCalc's standard Azumarill spread, although I've taken some speed out and put it in defences just because I didn't feel the need to speed creep much in the base 50 range this season, now Mawile isn't such a common threat. Maybe the defensive investment makes a difference. The HP EV's are perfect for Sitrus Berry, being both even and divisible by four.
I have considered running Return over Play Rough because of the accuracy issues, but I do love the ability to OHKO Cresselia at +6, and hit Ghosts with something more than Aqua Jet - especially as I will get faster Aegislash caught in Blade Form with this. Return is probably an underrated move on this guy anyway, since it allows it to womp Amoonguss at +6, and still hits like a truck. Bulky Kangaskhan can pose a bit of an issue if I can't get some chip damage on it/double in to it, as even 4/0 spreads have a 40% chance to survive a +6 Aqua Jet from full health. Gastrodon can provide a little annoyance for Azumarill, but it does take a lot from Play Rough, even not boosted, so by itself won't dissuade me from bringing Azumarill. Landorus can turn Aqua Jet in to a 3HKO from -1, and even less in the sun, but requires a ton of bulk to live boosted Aqua Jets when burned or in the sun. Rotom-W needs to be really really bulky to live +6 burned Play Roughs, as in the coin flip is weighted in Azumarill's favour if it runs as much as 252/100+ even if Rotom is at full HP, and from there Rotom is easily finished off by most of my other pokemon.
Originally, this was an Amoonguss. While it theoretically helped out my Trick Room matchup a lot, especially against Gastrodon, I found I was getting way too worried (and stopped) by things with Safety Goggles. My Rain matchup was also basically an auto-loss with Ludicolo there, and you don't want to rely on outplaying a team that outmatches you if you can help it. It took me a lot of playing and thinking to work out what I wanted to do with the slot, or if the problem was even fixable. Goodness, I even tried Paraset at one point. Eventually, I figured I could solve both problems in one go, by getting Fairy redirection and putting safety goggles on it. That pretty much gave me a choice between Clefable and Togekiss. I preferred Clefable, because it meant I could Ice Beam Salamence if need be, and Heal Pulse my team members who loved hurting themselves to do damage (Life Orb Blaziken, Belly Drum Azumarill, Double Edge Salamence). I chose Ice beam because it does more to Landorus, Salamence, and in a pinch Amoonguss and Thundurus, than Moonblast, and if partnering Azumarill, Salamence could become quite a hassle to KO. I felt that Heal Pulse was the best move choice in the last slot as I already had a lot of attacking power available, and felt adding longeivety to my team-mates in free turns was preferable to the occasional power boost. Helping Hand would be my second choice here though, although my experience with failing to KO Cresselia with +6+HH Aqua Jets has probably soured me on that.
This spread is designed to live 252+ Life Orb Heatran's Flash Cannon 15/16 times - it was about as high as I felt was reasonable while still maintaining some semblance of physical defence, as I can still live focus sash Bisharp Iron Heads, and a Jolly Kangaskhan Double-Edges 100% of the time. Without Sitrus Berry, it does lack a bit of staying power, but the ability to nerf Amoonguss, and hit it for solid damage, sure comes in handy sometimes, especially if Azumarill or Aegislash is next to it in a trick room environment.
I know it's a basic spread, and frankly an outdated Salamence, but I find it works well with this team. Dragon Dance turns Salamence into potentially it's own win condition, Earthquake is the only spread move on this team, and hits harder than Rock Slide, so I went for that. It also improves my options against Aegislash and Heatran, if I need it. Double Edge packs a huge punch too, definitely the better choice over Return, in my opinion. I think going Mixed here could also work, especially with so much double intimidate around, so I might experiment with that. However, I don't often find myself wanting an extra move other than what I already have on here, and having yet another way to deal with Heatran is nice, in my mind.
This spread is a leftover from when everyone was running 252/72 spreads back in 2014, as it resulted in much better special bulk for only 8 more EV's. I probably should update it, but I'm also lazy, and it has worked well enough. I prefer a fast Aegislash, but I also wanted a bulky one, and Life Orb was already taken, so leftovers made sense to me. I guess with Heal Pulse on Clefable, Weakness Policy could work, but I think that's best on slow Aegislash. I added 4 speed here to make sure that I was less likely to be tripped up by speed ties with Sylveon, as I had plenty of them annoy me when I had 0 speed investment. In a vacuum, from full health this Aegislash wins the mirror against most fast Life Orb Aegislash, tanking the hit 81.2% of the time and then KO'ing. Obviously that's theoretical most of the time because of chip damage, but still. Leftovers also helps me stall out things like Kangaskhan to win on timer as well.
Wide Guard is absolutely necessary here because of my team's allergy to Earthquake. It also helps me against Hyper Voice spam, and of course Shadow Ball is my best answer to Cresselia other than a boosted Azumarill.
Common Leads, and General Playstyle
Raichu+Blaziken - Standard Anti-Genie Lead. Common lead if I expect my opponent to lead double genies. Assuming standard sets, this guarantees a ko on Landorus with Fake Out+HP Ice, or two if assault vest. Combinations that mess this plan up include Jolly Scarf Landorus, Swagger, and Psychic on Thundurus. This lead often had Clefable + Azumarill in the back, or Aegislash if I expected a fairy lead to be a possibility
Raichu+Azumarill - Standard Anti-Trick Room Lead. Fake out a fake out lead, and set up Belly Drum. Proceed to sweep if Amoonguss is not around. If Amoonguss is around, this becomes more difficult to pull off. Can be seen as a little bit of a mirror of the first lead, as Blaziken is often in the back to sweep up alongside Clefable, Salamence, or Aegislash depending on the opposing team, with Clefable and Aegislash being preferred against most TR setups
Blaziken+Salamence - Yolomode lead. Rarely brought, but often good for opposing sun leads, or where I feel I just need to offer overwhelming offensive pressure against my opponent's team, rather than the usual offence+support. I'll generally need some defensive switch ins in the back in case I need to retreat with one, but as this team isn't the bulkiest, this lead is one of high-risk, high reward.
Common win conditions can include - Get Azumarill to +6 and sweep, Play the numbers advantage after wrecking through some quick KO's with Blaziken, encore trap stuff with Raichu, Wide Guard lock against scarfed pokemon (usually Landorus), DD and sweep with Salamence.
This team really functions best when playing pro-actively and going on the offensive - too much focus on disruption can lead the team to get bogged down not achieving much, and having at least one offensive threat on the field is a must - Raichu+Clefable is almos always too passive. With Blaziken and Azumarill in particular, the core of the team is designed to unsettle "Battle Spot Special"/ CHALK teams, and overpower defensive teams by maintaining offensive pressure, keeping them on the back foot so they must either sack something, or lose damage trades in an attempt for better field position, which of course is always risky. The team thrives on trying to take an early pokemon lead by taking out a threat quickly, then taking advantage of that lead. It also has the firepower, depending on what is brought to the matchup, to pull itself out of holes despite bad starts itself. Despite the focus on offence, the team does have some capacity to maneuver out of bad positions using the bulk and typing of Clefable and Aegislash, and to an extent Salamence.
Despite potential menace, a clever opponent could still manouver their way out of trouble, particularly if they are able to predict your attack patterns. Still, don't get too fancy with your predictions unless you know your opponent, otherwise you will end up making sub optimal plays with this team, and lose good board position as a result. Because of the offensive pressure this team exerts, it can be easy to get free turns to improve your board position, either with switches, or with boosts. There's nothing like a free Belly Drum, Dragon Dance, or Heal Pulse off, and these can often lock out a game, though it takes some practice to know when the right time is to do these.
Leading incorrectly, or not conserving win conditions well enough, is punished like in any time, but probably more than average as it sits closer to the Hyper Offense end of the spectrum.
Bo3 vs Boomguy (On Console):
Hope you guys found this interesting, feel free to use the team or experiment with modifications to it. Or laugh at it, whatever. I'll probably keep using this team at times while national dex is the VGC rules, so be sure to scout me.
Credit for the Pokemon sprites goes to Pokemondb.com, and for the mini sprites, Pokemontrash.com. Do check them out if you want to use sprites in your own stuff.