Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why Purrloin?!

Why Purrloin?! Spooky Cup Team

Now before I say anything else, I did not have the best results playing in the Spooky Cup. I finished 1620 with a 19-9 record and over 20 games left to play when it ended. On top of that my account didn’t even show up on the final rankings so I got DQ’d apparently. Despite these shortcomings, I had plenty of fun playing in the Spooky Cup and even theorymonning with friends so I’d love to share my team with all of you and hopefully inspire people to give these fun Wi-Fi tournaments a shot!

Teambuilding Process

So after talking with a bunch of people from Skype I figured Volcarona, Hydreigon, Aegislash, Crobat, and Weavile would be massive threats in this format. I wanted to make sure I had an advantage over those Pokemon 100% of the time so I figured I would use either Trick Room or Rain to dismantle the aforementioned threats. I ended up going with a Trick Room team because it allowed me to use a lot more Pokemon that I was personally fond of, and in the end I was pretty happy with that decision
So I knew right off the bat that I wanted Jellicent to be one of my Trick Room setters. I have been using Jellicent since VGC 2013 so I felt more than comfortable with throwing it onto this team and expecting good results from it. To keep up with the 2013 aspect, I threw on Marowak next because of the infamous Jellicent Marowak core that was piloted by Sejun Park in Vancouver Worlds. I was a big fan of this core by how perfectly Marowak supported Jellicent with its Lightning Rod ability and being able to compensate for Jellicent’s lack of offensive pressure.
Moving on, I knew that If I was going to run a Hard Trick Room team that having one Trick Room setter wasn’t enough. With that in mind, I scanned the list of available Trick Room setters legal for this format until I boiled it down to Beheeyem and Gothitelle. Beheeyem had a respectable Special Attack stat and low enough speed which would make it an ideal Trick Room Pokemon, but it could not take hits as well as Gothitelle could. On top of that Gothitelle’s Shadow Tag ability appealed to me because it meant I could trap and have the partner KO a threat which paved the way for other Trick Room sweepers. Shadow Tag sounds like a poor choice in a format with a bunch of Ghost Pokemon but it ended up being pretty clutch in practice so I decided to throw on Gothitelle.
Now that I felt comfortable with two Trick Room setters, I wanted another Trick Room attacker to round out the core of my team. I ended up deciding on Granbull for a number of reasons. Both of my Trick Room setters were weak to Ghost and Dark, and even though they could both take hits from those types I needed something to threaten them back. Granbull was a solid answer to most of the Dark- Types in the format thanks to its Fairy typing and had Crunch to threaten Ghost- types. The other neat thing about Granbull was its Intimidate ability which played a huge roll for this team. Both of my Trick Room setters had a ton of SpDef investment to take boosted hits from Hydreigon, Chandelure, and Aegislash which left their physical defense vulnerable. Granbull helped to mitigate this by neutering physical attackers which helped in setting up Trick Room vs other threats like Krookodile, Weavile, and Kabutops and then immediately taking them out with Granbull in position.

With the Trick Room core ironed out, I wanted a Rage Powder/Follow Me user to redirect attacks from my Trick Room setters and sweepers to make their lives easier. With no access to Follow Me users, I turned to Volcarona which was by far the perfect Rage Powder user for this team. Volcarona's role on the team wasn't restricted to redirection spam either. Not only did it have respectable bulk to take multiple hits, it had a solid base 135 base Special Attack which gives it the option to outright OHKO threats to the team. With that in mind I tossed Volcarona on the team and didn’t look back

Finally, I had my 5 Pokemon, but I was missing something crucial to any hard Trick Room team, the Fake Out user. This was probably the hardest part because Scrafty, Hariyama, and HItmontop are usually the go-to Fake Out Pokemon to put on a Trick Room team, but unfortunately none of those were available. I looked at the list of available Fake Out Pokemon and saw Sableye, Liepard, Purrloin, and Croagunk. Liepard was out of the question as it was too fast and frail for a team like this. Croagunk was a good option because it had Knock Off and Drain Punch to dent both Ghost and Dark types for the Trick Room setters, as well as Helping Hand. Sableye was also a good choice as also had Knock Off but had other moves such as Will-O-Wisp, Recover, Leer, Confide, etc. In the end I chose Purrloin for good reason. I really loved the moves Encore and Fake Tears and figured they would be neat additions to the team. Since people love to use Fake Out against Trick Room I knew Encore would be a good tool against that. Also Fake Tears was nice in conjunction with Jellicent and Gothitelle. I’ll go into more details on Purrloin later, but it was a solid choice for the team and I’m glad I stuck with it.

Jellicent @ Mental Herb  
Ability: Cursed Body  
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 SpD  
Sassy Nature  
IVs: 0 Spe  
- Scald  
- Ice Beam  
- Trick Room  
- Recover

So my idea with Jellicent was that I wanted her to be as resilient as possible so I maxed out its bulk. The spread enables Jellicent to take a Choice Specs Dark Pulse from Modest Hydreigon and a Life Orb boosted Shadow Ball from Modest Aegislash. I figured those would be two of the strongest Special Attacks for Jellicent to worry about in this format and I knew from past experiences with Jellicent that is was more than capable of taking lethal hits like that. Of course the rest of the EVs go into it Defense which gives me a better shot at surviving random Knock Offs from various threats like Krookodile, Weavile, and Zoroark. I chose Mental Herb because while I knew I could take strong hits I needed an out against Taunt which would severely ruin my momentum. Cursed Body was the highlight of this set as I loved being able to come out on top 1v1 vs Hydreigon, Chandelure, Aegislash, and Weavile just because i disabled their respective super effective attacks.

As for the attacks themselves, Scald was a natural fit on a bulky water type and getting random burns never hurts. I was tempted to put Dazzling Gleam over Ice Beam because it was a guaranteed OHKO on Hydreigon at -2 even with spread damage but I kept on Ice Beam because it also aided in dealing respectable damage to Tangrowth and Gliscor. Recover complimented Cursed Body really well as I could disable a hard hitting move then Recover it off and no longer be threatened. Finally Trick Room was Trick Room and I needed it for obvious reasons.

Marowak @ Thick Club  
Ability: Lightning Rod  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
Adamant Nature  
- Bonemerang  
- Rock Slide  
- Low Kick  
- Protect

Like I said before, Jellicent and Marowak are a match made in heaven. Jellicent sets up Trick Room and can whittle down the opposing team by spreading around burns and disabling certain attacks, while Marowak redirects Electric moves from the likes of Galvantula, Rotom-A, and Pikachu and can come in and clean up when everything else has been weakened. I didn’t see the need to go fancy with the spread here, but I chose Adamant over Brave Marowak because it allowed Gothitelle to outspeed Marowak in Trick Room and then pull off some neat tricks which I will explain later. Bonemerang was really fun because it was able to OHKO 252 Hp / 0 Def Aegislash in Shield Form and doesn't make contact, preventing an Attack drop if it attacks into a King's Shield (previous wording implies it bypasses King's Shield). It also gave me a good shot at OHKOing 252 HP Volcarona so I wouldn’t have to worry about Wide Guard blocking Rock Slide. I had Low Kick specifically for OHKOing Hydreigon so that my two Trick Room setters would be safe from it.

Granbull @ Lum Berry  
Ability: Intimidate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 28 HP / 252 Atk / 228 SpD  
Adamant Nature  
- Play Rough  
- Crunch  
- Rock Slide  
- Protect

First off I would like to say that GRANBULL IS TRASH!!! Anyway, Granbull was probably the least effective mon on the team but it still played a neat niche. As an Intimidate user, it made physical attackers slightly more manageable for the team and there weren’t any relevant Defiant or Competitive users to be worried about which was nice. The other thing was that Granbull a Fairy type which was naturally good against all the Dark types that would plague the format. The interesting thing about Granbull was that it was had the same base Speed as Marowak so I also gave it an Adamant nature which meant that Gothitelle would outspeed it under Trick Room. As for the spread itself, it’s meant to survive a Life Orb boosted Flash Cannon from Modest Hydreigon. The spread is probably not even optimal and hardly ever came into play, but it was still nice to have I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lum Berry was chosen as it allowed Granbull to absorb a Will-o-Wisp from Sableye and nuke it in return with Play Rough. It also helped me turn the tables on people who don’t know how to use Swagger properly and sweep teams with a +2 Granbull under Trick Room. I gave it Crunch just so I’d have a move to hit Ghost- types with and Rock Slide to drop Volcarona on its neck. Granbull is trash.

Gothitelle @ Sitrus Berry  
Ability: Shadow Tag  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 SpD  
Sassy Nature  
IVs: 0 Spe  
- Psychic  
- Tickle  
- Trick Room  
- Gravity

Now Gothitelle was one of the more unique members of the team and was the centerpoint of the many tricks and traps this team had. Like i said before, Gothitelle may sound like a weird option considering there would be a lot of Ghost- types allowed in the format that could evade Shadow Tag, but being able to trap and KO other threats like Weavile, Volcarona, Hydreigon, and Crobat whenever I wanted to was something I didn’t want to pass up so I decided to give Gothitelle a shot. The spread looks really bland, but Gothitelle specifically needed 252 Hp / 252 SpDef to be able to tank a Choice Specs Dark Pulse from Hydreigon and a Life Orb boosted Shadow Ball from Aegislash in blade form, not at the same time of course. Then I just gave Gothitelle a Sitrus Berry because it had no other form of recovery and nothing else on the team really needed it.

Now I’ll get into the fun part! For about a week I was pondering over other moves besides Psychic and Trick Room to give Gothitelle. After talking with a few friends on IRC and Skype, we came up with Tickle as the third move which ended up being a key factor. As I said before, Gothitelle was one speed point slower than both Marowak, Granbull, and Purrloin. This allowed me to Tickle a target and then have them annihilate that same target at -1 Def immediately after. This came in clutch so many times in practice and Tickle became a staple on the team. Now as I was still figuring out how to round out the Gothitelle I noticed that my team was really weak to Rotom-W as nothing on the team had any moves to deal significant damage to it. This is where Gravity came in as it allowed me to remove the Rotom’s Levitate ability which then enabled Marowak to follow up with a Bonemerang which guaranteed the OHKO on even 252 Hp / 252 Def Bold Rotom-W. Gravity was also nice in that it made all of my moves more accurate so I hardly ever had to worry about Bonemerang missing vs Aegislash or Rotom-W. This set made the team so much more fun to play with and I’m glad that Gravity got to work out in pretty much every opportunity that was granted.

Volcarona @ Charcoal  
Ability: Flame Body  
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Def / 52 SpA  
Modest Nature  
- Bug Buzz  
- Overheat  
- Rage Powder  
- Roost

Volcarona is one of my favorite Pokemon and definitely one of the reasons I wanted to play in this format because I knew it would be a powerful threat. I was looking to find a way to incorporate Volcarona onto every team I built for the Spooky Cup. Eventually I settled on the bulky Rage Powder set to redirect harmful attacks from my Trick Room setters which allows Trick Room to be set up more securely. Rage Powder also doubles as making Volcarona death fodder so that I can send in my Trick Room sweepers as soon as Volcarona eventually gets taken out while Trick Room is active. When I didn’t need Rage Powder I could just fire off powerful Overheats and Bug Buzz which OHKO’d a large portion of Pokemon in the Spooky Cup even with the minimal investment which made Volcarona a valuable member of the team.

The 52 Evs in Special Attack allowed Volcarona to OHKO 4 Hp Hydreigon 100% of the time and OHKO 252 hp / 156 SpDef Aegislash aka “CollinSlash” with the Charcoal attached. The HP and Def were all just a dump and enabled Volcarona to tank random Rock Slides a lot better. Roost was just a random filler move that I figured would be helpful in letting Volcarona stick around a lot longer, but it ended up hardly ever being needed. If anything I should have had Giga Drain there which would allow me to check Rotom-W a tad bit better.

Purrloin @ Focus Sash  
Ability: Prankster  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe  
Brave Nature  
IVs: 1 Spe  
- Fake Out  
- Knock Off  
- Encore  
- Fake Tears

Finally we have what was easily one of my favorite Pokemon to use on the team. I would be lying if I said Purrloin was a better overall pick compared to Sableye and Croagunk for a Trick Room team. But like I said before, Purrloin performed a satisfying role for the team and it is also way more adorable than the other two so I could not pass it up. Purrloin was also surprisingly effective when used in practice vs friends so I figured I would give it a shot for the actual tournament. As for the odd looking spread, I needed the 1 IV + the 4 Speed investment which made Purrloin hit 64 Speed at Level 50 which was one point higher than Gothitelle which meant it would be slower than Gothitelle under Trick Room which allowed Tickle -> Knock Off to happen. I know it sounds dumb to use a Purrloin as an offensive threat but considering that a lot of Pokemon in the format were weak to Knock Off, Purrloin fit that role surprisingly well. Also there was no point in maxing out its bulk since it’s still ridiculously frail even with Eviolite and had no reliable form of recovery so it only made sense to give it Max Attack with a Focus Sash.

Encore is my favorite disruptive move, and allows me to put my opponent is very disadvantageous positions which the team thrives off of. One example is baiting out Fake Out onto Gothitelle and having Purrloin Encore them into Fake Out the same turning leaving them locked into Fake Out and forced to stay in due to Shadow Tag. I could also Encore them into a move that was disabled by Jellicent’s Cursed Body and perform a pseudo Encore Disable lock which is always fun. There is just so many possibilities with Prankster Encore and it’s why I love Purrloin and Liepard. Finally Fake Tears was a neat move because it made Jellicent and Gothitelle less of sitting ducks and enabled them to actually inflict some significant damage. For example, Jellicent can 2HKO Hydreigon at -2 with Ice Beam which doesn’t seem like a big deal but allowed Jellicent to win vs Hydreigon under Trick Room without even needing Cursed Body to trigger. Gothitelle could also OHKO standard Bulky Crobat at -2 SpDef with ease.

Closing Remarks

Was Purrloin the optimal last Pokemon for the team? Probably not. Was it the most fun out of most other Pokemon to consider? Definitely yes! I knew this would be a more laidback tournament and a nice break from VGC 15’ so I decided to just have a good time with a bunch of cool mons I would probably never get to use in an competitive environment and I had definitely had fun. If there’s anything I hope you got from this article it is that these casual Wifi tournaments are a lot of fun and I would recommend trying them out to get a feel of different formats and exercising your brain to see what kind of unique strategies you can come up with!

Battle Videos:
I apologize in advance if these battles aren’t very good but these were all I managed to save as the games I had vs higher ranked players ended up in them D/Cing on me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯




Fun game vs BlitznBurst despite having a good matchup. Shoutouts to him :]



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