Part 1: http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51778 (outdated, but still good) Part 2: http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65122 (outdated, but still good) Part 3: http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81313 (outdated, but still good) Part 4: http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84227 Part 5: http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84449 If anything I say here contradicts what I’ve said before (and a lot of it will), then the more accurate info is here. This is really all you should need to read. I’ve left out about 60% of the guide, which mostly details my team. Last time I released it, there was a pretty disgusting onslaught of net-teaming. I’ll post it when I feel like it. This is almost a no-hold-barred guide, I'm releasing just about everything I can think of (except for a few, far more advanced ideas/strategies/concepts, which I'll leave you guys to figure out). Everyone should be playing at at least a competent level (assuming you aren't new to the competitive scene) by the end. Not too many secrets this time, I'm trying not to pull what I did with the first 5 installations, which was giving you guys second string info or teams. This is the real deal. I'm trying my best to put everything I do subconsciously on-paper so you guys can hopefully do the same (but given I'm doing it subconsciously, it's really hard to pinpoint just what it is I do sometimes; I just see it as "common sense", albeit I have to realize it doesn't appear that way to most players). There's a decade worth of experience in this guide here. However, I did leave out some key concepts, some key beliefs that I hold purposely. The problem with releasing my ideas and concepts though, is the fact that I'm releasing my thinking. My thinking isn't always 100% accurate, and it leads to close-minded thinking if everyone were to follow it. And even if it is, it isn't the only viable form of thinking. It'd just be a bunch of mini-Borats running around playing each other with the same mindset, probably the same teams. Not cool. Or pretty cool, depending on how you see it. So you'll see a lot of generalizations being made in this guide, and they're broad and general on purpose. I want to leave room for interpretation, and by saying "so and so pokemon is bad", it would eliminate that pokemon from the scene entirely. Diversity is a big part of what makes a metagame fun, and limiting it too much by way of certain philosophies or beliefs on the way the game "should" be played, that not only eliminates the creativity and diversity in the team-building process, but it also greatly hinders metagame evolution. Snorlax used Curse! Snorlax's Attack rose! Snorlax's Defense rose! Snorlax's Speed fell! Yes, we all know the preconceived notions. Ready to stop being mediocre? A pretty in-depth guide like never before seen to making your own, COMPETITIVE GSC teams. As well as competitive battling. I’ve also include, as example, my very own compilation and building process, with every bit of “in-the-mind-of-Borat” thinking you could possibly want. However, I would strongly prefer it if you guys strayed away from using this team, since this is mainly for educational purposes. The point of this guide is to teach YOU how to make your OWN team. And net-teaming, copying, is not cool, and somewhat disrespectful. Team Building Guide On the topic of curselax: it isn't something you should slap on a team and automatically expect to win games with it. In fact, you should never solely depend on it to win games for you. You'll NEVER have consistent game-to-game performance from it, you WILL run into hard walls. If you EQ, then Skarm, curse forretress, Miltank, misdreavus, and Umbreon wall you. If you Fire blast, then ttar, rhydon, miltank, umbreon, misdreavus, and gengar (played smart) will wall you. If you LK, then ttar, rhydon, skarm, curse forr, miltank, steelix, misdreavus, umbreon, and gengar will wall you. If you drum, then missy, gengar will wall you, and you have to drum vs skarm, ttar, rhydon, and steelix. Even if you curse + STAB + 2 of the listed moves, you will STILL be hard walled by a couple things. So you see, no matter what you run in that secondary, even tertiary slot, you're sacrificing something, somewhere, sometimes. And snorlax is a pretty important slot to just "waste". However, you can use these "disadvantages" to your advantage as well. Short version: Tip: Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of attempting to do too much with a team. If you're trying to do everything, often times, you end up doing nothing. It's better to do a few things right, and to cover the rest up with in-game plays, than to try and do a lot of things wrong. Step 1a: find a purpose with team (roar spikes toxic, joltwak, para support + wak, druidcruel, drumzard, drumquag, drumfable, cursechamp, cursehera, growthpass blah blah anything you can think of) Step 1b: if possible, fit more "goals" and different "paths" to take (goals/paths that complement each other) Step 2a: find proper support (do you need a phazer? spc wall, physical wall, beller, etc); take a look at team roles/genre Step 2b: round out team of six if you haven't already; take into account switch patterns and synergies*; take a look at team roles/genre Step 3: account for Snorlax/electrics/whatever other threats or defensive walls you need to consider Step 4: test, then return to step 2 If you're offensive, be lenient to yourself on how much defensive coverage you need. Sacrifice it for offense if needed. Offense can cover defense. If Machamp can't switch into anything, it isn't really beating your team is it? Likewise, if you're defensive, you can be pretty lenient on how much offensive coverage you need. On the other hand, defense does NOT cover offense. The lazy man's fix is just to throw a drumlax on it, or if you think you're skilled enough, all you need is to ensure spikes (e.g. forr + missy), which should be plenty enough to guarantee the game won't draw out forever. Priority: 1. core strategy 2. team synergy* 3. roles 4. defensive/offensive threats/holes/gaps *Team synergy: Basically one way to look at it is how fluid the team performs in battle. Play out a hypothetical match in your head. Good teams with good synergy offer many paths and options by way of double-triple-quadruple switches to keep offense/defense flowing and not stagnant. This is the idea behind constant pressure. If you're playing a marowak, chances are you can force in Cloy/Cune/Skarm, so you need something to capitalize from that position, either switching into Cloy/Cune/Skarm, or double switching to another offense that performs well vs Cloy/Cune/Skarm (electrics come to mind). Likewise, a curselax can probably force in steelix/miltank/skarm matchups, so you probably want something to capitalize off those matchups as well. These are just defensive switch-in examples. Sometimes, there are offensive "holes". If you're running starmie, then you run the risk of freely letting in lax, be it drum, curse, mix or any other of the million variants. You'll need something to fall back on from this position. The idea is to have many overlapping functions between a team, to make the team perform... as a team, rather than individuals. It's a general concept, and tough to grasp, but when you build a team with good synergy, it'll just "feel" right. Example scenario: I send machamp, they send zap, I send lax, they send skarm, I send zap, they send lax, I send champ again. So if I make a double switch anywhere, I can force the ideal mismatch I want, be it zap vs skarm, lax vs zap, or champ vs lax. This allows me to get that all important curse on the switch, hit on the switch, para on the switch, fish for a CH, or whatever it is I need. These little switch triangles, squares, what-have-yous, make the team that much more dynamic and allows for more flexibility in real-world situations. Good teams have plenty of these hidden vs a wide variety of different matchups. A team with good synergy is usually built from the ground up with this synergy concept in mind, rather than the "I need defense vs pokemon X so tack on pokemon Y". It makes the focus about the team, rather than the opposition. Otherwise, you have a team that feels somewhat disjointed. However, the holy grail here is almost a catch-22 concept. You want the team members to complement each other, but you want them to avoid OVER-RELYING on each other. Just something to keep in mind. After multiple tests and changes to the team to address problems, it will become one of two things: 1. Better 2. Worse Humor me. If it's better, then good, keep at it. But don't base "better" off just wins or anything, wins can be deceiving depending on the quality of opponents. Sometimes curselax will net you the easiest of wins against bad or even mediocre players, but in reality require a lot of setup for it work vs better opponents. Don't fall into the trap and make sure you see through this illusion of "false" success. Base the performance off something less tangible, but a more reliable measure of improvement, whether it "feels" better, more synergetic, more comfortable to play, performance in-battle, etc. If it's worse, time to start over, maybe even scrap it and find a new core strategy to build around. Teams usually become worse because generally changes made were to cover up defensive gaps, since if a team loses, it's losing to certain attacks? And the best way to address those attacks? With defense! Don't fall into this trap, or you end up with a team that's completely disfunctional on both fronts. However, if stalling was your goal in the first place, then maybe covering additional things made you suseptible to stuff you weren't weak to in the first place. Then look for alternatives, or just decide which one is more important to cover, and learn to play around the other thing. It's very likely that whatever problems you're addressing could be covered up by playing differently, so if a team is at the point where it's starting to "feel right", then check to make sure if there's any changes you can make to the way you play before you make changes to the team and mess up the synergy. Be creative. Long version: Basically, if you’re serious about GSC teams and want to play at the highest level, there’s a couple things to remember. You need at least one curselax check, this can be anything from Skarmory, Miltank, Umbreon, Machamp, Misdreavus, Porygon2, Gengar, Meganium, Forretress (with curse), Steelix, Rhydon, Tyranitar (with roar), Dragonite (with haze?), Slowbro (with growl), to even your own curselax. You can be pretty creative here. Not all coverage is equal obviously, with Miltank, you’ve got a pretty good shot of covering all forms of non-LK/drum curselax, and with Miltank + Skarmory, you’ve got pretty much all forms of curselax covered (except maybe FB and LK?) bar luck. Miltank + Skarmory + Tyranitar, curselax can just about forget it. And with Gengar, you’ve only really got mono-attacking Snorlax coverage. With Machamp, you’ve got more of an offensive coverage, nothing really to switch into it. How much curselax coverage you want depends largely on what you can spare, and how defensive a team you want. Dedicating your entire team to defense makes for a pretty unimpressive offensive repertoire, but not having anything for the most popular Pokemon in GSC is just retarded. Having at least one is mandatory in OU GSC. There’s no such thing as a Snorlax counter. Stop looking for one. Finesse is your best friend. You have to learn to play around Snorlax, with switches, with scare moves, with aggression, with a wide variety of tactics. You have to know when to be passive, and when to be aggressive, and what your team is capable of. Learning how to play around Snorlax, learning how to play WITHOUT snorlax, are two key aspects of getting to the elite levels of GSC play. The most common ways to kill a Snorlax is either CH, or Explosion. Probably followed by Destiny Bond. Other deaths usually result when a game is already won or lost. Snorlax is a big part of the metagame, use that to your advantage. Too many players are over-reliant on Snorlax, either in mindset, or in team composition. Ultimately, it’s just one pokemon. Following that, another universal threat is probably that of Zapdos and Raikou. For the most part, if you’re using Snorlax anyway, it’s not a huge deal, but the odd CH can really put you in a pinch if you’re not careful. Some options to consider here are Tyranitar, Raikou, Marowak, Steelix, Meganium, Blissey, Rhydon, Nidoking, Jolteon, and definitely, Quagsire. But Tyranitar hates taking Thunders, and Marowak really has a hard time dealing with Zapdos, and gets close to being 2-shotted by Hidden Power Ice/Water/Grass. This isn’t as important as before, especially when considering Zapdos/Raikou both have a pretty hard time getting through Snorlax, but still, being the second and third best pokemon in GSC is worth taking note. This is especially true if Snorlax is taking spikes damage on the switch, taking net 40%+. Either invest into a secondary special wall, or start playing with more finesse. Having grounds should at least force the Electrics to do more than just blindly Thunder on the switch, which is very important for damage control. Those that want more coverage may want to look for a legitimate secondary special wall in either Blissey or Raikou, if finesse isn’t an option. Keep in mind Blissey offers very little on the offensive side. And unless you’re settling for a team that never plans to win-win, then the first defensive wall you need to be able to get through is Snorlax. Not so much curselax, but snorlax in general. The best way of dealing with curselax is still neutralizing it, rather than flatout killing it, which is pretty fucking hard. Options are really aplenty, and creativity is key. Your opponent would probably be sacrificing Pokemon after pokemon just to keep snorlax alive. Killing Snorlax through the physical side is much easier than through the special side, but that’s not saying special side is impossible either. Any of the growtheons can potentially do it, Zapdos/Raikou often do it with a bit of luck, even Jynx (lk and nightmare), Zam (encore, reflect, and twave), and Houndoom (sunny day)can send it running. Moltres is also doing close to 50% with SD. In general though, these special hits are chip hits for the hard physical hitters to finish it off. If you’re not building a stall team, then you’re probably going to want to have at least 1 (usually your own snorlax), but probably at least 2 legitimately physical hitters. In fact, it’s probably not a bad idea to have even more, anywhere from 2-5 is what I like on offensive teams. At this point, you should have at least one thing capable of taking special hits from the likes of Zapdos an Raikou, at least a couple hits. Then you’re going to have to have at least one curselax answer. This can be a defensive one, an offensive one, or anything in between. Technically, both roles can be filled with just one pokemon: Snorlax. That should be all the “mandatory” defensive measures you need to take, albeit a phazer might be a good idea as well. Mean Look + Baton Pass Umbreon would be a horrible embarrassing thing to lose to. Then you have to make a decision base on which path you want to take. Whether or not you want to make your team more offensive, or more defensive, or anything in-between, is completely up to you. Just make sure you’re addressing the right kind of problems, and not end up fixing something that didn’t need fixing in the first place. This is a very naive approach, and overly simplifies the process of team-building. But in general, it should work. If your team’s lacking offense, look through the list of offensive options and tack that on? Defense? Same thing. If you need a little bit of everything, then look for pokemon with overlapping roles (e.g. Ttar). Just remember, NONE of the following roles are MANDATORY on ANY team. They are just quick tweak guidelines if your team is lacking something. If you feel your team needs a bit more of an offensive punch, then there are a couple of different genres/roles of Pokemon to consider. Mixed sweepers: These are the ones that can hit anything hard on the spot and require no set-up to do it. In general, they are primarily physical attackers who hit decently on the special side against skarms, forretress, and other physical walls. The notable exceptions on this list are Exeggutor/Gengar, whose physical side comes primarily from Explosion. And Marowak/Machamp, who are physical attackers that hit Skarm and friends just fine. Nidoking (EQ, LK, and two special attacks of your choice. Counter will surprise HP legends/physical attackers) Dragonite (plenty of variation here, special attacks of your choice, DP, DE, HP Flying, Extremespeed) Tyranitar (again, many paths to take; FB, RS, DP, EQ, Crunch, Pursuit, Surf, Tbolt) Rhydon (probably better as a curser, but you can run HP Bug to surprise eggs, or ZC for para on stuff) Snorlax (unlimited possibilities, your choice of STAB, Self-D, EQ, FB, Thunder, LK, etc etc) Exeggutor (Giga Drain, HP Fire, Psychic, Seed makes things awkward, Explosion, Sleep/Stun Spore) Gengar (DP hits ttar switches really really hard, Explosion for others, then elemental attacks) Muk (probably best to stick to the standard Curse, SB, Explosion, Fblast. I don't see Giga being worth it) Porygon2 (Curse limits their offenses, then an IB freeze makes things real awkward) Machamp (to curse or not to curse; both variations will deal massive damage to just about anything) Marowak (Just make sure you have EQ, SD recommended, but FB can work for instant offense. HP Fly/Bug) Set-up sweepers: As the name implies, they are pokemon whose offensive merits really begin to show after a turn or two of “set-up”, usually stat-upping. P-hazers are the usual problems with these guys, as well as how ineffective they become if the proper wall shows up. Oh, and it takes a while (Belly Drum and Marowak withstanding) to set up. Also, some require the proper timing and set up, e.g. with Curse/Roar/Substitute/Return Kangaskhan. Machamp (With a curse and the proper supporting moves, pretty much nothing in the game matches up well) Tyranitar (Curse version is probably stopped cold by suicune, but pretty damn good vs anything else. And it phazes!) Rhydon (With a STAB EQ, it hits a lot harder than ttar, but on the flipside, you can't gamble vs [HP] waters at all) Snorlax (curselax, drumlax, cursedrumlax, you know the deal) Miltank (this is kind of a stretch, since you probably want it to bell as well. Nevertheless, it's an option to curse). Porygon2 (curse is the standard, and for a good reason. Twave makes things real awkward for growltanks, and freeze = win) Vaporeon (growthvap, hereby referred to as BORAT) Kangaskhan (aforementioned curse, sub, roar kanga beats growltanks + phazers in one) Marowak (SD wak, often combined with agi-pass. However, equally good, if not better, with some para support) Espeon (growthespeon will be the next big thing in GSC. BP or HP Water/Grass creates matchup problems for most teams) Muk (same set as above; just so god damn underrated how much havoc this causes. Ridiculously bulky as well) Jolteon (growthjolt is an amazing pokemon, BP or not, it's just great. like espeon, it's just asking to break the meta) Clefable (Drumfable was something I advocated for the longet time, and it can still win games like nobody's business) Quagsire (Drumquag is the next big thing on the physical side of the game. It can rest for longevity, or SB to break eggs, good AGI BP target too) Tentacruel (an old vet classic, and will wreck Vap and Thunder Electric teams. Druidcruel forgotten treasure) Charizard (another vet favorite, it's never had any true counters that weren't dispatchable. Drumzard is a threat to every team all the time) Exploders: Pretty straight forward stuff. Use these as a means to make the game “simpler”, take out the variables, and make it more about strategy. Some explosions tend to be better than others. Snorlax, Cloyster, Egg can all nail just about anything (albeit cloy usually explodes on starmie/other cloys). Gengar as well, but has a hard problem getting around T-tar. Steelix is a pretty one dimensional explosion, and really a last resort-bait kill thing. Muk has an EXTREMELY underrated explosion, but he’s definitely one of the better pokemon at taking care of business without the use of explosion. Forretress has a limited explosion for the most part, seeing that Gengar, Cloyster, Skarm, Ttar, other Forretress, Steelix, etc etc are all relatively safe switches depending on the set. Snorlax (explosion on lax can nail anything. Classic mix/starterlax, or be creative with curse, LK, and/or even drum/rest) Cloyster (can't learn spin and explosion, which is a real hit to cloy. regardless it's still damn nasty) Forretress (somewhat limited explosion a far a targets go, but it's better than nothing. some choose to forgo it though) Steelix (probably even more limited than Forr, since you're probably helpless vs air, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Gengar (amazing explosion from this thing. worst case scenario is Umbreon/ttar, but Dpunch will cover latter. And you can always just sleep them) Muk (as aforementioned, absolutely underrated in every regard. Muk often doesn't have to explode to wreck havoc, but having it makes it that much better. just poison ttars) Exeggutor (another pretty good explosion, but Skarm/Forr/Ttar often ruin your fun depending on your set. And umbreon. You can always go triple attack explosion though) Golem (not really worth mentioning, but it's an option. And it hits a lot harder than steelix with neutral attacks, with FB for skarms) Baton passers: Straight forward. Pass stats around. Or the occassional Mean Look. Jolteon (pass growth or agi. or sub if you're a pansy. or both. probably a good idea to carry HP ice/water for ground phazers though) BORAT (pass growth or the occassional aa) Espeon (pass growth, that's all) Umbreon (ideally, pass mean look. Rarely work vs good players. Or growth, maybe with HP fire for steel phazer. Curse is an option too, but good luck with that.) Scizor (Pass agi and/or SD, but you'll have a hard time getting around Skarm) Smeargle (Pass agi and/or sub and/or drum/sd. you have spore to ensure at least 1 pass; you'll probably die after that) As far as the defensive route goes, there’s also a couple genre-types to consider. Mixed walls: Raikou (it's the premier special wall in GSC, with some physical bulk as well. it'll threaten any non-lax mixed sweeper, and takes any non-eqs pretty well) Suicune (the definition of a mixed wall. takes hit from nido, ttar, dnite, and scares them off with it own attacks. applies to non-curse lax, hera, and even champ) Miltank (with one turn recovery, you have the statistical adv. vs DP. Body Slam para might scare some of them off as well, since mixed attacker don't usually rest) Heracross ("resists" non-stab boltbeams with ease, and EQ/fighting to boot. neutral to RS, but you scare ttars off easily. mirror match with other heras) Snorlax (pretty good, you'll have to rest loop most of them. and you're banking on DP not hitting, and you won't do a good job walling lax/champ/hera.) Tyranitar (not the best, but will take non-stab non-se special hits, and all non-bug/fighting/ground physical hits) Forretress ("resisting" boltbeam is a huge help, but you better make damn sure they don't have a fire attack. FB from lax OHKOs) Porygon2 (can take hit from non-stab special attacks pretty easily. if you twave, that's a huge help. doesn't like fighting attacks or megahorn though) Umbreon (easily takes hits from any non-se attack, and toxic would probably deter them from pursuing things further. charm will bail you out vs fighting/bug if you have no other option) Growlers/Charmers: Self-explanatory, but pretty good given the sheer amount of cursers in the game. One Growl/charm will generally negate/neutralize any physical attacker and give you leeway as far as switching goes. Miltank (self-explanatory set. use bs in most case, return if you're really scared of drumlax) Umbreon (again, easy enough. toxic/pursuit's the standard for a reason. st growl/charm if you really want to be gay) Blissey (not the best growler, because growlers need speed and some physical bulk, but at least it doesn't give curselax free setup) Meganium (here because i've used it personally on a BL team, and it sorta worked. it's not great, but it's an option) Slowbro (this use to be the premier growler in gsc if there ever was one, celia loved the thing. but celia's not that good, so slowbro's better off doing other stuff) P-hazers: Again, another self-explanatory, but almost mandatory role. You do not want missy or something getting free kills on you. P-hazer is generally plan A or plan B vs stat uppers. Skarmory (the first standard phazer, good for all forms of non-FB/LK/thunder lax. good for hera, umbreon, scizor, quag, there's honestly too many to list) Tyranitar (originally used as the complement to skarm for covering FB lax. pretty good as a curse roarer, or if you just need ttar to take on multiple roles) Steelix (pretty amazing phazer if your opponent hasn't got anything to hit it from the special side; lives 999 non-stab EQ, resists twave/thunder/toxic so plenty of longevity) Suicune (roar cune has a use again with vap being so popular; toxic shuffle was one of the dominant strats for the longest time because it was reliable. lives 999 stab return) Raikou (premier special wall in gsc, probably the best spikes shuffler in the game because of it walling/threat combination) Rhydon (still pretty fucking good, even with HP legends. hitting 150 STAB off 358 hurts, and curseroar is always tough to stop) Kangaskhan (phazer mostly used offensively to protect it against other phazers, not really defensively) Zapdos (use to be a pretty popular phaze, but has since dropped off. if you're in a pinch, this is an option) Any other pokemon with roar Any pokemon with Perish Song Any pokemon with Encore Physical walls: Probably a good idea. Eats explosions when you need to (does that make Gengar/Missy a physical wall???). Takes normal hits from lax. GSC is generally seen as a physically-offensive gen for a reason. Skarmory (the premier physical wall in gsc, with just about everything covered here. probably the only thing that reliably walls hera. too many to list) Suicune (328 defense and 403 HP with no physical weakness; the main kicker is that it threatens most mixed/physical sweepers to boot: ttar, nido, marowak, dragonite, machamp to an extent) Tyranitar (not bad either, as long as the attack isn't fighting, ground, or bug. ttar is generally the swiss army knife of roles, almost snorlax-esque) Steelix (498 def makes it shrug off even SE moves, not so much Rhydon's EQ and machamp's CC though. a curse will patch things right up though) Forretress (not bad at all, better than most, but it lacks the ability to phaze, so it can't really do anything in return. it does reflect, and curse, if you want to go there) Rhydon (similar to steelix but with far more offensive punch. and you're weak to ice. and will prolly ko'd by any water/grass attack) Cloyster (400+ def is great, 300 HP not so much. lacking physical resists, only physical weaknesses, and can't phaze. but it does reflect) Golem (usually seen as an inferior rhydon/steelix, but usable in the odd case you need physical presence + explosion) Miltank (growl alone makes tank into a physical... tank. only weak to fighting moves, and if it's not machamp, one growl will neutralize it) Umbreon (pretty similar to miltank, but you get -2 attack at the cost of no one turn recovery. also, speed is slower than dnite/hera, but still faster than the rest) Slowbro (growl/reflect combined with no physical weaks, 300+ def and almost 400 HP make it pretty good. but it is very slow. but you can always para) Dragonite (if you played a defensive dnite, it's totally viable. reflect and haze makes for plenty of walling potential) Zapdos (zapdos with reflect is an extremely formidable wall and immensely tough to take down) Heracross (mostly on typing, since def stat isn't too impressive. resists fighting and eq and scares off rock/normal attackers for the most part) Exeggutor (same as hera, but slightly less because of the lack of recovery. synthesis/moonlight is an option though, and there's still seed/drain) Snorlax (seems almost counter-intuitive, but massive HP and a single curse patches up just about all non-Machamp CC physical attacks) Special walls: Again, pretty damn important. Electrics are dominant in GSC, #2 and #3. Not having anything for them doesn’t make any sense at all. You’ll often find that a lone Snorlax often not enough to take the full brunt of Thunders off 348/328 spc atk, and you might want to invest into a secondary special absorber. It’s also possible to play around with finesse, using prediction to grounds to force the HP legends to HP more than Thunder on the switch, minimizing the damage Snorlax/something might have to take. Blissey (#1 in terms of walling power, but that's all you're doing with it. passing a screen lets other, more threatening stuff wall and threaten at the same time though) Raikou (the real #1 special wall imo, since it threatens most special attackers AND phazes. no spc weaks, only spc resists. monster threat in itself) Snorlax (not bad, but won't take special hits forever, especially with spikes and/or toxic in play. growthers can take it down as well) Jolteon (similar to raikou, but 333 hp, and [generally] lacks rest and roar makes it subpar) Meganium (typing and stats make it damn good. fire attacks are rare, and ice attacks are usually non-stab, but synthesis has 8 pp) Suicune (monster bulk makes up for sub-par special typing. takes SE hits up to the power of thunder dnite and giga drain egg, and threatens both in return) BORAT (about 1% bulkier than suicune on the special side, so takes even SE hits well. and it usually STs. chalk another one up for BORAT) Dragonite ( Zapdos (with light screen, becomes a real pest. no real special weaks since ice attacks are non-stab. shows off zap's versatility, and just a great set) Muk (sort of, you survive two starmie psychics. and you're not weak to boltbeam. make something of it. muk's great) Heracross (good spc def, not weak to boltbeam, threatens every non-zap special attacker to no end. don't want to be taking 180 base power hits from 300+ spc though) Tyranitar (sort of, good spc def, good hp, not weak to boltbeam, but unless you have rest, don't do it too often. like hera, don't take 180 bp off 300+ spc) Porygon2 (similar to the previous two, but less HP, but one turn recovery!!! with 32 pp! and like the previous two, don't take 180 off 300+) Quagsire (a very unique case. it doesn't wall any of the special attackers, EXCEPT the two most common ones: zapdos and raikou. at least until they start running HP grass. this is worth mentioning, since not even Snorlax can switch into the electrics comfortably) And of course, the misc support roles... Sleeper: Not necessary, but it punishes teams that choose to forgo a status absorber and turns games into 5v6s instantly. Snorlax (LK version wasn't as good as when I first used it in 2004, but still good. can sleep just about anything. LK drumlax is unstoppable) Gengar (Hypnosis almost used defensively here, since it has few options vs umbreon/ttar. makes things awkward for most STers with its offensive threat) Exeggutor (not bad, but once egg drops sleep, it seems to lose a lot of its power. skarms/forr come in all day if it doesn't fire, ttar if it doesn't giga) Nidoking (pretty predictable sleep, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. hit zap a few times to make it think twice about taking LK) Smeargle (really really predictable, but again, doesn't make it easier to deal with. good players will play aggressive vs smeargle. smeargle gets 2 shotted by everything) Jynx (again, another staple. you threaten the most common STer in zapdos, so that's a bonus. sub lets you sleep when you want. jynx is fragile though) Jumpluff (personally, I'm not a big fan of jumpluff, but it learns powder. so i'm listing it. and it does learn encore, which is an amazing move) Blissey (i don't know why sing blissey isn't more common, but your opponent has control over what he wants you to sleep. you can use that to your adv as well. and sing can bail you out sometimes) Para support: Again this is not mandatory, but probably one of the best support statuses in the game. I feel it's a great way to consistently make Marowak contribute (far more than joltwak anyway), since it's not a one-and-done thing. It also brings out the best in the likes of Drumquag, Drumfable, Drumzard, Drumlax, Growthvap, Cursechamp, Cursehera etc etc, those that just need a tiny push, where speed is the only thing stopping them. Exeggutor (the best in the game, especially with leech seed forcing switches. combined with substitute and it's an absolute horror to play against) Porygon2 (extremely underrated, definitely one of the best in the game at spreading any status around. twave + curse makes growltanks job pretty tough) Zapdos (especially with twave, which probably puts it at #2 as far as para spread is concerned. a testament to zapdos' flexibility. thunder still counts too) Dragonite (again, dragonite is plenty flexible when you need it to be. extremely good at paraing electrics, which helps out a lot of sweepers. oh, and thunder) Snorlax (bslam snorlax spreads the love. curse + bslam has a small chance of lucking growltanks) Starmie (might deter snorlax a bit, since a para'd lax is quite a bit less threatening. also deters electrics as well. damn good if you're not afraid of gengar spinblock) Steelix (body slam is an old classic because steelix simply does not die. you can nail just about any flying pokemon, and growltanks too, which synergizes with other cursers) Miltank (body slam is all it has, but all it needs. growl can forces switches to give you different looks, as long as they don't have missy/gengar) Blissey (it doesn't always have to bell, y'know. twave to neutralize one of the many threats coming your way. makes tenta etc cry) Raikou (thunder stuff) Nidoking (thunder stuff again; please don't use body slam) Marowak (Body Slam ST Marowak is underrated, more in the sleep talk section) Slowbro (pretty versatile support pokemon if you couldn't tell) Alakazam (works, but in the sense that it'll be an inferior starmie) Toxic/poison: This is a great status vs teams without bellers, and still good vs bell teams. The fact that most offensive teams forgo the belling, and now even forgo resting, means this status puts them on a pretty short counter. Coupled with spikes, it has the potential to 5HKO without you throwing out a single attack. It's mostly the poison worth mentioning, since the Toxic "stacking" rarely matters (great vs last poke non-rest scenarios though!). Poison also stacks with spikes for 25% on the switch damage. Umbreon (toxic charmbreon is the standard because it is. it does what it does.) Suicune (toxic shuffle, the original version. if you can keep spikes, suicune can do a good job abusing it) Skarmory (same as suicune, but slightly less so since it doens't threaten anything) Blissey (used in conjunction with flamethrower for steels. pretty helpless vs poisons though) Cloyster (pretty fucking good vs other cloysters, and give you a chance to keep spikes vs starmie with enough prediction) Forretress (again, rapes cloyster and ensures you'll last longer than they do. that's probably it though, but that alone is worth it) Porygon2 (um, it learn it. and pgon2 is surprisingly good at spreading status) Snorlax (toxiclax, a classic set. with flamethrower for steels) Tyranitar (put machamp on a counter if it doesn't rest, which most don't. give you a shot vs growltanks, and annoys the hell out of a couple other ttar switches) Alakazam (honestly not that bad on him, but zam is not that good. so the two make for a very mediocore combination) Muk (poison ttar/rhydon with sb, then your sweep is just about good to go) Tentacruel (likewise, except not as much. your targets usually don't mind poison as much, but poison is poison) Starmie (another status for starmie, and i've actually found toxic to be better than twave vs snorlaxes. and believe me, snorlax will switch into you) Raichu (eh, bob/vil's encore toxic raichu is worth an honorary mention, and is the only "competitive" set raichu has) Anything else you can think of with this universal TM Pseudo passers: Since it's GSC, all that you're probably passing is Reflect/Light Screen. Safeguard is pretty bad. With that said, ppassing either of the screens is an almost forgotten strat that'll throw a lot of people off. An LS to Marowak means your opponent almost has to phaze it instead of hitting it with water/ice/grass attacks, and it makes the likes of Machamp really awkward to deal with. Giving reflect to Snorlax or Clefable lets them drum on just about anything they want to. And stuff like Tentacruel and Charizard are really difficult to play against when they've got screens up and you're looking down a potential sweep. Zapdos (extremely overlooked, but a huge part of zapdos' alternative game. probably the best p-passer in the game) Raikou (not as good as zapdos, mostly because roar is already in heavy competitive with ST as the main 4th move. reflect is not to be forgotten though) Blissey (light screen can be used in conjunction with bell, and pretty good at setting fragile stuff up. but if you don't need bell, it easily becomes one of the best reflect passers) Forretress (not bad, usually as a filler move. might save you an explosion vs drumlaxes overpredicting) Cloyster (again, a filler move, and has similar usefulness as forretress') Starmie (it's neutralizing snorlax switch-ins somewhat. also makes cloyster think twice about exploding. make's forretress's job a bit tougher as well) Exeggutor (underrated ppasser, but only for the fact that it has so many other useful moves) Porygon2 (again, this is an often overlooked, but very useful utility role player. it does more than just curse y'know!) Dragonite (defensive dragonites are possible, and reflect/haze can legitimately shut down curselax, vap, among other things. oh, it screens too, for those pesky electrics) Alakazam (pretty good way to ward off snorlax users. and if they curse, you can just encore it) Jumpluff (see jumpluff description above) Slowbro (growl and/or reflect makes for a pretty good defensive slowbro. good stats to boot, definitely worth a look. it was ou for a bit for a reason) Ampharos (holder of both screens, something raikou can't attest to. pure electric, something zapdos can't attest to. too bad it's slow, but still viable as far as ppassing goes) Sleep talker: Generic status absorber. But the idea here, is not to necessarily TAKE sleep if you don’t have to. You definitely want to be in control of your own sleep cycle, rather than banking on the randomness of Sleep Talk. Not being in control also makes you hyper-suseptible to off turn wake-ups, causing you to lose more turns than its worth. It’s extremely annoying when the sleeper is faster than you (Gengar/Nidoking?). Zapdos (probably the universal set at this point. dp has no place except vs blissey, I'll take HP fire over DP vs hera) Raikou (pretty common as well, but less so because roar raikou is more viable than any of zapdos' alternatives. same set as zap. crunch is nice in mirror matches) Snorlax (iffy as a sleep talker, becuase you're losing a lot of offense on the best offensive pokemon in the game. but it becomes a monster tank) Heracross (amazing sleep talker. s-toss for support, curse for the sweep vs non-dp teams. amazing typing and stats makes this guy last pretty damn long) Suicune (probably a mixed sweeper's worst nightmare is a sleep talking cune. incredibly tough to take down, even with SE moves) Machamp (cursechamp will catch a lot of teams that look to wear it down via spikes/toxic or something. similar to cursehera) BORAT (i'm great. i made it. transitive property. it's great) Marowak (a forgotten set, but EQ with either RS/BS gives marowak that much needed longevity, and what's really taking hits from 516 attack? not a good status absorber though) Spiker/spinner: Self-explanatory again. Spin spikes for control. Switching is a huge part of GSC, more than any other generation. In longer matches, he who controls spikes, wins. It’s not super important in games < 40-50 turns, but still somewhat worth mentioning. Starmie (probably the most reliable spinner of the three, at the tradeoff of not being able to set spikes. offers defensive coverage and support) Cloyster (extremely suseptible to toxic. resting with it is definitely tough, and hard to keep spikes down vs starmie without outside support) Forretress (the more defensive spiker, and keeps spikes vs starmie for the most part. loses it vs cloy, but you can toxic them. decent physical wall to boot) Beller: Even more self-explanatory. Miltank (the physical beller of the two. provide para support, and more importantly: growl. Fast too) Blissey (the special side of the coin. it can technically growl, but that won't save you since you're slow and fragile. biggest upside are Light Screen and Sing) That’s basically a generic plug-n-chug way of building good formulaic teams. It won’t be the best, or the most creative, but it might. I figured this was slightly better than spoonfeeding teams anyway. General ranking list (subject to change): 1. Snorlax 2. Zapdos 3. Raikou 4. Exeggutor 5. Skarmory 6. Suicune 7. Gengar 8. Tyranitar 9. Cloyster 10. BORAT 11. Steelix 12. Forretress 13. Miltank 14. Starmie 15. Machamp 16. Nidoking 17. Marowak 18. Blissey 19. Jolteon 20. Espeon 21. Heracross 22. Misdreavus 23. Umbreon 24. Charizard 25. Quagsire 26. Rhydon 27. Dragonite 28. Muk 29. Tentacruel Msc list: Kangaskhan Jynx Scizor Smeargle Clefable Porygon2 Meganium Houndoom Alakazam Ursaring Rankings completely subjective, based on a “potential”. It’s a combination of a few factors, all subjectively rolled into one rating. It based largely on a pokemon’s impact on the meta, which was quantified by a hypothetical “what the meta would be like WITHOUT a certain pokemon”. This combined with offensive/defensive/support contributions and actual in-game performance, along with factors of consistency. Some examples: Egg's probably #2 in terms of sheer threat, but both Zapdos and Raikou offer better game-after-game performance, whose consistency probably surpasses that of even Snorlax's, therefore takes the spots above it. Skarm doesn't offer the best in-game performance, but pretty good at least in terms of defensive and support coverage, and is consistently walling 2-3 pokemon on the opposing team. But the biggest factor comes into play when we consider a meta without Skarm. There would be almost no reason to use FB on Snorlax, Heracross would run absolutely rampant, teams wouldn't have anything to fall back to for Quag/Marowak, last poke lax would be more threatening than ever, Explosion would be harder to stop, even if you predict correctly, etc etc. Skarm shapes the meta with its presence. Having said that, initially, you WILL be having problems with your team. Some more blatant than others. And if you feel like the team has potential, which you clearly do, or you wouldn’t be building it, I recommend giving it a chance. You can’t put it on the backburner until you’ve spent at least a hundred or so matches working out the kinks, shaping it, modifying it, etc. For comparison’s sake, my team took me 7 years, and it’s still being modified. Remember though, team synergy is the most important aspect above all. It's what makes it tick, makes it flow, makes it unique, makes it fluid to play. Don't toss in 6-random pokemon, even though you may win many of your battles doing it, find a reason why they work together, or why they don't work together. Final comments, as well as IMPORTANT BATTLING/TEAM BUILDING TIPS: As far as leads go, I maintain that leads aren't that important. In fact, switching up the leads is definitely a good idea for a couple reasons. For one, it makes the opponents think you're using a different team. Moreover, having a static leads opens you up to counter leads, which are just retarded. So basically, as long as you don't lead with something retarded, you should be fine (aka not Skarmory, Steelix, Miltank, Vaporeon, or something equally stupid, but anything else should be fair game as a lead). Having an advantageous lead is having 1 free turn. It can just as easily be turned around with 1 correct prediction. Having the advantage is definitely a good thing, but NO LEAD will guarantee you the advantage. Every lead has its counters, and you'll run into its counters eventually and find yourself on the short end of that 1 turn adv. Furthermore, the idea of switching up leads offers pretty consistent adv with regards to at least keep your opponent guessing what your first move will be, and at times, guessing what your team is. If you stick with one lead, you stick with certain plays, and those certain plays become very predictable. Zapdos vs nido is instant adv to zapdos, but the first move is so obvious that by switching to Snorlax to take the 100% hidden power you've suddenly turned that 1 turn disadvantage into an advantage just like that. In conclusion, having a lead advantage is obviously a plus, but because there's no way to guarantee it, it might be worth it to just... change what you're leading with. There are so many good leads in any given team that this shouldn't be hard anyway. One of the bigger differences I found, that’s probably invisible to the average player, is the well-built team’s ability to just “play the game”. I know I’ve advocated otherwise, that all teams need a purpose (and a well-built team should have one), a goal to work for, blah blah blah, and I stand by it. But an even more advanced lesson, is really a basic one: play the game. Opportunities arise, even the best of players make mistakes. And those mistakes can come at any moment, you just have to know to identify them, and how to capitalize off them. This often comes in the form of pulling the trigger on explosions, or getting in that extra hit, spikes roar predictions, not everyone plays perfectly. The reason? The perfect play is often the most predictable play, and if perfect plays were made everytime, then it’d be predicted everytime, then it wouldn’t be the perfect play anymore. That’s some catch-22 for you. So yeah, having a plan, having a purpose, this is all very important, but equally important, is just playing the game at hand. I thought it was pretty evident and common sense, but for those that follow my guides religiously, and everything I say, they seem to have dropped this very basic style of play and adapted to a TOO goal-oriented style, and it ends up backfiring. Just know that opportunities arise every game, you’re not playing yourself, you’re playing someone else. They don’t think the same way you do. If you would never think to make a certain “mistake” play, it doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t. Teams and players revolve too much of their play around the goal have a pretty significant flaw: not being able to play the game the way it’s meant to be played. However, teams that don’t have a purpose altogether also have a pretty significant flaw: not having anything to turn to. This is especially evident against stalls, where you’re mindlessly switching or attacking. Problem is, both of these flaws go unnoticed on most teams. And it’s really compounded by the fact that for the most part, the opposing teams being faced share the same problems, so it is even less evident. ARE YOUR EYES BLEEDING YET? When facing a faster paced team, or any team that’s not a stall (stall in the sense that even an idiot can play it), then you can get away with teams not having a strategy. And if you’re facing a lot of these teams, then you really lose grasp of some of the basics of competitive play, which is accounting for both spectrums of offense and defense. You begin to create teams that cheat on offense. What this means is that you notice you have more than enough offense to be successful, but because all you’re facing is non-stalls anyway, maybe you never really had enough offense to begin with. And by detracting from that, and “cheating” the meta, you end up with a far less competent team should the meta change, or should you face someone skilled enough to adapt to any style he/she wishes to. The same applies to defensive teams. They too start to “cheat” on the defensive aspect because they see they have more than enough defense to wall the usual teams, and by taking away from that, what they end up with is really a team with Down syndrome – a team without an identity. But that’s not to say there’s only offensive and defensive teams. There is a middle ground, yes. What was originally referred to as “fail” teams is really nothing more than another archetype, much like offensive and defensive. To say these “fail” teams are “inferior” is a false statement, albeit it is much easier to create bad “fail” teams than it is if you’re focused on “stall” or “offense”. That is what I had originally wanted to convey. If you think about it, no offensive team can ever be successful without taking into account defensive measures, and no true stall team can ever be successful without taking into account offensive measures. Aren’t all good teams “fail” teams then? In any regard, just some food for thought. What I mean by playing the game is just the basics. I know you want to “set up vap for the sweep through bait exploding”, but that might not be the best option. The game should not be played in a strictly purpose-oriented matter. Those residual hits, the chip damage, they add up. They add up to the point where even Snorlax can take out Steelix or Skarmory, to where Zapdos can take out Raikou, etc. At any point in time, you have 5 legitimate sweepers (everyone except Cloyster), whose stock is constantly fluctuating with each turn. Maybe in the process of trying to set up vap and exploding Raikou, you find problems, maybe missing a crucial Hydro Pump or being hit with a CH. But now, you might’ve crippled Snorlax enough where a Zapdos sweep is now the best option. But wait, while going after the Zapdos sweep, opposing Miltank ends up getting lucky with dodging Thunders and winning speed ties and you’re now short on Thunders. But wait, that last para put Snorlax in a legitimate spot to do its own thing against Miltank. And so on. The problem with having a single focused goal is the risk reward decision making factor. When you play with the mindset, “well I need to set up vaporeon”, then you lose sight of a wide variety of factors. You hype the importance of certain pokemon, and downplay the importance of others. So while you view their Zapdos as the “most important pokemon, and the only thing standing in your way”, your opponents might not see it the same way. So while you’re thinking, “no way is he letting me have Zapdos this easy”, maybe, just maybe, he kinda is. True story, personal experience. The ideal way to play out a battle is assume all 6 of your pokemon are threats (although in practice, few teams exceed 3 true threats, 4 and 5 are amazing numbers to hit without sacrificing a ton of defense). However, the level at which they are threats obviously depends on what your opponent has and the status of their pokemon, and on a deeper level, the style of play they show. After every turn, the “stock price” of these six pokemon change, be it a status, or a damage dealt. And in your head, you should have update the “stock price” to see which of the six now have the best chance. And that’s the one you strive for. So in one turn, you might be trying to set up Vaporeon, but the next turn, all of a sudden setting up Zapdos makes more sense, so you go that route. The actual “stock price” is your own judgement, your own opinion on which pokemon has the best chance. Thus, it’s almost impossible for any player to see through your strategy, provided you know what you’re doing and you have the weapons required to pull it off. This should all be done in your head simultaneously, and the accuracy of said updates is only a matter of experience, knowledge, and familiarity with your opponent. Not only that, you have to be familiar with your own team, the limitations of each of your pokemon, the different paths it can take to achieve a certain goal, and so on. Know the team inside out, you should be able to describe your team in the same detail that I have with mine. You should know what you’re doing at all times, it should never be guess work. No matchup should be new to you (granted, if you face Granbull or something odd, that doesn’t really count), you should know what to do in just about every situation you’re in. If you were planning on a Vaporeon sweep, and instead of Zapdos, they end up sending their own Vaporeon. Then you should know that in a fresh Surf Vaporeon mirror match, it’s almost never a good idea to start surfing before you reach +3. +4 is preferrred, but +3 is also acceptable, depending on the status of the other pokemon on their team. This should be hardcoded into your head, you shouldn’t even have to think about it. Machamp vs reflect Starmie is simply a case of cursing 3 times before using HP Ghost. Know your team. So before you blame your team on every loss, see if you could’ve played the battle any differently for a different outcome, chances are, you could’ve. There are a few instances where a team simply cannot win, but those are too far and few in between when considering good teams (which are the only ones you should be building after reading this). Moreover, definitely know when to switch speeds with your team. If it’s clear they’re wearing you down, and you’re really running short on options, then maybe it’s time to sit back and kind of play the game. Get residual damage here and there, and see if you can improve the odds to the point where it makes sense to go back to your strategy. Don’t push yourself to the brink of win-lose if you don’t have to and back off for a bit, but other times, it’s better to apply constant pressure. No battle ever plays out the same, in part due to luck, in part due to the fact that we’re humans. We’re random. If something isn’t working, try something else. Learn double switches, triple switches, quadruple switches, to put yourself in a better position, rack up spikes damage, recover with leftovers, hit things on the switch (very fucking important) etc. Be more open, and don’t strive for one specific goal. Have several, and keep an open mind about all of them. Learn to identify which path is the best to take, take it. Once you’re on that path, recalculate the “distance” to the other paths in case this one leads to a dead end. This is assuming you’re playing with a team that can do more than just stall + drumlax, in which case, stay tuned for another guide. HOW ABOUT NOW? Defensively though, you do have to keep track of what you need to keep alive to give yourself a chance. This team is somewhat suseptible to Curselax, especially the mono-DE kind like the one run once Steelix goes down. So it’s probably in your best interest to keep it alive to keep the battle going. However, don’t go into the approach with close-minded thinking either. Check to verify that you’re not taking some of your defensive walling capabilities for granted. And if it becomes clear your opponent is trying to go after a specific wall, perhaps either status, or just chipping it, then immediately catch on and try to understand why. If it’s something you can recuperate from and capitalize on, let your opponent keep doing it and make them feel like they’re accomplishing something, even though you’re fully aware of what’s going on. One of the bigger mistakes I see people make is really trying to preserve TOO much. If you’ve sent Gengar in on a Snorlax to take the predicted normal attack, only to have it curse up. Fearing EQ, you turn to Zapdos for the check, only for Snorlax to curse again. Now at +2, switching in Suicune really isn’t an option, and depending on the circumstances, it’s time to cut your losses. If you start having to take down Snorlax, sacrificing half, maybe more, of your team to get your phaze, ,it’s simply not worth it. You can’t really win from that position either. You’ve really gone too far. So here, you just go with intuition and send Gengar, and bank the game on whether or not he has Earthquake. If it turns out he does, then really, there’s no difference, you would’ve lost anyway. If it turns out he has Fire Blast, then you still have the option of wasting Fire Blasts through prediction, or if you have Dbond, or w/e. And if he doesn’t have any secondary attack, then good for you. Good thing you didn’t just send 3-4 pokemon only to find that out. HOWEVER, if you still have the option to sacrifice less, e.g. you can take down snorlax with enough resources to really guarantee you at least a chance at winnning, then do that. If it takes 2 explosions, but you still have something resembling a team left, go for that route instead. Banking the game on whether or not he has a move is really a last-ditch move, but a far better one than giving up your entire winning arsenal as I’ve seen so many people do. So hypothetically, if your opponent gets off Jolteon pass to Snorlax, then maybe it’s probably a good idea to cut your losses send your Gengar in for the explosion and not try and “outpredict it” or anything. And don’t get into the habit of automatically absorbing explosions with your Skarm/Forr/Tyranitar/Steelix. In some cases, that’s exactly what your opponent wants. Think before every move. Exeggutor paralyzing Skarm, hitting it on the switch with Psychic, then another while taking DP, then exploding on it, bringing it to 20-ish% and paralyzed. Then sending Raikou/Zapdos to scare it off, turning straight to curselax for the curse, and guess what, you’ve just lost the game because Skarmory is no longer a legitimate curselax wall because you were too busy taking Explosion. And again, to stress the importance, KNOW what you’re doing. You won’t find too much success “guessing” the right play. Foresight. Get some. Prediction is 1-3 turns ahead. Foresight is 10-30, even 50, 100 turns ahead. It's the long term goal. You've gotta have a plan in your head, or you're playing blindly, and chances are, it'll never end. Hence, stall. Hence, most everyone who's ever played GSC = mediocre. Hence, when you spec a battle, you'd know if something is going on, or if two players are just clueless. If you feel helpless, it's time to give it up in GSC. Save yourself the time. If there's hope, keep playing. One key question to ask yourself repeatedly is: "SO WHAT?" Unless you have an appropriate response, maybe it's better to rethink your moves. Say you have cune active vs marowak, and you pretty much know for sure it's switching out, what do you do? Do you surf the switch, toxic it? In either scenarios, ask yourself: "SO WHAT?" So what if you Surf their snorlax/raikou? So what if you toxic their snorlax/raikou? If there's no legitimate answer, then maybe it's best to improve your position in another way. Maybe switch in Machamp, or your own Snorlax, or Nidoking. This is why most players, past and present, don't have a clue what they're doing. Cool, you can predict my switch and do something, but if that something is irrelevant, then you're really... not doing anything. Clueless plays like this leads to stall. If there's no purpose, then you won't win. You're only not losing. And prediction counts for something no matter how much I downplay it. 1 layer of spikes is all GSC players need to capitalize on opponents (rapid spin is the sole reason Starmie has been OU for the past decade). Prediction has all but fallen off the map for some reason. If you're in a mismatch, switch. You don't leave it in to die, just so you could bring out something different, only to have your opponent switch. Stuff don't run around with 700 attack and 500 speed in this gen. You chip at stuff, you have to know when to give up, you know when you go for a 10% status, a 25% effect, a 30% status, a 50% move, a 70% move, etc. Know when to back off, and know when to keep pressing. HOME STRETCH... Perhaps the most important aspect of competitive battling as a whole, and this is ESPECIALLY prevalent in GSC matches, is switching. Learning to predict a switch, when a switch is about to occur, this is the most common and the most important prediction. I’d say on a good day, you can easily be 90-95% accurate with this prediction. However, this is not to be mistaken with a prediction to WHAT in particular, in which case the percentages drop way down, but merely, a switch will happen in the next turn. In this case, can your team capitalize off this? What pokemon has a good matchup against any of the possible switch ins? Fragile offensive pokemon are generally your go-to guys in these scenarios, or if you’re on the defensive side of things, you’re most beneficial roarer (assuming you’ve got spikes/poison/SOMETHING to punish them with). These occur many, MANY times throughout a battle. How often you identify and how potently you capitalize determine how dominant you are in a match, and really, makes for a much more entertaining battle. This is akin to playing one step ahead. In one example, you have steelix active vs your opponent’s raikou, you’re pretty much 90-95% sure a switch is going to occur, but you’re not certain WHAT it is they’re switching to. Looking through your options, maybe you have Nidoking, a fragile offensive pokemon that matches up well against just about anything is a good choice. A mixlax perhaps, dragonite maybe? Another example, you’ve got a decently HPed Gengar active vs Skarmory, and you know he doesn’t have a Ttar/Rhydon, then this could be the perfect opportunity at pulling off an explosion that WON’T end up hitting skarm. Along the same lines of reliable prediction, there’s the concept of complement prediction. You can’t always predict what your opponent will do, but often times, you can predict what your opponent WON’T do. Using an example of Steelix vs Raikou, you’re not quite sure if he’ll switch, if he’ll Hidden Power, or if it’ll throw up a screen, however, you can be 90-95% sure it WON’T be using Thunder/thunderbolt/thunder wave, so see if you can capitalize off that. You can even send in Cloyster; worst case scenario, you take an HP/screen, whereas best case scenario, you get matchup advantage for the following turn + spikes. This doesn’t work as well later on into the game, once you and your opponent have gotten comfortable with each other, and the HP starts dwindling, but it’s something to keep in mind. And with regards to sacrificing a Pokemon just so you can get in an extra hit as so much of the newer gen revolves around, you should only do it with a crystal clear plan in mind. The added attack is nice, but that's adv thinking unless you have formulated a clear plan to victory. That extra attack, unless it's GUARANTEED to mean something, isn't worth the death. A far more common scenario is the act of sacrificing something to keep hope alive. e.g. Charizard comes in on Steelix. If you stay in, you're dead if he FBs. If you switch out, you're dead if it drums (assuming Zard was in a position to sweep). Remember, sometimes it's better to cut your losses than to bet everything on a prediction, unless you're that sure about yourself. You should have a couple go-to plays in your arsenal to get around common stuff. 3hkos are obviously important to prevent a pokemon from rest-loop walling you, but 38% is a tough mark to hit in GSC. So one of my favorite plays involves turning the 30% 4hko moves into that all important 3 hitter, or turn 38% moves into 2 hits, and so on. There’s a couple ways to go about it, but it all revolves around the same concept: you want an extra hit on the switch in. This allows Zapdos to KO Snorlax in a pinch, Raikou KOing Zapdos, Egg KOing Raikou, Snorlax KOing Suicune/Umbreon, Heracross to KO Skarmory, etc. If your opponent is in desperation mode, using Miltank to loop Raikou, then instead of playing for a CH, or for a para, you can simply Roar it out. That way, if it wanted to switch in to re-wall, it would have to take 2 thunder/thunderbolts to do it. In the case of Heracross/Zapdos vs Skarm/Snorlax, things are a bit trickier. You have to force enough damage such that they rest, and you have to predict the turn they Rest and switch to something that’ll scare it off on the same turn. That way, if they wanted to switch in, they’d have to take 30% without using up one of their Rest turns, effectively giving you 4 hits while they Rest. Now some teams aren’t even equipped with the right tools to threaten Snorlax, so yeah. This is far harder to pull off if your 4hko pokemon is SLOWER than the thing you’re trying to KO though. The more of these plays you learn, the better. The more you can turn to, the better. And each pokemon has their own unique tricks against a wide variety of matchups, you just have to take the time to find and learn it. Moreover, take into the fact that you have 6 pokemon, and each combination of pokemon has their own unique synergistic traits, so as far as learning the team goes, it’s one of the most important aspects of competitive play. You can never expect to take someone else’s team and get the same results as them (assuming you two are are similar skill) because they’re far more familiar with the team and the “bag of tricks” than you are. And if you’re serious about playing competitive GSC, one thing you want to master is the art of playing WITHOUT Snorlax. And without further ado, here’s an in-depth team building guide by example. Every bit of information you could possibly want, my thinking, my analysis, it’s all here. In immense detail. Team Begets Team This is the original, largely responsible for the “offensive side of the metagame” seen today. It’s technically never been lower than #1 on PO, bar that month and a half of rating decay, where it dropped to like #2 or something. I don’t play with it too much, to avoid people developing natural counters to it, but I could probably fill up top 10, 20, 30, etc with it if I wanted to. Before you scroll down and just copy-paste, just saying it might be worth it to learn the intricacies of the team. The guide itself is located towards the bottom of the post, but the “team history” is worth looking into when considering team building process, along with metagame adaption. Furthermore, I provide in-depth detail on how to play the team, and what to do in certain matchups, worth looking at if you do plan to use the team. Please take note of the team building process, the decisions made, the factors I considered, when making your own teams. Notice what I’ve done to adapt it and update it with the changing meta, and pretty frequently, even dictating the meta myself. This is largely a team building guide by example, and something to take into consideration on any serious level of competitive play, in any generation. While most of the sets seem “standard”, do keep in mind the age of the team and how much it pre-dates today’s “standards”. Standard sets are not necessarily the most effective, and if no one ever deviates from it, then you would’ve never had more than one set per pokemon. In addition to introducing Growthvap to GSC, this was the first team to make use of "bait explosion", the most dominant and prevalent offensive tactic in GSC today. It was a strategic approach to GSC, to the meta, that enabled the consistency to which it performed. Attack attack attack, low HP, boom was a brainless and embarrassing way to play offense. This team was also one of the first teams pioneering the "Thunder revolution", which is probably even more common than Thunderbolt nowadays, and also one of the first to use Exploding curselix outside of an explosion team setting, since hitting air [with either Body Slam or Rock Slide] was always preferred ("what’s the point of switching into DP Zapdos if you can’t even hit it?" was the thinking). That and it abused LK Snorlax before LK Snorlax ever became a threat. So while the metagame may seem stale and unevolving at any moment, that hasn’t really affected me from pushing it and pushing it to newer limits, I don’t see why anyone else couldn’t do the same, just put in thought and not be discouraged by a couple early negative results. Clamp Cloy, Hydro Pump Vap? These were early 2011 additions. It's still evolving. And I there are more. Just need the right people. 2004 original Background: This was a team I used dating back to early 2004 when I first devised growthvap, with a few updates. "Big" updates came in early 2007, then in early 2010. By following this pattern, the next update will come out sometime in 2013. This ended up being my most successful team without me even realizing it, despite my always putting it off for its first 6 years of inception as a second string team. Net me 100+ win streaks on old NB servers with the 2004 version, and with the update, was one of my most consistent offenses at taking down stalls. I preferred a more "stable" team, so I usually turned to the Raikou/Miltank/Skarm/Starmie stall, but it turns out, this was the most stable of all. While I don’t exactly have the authority (or do I?) to necessarily use the superlative “best team in GSC”, it’s definitely the most effective and flexible team in existence. Turned out to be the “best” team I’ve ever made, which should account for something. In fact, it’s overly effective and influential, to the point where I even have problems deviating too much from it when trying to create something new. SNIPPED Because I know you'll just end up copying instead of learning anything from this.