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A Formal Guide to Team Building

Discussion in 'Gen 5 Discussion' started by Harry, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Harry

    Harry Banned

    Messages:
    707
    There are many strategies to creating a successful competitive Pokemon team, and with that, many types of teams to consider building. In this thread I will attempt to cover the basic formulas to follow for each process of team building to create the type of team you would like.
    The team types I will cover are:

    Hyper Offense
    Offense
    Balanced
    Semi-Stall
    Stall

    Hyper Offense: The most basic style of playing, using either a weather inducing lead (Politoed, Tyranitar, Ninetales) or a Dual Screen lead to ready the field, and then sending in offensive sweeper after offensive sweeper until the opponents team cracks under the pressure because their Pokemon can't take any more hits.

    Offense: A team built around setting up sweepers while removing their counters in order to successfully destroy their team. Usually functions around life orb sweepers with Swords Dance, Dragon Dance, etc. and supporting Pokemon who lay down entry hazards (Stealth Rock, Spikes)
    making it easier for the sweepers to do their job.

    Balanced: A more bulky style than offense, based more around countering offensive threats rather than using your own, using type synergy, and general bulk, and commonly bulky sweepers at the end of the game, this style of team relies on prediction and knowledge of the metagame. Finally, when their team is weakened, the bulky sweeper comes in to finish their team weakened from the residual damage you have racked up during the game.

    Semi-Stall: These kind of teams are usually a more bulky form of balanced, bordering on stall, but with a last minute sweeper. They commonly consist of 1-2 physical walls, a special wall (namely Blissey, Tyranitar, etc.) and then Pokemon to lay down numerous entry hazards, and then near the end, their final team member is revealed when the opponent's team has no counters left for it.

    Stall: The slowest, and arguably most reliable form of playing that involves laying down multiple entry hazards (Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes), and then waiting for your opponent to die. Usually functions around walls, pseudo hazers (Whirlwind, Roar), and resistances, in order to be able to take hits from all kinds while waiting for your opponent's Pokemon to faint.

    In this thread I will be detailing the process you will need to go through to create a successful team of each of these playstyles, what Pokemon work best for which type of team, and in general how to form a workable, synergetic team that can get you high on the ladder. I hope you find it helpful!


    Team Building Strategies
    Before I go over which way you should build each team, I'm going to introduce the methods in detail, and then follow up with which work best for each, and get into more detail for how to use each strategy for each style of team.

    These are the useful strategies:
    Type Synergy
    Defensive Core
    Offensive Synergy
    Counter Counter
    Anti-Metagame
    Gimmick

    These are the not useful strategies:
    Pick Your Favorites
    Pick "Cool Looking Pokemon"
    Random Team
    "Theme Teams"

    Unless you are doing these specially for a tournament, these are usually ways to come up with a weird, bad, or just plain idiotic team.


    Type Synergy: To build a team around type synergy, what you want to do is make sure you have resists to all the types, at least once. You'll want to have at least 2 resists/immunities to the most common offensive types (Ground, Dragon, Fire, Water). The focus of these teams is to make it so you always have a swap in for whatever is attacking you. You can always resist any attack coming at you. The most effective abusers of this kind of strategy are stall teams, semi-stall teams, and balanced teams. Especially balanced, because of how much it relies on type immunity and resistance, with decent bulk, as opposed to stall which generally doesn't need to resist, because the walls are so incredibly bulky anyways.

    Defensive Core: A defensive core usually consists of 2-4 bulky Pokemon, who, together, resist most to all offensive assaults, or at least the ones that are necessary on your team. It's not exactly necessary to resist EVERY type, just usually the more prominent offensive types. The other way to do this kind of core is to use, instead of types, defensive stats. A defensive core can consist of a physical wall, a special wall, and possibly a mixed wall. Stall teams are generally constructed around defensive cores, as are semi-stall, and balanced teams.

    Offensive Synergy: The opposite of defensive synergy is offensive synergy. This focuses not on taking attacks from every type, but more on getting a super effective hit on everything it can, or getting neutral coverage on whatever you can. Fire/Dragon is perfect coverage, bar Heatran, as is Electric/Ice, with the exception of Magnezone, Thick Fat Mamoswine, and Rotom-H, and finally Ghost/Fighting. These combinations are what make Suicune such a deadly offensive threat, as well as Gengar, and most of the Dragons. They abuse their perfect coverage to attack with their huge offensive stats, and nothing can resist them. Offensively Synergetic teams focus on not only single Pokemon with perfect coverage, but also using an array of Pokemon that together hit as many common defensive Pokemon for super effective as possible.

    Counter Counter: This is the best name I could think of for this style of team building, which involves picking one or two Pokemon to begin with, and then using the rest of the slots you have to counter the counters of the Pokemon you have chosen to abuse. Usually the best way to do this is to choose a dangerous offensive sweeper and focus on the few things that stop it. For instance, make a team with Urugamosu, and then stock up on counters to Blissey, Heatran, Tyranitar, and Burungeru, ensuring that most of the time you'll end up with an easy sweep at the end of the game, when they have nothing left to stop you.

    Anti-Metagame: The only problem with anti-metagame teams is that it won't last long. Apart from that, they are usually among the most successful teams, so long as the metagame remains stable. To build an anti-metagame team the best way to go is to go through the list of OverUsed Pokemon and counter each and, not counter every one, but use something rather unorthodox, instead of the usual counter, to beat many threats, while not going too far out there. These teams usually border on gimmick, without the stupidity factor that gimmicks entail. A fine example of an anti-metagame team that works right now is Brandon's. It uses choice specs Gothitelle with Shadow Tag, and Hidden Power Fighting/Psychic to remove common weather inducers, such as Tyranitar, Hippowdon, Abomasnow, and Politoed, and then he goes to his own weather inducer, Ninetales, thus countering standard Sandstorm teams, as well as Raindance teams, which, currently, are the metagame.

    Gimmick: Gimmick teams, in my opinion, do not get enough credit. This is, for the most part, because they are unreliable when fighting the same opponent, as they usually only work once. This is one of the main differences between gimmick and anti-metagame teams. Gimmicks are usually more reliant on surprise factor to win, such as the opponent not knowing that you have Natural Gift Wacan Berry Scizor, and they swap in a Gyarados. They won't do it twice, but it will sure as hell beat them once. Gimmicks don't have to necessarily be tricks though. They can be viable sets that just happen to be so rare that nobody expects them. Things like Life Orb Rapid Spin Starmie, or Destinybond/Explosion Gengar, which work just fine, especially when the opponent wrongfully assumes that you don't have those moves. A perfect example of an incredible gimmick team is Picklesword's V-Generate Assist team, which literally only uses one attack the entire game. His team is a prime example of why gimmicks should not be underestimated, because he got #4 on the DW ladder with this team, which is surprisingly good. Again, gimmicks don't necessarily need to be tricks, just things uncommon enough to work.

    Once you have chosen which type of team you are going to build, it is time to pick which way you are going to approach it. Here are some ideas.

    Hyper Offense: The best strategy to build one of these, is offensive synergy, by far. You'll want to focus on hitting the same points of a team over and over, until they can't stand up to it any more. Hyper offensive teams are the bane of stall, because they hit the physical walls on the team so many times that nothing is left when the final sweeper steps in except special walls which are easily OHKO'd after a setup. The main Pokemon you'll want to use are Dragon Dancers, as well as the occasional Swords Dancer, and as a lead, a dual screen Azelf/Uxie with Light Clay.
    Another, less recognized team that falls into this category is Gli-passing. This consists of a dual screener, followed by a Swords Dance/Rock Polish Gliscor who passes to a Metagross. Not to be overlooked, as if supported correctly, can destroy the opposition.

    Offense: Again, as with hyper offense, offensive teams will want to use offensively synergetic attacks, such as perfect coverage Pokemon, in tandem with entry hazards, to pull off quick kills, but with support on the sideline to help out. It's also very helpful to employ the Counter Counter strategy for these type of teams. One of my most successful was an Empoleon setup team which used Toxic spikes to remove the bulky waters and Blissey that would potentially stop it. For good measure I used a Scizor as well to damage Blissey and things like Suicune and Vaporeon as much as I could before sending out Empoleon to clean up.

    Balanced: Defensive synergy is mostly important with these teams. Have immunities and both things that can take special hits as well as Pokemon to absorb physical hits. As with any team though Counter Counter can be utilized to get rid of the Pokemon that could stop your Bulky Sweeper who is coming in at the end. This could mean extra entry hazards to get an OHKO after a boost, or simply if your Bulky Sweeper is weak to something, say, Blissey, stock Toxic Spikes in order to wear it down before you send in your last Pokemon.

    Semi-Stall: The most common way to build a semi-stall team is to use a defensive core such as Skarmory+Blissey, or Heatran+Celebi+Vaporeon to wall the majority of threats, and then abuse pseudo hazers to rack up residual damage before throwing in your last Pokemon. This sounds a lot like balanced because it is, with the slightly more stall-esque theme to it. You may very well want to use more recovery than a balanced team, such as Roost, Rest, or Wishpassing on semi-stall in order to keep your Pokemon alive far longer than most would.

    Stall: Many people consider stall teams to be easy to make, and easy to use, requiring little skill and little effort to use well. They couldn't be more wrong. To create an effective stall team means to counter everything. This means nothing should be able to set up, and sweep you. Things to be wary of are: Magic Guard Pokemon, (IPL uses skill swap + toxic) but another counter is to use Perish Song. Baton Pass teams, as after an ingrain you can't pseudo haze them and you will be very vulnerable to the final Pokemon. Again, Perish song is a good idea. Stall requires you to have all three types of entry hazards to ensure the slow, painful death of any Pokemon they have, as well as a Rapid Spinner to keep your Pokemon from taking any unnecessary damage. If they have Stealth Rock up and you need your Gyarados to wall something, you'd better hope you can get rid of it quick. Other than that, use walls with recovery, (Blissey, Skarmory, Hippowdon, Celebi) and in the end, your opponent will slowly die, or leave out of sheer boredom.

    I hope you have found this thread to be very beneficial, and I hope this leads to a new future of less people with stolen forum teams, as well as more original creations that they can take pride in. A reminder, that this is only for first draft teams. The only way to come up with something "perfected" is to TEST. TEST. TEST. Don't expect it to be perfect first try.Thank you for reading, and goodnight!

    -Harry
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  2. User Name

    User Name Life is a maze

    Messages:
    1,767
    Something to mention about Offensive Synergy: Don't forget to get Pokemon that can hit physically and defensively. :P
    Also, you may want to make a category for super-annoying teams. ;D
    BTW, sometimes gimmicks can be reusable. :3
  3. Galblade

    Galblade FAT PRINCESS

    Messages:
    1,416
    Awesome guide. I prefer to play Balanced, though finding it hard to pick the right walls in UU right now. I also hate to say it, but the analysis of most pokemon on smogon is great for finding some unorthadox counters to some pokemon, though for UU it will probably take longer than I need for such to be written up as they haven't even posted ones for OU yet. Thanks for doing this, its greatly appreciated.
  4. destinybond

    destinybond Server Staff

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    649
    "such as the opponent not knowing that you have Natural Gift Haban Berry Scizor, and they swap in a Gyarados."

    Do you mean wacan?
  5. Harry

    Harry Banned

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    707
    yes, thank you. I knew that was wrong.
  6. Contest Master Majin

    Contest Master Majin New Member

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    266
    Awesome guide, Harry, from obviously one of the premier teambuilders on Online.

    Also, lol at the Natural Gift Wacan Berry Scizor. I'ma use that nao.
  7. flashbolt

    flashbolt New Member

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    404
    Minor point: Lanturn resists electric/ice

    Awesome guide. Ive thought of my team building as Offense with Pivots. I create an offensive core then add one/two more defensive pokemon (a pivot) that i can through in when things are getting tough to slowly break the pokes that wall me or do what it can to stop the sweepers that can set up on my offense (nattorei is a great pivot). I suppose this is a counter-counter strategy or balance.

    Also i should mention that different tiers have very different ways of team building. I spend most of my playtime in monotype.

    Also the berry Scizor is not necessarily a one time use. Even the second time you play an opponent; thats one less safe switchin there. I like running two teams almost identical; one with hp grass zapdos and one with hp ice, the second time when they think their swampert is safe to switchin hp ice they get nailed (people assume you have the same team and start counter teaming, i know, i do this tons, its the key to laddering). You could do the same with scizor; it will take them at least a few turns to realise that the scizor is now banded, or occa berried and that they could have switched gyara in all this time. So the berry that you used once has affects beyond the single use.

    Once again, great guide. ;)
  8. Harry

    Harry Banned

    Messages:
    707
    There we go, That's the last one I couldn't remember that resists boltbeam. I was thinking for at least 5 minutes t_t

    Also, yes, you're right, this is mainly a guide to DW OU/Gen 4 OU possibly. I expressly tried to avoid giving too many examples for the sake of not choosing a gen lol
  9. Noog

    Noog So much potential...

    Messages:
    365
    Just a minor nitpick, Lanturn/Chinchou resist BoltBeam with Volt Absorb.
  10. Wander

    Wander Shitty Wizard

    Messages:
    1,243
    I agree with Harry's view on gimmick teams, recently more gimmicks are appearing in Ubers, and I must say it works ^^
    I disagree on Stalls though, Stalls are not always easy to use, some people tend to forget a mon or two that would ruin their stall (Me)
  11. cosmicexplorer

    cosmicexplorer SWAG

    Messages:
    782
    Special HO is possible too; you imply only physical exists. Sure, it's more difficult due to the Explosion nerf, but it can be done with hugely powerful NPers like P-Z, which can 2HKO after an NP, or NPApe, which OHKOs with +2 FB after SR.
  12. Blue_Star

    Blue_Star Banned

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    298
    really nice article :D
  13. Drigger

    Drigger Fabula Nova Crystallis

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    1,001
    Destiny Bond on Gengar is Far from Gimmicky and the "Surprise Factor" can be even on Standard teams... Swords Dance Scizor for Instance most times Choice Band/ Life Orb is expected and can grant you a nice KO that your opponent didn't see coming. an unorthodox set does not mean its any less productive, its the trainers job to make sure they can cover their team weaknesses.

    Just to comment on anti-metagame yes it works but you have to constantly be aware of the changes to the metagame to keep it on top...
  14. Harry

    Harry Banned

    Messages:
    707
    Drigger, I had you in mind for the Dbond Gengar, as that's what got you my badge, surprise factor t_t


    and Cosmic, Yes, special is possible, but to be honest, it's much less used, simply because of this;
    Look at the top 100 Physical Attack Pokemon on Serebii
    and now look at the top 100 Special Attack Pokemon on Serebii
  15. cosmicexplorer

    cosmicexplorer SWAG

    Messages:
    782
    Point taken.

    However, once Bliss is down, and to an extent Nattorei or Burungeru (they can be worn down far more easily than Bliss, though), only Tenta and Tran can do anything near walling stuff like Vulcarona, NPApe, or SubPetaya Empoleon, all of which also have enough speed and bulk (not Infernape) to wreck an offensive team after some setup. I find it much easier to run special HO than physical HO, because physical sweepers have so many viable walls, like Skarmory, Gyarados, Gliscor, or Hippowdon, that outside of dedicated lures (or Wobbuffet/Shandy in some cases), it becomes far more difficult than special when facing full stall.

    EDIT:
    It's not always Metagross; other sweepers can work well too, but Metagross does tend to work best on most teams. However, its inability to OHKO stuff not neutral to Meteor Mash or weak to Earthquake with ThunderPunch (read: bulky waters and Skarmory), even at +2, means it is prone to getting phazed out far more easily than something like Tyranitar (although Fighting/Steel priority stops it cold) or Dragonite (except for Ice Shard lol). Of course Metagross is an excellent recipient, but there are other options.

    Also, for Type Synergy (defensively), I think it's important to mention that the pokemon should not only resist just the single type, but also be at least neutral to the types of coverage moves that the offensive pokemon in question possess. A good example is Registeel. It has great defenses, but tends to fall flat against the pokemon whose STAB moves it resists simply due to its Mono-Steel typing (although its lack of recovery doesn't help either). It resists both Rock and Dark, and thus, under the philosophy of strictly having a resistance to every type, should make an effective stop to Tyranitar. However, Tyranitar also tends to carry Earthquake on offensive sets, hitting Registeel SE and taking it out with some hazards, or outspeeding and 2HKOing.

    The point is, make sure that the pokemon resists not only the offensive pokemon's STAB moves, but also a resistance, or at least a neutrality to, their common coverage moves, which is why Skarmory tends to work better against many physical attackers than Registeel. It seems obvious, but I believe it should at least be mentioned.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  16. DarkDiglett

    DarkDiglett Parramatta 2014

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    992
    Thanks for this :D
  17. Project Oppenheimer

    Project Oppenheimer [1]

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    1,395
    Would a team centered around one Core be considered gimmick? I have many successful teams centered around Baton Passing ridiculous amounts of boosts (i.e. +6 Atk and +6 Speed to Marowak) to different members of the team. If this isn't gimmick, it definitely deserves a mention.
  18. PhoenixClaw

    PhoenixClaw New Member

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    120
    Ya know, I really think Baton Pass could pass as it's own team type. It's not really a gimmick as the entire team works with and plays off one another. In pure gimmick, I'd say it's more so that each individual pokemon adds its own personal flair, similar to the Natural Gift Wacan berry Scizor mentioned in the OP. In addition, BP teams can work more than once against the same opponent. Regardless of who you are, a +2 Attack/+1 Speed Choice Banded Bullet Punch is going to hurt. (Thanks Ninjask! :D)

    So...yeah. I'd say Baton Pass deserves a separate mention as its own team type. Anyone else hold that same view?
  19. Harry

    Harry Banned

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    707
    Ok, but building a baton pass team is so insanely easy that I didn't think it deserved mention. Choose a sweeper immune to Tspikes or that has a lum berry, have everything have sub, have things that can boost every stat, have something to counter whirlwind/roar/perish song, and go play.
  20. For The Troll

    For The Troll Banned

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    322
    Thanx Harry this Threat Help me to make a DW team what work :)
    But i really need a Stall? i have a smi stalll what is dragonite marvel scale Dragon dance set,and im battling a couple times and i dont really see that i need a stall poke,but good work.
  21. Twinrova

    Twinrova New Member

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    2
    Thank you for the useful guide:) Are all those types of teams viable in VGC and/or Standard play?
    Prediction and strategy isn't a problem to me, it's most of the time the team I build that doesn't work.

    Is there a chance that there will be a more in depth guide on (one of) the styles?
  22. yiran

    yiran You can only use one coin.

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    1,700
    VCG is doubles, and I think this guide only covers singles. (Not completely sure, but looks like it from what it says)
  23. Harry

    Harry Banned

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    707
    I might do a more in depth guide on each of the styles, individually. That could be fun. And groshi. I rarely, if ever, play doubles, apart from for the league.. so.... I have no experience, and no right to talk about it.
  24. Project Oppenheimer

    Project Oppenheimer [1]

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    1,395
    DO NOT INSULT BATON PASSING!!! I AM THE BATON PASSING METAGAME!!!
  25. Babis493

    Babis493 New Member

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    82
    Nice guide.
  26. fidgety

    fidgety New Member

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    1,538
    passing hasn't been good since gen 3 especially now due to mh taunt starting to really crop up (Voltolos rulez) it's really funny taunting smeargle after it's ingrained and killing it and thus the chain ironic the weakest link is the most important.
  27. yiran

    yiran You can only use one coin.

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    1,700
    No, Marmoteo is.

    Mental Herbs?
  28. cosmicexplorer

    cosmicexplorer SWAG

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    782
    You're acting as if Smeargle can take a hit without dying horribly.

    It absolutely has to have a Substitute up without a Focus Sash to hold on to, which makes it much more difficult to setup. Not impossible, but difficult.
  29. YAYtears

    YAYtears Professional Noob Haxors

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    329
    Nice guide. Any advice for non-weather teams like mine?(Which did peak #18 on the DW ladder)
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  30. Harry

    Harry Banned

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    707
    As I have never used one, I would know little about it. Care to fill me in on how you manage without a weather changer? Do you pull a DJHezzy and have a rotom with sunny day :3
  31. Noog

    Noog So much potential...

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    365
    Magic Coat anyone? It'll reflect the Taunt, so the Taunter can now no longer use Taunt. :3
  32. YAYtears

    YAYtears Professional Noob Haxors

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    329
    lol I was just lucky all the way through. I just had a subsect and twave dnite do all the work, while shandera revenges annoying Rands and Chomps. Sub messes it up a lot. For rain I have Rotom-W, which kinda works.
  33. Harry

    Harry Banned

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    707
    Mm. Sub Geno does mad work with great coverage and fucks up shandy. Twave Dnite is incredible. On my one non-weather team (that I just remebered) i abused the fuck out of that thing.
  34. Oshawhat?

    Oshawhat? New Member

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    5
    I use the hyper offensive type which burns right through the opponents defense and defeats then almost immediately. It consists of Haxorus, Volcarona, and Tyranitar. Haxorus uses Dragon Dance 3 or 4 times then uses outrage or dragon claw to defeat my opponents and it works 90% of the time. Tyranitar just attacks nonstop with Crunch and Stone Edge. Volcarona uses heat wave and Quiver dance.

    Boom---------- Awesome Team
  35. gingerlover101

    gingerlover101 New Member

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    5
    i had no idea there where so many things for strategy ty
  36. Boarbeque

    Boarbeque New Member

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    I am assuming that Hyper Offense is just a team of sweepers and if I included a Utility it wouldn't really be such anymore?

    Anyways, I prefer to have an Offensive team rather than having a Hyper one. I like to have 4 sweepers and then 2 support/utility pokemon to keep my sweepers from being swept.
  37. Saealemenece

    Saealemenece New Member

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    22
    Of course you didn't really mean that Stall teams were easy to build. When you "focus" your team on one Theme it's alot of options, and it should take more time to think about rather then just building a 10 - minute team.
  38. 114

    114 Guest

    natural gift wacan berry ftw
  39. min min

    min min shay shay

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    70
    Suggestion, if I may: Baton Pass doesn't pass to Metagross that often now IMO because Excadrill outspeeds +2 Metagross. Excadrill also has Earthquake.
  40. Mael

    Mael Member

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    436
    awesome guide, also you descriped every single playing style totally good. one thing i would mention is that stall teams need something to trap a spinblocker so you can spin them away. and can mention that wish is a pretty important thing on stall and semi stall teams :D

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