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[RATE MY TEAM] 0kamii's VGC Hailstorm Team - Suggestions Welcomed!
Hey, everyone! It's 0kamii. I meant to post this last Friday but, ARK happens...

I mentioned a few posts back that I was kicking myself all season for not building a VGC Hail team with Alolan Sandslash on it. I really started to feel the magnitude of my regret once Worlds came around this weekend, so I looked back over some of my old notes from earlier in the season and I slapped together what I think is a decent Hail team. The key word here being: decent. This team is in dire need of some TLC, and I'm already considered a few adjustments, but I figured I'd put it to the people and let them put in their two cents. Obviously, with Worlds being over, a VGC team is considered nihil. So do me a favor and just pretend that it's the beginning of VGC 2018, and everyone is still using the same strategies. Thanks! Tongue

The Team (Gamma Version):

[Image: sandslash-alola.png] [Image: gastrodon-east.png] [Image: mandibuzz.png]
[Image: ninetales-alola.png] [Image: garchomp.png] [Image: smeargle.png]
I really wanted to build a team around Alolan Sandslash using my favorite Slush Rush set, and so I think I finally managed to build something tangible. I'll break down everyone's individual roles momentarily, and please keep in mind that again, this team is still very much in development. This is the Gamma version. With your help, I can get to Beta, and soon Alpha. That being said, let's get into the core.

The Core:
Sandslash-alola Ninetales-alola
Clearly, Nintendo made the synergy between these two on purpose. Ninetales sets up the Hail, and Sandslash's Speed doubles under it. Not only that, but Sandslash greatly benefits from Ninetales' access to the new support move, Aurora Veil. Aside from the beautiful animation, Aurora Veil's protection let's Sandslash survive fatal hits better than it otherwise would, and it makes the need for a Focus Sash on Ninetales less prevalent. The core doesn't operate well under Trick Room, but that's covered by the rest of the core. We'll get to that later. For now, in case you're not familiar with Hail teams, it is highly offensive, and plays the gamble that you can outspeed your opponent and hit hard and fast enough to where they can't strike back. Now, onto the sets.

The Sets:

Sandslash-Alola @ Life Orb
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Protect
- Rock Slide
- Iron Head
- Icicle Crash
I like to think of my Sandslash, Laki Maika'i, as the captain of the cheerleading team. She was also the very first pokémon I Shiny hunted in the 7th generation. Therefore, I knew for a long time that I wanted to build a team around her. Unfortunately, as much as I love Alolan Sandslash, there aren't too many ways to run it in Doubles. I have your basic EV spread, maximizing Attack and Speed, and throwing the last few scraps into Sp. Defense in case of a rogue Vacuum Wave. I have Rock Slide over Earthquake because Laki is constantly going to be on the field with Ninetales, and I don't like having to waste a turning protecting when I could be doing more damage with Blizzard. Besides, Rock Slide still covers one of Laki's biggest weaknesses. Fire. And Ninetales covers her weakness to Ground. All that remains in Fighting-Type, which I'd be foolish to leave Laki in on. Thanks to the Life Orb, the damage she puts out is massive, especially against all things that she hits for super-effective damage. She one of the two physical sweepers on the team, and I couldn't be happier to see her snag victory in battle.
Ninetales-Alola @ Light Clay
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 252 Sp. Atk / 4 Sp. Def / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Protect
- Aurora Veil
- Disable
- Blizzard
I have always loved Ninetales, and while I wasn't a fan of its Alolan form at first, I'm definitely a beliver now. There's not much to say about my Ninetales spread here, it's fairly standard. I know the last time I showcased a Ninetales, it was the rare Choice Specs variant, and I promised that next time he'd hold a Focus Sash. Well, I lied. Aurora Veil, as mentioned earlier, makes it easier for Ninetales to survive a hit, so I figured the Focus Sash wasn't as necessary. Besides, there's another pokémon on the team that needs it more. I bounced back and forth between Disable and Encore, and I found that Disable was more reliable. People seem to assume a lot when facing down this combo, and some use it as an excuse to switch out or set up. With Disable, I can stop any attempted set up, and force them to go on the offensive. Not only that, but Disable also saves Sandslash from potentially fatal moves like Eruption and Close Combat. I'm still toying around with this set, as I want it to be more supportive as opposed to the more attack-oriented set I used on my 1st Place Emolga team. Freeze-Dry is definitely still under consideration.
[Image: gastrodon-east.png]
Gastrodon @ Maranga Berry
Ability: Storm Drain
EVs: 252 HP/ 12 Atk / 104 Def / 140 Sp. Def
IVs: 0 Spe
Relaxed Nature
- Recover
- Earthquake
- Toxic
- Scald
If this Gastrodon set looks familiar, it should. Because it's the exact same Gastrodon from my Locals Winning Emolga team. Basically, she's been repurposed to take out mons that threaten Sandslash and Ninetales, and she can safely switch in on almost all of their weaknesses and hit them back for super-effective damage. Not only that, but she's trained to have 0 Speed to take advantage of anyone that tries to set up Trick Room. Porygon2, Mimikyu, and other common TR setters don't appreciate being badly poisoned. Since I already have two Ice-Types on the team, giving it Ice Beam to deal with Garchomp felt redundant. So I settled on Scald to hit Arcanine without fear of having its power dampened by Intimidate. I'm looking to replace Earthquake, mostly because it forces a Protect from my partner, but sadly, Gastrodon doesn't get Earth Power outside of Move Tutors. Any suggestions on what to replace that slot with would be much appreciated.
[Image: mandibuzz.png]
Mandibuzz @ Leftovers
Ability: Overcoat
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 4 Sp. Atk / 228 Sp. Def / 12 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
Calm Nature
- Protect
- Foul Play
- Tailwind
- Taunt
Usually, you'll see a Mandibuzz paired with Lele or Fini and thus hold the respective seed. Here, Mandibuzz serves as Speed control, as well as an option for a different opening pair that opponents won't expect as soon as they seen Sandslash/Ninetales. I bounced back and forth between Taunt and Snarl, hence the reason for 4 EVs in Sp. Atk. However, I think I'm leaning towards Taunt. Thanks to the STAB Laki provided, the Snarl support that Mandibuzz puts out is usual rendered useless anyway because most Tapu Lele don't survive an Iron Head from her. Taunt stops Trick Room, and Curse, and Belly Drum, and Toxic, get the point. Overcoat protects her from the Hail, as well as some other minor effects that usually don't come into play during VGC. Mandibuzz really is a great pokémon for this team, and its weaknesses are handled promptly by the rest of the core. Though if I can't utilize her properly, she just becomes dead-weight.
[Image: garchomp.png]
Garchomp @ Groundium Z
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Sp. Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Protect
- Earthquake
- Swords Dance
- Dragon Claw
Here's that Land Shark I love to hate so much. Yeah, I've complained about Garchomp a lot this season, but it's good at what it does. That can't be denied. As my Z-move user, she usually comes in at the beginning of the game to set up a sweep thanks to Swords Dance. And thanks to Ninetales' Aurora Veil support, I can often have her survive a Moonblast, even from a Choice Specs Fini. On top of that, because she's faster than most of the metagame without Tailwind, that first-turn Swords Dance really puts pressure on my opponent to think fast. Often times, they can't. Sure, Intimidate users like Arcanine, Krookodile, and Gyarados slow that down, but a +1 Garchomp can still do a lot of damage. My only real concern with this set is that Dragon Claw is sort of a wasted slot. I know I need a coverage move there, but Rock Slide is already on Sandslash, and Poison Jab and Iron Head are types already covered by the rest of the team. I really need to think of a better fourth move. And any suggestions would be appreciated. For now, I'm thinking maybe Fire Fang?
[Image: smeargle.png]
Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Moody
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Spikey Shield
- Follow Me
- Spore
- Fake Out
I've honestly never used a Smeargle in competitive play before, and now after having experimented with one, I can see why everyone else does. Spikey Shield is just a better Protect, Follow Me works well for setup, especially Garchomp and Mandibuzz, Spore is a no-brainer, and Fake Out is good for stopping opposing Trick Rooms, my team's Achilles' Heel. My only real gripe with this set is Moody. I know why it's useful, one boost to Speed and you can fire off Spores like crazy, but on the other hand, it can just as easily backfire. In competitive, gambles aren't usually what you want. You want consistency. I'm heavily considering switching to Technician, just so Fake Out does more damage. At least then I can be sure of how to plan my next turn. And yes, I know having a Focus Sash on a Hail team seems idiotic, but Smeargle is one of those hidden strategies that I'd bring only if my opponent was expecting Sandslash/Ninetales. Smeargle is NEVER on the field at the same time as Hail. Trust me on that.

Possible Improvements:
[Image: mandibuzz.png][Image: aerodactyl.png]
[Image: gastrodon-east.png][Image: tapufini.png]
Not to toot my own horn, but I think my core, as well as Garchomp and Smeargle function just fine. They work reliably together. My main concern here is switching out Gastrodon and Mandibuzz. I think they seem to be the weak links. Aerodactyl also functions for Speed control, and adds additional support with Wide Guard and Sky Drop to take potentially dangerous pokémon off the field. My biggest concern with that though is that Aerodactyl also requires a Focus Sash. So Smeargle needs to hold something else. Another change I was thinking about was Gastrodon to Tapu Fini. Tapu Fini is also bulky, and can handle most of what threatens Sandslash and Ninetales. It has a little more offensive presence too with Muddy Water and Moonblast. The only problem with switching to Fini is now I have no pokémon to take advantage of Trick Room, should my opponent get it up.

The Team (Beta Version):
[Image: sandslash-alola.png] [Image: tapufini.png] [Image: aerodactyl.png]
[Image: ninetales-alola.png] [Image: garchomp.png] [Image: smeargle.png]
So there's the potential Beta version of the team. Again, far from perfect, but I really want to use an Alolan Sandslash. I don't care if it's in VGC or just for fun. Any and all tips/suggestions would be appreciated, and I thank you all in advance for the suggestions. If you'd like to battle, I'm almost always available. My username on Pokémon Showdown is Kayaba Ao. Let's get this team into Alpha condition! I know my last [RATE MY TEAM] post didn't go over so well, so let's see how this one does?

Thanks for reading, everyone! See you tomorrow with a bonus post to make up for Friday. Battle onwards, friends!

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
Replacing Gastrodon with Lele instead of Fini gives you a solid Tailwind abuser able to rekt Mimikyu+Hariyama if sent in lead with Smeargle. That said, sashed Fake Out+Spore Smeargle has troubles with either Fini/Lele and ANinetales: (and so even ASandslash, wich is unuseful without Hail) why are you using it?

Why am I using Smeargle? Misdirection. Smeargle can be used alongside Mandibuzz or Garchomp while they setup, usually resulting in a Swords Dance sweep and/or a free Tailwind. Not only that, but if Tailwind is already up, Smeargle can instead use Fake Out to stop opposing pokémon from setting up or maybe even get in a cheap KO. Not to mention it gets to use Spore and take a mon out of the fight for at least a turn or so. I know that giving it a Focus Sash limits what Smeargle can do, but that's why I put the team to the public...for suggestions.

Lele instead of Fini? I hadn't considered using a different Tapu. I'll definitely have to try that out in testing. Though I might have to give it a Psychium Z, since Sandslash needs the Life Orb to do suitable damage.

Thanks for the suggestions, Spyro190!

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 
So I have some suggestions for the Gastrodon.

Hail is a gimicky option over Earthquake to give you more options to keep hail up. Protect is a solid optiion, as Protect+Recover+Toxic gives it alot of stalling power as well as the option to lure in strong attacks. On the same note, here is a fun calc that I made: 196+ Atk Tapu Bulu Bloom Doom (190 BP) vs. 252 HP / 104+ Def Rindo Berry Gastrodon in Grassy Terrain: 558-656 (255.9 - 300.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO. Yeah, it dies. Jokes aside, if you factor in Protect reducing the damage of Z-moves by 75%, Gastrodon can live Bulu's terrain boosted Bloom Doom. Talk about a lure. Another option is Sludge Bomb, to improve your matchup against the Tapu's.

I personally prefer Mandibuzz over Aerodactyl here. Seeing as your main objevtive is keeping hail up and Trick room down, having a bulkier taunt user can be quite beneficial. Consider a Prankster user maybe? (Fast under and out of trick room) Also, Aerodactyl is really weak against rain-teams. And adding on Aerodactyl would make your Tapu-Fini-matchup even worse. Putting Freeze-dry on Ninetales might be good to ease that match-up.

Take my advise/comments with a grain of salt, I'm an amateur player with no competetive achievements to speak of (Does losing to Ray Rizzo on Battle Spot count?) just trying to help out xD
"To believe in an ideal, is to be willing to betray it"
                 VGC, Friend Safari, Masuda
What is your Gastrodon's Hidden Power type..? :x
Hi @0kamii 

To add some suggestions to your team I'm going to be going through each memeber individualy:

Sandslash - I honestly don't have any problems here.  It's a solid set and the choice of Rock Slide over Earthquake is very smart.  I have not run one of these before but I have come across some in wifi battles where they EQ out their allies so I can understand the change.  I do know that some prefer a Jolly nature to boost their speed even more with   Slush Rush, but the boost in attack is nice too.

Ninetails - Another one I don't have any problem with.  This actually mirrors my ninetails set that I use and I say all that although it is nice to have Freeze-Dry, Disable works much better for support members.

Gastrodon - This one is some case.  As others have said, Protect does add great stall power, and a pokemon ment to stall out other trick room setters, it could use it well.  On my Garstrodon I was also struck but the pain of Earth Power struggle, but I like to use Clear Smog, as it not only does a small about of damage, but it also removes the stat changes and takes away the opponets chance to set up.  I do like the item choice a lot by the way Big Grin .

Mandibuzz/Aerodactyl - This is where I have problems.  You said that Mandibuzz serves as Speed control on your team, however this means that only have one pokemon that can use opposing trick rooms which is Gastrodon.  If you switch to Aerodactyl, it is excatlly the same problem.  In recomend something that can works with trickroom teams but I am not sure what would work well with your team.  Something to experiment with I guess ^\_('-')_/^

Garchomp - I have no real problems here, I do recomend that you add Fire Fang as you could do with some Steel coverage that doesn't require you have the ally to use protect.

Smeargle - This is a rather strong member here.  I do feel that Moody is out classed by Technician because as you said you can't rely on the boost in speed.  Yeah, not much else to say here.

I conclusing, thanks for listening to me rant for a while and I hope I could be of any help.

Sludge Bomb is not a bad idea at all. I'll definitely experiment with that and see how it works. Thanks for the rest of the calcs too.


Gastrodon's HP is unfortunately Ice. Yeah, that doesn't solve anything. I was secretly hoping I'd get lucky and get one with Ground, but we don't live in that world...


Thanks for the breakdown, FT. Glad to know 2/3 of my team works just fine. Clear Smog is an interesting option. I'll have to see how it comes into use as opposed to an attacking move like Sludge Bomb. Yeah, I realize that Aeroactyl has the same problem as Mandibuzz, but it's just an issue I can't seem to resolve.

What does @Slec think about it?

- 0kamii
Amethyst Ωmega - Guild Leader/Founder 

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