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[RATE MY TEAM] VGC18 "Helping Sand" Team
The following is a Sandstorm Team I've put together for VGC18. I've picked Pokemon that can handle most of VGC18's common Pokemon, while having a bit of fun and throwing in a few personal favorites. Let's get into the sets.
The Team
Stacks (Stakataka) @ Rockium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Lonely Nature
IVs: 15 Def / 0 Spe
- Gyro Ball
- Stone Edge
- Trick Room
- Wide Guard

Reaper (Salamence-Mega) @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 148 HP / 40 SpA / 180 SpD / 140 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Double-Edge
- Fire Blast
- Protect
- Rock Slide

Godzilla (Tyranitar) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 172 HP / 116 Atk / 220 SpD
Careful Nature
- Low Kick
- Pursuit
- Ice Punch
- Rock Slide

Monty (Excadrill) @ Groundium Z
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Iron Head
- Rock Slide
- Protect
- Protect

Blitz (Zapdos) @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 60 SpA / 4 SpD / 92 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Tailwind
- Roost
- Thunderbolt

Usagi (Cresselia) @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 196 HP / 76 Def / 212 SpA / 12 SpD / 12 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Ice Beam
- Psychic
- Trick Room
- Helping Hand

Team Explanation

So I wanted a hyper-offensive Team that can also handle Speed control, so I have a Tailwind user and two Trick Room setters. Zapdos was my go to Tailwind setter as it can handle itself really well this year, and with Thundurus being nerfed, it swiftly took it's spot. I've already explained how Zapdos works, this is just the seed set but with Safety Goggles to prevent weather damage. I've picked Tyranitar as the Sandstorm setter because it's shaping to be the best Sandstorm Pokemon in this year's format, it outclasses Gigalith now as it's variety of moves and sets is far more diverse. This set's 170 / 220 + Assault Vest + Careful Nature is unbelievably strong, it hits a benchmark of surviving Tapu Lele's Z-Focus Blast, even Modest variations can't OHKO it. It can OHKO opposing Tyranitar, and 2HKO Stakataka. Excadrill is my main powerhouse, getting abnormal Speed after a Sand Rush boost it was too good to not throw on. The set is pretty standard, maximum Speed and Attack to ensure fast clean kills, Groundium Z turning Earthquake into a Tectonic Rage which can secure OHKOs on Mega Metagross, a Pokemon that can threaten the Salamence I have. Rock Slide also manages to handle Charizard and Iron Head can tear through Ninetales, both who are prominent Weather setters. Salamence is here to get rid of Ferrothorn and Tapu Bulu, Ferrothorn being an obnoxious Pokemon to fight sometimes and Tapu Bulu poses a threat to some of my team. Salamence is a little more experimental and is mostly here as a personal pick, but it also carries the role of being my Intimidator. I have previously covered VGC18 Stakataka in a separate thread so I'll skip to the most important Pokemon. Cresselia has always been a Pokemon I've never liked, ever, until recently when I saw it had Helping Hand. This, paired with it being incredibly bulky means it can provide a lot of help to the team, Ice Beam threatens a few Pokemon that can potentially cripple my team like Landorus and Salamence, Psychic is a solid STAB move and Trick Room allows Cresselia to be the secondary setter.

Team's Weakness Chart

Fighting (Stakataka, Tyranitar and Excadrill)
Ground (Stakataka, Tyranitar and Excadrill)
Water (Stakataka, Tyranitar and Excadrill)
Fairy (Salamence and Tyranitar)
Ice (Salamence and Zapdos)
Rock​ (Salamence and Zapdos)​​​​​​
Dragon (Salamence)
Dark (Cresselia)
Bug (Cresselia)
Ghost (Cresselia)
Fire (Excadrill)
Steel (Tyranitar)

Damage Calculations (bar Zapdos and Stakataka as they've been covered)

  • 212 SpA Cresselia Ice Beam Vs. 0 Hp / 0 SpD Salamence-Mega: 283 - 340 (18.8% chance to OHKO)
  • 212 SpA Cresselia Ice Beam Vs. 212 Hp / 220 SpD Assault Vest Landorus-Therian: 168 - 200 (44.1% chance to 2HKO)
  • 252 Atk Excadrill Earthquake Vs. 252 Hp / 0 Def Stakataka: 408 - 480 (guaranteed OHKO)
  • 252 Atk Excadrill Rock Slide Vs. 0 Hp / 0 Def Charizard-Mega-Y: 412 - 488 (guaranteed OHKO) <outspeeds Charizard Y under Sand Rush>
  • -1 116 Atk Tyranitar Ice Punch Vs. 0 Hp / 0 Def Landorus-Therian: 224 - 264 (guaranteed 2HKO)
  • 116 Atk Tyranitar Low Kick Vs. 0 Hp / 4 Def Tyranitar-Mega: 340 - 404 (93.8% chance to OHKO)
  • 40 SpA Salamence-Mega Fire Blast Vs. 252 Hp / 252 SpD+ Ferrothorn: 248 - 296 (guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers) [372 - 400 after Helping Hand (guaranteed OHKO)]
  • 0 Atk Aerialate Salamence-Mega Double-Edge Vs. 0 Hp / 0 Def Salamence-Mega: 285 - 336 after Helping Hand (12.5% chance to OHKO)

  • 108+ Atk Scizor-Mega U-Turn Vs. 196 Hp / 76 Def Cresselia: 204 - 242 (82.6% chance to 2HKO)
  • 252+ Atk Bisharp Knock Off (97.5 BP) Vs. 196 Hp / 76 Def Cresselia: 326 - 386 (guaranteed 2HKO)
  • -1 252+ Tyranitar-Mega Ice Punch Vs.  148 Hp / 0 Def- Salamence-Mega: 232 - 276 (guaranteed 2HKO)
  • 252 Atk+ Tyranitar-Mega Rock Slide Vs. 148 Hp / 0 Def- Salamence-Mega: 260 - 308 (guaranteed 2HKO)
  • 252 SpA+ Tapu Lele Z-Focus Blast Vs. 172 Hp / 220+ SpD Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 300 - 356 (guaranteed 2HKO)
  • 156 SpA+ Tapu Fini Moonblast Vs. 172 Hp / 220 SpD+ Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 84 - 102 (7.5% chance to 4HKO)

That's wraps up the summary of my team. I'd like as much feedback as possible as I'm still tinkering with everything, so yeah, suggestions welcome. I'm not changing the Pokemon as I'm happy with this team.
Timezone is GMT+10 (AEST)

Pfp by foolishlayde on Deviantart
@0kamii and @ScottyThunder might like this
Timezone is GMT+10 (AEST)

Pfp by foolishlayde on Deviantart

Sand has always been my favorite type of weather-oriented team. Perhaps it is my love for Tyranitar, Salamence and the other Pokémon commonly found on sand teams. Somehow, I've never actually built a sand team, but I think I'll try it this season.

You've got a pretty solid team here, and already cover most of your weaknesses. And I know you know what to watch out for, like opposing setters and TR counters/opposing speed control. I also really like the utilization of Stakatakatakataka, I don't see it all that often outside of Hard TR teams. I'm assuming you've tested it out on SD already, how did it fare? And are any of the sets aside from Zapdos meant to hit anything specific? 

Overall, awesome team you got there! I hope it does you well this season!

Breeder Scott - Proud Member of the Amethyst 0mega Breeder's Guild

Looking for breedables? Check out my new shop
Looks pretty solid, as far as I'm concerned.

However, I would not put Tailwind and Trick Room on the same team. I understand that you want Speed control, but the two have nasty synergy, and you definetly can't use both moves in the same battle. Your team is already incredibly fast, and you run Tailwind, you might not get musch use out of T. Room. I also would put Attack investment into the Salamence, considering it runs Rock Slide and Double-Edge. BTW, you have Protect twice on your Excadrill. Might want to fix that :P

Overall, this is a pretty good team; I would tweak it a little, but I honestly don't have too many problems with it. Its really quite nice.

VGC|Breeding|Forum Regular|Amethyst 0mega

PM me if you need help with competitive battling!
@ScottyThunder Thank you for the feedback! To answer you, Excadrill is the only one I have assigned to take on specific Pokemon, being opposing weather Pokemon. Everything else handles most of the Team's weaknesses.

@RetroTyphlosion Good point you bring up and to answer that, Tailwind is used early game to get rid of early game trappers, while Trick Room only comes in so that Stakataka and Tyranitar can be late game sweepers to clean stuff up. But still, I am doing lots of trial and error with it. As for Salamence, under Helping Hand, I've found the lack of attack investment hasn't been an issue.
Timezone is GMT+10 (AEST)

Pfp by foolishlayde on Deviantart
@Kris Ah, that makes sense.
VGC|Breeding|Forum Regular|Amethyst 0mega

PM me if you need help with competitive battling!
It looks pretty solid like most sand teams. The only suggestions I have are possibly Drill Run over Earthquake, since it does spread damage and Tapu Bulu is running around with Grassy Terrain which weakens Earthquake. I do see the reasoning of Safety Goggles on Zapdos, but another 50% berry would also work to improve its longevity. Assurance could be a good replacement for Pursuit on Tyranitar since under tailwind/sand it looks like it will go after your faster pokemon and under trick room it will move after Stakataka and Cresselia. The last thing I have is entirely personal preference which is Stone Edge vs Rock Slide on Stakataka. There is also the choice of Swords Dance on Excadrill, Kamaal Harris used it when I faced him yesterday at an MSS.
But overall it is a really solid team, I look forward to hearing how it does!
Resident pun-lover and VGC teambuilding enthusiast


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