My name is David Koutesh, but many of you know me under the alias @HamstermaniaVGC on Twitter, where I post screenshots from my long nights on Pokémon Showdown. I try to stay drama free most of the time as I don’t tend to win arguments, so if you’re looking for some good laughs or for notifications of my streams, feel free to hit the follow button.
I’ve achieved numerous strong results over the years (3x day 2 Worlds, 13x top 8 at European Regionals / Specials) with what many of you might call “innovative ideas”, and today, I’m happy to share one of my “innovative teams” with you!
I got the idea for this team while streaming roughly three weeks prior to the event. That day, I faced a Japanese opponent, who lead with Gothitelle and Dusclops. At first, I thought they were just spamming blind Hypnosis. However, what intrigued me that battle was what happened on turn 2, when the opponent used GRAVITY with Dusclops to give Gothitelle a 100% accurate Hypnosis. That, coupled with the fact that I couldn’t switch out my Pokémon due to Gothitelle’s Shadow Tag, was what made me put the team into the Showdown Teambuilder.
All I could remember at that point was that the team had Gothitelle, Dusclops, Rhyperior, and Torkoal. I quickly added Fake Out on Gothitelle so that TR setup with Eviolite max HP max Defense Dusclops was practically impossible to stop. Torkoal was Specs, and Rhyperior carried the ever-common Weakness Policy. I soon realized I needed redirection if I wanted to beat Chandelure or Life Orb Hydreigon, as those Pokémon target Dusclops’ weaker Special Defense (more on that in the Dusclops review). So I added Indeedee, as she could easily remove herself from the field with Healing Wish after her redirection job was over.
First round of testing involved getting a secondary sweep mode, preferably revolving around Dragapult and a Helping Hand user. I settled for Helping Hand Indeedee, as she was already on the team and I didn’t want to remove Pain Split on Dusclops. The mode didn’t work as well as I had hoped, as after Indeedee was removed from the field (serving as a meat shield so that Dragapult could safely set up Dragon Dance), the rest of the team couldn’t do anything outside of Trick Room, resulting in very easy wins for my opponents!
I decided that Togekiss might be good redirector, but kept the Indeedee on the team and went to get food. While I was on my way, I noticed that Togekiss learns Nasty Plot?! When I got back from lunch, I removed Heat Wave from Togekiss and added Nasty Plot instead. Surprisingly, it had very good results! I swept many unprepared teams, yet I was still thinking about possible improvements…
I played around with the last slot for around a week. One Pokémon that definitely deserves a special mention is Butterfree. Buttefree can put A LOT of Pokémon to sleep with little to no effort. Many of these Pokémon are very dangerous for Togekiss’ sweeping potential, like Rotom forms or Duraludon. When I wanted to prevent something like Durant from hitting me, I could just Rage Powder. Yet still I was unsatisfied; Steel-types could be put to sleep, but what if I want to deal damage to them? Togekiss could use Follow Me for redirection as well, so maybe I should remove Buttefree so my team doesn’t have three supporters?
Gyarados was last the last change for the team slot-wise, and it was definitely the correct one! Taunt on Gyarados dealt with annoying setup sweepers like Snorlax, and also completely shut down support Pokémon like Butterfree, Grimmsnarl, and Dusclops. When you combine that with Shadow Tag on Gothitelle, you’re going to see a fair few turn 0 wins! Gyarados also provided Intimidate support, which helped Togekiss deal with threats like Durant and Excadrill. Gyarados didn’t make any previous matchup plans any more complicated, while making most difficult matchups easier to deal with.
Unfortunately, my choice of Gyarados didn’t fully fix three bad matchups. I only realized this the night before tournament, leading to two major changes. These changes were the addition of Clear Smog on Torkoal and adding a bit more Speed to the Togekiss. The new Togekiss set outsped Charizard and Hydreigon at +1, which made my opponents’ matchup much, much harder. I decided to Bottle Cap Torkoal’s Speed, too. With the Cap, it reached 36 raw speed. At +1, that’s 54 speed, and this magical Speed number would allow me to outspeed any Snorlax in the tournament. Remember that fact, as we’re going to come back to it in team matchup session!
Now, onto the introductions of each individual member, where I’ll try to make YOU understand the power of this team!
žena (Gothitelle) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Fake Out
– Trick Room
– Brick Break
Before I start discussing this Pokémon, I need to address that the EVs don’t make much sense. Despite that, after playing over 500 games with this team, I never felt the need to adapt it to some dangerous threat, so I just kept it as it is. Focus Sash is an interesting item choice. I never quite pinpointed what was so good about it, yet it proved very useful in so many situations (and not just in Bo1, surprisingly)! It simply lived and did its magic, which brings me to the next point: Hypnosis. This move, along with Dusclops’ Gravity support, completely redefines how you should approach hard Trick Room. I played a lot of people who were confident in their Trick Room matchups, but once I started clicking Hypnosis, they were quickly overwhelemed—especially if +2 Attack Rhyperior was running wild on top of that. Fake Out is another invaluable move, and I doubt the team would work as well without it. It forces the opponent to take on Dusclops 1v1. That almost always guarantees Trick Room, which allows me to fall back on the plan mentioned above (Gravnosis). Brick Break procs my Rhyperior’s Weakness Policy, and if you’re thinking that it might also help against dual screen teams… no need, just spam Hypnosis! Gothitelle also has a Trick Room of its own, which allowed me to play mind games with my opponent. Sure, they may be able to OHKO my Dusclops by using Helping Hand and a STAB super effective move, but that could give me a TR with Gothitelle + a free switch to Rhyperior… which means, you guessed it: GGWP.
lehni! (Dusclops) @ Eviolite
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
Ah, Dusclops, one of the most unbreakable Pokémon I’ve ever used. Max HP and max Defense allows it to take Adamant max Attack LO Max Phantasm from Dragapult, which is very important, since Gothitelle’s Fake Out takes care of the opponent’s other Pokémon. With Frisk, I can reconsider my game plan on the go. Where is the Life Orb? Oh, that Pokémon has a Choice Band? Simply invaluable! Gravity is a key move, as with it, Gothitelle’s Hypnosis becomes 100% accurate. Another side effect was that Rhyperior could simply spam Max Quake without worrying about immunities from pesky things like Corviknight, which might otherwise attempt to switch-juggle me. Will-O-Wisp allowed me to take on Rhyperior mirrors with much higher confidence. Another Pokémon that really dislikes being Burned is Mudsdale, an otherwise very problematic Pokémon if not for Gyarados’ presence. Trick Room + Bulldoze alongside Rhyperior is self-explanatory.
deslimáktor (Torkoal) @ Charcoal
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam
– Clear Smog
While I was testing the team, my choice of item on this lava tortoise was Choice Specs, as this allowed me to 2HKO most of the metagame without much issue. However, I later found out that changing moves while staying in grants me even better board control. With Charcoal, I still get very important KOs on things like specially defensive Corviknight, but now I’m also able to respond to my opponent trying to get out of bad spots by switching into to something like Gastrodon. Solar Beam is a guaranteed OHKO on Gastrodon, but unfortunately, most of them carry Rindo Berry. It’s not really about OHKOing the sea slug, though, it’s about sending a message and putting them in Max Quake range! The Speed investment (or rather, the 31 Speed IVs) allowed Torkoal to outspeed any Snorlax after a Max Airstream boost, pressuring it with my Clear Smog. Unfortunately, I did not face a single Snorlax at Bochum, making the last move slot completely useless. I heard from others that there were plenty of Snorlax to Clear Smog at the tournament, though, so maybe I just got unlucky. Oof.
jatka (Rhyperior) @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Solid Rock
EVs: 44 HP / 236 Atk / 4 Def / 196 SpD / 28 Spe
– Rock Slide
– High Horsepower
Rhyperior is an amazing Trick Room sweeper. What I’m surprised about is that not too many players go heavy on the Special Defense investment, as that is Rhyperior’s weak point and entry point for KOs from moves like Hydro Pump or Flash Cannon. This Rhyperior spread might not have the same physical survivability other Rhyperior do, but I reach 225 raw Special Defense after Sand + Max Quake’s Special Defense boost. Normal Rhyperior sets only reach 135 Special Defense after both boosts. Noticeable difference, huh? Weakness Policy as the item of choice is self-explanatory, as I’ve got Weakness Policy-proccing moves on both of my Trick Room setters. Both of them are actually slower than Rhyperior, as I have 28 Speed invested. That way, our mining rhino achieves 64 Speed while our min Speed value Relaxed Gothitelle reaches 63. It can then proc the Weakness Policy with Brick Break in Trick Room, and I can wreak chaos with Rhyperior. I’ve seen a lot of players who prefer to have Fire coverage on Rhyperior to better handle Steel-type Pokémon. For me, this was irrelevant, as the most common Steel-type Pokémon that might cause me trouble is Corviknight. Corviknight gets smacked down by Gravity… which allows my Rhyperior to demolish it in one shot, even if the bird Dynamaxes. With High Horsepower, I get a more powerful single-target move, allowing Rhyperior to synergize better with Torkoal. I also have two speedy fliers, so it felt only natural to keep the classic Ground-type move, Earthquake, on the moveset.
pozor (Togekiss) @ Scope Lens
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 92 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Air Slash
– Dazzling Gleam
– Follow Me
– Heat Wave
This happy blob with wings allowed me to take care of things which are otherwise tricky for my main two Trick Room setters to handle, such as LO Dynamax Chandelure and LO Dynamax Hydreigon. Not only do these two threats get redirected, but in Hydreigon’s case, my opponent being prevented from switching out in front of Togekiss might just cause an instant game loss! If I ever see a Pokémon with a super effective move against the Trick Room setters I’m bringing to the game AND an ally with Helping Hand, Togekiss should be able to prevent my opponent from KOing my Dusclops in one hit (or Gothitelle in two). Where this Togekiss truly excels, though, is in its ability to tear through unprepared teams with its almost flawless coverage, boosted by its STAB and the Scope Lens + Super Luck combination, which gives it a terrifying 50% crit chance! This caught a lot of people off guard and won me a game or two which I would not have otherwise been able to win, while also being amazing at countering Snarl spam Arcanine (since crits ignore stat drops). The Speed EVs allow me to outspeed Charizard and Hydreigon after a Max Airstream, making both of these matchups much, much easier. Max HP coupled with the Defense investment allows me to take -1 Max Steelspike from LO Durant in combination with max Special Attack Modest Chandelure Shadow Ball, again lifting a bit of the pressure this combination would exert on my team otherwise. The rest of the investment was put in Special Attack. Heat Wave is for Corviknight.
NE (Gyarados) @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Power Whip
Gyarados was meant to be the glue that made the team stick together, and it certainly had the gluey perks to do so! Intimidate allows me to disrupt physical attackers in general, but most importantly, it gives me a fighting chance against Durant teams, especially if they have Chandelure alongside it. Taunt can be used to shut down supporters which might Taunt me or Burn me, but in reality, its mostly just there for Buttefree. If you trap a taunted Buttefree with Shadow Tag, you probably win. The Taunt also probably has more niche uses like Taunting Imprison, which can be game changing, since not too many players expect it. Earthquake is quite good on Gyarados. After a Special Defense boost from Max Quake, Max Lightning from AV Duraludon does a pathetic 55%. That said, Earthquake is mainly used for its spread when not Dynamaxed, which allows Mr. Sea Shrimp to KO multiple things at once and, most importantly, pick off glass cannons after their Sash is broken (like Chandelure). You’re probably going to get Speed boosts via Max Airstream, so why not capitalize on it? Life Orb is another interesting choice; it allowed my Max Quake to OHKO non-Dynamax Duraludon and my Max Overgrowth to OHKO any Rotom-Wash or Gastrodon (even through Rindo Berry in the latter case). Of course, the surprise factor made this choice more powerful, as an unexpected Dynamax (when I lead next to a TR setter) + Max Geyser + the Life Orb boost KOs more things than the average opponent expects.
If you see any of the following Pokémon or combinations thereof in team preview, consult this guide on how to beat them:
If they have a Chandelure, it usually means the opponent’s matchup against Trick Room is bad, awful, or straight-up horrible. It probably has Imprison. It might not have it, but you’ve got game 1 to figure it out. If it doesn’t have Imprison, just lead Togekiss + Gothitelle/Dusclops and you’ll sweep the opponent’s team with your Trick Room mode. For game 1, I recommend leading with Gothitelle and Togekiss to scout the Chandelure’s moves, with Rhyperior and Gyarados in the back. Go for Max Airstream and try to switch to Gyarados if there’s a threat like Durant on the field. You will tank Shadow Ball + Max Steelspike guaranteed! The Gyarados and Togekiss combo resulted in many wins against Chandelure for me, as Earthquake on Gyarados was able to pick off Chandelure after its Focus Sash had been used up.
/ + Pokémon that learns Helping Hand
When paired with Helping Hand, both of these Pokémon are able to OHKO Dusclops. Don’t make the mistake of Faking Out their Whimsicott or whatever support they have, instead try to set up Trick Room with Gothitelle or, if you’re feeling lucky, go for blind Hypnosis. 😛 Leading with Togekiss solves the problem with Dragapult 100% of the time, so that’s my recommended plan when going up against it for all games of a Bo3, but don’t be scared to play risky there are other threats to worry about!
Do NOT lead with Dusclops + Gothitelle. Instead, lead with Togekiss + Gothitelle. Go for Follow Me if you believe Rhyperior is able to sweep in TR. If you’re feeling lucky, you could go for Max Airstream so that Togekiss outspeeds Hydreigon next turn and OHKOs it. If you brought Gyarados in the back, it will be able to provide Intimidate support and powerful coverage moves which deal with pesky threats to Togekiss like Rotom-Wash and Excadrill.
+ Max Airstream
Don’t lead with Gyarados; it’s just going to be put to Sleep and you’ll lose. Lead with the standard Gothitelle + Dusclops instead. Fake Out the Buttefree turn 1 and set up Trick Room. Proceed with the standard flowchart from there!
I highly recommend leading with Gothitelle and having Gyarados in the back, as it completely walls Hippowdon and is able to 2HKO it after a Stockpile boost or even OHKO it if it was Faked Out turn 1.
+ / +
If you don’t see any bad MU approaching and the opponent doesn’t have a particularly meta team, just go with this and try to go for a sweep full of slumber! Also, try to scout for Whimsicott’s or other Pokémon’s moves so you don’t get surprised or countered in game 2 or 3.
+ or / + or
Togekiss + TR setter guarantees Trick Room with greater reliability than the dual TR setter lead. This is described in more detail in the team preview section. Gyarados might seem like a silly choice since we lead with a Trick Room setter, but the fact that you as a reader felt it was silly is exactly why it’s such powerful backup. After all, you didn’t expect Togekiss to Dynamax, have Intimidate support, AND go for a Max Airstream to boost the Speed of itself and its partner Gyarados. This ends games fairly quickly if the opponent chose the wrong lead, especially if you lead with Gothitelle to prevent his or her Pokémon from switching out! If you doubt this game plan, just go with Torkoal instead. It’s probably going to work out.
Core combinations are best described by going through my practically flawless flowcharts—my signature ability!
Sand Braviary | Example Paste
Snorlax redirection + TED/TR | Example Paste
TED stuffs (“FARTED”) | Example Paste
Duraludon Grimm | Example Paste
Hard TR Hatterene | Example Paste
Whimsicott + possible Rhyclops | Example Paste
Bulk Bird (Corviknight) Balance | Example Paste
Own Tempo Mudsdale | Example Paste
Rain with TR Surf Spam | Example
Versing Myself (Mirror Match)
Game plan: Use Taunt on Gyarados to stop Hypnosis as Togekiss’ Max Airstreams to increase Speed (which also does heavy damage and can crit), while using Hypnosis and avoiding Hypnosis to win. Try to Speed creep my Togekiss with your Togekiss? Don’t set up with Nasty Plot if you happen to have it, just attack!
LO Timid Duraludon + Trick Room reversal (Jellicent): You want to go for a Togekiss Gothitelle lead. If you see a Jellicent Duraludon lead, you want to go for Brick Break + Max Starfall into the Duraludon, as if Starfall crits Duraludon faints and the game becomes much easier. From this point on, you can set up Trick Room or use the Trick Room the Jellicent set up as it tried to reverse it. Make the correct decision based on Togekiss’ HP: the less it has, the more you want to go for TR. And when in doubt (with no Electric Terrain, because the opp probably wanted to do a bit more damage to your Togekiss), go for Hypnosis.
On the morning before a tournament, I never eat any breakfast, and that Saturday was no exception. There was a lot on the line, especially since our country can’t have VG locals and since I was not going to any more Regionals this year to focus on school.
I registered for the tournament, said hello to number of people (which definitely made the pressure I felt ease up), and went into round 1 with a lot of confidence and energy!
Game 1: My opponent knew my team, as his turn 1 was Max Lightning from Duraludon to prevent Gravnosis, a different play than I’d experienced on ladder. I managed to get a free switch into Torkoal turn 2, as he targeted down Gothitelle, and after turn 3, Rhyperior also appeared on the field. I was able to sweep afterwards.
Game 2: Pretty similar to game 1. However, he brought Dracovish in late game. After wasting so many turns getting my Pokémon in, it was easy to clean up for my opponent.
Game 3: With Dracovish being a guaranteed pick in the back for my opponent, I adapted by bringing Togekiss instead of Torkoal. I got my Rhyperior in earlier than in game 1 and 2, which also helped a lot. Togekiss Dazzling Gleamed the Dracovish and won the game for me!
Going into round 2 with a win was refreshing, but I generally only know if a team is the right choice or not after 4 rounds. This was a good start, though, so I was certainly ready to keep up the momentum!
Game 1: he surprised me with an early Duraludon Dragon Tail while I Faked Out Whimsicott to prevent any Taunt shenanigans. I tried to prolong the game as long as possible so my opponent would reveal the whole Whimsicott set, and he did! Safeguard, Energy Ball, Moonblast, and Tailwind. I might have lost this game, but I took complete control over the information war!
Game 2: My opponent tried to Dragon Tail me, but I Faked Out Duraludon in game 2, allowing my TR backup to easily sweep.
Game 3: He brought Tyranitar and Duraludon, and I still went for Fake Out into Duraludon. My opponent Dynamaxed Duraludon to prevent the flinch and tried to KO Dusclops with Crunch + Max Steelspike, but it wasn’t enough and I got TR up. This time, I even had Hypnosis pressure, so it’s not hard to imagine how this game went downhill for my opponent real fast!
Game 1: I knew this would be hard matchup. I lead with Dusclops + Gothitelle, and my worst fears are confirmed turn 1: it was indeed IMPRISON JELLICENT. Game 1 was lost.
Game 2: I thought Gyarados could do good, but boy, was I wrong. My opponent led with Raichu and I Faked Out so that Max Quake would KO it through a potential Sash. Instead, Raichu Dynamaxed, BUT I SURVIVED THE MAX LIGHTINING BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY BASED ON VOLT SWITCH. I KO’d the Raichu and managed to clutch out the victory with Rhyperior and Togekiss in the back, something I thought would be impossible after turn 1!
Game 3: My opponent definitely made a mistake by leading with Tyranitar. I led with Togekiss + Gyarados this time, trying to Protect my Gyarados from the mighty Max Lightning. It worked nicely, and Sand even KO’d Raichu after its Sash was broken. Gyarados took control of the game from this point on, and I won one of the worst possible matchups ever.
After this MU, I felt without a doubt that I’d make cut. After all, what could be worse? As long as I’m a good team pilot, nothing can stand in my way!
Game 1: I remembered the team from ladder. Clearly he’d planned against my team before the tournament, as I didn’t use an alt, but he did. I remember asking why he didn’t Dynamax Conkeldurr + Phantom Force in the Showdown games. I played him three times, and he never made that play. In the tournament, though? He leads Conk Dragapult and does the exact thing I’d recommended before turn 1, taking control of the game immediately. I blame myself…
Game 2: “Oh yeah, that lead hates Togekiss,” I thought, “so why not lead it?” I did, and won game 2 almost instantly, as Max Airstream stacked the odds against Javier as much as it stacked the Speed boosts on my Pokémon.
Game 3: Javier overpredicted and went with same lead. He tried to beat me with hax; he got quite lucky (crit Scald Burn in Sun against Togekiss for Mach Punch to finish it off), but it wasn’t enough, and so I advanced to 4-0.
It was my opponent’s first tournament, and I’m kinda sad I don’t remember much from the games, expect for the fact that this was the only time Max Flare was useful on Togekiss throughout the whole tournament. My opponent choked in game 3, losing an already won game and making me advance to 5-0. I felt quite bad, but we take those, eh?
Game 1: My opponent led with Togekiss Dragapult. I led with Gothitelle and Dusclops, going for Fake Out into Togekiss. I Gravnosis’d my opp out of the game from this point on, and felt really confident, since this deconfirmed Helping Hand on Togekiss.
Game 2: Same lead, same plays, but what’s that? HELPING HAND? OHKO ON CLOPS? NOW? I took this opportunity to get as much info from my opp as possible. Power Whip did 55% to +2 Defense Rindo Gastro!
Game 3: I tried using the fast mode this time, and it got me pretty far. I procced Tyranitar’s Weakness Policy early and forced it to switch out in front of Rhyperior, which put me in great late game spot. However, I made a crucial mistake in thinking Gastrodon would get KO’d by Power Whip. It did 93%, and Gastrodon was able to KO my late game Rhyperior, putting me at 5-1.
Your average semi-Trick Room TED. Again, I don’t remember much from this game. My opponent tried to bring Rhyperior in the back as his late game Trick Room counter, but I managed to Burn it in both game 1 and 2.
Game 1: I went hard TR and Faked Out Whimsicott + got TR up, then switched out Dusclops in fear of Encore, but my opponent reversed Trick Room instead. I learned the whole Whimsicott moveset, spotting no Taunt, and moved into game 2.
Game 2: I Gravnosis’d instead of switching out, and just won!
Game 3: He lead with Dusclops + Braviary. A pretty passive lead, but I wanted to prevent Imprison from Dusclops by going for blind Hypnosis. I hit and got the three turn Sleep. When Dusclops woke up, it Hazed away my Rhyperior’s boost on the last run of TR. As you can guess, it was too late, and I won. Interestingly, after the match, my opponent revealed this was turbo Imprison Dusclops to counter TR and Snorlax, so I got kinda lucky…
Game 1: Knowing my team much better than my opponent, I knew what to do, and it was to blind Hypnosis + use Togekiss! My opponent tried to set up Nasty Plot, which I’d used on ladder but removed last minute. I went for high Speed Hypnosises and took game 1.
Game 2: I knew he would copy me, so I went with Taunt Gyarados instead. I Taunted Gothitelle and started Max Airstreaming again, easily taking the game and guaranteeing my top cut!
This was streamed, so if you want a taste of this match, watch it on Victory Road’s YouTube!
Game 1: He wasn’t prepared for Gravnosis. I dealt with Rotom-W thanks to Gravity, and Ferrothorn was burned down in the late game with Torkoal.
Game 2: My opponent played around my offensive Pokémon by predicting me every turn with his Arcanine / Ferrothorn / Rotom-W core. Excellent game by Alex, moving us into game 3!
Game 3: Alex decided to Dynamax his Sylveon turn 1, while I tried different approach with Dynamax Gyarados. I got to a position where I was staring down Rotom-W and a weakened Sylveon. I went for Power Whip into Rotom-W… which Ally Switched! Sylveon survived and Starfalled my Gyarados, but with only one more turn of LO remaining, Gyarados was unable to KO Rotom-W in time for the rest of the team, losing me the game.
This tournament went better than I imagined. I totally expected to get 40-60 CP and be forced to invade more locals in Germany, but now I’m a mere 2 CP away from the World Championships and can fully focus on my studies! (As it’s pretty likely that we’re going to get some online International Challenge, which I can do easily over a weekend.)
Huge shoutouts to whoever the Japanese player was on ladder that inspired me to build around this destructive archetype and to players on ladder who made me master my skills with it! Also to whoever said hi and started a conversation with me during the tournament. Thank you as well, as it kept me busy not stressing out about the upcoming rounds! (Oliver, Edu, people running my team, and many more which I forgot the names of, sorry…)
That’s it for the article! Hopefully the flowcharts will help you understand the genius of this team, and next time… see you at Worlds!?