Saturday, January 18, 2014

Introducing: Slowflake and the quest for Nita!

I'll be honest: I never gave the various battle facilities a really dedicated try, partly because of the lengthy process of building up an acceptable team, partly because of the horror stories of crushing defeats involving hax such as this. As such, I never really went for the trainer card stars involving massive winning streaks.

However, the release of Black and White 2 changed things, with the advent of Truant + Entrainment Durant. This baby can make setting up a breeze by first giving Truant to the opposing lead, then since the AI is too dumb to switch, you can switch to something else and alternate between Protect and your buff of choice (Dragon Dance, Quiver Dance and anything involving Speed Boost naturally being the best), throw in a substitute for good measure, then sweep. However, there were still two problems discouraging me from giving it a try even then: making perfect Pokémon being nigh impossible, and multi-hit moves being required to stop substitutes, Focus Sashes and Bands, Sturdy, etc.

Both these issues are a thing of the past in X and Y, with Mega Heracross and Mega Kangaskhan breaking through those aforementioned annoyances much more competently than Cinccino or Cloyster ever could, and many changes that include guaranteed 31s for everything caught in the Friend Safari (this includes Ditto), breeding DW abilities being made easier, Destiny Knot's new role in the breeding process, and so on. On top of that, Speed Boost Blaziken, by far the best candidate for the setup slot, is no longer as rare and valuable as it used to be, now that it's not restricted to one Japan-only distribution from three years ago. Therefore, I decided the time was right to make an honest attempt at this elusive trainer card star.

My team and additional comments after the jump.

Durant @ Choice Scarf
Jolly, 252 Spd, 252 HP, 4 Def
- Entrainment
- Iron Head
- X-Scissor
- Crunch

Blaziken @ Leftovers
Speed Boost
Jolly, 252 Spd, 252 HP, 4 Def
- Protect
- Substitute
- Hone Claws
- Baton Pass

Heracross @ Heracronite
Guts / Swarm / Moxie
Jolly, 252 Spd, 252 Atk, 4 HP
- Pin Missile
- Bullet Seed
- Arm Thrust
- Rock Blast

I chose Heracross over Kangaskhan because Skill Link causes less overkill on substitutes than Parental Bond does, so having the damage being divided into smaller chunks helps in these circumstances (as well as random Focus Band activations, of course). It also has access to STAB super-effective moves, which may come in handy. Hone Claws is better than Bulk Up or Swords Dance on Blaziken because of the presence of things like Brightpowder, Double Team and Minimize, as well as Pin Missile's and Rock Blast's shaky accuracy. I went with Arm Thrust over Close Combat to make absolutely sure opposing Focus Sash/Band activations are never an issue, even with the much lower power. Close Combat is especially bad in this scenario since you'll have to take a hit with reduced defenses. And let's be honest: something that survives a +6 Arm Thrust probably could be killed simply by using a different type without having to resort to using Close Combat.

There's a variant of this team which I opted not to go for, which is to use Whimsicott as a lead to cripple the opponent's and make absolutely sure Durant lives long enough to use Entrainment (which is not a guarantee even with max HP and a Scarf). The problem with that variant is that the setup and sweep are done by the same Pokémon, which means three moveslots are going to have to be Protect, Substitute, and either Dragon Dance or Quiver Dance. (You could drop Substitute for extra coverage, but you would become so much more vulnerable as a result it's not even funny.) Multiscale Dragonite with Dragon Claw was apparently quite effective last gen, but it doesn't really work anymore because of the Fairy type. As such, Mega Gyarados with Waterfall is arguably the best, since Mold Breaker allows it to break past Water Absorb, but Ludicolo and physically defensive Water resisters can very well bring your sweep to a halt. As a result, if you want to use a Durant-based team, you need to choose between the versatility of your sweeper, or the guarantee of getting Entrainment off. Obviously I went with the former, since most priority moves are physical, and Durant is built pretty tough on the physical side.

Due to the lack of datamining, there's no database detailing all the Pokémon you could potentially face, so it's hard to pinpoint in advance exactly what could screw me over... and even if we could, there are probably too many sets for it to be a viable exercise. Even Nita features a certain degree of randomness, with her lead and her Pokémon's abilities being totally random. The one scenario where she could beat me is by leading with a Prankster Tornadus (a 1-in-6 chance), and proceeding to use either priority Substitute or priority Double Team. The latter is actually more desirable, since I still have a 75% chance of nailing Entrainment afterwards. Substitute, on the other hand, needs to be broken before I can get an Entrainment in, and remember what Durant's ability is? Yeah, the tables would be turned in such a scenario, to say the least. The good news is that I've seen a video of someone leading with Durant and Nita leading with Prankster Tornadus, and she went with Hurricane first. I don't know if her AI will always go for Hurricane against a Durant... here's hoping.

First step is, oddly enough, already done, since as fate would have it I already have a female Jolly Heracross. So next up is the capture of a mass of Dittos in the Friend Safari, and then the breeding festival can begin. The good news is that Durant and Heracross are from the same egg group, so when I'm done breeding a Heracross most of the job will already be done for Durant. Blaziken, on the other hand, will be a nightmare, which is why I'm keeping it for last.

In closing, I want to make it clear that while I'm starting this, there's no telling whether I'll actually see the whole thing through, so don't be overly surprised if I don't. I am, however, going to make an honest attempt and see how it goes. Wish me luck! And if you see me online, don't hesitate to throw a hatching O-Power my way!


  1. I haven't tried the Durant strategy yet... but I have used Multiscale Lum Dragonite. I lost on battle 94. Sigh.

    1. I hear Weakness Policy actually works well thanks to Multiscale, for what it's worth.

    2. Hey, at least you can say that you beat both teams of a Battle Chatelaine. Besides, you don't get anything for reaching a 100-win streak except for a Lansat Berry.

    3. I actually like the Lum berry a lot, since it often goes down in one hit to Ice attacks even with Multiscale. It works wonders against Hypnosis and paralysis, and cures the confusion from Outrage (only got stuck against a Fairy once or twice, and it wasn't a huge issue)

  2. What's your in-game name? (Jeff?) I don't think there's any way to tell which of your friends has which character, so it would be nice to know so I can keep an eye out for you.

  3. So could you run Stone Edge as an extra bit of insurance on Durant, JUST INCASE Tornadus came up? It would still not be so useful, but I could see it working as a "just incase" sort of thing.

    1. Problem is, if it puts up a priority Substitute it's already too late - best case scenario is Entrainment going through on turn 5, and that's assuming it doesn't put up another sub, it doesn't use Double Team, or it doesn't obliterate Durant with Hurricane or Fail Blast. And since these four moves are all it has... yeah, nothing I can do can beat priority Substitute, aside from switching to Heracross on turn 2 while hoping not to get hit with Hurricane, and using Rock Blast on turn 3 while hoping not to get hit by Hurricane.

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