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May 7, 2017

2

Pokémon Analysis 12 – Doggo on the Beach!

by chaoticespeon

Following on from our in depth analysis on the Sun duo we move on to a relatively unexplored weather archetype in VGC 17, Sand!

In the past sand has had a fairly good amount of usage in VGC, mainly through the use of a (usually) scarfed Tyranitar partnered with the Sand Rush abusing Excadrill, creating an incredibly fast duo capable of dispensing vast amounts of damage – and flinches – with powerful Rock, Ground, Steel and Dark type attacks. Sadly, Tyranitar isn’t available this season; however Generation 7 granted Gigalith the ability to set sandstorms on switching in.

The effects of sand are worth taking into consideration when building your teams to ensure your chosen weather isn’t going to be hindering the rest of your Pokémon’s progress, the most important ones to note are that it inflicts damage at the end of each turn (so protect your Focus Sashed Pokémon) and boosts the Special Defence of all Rock type Pokémon by one stage. Most seasoned competitors will be familiar with the rest of Sand’s additional effects but, if you’re in need of a refresher, follow this link for a more extensive list.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the only VGC 17 legal sand summoner, Gigalith!

Gigalith base stats

Gigalith’s been incredibly common so far in the format being utilised primarily as a Trick Room “check” thanks to its very low base 25 Speed and destructive base 135 Attack. Its low speed comes into play nicely when attempting to win the turn 1 weather wars, only being slower than Torkoal means against Rain and Hail duos we’ll be guaranteed to set the Sandstorm.

Set 1: Boring, Standard Rock.

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Gigalith @ Rockium Z/Groundium Z
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
– Protect/Wide Guard
– Curse/Earthquake/Heavy Slam

Yep, Sometimes a simple 252/252 spread just… works. With a Brave nature we maximise Gigalith’s already monstrous Attack stat whilst remaining sufficiently bulky. Gigalith has a few options it can run in terms of items and attacks (partially what makes it such a common Pokémon this season), this spread will revolve around the usage of either Rockium/Groundium Z. Rock Slide is a staple for a more accurate STAB boosted attack (with that flinch chance under Trick Room of course) whilst Stone Edge is essential regardless of your Z move choice to pick up a OHKO onto Arcanine. Wide Guard is usually preferable over Protect but this naturally comes down to personal preference. The final attack slot is open to whatever your team needs. Want to mitigate any Intimidate drops and boost that Defence stat? Go with Curse. Earthquake is necessary on a Groundium Z set whilst Heavy Slam can be used as a coverage option if you’re really desperate to pick up a OHKO onto opposing Tapu Lele. Whether you use Rockium Z or Groundium Z is completely down to the coverage you want for your team, here are a few calcs to aid your decision:

252+ Atk Gigalith Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Torkoal: 260-308 (146.8 – 174%) — guaranteed OHKO

252+ Atk Gigalith Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 244 HP / 12+ Def Mandibuzz: 300-354 (138.8 – 163.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

+1 252+ Atk Gigalith Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Tapu Fini: 211-249 (119.2 – 140.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

-1 252+ Atk Gigalith Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 184-218 (93.4 – 110.6%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO

252+ Atk Gigalith Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Muk-Alola: 292-344 (137.7 – 162.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

252+ Atk Gigalith Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Metagross: 184-218 (98.3 – 116.5%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO

Defensively, there’s nothing particularly ground breaking here, Kartana won’t be OHKOing Gigalith whilst with one curse boost we can live a few powerful Fighting attacks:

252 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Gigalith: 158-188 (82.2 – 97.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ Atk Pheromosa High Jump Kick vs. +1 252 HP / 0 Def Gigalith: 134-162 (69.7 – 84.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ Atk Guts Hariyama Close Combat vs. +1 252 HP / 0 Def Gigalith: 170-204 (88.5 – 106.2%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO

252+ Atk Buzzwole Superpower vs. +1 252 HP / 0 Def Gigalith: 128-152 (66.6 – 79.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Set 2: Survive the Assault!

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Gigalith @ Assault Vest
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Atk / 64 Def / 84 SpD
Brave Nature
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake
– Heavy Slam/Explosion

Now that the standard’s out of the way, let’s get into something a little more spicy! The aim of this spread is to survive as many powerful attacks as we can whilst dishing out significant damage with our four attacks of choice; Rock Slide & Stone Edge should always be staple Gigalith attacks whilst Earthquake ensures we won’t be completely walled by Steel types (unless their name happens to be Celesteela). The final move is up for debate, Heavy Slam grants significant damage against Tapu Lele, though we should probably note it isn’t guaranteed to OHKO bulkier Lele, whilst Explosion grants a last ditch nuke to be used if Gigalith is already on its way out or you want a free switch into something in the back.

Offensively, the EV’s are designed to give Gigalith a OHKO against Arcanine at neutral attack:

108+ Atk Gigalith Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 210-248 (106.5 – 125.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

108+ Atk Gigalith Heavy Slam (120 BP) vs. 164 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele: 158-186 (95.1 – 112%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO

108+ Atk Gigalith Stone Edge vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gyarados: 212-252 (123.9 – 147.3%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensively, however, is where this spread really comes into its own, able to turn Psychic from Tapu Lele into a 3hko whilst also being able to survive some other powerful attacks:

252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Gigalith in Sand: 79-95 (41.1 – 49.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO

252+ Atk Arcanine All-Out Pummeling (190 BP) vs. 252 HP / 64 Def Gigalith: 162-192 (84.3 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

252+ Atk Water Bubble Araquanid Liquidation vs. 252 HP / 64 Def Gigalith: 164-194 (85.4 – 101%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

252+ Atk Metagross Meteor Mash vs. 252 HP / 64 Def Gigalith: 134-158 (69.7 – 82.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ SpA Choice Specs Magnezone Flash Cannon vs. 252 HP / 84 SpD Assault Vest Gigalith in Sand: 110-132 (57.2 – 68.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Honestly, there are tons of spreads out there, utilising other viable items such as Weakness Policy and the various 50% berries; we’d go through a couple more however, this analysis isn’t only about Gigalith. If you’re finding neither a Z move or Assault Vest Gigalith just isn’t cutting it for you have a search through Trainer Tower, they’ve had a ton of Gigalith spreads posted throughout reports!

Now, before we move on to our two preferred options as Gigalith’s partner in crime, a couple of honourable mentions:

Alolan Dugtrio!

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Alolan Dugtrio gets Sand Force which boosts its Steel, Ground and Rock moves during a Sandstorm. However, with paper thin 35/60/70 bulk, outsped by Pheromosa and most Choice Scarfed threats whilst offering no support to Gigalith makes Dugtrio a poor option to abuse the Sand. I guess it knocks out both Tapu Lele and Tapu Koko comfortably in the Sand which gives it some utility so I’ll leave a couple of spreads below:
Dugtrio-Alola @ Choice Scarf

Ability: Sand Force
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Iron Head
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake

Dugtrio-Alola @ Life Orb

Ability: Sand Force
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Protect
– Iron Head
– Substitute
– Earthquake

252 Atk Life Orb Sand Force Dugtrio-Alola Iron Head vs. 164 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele in Sand: 218-260 (131.3 – 156.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 Atk Life Orb Sand Force Dugtrio-Alola Earthquake vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko in Sand: 205-244 (140.4 – 167.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 Atk Life Orb Sand Force Dugtrio-Alola Iron Head vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Bulu in Sand: 174-205 (98.3 – 115.8%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO

252 Atk Life Orb Sand Force Dugtrio-Alola Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Arcanine in Sand: 218-257 (110.6 – 130.4%) — guaranteed OHKO

Garchomp!

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We’ll probably cover Garchomp in a future analysis, such is the strength and popularity behind the popular Land Shark; because of its ability Sand Veil (which raises evasion in the sand) Garchomp could be a viable option to sit next to Gigalith. However, because of the inconsistency of relying on a Sand Veil evasion boost, we’d recommend giving this particular Garchomp spread a miss. For those of you intent on inducing rage through fiery, spicy memes however…

Garchomp @ Bright Powder
Ability: Sand Veil
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Protect
– Earthquake
– Swords Dance
– Fire Fang/Poison Jab

Now, onto the real partners!

In the previous analysis, we mentioned that the Sun duo forms an active check to the ever popular Seed Terrain Tailwind duos. The Sand partnerships that will be suggested below have also been formed with the intention of breaking down these troublesome duos to great effect!

Sand Rush user one, Stoutland!

Stoutland base stats

Stoutland has a surprisingly solid stat distribution, 85/90/90 bulk ensures that he won’t just be fainting to any powerful attack in the meta whilst 110 Attack allows Stoutland to hit back extremely hard. The only potential drawback could be with sharing its base speed with Drifblim, but the majority don’t tend to be running max Speed; if you’re particularly worried about being out sped by Drifblim, simply change the spreads to Jolly 252 Spe, just note that the drop off in power is certainly noticeable.

Sand Rush Doggo 1: Choice Band

stoutland-gonna-get-you-o

Stoutland @ Choice Band
Ability: Sand Rush
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 252 Atk / 188 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Return
– Fire Fang
– Wild Charge
– Crunch/Play Rough

When it was suggested that Stoutland could be a threat in VGC 17 under Sand I have to admit, I was skeptical. However, after seeing how much damage a simple Choice Band set can dish out I was converted.

The EV spread is fairly simple; 68 HP allows Stoutland to survive a Sacred Sword from Jolly Kartana and a Psychic from Tapu Lele:

252 Atk Kartana Sacred Sword vs. 68 HP / 0 Def Stoutland: 144-170 (85.2 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 68 HP / 0 SpD Stoutland in Psychic Terrain: 141-166 (83.4 – 98.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO

252+ Atk Arcanine Close Combat vs. 68 HP / 0 Def Stoutland: 146-174 (86.3 – 102.9%) — 18.8% chance to OHKO

188 in Speed gives Stoutland a stat of 124, which outspeeds Shade’s Drifblim by three points, just enough to ensure you move first against identical spreads, or cheeky speed creepers. It should be noted that if outspeeding Drifblim is more important than surviving the two above attacks you could simply run a 4/252/252 spread to have a much better chance.

Maximising attack is the most important thing as it allows Stoutland to hit like a truck; three very powerful attacks with decent coverage in Return (for the STAB) Wild Charge (to hit Celesteela and Drifblim) and Fire Fang (for Kartana) are all essential options whilst the final slot should be chosen to round off coverage for your team. Crunch hits Metagross for decent damage whilst Play Rough even has a chance to Ohko TT Hariyama and Garchomp! The major selling point behind a Banded Stoutland is that it can outspeed opposing Drifblim, knock it out with a Wild Charge before taking a Psychic from Tapu Lele.

252+ Atk Choice Band Stoutland Wild Charge vs. 4 HP / 132 Def Drifblim: 224-264 (99.1 – 116.8%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO

252+ Atk Choice Band Stoutland Return vs. 164 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele: 144-169 (86.7 – 101.8%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

252+ Atk Choice Band Stoutland Return vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Muk-Alola: 162-192 (76.4 – 90.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO after sandstorm damage and Gluttony Figy Berry recovery

 252+ Atk Choice Band Stoutland Crunch vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Marowak-Alola: 124-146 (74.2 – 87.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after sandstorm damage

252+ Atk Choice Band Stoutland Play Rough vs. 28 HP / 108 Def Hariyama: 192-228 (86 – 102.2%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO

Whilst there are different possible item choices for Stoutland, Assault Vest or even a Z crystal for example, I feel that the damage output we get from applying a Choice Band trumps any other spreads. If you’d prefer to not be choice locked into one particular attack, just be aware that you’ll need either the Electrium Z or a partner Tapu Koko to set Electric Terrain to guarantee the OHKO. In general, Tapu Koko makes a fairly decent partner to Gigalith/Stoutland Sand as – with the Choice Band and Terrain Boost – Stoutland can pick up surprise OHKOs onto both Celesteela and Tapu Fini with Wild Charge. Definitely something to consider when you start to build your own teams around this Sand duo.

If, however, you want a more reliable check to Drifblim/Lele leads…

Sand Rush user two, Lycanroc-Midday!

Lycanroc Base Stats

On the face of it, Stoutland certainly seems like the better rounded Pokémon with a deeper movepool. Lycanroc’s 75/65/65 bulk is certainly paper thin, but at least (as a Rock type) he’ll be getting the Sandstorm boost to its Special Defence. With 112 Speed and 115 Attack, Lycanroc will always be outspeeding even the quickest of Drifblim whilst not needing a Choice Band to hit hard.

Sand Rush Doggo 2: Z move or Life Orb?

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Lycanroc @ Life Orb/Rockium Z
Ability: Sand Rush
Level: 50
EVs: 236 Atk / 164 SpD / 108 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge/Taunt/Fire Fang
– Stone Edge/Taunt/Fire Fang

When you find yourself wanting to use a Pokémon with a shallow movepool, your options are fairly limited. However, having this Lycanroc on the field guarantees opposing Drifblim won’t be setting up their Tailwinds. The EV’s, again, are very basic: 108 Speed ensures we’ll be moving before Timid, Max Speed Drifblim, whilst the 164 SpD lets Lycanroc survive a Life Orbed Psychic from Tapu Lele in the Sand.

252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 0 HP / 164 SpD Lycanroc-Midday in Sand: 125-148 (83.3 – 98.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Rock Slide should be a staple of any Lycanroc spread (we all remember how valuable quick Rock Slides are from VGC 15). Whether you choose Stone Edge, Fire Fang or Taunt for your final two slots completely depends on your team, or whether you’ll be carrying a Life Orb or Rockium Z. Rockium users can just OHKO opposing Drifblim with a Z Stone Edge without the risk of missing, whilst Life Orb users can rely on Taunting Drifblim to prevent Tailwinds or Will-O-Wisps. Fire Fang should be a Life Orb exclusive move – it’s the only time it’ll be OHKOing opposing Kartana – but your team should probably have a better way to take it on, rather than relying on Gigalith and Lycanroc. With or without Life Orb, that 115 Attack stat means Lycanroc will be hitting like a truck:

236+ Atk Lycanroc-Midday Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 4 HP / 132 Def Drifblim: 452-534 (200 – 236.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

236+ Atk Lycanroc-Midday Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 164 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele: 171-202 (103 – 121.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

-1 236+ Atk Lycanroc-Midday Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 246-290 (124.8 – 147.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

236+ Atk Lycanroc-Midday Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Tapu Fini: 124-147 (70 – 83%) — 

236+ Atk Life Orb Lycanroc-Midday Fire Fang vs. 84 HP / 4 Def Kartana: 156-187 (107.5 – 128.9%) — guaranteed OHKO

-1 236+ Atk Life Orb Lycanroc-Midday Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 174-211 (88.3 – 107.1%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO

So there we have it, a second weather duo ready for you to take online and tear the meta apart! Unlike Lilligant and Torkoal however, Gigalith, Stoutland and Lycanroc all share weaknesses, so make sure the rest of your team is well equipped to deal with opposing Fighting, Water, Steel, Grass and Ground attacks!

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