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VGC 12 Sandstorm Team


Hero of Pizza
Staff member
On July 1st Canada will be holding its first ever VGC Nationals event and it's safe to say that I'm definitely entering. While my goal is to do as well as possible at the tournament, fun comes first, and I think it'd be fun to keep going with my Sandstorm team. :)

I haven't made a serious doubles team since Gen 3, so all help refining this potential team for the VGC12 metagame is muchly appreciated.

Gastrodon @ Leftovers/Grass Damage Down Berry
Storm Drain
252 HP EVs, Split Defenses

Earth Power
Ice Beam

My usage for this guy for be quite simple: protect my other Pokemon from Water-type attacks while boosting its own Sp. Attack. Recover is tempting, but I'm thinking that Protect + Left Overs + Storm Drain may be the better way to goes for Doubles. I'm also leaning towards Surf over Scald for the range, but Scald's burn effect is nice. I considered an HP as my third attacking move, but Earth Power is decent enough to deal with most other Water-types and anti Flying/Dragon-type support given by Ice Beam is always welcome.

Tyranitar @ Focus Sash/Chople Berry
Sand Stream
252 Attack, 252 HP, 4 Special Defense

Rock Slide
Superpower/Low Kick/Brick Break

Doubles Tyranitar is much different from my usual Tyranitar set. Crunch and Rock Slide are great STAB, and Superpower/Low Kick assist with Rock/Steel-types and other Tyranitar. I'm leaning towards Low Kick here verses Superpower due to the stat losses with the latter, and I have a hunch that Low Kick would be more effective than Brick Break due to the opponents I'm likely to face. I've gone for a Brave nature here because I'd want Tyranitar to have all the power it could get, and being slower may help slip up other Weather inducing Pokemon.

Garchomp @ Yache Berry/Dragon Gem/Ground Gem
Sand Veil
252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 HP

Dragon Claw/Dual Chop
Rock Slide/Substitute

I love Garchomp in a sandstorm. Hells, I just love Garchomp in general. It has good speed, great power, and fairly nice resistances aside from that pesky x4 Ice. Earthquake is a given, but I'm not sure which Dragon-type STAB to choose. Dragon Claw is more reliable, but Dual Chop could assist with subbers. The next move choice I'm a bit unsure about. My Singles Garchomp loves Substitute, but does Doubles favour it as much? It's handy to have when predicting a Draco Meteor from Latios (unless the bugger hits first), but would you use it for much else is the question. Rock Slide gives me something to hit multiple Flying-types and possibly flinch 'em in the process. What do you guys think?

Reuniclus @ Life Orb
Magic Guard
252 HP, 4 Def, 252 Sp. Attack

HP Fire/Energy Ball/Shadow Ball
HP Fire/Energy Ball/Shadow Ball
Thunder Wave/Protect

Psyshock is a given. The other three moves aren't so much. Since I'm anticipating Water-type opponents I'm heavily leaning towards Energy Ball, but Shadow Ball would be handy if other Reuniclus, Cresselia or Latios show up. Then there's HP Fire, which could be useful against the likes of Abomasnow, Ferrothorn, and Metagross (it'd be a bit suicidal going up against Scizor). As for the final choice... Do I go the usual route of Protect, or do I give this guy Thunder Wave? I'm pretty sure its the only Pokemon on my proposed team that can use Thunder Wave and it's obvious how useful the attack can be... but is it worth restricting my other Pokemon who spam Earthquake/Surf?

Metagross @ Air Balloon/Occa Berry
Clear Body
252 HP, 252 Att, 4 Speed

Bullet Punch
Meteor Mash/Zen Headbutt
Earthquake/Ice Punch

I was debating which Pokemon to add that has access to a priority attack, and Metagross seemed like a good choice (not to mention that I have one IV bred/trained on SoulSilver). Bullet Punch and Protect are easy choices here. The rest... not so much. Meteor Mash and Zen Headbutt both provide a more powerful STAB attack, but Meteor Mash is the more powerful attack and has a better added effect considering Metagross' lower speed. The only issue with Meteor Mash is its accuracy. As for the third attack choice, I'm leaning towards Earthquake for the extra coverage but Ice Punch would make for an interesting anti-Dragon/Flying choice. If I used a Bullet Punch/Meteor Mash/Earthquake set, I'd have nothing decent on Metagross to counter Zapdos or Thundurus. In this situation I'd also rather a 100% accurate attack like Ice Punch verses a rather inaccurate move like Stone Edge. Thoughts from you guys?

Now, my final choice. I can't decide on which Pokemon to choose so I'll give both as suggestions and see what you guys think.

Landorus @ Yache Berry/Expert Belt
Sand Force
252 Speed, and ????

Earthquake/Earth Power
Rock Slide
Grass Knot/HP Flying/U-Turn
Protect/Rock Polish

I'd like a mixed set on this guy because I know he can handle, but it all depends on which three attacks that I end up choosing. Earthquake is better in the doubles arena range-wise but Earth Power can hit hard against Steel/Rock-types with lower Special Defenses. Rock Slide is a given, made even better if Sand Force is activated. Then I have a choice... Grass Knot could assist against Water-types and any very heavy Pokemon (but if I'm being honest, I'm not sure which Pokemon fall into that category). HP Flying would be for STAB but it'd also assist against Fighting-types like Hitmontop. U-Turn is strictly hit and run. If I could get a super effective hit out of it then all the better. Final decision is between Protect and Rock Polish. While Protect is always useful, Rock Polish could give me the edge if pulled off at the right time. I'm not sure which of the two to choose.

Gliscor @ Flying Gem/Yache Berry
Sand Veil
252 HP, 252 Attack, 4 Speed


Tailwind is incredibly tempting and is the only reason I'd potentially choose Gliscor over Landorus. Gen IV Gliscor misses out on Poison Heal but still gets Sand Veil which fits my team (assuming I can keep up the Sandstorm). Earthquake is the best STAB choice it has. Acrobatics matched with Flying Gem is pretty nasty and likely the better choice, but U-Turn could be fun once Tailwind was up. I think I'd likely aim for a different nature/EV spread if I picked U-Turn over Acrobatics.

Which Pokemon do you guys think would fair better in VGC12? If neither seem like the best choice, what other Pokemon might you recommend? I'm open to suggestions. :)


Expert FPS Player
Staff member
With Gastrodon, Tyranitar and Reuniclus all present this team is practically screaming for someone to carry Trick Room. For that reason, Tailwind Gliscor would normally be effective, but the only Pokemon who'd really benefit from the speed boost are Garchomp, Gliscor itself and to a much lesser extent Metagross.


- I'd go for Protect over Recover on Gastrodon here since you probably won't have a free turn to use Recover when facing two enemies at once. Also, Grass-type attacks aren't really common enough in this VGC to warrant Rindo Berry, and Metagross can quite easily switch in to take a Grass-type attack if necessary, since it's usually obvious who carries Grass-type moves on a team.

- Tyranitar's fine as it is. I'd lean more towards Focus Sash here due to the abundance of "Type Gems" in VGC12, and with Tyranitar's numerous weaknesses Chople Berry may end up redundant when facing down, say, a Steel Gem Metagross. You'll only know it has the item after it has attacked you, by which time it'll be too late if you had Chople Berry. Watch out for weather users carrying Iron Balls; Iron Ball Politoed will override your Sand Stream with its own Drizzle since it's now slower than you, and most Politoed carry HP Grass to trash your Gastrodon - keep that in mind.

- Dragon Claw is better than Dual Chop here due to Dual Chop's slightly lower accuracy, although if Thundurus becomes a pain in the ass you could keep Dual Chop to trash its Substitutes. Yache Berry for the item.

- I actually dared to use Focus Blast on my VGC11 Reuniclus, and by sheer luck it somehow never missed the whole time I used the team. Reuniclus can use Trick Room, which would probably be more effective for crippling fast opponents (even if it is temporary) than Thunder Wave. Psyshock is standard, your choice of attacks is really up to you, but I'd consider Trick Room on this set myself.

If you find Reuniclus isn't pulling its weight, I'd use Cresselia instead for the extra bulk and dat Ice Beam.

- Iron Head is actually the best Steel STAB for Metagross (besides Bullet Punch which is standard anyway) due to it having 100% accuracy, but this move is only accessible via Gen IV move tutor or Dream World, the latter of which robs you of Clear Body in a world full of Intimidate. If you can't get Iron Head, go for Meteor Mash since you already have Reuniclus on-hand for Psychic attacks. Pick Steel Gem or Occa Berry for your hold item.

- For your final Pokemon I'd actually go for something completely different. You already have enough sandstorm-related Pokemon here, and what you really need is something to round out the pack and cover up any weaknesses. There's an arm's length list of options here, including Hitmontop, Wash Rotom, Latios, Zapdos, Thundurus, even Rich's Sableye set can defend against any Hitmontop trying to pound your Tyranitar into paste (although Will-O-Wisp isn't exactly the most reliable move in the world.) I'll let you decide what to put there, but I honestly wouldn't pick Landorus or Gliscor.


Hero of Pizza
Staff member
Gah. I'd been writing up a reply for this yesterday and apparently I didn't save the draft. ;_; Anyways, I wanted to thank you again for all of your help and respond to it! :)

@Gastrodon: I'll definitely take your advice regarding Protect and Leftovers.

@Tyranitar: Focus Sash it is, and thanks for the advice regarding Politoed. :up:

@Garchomp: Sounds good to me. I'll choose Dragon Claw for now and see how things go. Yache Berry it is. And after discussing it with you more, I'll be going for Rock Slide instead of Subs on Garchomp for now.

@Reuniclus: As I mentioned to you on chat, I've been debating replacing Reuniclus with a Tailwind Latios instead. This will give me an additional Pokemon with a higher Speed stat and the Tailwind support I'd love to have handy. If I do end up keeping Reuniclus, it'll likely have Psyshock, HP Fire, Shadow Ball, and Trick Room.

@Metagross: I'm going to take your advice and go for Iron Head, and me thinks I'll pick the Occa Berry for now. I won't count Steel Gem out quite yet however because it does sound like a nice alternative...

@Final Pokemon: As you already know, I decided to take your advice and choose Wash Rotom as my final Pokemon. I'm going to try out the set we discussed (Volt Switch, Hydropump, HP Ice, Trick @Choice Specs). The question now is which nature and EV spread to use. A friend suggested a Modest Nature to me with an EV spread of 140 Speed, 116 HP, and 252 Sp. Attack. What do you guys think of that?