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GSC OU (OverUsed) Teambuilding Heuristics

Discussion in 'Analysis and Research' started by Jorgen, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. Jorgen

    Jorgen Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    I know Borat did a long-ass GSC teambuilding guide before and it's pretty good but I figured I might make my own. What I give here are a series of heuristics that may not be explicitly demonstrated as optimal, but are currently (and have been) good principles to develop good teams. Recently I've tried deviating from a couple of them to feel out teamspace and try to make more things viable, but every time I do, the team suffers for it.

    Criterion 1: Have a Snorlax.
    Look, it doesn't really matter what set it is for now. Generally, good sub-heuristics dictate that Zapdos teams should have a CurseLax, and Raikou teams should have a Drum or Mixed Lax, but these are by no means hard rules like the official criteria. The reason it works this way is that Snorlax is the glue for your team that covers what your team would otherwise lack. For faster Zapdos teams, Snorlax will probably need to be a rock for you to fall back on; for slower Raikou teams, Snorlax will probably need to be your wallbreaker. That said, if a Zapdos team can find a similarly strong "rock", or a Raikou team can find another good wallbreaker (the latter is more likely), then Snorlax can basically run whatever set it wants.

    Criterion 2: Have an Electric.
    And choose wisely: your choice of Electric dictates the flavor of your whole team. Zapdos teams should generally be more willing to take moderate risks by staying in and trying to get extra hits / possible status / Explosions off, whereas Raikou teams will generally want to hang back and wait for the opponent to overextend a bit.

    Criterion 3: Have Spikes.
    Having Spikes is always better than not having Spikes. Get that Cloyster or Forretress on your team ASAP. And yeah, you'll want to be able to ensure you can keep Spikes, at least in the long-term, but this doesn't mean running a spinblocker on every team; Pursuit, Toxic, and just about anything you can think of to make Starmie's life difficult also work.

    Starmie alone doesn't cut it in terms of the Spikes game, as any good opponent will have a team that can keep Spikes long-term against Starmie. The only sort of team that such short-term Spikes clearance would work with (fast-paced offense that wouldn't need Spikes to wear down the opponent) neither exists in GSC nor would appreciate just how much momentum Starmie cedes. A separate spinner can certainly buddy up with a Spiker if you're planning on really focusing on the Spikes game though.

    Unconventional pure spinners, such as Donphan, Golem, and Tentacruel, might be effective in isolation, as the former two give short-term clearance without ceding the world against Snorlax, whereas the latter gives long-term Spikes clearance possibilities with its Toxic immunity. However, these mons are not as flexible as Starmie is, and as I mentioned earlier, the team that can reliably enact its own offensive plans without Spikes just doesn't exist in GSC (well okay it does but it's full BP, a gimmicky sort of team where every turn is do-or-die and which therefore should just ignore Spikes altogether), so you're kind of playing for a draw in this case. Which is fine if you feel you're vastly superior to your opponent (in which case you should win no matter what), as it's likely they'll screw up and wither and die on their own. But if you're as good as or worse than your opponent (which is the case you should be preparing for), you want to have a way to enforce your own will, as your opponent will not overextend as egregiously and instead merely whittle you down otherwise.

    Criterion 4: Have at least two plans for Snorlax.
    What your plans should be varies with whether you're using a Zapdos or Raikou team. On a Zapdos team, you're more likely to be able to rely on Explosions and a higher attack:switch ratio in your play to deal with DrumLax, so you should instead focus on having options to deal with CurseLax. You need not have two separate phazers, one for each coverage move (e.g., Skarm + Ttar), but you do want a primary and a secondary look, e.g., Steelix/Tyranitar + Machamp/Gengar. In the worst-case scenario, you might be able to use LK CurseLax as a second look to opposing CurseLax, as you can put them to Sleep and counter by setting up your own barrage of Curses.

    If you're using a Raikou team, you're a bit more restricted. Unless you run Skarmory, you will need to make a conscious effort to run an Exploder or two to be able to deter Drumlax; it's not something you can take for granted the way you generally can with a Zapdos team. Skarmory is not essential but a natural mon to pair with Raikou; I find that it tends to hamper me too much offensively, though, as it provides no support whatsoever. Other natural choices for a Raikou team are Misdreavus (which also spinblocks), Miltank (especially for enabling non-Curse Lax and Roar Raikou to Rest more freely), Umbreon, and Tyranitar (both of which might be able to use Pursuit to pressure Starmie). For this sort of team, you generally should not rely on Snorlax to be a second look to opposing Snorlax, as a shaky second look is not as much of an option for a slower sort of team, not to mention that you need to run CurseLax for that to work, and you generally want a wallbreaker Lax on Raikou teams.

    You can get away without explicitly covering MixLax, by the by, because he struggles to Rest (thereby letting you just hit it to incapacitate it), you should play to stop CurseLax first and foremost (lest he just roll over you after a delayed reaction), and you generally can deal with it all right just by explicitly preparing for CurseLax + DrumLax (Explosions can still deter MixLax, stuff like Misdreavus and Tyranitar can tank EQs well enough to do Ptrap routine or get licks in, respectively).

    Criterion 5: Have at least two plans for Electrics
    The trade-off between Raikou and Zapdos teams is reversed here; whereas Zapdos teams can cheat a little bit on their Lax coverage, they need an explicit plan for opposing Electrics. Snorlax, especially CurseLax, can count as one such check, but you explicitly need another plan. Generally, this implies using a Ground-type to abuse the immunity to Thunder and, in turn, be able to pivot Lax into harmless Hidden Powers. Steelix is a natural choice as he is also neutral to Hidden Power Ice. Non-Grounds don't work so well because even NVE Thunders can paralyze. The obvious exception is going double-electric and running Raikou. With a Ground-type second look, though, you might even want a soft third look to Electrics, such as Tyranitar or Exeggutor, which simultaneously threaten Electrics and can tank their hits reasonably well (Egg can threaten Explosion while resisting HP Water for good synergy with, say, Steelix, and both draws HP Ice for Lax while only being 3HKOed by it; Tyranitar can dodge Thunders and is only 3HKOed by it while running Rock Slide to really punish Zapdos and do an uncomfortable chunk to Raikou).

    Raikou teams can avoid explicitly thinking about Electrics, as Raikou + Snorlax is a very solid Electric core. One thing you might want to do, however, is run a Ground to be able to punish opposing Raikou harder (your own Raikou results in stalemate, forcing you to throw Snorlax into possible Thunders to gain the initiative), or run something like Umbreon or Tyranitar as a second look to Gengar, who otherwise naturally draws in your Raikou and likes to Explode on it to free up Zapdos.

    Criterion 6: Have a Phazer.
    Phazers are necessary to avoid insta-death against Umbreon and Misdreavus. Generally you also want your Phazer to be your main Snorlax counter. If you're running a MonoLax set, you may want to additionally run a Pursuiter (Houndoom/Ttar) or a counter-trapper (your own Missy/Umbreon) as otherwise Missy gets a lot of unpunished opportunities off of Lax (although it certainly isn't mandatory to do this). Ideally, your only Phazer should not be Skarmory; you want a Phazer that can tank Thunder from Misdreavus reasonably well.

    Criterion 7: Have plans for miscellaneous big threats: Vaporeon, Machamp, Nidoking, Tyranitar, Dragonite, Rhydon, Marowak
    Ideally, you have at least two checks to each of these threats. You need not have a 100% primary counter to all of them the way you need to for Electrics and Snorlax; you can suffice with Zapdos as your "primary" answer to Nidoking, for example.

    Criterion 8: Have plans for miscellaneous smaller threats: Heracross, Charizard, Tentacruel, Muk, Espeon, Jolteon, Sunny Day Fires, Jynx, Smeargle, Scizor
    Don't worry about explicitly planning for these dudes unless you don't even have a primary check to one of them. That said, checks to these often fall out of having checks to other things. What you need to be more aware of is how you would play against these threats should one show up. Odds are, you need to play the odds rather than have a 100% counter to at least one or two of these; this is normal and mostly unavoidable.

    Criterion 9: Avoid little problems: more than 3 specific weaknesses or fewer than 3 moves able to reliably damage X Pokemon
    Avoiding too many weaknesses to the same type and having too few attacks able to hurt a specific Pokemon are important. Some important, common types to be too weak to are Fighting and Ice. Some important, common Pokemon that might be too difficult to reliably damage are Skarmory, Steelix, and Gengar, by virtue of their immunities to Toxic and a bunch of important attacking types.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
    Dre89, Bomber, Lojh and 9 others like this.
  2. Isa

    Isa Member

    May 8, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Since nobody else is saying anything I'll at least give you the well deserved words of praise. Good article, Jorgen.
  3. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Catto of Furr and Power Member

    May 4, 2014
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    Yeah stuff like this is why we need a like button rather than not wanting to flood the thread with gratitude and block out the relevant discussion. Good thread though, and we all think this is great ^-^
  4. The_Joker

    The_Joker Member

    Dec 14, 2013
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    Jorgen you did a very good job! I expecially appreciate posts on GSC teambuilding, because I suck at that and many times try to build something and I never manage to create a team with a good sinergy between its components. You could also do a work on few strategies that may be used (para-spam, pure spikes team, bait-exploder and even more original things) and examples of teams in general, emphasizing sinergy between pokemons.
    I'm going to keep this in mind every time I'll build: well done :)
    MajoraLink100 likes this.
  5. Lojh

    Lojh Above Average GSCer Member

    Jan 1, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I think there should be a disclaimer that just because a team meets all these criteria doesnt automatically make it a good team.
    MajoraLink100 likes this.

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