Sword and Shield is here, and I decided to dip my feet back into competitive through learning VGC with my friends. I ended up enjoying it way more than Smogon Singles. After getting a feel for things with a rental hyper offense team, I suddenly wanted to try building my own team instead of learning different team archetypes with more rentals.
Someone very close to me loves Pikachu and I thought G-Max Volt Crash was a pretty neat move. So, I decided to make G-Max Pikachu the star of an bulky offense team that thrives off of the speed control provided by G-Max Volt Crash from itself, Max Airstream from Braviary and Togekiss, and the occaisonal Drum Beating or Max Strike from Rillaboom. Any additional parahaxing I generally treat asnice bonus rather than a wincon.
pi (Pikachu-Gmax) (F) @ Light Ball
EVs: 52 HP / 204 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
- Grass Knot
G-Max Volt Crash paralyzes both opposing Pokemon if it gets to hit, and it even paralyzes ground types, making it a great way for the generally slow Pokemon on this team to start outspeeding the opposition and offsetting things like Swift Swim, Sand Rush, and Tailwind. He's great against more offensive teams, and I generally avoid taking him if there's the presence of Dracozolt or against more defensive teams where I wouldn't need to max for G-Max speed control.
I'm not too sure on how to EV this Pokemon. I value speed in order to use Pikachu's decent speed tier in this generation with it's base 90 speed to try to get off paralysis as soon as possible. I tried using max HP and max Speed to ensure Pikachu's longevity, but the damage just wasn't enough and Pikachu's still very frail even with Gigantamaxing. I eventually just settled with the spread Ryan Schambers used on his Pikachu to win a Galar weekly. It's been working pretty well so far, but I'm not too sure on how to optimize it further.
Light Ball lets Pikachu dish out quite a bit of damage and lets him secure some KOs even if he isn't maxed for whatever reason. I tried Focus Sash, Red Card (to phase out stuff for more paralysis), and Shuca Berry for other items. They didn't net me wins as consistently as Light Ball due to the lack of damage output and Pikachu still very often folded to STAB max moves.
Thunderbolt is STAB, Grass Knot is to deal with the common Gastrodon and set up Grassy Terrain via Max Overgrowth to support Rillaboom, and Surf lets me hit grounds and set up Rain for Dracovish and Rillaboom or shut off Tyranitar's sandstorm through Max Geyser. Encore is there to snuff support and defensive Pokemon.
brav (Braviary) @ Lum Berry
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Brave Bird
- Close Combat
This is my favorite Pokemon and I absolutely love how it's a strong pick in VGC. A higher level friend told me that a decent team should be able to run more than one strategy, so I decided to opt for Max Braviary offense off the back of Max Airstream + Max Knuckle. This is a pretty standard set with Lum Berry to shrug off status. I'm considering running Rock Slide instead of Tailwind for spread damage that can synergize with Pikachu and Max Rockfall though. I don't find myself using Tailwind often enough with this Pokemon but at the same time, I feel like I might just be missing chances to use Tailwind as a player.
Rillaboom and Dracovish in particular work well with Braviary. Rillaboom can help Braviary get off his max moves more safely through Fake Out support and becoming a bulky and fast threat that can live long and get off Drum Beating for additional speed control against Tailwind. Dracovish is commonly used alongside Braviary since a boosted Dracovish is well.. Dracovish. It also still works well with Chandelure and Togekiss, although I don't get to boost their attacking stat with Max Knuckle, the fast spread damage is still nice.
lit (Chandelure) @ Life Orb
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 196 HP / 252 SpA / 60 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
- Trick Room
- Heat Wave
- Shadow Ball
Previous iterations of this team were especially weak to Trick Room, and particularly Sun Trick room with Torkoal. Chandelure allows me to easily check Torkoal's Eruptions with Flash Fire and hit back hard with its special STABs that are potentially boosted by its sun. Trick Room lets me offset other Trick Rooms, and it can be a nasty surprise against faster teams that I happen to not have adequate speed control for. EVs are for general bulk and speedcreeping to outspeed a paraylzed Dragapult.
EDIT - Replaced Expert Belt with Life Orb after trying it out from people suggesting it and it working well.
sticks (Rillaboom) @ Assault Vest
EVs: 228 HP / 252 Atk / 28 Spe
- Drum Beating
- Fake Out
- High Horsepower
- Knock Off
AV Rillaboom has great bulk and hits back fairly hard with some support capabilities with Knock Off and Fake Out. This bulk also makes Rillaboom a great option for Dynamaxing that is especially helpful for checking Dragapult and Duraludon. Fake Out in particular is important for supporting since it can be a means of letting Pikachu safely get off a Volt Crash for the rest of the team to run a train.
Drum Beating is chosen over Wood Hammer for longevity and additional speed control against opposing buffs. High Horsepower covers steels and lets me take out other threats like Toxitricity (which it can live a Max Ooze from). The speedcreep is again, to outspeed paralyzed Dragapult.
EDIT - Adjusted EVs to give Rillaboom two more points of speed to better support Chandelure and Togekiss with Drum Beating or its variety of max moves by moving before them.
fishious rend (Dracovish) @ Choice Band
Ability: Strong Jaw
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Fishious Rend
- Leech Life
- Dragon Rush
It's Dracovish. Pretty simple Pokemon for the most part. I opted to run Choice Band here as there's generally going to be some form of speed control going on to help it outspeed and nuke things with it's already strong Fishious Rend. Its natural bulk isn't too shabby with its typing either, so sometimes I can still afford to let it take a hit.
Protect is there in the rare case I have to Dynamax Dracovish and free it from its choice lock. My back's likely already against the wall if it comes down to me having to Dynamax this thing, but I think it'd be nice to have Max Guard or being able to buy a turn for information beforehand through Protect. Ice Fang also doesn't really take out anything relevant from when I did end up using, and I don't usually find myself wishing that I was able to use Psychic Fangs.
Dragon Rush is there as a secondary STAB and Leech Life is there to potentially give me a better shot at 1v1s against other Dracovish or if I have to send this thing in on Gastrodon and potentially have to 1v1 it. This is basically me trying to plan for niche situations where I can't be using Fishious Rend.
toge (Togekiss) @ Babiri Berry
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 188 HP / 252 SpA / 68 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
- Follow Me
- Air Slash
- Dazzling Gleam
- Heat Wave
As with many other teams, Bulky Babiri Togekiss holds a lot of things together with its Follow Me support and it being a good option for Dynamaxing thanks to Max Airstream and its bulk. It has particularly good synergy with Pikachu due to it being able to tank hits for Pikachu to the point where I can beat Excadrill/Tyranitar with G-Max Pikachu's paralysis. Serene Grace Air Slash also lets me have reasonably good odds at paraflinching something that I don't want to move. STAB Dazzing Gleam + coverage Heat Wave is a good spread damage combo to round things out.
EDIT: Adjusted EVs to give Togekiss one more point of speed to outspeed my own Chandelure for more reliable Max Airstream support.
Dracozolt is the most notable weakness that this team has from my experience. When scarfed or backed with Tailwind support, this thing can delete pretty much any of my Pokemon with ease. Its electric typing renders me unable to properly check it with Pikachu as well, meaning that I usually end up having to Dynamax Rillaboom in its presence so I can check it with its bulk and Max Quake or just predicting well.
Galaraian Darmanitan is another huge threat that requires me to make a redirect play or good prediction to keep in check due to its monstrous power, speed tier and coverage. This one however, can at least be paralyzed, but especially if it maxes, it'll often be taking something down with it.
Hydreigon is also a bit of a problem against this team since I don't have too many options to hit it supereffectively and its good speed tier. It's not a threat if I can paralyze it or if I happen to have Togekiss around, but I do feel like I have to jump through some hoops to deal with this Pokemon at times.
Tailwind and Whimiscott can also often make things harder due to how easily it can get it up and it being able to offset the speed drop from Pikachu's Paralysis. I'm tempted to run Tailwind on Togekiss as well since its more often able to stay around long enough to get it up than Braviary, but being able to delete Excadrill and Ferrothorn through Heat Wave is also very nice.
Trick Room used to also be a major weakness, but I can usually ride it out with Rillaboom, Togekiss, and Chandelure's bulk. If I'm not going for my own Trick Room to cancel out their Trick Room against something like a Hatterene/Indeedee lead, the other common Trick Room setters I notice is Dusclops or Bronzong. I deal with this by trying to pick it off with Chandelure or Dracovish while Faking Out any potential Follow Me user. Indeedee makes this tougher with its Psychic Terrain, but the only Trick Room attacker that's felt like a major threat while its up is Weakness Policy Rhyperior with its Solid Rock and offensive coverage.