This was an enjoyable season for me overall! I got to pick a lot of cool and powerful mons, though regrettably at the cost of not having a bug type. I won’t be making that mistake twice! Everything went very well until my last week against Heron, where I wasn’t able to innovate or adapt well enough to deal with Heron’s oppressive pokemon.
Onto my pokemon reviews!
Salamence. Games: 14. Items: Heavy-Duty Boots, Sharp Beak, Choice Scarf, Yache Berry. Nickname: Draco. Even though it’s super simple, it's nostalgic and Salamence was one of my favorites as a kid and this was the nickname I always used for it.
Salamence as my first pick was an interesting one. While not the worst-performing member of the team, Salamence was not the menace I expected it to be. I believe this is largely due to the power level of the league, and it simply isn’t powerful enough to reliably run a band, fast enough to run a life orb, or strong enough to run a scarf. Of course, this is a generalization, and ultimately it is too powerful for t2, but it does put our boy mence in an awkward spot. I found a lot of success running him as a reliable answer to many pokemon due to his insane coverage, and most of that comes from both sides of the attacking spectrum. So in the end, Salamence was probably not worth it as a first-overall pick, but it was still really fun to run regardless, and when he wasn’t put as the main win condition, he performed very well!
Serperior. Games: 19. Items: Leftovers, Lum Berry, Assault Vest, Kebia Berry, Choice Specs, Metronome. Nickname: Solaris. Not a lot of relevance to Serperior as a pokemon, but the character Solaris in Pokemon Reborn is pretty high and mighty like Serperior so it fit decently.
I knew immediately that I wanted Serperior as part of my main core along with Salamence from the start, and lucky for me it was not snatched up before I could get to it. Serperior is such a menace with incredible snowball potential. Of course, many teams hard counter it by having a very easy-to-come-by 4x resistance to grass, but when they are taken out and dealt with, Serperior can run over a game like nobody’s business. It’s super flexible in terms of items, but its movepool is also total garbage aside from a few key moves like leech seed, leaf storm, and glare. Having hidden power unbanned in this gen was a huge boost for Serperior, as in many other matchups it would simply be walled by half of the dex.
Tentacruel. Games: 19. Items: Black Sludge, Air Balloon, Heavy-Duty Boots. Nickname: Hazardous. I like edgy stuff sorry. Also maybe threw some people off since I NEVER ran spikes or toxic spikes.
From this point, I knew I wanted to try out an interesting strategy: Grass/Fire/Water core, and Steel/Fairy/Dragon core on the same team. I initially wanted Suicune, but Tentacruel was a very nice substitute for that slot. Tentacruel has plenty of merits in its own right, like having extra coverage, not being weak to grass, and having spin so that I actually could clear hazards. That said, a ground weakness is a pretty big deal. Tentacruel was by far the pokemon I used the most amount of moves on. Sometimes I would run 4 attacking moves, or only scald with 3 great utility moves. It really was able to plug up any holes I might have when dealing with an opponent's team. I also ran many different EV spreads, though I rarely maxed out speed since it was often needed to play as a bulky utility pokemon more than a sweeper. The only thing it is missing is a recovery move like Recover, as the best it has is Giga Drain, but otherwise, this is a really value pokemon for T3!
Palossand. Games: 19. Items: Leftovers, Passho Berry. Nickname: GIFF SANDY. Another Pokemon Reborn reference, Terra has a Palossand with this nickname and I just love it lol.
Even though he isn’t part of any of the type cores, I knew I needed to get Palossand. Ghost/Ground is such a good typing, and it provides a nice bulky presence to my otherwise fast and fragile team. Somehow this possessed sand castle was the MVP of the team amidst a dragon, a snake with contrary, a flaming badger, and a jellyfish, but it was often impossible for the enemy team to remove. Setting up rocks, having recovery, and a very respectable stab combo really let Palossand do just about anything I needed it to. Its ability isn’t super useful most of the time sadly, but it didn’t really need it to shine and be the rock for my team to build themselves around!
Typhlosion. Games: 15. Items: Choice Scarf, Choice Specs. Nickname: Consuming Wildfire. Very fitting for Typhlosion, and I got it from a quote from Shionne in Tales of Arise. Yes, I am a weeb and JRPG lover, such is life.
Typhlosion is a mon I’ve wanted to use for a while, and this season was finally time. It’s fragile, it has barely any set or item versatility, and it has a shallow movepool. However: Specs/Scarf Eruption go brrrr. My team does struggle a bit with steel types, so having a reliable pokemon to come in and scare out even the bulkiest of steel types was really nice to have. Just like Serperior, it hits very hard but had multiple bad matchups and no movepool to compensate. In some sense they are the same mon, except Typhlosion has more immediate power whereas Serperior has more sustained damage and utility options.
Gardevoir-Mega. Games: 16. Items: Gardevoirite. Nickname: Melia. A Pokemon Reborn reference. Didn’t really have an idea of what to name Gardevoir but Melia uses a Gardevoir in that game so it’s fitting enough.
I really wanted Mega Gallade, but I guess the fair lady Gardevoir will do. Gardevoir was the real T1 of the team where Salamence failed to pick up the slack. Gardevoir has so many cool utility moves to use, but I didn’t really get to explore them since it rarely has the time to set them up. Instead, hyper voice for days, along with very respectable coverage. Gardevoir really couldn’t take a hit, but it was my last pokemon to win out a fight multiple times, and I could always rely on Gardevoir to get the job done!
Klinklang. Games: 8. Items: Focus Sash, Air Balloon, Chople Berry. Nickname: Perpetual Motion. The quote comes from when Tinker in Dota 2 gets a haste rune, and it is fitting for a bunch of gears.
To add the final piece of Fairy/Dragon/Steel core, I got a bunch of gears and stuck them together. Yeah so by this point in the draft, there were very few good steel types left. However, Klinklang was still sitting pretty in T5, so I decided it was better than nothing. This meant my team had an offensive steel rather than a defensive one, which is far from ideal. But it wasn’t too bad. I really wish it got stealth rock or anything beyond a steel/electric/normal move, but such is life. By far my least used teammate, but still helpful for spreading paralysis, being my only pivoter, or grinding up some fairies into dust.
Tauros. Games: 15. Items: Life Orb, Choice Scarf. Nickname: 1 out of 30. Reference to how Ash caught 30 Tauros in the anime. I stole one of them, don’t tell him, please.
I had 20 points left and needed something to round out the team. I noticed I had 0 ghost resists and a couple of weaknesses, so I decided to get a dark or normal type, and Tauros fit the bill best. Tauros was surprisingly powerful for a T4 normal type, and it had a lot of customization that I could do. The gen 1 king got to do some sweeping as well which was great. Not a whole lot to say, it's just a bull that got to relive its gen 1 days.
Well despite getting owned by Heron pretty early in the bracket, this has been my deepest run in RD2LPL so far! I’m looking forward to see how Gen 9 shapes things up, especially since this is my first format following OU instead of Nat Dex with bans. I started a few seasons after gen 8 released, some time between the isle of armor and crown tundra I believe. I’m hoping that one of these seasons I’ll get my breakthrough with a well-crafted team. My teams have been solid before, but I’m not sure any of them have ever been truly amazing, and this was probably the closest I’ve gotten to that.
Thanks for reading everyone. (: