Rank 1 Raichu + Gyarados team
Hey everyone! I once again come to you with this team report. This time in another format. I got inspired by Aaron Traylers team report of his Dallas Regionals winning team. So go check out that after this one:) This is probably the team I have been most happy with out of all my teams, and also the one I have worked the hardest on. As you can see the team name is ChuDosCy, short for Raichu-Gyarados-Cycle. Raichu and Gyarados are still part of the main cast as usual. Arcanine, Togekiss and Jellicent are also familiar faces, leaving only Hitmontop as the only real “new” member of the cast. The sets however have changed quite dramatically. Raichu, Gyrados, Arcanine and Togekiss all have very different sets than what they had in the last team report from January. I posted an updated version of that team on my twitter not too long ago, @AlcadeiasVGC, which also featured Weakness Policy Gyarados and Assault Vest Raichu, but these sets will be all new for those who didn’t see my updated team. With the differences in sets and cast members, also comes a different general strategy.
The main reason I built this team, was because I wanted to make a team that’s a bit less straight forward and more balanced than my last teams. While still having the main core and concept similar. While my last teams have been very successful in the BO1 online format, I have feared that the hyper offensive style may be easier to take advantage of in a BO3 tournament situation. I had a few things in mind that I felt like needed change.
Firstly, I needed the move protect. While in BO1s the lack of protects on my team never felt like an issue, due to the opponent never actually knowing what sets I ran. I feel like there’s way more potential of getting punished for the lack of protects in BO3s, due to all the mind-game potential you lose.
Second of all, I wanted more potential modes and flexibility than in my last team. Which is one of the reasons I changed my Togekiss to be more offensive, and gave it Air Slash for the max move whenever I wish to Dynamax it. In contrary to only have Raichu&Gyarados as the main lead, I now have the option of Raichu&Togekiss as well. I can also swap Hitmontop in there for Raichu as alternative fake out support, if needed. My belief is that the combinations of these 4 mons + potential support from the last two mons can in theory beat every matchup out there, if played patiently and carefully.
Thirdly, I felt in need of more consistency and a more less straight forward team. Like I previously said, I wanted something else than the hyper offensive strategy. Not only did I switch up a couple of mons for this, but I also switched up a few sets. I will go further into this while breaking down each separate team member.
This team is named Raichu Gyarados Cycle for a reason. While my previous team were mostly just focused around trying to overwhelm my opponent with brute force, this team is designed to cripple the opponent with Intimidate, Burns, Fake outs, Snarl and Strength sap. Switching in and out is definitely something that’s more frequent in singles, but I believe that this team uses switch outs a lot more than the average doubles team. You can probably tell that this is kind of a weird team with practically 4 support mons. The average Joe, may be scared off the seemingly lack of damage. However this has not been an issue for me, due to the nature of this team. This team essentially has two different modes. Either overwhelming the opponent with Fake Out Support + Gyarados/Togekiss OR crippling and weakening the opponent team with annoying stuff, long enough for your main damage dealer(s) to eventually clean up the rest of it.
With intimidate on both Arcanine and Hitmontop, it should be easy to shut down most physically heavy teams(although I only bring one of them most of the time) I also got inspired by Wolfe Glick’s Worlds 2016 team, giving Hitmontop Eject Button, which contributes to the whole cycling aspect. Raichu also has Volt Switch, which lets you pivot after you have used fake out. You can switch out into Hitmontop, activating the intimidate and giving you another fake out turn. If Hitmontop gets hit it will switch out again, guaranteeing that you get off another intimidate, and also sends in Raichu for another fake out. This is one example of how the whole cycle works. With this strategy you will often get 2 or 3 intimidates and often 3–4 fake outs. If you bring Arcanine as well, you get even more intimidates and ways to cripple your opponent with burns and Snarl. I realize that this may be a bit tough to grasp through writing alone, but if you play the team I believe you will quickly realize the way to work this team strategy to your advantage yourself.
This cycle gives excellent support and protection for the main sweeper which will be either Gyarados or Togekiss. Something you obviously have to be careful of is defiant users. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you’re aware of the defiant users in team preview, and play around it actively. The most common leads for this team will often be Raichu and Gyarados in the front, with Togekiss and either Hitmontop or Arcanine in the back. This obviously change depending on the opposing team, and there’s many matchups where Jellicent is central as well.
Raichu @ Assault Vest
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 4 HP / 252 def/ 4 SpA/ 68 SpD / 180 Spe
- Volt Switch
- Fake Out
- Brick Break
Raichu remains the glue and soul of this team. Its main use is at the side of either Gyarados or Togekiss as support, with fake out and Lightning Rod. The move set is the same as before. Fake Out and Nuzzle is still super strong. Volt Switch is just to get some extra damage off, when switch out, which is often quite frequent with this team. I have recently considered swapping brick break for something else, as I have seen a decline in the number of Grimsnarl’s on ladder, but as of now I find it to be the best option.
The main differences in this set from before is the assault vest, which I have found to be far superior to the Focus Sash. With the Aassault Vest, Raichu doesn’t mind taking things like sandstorm or fake out damage nearly as much as before. This set was also somewhat inspired by Wolfe Glick’s Raichu in the 2016 World Championships, with changes to fit the current game better. This Raichu is actually incredibly bulky, and there is very little in the meta game that can OHKO it. Assault vest gives Raichu a lot more staying power and flexibility, while I believe items like sash limits you a lot. Air Balloon is also a very bad item for Raichu in my opinion and should never be used.With the Assault Vest you can count on taking hits and switching in to pretty much every non boosted Pokemon. I will list some of the more impressive calcs, which should give you a feel of how bulky this Raichu is.
Raichu also has 180 speed EVs to hit 168 speed, which is mostly more than enough and will still be faster than pretty much everything you would need. Raichu out speeds anything with 100 Base Speed and max speed investment. Charizard is one of the important ones in that category.
Gyarados @ Weakness Policy
EVs: 244 Atk / 36 Def / 228 Spe
- Power Whip
Gyarados is still sitting in the same position as a sweeper, with fake out support from Raichu or Hitmontop. There has been some set changes from before, but it still pretty much does the same thing as before. The gist of it is mainly just Dynamaxing and getting boosts from the max moves and moxie. Getting a knock-out with Max Airstream and moxie is essentially a Dragon Dance with 130 BP.
This move set is similar to the last one, with Protect swapped for Earthquake. Protect is something I missed a lot, but couldn’t have due to using Assault Vest on Gyarados previously. I also ditched earthquake for protect, cause this Gyarados set does no longer attempt the somewhat futile task of beating Duraludon head on. So it’s important to find alternative ways of dealing with Duraludon when using Gyarados. Waterfall and Bounce are obvious choices, and Power Whip is there to get some grass coverage on the team, and it’s always handy against annoying Gastrodon’s and Milotics’s.
Gyarados has been EV’d to tank a Max Rockfall from every common user out there as well as possible, while still having the speed investment to out speed Dragapult at +1 speed. It’s still useful to keep in mind that intimidate helps Gyarados against rock types a lot.
This is of course where weakness policy comes in handy, with Rock moves lurking around every corner. Baiting a rock slide or a max rockfall into Gyarados (particularly after a couple intimidates) is an easy way to trigger the WP, since no one expects it. A useful trick is also to use protect in non dynamaxed form when you anticipate a Max Rockfall from say a Dynamaxed Tyranitar, to trigger Weakness Policy with less damage taken.
Togekiss @ Scope Lens
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 116 HP / 44 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 148 Spe
- Heat Wave
- Air Slash
- Dazzling Gleam
Togekiss is an absolute monster, and if you saw tier list I made you know that it’s the only Pokemon I put into S tier, under the “Should and could be used in every team” category. I follow my own advice here, and you probably should as well if you haven’t already. This Togekiss is a pretty offensive set, and is used as an alternative sweeper to Gyarados. It’s actually the Pokemon I bring the most, wether I plan to Dynamax it or not. It always finds a way to be useful in most matchups with its hard hitting spread moves + the 50% crit chance.
The move set is nothing special really. I have Heat Wave and Dazzling gleam for coverage and spread, although you could probably switch out Heat Wave for Flamethrower if you’re scared of accuracy. I actually found myself losing a game due to missing two heat waves in a row in a 1 vs 1 against a Darmanitan, so that’s something to consider. I have Air Slash pretty much just for Max Airstream, which is useful when you run Togekiss as a possible sweeper. I have Protect over Follow Me which is possibly a bit controversial. This is pretty much because I find it more useful with Togekiss in the sweeper role, and less of a supportive one.
The EV set is inspired from somewhere else, but I can’t for the life of me remember where it’s from. I made a few adjustments to it though. The speed investment is to out speed Durant with +1 speed. I’ll note some of the other important calcs below.
Hitmontop @ Eject Button
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 148 Def / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
- Close Combat
- Fake Out
- Wide Guard
Hitmontop is one of the key players in the cycle strategy, using good defensive stats, a good supportive move set, intimidate and the eject button. One of the reasons I added Hitmontop to this team was because of how it’s an almost perfect counter to Excadrill and Tyranitar, along with other rock users. Intimidate and rock resistance always makes Hitmontop a safe switch in against rock type users, and also helps protect Gyarados against hard hitting rock moves while also allowing it to activate its Weakness Policy with limited damage.
Hitmontops moveset is very support oriented. Fake Out is great with the eject button as it allows you to often get multiple Fake Outs(and intimidates) off. It also allows you to break a potential Focus Sash on Excadrill when paired up with Gyarados. Feint is a nice move to have when you need to focus down an opponent without risking getting punished by protect. Also very useful against Tyranitar and Excadrill due to them both usually running protect. Wide Guard again is great against rock type users, particularly against Rock Slide locked Darmanitan’s. Close Combat is simply a strong move which provides some fighting coverage.
This is a very defensive set, with the goal of making Hitmontop as annoying as possible. I’ll list some of the things it’s calced to survive below.
Arcanine @ Aguav Berry
EVs: 68 HP / 4 Atk / 36 Def / 196 SpD / 204 Spe
- Flare Blitz
Arcanine is the last member I added on the team when theory crafting it. I ended up with going for Arcanine because it rounded out the team nicely and I wanted something that could switch into Duraludon and cripple it with Snarl, which Arcanine can do. It serves this team mainly as a support, and more importantly to help Togekiss deal with Duraludon, and also as just a strong mon who puts in work in a bunch of different situations.
The move set is a very standard supportive one. Snarl is an amazing move and Will-O-Wisp is also a handy move to have against strong physical attackers. Protect is always a useful move to have, while Flare Blitz is a a strong STAB move which can also help you with triggering the Aguav Berry.
Arcanine is EV’d to outspeed max speed Excadrill, and to be pretty specially tanky. It’s also designed to survive some specific moves which I will note below.
Jellicent (M) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 116 SpD
- Strength Sap
- Shadow Ball
- Trick Room
Jellicent still serves the same purpose as before, as a Trick Room counter. It does this job very effectively with good bulk and access to Strength Sap, one of the best moves in the game. I still have Sitrus Berry on it with the same philosophy as before. Take a hit and heal up enough with sitrus berry to take another one after, allowing you to get a Strength Sap off. I have considered swapping for something like a Colbur or Kasib Berry, but I’m pretty happy with the Sitrus Berry so far.
The move set is similar to my last one. The only difference is Shadow Ball over Scald. This was because I had a few annoying games where I ended up in a 1v1 against something like a Gastrodon, Vaporeon or even an opposing Jellicent, where water absorb punished me. Imprison&Trick Room doesn’t need much explaining. Strength Sap makes Jellicent a great counter to big physical mons like Rhyperior or Mudsdale.
As I explained, Jellicent is EV’d to be able to take a hit, set up imprison, take a hit again and then heal up with Strength Sap. Particularly against Rhyperior. You can see some specific calcs below
I will now provide some of the strategies I have found useful in certain matchups
I have a very specific game plan against Durant teams. While doing some testing on showdown I literally had three or four games against Durant teams go down the exact same way. I always lead Raichu and Gyarados, with Hitmontop and Arcanine in the back. You can check out this showdown replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2020-1053582245 which should explain the gist of it.
If Charizard is in the lead with Whimsicott which it usually will be. I have two different approaches. If I think my opponent is a less experienced player, I will go for the classic Fake Out + Max Airstream on Whimsicott. If I believe my opponent is a more experienced player, I will instead go for Nuzzle on Charizard to try and finish it off with a Max Geyser.
Tyranitar + Excadrill
Against Tyranitar and Excadrill, I will lead Hitmontop and Gyarados. I went into this a bit under Hitmontops section, but Hitmontop helps Gyarados take hits with intimidate and lets it activate Weakness Policy with minimum damage. While also having rock and steel resistance. It’s also good for using Fake Out on Excadrill to break Focus Sash and to let Gyarados take care of it while it’s flinched. Both Wide Guard and Feint comes in handy against both of these mons as well.
Togekiss + Dragapult
Togekiss + Dragapult is a very common duo in this meta game. I normally lead Raichu and my own Togekiss. I usually Fake out the opposing Togekiss, Dynamax my own Togekiss and OHKO the opposing Dragapult with a Max Starfall. My lead always depends on the rest of my opponents team though, because Dragapult and Togekiss is such a normal core, and can be found in a bunch of different teams that doesn’t even normally lead Dragapult + Togekiss.
Duraludon has always been a big threat for the Raichu + Gyarados core. As you may know, I used to run Assault Vest and Earthquake on Gyarados to beat Duraludon head on, with mixed results. I chose to give up on that, and I now try to avoid using Gyarados against Duraludon at all costs. My current approach is to actually lead Togekiss and Raichu against it, and bait it into Dynamax and try to hit Togekiss with a Max Steelspike. I will switch in to Arcanine from there to tank the Max Steelspike. I always paralyze and Snarl Duraludon to cripple it, and slow it down. After its Dynamax has ran out, i’ll finish it off with the now faster Togekiss. So in short, try and weaken it with nuzzle and snarl and stall out its Dynamax. Take it out with Dynamax Togekiss from there.
There’s always more match ups I could cover, but I don’t want to make this thing way too long. So I’m calling it quits here, I think I have covered the most important stuff anyways. I hope you have enjoyed this somewhat lengthy read, and I hope you enjoy using my team if you decide to give it a try. I’ll keep on trying to improve and I’m excited for the European International Championships in Berlin, i’ll hopefully meet some of you guys there:)
Check out my twitter for more updates, a Raichu giveaway and more cool stuff in the future: @AlcadeiasVGC