Throughout most VGC seasons, weather tends to be a fairly common archetype for players to construct a team around. VGC 17 is no different in this regard with Sand, Sun, Rain and even Hail getting some degree of usage in major tournaments; in the next few analysis articles we’ll be looking at the best way to utilise the different weathers in your team, starting with sun!
Before I go into the standard Sun sweeping duo, it’s important to note the effects of Sun – being able to boost Fire type attacks and weaken Water moves means the sun can provide a level of support to both yours and your opponent’s teams; definitely take this into consideration as you don’t want to start providing your opponents Arcanine etc any additional boosts to their already frightening offensive stats.
Two abilities you’ll want to look out for whilst trying to abuse Sun are Drought (which grants the ability to set the sun on switch in) and Chlorophyll (doubles your speed stat under the sunlight) sadly, only two Pokémon are able to abuse this in VGC 17 – no, we’re not counting Leafeon – generation 7’s newly appointed sun summoner Torkoal and the only viable Chlorophyll abuser Lilligant. In previous years, the idea of using either of these two on a serious, competitive team would be ludicrous, this year however, they’re one of the most powerful duos available – just ask Ashton Cox, his LATAM Internationals winning team contained these two powerhouses…
Let’s start with Torkoal!
Torkoal’s base stats, whilst they aren’t dazzling, are… well… respectable; the lowest speed stat of any final stage Pokémon in the format (no, I’m not counting Pyukumuku) guarantees that Torkoal will be winning any turn one weather wars, as well as hitting first inside Trick Room. A sky high defense stat coupled with a fairly average HP stat allows Torkoal to take a surprising amount of punishment whilst base 85 offenses ensure that the fire tortoise will be able to dish out some decent damage, especially with a sun boost.
Set 1: Standard Koal (sponsored by Cartoon Network… pfft, I wish)
Torkoal @ Charcoal/Firium Z
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam/Overheat
No fancy EV Spreads here – Torkoal is one of the few Pokémon which you can extract its full potential with a simple 252/252/4 EV spread. The idea is simple, click After You with the partner Lilligant (or set Trick Room) and launch as many powerful sun boosted attacks. Eruption is the attack of choice in this scenario until you hit roughly 110 HP (62%) or lower then Heat Wave becomes the more powerful spread attack. Ashton’s LATAM winning Torkoal featured Overheat as the final attacking move which grants one extremely powerful single target nuke (especially when sun and Charcoal boosted) however Solar Beam is also a viable alternative if you’re a little concerned about Gastrodon halting your potential Trick Room Torkoal sweep.
252+ SpA Charcoal Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko in Sun: 180-213 (123.2 – 145.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ SpA Charcoal Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Metagross in Sun: 206-246 (110.1 – 131.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ SpA Charcoal Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 180 HP / 148+ SpD Celesteela in Sun: 222-264 (113.8 – 135.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
If you want an alternative item for this spread you can always hand Torkoal Firium Z. As a Z move, Eruption’s power is boosted to base 200 and, especially with a sun boost, can give Torkoal a KO that he normally wouldn’t be picking up with Eruption.
252+ SpA Torkoal Inferno Overdrive (200 BP) vs. 236 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Lele in Sun: 187-222 (106.8 – 126.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ SpA Torkoal Inferno Overdrive (200 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Muk-Alola in Sun: 211-249 (99.5 – 117.4%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Torkoal Inferno Overdrive (200 BP) vs. 244 HP / 140+ SpD Eviolite Porygon2 in Sun: 118-139 (61.7 – 72.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Set 2: Mixing it up
Torkoal @ Groundium Z
EVs: 204 HP / 52 Atk / 252 SpA
IVs: 0 Spe
– Heat Wave/Flamethrower/Overheat/Solar Beam
All the Torkoal I’ve seen so far this season tend to be exclusively special attackers, not entirely surprising with how powerful boosted Eruptions, Heat Waves, etc. can be whilst Solar Beam was initially a decent coverage move with how common Gastrodon was in the early 2017 meta. However, with base 85 offences, Torkoal isn’t hitting particularly hard with any coverage move unless it’s 4x Super Effective. Enter Groundium Z Torkoal. Whether you run Earthquake or Fissure is down to personal preference – with 52 investment an Earthquake picks up the OHKO on Nihilego
52 Atk Torkoal Earthquake vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Nihilego: 188-224 (101.6 – 121%) — guaranteed OHKO
Whilst Fissure gives you a 30% win condition against any non levitating Pokémon in the meta. Eruption should always be a staple of your Torkoal spreads whilst the final attacking move comes down to personal preference. I’d recommend Overheat or Flamethrower – the lack of Charcoal really is noticeable on Heat Wave’s damage output – whilst Solar Beam remains a valid option simply because Gastrodon exists.
As far as the nature goes, check out the damage calcs for Tectonic Rage and decide from there! Quiet gives more of a boost to Eruption but boosting that physical attack stat a little more could be a valid option if something below piques your interest.
52 Atk Torkoal Tectonic Rage vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 146-172 (100 – 117.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
52 Atk Torkoal Tectonic Rage vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 152-180 (91.5 – 108.4%) — 50% chance to OHKO
52+ Atk Torkoal Tectonic Rage vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 168-198 (101.2 – 119.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
220+ Atk Torkoal Tectonic Rage vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 198-234 (100.5 – 118.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
I focus on Arcanine a lot in those calcs, but it’s honestly a fairly decent check to Lilligant Torkoal, if you want to surprise one with a Tectonic Rage play around with the EVs on the TT Damage Calc. As a final note on these two spreads, you’ll have noticed that both offer the use of a Z crystal – as you’ll be pairing Torkoal with Lilligant the item (and indeed choice of spread) should be adapted accordingly; you don’t want to be carrying a Z crystal on them both!
Set 3: Spicy Specs Meme
Torkoal @ Choice Specs
EVs: 252 HP / 108 SpA / 148 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam
If you follow this website’s analysis series, you’ll have noticed we like to give both offensive and defensive calculations; so far with Torkoal, no defensive calcs have been offered simply because… well… *whispers* he’s a little bit frail. Physically speaking you can take a super effective hit – Earthquake from Garchomp, Rock Slide from Gigalith etc. However, specially, Torkoal can’t really take hits that well. If you want a little more longevity from Torkoal and a little more damage output than 252+ Charcoal (naturally at the expense of being able to protect) then this is the spread for you. The EV’s are built to survive Power Gem and Psychic from Nihilego and Tapu Lele respectively as well as surviving Lele’s Life Orbed Psychic outside her terrain but does a few other things too:
252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 252 HP / 148 SpD Torkoal: 150-176 (84.7 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 148 SpD Torkoal in Psychic Terrain: 141-166 (79.6 – 93.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 252 HP / 148 SpD Torkoal: 121-144 (68.3 – 81.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 148 SpD Torkoal in Electric Terrain: 134-160 (75.7 – 90.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
164+ SpA Choice Specs Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 252 HP / 148 SpD Torkoal in Sun: 78-92 (44 – 51.9%) — 8.6% chance to 2HKO
Offensively, you’ll be doing a little more damage than with the first spread, just be careful about being locked into Eruption; as mentioned earlier, 110 is the magic HP number which indicates it’s time to stop launching Eruptions!
108+ SpA Choice Specs Torkoal Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Celesteela in Sun: 218-260 (106.8 – 127.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
108+ SpA Choice Specs Torkoal Overheat vs. 236 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Lele in Sun: 160-189 (91.4 – 108%) — 50% chance to OHKO
108+ SpA Choice Specs Torkoal Overheat vs. 28 HP / 116 SpD Hariyama in Sun: 226-267 (101.3 – 119.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
108+ SpA Choice Specs Torkoal Solar Beam vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 104-124 (58.7 – 70%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
If longevity is something you’re desperately concerned about on Torkoal you COULD switch your item to Assault Vest. I’d definitely advise against this though, especially because the point of Torkoal is to get off as much damage as possible, the option’s definitely there though and we’ve seen crazier things work in VGC before!
Once you’ve picked your Sun setter’s spread, it’s time to consider your Lilligant build:
I feel like players don’t really look at Lilligant’s base stats; she just gets flung alongside a Torkoal and is turned into a Sleep Powder/After You slave. Defensively, Lilligant is largely unimpressive – 70/75/75 means any vaguely strong super effective hits will be taking her down in one hit. 90 Base speed is significant as it allows her to outspeed an unburdened Drifblim (more on that later) and indeed almost all of the meta once her speed is doubled with sun. A stat which is sometimes overlooked is that base 110 Sp Atk; with access to some very powerful Grass attacks Lilligant can deal some significant damage if she feels like taking a break from supporting Torkoal.
Set 1: Standard Lilligant
Lilligant (F) @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– After You
– Leaf Storm
– Sleep Powder
– Protect/Hidden Power Ice
Z move taken? Well here’s a non glamorous, consistent Lilligant to sit next to your Torkoal. The moveset is self explanatory, After You and Sleep Powder helps to support your Torkoal whilst Leaf Storm is your outrageously powerful base 130 STAB attack of choice. The only real choice for this spread comes in the final slot, Protect is usually mandatory for Lilligant but – with the Focus Sash – Hidden Power Ice becomes a viable alternative to hit Garchomp and the occasional Salamence. Running Modest nature provides a nice boost to that 110 Base Special Attack whilst the sun takes care of boosting that lower speed stat!
252+ SpA Lilligant Leaf Storm vs. 252 HP / 44 SpD Tapu Fini: 168-200 (94.9 – 112.9%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Lilligant Leaf Storm vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Golduck: 258-306 (166.4 – 197.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ SpA Lilligant Hidden Power Ice vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Salamence: 160-192 (93.5 – 112.2%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Lilligant Hidden Power Ice vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 156-184 (85.2 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
Set 2: Flower Power!
Lilligant (F) @ Grassium Z
EVs: 236 HP / 92 Def / 20 SpA / 68 SpD / 92 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– After You
– Leaf Storm
– Sleep Powder
Do you like your flowers spicy? If so, here’s my personal Lilligant spread. When building my spreads I like to check a couple of boxes – the defensive investment allows Lilligant to take a Poison Jab from Muk or a Psychic from Tapu Lele
252+ Atk Muk-Alola Poison Jab vs. 236 HP / 92 Def Lilligant: 146-174 (83.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 236 HP / 68 SpD Lilligant in Psychic Terrain: 148-175 (84.5 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
The offensive investment guarantees a Ohko onto Tapu Fini with Bloom Doom or offers an extremely high chance (or a guarantee if the Fini is any less bulky than Trainer Tower Fini) to KO with a regular Leaf Storm after Fini takes Bloom Doom through Protect:
20+ SpA Lilligant Bloom Doom (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 188-224 (106.2 – 126.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
20+ SpA Lilligant Bloom Doom (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini through Protect: 47-56 (26.5 – 31.6%)
20+ SpA Lilligant Leaf Storm vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 126-150 (71.1 – 84.7%)
Whilst the speed investment creeps Shoma Honami’s Drifblim by one point. This spread can be optimised for your own teams – if you don’t care too much about guaranteeing a survival from Muk’s Poison Jab, drop all your defensive investment and throw it into speed as this ensures you outspeed Modest 252 Spe Drifblim by a point as well.
The most important parts of this Lilligant spread is the ability to take a Psychic from Tapu Lele as well as outspeeding Drifblim. In my opinion, Torkoal Lilligant is a wonderful check to the most common seed tailwind combination in the metagame and allows you to run a flowchart in this particular matchup.
Chlorophyll matches the boost Unburden gives to Drifblim so you can easily prevent an opposing Tailwind by simply Sleep Powdering the Drifblim. If, however, you predict an attack from Tapu Lele, you could fire off a Z Sleep Powder onto that slot, attack with Torkoal and allow Drifblim to set up Tailwind. As a Z move, Sleep Powder gives Lilligant a +1 boost to speed so the only thing outspeeding your Lilligant will be a Drifblim which doesn’t offer too much in the way of offensive pressure. Once you get the first turn right, the rest of the game is easy pickings; blast through the remainder of your opponents team with Sleep Powder or After You Eruptions and secure that comfortable victory, just be wary of Sleep Powders shaky 75% accuracy…
So there you have it, Lilligant and Torkoal spreads ready to be used and abused on Showdown, keep an eye on ChaoticEspeon.com over the coming days for the next weather abusing duo!