Welcome to our first installment of Ladder Legends! In this article series we’ll be taking a look at teams used in the higher echelons of the Pokémon Showdown ladder for VGC 2020! Whilst we’ll stick as close to the original team’s items and move sets, our featured teams won’t contain the exact EV spreads of the originals; instead, we’ll provide sample spreads so you can copy & paste your way to the top of the ladder and tweak as you go!
Our first featured Ladder Legend is Spanish player NatillasWarrior who was found lurking around the 1700s mark with Vanilluxe & friends and currently stands with a rating of 1776 & sits 161st on Showdown’s VGC 2020 ladder!
Overall, the team is incredibly balanced with all but two of the Pokémon sitting at middling speeds to take advantage of the speed control offered by Whimiscott & Togekiss; let’s get into the squad!
Whimsicott @ Mental Herb
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast/Energy Ball
From the games we observed, Whimsicott appeared to be Natillas’ go to lead; the use of Mental Herb over Focus Sash guaranteed Trick Room would be set and provided an opportunity for Whimsicott to go down immediately, ensuring two of the squads powerful sweepers would have access to the full duration of Tailwind whilst avoiding the difficult situation of having your own sash broken by your own choice of weather.
With the rising popularity of Gothitelle, Protect allows Whimiscott to lead into Gothitelle teams without fear of being knocked out by a combination of Fake Out and an attack from Gothitelle’s partner.
Whilst Fake Tears may appear to make more sense over Charm initially, this team can have difficulty against a Dynamax Durant; the ability to drop its Attack stat by two stages goes some way to mitigate Durant’s huge offensive presence.
To round the moveset off, Moonblast and Energy Ball both fit the squad and it comes down primarily to personal preference; the squad’s creator was running Moonblast and I’m inclined to agree this would be way to go, especially with the team having other ways of taking out opposing Gastrodon with 4x effective damage.
Vanilluxe @ Focus Sash
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Aurora Veil
(alternative EV spread to outspeed Dragapult at +1)
EVs: 12 HP / 252 SpA / 244 Spe
In the early days of generation five, Vanilluxe was subject to an unfair amount of criticism by being scapegoated as the prime example of Game Freak “running out of ideas” because an Ice Cream Pokémon had been created. Though there are now a few more dessert based Pokémon on the menu, Vanilluxe stands out as the best of the bunch – at least in this format. It’s Ice typing combined with a more than respectable base 110 Special Attack ensures Vanilluxe is hitting the vast majority of the meta for huge amounts of damage without the need for running any real coverage.
Blizzard inflicts mass amounts of spread damage whilst Freeze-Dry makes easy work of taking down Dracovish and Gastrodon due to its ability to hit water type Pokémon super effectively.
Aurora Veil could be dropped in favour of Ice Shard should you find yourself needing the Priority attack on the team, but the opportunity to boost both your physical and special defenses for five turns (especially considering how bulky this team is built to be) could be too good to pass up.
In the observed games, Whimsicott/Vanilluxe appeared to be this team’s go to lead, taking advantage of the new speed mechanics (where any changes to speed now come into effect immediately during a turn) to launch powerful Blizzards into your opponents before they even get the chance to move.
Togekiss @ Weakness Policy/Scope Lens
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 236 HP / 196 Def / 4 SpA / 12 SpD / 60 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Air Slash
– Follow Me
– Heat Wave
– Dazzling Gleam
Togekiss has established itself as, by far and away, the most popular Pokémon of the format. We won’t go too deep into what makes Togekiss so good, we’ll save that for a future article, so for now take the bog standard EV spread which is available on Trainer Tower’s damage Calculator.
The item choice comes down to personal preference, Weakness Policy takes advantage of Togekiss’ ridiculous bulk whilst dynamaxed to turn it into an offensive power house, whilst the Scope Lens partnered with the Super Luck ability gives you a 50% chance to land a critical hit.
This particular moveset gives Togekiss the most flexibility with enough coverage to overwhelm most opposing Pokémon whilst also keeping hold of Follow Me to protect its partner Pokémon.
Arcanine @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 100 Def / 52 SpA / 84 SpD / 28 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Heat Wave
Until Incineroar hits the format in… well… a few days time, Arcanine sits as the prime Intimidate Pokémon. If you’ve played previous formats before, you’ll be well aware of Arcanine’s purpose – reducing opponents damage output with a combination of Snarl, Intimidate and Will-O-Wisp. In combination with Vanilluxe’s Aurora Veil and the team’s overall bulk, you’re beginning to see how difficult it becomes to break this team down in longer matches.
Safeguard offers your team protection from Yawn and the combination of Gravity/Hypnosis from Dusclops and Gothitelle whilst Heat Wave does decent spread damage to opposing teams and also OHKO’s a dynamax Durant.
The EV spread allows Arcanine to take a hit from Dynamax Durant, heal back a good chunk of HP with the Sitrus Berry and fires back with a Heat Wave to bypass any opposing redirection
Gyarados @ Wacan Berry
EVs: 4 HP / 132 Atk / 132 SpD / 240 Spe
– Power Whip
using Gyarados in 2017; so I’m sure you can imagine how much I appreciate seeing a Gyarados feature fairly highly on the Showdown Ladder.
With the Wacan Berry, Gyarados’ EV spread allows you to take a Max Lightning from the standard Trainer Tower Rotom-W spread:
Conkeldurr @ Assault Vest
EVs: 244 HP / 228 Atk / 36 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Mach Punch
– Drain Punch
– Thunder Punch
– High Horsepower
And finally, your “lazy” Trick Room counter, Conkeldurr. As you can imagine, this Pokémon hits hard and can take countless hits due to its 105/95/65 bulk, Assault Vest and access to recovery in Drain Punch. The use of Guts as the ability also ensures your attack will be increased by either opposing or your own Arcanine’s Will-O-Wisp.
Mach Punch and Drain Punch are, in my opinion, irreplaceable on an Assault Vest set whilst the final two coverage moves are completely your own choice, however – if you can burn Conkeldurr with your own Will-O-Wisp, the following damage calcs make Thunder Punch incredibly appealing:
228+ Atk Guts Conkeldurr Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Charizard: 308-364 (100 – 118.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Charizard Max Airstream (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 36 SpD Assault Vest Conkeldurr: 176-210 (41.7 – 49.7%) — 23.4% chance to 2HKO after burn damage
Now let’s have a look at the squad in action below! Please keep in mind, to give you guys a true reflection of how effective the team is, we’ll feature both wins & losses.