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Dizzing Gears - A Guide To Rotation Battles
Arceus
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Dizzing Gears - A Guide To Rotation Battles
Rotation Battles
By Arceus


Introduction
Rotation battles are very different than any other kind of battle. You always have three Pokemon on the field at the same time. Entry hazards are seldom used because of the need to have 3 Pokemon on the field at the same time. In flat and rated battles you will use 4 Pokemon total. This guide is assuming it is for a normal match and not Ubers.

Rotation battles require a large amount of thought to go into each decision because you can only do one action each turn, unlike triples where you pick one action for each Pokemon. You have to predict if the opponent will keep their same Pokemon in the front or if they will rotate. Switching out your active Pokemon for a different one is something that should generally be avoided. If your active Pokemon can't take the hit, you should normally rotate instead to a Pokemon that is better suited to take the hit. You can't afford to be giving up turns. You always want to make sure that your Pokemon can cover for each others weakness; don't have all Pokemon that are weak to one type out at the same time.

Mechanics
A Pokemon that has an ability that triggers as soon as it enters the battle will only have it work if it is in the center / active position. This is important to remember if you are using a weather starter on your team. Trace will copy whatever ability the opponent has on their Pokemon that is active. Download relies on that same Pokemon's stats. Intimidate and Frisk only work against the Pokemon that is active, not all of them.

In rotation battles each Pokemon has its own counters for the various conditions that require them. This includes Protect, Detect, Endure, Quick Guard, Wide Guard, Toxic, Sleep, Confusion, Metronome, Fury Cutter, Rollout, and Perish Song. It is important to know that if your Pokemon is poisoned or burned that it will only take damage if it is in the active position. It will not take damage if a different Pokemon is active. Turns for Sleep will only count if that Pokemon is active. Metronome is interesting. If you use an attack this turn, rotate to another Pokemon the next turn, then go back to the previous Pokemon and use the same attack, it will provide the boost. Moves that have a charge turn will hit whichever Pokemon the opponent has active on the damaging turn. It is not tied to the Pokemon that was active when the move was selected.

There are no such things as long range moves in rotation battles nor are there moves that can target more than one of the opposing Pokemon at the same time. The moves Reflect, Light Screen, Safeguard, Mist, and Tail Wind affect all Pokemon on your side of the field. Perish Song will only affect the Pokemon in the active positions.

In order to Mega Evolve, your Pokemon must be brought to the active position and attack. You can't Mega Evolve and rotate to something else to attack in the same turn.

Standard teams that are originally meant for singles will work fine in rotation battles. As such, I am not going to describe them.

Rain Teams
Rain is the first of the types of weather teams I will talk about. Politoed is essential on the team for its ability Drizzle. Having it hold the item Damp Rock is recommended because this will increase the duration of the rain from 5 turns to 8 turns. You will need at least 1 or 2 of your Pokemon to know the move Rain Dance in case another weather comes into play or the rain ends. Using Politoed for this is a good idea since it generally will not be as strong as your Pokemon that are abusing the rain. Typically you will EV Politoed defensively, focusing more on Special Defense than physical defense because it tends to be the target of powerful special attacks. You also won't be attacking as much with Politoed which is why you don't invest many EVs into Special Attack.

Kingdra is an excellent Pokemon to put on a rain team for its ability Swift Swim which will double its Speed in the rain. Kingdra also has respectable stats in both offenses. Keeping Kingdra alive is important because that is how you deal with other Dragon-Types more effectively. Greninja also works well in the rain with its naturally high Speed and good Special Attack. Rain boosted water moves will hit the opponent quite hard when Greninja is holding a Life Orb.

Ferrothorn deserves special mention because it fits very well on rain teams. Almost any Pokemon that can threaten the other members of the team is defeated by Ferrothorn. It weakness to fire is also cut by half during the rain. Ferrothorn also works great in mirror matches. Remember that if you are using Thunder Wave that you should generally avoid Gyro Ball and use Iron Head instead because their speed will be quartered.

The Mega Pokemon of choice for rain teams will usually be Blastoise because it does vicious damage in the rain. It also is capable of surviving Thunderbolt from Mega Manectric which is saying something. Water Pulse in the rain is enough to OHKO Mega Manectric back. Mega Blastoise gets nice coverage with Aura Sphere and Dark Pulse to go with Water Pulse. With Aura Sphere, Mega Blastoise is able to win against Ferrothorn, but it will take considerable damage in the process.

The other good Mega Evolution for rain teams is Mega Venusaur. Thick Fat will cut the damage it takes from fire attacks back to neutral and when rain is in effect, it will do little damage to it. The downside is that Mega Venusaur will not be able to get rid of Ferrothorn easily. Sets that utilize Curse will be able to, but special based sets will not be able to defeat Ferrothorn unless they have Hidden Power Fighting or Fire.

While not inflicting any extra damage during rain, the moves Hurricane and Thunder gain perfect accuracy which gives a leverage against the opponent. Both moves have a 30% chance of causing their side effect. Hurricane also is helpful because grass Pokemon resist the boosted water attacks.

Here are some other Pokemon that can benefit through the rain either by their ability or moves they are able to learn.
  • Ludicolo
  • Omastar
  • Kabutops
  • Noivern
  • Starmie
  • Lanturn
  • Latios / Latias

Rain teams should have one or two Pokemon of the six Pokemon dedicated to getting rid of grass and electric types. Ferrothorn is a particularly nasty Pokemon for rain teams to get rid of. It may be easier to get rid of Ferrothorn with Fighting-Type moves simply because you won't need to change the weather which will cause your team to lose momentum. Using a Conkeldurr with Assault Vest can work really well for this. Guts will also power up Conkeldurr's Attack should Ferrothorn choose to paralyze it. Magnezone is another great Pokemon for this job, especially if you have Magnezone with the move Substitute which will block Leech Seed. While it won't do as much damage per hit as Conkeldurr, it will take considerably less damage.

Another tricky Pokemon for rain teams to get rid of is Mega Manectric. While it isn't super common, it is a big threat to rain teams since it will outpace any of your Pokemon that don’t have Swift Swim and strike hard with Thunderbolt. If Lanturn has Volt Absorb it can work since it also is resistant to Heat Wave which will matter more when it isn't raining. Latios has to be holding either Life Orb or Choice Specs in order to be able to reliably OHKO Mega Manectric with Draco Meteor, however, Latios will lose nearly half of its HP in the process. Wise Glasses can be used, but there is a small chance the OHKO will be missed.

Sun Teams

Sun teams have two options in regards to which weather Pokemon they will be using. The first is Ninetales which has the ability to hold Heat Rock to increase the duration of the sun for three additional turns. The other option is Mega Charizard Y. While Mega Charizard Y does have superior stats, it won't be able to hold any item which means less turns of sunshine. This also eliminates being able to use another Mega Pokemon. Teams can certainly run both Pokemon in their group of six since the Pokemon needed will be based on the opponent's team. Solarbeam is a great move to have on both of them because no charge turn is necessary during the sunlight. Ninetales can afford to give up one of its move slots to Sunny Day to make sure the weather is still in your control. As long as the weather is sunny, water attacks will only do half their normal damage. Mega Charizard Y shouldn't have Sunny Day because of how powerful it is. It is better as an attacker than an actual weather starter.

During intense sunlight the ability Chlorophyll will activate doubling the Pokemon's Speed. This gives grass Pokemon a bigger edge against water Pokemon that are fast, but fragile such as Greninja. It is also worth mentioning that the ability Solar Power is activated during harsh sunlight. This powers up moves, but the Pokemon takes damage after each turn.

Many teams will use Charizard Y as their Mega Pokemon because it changes the weather to sunny. It also has an excellent movepool and the power to use the moves. Mega Charizard X can be used to inflict extreme damage with Flare Blitz, but then the team only has one weather starter and would need to have an additional Pokemon with Sunny Day to be safe. A benefit Mega Charizard X does have is that it gains the dragon typing and gets rid of flying. This removes its weakness to water and electric moves, but does make it susceptible to ground moves.

Some good Pokemon that can take advantage of the sun are:
  • Heatran
  • Talonflame
  • Moltres
  • Houndoom
  • Exeggutor
  • Sawsbuck

Sun teams actually do quite well because the grass Pokemon work to defeat the water Pokemon that would give the fire Pokemon a hard time. They are also varied enough with physical and special attackers where neither wall should be hard to break. Talonflame's Brave Bird has priority making fast Pokemon not something to worry much about since they tend to be fragile. Sun teams are a great way to start learning to battle in the rotation style because of how easy they are to build and how well they function.

Sand Teams
Sand teams also have two primary weather starting Pokemon, Hippowdon and Tyranitar. Hippowdon really doesn't have any other good item choices for it beyond Smooth Rock to increase the duration of the sandstorm. Tyranitar has to make a choice. It is capable of mega evolving which will result in an increase to its stats. Air Balloon is also a viable option for it so it can avoid damage from Earthquake. In rotation battles Hippowdon should have Sandstorm because it is primarily a weather starter and not so much of an attacker.

The ability Sand Rush is activated during a sandstorm which will double a Pokemon's Speed. This ability is more often seen on Excadrill than any other Pokemon because the others are not as viable. Sand Force is also activated which increases the damage rock, ground, and steel moves do during a sandstorm. Rock types will also have their Special Defense raised 1 stage during a sandstorm. Sand Veil will raise the Pokemon's evasion one stage during a sandstorm. It should be noted that this ability is banned from standard competitive play. It is not banned from rated battles.

Mega Tyranitar is a common choice for sand teams because of its excellent stats and it starts a sandstorm upon entering the battle. Mega Tyranitar is capable of surviving strong water attacks in sand. Mega Garchomp is sometimes used which does ferocious damage during a sandstorm with its ability, but it does lose some Speed that regular Garchomp had. Mega Mawile can also be a good choice because of its ability Huge Power which doubles its attack. It has access to Sucker Punch as a priority move. Its other moves also hit hard.

Some good Pokemon that benefit from sand are:
  • Landorus
  • Regirock
  • Garchomp
  • Excadrill
  • Terrakion

Sand teams will struggle against rain teams because of the natural weakness ground and rock Pokemon have to water. Sun teams are surprisingly about an even match-up and it really comes down to which team is built better and which player did the better moves. Sand teams may have difficulty taking down physically bulky Pokemon such as Skarmory and Ferrothorn. Rotom-W can also be difficult because of it having good Speed and being able to either burn with Will-O-Wisp or hit hard with Hydro Pump.

Hail Teams
Hail is the last of the various weathers. It is also the weakest. Abomasnow is the typical weather starter. It will usually also be the Mega Pokemon of a hail team. Mega Abomasnow loses Speed, but it gains considerable Attack, Special Attack, and defenses. Aurorus can also have Snow Warning, but it is fairly weak and has two types that it takes quadruple damage from. one positive thing about Aurorus is being able to hold Icy Rock since no other item is great for it beyond Focus Sash.

Ice Body activates during a hailstorm and will restore a small amount of HP to the Pokemon. Snow Cloak increases the Pokemon's evasion during hail also. It should be noted that the ability Snow Cloak is banned from standard play, but is not from rated battles. During a hailstorm the move Blizzard will always hit.

Hail teams are geared defensively, not offensively like the other weathers. Due to this and weather starting abilities getting nerfed, it makes hail teams not do well.

Some Pokemon that are good on hail teams are:
  • Walrein
  • Articuno
  • Regice
  • Greninja - Must have Ice Beam or Blizzard
  • Glaceon
  • Lapras

Hail teams will struggle immensely against sun teams. They will be burnt to a crisp before being able to do anything. Rain teams are problematic because of naturally resisting ice attacks.

Tailwind Teams
Tailwind is different than any of the previous styles. It doesn't specialize in any specific type of Pokemon. These teams use Tailwind to double their Speed for four turns. This can't be increased with an item. Teams that have Tailwind tend to also use bulkier stronger Pokemon that have only mediocre Speed.

Some Pokemon are better than others at using Tailwind. Talonflame has the ability Gale Wings which automatically gives +1 priority to any Flying move it uses. Tornadus has Prankster which raises the priority of any nondamaging move it uses by 1. Those are the best two users of Tailwind because they are reliable.

The rest of the team will focus on using a variety of types that have diverse movepools. It should include both physical and special attackers so no one Pokemon becomes problematic to defeat.

Mega Garchomp does work quite well on this type of team because it has very high attack power and fair speed. It also possesses above average defenses.

On a Tailwind team it is important to try and keep your Tailwind users alive so you can use the move again. The team is most vulnerable when Tailwind is no longer in effect because many of its members will be outpaced.

Trick Room Teams

Trick room teams are also different in that they use some of the slowest Pokemon around, but they also tend to be bulky. While Trick Room is in effect, the Pokemon with the lowest Speed goes first. Move priorities are still in effect so Roar would still move last. Similarly Quick Attack will strike first unless the opponent uses a move of a higher priority.

Trick Room teams often have two or three Pokemon that know Trick Room. It is important to remember that the move itself has the lowest possible priority, even lower than Roar. Make sure you don't use the move when you suspect Taunt. Slowbro and Slowking are common Pokemon with this move because of being bulky and slow. If they have the ability Oblivious, they also are unaffected by Taunt. Cresselia sometimes will carry this move. It is also sometimes seen on slow Ghost Pokemon like Dusclops. Carbink is a good user of Trick Room because it has incredible defenses and can have the ability Sturdy so it can't be OHKO'd. Aromatisse makes an excellent user of Trick Room because it isn't able to be Taunted and has the defenses to not get KO'd in oone hit.

Mega Mawile can be a good option for Trick Room teams simply because of how slow it is. It has Huge Power which doubles its attack and makes it very threatening. It also does well against the Dark and Ghost Pokemon that would try and get rid of Trick Room users. Mega Tyranitar also does well because of being slow, but powerful. It also has better defenses than Mega Mawile and triggers a sandstorm upon entering battle.

Trick Room teams must be very careful when Trick Room is not in effect because they will not be moving before other Pokemon. Trick Room teams do have to be able to reliably defeat ghost and dark type Pokemon since those will pose a threat to its Trick Room users.



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