EarthBurst? No, BoomQuake.
Jamie Boyt is a player known for using off-meta strategies at the highest level, and his YouTube channel is the perfect place for him to show off that creativity. However, this new strategy was not his creation, but he has certainly brought it into the public eye.
This particular VGC 2017 format team features no Tapu and no Ultra Beasts. Instead, the stars of the show are Palossand and Toucannon. We’ve talked about Palossand before, but Toucannon is a Pokemon that I thought we’d never see in a VGC match. The combination relies on Boomburst and Earthquake spam which combos perfectly with Palossand’s Ghost-type and Toucannon’s Flying-type. Throw in Oranguru to set up Trick Room and you have yourself a sweep. Let’s take a look at this outrageous team and how it could be a viable best-of-one strategy.
Before we get into the actual BoomQuake portion of this team, let’s talk about the premier set-up Pokemon of the team. Oranguru has three main selling points that make it perfect for this strategy: Trick Room, Instruct and the ability Telepathy. Since this team aims to spam the moves Earthquake and Boomburst (both hitting your partner Pokemon) Oranguru’s combination of Instruct and Telepathy allows either Palossand or Toucannon to fire off two attacks while Oranguru takes zero damage.
A specific tech Boyt was using for the team was the Z-Thunder on Oranguru. This powerful Gigavolt Havoc isn’t actually that strong coming from Oranguru, that doesn’t get any sort of boost from using this Z move. It still does a ton of damage to opposing Celesteela and Tapu Fini which do give this team some trouble.
Toucannon: The Boom
Toucannon was by far one of the most subpar early-game birds we’ve gotten in the Pokemon series, but it seems we’ve finally found a use for it. It surprisingly gets a lot of strong moves as well as a great ability in Sheer Force; but unfortunately it suffers from mediocre stats across the board.
Boomburst is a 140 base power Normal-type attack that hits all Pokemon on the field. Combining Toucannon with a Choice Specs makes this attack one that most in the format do not want to take twice. Like I said, Toucannon has mediocre stats with Special Attack being no exception, but the same-type attack boost plus the Choice Specs actually puts out a ton of damage.
Another positive about Toucannon is its surprisingly good move pool. The set on this team rounds itself out with Overheat and Flash Cannon which will likely rarely be used, but they’re solid coverage moves if Boomburst isn’t going to cut it.
Palossand: The Quake
Like Toucannon, Palossand is not the strongest Pokemon, but the addition of a Choice item can help remedy that. Palossand’s Ghost-type makes it immune to Boomburst, allowing the combination of Palossand and Toucannon to spam their attacks next to each other with no consequence.
As we’ve seen with Pokemon like Garchomp, Earthquake is a great spam-able move in the 2017 format due to how many common Pokemon are weak to Ground-type attacks. Palossand’s other physical attacking options aren’t as good as Toucannon’s special attacks, but honestly Earthquake is about all you need.
Out of the two, Palossand would likely be the harder one to take down considering how well its typing deals with the VGC 2017 meta game. This duo might leave a bit to be desired in the damage department, but they are certainly not the easiest Pokemon to deal with.
The Supporting Cast
The team that Boyt featured on his channel did not stop its creativity at the aforementioned trio.
Smeargle and Palossand have been a fun best-of-one combo in the past, so the inclusion of Smeargle almost acts as a bluff for this strategy. Smeargle’s job is mainly what it always does, but leading with Smeargle usually means you need it to help Oranguru set up Trick Room. Smeargle still does Smeargle things.
Rampardos is an insanely strong Pokemon but its speed stat holds it back a lot. Did I mention this thing has a Choice Scarf? Even with a Choice Scarf, don’t expect to be out-speeding much further than Kartana. But with Flamethrower tech’d onto this team’s move set, getting rid of Kartana is very doable with this Pokemon.
Like I said, Rampardos is very strong and its role here is just getting big damage off. There’s not a lot of depth to this choice, but I can say for certain that a Head Smash from Rampardos hurts a lot.
Unfortunately we never got to see Magmortar do anything in Boyt’s two videos featuring this team. We know that it has an Assault Vest and that it’s likely on the team to help deal with Celesteela. Magmortar’s move pool makes it a good Assault Vest user, and I wish we could’ve seen more of it.
The future of BoomQuake
Despite how cool this is, it’s not looking too great for this strategy. For one, it’s incredibly gimmicky and I definitely do NOT recommend bringing this team to a best-of-three tournament. Also, the potential to build on this combo with more Pokemon in VGC 2018 is admittedly a little awkward.
Golurk is the only other Ghost/Ground-type Pokemon out there, and it logically seems like the next step up from Palossand. The issue here is regarding the Boomburst Pokemon. We have plenty other Boomburst users that can also fly/levitate, but the thing is they don’t exactly work well under Trick Room. Options like Swellow and Chatot might be stronger than Toucannon, but both are significantly faster, making the Trick Room synergy falter.
I’ve gone this entire piece without crediting the mind behind this team so all credit for this team goes to Twitter user @BB_Mastodon_VGC. You also have to give credit to Jamie Boyt for effectively showcasing the team, so make sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel and check out his “Funconventionality” series.
This team is a fun thing to maybe try on Battle Spot, but like I said, I don’t see it having any real competitive viability. Boyt might have been near the bottom of the Battle Spot ladder when showcasing the team, but there’s evidence that this strategy can work. Maybe you can earn a Premier Challenge win with the team, as all of your opponents scratch their heads wondering how they lost to a Toucannon and Palossand. You can then triumphantly tell them that they just got BoomQuake’d.
Images from Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
Featured Image credit to Jamie Boyt on YouTube
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