GSC OU Battle Analysis with commentary by Earthworm
SPL 8 GSC OU: Earthworm vs. Veteran In Love
This article is a guest feature written by user Earthworm of Smogon about his SPL victory over VIL in GSC OU. Earthworm is a multiple Trophy winning battler with an extensive career history in older generations. In recent history he mainly participated in the Smogon Premier League series and World Cup series where he achieved strong showings. The article was edited by Ace Matador. Where possible we have included Pokémon sprites to aid you in keeping track of the score when reading. If you are struggling we encourage you to keep open the replay whilst you read, it is available here.
Leads: Raikou vs Exeggutor
Raikou is most often played on defensive teams, it is also a viable choice for offensive teams. Exeggutor is mostly played on offensive teams, and is also viable on defensive teams. From this both players can make immediate deductions about what could possibly be on the other team.
Lead matchup: Raikou may or may not have HP Ice (players sometimes forgo it for Reflect) Raikou may or may not have Sleep Talk (it usually does not) Exeggutor can be Sleep Powder or Stun Spore – Raikou usually wants to avoid Status and doesn’t want to Rest early unless Sleep Talk, If Raikou has HP Ice and Exeggutor misses, it takes a significant chunk of HP and can create a useful advantage to be exploited. However, if Exeggutor hits, it is a good advantage to the Exeggutor team – Paralysis on Raikou or Zapdos often provides the opportunity for the “6th slot” offensive Pokemon (e.g. Machamp, Vaporeon) to sweep.
Turn 1 (from here on abbreviated to T1, 2, etc.): I use Stun Spore on Skarmory – can provide opportunity for a Fire move Snorlax/Exeggutor or Marowak/Machamp.
T2: Skarm is often a free switch for Cloyster or Forretress, particularly if it doesn’t have Toxic (usually has Curse over Toxic). First Spiker to come in is a typical momentum point for GSC teams – winning the spikes battle can win the game.
T3: Cloyster is often awkward to play against for Defensive teams due to Explosion and Surf – Forretress typically has the disadvantage, and the first player to switch Cloyster in has the advantage over his opponent. Misdreavus is an attempt to get momentum going by threatening Mean Look or Thief.
T4: Tyranitar is Misdreavus’s worst enemy, although can often take Tyranitar down or signicantly weaken it.
T5-T7: Tyranitar ensures that Misdreavus is punished by repeatedly using Pursuit, gets a CH on last turn which enables it to conserve more HP. 6-5 Earthworm.
T8-9: Suicune scouts switchin then lands Toxic – being forced to Rest will eventually give VIL potential recovery turns and give Zapdos fewer free switchins.
T10-11: Zapdos goes for paralysis on Raikou by trading hits. Both drop to around half health.
T12: VIL attempts to switch in on Rest, Earthworm switches to Lax.
T13: VIL scouts for Fire Blast – staying in has too high a degree of risk. Earthworm aims to put Forretress to sleep on speed tie with LK – aiming to maintain Spikes advantage. Misses Suicune
T14: Earthworm covers for Skarm switch and Suicune toxic with Zapdos switch
T15-16: VIL makes defensive Raikou switch and aims to pressure Zapdos and keep Raikou awake by attacking
T17-19: Resources at play are Raikou’s HP due to Spikes and Zapdos’s attacks vs Earthworm’s PP on Lax and Zapdos.
T20: Raikou HP is too low – Rests on Snorlax switch T21-26: Earthworm lowers Skarm’s HP at cost of Body Slam PP
T27-29: Earthworm burns the last Sleep turn and switches to Marowak, revealing the biggest threat to VIL’s team – Raikou with one turn left before waking up. Earthworm can SD or Earthquake targeting Suicune switch – one-time option due to having revealed lack of Sleep Talk. SD best move if Skarmory is to switch in. If Cune switches in on SD, it would trade for ~75% of Marowak’s HP barring CH – likely just outside Skarmory Drill Peck range.
T30: VIL elects to switch to Skarmory on Earthquake, temporarily negating the threat
T33-34: VIL attempts to send Snorlax into a potential Marowak switch to get momentum – is instead met with Snorlax and decides to switch to Skarmory to avoid Lovely Kiss
T38-39: VIL decides to take Sleep in exchange for Spikes
T40-41: VIL defensively switches to Skarmory as Earthworm switches to Cloyster and reveals Rapid Spin – with Forretress asleep, the game is likely to unfold with Spikes only on VIL’s side
T42: VIL burns last Raikou sleep turn
T44: VIL goes to relatively safe switch Suicune which can also cause a Rest with Toxic, potentially letting Snorlax in at low cost – met by Zapdos
T45-50: Earthworm takes advantage of Spikes and Skarmory’s lack of threat to wittle Raikou’s health down
T51-54: Snorlax comes in to avoid risking Raikou to spikes + Thunder paralysis – Toxics Zapdos before Resting. Earthworm anticipates the Rest but does not risk the more threatening Marowak switch and instead takes less risky but still aggressive Snorlax switch to attempt to force Snorlax out without it burning Rest turns. VIL successfully burns one Rest turn at no cost.
T56-58: Full paralysis forces Skarmory to Rest
T59: Earthworm takes advantage of forced switch from VIL to send in Marowak on Raikou.
T60: Earthworm is seemingly unwilling to trade 40% of Marowak’s health for potential Raikou KO – switches to Snorlax.
T62-64: Earthworm forces the Raikou Marowak matchup again but this time determines that VIL is not willing to risk his Raikou. Still hesitant to take risks, goes for EQ instead of SD. Skarmory reveals surprise Sleep Talk fourth move – giving it potential to beat Marowak despite being asleep.
T65-66: Earthworm forces same matchup again but still Earthquakes – given that Skarm has burned a Rest turn already, setting up is not ideal. Meanwhile, Raikou can no longer switch into Zapdos due to Spikes damage.
T67-69: VIL makes aggressive double switch to Snorlax to burn sleep turn, however misses crucial Toxic on Snorlax which would alleviate a lot of pressure.
T72: VIL has determined that he prefers to be asleep rather than risking Paralysis – Earthworm switches to Zapdos to force Skarmory out without it being able to burn sleep turns.
T73: Earthworm double-switches to Marowak, however VIL forced to switch to Snorlax anyway due to Raikou’s low health, unless he is prepared to sacrifice it. Snorlax v Marowak matchup favours VIL due to Toxic.
T74-76: Earthworm absorbs Toxic with low-usefulness Tyranitar. Misses first chip damage with Rock Slide. Tyranitar KOed. 5-5 Tie.
T77-78: Earthworm fears Raikou switching in and uses Surf initially, as VIL’s Toxic misses. Earthworm then hits the second Toxic as VIL misses again. T79: Earthworm predicts Toxic from VIL and switches to Zapdos only taking 6% Poison damage.
T80: Earthworm predicts Rest and switches to Marowak to gain potentially game-winning momentum, however VIL anticipates this and uses Toxic – potentially a do-or-die turn for both players. Marowak now has much greater potential to be stalled out by Skarmory.
T81: VIL makes the safe play by switching to Skarm, but Earthworm aggressively switches to Zapdos – hitting a Thunder from this position will likely net a KO, and VIL must choose which Pokemon to sacrifice.
T82-83: VIL sacrifices Forretress to Thunder in exchange for the turn to Rest with Raikou. 5-4 Earthworm.
Earthworm switches to Exeggutor to gain momentum, knowing the odds are against Raikou to rest loop Psychic and knowing that Explosion poses a large threat.
T84-85: VIL goes to Skarmory to attempt to wall Exeggutor, then takes an unexpected move to attempt to burn a sleep turn against a predicted Zapdos switch. Earthworm does not switch, instead opting for Stun Spore, miscounting sleep turns or aiming at Suicune, and so VIL ends up taking Spikes damage on Raikou.
T86-87: Earthworm anticipates the Skarmory switch and does significant damage with HP Fire, forcing VIL to answer with Suicune which he had been reserving for Marowak.
T88: VIL lacks options with Suicune vs Exeggutor and goes for Toxic, however it is absorbed by Zapdos.
T89-91: Earthworm does not make a double switch fearing having to take Toxic with Snorlax or Exeggutor and instead goes for Thunder to chip Raikou and allowing it to burn a sleep turn. Earthworm decides to make his move with Marowak despite it now being on a timer. VIL responds by switching to Skarmory.
T92: VIL goes for Sleep Talk – Drill Peck would leave Marowak on 50% (Suicune Surf range), Rest would force Marowak to continue to try its luck, and Curse would leave Skarmory very low health and slower than Marowak, but alive, from which point VIL could choose to sacrifice a Pokemon or switch to Suicune. Rest is selected leaving Earthworm in an awkward position, however Rock Slide critical hits, meaning the same situation is in play again, but with selection of Curse resulting in Skarmory fainting.
T93-96: Interestingly, Skarmory selects Drill Peck on the turn where Marowak would die to Poison afterwards, leaving it on 12% with one sleep turn left to burn. 4-4 Tie.
T97: Earthworm decides to send in Cloyster instead of Zapdos, aiming to force in Suicune instead of Raikou, but risking a speed tie Sleep Talk Rest in the process. VIL decides to switch to Suicune.
T98-99: Earthworm scouts for a switch-back to Skarmory on a predicted Toxic but instead simply gets Poisoned by Suicune’s Toxic then Roared.
T100-101: VIL anticipates that Earthworm will not risk Toxic and uses Surf to hit Zapdos or Cloyster. Earthworm finally lands Toxic on Suicune and sacrifices Cloyster to allow Zapdos in. 3-4 VIL.
T102-103: Earthworm sends in Zapdos to force out Suicune, then doubles to Snorlax (Raikou taking Spikes damage). Skarmory is in KO range of Body Slam on the switch, and also Curse Body Slam after one turn of Leftovers, should he not select Rest or Curse with Sleep Talk.
T104-105: VIL sends in Suicune, knowing that neither Curse nor Body Slam will be threatening enough that he is forced to sacrifice a Pokemon. However, Earthworm then absorbs Toxic with Zapdos, forcing the same situation as two turns ago but with his Pokemon on lower health. T106-108: Earthworm again double-switches to Snorlax on the Raikou switch from VIL. He decides to Curse, potentially anticipating a Suicune sacrifice which would enable Skarmory to rest. VIL instead stays in and uses Roar, which favourably brings out Zapdos instead of Exeggutor.
T109-113: Earthworm sends in Exeggutor, which VIL now has no switch for now that Suicune has been worn down by Spikes and Toxic. He gets Paralysis with Thunder, which would potentially allow him to win the Rest loop. However, on the same turn, Earthworm’s Psychic lowers Raikou’s SpDef. VIL sacrifices Suicune to bring in his Snorlax. 3-3 Tie.
T114-117: VIL predicts a switch to Snorlax and uses Toxic, however Earthworm attacks with Exeggutor, forcing Snorlax to Rest the following turn. Earthworm still stays in but is fully paralysed. He then explodes on Snorlax to take it down. 2-2 Tie.
At this point, to have a chance, VIL must successfully guess whether Earthworm will send out Zapdos or Snorlax. Should he choose correctly, due to Spikes being up on his side of the field, he would then have to KO one Pokemon before he runs out of PP, because Earthworm can otherwise simply switch ad infinitum. Also, should Zapdos run out of Thunder, VIL could potentially win with Skarmory, although Sleep Talk would still pose a problem.
T118: VIL chooses incorrectly and is forced to sacrifice Skarmory to Zapdos. 2-1 Earthworm.
T119-125: Although a paralysis + fully paralysed Snorlax turn gives VIL a glimmer or hope, in the end Snorlax KOs Raikou.