Building a Competitive Singles Team Around the Grass/Dark Type Combination
Continuing on with my post regarding everything about the Grass/Dark-type combination, to better understand how to utilize the Grass/Dark-typing in battle, I will build some example teams around a Grass/Dark-type Pokémon. Considering that Zarude is the best Grass/Dark-type Pokémon to use in competitive play currently, I will build my teams around Zarude, which will be a basic balanced team for Singles competition. Additionally, I would build a standard Sun team for Doubles competition in another future post.
Beginning with the Singles team, of course, my first choice would be Zarude, considering that it is the Pokémon that I am building my team around. Because Zarude has high Attack and Speed, Zarude would take on the role of a physical sweeper, with EV spreads of 252 in Attack, 252 in Speed, and 6 EVs in Defense. Its moves will consist of Darkest Lariat, Power Whip, Bulk Up, and Jungle Healing. Darkest Lariat, a move that ignores the opponent's stat changes when inflicting damage, provides Zarude with strong Dark-type STAB and ability to break through defensive walls easier and potentially avoid pesky Evasion strategies that make the opponent almost impossible to hit. Power Whip, while inaccurate, has a base power of 120, which ensures that Zarude is able to hit extremely hard with Grass-type STAB, especially in Grassy Terrain, which is more likely to be on the field if Zarude Dynamaxes and uses Max Overgrowth. Power Whip also provides Max Overgrowth with a base power of 140. Bulk Up boosts Zarude's Attack and Defense stat, which not only ensures that Zarude has enough Attack to sweep, but also has enough Defense to survive physical attacks as well. Lastly, Jungle Healing recovers Zarude's health, which increases Zarude's survivability and also cures Zarude of all major status conditions, which could remove hindering conditions that limit its offensive potential such as Burn.
The next Pokémon would assume the role of special sweeper. When choosing a special sweeper, I will consider Zarude's type combination of Grass/Dark. While the Grass/Dark typing has seven weaknesses, the possibility exists that I could add more Pokémon to the team with the ability to cover Zarude's weaknesses. Considering that Zarude is weak to Fairy, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Ice, Poison, and doubly weak to Bug, a good teammate for Zarude would be Nihilego, the Rock/Poison type Ultra Beast Pokémon. Nihilego can cover for most of Zarude's weaknesses defensively, such as Bug, Fairy, Fire, Flying, and doubly so for Poison, but takes neutral damage from Fighting and Ice-type moves. As the team's special sweeper, with a base 103 Speed stat and a base 127 Special Attack stat, Nihilego performs at her best with 252 Special Attack EVs, 252 Speed EVs, and 6 Special Defense EVs. To ensure that she outspeeds most of her competition, her Nature should be Timid, a Nature that increases her Speed by 10% but decreases her Attack by 10%. Considering that Nihilego is a special attacker, her Attack stat is completely irrelevant. Its moves would consist of Meteor Beam, Power Gem, Sludge Bomb, and Psychic or Psyshock, and its held item would be a Power Herb. Meteor Beam boosts its Special Attack by one stage during the first turn the move is used, ensuring that Nihilego has enough power to sweep. During the first use of the move, the Power Herb would activate and allow Nihilego to attack with Meteor Beam on the first turn. Meteor Beam is a very powerful Special Rock-type move with 120 base power, which provides strong Rock-type STAB, but beware of its 90% accuracy. Power Gem ensures that Nihilego has another strong Rock-type STAB attack to sweep the competition after using Meteor Beam, which would require a charge turn without the Power Herb. Power Gem is useful for taking down the Bug, Fire, Ice, and Flying-type Pokémon that threaten Zarude. Sludge Bomb provides Nihilego with strong Poison-type STAB, which is useful for taking down the Fairy-type Pokémon that threaten Zarude, as well as other Grass-type Pokémon that Zarude would otherwise inflict neutral damage upon with its Dark typing. Lastly, Psychic or Psyshock provides Nihilego with Psychic-type coverage, allowing her to hit the Fighting and Poison-type Pokémon that threaten Zarude. Psyshock is suggested over Psychic for its ability to inflict physical damage instead of special damage, which is great for using a special attacker to break physical walls. Nonetheless, Psychic-type coverage with Nihilego is optional, as other Pokémon can provide this role.
For the next addition of the example team, I require a wallbreaker that is capable of breaking most walls and doing massive damage, as well as provide more defensive coverage for the Grass/Dark-type Pokémon Zarude. Considering that Nihilego fails to cover Zarude's weaknesses defensively with the exception of Fighting and Ice-type moves, another good teammate for Zarude would be Victini, another mythical Pokémon. As a Fire/Psychic-type Pokémon, Victini covers Zarude's Fighting, Fire, Ice, and Fairy-type weaknesses. As the team's main wallbreaker, with all of its base stats totaling 100, Victini would have 252 EVs in Attack, 252 EVs in Speed, and 6 IVs in Defense with a Modest Nature, allowing Victini to fully maximize its Attack stat. While Victini might not have an Attack stat that stands out at 100 compared to other wallbreakers, his ability to learn the move V-Create, a Fire-type move with a base power of 180, allows Victini to hit with incredible power, especially when holding a Life Orb. Its moves would consist of V-Create, Zen Headbutt, Taunt, and U-Turn. V-Create is, of course, a very powerful Fire-type STAB move because of its incredible 180 base power that does massive damage to break walls. Zen Headbutt is a strong Psychic-type STAB move that enables Victini to hit the Fighting and Poison-type Pokémon that threaten Zarude. Taunt is a move that prevents the opponent from setting up and/or using stall moves, and U-Turn ensures that Victini could do damage while switching out to another Pokémon.
The next Pokémon shall assume the role of staller. Considering that Zarude is a Grass/Dark-type Pokémon with a weakness to Fire-type Pokémon, Quagsire would assume the role of the team's staller. A Water/Ground-type Pokémon, Quagsire is only weak to Grass-type. While Quagsire's defensive stat might not look too impressive, the highlight of Quagsire's defenses lies with its ability Unaware, which causes Quagsire to ignore other Pokémon's stat changes when taking damage. Quagsire's defensive EV spread would be 252 for HP, 252 for Defense, and 6 for Special Defense with an Impish Nature. Its moves would consist of Scald, Toxic, Recover, and Yawn. Scald is Quagsire's main STAB Water-type attack that has a high chance to Burn, which is good against the opponent's physical attackers. Toxic is the move that allows Quagsire to inflict chip/residual damage while it stalls. Recover ensures that Quagsire stays alive while it is stalling. Lastly, Yawn is a pesky move that ensures that the opponent's Pokémon could either choose to fall asleep or be forced to switch out, which ruins strategies.
For the next member of the team, I require a Pokémon that would make a good lead. For this role, I would choose perhaps the best Pokémon in competitive history, Landorus-T. Landorus-T is useful for its ability to take on practically every role in Pokémon from physical sweeper, entry hazard setter, Dynamax sweeper, and even a rather bulky attacker because of its unique stat range and Intimidate ability, which reduces the physical attack strength of moves used against it and its teammates. With a base stat line of 89 HP, 145 Attack, 90 Defense, 105 Special Attack, 80 Special Defense, and 91 Speed, Landorus-T could be used in a variety of ways, but with this specific Landorus-T, I will provide it with 252 EVs in HP to ensure that it could take big hits without fainting, 166 EVs in Defense to make it better at taking physical hits, and 92 Speed EVs to ensure that it is slow enough to typically attack last with U-Turn, ensuring that the Pokémon chosen to switch in does so safely. Landorus-T's moveset would consist of Stealth Rock, Earthquake, U-Turn, and Defog. Stealth Rock is the main move that Landorus-T would use as a lead Pokémon to inflict chip damage on the opponent every time they switch in. Earthquake serves as Landorus-T's primary powerful STAB Ground-type attack. U-Turn allows Landorus to inflict damage and switch out, and if its slow enough, it can allow the other Pokémon to switch in safely. Defog gets rid of all entry hazards and screens such as Light Screen and Reflect on the field, which could be useful if the opponent sets entry hazards on your side of the field. However, you will have to replace any possible entry hazards that you set on your opponent's side of the field after using Defog.
The next member of the team could practically be any Pokémon, but in this case, I will choose a revenge killer, which is a Pokémon that can switch in and pick up the slack after another Pokémon on the team faints. Perhaps the best revenge killer in this case would be Ditto with the ability Imposter and holding a Choice Scarf. Imposter causes Ditto to transform into the opposing Pokémon, which copies their stat changes, appearance, individual values (IVs), effort values (EVs), base stats, gender differences, form, type, and moves but with 5 PP instead of the regular value. This ability is especially useful if Ditto transforms into a Pokémon that it can hit super effectively right off the bat or a Pokémon that boosted its stats to a high degree. The Choice Scarf allows Ditto to ensure that it outspeeds whatever Pokémon that it transforms into, however, Ditto would be choice locked after using its move, so choose your move wisely. Nonetheless, a wiser way to use Ditto would be strictly as a revenge killer and switch it out after it knocks out a Pokémon, which would allow you to use Ditto again if necessary. During battle, EVs and IVs don't truly matter for Ditto, as it copies other Pokémon's statistics. However, although rare, the possibility does exist that Ditto can battle other Ditto, which requires careful preparation to ensure that your Ditto wins the battle. Taken from Smogon, 248 HP EVs ensure that Ditto will be able to use Struggle four times before fainting, and 252 Defense EVs minimize Struggle damage from an opposing Ditto. The minimum possible Speed allows Imposter to not activate first and therefore allow Ditto to have more Transform PP. Lastly, Ditto could function well with either a Relaxed or Sassy Nature for more bulk.
This is how you build a Singles Pokémon competitive team around Zarude. Nihilego covers most of Zarude's weaknesses and serves as Zarude's opposite special sweeper, Victini serves as the wallbreaker that can defeat Pokémon with high defenses with V-Create, Quagsire serves as a staller and stallbreaker, Landorus-T is a great lead to set Stealth Rock, and Ditto is a great revenge killer. This team should definitely prove that it is simple to work around Zarude's weaknesses and have it perform at its highest level in Singles.