Dance Gavin Dance! – A Multiple-Time Top Cutting Team Report

Hi, everyone! This report showcases a team built by Gavin Michaels (@komvgc), Chuppa Cross IV (@ChuppaVGC) and Adi Subramanian (@adisubra). Built around the time the circuit got cancelled, the three of us have been refining and using this team across a variety of online tournaments. The team attempts to counteract the oppressively strong single target moves of Dynamaxed Pokémon with multiple layers of redirection. These enable our own set-up sweepers to power through teams. We’ve dubbed the team Dance Gavin Dance because of the multiple dancing moves on the team, Gavin’s sick dance moves, and our general love for the eponymous rock band.

Team accomplishments

  • 1st place at the Rose Tower Quarantine Challenge (by Adi), held on 18-19 April with 214 participants.
  • 2nd place at Zelda’s Stay Home Regionals Challenge (by Gavin), held on 14-15 March with 117 participants.
  • Top 4 place at Zelda’s Oceania Showdown (by Gavin), held on 18 April with 24 participants.
  • Top 32 place at Rose Tower Open #2 (by Adi), held on 28-29 March with 174 participants.
  • 2x Top 128 place at The Champions Cup, held on 4-5 April (by Chuppa and Adi) with 1477 participants.
  • Peaked 4th on Pokémon Showdown’s VGC 2020 ladder

Teambuilding process

The original idea for this team came from running into several Dragapult + Clefairy teams on ladder leading up to the Toronto Regional Championships, and consistently struggling with them. The combination of Friend Guard and bulky Dragapult made the pair very hard to take down, while Weakness Policy, Dragon Dance and Helping Hand still let the pair put out really impressive damage.

DragapultSylveon

Originally, we wanted to use Sylveon with Dragapult to proc Weakness Policy, and take advantage of Sylveon’s solid speed and damage after one Max Airstream boost, but never got around to testing it. On the other hand, Life Orb Dragapult had the appeal of being hard-hitting right away, as remarkably few Pokémon can survive a +1 Max Phantasm/Max Wyrmwind from it, and we went with this because it was a better fit with just Clefairy.

DragapultClefairy

The other reason we wanted to use Clefairy was because Friend Guard is one of the only things in the game that can’t be crit through. Considering how annoying Scope Lens Togekiss is to deal with, having this as a backbone made us much more confident in teambuilding. The reason I honed in on Clefairy + Dragapult in particular is the sheer flexibility of its options. My favorite part about the team is that Clefairy forces read-based situations that are inherently in your favor. As long as Clefairy is on the field, your opponent has to cover Helping Hand, Protect and Follow me simultaneously, which is usually impossible if you position yourself well. Additionally, Clefairy in back is a legitimate threat, since switching in Friend Guard means that your partner can always take whatever’s thrown at it, and if your opponent throws the kitchen sink at it trying to knock it down, they’re going to be dissapointed.

DragapultClefairyTogekissIncineroarRotom-WashExcadrill

The team is inherently pretty simple, in that it’s just good Pokémon + Clefairy to tie everything together, but we don’t think that’s a bad thing. The team has an extreme flexibility in terms of gameplans, and given that the team has a solid response versus everything in the format, despite people having time to prepare gameplans around it, shows how strong it is.

Each of us used slightly different EV spreads on some Pokemon to help improve specific matchups, and these spreads have evolved over time. We’ve listed our consensus spreads for each set.

The Team

▶️ Get the team’s paste here!

Dragapult @ Life Orb
Ability: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 28 HP / 220 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Phantom Force
– Dragon Claw
– Fly
– Dragon Dance

Dragapult is the first of the three formidable sweepers on the team. After a Dragon Dance or Max Airstream boost it outspeeds most Pokémon even in Tailwind, and at +1 Attack its Max Moves pick up KOs against nearly the entire metagame. Max Phantasm allows it to weaken the physical Defense of partner Pokémon, allowing you to KO them next turn or swing at them with Excadrill. Fly allows you to boost the Speed of Dragapult and its partners while Dynamaxed. While other Dragapult have opted to go for Dragon Darts, we found the ability to get immediate single-target damage was vital, especially once boosted.

The EV spread gives Dragapult enough bulk to take an Adamant Life Orb Max Phantasm from Dragapult through Friend Guard and a turn of Life Orb recoil (while Dynamaxed). The idea is that against opposing Dragapult leads, Clefairy gives you an inherent advantage since you can kill them but they can’t kill you. The reason that the Dragapult is max Speed is also to get an advantage in the mirror. Frankly, Dragapult + redirection is so common that if this team wasn’t advantaged in the mirror, I don’t think it would be worth running.

Offensive calcs

Dragapult 220 Atk Life Orb Dragapult Max Phantasm (130 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Dragapult (Dynamaxed): 338-400 (103 – 121.9%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

Dragapult 252+ Atk Life Orb Dragapult Max Phantasm (130 BP) vs. 28 HP / 4 Def Dragapult (Dynamaxed) with Friend Guard: 281-333 (84.1 – 99.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 44 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Thunderbolt
– Nasty Plot
– Protect

Wash Rotom was the secondary sweeper of the team. Many of the most physically bulky Pokémon Dragapult struggles to power through are weak to it, such as Corvinight, Lapras and Tyranitar. Dark Pulse would make life against Gastrodon much easier, especially because it has an annoying tendency to end up walling out Wash Rotom in endgames. However, Protect is more helpful against almost every other matchup, and not needing to use a Max Guard to protect Wash Rotom lets it stay flexible and more easily position partner Pokémon to either threaten Rotom’s threats, redirect their attacks and stall out opposing Dynamax and screens.

The EV spread hits 11n in Special Attack. The Speed outspeeds Charizard and other base 100s at +1, and the rest is invested into bulk. Near-max Special Attack on Rotom is important to OHKOing as many Togekiss as possible with Max Lightning. Originally the goal was to drop Dynamaxed Togekiss with one +2 Max Lightning, though that almost never came up.

Gavin notes: Wash Rotom is so good until you have to deal with the Gastrodon in back rofl. The game plan vs Gastrodon is just time it out. This shouldn’t work, but timers so dumb that it does.

Offensive calcs

Togekiss 196+ SpA Rotom-W Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 228 HP / 12 SpD Togekiss: 176-210 (93.1 – 111.1%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO

Togekiss 196+ SpA Rotom-W Max Lightning (130 BP) vs. 68 HP / 0 SpD Togekiss: 180-212 (106.5 – 125.4%) — guaranteed OHKO

Excadrill @ Focus Sash
Ability: Mold Breaker
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– High Horsepower
– Iron Head
– Swords Dance / Earthquake
– Protect

The final part of our three-headed attacking core. Mold Breaker Excadrill allowed us to threaten Fairy types that otherwise could work around redirection to hit Dragapult and Rotom, namely Togekiss and Sylveon. It also threatens Wash Rotom and Bisharp, which can hit most of our team for big damage. Focus Sash allows it to end games effectively, taking a hit from a boosted but no longer Dynamaxed Pokémon and KOing back with a strong STAB move. While Chuppa and Gavin preferred Swords Dance, Adi preferred using Earthquake. Swords Dance enables Excadrill to boost back up in front of Intimidates, and makes it a better lead option with redirection to sweep through teams. On the other hand, Earthquake allows it to hit Pokémon around Togekiss’s Follow Me, play around Ally Switch, and break Focus Sashes.

Offensive calcs

Togekiss 252 Atk Mold Breaker Excadrill Iron Head vs. 232 HP / 196+ Def Togekiss: 110-132 (58.2 – 69.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Sylveon +1 252 Atk Mold Breaker Excadrill Iron Head vs. 244 HP / 188 Def Sylveon: 234-276 (116.4 – 137.3%) — guaranteed OHKO

Defensive calcs

Torkoal 252+ SpA Torkoal Heat Wave vs. +2 0 HP / 4 SpD Excadrill in Sun with Friend Guard: 78-94 (42.1 – 50.8%) — 2% chance to 2HKO

Clefairy @ Eviolite
Ability: Friend Guard
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Follow Me
– Helping Hand
– After You / Sing
– Protect

Clefairy is amazing, it plays a lot like how old-school Amoonguss used to play in terms of the weighted mindgames involved with it. Friend Guard reduces damage to allies by 25%, allowing our three attackers to set up and sweep easily. Follow Me and Protect force your opponent to select attacking options that threaten Clefairy while also potentially attacking into a Protect. Helping Hand boosts attacking options significantly, and most Pokémon fall to a Helping Hand-boosted attack from one of our sweepers. Helping Hand also allows Clefairy to help do damage despite Fake Out pressure. Finally, After You meant that even if an opponent set up Trick Room in front of our boosted attacker, we could continue to KO threats such as Rhyperior before they could move.

While Adi ran max Defense Clefairy, Gavin and Chuppa pivoted some to run enough Special Defense to live attacks from Torkoal and Primarina. It’s worth noting that Alessio “Yuree” Boschetto won a Rose Tower Clash using this team a little later running Sing over After You on Clefairy. After You was useful situationally to grant Dragapult invulnerability in Trick Room and makes Wash Rotom better against Rhyperior, but Sing allows you to better take advantage of the passive turns Clefairy has and generates win conditions.

Togekiss @ Babiri Berry
Ability: Super Luck
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 180 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
– Heat Wave
– Follow Me
– Protect / Yawn

Togekiss is the second redirection abuser of the team. While most teams can muscle through one piece of redirection before getting to our sweeper, two redirection options is often enough to let our set-up Pokémon power through a team first. Babiri Berry allows Togekiss to take the first Steel-type attack, which proved invaluable against attackers like Excadrill and Bisharp. Dazzling Gleam is an amazing spread coverage move, while Heat Wave allowed us to effectively damage Durant, Corvinight and Ferrothorn. While Air Slash is normally a staple, we found it less useful when Togekiss wasn’t Dynamaxing regularly. Instead we opted for either Protect or Yawn, both of which proved useful in stalling out Dynamax and winning battles of positioning.

The EV spread provides several points of speed creep past outspeeding Durant at +1 Speed, which we believed was a crowded speed tier. The HP hits 16n1 to reduce sandstorm and hail chip by a point, while the Special Attack hits 11n for the additional point of boost from the Modest nature.

The ability can be either Serene Grace or Super Luck. Serene Grace boosts the burn rate from Heat Wave to 20%, while Super Luck increases your critical hit rate to 12.5%. Adi ran Serene Grace to potentially bluff Scope Lens, while Gavin and Chuppa preferred getting Heat Wave burns.

Offensive calcs

Durant 76+ SpA Togekiss Heat Wave vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Durant (Dynamaxed): 260-308 (97 – 114.9%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO

Corviknight 76+ SpA Togekiss Heat Wave vs. 244 HP / 0 SpD Corviknight: 84-100 (41.1 – 49%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Ferrothorn 76+ SpA Togekiss Heat Wave vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Ferrothorn: 132-156 (72.9 – 86.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

Excadrill 252 Atk Life Orb Excadrill Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Babiri Berry Togekiss: 153-183 (80.1 – 95.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Bisharp 252+ Atk Life Orb Bisharp Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 244 HP / 4 Def Babiri Berry Togekiss: 160-188 (83.7 – 98.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Incineroar @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 92 Def / 156 SpD / 4 Spe
Careful Nature
IVs: 0 SpA
– Fake Out
– Flare Blitz
– Throat Chop
– Parting Shot

Incineroar was the least used Pokémon on the team. In some matchups the ability to cycle Intimidate, Fake Out and Parting Shot is vital to stall out aggressive offensive options or teams that lack Protect. Furthermore, Fire coverage is essential to effectively deal with threats like Ferrothorn. Throat Chop was used to help neuter Sylveon as well as provide Dark coverage. The EV spread lives a Max Quake or Max Rockfall from Durant after Intimidate, while the Special Defense hits 11n. A more offensive Incineroar was considered to more effectively pressure Corvinight and Iron Defense Ferrothorn.

Offensive calcs

Ferrothorn 4 Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Ferrothorn: 184-220 (50.8 – 60.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Defensive calcs

Durant -1 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 92 Def Incineroar: 169-200 (83.6 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Durant -1 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 92 Def Incineroar: 169-200 (83.6 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Common gameplans

The general gameplan of this team is to bring two support Pokémon and two attackers. Against most teams you lead one of your attackers + a support Pokémon to set up a boost, and then you’re free to Dynamax and power through teams while they’re focused on dealing with multiple layers of redirection.

Dragapult + Clefairy

The most common lead is Clefairy + Dragapult. Helping Hand-boosted Max Moves from Dragapult OHKO a large portion of the metagame, and if your opponent doesn’t have a way to threaten Dragapult right away it’s easy to set up a Dragon Dance and run away with the game.

Rotom-Wash/Excadrill + Clefairy/Togekiss

Wash Rotom and redirection results in similar gameplans against teams weak to it. With Swords Dance, Excadrill can play a similar role, while Earthquake gives it a stronger option to clean up teams in the late game. Excadrill is the ideal partner to Dragapult as it greatly benefits from both Defense drops from Max Phantasm as well as Speed boosts from Max Airstream. However, against teams with threats like Corvinight you’re forced to bring Rotom to deal with them.

Against Indeedee-Female + Hatterene

While the team generally has a positive matchup spread across the board, there’s two matchups that are exceptionally difficult. The first is against the Indeedee + Hatterene Trick Room team that was piloted by Tobias Koschitzki to win Malmö Regionals. Gigantamax Hatterene underspeeds Clefairy to nullify After You and OHKOs everything bar Excadrill with its STAB moves in Psychic Terrain. To win this matchup, you have to stall out Trick Room by exerting just enough pressure to force them to keep their relatively passive leads in while not KOing them and giving them a free switch into an attacker. After You Clefairy next to Wash Rotom is a great way to deal with Rhyperior should they choose to make that their main sweeper. While winnable, stalling out Trick Room largely relies on Protect and redirection, so one ill-timed confusion self-hit can derail the game.

Gavin notes: I think this matchup is us favored, but the game plan is pretty silly. Most games 1 I just lead Incineroar + Excadrill and Fake Out in Psychic Terrain … twice. Idea being to just stall out the Trick Room turns and force the Max Guard from Hatterene. Getting confused is annoying for sure, but one solace is that at +2 SpD and Friend Guard, Excadrill takes under half from Torkoal.

Against Dragapult + Coalossal + Gastrodon-East

The second bad matchup of note is against Dragapult + Coalossal + Gastrodon. This was the matchup Adi faced in finals of the Rose Tower Quarantine Challenge, and videos of this are here. There’s two main gameplans. The first is leading Excadrill + Clefairy and threatening Follow Me + Max Quake into Coalossal. While this effectively deals with the threat of an early-game Coalossal set up and sweep, it means using your Dynamax right away against a team with Pokémon like Gastrodon and Dusclops or Corvinight that you may need to power through later in the game. The second gameplan, as seen in the video, is to lead Wash Rotom + Excadrill. Both Pokemon threaten to KO Coalossal, and it forces your opponent to predict which one will attack and which one will Protect or switch out. While calling this wrong will lose you the game immediately, calling it correctly leads to a favorable gamestate in an unfavorable matchup.

Final thoughts

Adi: Shoutout to Tub Nation, Eis House and the Puppies for the practice and support. Also thanks to Rose TowerSam “Zelda” Pandelis and Victory Road for hosting awesome online tournaments to help us pass the time during this social distancing period.

Gavin: I’m the GOAT teambuilder. “Clefdrag” is the best lead in the format and it’s not even close. The rest of the team is also pretty okay, too.

Chuppa: This has been my favorite team of the format to use so far and it’s been fun to watch it transform over time! Fun fact: none of the Pokémon have changed since the first draft of the team six weeks ago!

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