Herdier and Shedinja! (and others)

Hi, my name is Krebs and I’m a small VGC streamer/content creator on both Twitch and YouTube. Recently, I competed in the March 2022 International Challenge and placed among the top 250, and I’ve been able to climb as far as top 500 on the ranked ladder when I actually have time to sit down and play. I can say honestly that I had a blast with this team, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had playing VGC in a while.

Rental: 0000 0007 GP2P 2M

Paste: https://pokepast.es/6433a0819eab16a6

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/krebsvgc

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdXtVm92ceRgLodh0vpiJCA

The theory with this team is that if you can eliminate the things that can touch Shedinja, you’ll win automatically. Having a cut and dry win condition might seem like a negative, but a high number of teams in Series 12 might only have two or three Pokemon that can touch shedinja, which you can use to your advantage to force a favorable matchup for Shedinja and Co.

Moltres-Galar @ Safety Goggles

Ability: Berserk

Level: 50

EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Timid Nature

IVs: 0 Atk

- Protect

- Fiery Wrath

- Hurricane

- Snarl

In retrospect, Moltres is probably the weakest link in the team, but that doesn’t stop it from doing “Moltres things.” Despite the natural power shift of a new format, it still makes a great lead along with a screen setter to get as many KO’s as it can in the first three turns of a given game. It’s nothing super innovative, but it can get the job done in a favorable matchup such as Calyrex-S, Solgaleo, or the rare Lunala. In retrospect, assault vest is probably a little more optimal for being able to take hits from the powerful special attackers of the format.

Grimmsnarl @ Light Clay

Ability: Prankster

Level: 50

EVs: 212 HP / 124 Def / 172 SpD

Careful Nature

- Spirit Break

- Reflect

- Light Screen

- Thunder Wave

Grimmsnarl is here to be a team player with screens and thunder wave support. Leading it with Palkia or Moltres was always my go-to option for most matchups. For instance: Zacian, even with bulk, always drops to Palkia’s max quake. It is now Grimmsnarl’s job to make sure Palkia can take out the sword dog and make it out of the turn with as much HP as possible. I opted for thunder wave over another move like scary face because Solgaleo, a more or less neutral matchup for my team, cannot be affected by scary face. Looking back, foul play is probably the better option over spirit break.

Zacian-Crowned @ Rusted Sword

Ability: Intrepid Sword

Level: 50

EVs: 252 HP / 164 Atk / 92 Spe

Adamant Nature

- Protect

- Behemoth Blade

- Sacred Sword

- Quick Attack

I’m going to be honest, this is my first time using Zacian and I loved it. Having a “delete button” was always satisfying. My favorite part about it, however, was its ability to remove Palkia and Shedinja’s weaknesses. I almost never lead Zacian (unless it was with Moltres) so I always had power in the back. It has just enough speed to outspeed jolly Thundurus at neutral, but looking back, I should have given it enough to be able to outspeed Regieleki after a +1 boost from Moltres’s airstream. Quick attack is a sneaky little move Zacian can use to pick off targets at low HP if they ended up getting speed boosts. I won several games off of this tech alone, going as far as winning a 1v3 with a paralyzed Zacian where quick attack was my only option against three red HP foes.

Shedinja @ Focus Sash

Ability: Wonder Guard

Level: 50

EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Lonely Nature

- Endure

- Poltergeist

- Shadow Sneak

- Ally Switch

Shedinja is by far my favorite Pokemon to use in a competitive environment. Take a look at all of the top dogs in Series 12: Zacian, Kyogre, Regieleki, Groudon, Calyrex, Dialga, Palkia, Yveltal, Incineroar, Landorus, ect. Note how they all either can not hit Shedinja, or they lose to Palkia and/or Zacian. With focus sash, Shedinja can even beat Calyrex-S or others in a 1v1 with poltergeist and shadow sneak. Almost all of my games were defined by me finding a way to slip Shedinja in and win because their precious Zacian-Kyogre duo can’t lay a finger, paw, or large flipper on it. Expect to see “the battle was canceled” in 75% of your games. Endure is present over protect because unlike protect, endure is not broken by max moves.

Palkia @ Life Orb

Ability: Pressure

Level: 50

EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 Spe

Modest Nature

IVs: 0 Atk

- Protect

- Hydro Pump

- Spacial Rend

- Earth Power

Because of its favorable typing against many of the current format’s restrictive contenders, Bulky Palkia + Grimmsnarl/Herdier is my lead for 90% of games. Because of the defensive utility of whichever partner you chose, Palkia can net a win out of a neutral or even sometimes unfavorable matchup. Because of its extra bulk with the HP investment, even Zacian’s play rough can never KO without a critical hit, and it can clap back with a life orb boosted max move and most likely OHKO whatever it feels like. That being said, it is still advised that said Zacian’s damage output is reduced through Herdier’s tech or Grimmsnarl’s reflect. Thunder wave + max quake is also a surefire way to delete a Zacian if you’re in the position to do so. Palkia’s main function, of course, is to remove the pesky fire, ground, or rock types that might make my Zacian or Shedinja unhappy.

Herdier @ Eviolite

Ability: Intimidate

Level: 50

EVs: 252 HP / 116 Def / 140 SpD

Bold Nature

IVs: 0 Atk

- Snarl

- Baby-Doll Eyes

- Helping Hand

- Roar

Herdier is the most unorthodox part of this team, and that’s because I slapped it on there as a joke at 1-o-clock in the morning when I should have been studying for my physics exam. In practice, however, I fell in love with it. Eviolite Herdier takes a whopping 46% max from even the strongest Zacians after an intimidate, and even less after baby doll eyes. Baby doll eyes, a priority attack cutting move, helps nullify damage from Zacian or other physical sweepers before they can even move. It has a perfect Calyrex-S matchup and makes a great lead with Moltres or Palkia. The strongest part of Herdier is honestly the surprise factor. What does it do? The average player probably won’t know the answer off the top of their head without checking its moveset on Serebii. Because of this, it makes a great disruptive damage sponge that probably left my opponents confused, dumbfounded, and maybe even a little embarrassed that it caught them off-guard.

Things to Remember

Shedinja, as cool as it is, can be very high maintenance. If your opponent can set up hail/sand, or if they can set up wildfire/cannonade/vine lash/vocalith, it is ill advised to bring Shedinja. If it’s something as simple as Kyogre carrying max hailstorm, or Landorus with rockfall, do your best to use Palkia to make sure the rain stays up, or invalidate a hailstorm with Shedinja itself. There was actually a game where I attacked my own palkia to make sure a hailstorm wouldn’t be launched to my side of the field and it ended up winning me the game.

- Shedinja does not OHKO Calyrex-S with shadow sneak! I lost a game finding that out, don’t let it happen to you.

- Ally switching is funny, but a lot of people will predict it, because it’s a well known tech on Shedinja. I advise that ally switch is only used when there is only one Shedinja toucher on the field, and that ally switch is not used as a win condition, but rather to strengthen your position when you already have the upper hand.

- Never assume your opponent doesn’t know what you’re going to do. As much surprise factor as the team has, going in thinking your opponent will never predict you is a bad mindset that might put you in a state of hubris, which can cost the game.

- I don’t recommend bringing both Grimmsnarl and Herdier, just because you’ll miss out on bringing something else that’ll probably be able to do more stuff in the back like Zacian or Shedinja. You typically want to lead Grimm or Herdier, but Herdier does just fine in the back as well.

- Practice winning with Shedinja. Learn what habits people make when Shedinja is on the field. If they switch something in, it’s probably so they can KO Shedinja. Threat assessment is key with this team.