Not Very Effective: Hitting Veteran

When we last left off I had a team set for my climb to Veteran. I had Roserade in the front with Gallade on the switch, Magnezone in the back. After running into one too many Dragonite leads I flipped my lead and close and was ready to make my run.

And then I dropped down to a 2315 ELO. Thankfully someone had commented on my post, suggesting a team that lead on Roserade with an Alolan Muk on the switch, Sirfetch’d in the back. I commented that the team was incredibly soft to flyers which prompted a “well you’re right” but it got me thinking as to what flying types I was seeing. Usually they were Charizard, Dragonite, and Talonflame. The redditor had suggested meshing my two teams and they were right, but got the closer wrong.

The team I have been using since that post is as follows:

Roserade on the lead with Bullet Seed – Weather Ball (Fire)/Leaf Storm.

Alolan Muk as a safe swap with Poison Jab – Dark Pulse/Sludge Wave

Lapras as the closer with Ice Shard – Surf/Ice Beam

Here are my end of day ELOs since running that squad:

  • 2356
  • 2444
  • 2545

So yes, this is the team I used to hit Veteran and am likely to keep using for the time being as I try to push my ELO higher still. My goal is to end this season as Veteran with an over 2500 ELO with a stretch goal of hitting expert. Both are in my grasp but I need to play smart.

Roserade is a strong lead. It has relatively few bad matchups (I only instantly swap if I see a flying type or a fire type). You can easily build up to a Weather Ball or Leaf Storm to pressure opponents and force them to shield. Against Empoleon leads I tend to build up to a Leaf Storm and unleash it before swapping into Muk in an effort to catch their move. If they don’t shield it almost one shots them and if they do, I am in a position to farm. The other interesting lead to face is Abomasnow as you can get to a Weather Ball before they get to theirs, allowing you to pressure shields and swap.

A-Muk is a great switch and Poison Jab gives it some fast move pressure. At the advice of that same redditor, I build up to a Sludge Wave and then lead with a Dark Pulse. This usually gets the shield which then lets me either farm down or pressure with Dark Pulse.

Lapras does Lapras things. It chews through Dragonite and most flyers while pressuring Talonflame with Surf. While not the fastest attacker, it serves as a solid anchor for the team that can help cover many of Roserade’s shortcomings.

This team is about energy management and well timed swaps. Roserade can generate energy at a pretty good clip and as such to can easily have a move stored on it when you swap. Leaf Storm is also a move some people do not anticipate to come first – I took out a Lapras lead today by unloading a Leaf Storm which prompted an instant concession. Muk can pressure some opposing swaps with Poison Jab, letting you build up a move on your swap. I also will often build up to two Surfs on Lapras in an effort to chunk down the opponent and have something in the tank.

I am under no illusions that this is a top tier team – it’s serviceable. What it is, however, is accessible to players under level 40, giving those of us without access to XL Pokemon a shot against the bulkier battlers. And while it is not a guarantee, this team does have game against XL Umbreon, XL Mandibuzz, and XL Stunfisk. Lapras is decent against all three and Roserade can pressure Umbreon and Stunfisk.

Since finishing my climb to Veteran I’ve bumped up to 2603 ELO with a few more sets to finish today. Here’s to keeping my head on straight as I keep on climbing.

Published by Alex Ullman

Alex Ullman has been playing Magic since 1994 (he thinks). Since 2005, he's spent most of his time playing and exploring Pauper. One of his proudest accomplishments was being on the winnings side of the 2009 Community Cup. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised.

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