Xerneas, The Life Pokémon. Legends say it can share eternal life. It slept for a thousand years in the form of a tree before its revival. When the horns on its head shine in seven colors, it is said to be sharing everlasting life.
Xerneas, X's cover Pokemon, is quite simply a beast. Amazing offenses, high HP, good enough defenses, and a Speed stat that keeps it ahead of many other Ubers do it a lot of favors. Not only that, but this thing's signature move, Geomancy, is terrifying in the right hands, giving Xerneas the equivalent of two Quiver Dances. This move is the reason why Xerneas is one of the few viable users of Power Herb, as without it Xerneas is a sitting duck while it charges. Add an ability that gives it a big boost to its STAB Fairy-type moves to make up for the lack of an item, and you've got a legend for the ages.
Fairy Aura: It's Xerneas's only ability, and it's a fantastic one. It boosts the power of all Fairy-type moves by 33.3%, which I believe is slightly more than a Life Orb boost. Xerneas benefits a ton from this ability, and in VGC, so can its partners. Just beware of your opponent's Fairy moves, as they are also boosted!
Lord of the Fairies
This is Xerneas' most common set for a reason. Geomancy turns Xerneas into an unrivaled force of nature and all it costs you is an item slot. Moonblast is the best Fairy-type move available to Xerneas by far in singles and, and when combined with the +2 Special Attack boost from Geomancy, STAB, and Fairy Aura..well let's just say it hits extremely hard. Thunder hits Ho-Oh, Primal Kyogre, Lugia, and most Steel-typed twerps. Focus Blast rounds out Xerneas's coverage by hitting Primal Groudon, Ferrothorn, and some other common Steel-typed mons that you're likely to encounter.
You always want to take Thunder over Thunderbolt btw because a super effective Thunderbolt is weaker than a Fairy Aura-boosted STAB Moonblast and thus not worth running at all.
Xerneas is actually pretty fat and mono-Fairy is a pretty good defensive typing. Moonblast is by far the best choice for mono-attacking Xerneas, as no mons are immune to its power and even with no SpA investment it still does decent STAB damage to tons of things that will threaten your squad. Sleep Talk is used so that the two turns after the use of Rest aren't wasted it and allows Xerneas to directly switch into Dark Void and Spore as sleep fodder with little drawback. Rest is the only recovery move available to Xerneas sadly. Aromatherapy is primarily for cleric support, but it does have the added benefit of coming with a one in three chance to be selected by Sleep Talk, thus possibly resulting in a shortened naptime. Roar can be used to phaze Pokemon that may attempt to set up on you like Primal Groudon and can stack residual damage from entry hazards. I prefer Roar personally, but it's up to you.
Though do note +2 Offensive Primal Groudon KO's it after you factor in Stealth Rock damage with Precipice Blades. If you run this you need something on your squad to handle Mega Gengar, because you're a huge bait for it.
- It can run a decent mixed Life Orb/Expert Belt set too, but it just doesn't need to. Let Xerneas do what it does best and run the Geomancy set, and leave cleaning up to other members of your squad.
VGC, Double & Triple Battle Options
Xerneas is one of the best restricted legendaries in the current VGC metagame, and while there are several ways to pressure it from setting it up, it stands as a threat that every team needs to be prepared to beat. Xerneas is very straightforward in Doubles and could be seen as a one-trick deer, though that one trick is also incredibly effective. Moonblast is near mandatory for its high power which also helps Xerneas pick up KOs against threats that survive +2 spread Dazzling Gleam, including Mega Kangaskhan and can potentially muscle its way past threats like Primal Groudon and Amoonguss who otherwise can check it. Dazzling Gleam is good otherwise for a high-powered STAB spread move that can easily clean unprepared and weakened teams, and it stands out as one of very few ways to get past Rayquaza with redirection support. Geomancy is a very effective setup move with Power Herb and there's very little reason to expect Xerneas to not run it. However, it absolutely requires support to function as otherwise it's very vulnerable before setting up, to the point where it can realistically be considered mediocre if not given proper redirection or Fake Out support. That's no reason to think of Xerneas any less than one of the top restricted legendaries in VGC though. Protect rounds out the set as per standard Doubles fare, but it's also useful for scouting possible double targets in its direction after setting up, which is particularly useful for catching would-be reliable checks like Aegislash off-guard. While not listed, Hidden Power Ground is an incredibly uncommon alternative to Moonblast to safely beat Steel-types bar Ferrothorn and fast Primal Groudon, though it's also useless otherwise and gives up Moonblast's greater utility which still does huge damage to resisted threats at +2 Special Attack.
A Timid nature is the preferred nature unlike in Singles. The reason for this is that outspeeding fast Primals and Rayquaza before it Mega Evolves is incredibly important since all of them risk doing massive damage or even OHKOing it otherwise, which prevents it from safely setting up or threatening Rayquaza effectively. Maximum Special Attack and Speed investment ensures that it hits as fast and hard as possible, while also speed tying with other Xerneas. However, 44 EVs can be shifted from Special Attack into Defense to guarantee it survives Jolly Life Orb Dragon Ascent. Keep in mind this can be trivialized by Fake Out or Feint support which is very common alongside Rayquaza.
The most common Xerneas switch-in is Primal Groudon, who has a lot of bulk and resists Fairy. It can take Xerneas's attacks even at +2 and then Roar it out or cripple it with Thunder Wave. Klefki also resists Fairy and can use a Prankster Thunder Wave to cripple Xerneas. Mega Gengar can trap defensive sets, but offensive ones will plow through it if Xerneas has set up. Lugia with Multiscale intact can tank a Moonblast and phaze Xerneas out. Some Steel types can switch in on Moonblast but must beware Focus Blast and HP Ground. The pink blob Blissey does very well against offensive Xerneas but must look out for mixed sets. Arceus is another good answer, especially if it has the proper plate (Poison and Fire do best). Ditto can foil Geomancy variants but can only come in on a free switch.
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