|Too cool to actually look
at the camera
Hello Hat Lovers!
Max and Mark here:
We attended Oregon Regionals this past weekend to play both TCG and VGC. We decided against playing TCG so that we could enjoy our Saturday. We also didn’t want to pay the $30 entry fee when we were going to play VGC regardless of whether or not we made cut in TCG.
We tested a couple different teams for VGC, our team was a toss up of about 10 Pokemon. I (Max) had been running Kangaskhan and Meowstic for a Swagguard combo, as well as Garchomp, Rotom-W, Talonflame and either Amoonguss or Ferrothorn. Mark was running Manectric/Gyarados and testing Timid Liepard alongside Kangaskhan, with the same 4-5 in back. The Talonflame was swapped out for a Choice Specs Salamence because Talonflame isn’t that great and we wanted an Intimidate user on the team. After Ray Rizzo revealed his winning team for Virginia we saw that it was very similar to our team at the core. We added Mawile over Kangaskhan and used Ray’s Ferrothorn EV spread over our own.
I wanted to test the team on the weekend to iron out the kinks, but didn’t find the time because friends. We did play in a side event on the Saturday with the team and I went 5-0 while Crawdaunt went 4-1. I would have liked to change some things about our team, but didn’t have time to fully test some newer ideas and instead went with what I knew.
|Two heads are better than two attacks
Mawile @ Mawilite
EVs: 252 HP / 52 Atk / 4 Def / 180 SDef / 20 Spd
– Iron Head
– Play Rough
– Sucker Punch
The same as Ray’s Mawile. The move-set is incredibly standard, but the EV spread wasn’t. The idea behind this spread is that Mawile already hits hard enough with Huge Power and investing into Attack is redundant. Instead the EVs are put into Special Defence, which makes Mawile incredibly tough to OHKO.
Mark: I wanted to play around with the EV’s on Mawile, but when we sat down and ran calcs, the EV spread Ray ran was really really good… A funny realization was that with Swagguard and 52 Atk, a +2 Sucker Punch would just OHKO standard M-Charizard Y.
We chose to replace the Kangaskhan that was originally in this slot because players are making themselves prepared for it by using effects that trigger on contact like Rocky Helmet and Rough Skin. Mawile doesn’t attack twice but its base attack is much higher due to Huge Power. Adding Intimidate to the team was also much appreciated as extra support.
Mawile’s attack stat can be boosted to turn its 2HKOs into OHKOs against most of the game with help from the next member of the team; Meowstic.
|Swear by Safeguard
Meowstic @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 148 SDef
– Quick Guard
Meowstic might just be our Togekiss of 2014. I never want a team without it. Safeguard blocks Will-O-Wisp and Dark Void from ruining your day. Swagger is used primarily to boost your attackers damage output, and can be used to try and hax out the opponent in a pinch. Quick Guard blocks Fake Out, Sucker Punch, Brave Bird, and other priority moves. Charm is another move we’ve become fond of. Being able to -2 the opponent’s attack before they can move makes it difficult for physical attackers to be effective.
Safeguard is such an effective safety net against status reliant strategies that I can’t see myself dropping the blue cat from the team. Meowstic doesn’t have any way to damage opponents outside of Swagger so it is best to lead with it so that if the opponent doesn’t KO it they have to put up with Charm and Swagger all game. It’s also important to pair Meowstic with partners that can deal large amounts of damage on their own.
Meowstic and Mawile are the main lead combination for the team.
Ferrothorn @ Lum Berry
|Mark’s Ferrothorn was
named “Barby Girl”
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Atk / 52 SDef
IVs: 0 Spd
– Power Whip
– Gyro Ball
– Leech Seed
This slot has been between Ferrothorn and Amoonguss. Both Pokemon improve the Trick Room match-up with their low speed. Amoonguss brought Spore and Rage Powder to the table, and could heal through Regenerator, Black Sludge and Giga Drain. This made for a useful support Pokemon that would tank hits and stay around. Regenerator also meshed well with Manectric/Gyarados and the switching dynamics. The downside was that it was useless against other Grass type Pokemon and needed to fear Talonflame.
Ferrothorn has more offensive power, and could be a win condition by itself if the opponent couldn’t deal significant damage to it. The downside of Ferrothorn is that it gets incinerated by fire attacks and could also get walled by grass types.
In the end we went with Ferrothorn. It works with Swagger without the need for a Safeguard due to Lum Berry and can help deal with Smeargle. I would’ve gone with Leftovers for Ferrothorn’s item but Meowstic was already using it.
|Fire Blast… there for a reason
Salamence @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
– Draco Meteor
– Dragon Pulse
– Hydro Pump
This slot originally had a Talonflame to deal with Venusaur, however I found another way to handle Charizard / Venusaur and didn’t need the slot anymore. We put Salamence on the team to provide Intimidate support as well as deal with other Dragons, and used a Choice Scarf because we didn’t want to have to deal with a bunch of speed ties with other base 100s.
I don’t remember if I planned to put Fire Blast over Flamethrower, but if I did I forgot to do so before the event. Me and Crawdaunt faced in the last round and my Ferrothorn survived a Flamethrower so that should become Fire Blast.
I wasn’t sold on Salamence before the event but I knew I’d want it more then Talonflame and I ended up bringing it to most of my games.
Garchomp @ Rocky Helmet
|Stay classy Garchomp
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
– Dragon Claw
– Rock Slide
This Garchomp has been a staple Pokemon on our teams since VGC 2012. There really isn’t much to say about it, it hasn’t changed at all since the last team analysis.
When the opponent’s team seemed to counter Mawile I would often lead Garchomp / Meowstic and go for Swagguard as usual.
|Look at that stupid grin on its face
Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 116 SAtk / 100 SDef / 36 Spd
– Hydro Pump
– Light Screen
Rotom has also been a staple member of our teams (thought not always in Wash form.) Lately we had been feeling disenchanted with Rotom-W’s performance. Most players have a way of dealing with Rotom-W. Back when Talonflame was on the team I brought Rotom-W to most of my games because it was one the 4 Pokemon on the team that were good in general. With the introduction of Salamence I had less motivation to bring Rotom and never brought it once during Regionals.
Mark: I actually brought Rotom-W to one game! But it wasn’t a desirable prospect. It was just the best out of what I had left to choose from. I also ran an extra 16 Speed EV’s (removing from SpDef) on my Rotom to outspeed Max’s Rotom 100% of the time, and never changed it. I wanted to make him think I was just getting lucky with speed ties if we ever faced each other. Then with the new incarnation of the team and Rotom’s use waining, I never even got the chance!
Mark: I kept notes from each of my games on my opponent’s teams, but am a bit rusty on the turns and order. We had 127 Masters, one short of an extra round, meaning you had to go X-1 to make Top Cut (and an X-1 could even whiff).
|GoGo(at) Power Rangers!
Round 1 vs. Nicole
Gengar / Gogoat / Lucario / Tyrantrum / Charizard / ???
I was sitting at Table 1 for this game, and got to joke about how my tournament experience could only go downhill from here. It was her first tournament and we were playing on the likely-unpopulated stream. She told me her cartridge was borrowed from a friend, and her team looked like a bunch of semi-legit Pokemon. I’ve faced Gogoats before that are intended to OHKO Rotom-W with Leaf Blade, so I wasn’t even counting that out of potential quirky Pokemon.
Just imagine my surprise when her Tyrantrum (that had previously used Stone Edge) Dark Pulse’d my Meowstic for the KO, and followed up with a Draco Meteor on my Garchomp. I won, but she did take 2 Pokemon! It was kind of funny.
Round 2 vs. Tim
Smeargle (lvl 1) / Clefki / Mawile / Rotom-W / Aromatisse / Aggron
The Smeargle was level 1, which always means Endeavor/Focus Sash. He led with Smeargle/Aromatisse and I brought two Pokemon capable of attacking (Salamence/Mawile?). I just knew I wanted to be able to double target the Smeargle if necessary. I used to play a team with Cottonee/Jellicent in 2011 that went for TR/Endeavor on Turn 1 and Water Spout/Endeavour on Turn 2 to net a double KO early. I figured that was his strategy via Dazzling Gleam and got a free KO on Smeargle turn one. In retrospect, it might have been better to bring Meowstic for Safeguard, but with my choice I could be sure that Endeavour + Double Target wouldn’t wreck my team.
|Lovable little scamp
Round 3 vs. Michael
Talonflame / Amoonguss / Scizor / Garchomp / Rotom-W / M-Kangaskhan
This was a standard team, and his only answer to Ferrothorn was Talonflame. I led with
Meowstic/Mawile I think to his Talonflame/Kangaskhan. I never actually needed to KO his Talonflame, as he KO’d himself by Brave Bird’ing my Meowstic turn one, and repeating that on a switched-in Garchomp. The extra damage from Rocky Helmet finished it off. Ferrothorn too strong.
After this round I got to watch the end of Max’s game against Stephen Morioka on the stream of Table 1. It looked really close, and I couldn’t really tell who would win, though Max had an advantage as I arrived. In the end, Stephen took the game on time with a greater number of Pokemon remaining.
Last year, Max and Bidier were running my team. I lost early, and Max and Bidier kept sending their opponent’s down to me who then had knowledge of my team, further compounding my woes. This year it was meant to be the opposite…
Round 4 vs. Stephen
Gardevoir / Salamence / M-Charizard / Garchomp / Azumarill / Venusaur
When I found out my pairing I was a little on tilt. Last year when Max and Bidier were sending me opponents, they were people who had lost a game or two already. This year, I had to face someone who actually beat Max, and knew my team. Oi vey…
He led Gardevoir/Charizard to my Meowstic/Garchomp. I figured there was no way he’d let a Rock Slide go off unchallenged first turn, and under-predicted (as it turned out). It was that sort of tier of prediction where I knew the obvious play, and so went to the second tier being a bit gutsy. He went to the third tier and kept his original play since he figured I wouldn’t make the obvious play. After that I fell into his pace and made a pretty poor choice to Rock Slide into a Protect turn 2. He took the game quite handily and I couldn’t recover.
That all said, this was my favourite round of the tournament! It was refreshing to face someone who could make that high-risk high-reward, extra level of prediction. I was itching to get to Top Cut to get a chance at another game. Also, he was just a super pleasant guy.
|Not a Mega, not a problem
Round 5 vs. Luis
Gengar / Clawitzer / Salamence / Garchomp / Kangaskhan / Meowstic
Luis was using most of the mons from my team/considerations (Kangaskhan). Mawile does a lot to Kangaskhan, while Kangaskhan doesn’t do much to Mawile. He did have a Focus Sash on his Gengar which caught me a bit off-guard, but never really put me in danger. His Garchomp ran Fire Fang to try and deal with Mawile/Ferrothorn.
The game turned into a battle of Meowstics, where we were both using Swagguard and Charm to either increase our damage output or reduce theirs. A few turns occurred where I was sure to Swagger my own Mawile to ensure it wouldn’t be at -2 by the end of the turn. And the same occurred with Charm to ensure his Pokemon wouldn’t be able to deal with me. Fire Fang would have 2HKO’d Mawile with a Swagguard mixed in on the second hit, but Charm controlled it and I had the game from there. It was a good game!
Round 6 vs. Alex
Salamence / Rotom-W / Tyranitar / Goodra / M-Mawile / Scizor
I’d met Alex (Evan Falco) 3 years ago (holy crap has it been that long?) in VGC Seattle 2011. I knew I was in for a tough round, and the loser would be knocked out of contention. I figured the Goodra had some Fire move, as did TTar and/or Mence so I knew Ferrothorn couldn’t be my answer, which left me with Rotom-W as my 4th mon.
He led Salamence/TTar to my Meowstic/Mawile. I was in for a rough decision, as I figured he would double-target one of my leads for a KO. Time was running down and I decided on Safeguard with Meowstic and a Play Rough on his Salamence with Mawile. I figured he knew Meowstic couldn’t protect, while Mawile could, making that the safer double-target. But if he took Mawile out, I’d have Swagguard ready for Garchomp in the future.
|Maybe my Mawile was
just too intimidated
Unfortunately I was a bit too late in choosing my move. I was conscious of the timer and selected my moves with 3 seconds to spare, but it never communicated. My Meowstic still used Safeguard (first moveslot), but Mawile failed to Mega Evolve, and instead launched a piddly Iron Head at Salamence (couldn’t even hit TTar! >.<). A cruel reminder that your first moveslot should be your preferred STAB or at least Protect.
I never recovered from that, though I like to think I put up a good effort in the face of adversity. His Mence turned out to not be Scarfed, and I lost my Garchomp to it thinking he might switch out fearing the KO via Dragon Claw (it was at about 60%). Alex controlled the battle with good prediction, but I at least managed to make a game of it losing only 0-1. Very curious to know how things would have turned out had I KO’d the Salamence first turn. By no means would I have won, but we’d have been on relatively equal footing. His own Mega Mawile ran Fire Fang to get the advantage in the mirror match, so by no means would my Mawile have survived the next turn. Very curious to see how that would have turned out…
Either way, it was a good game! And Alex went on to take 2nd, so congratulations to him!
This loss was surprisingly not that surreal. I would have loved to see how it would have turned out with my intended Turn 1, but I didn’t really feel that upset about the circumstance. I think I’ve taken a lesson from Trevore and accepted the sun as my lord and saviour.
I met up with Max who had also lost his second game of the tournament this round, and waited for the pairings to go up. I had borrowed the use of a friend’s phone to check the pairings earlier, so my Player ID was entered into the Pokegym App. He came up to me saying the next round’s pairings were up and there I was… facing
Round 7 vs. Max
|I honestly don’t know if he even
Some random crap. I didn’t even write down his mons. They must’ve been really bad.
The mirror match with
nothing everything on the line. Beauty. Easily the battle with the most skilled predictions of the day. We both knew that Ferrothorn would likely win us the game, and that our only answer was Salamence. He led with Salamence/Ferrothorn to my Meowstic/Mawile.
Turn 1, Max predicted that my Play Rough would miss his Salamence, and he takes the KO on my Meowstic with a double-target. My Play Rough misses for the third time that day. The first time it would have dire consequences though. Sometimes you just can’t keep up with skill.
Later in the battle, it was my Salamence/Ferrothorn to his Salamence/Ferrothorn. Both our Mence’s had just switched in, so the speed tie could determine the winner of the game. I figured I’d lose the speed tie, but that Max would also think he’d lose the speed tie. Because of that I figured he’d go for the KO on my Ferrothorn with Flamethrower, and I wanted to be sure I wasn’t at the disadvantage against his combo, so I Flamethrowered his Ferrothorn.
I’d like to amend what I just said though and re-write history. I predicted his Draco Meteor would miss my Salamence and knew my Gyro Ball would finish it off anyways, so I Flamethrowered his Ferrothorn to be sure it couldn’t Gyro Ball me. My prediction paid off and I ended up KO’ing his Salamence and forcing his Ferrothorn to ignore its master’s orders and Protect for dear life. The game was mine.
At the end of the day, I was pretty pleased with 5-2. It meant that we could at least arrive back in Vancouver at a reasonable hour instead of 3 am. Did I mention we drove into Oregon Friday night/Saturday morning at 3 am? Choosing to not play TCG Saturday was a decision I wholeheartedly don’t regret. Functioning off 2 hours sleep, I really didn’t want to spend $30 to spend the next 6-8 hours playing TCG without rest, when I was going to drop regardless of record to play VGC the next day.
And man was VGC fun. I’ll probably head to BC Provincials for TCG, but I may just play VGC in Seattle as well and spend the Saturday enjoying the city I’m travelling to for once!