Month: February 2014

Praise The Sun! A VGC team analysis

Hello Hat Lovers!

Today I have another VGC team to bring to you. I used this team in an online tournament recently. I’ve being trying to make a Charizard team that I liked since the start of the generation, but I’ve just never been feeling it until recently. This team takes a fair bit of inspiration from a Charizard-centric team featured on Nugget Bridge, and uses three Pokemon from it and their movesets (though I did change their spreads.)

There were two requirements for this team: The first was that I needed to cut down on all sub 100% accurate moves as much as possible, unless there no alternative. A competitive player will try to win their games 100% of the time so resigning yourself to lose 10% of the time you should’ve won is something I’d like to avoid. This isn’t a choice I made out of saltiness (Team Praise the Sun doesn’t allow for saltiness) more that my nerves can’t take the suspense of waiting to see if my attack is going to hit its target and then missing for the third time in a row.

The second requirement was that Charizard needed Wide Guard support to work for me, the same as how Heracross needed a Togekiss beside it last year, and Mawile needs a Meowstic this season. I originally tried out a Weakness Policy Aegislash with Wide Guard, but pairing a Fire weakness alongside a Charizard didn’t always work out. When I read the report and NB and saw the Aerodactyl the team used I knew that it was Charizard’s Togekiss. With this I was ready to praise the sun!


Charizard @ Charizardite Y
Ability: Solar Power
Level: 50
EVs: 92 HP / 4 Def / 212 SAtk / 36 SDef 164 Spd
Modest Nature
– Flamethrower
– Ancient Power
– Solar Beam
– Protect

The centrepiece of the team is Mega Charizard Y. Having a strong fire attacker is a great asset in this format and Charizard is the strongest candidate for a fire type right now.

The spread is netted from a team I found on NB. It’s bulky enough to survive most not-Rock Slide attacks, and the lower speed is alleviated by Tailwind. This Charizard is a bit stronger then a timid 252 / 252 spread that has been the standard.

With so many things EV’d to withstand Charizard’s Heat Wave, Flamethrower can get some surprise KOs. Despite the truth of this statement, which was the reason the original team used it, I mostly wanted to avoid using a sub-100% move as my main STAB. We all know how good 90% accurate moves are. Solar Beam  provides coverage. Protect is standard. Ancient Power takes out other Charizard and is your best option against things like Gyarados and Salamence. If you get the stat boost you’ll probably win off of that. Remember to praise the sun while using Charizard for optimal results.

Aerodactyl @ Focus Sash
Ability: Unnerve
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Rock Slide
– Tailwind
– Wide Guard
– Protect

I read about a team that ran Charizard and Wide Guard Aerodactyl on Nugget Bridge and knew that Aerodactyl was the partner I was looking for. These two draw in Rock Slide from the opponent and Aerodactyl protects both my Pokemon from them. Aerodactyl can also take out other Charizard with its own Rock Slide. Tailwind gives me three turns to out-speed the opponent’s Pokemon, which should be enough time to take out their faster threats.

Gourgeist-Super @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Frisk
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SDef
Impish Nature
– Phantom Force
– Leech Seed
– Will-O-Wisp
– Protect

Gourgeist was the other Pokemon I took from the team I found on Nugget Bridge. Gourgeist handles Kangaskhan and Mawile with ease. Kangaskhan can’t damage Gourgeist in any meaningful way unless it pack Crunch, and it will never get off a Sucker Punch because I have Will-O-Wisp and Leech Seed. Against Mawile a burn followed by Leech Seed and dodging attacks with Protect and Phantom Force they will never KO before going down themselves. The one change I made to the set was the nature and speed IV. Gourgeist’s base speed makes it one point faster then 20 Speed Mawile, so Gourgeist can burn Mawile before it gets to use its massive attack stat.

Frisk gives me information on the opponent’s Pokemon. A big challenge in VGC is knowing how skilled a player your opponent is. The information from Frisk can give you a good indication. If the opponent has an item like Quick Claw on one of their Pokemon you can assume they aren’t going to make many clever predictions and it can also save you from running into a Weakness Policy or wasting a turn on a Lum Berry. The alternative is Insomnia which blocks sleep. I carry Wide Guard on the this team and Gourgeist can’t be affected by Spore so sleep isn’t a threat to Gourgeist. Besides, we here at TCG w/Hats get plenty of sleep.

Phantom Force is also really cool because the opponent can’t Protect against it. There was a battle where I have Charizard in back and their only way to handle it was a Rock Slide user with 1 HP left. I could use Phantom Force on the turn they KO’d my current partner then Charizard would Protect and they couldn’t prevent the hit, except I got double flinched twice when trying to do so and ended up winning because their Rock Slide missed Charizard when I had to send it out. Despite this the move was still an option that would’ve given me the game for sure.

Gourgeist breaks the rule of this team by carrying two sub 90% accurate moves. Sadly there isn’t any alternative to Will-O-Wisp when you want to burn the opponent reliable. Thankfully Gourgeist is bulky enough that it can afford to miss once in a battle.

Gardevoir @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Trace
Level: 50
EVs: 52 HP / 4 Def / 196 SAtk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
Modest Nature
– Moonblast
– Psychic
– Thunderbolt
– Shadow Ball

When she was added to the team, Gardevoir had one job, to deal with Garchomp and Salamence. Dragon is still one of the best types in the game and while Fairies like Gardevoir are immune to their attacks they still run rampant. This Gardevoir is EV’d to always KO Garchomp and Salamence. Gardevoir also brings a handful of coverage moves to the table to help deal with various Pokemon, such as Gyarados and Amoonguss.

Trace is an interesting Ability to have. It seems to want to copy Intimidate before anything else which is often appreciated. There are plenty of good abilities in the metagame to copy such as Parental Bond. I’ve dodged Stone Edges by tracing Sand Veil and avoided Rock Slide flinches by tracing Inner Focus. In the finals of the tournament I was saved multiple times by Tracing Manectric’s Lightning Rod and Ludicolo’s Swift Swim.

Scrafty @ Leftovers
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 196 Atk / 60 Def
Impish Nature
– Drain Punch
– Crunch
– Fake Out
– Quick Guard

For my next Pokemon I wanted a couple things to help round off the team. The first thing I wanted was an Intimidate user. Next I wanted a Ghost / Dark resist, which Scrafty covers nicely. Scrafty has a 60% to 2HKO Kangaskhan with Drain Punch. TBH Scrafty is the Pokemon on the team I bring the least. The metagame isn’t really kind to Scrafty, and his only role is to slow down the opponent with Intimidate and Fake Out. He does cock-block Talonflame with Quick Guard, which is a major concern for my team.

Garchomp (M) @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Rough Skin
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw
– Rock Slide
– Protect

Good old Garchomp, you fit on teams well without needing to be explained. Garchomp was pretty much last minute filler as I was still testing the team when the tournament began. Garchomp is valuable for the Electric immunity, as well as a Rock and Fire resist. Garchomp partners well with both Charizard and Aerodactyl.

Most Common Lead Combinations:

Charizard + Aerodactyl

These are the default leads for the team. Charizard is much tougher to KO without using spread moves such as Rock Slide. Aerodactyl can also set up Tailwind against Charizard / Venusaur which allows my Charizard to out speed their Venusaur while Aerodactyl takes their Charizard down.

Charizard + Gardevoir

Gardevoir supports Charizard by out speeding opposing Garchomp and OHKO’ing them with Moonblast. Trace also seems to preferentially pick Intimidate when its available, so Gardevoir is good against other physical Pokemon with Intimidate.

Conclusion:

I took 1st place in the online tournament I played in. The team could still use a lot of work (mostly getting rid of Scrafty, he did nothing for the team) but I love the Charizard / Aerodactyl / Gardevoir core, and will most likely use it for all my Charizard teams from now on.

P.S. I’d like to know what everyone’s opinions on the GiFs are. Do you prefer them to the official artwork I was using or do you like the change?

Building a VGC team: threats to deal with

Hello Hat Lovers! Instead of posting one of my own teams I’m going to try and help players build their own. Today I’m going to look at some common metagame threats that your team will need to be able to deal with if you want to do well. Alternatively you could treat this as a way to find a starting point for your team and ways your opponent will try to deal with you.
Kangaskhan + Smeargle

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
-Fake Out
-Return
-Power-Up-Punch
-Sucker Punch

Smeargle @ Focus Sash
-Dark Void
-King’s Shield / Spiky Shield
-Tailwind
-Transform

For whatever reason TPCI decided that not banning Dark Void was a good idea. Kangaskhan has Fake Out on the first turn to make it easier for Smeargle to get off a Dark Void. After that Smeargle can Transform into Kangaskhan and now your two sleeping Pokemon have to deal with two Mega-Kangaskhan. This strategy has a ton of faults in it, although many of them have to do with the RNG and can’t be exploited.

The first issue with this strategy is that Dark Void only has 80% accuracy. This means that you only have 64% chance to put both the opponent’s Pokemon to sleep. The other problem with this is that if your Pokemon get the turn 2 wake you’ll be able to take this combo down without too much trouble.

These are concerns for the user of this combo, but while these will prevent them from winning every time you still want to beat them even if you’re not one of their lucky opponents. So here are a couple of ways to beat this combo:

Insomnia Gourgeist: Gourgeist can’t be touched by Mega Kangaskhan, and if it uses Insomnia Smeargle can’t hinder it either.

Safeguard: Here at VGC TCG w/Hats we love ourselves some Safeguard. Meowstic can block Fake Out from Kangaskhan with Quick Guard while its partner can deal with Smeargle or stop it from using Dark Void for a turn. Once the Fake Out turn has passed Meowstic can set up a Safeguard or start Charming their Kangaskhan.

Lum Berry: By giving one of your Pokemon Lum Berry you’ll be able to get the jump on a Smeargle that thought it could incapacitate you with Dark Void.

Charizard + Venusaur

Charizard @ Charizardite-Y
-Heat Wave / Flamethrower
-Solar Beam
-Protect
-Overheat / Air Slash / Dragon Pulse

Venusaur @ Black Sludge
-Giga Drain / Energy Ball
-Sludge Bomb
-Sleep Powder
-Protect

The new Politoed / Kingdra of VGC 2014. Mega-Charizard’s Drought activates Venusaur’s Chlorophyll and boosts the power of its Fire moves. This lead generally double Protects on the first turn to active Chlorophyll before Venusaur can be attacked. After that you need to deal with Sun boosted Fire moves from Charizard’s base 159 special attack and Venusaur can start putting your Pokemon to sleep with Sleep Powder. This combo is harder to block when your Pokemon are put to sleep, but there are still plenty of ways to deal with the combo:

Garchomp + Talonflame

Garchomp will always out speed standard Charizards and OHKO with Rock Slide, while Talonflame takes out Venusaur with Brave Bird. This combo only fails if the Venusaur is carrying a Coba Berry.

Kangaskhan / Mawile + Meowstic

On the first turn Meowstic can set up a Safeguard while Kangaskhan Fake Outs into a Protect or Mawile Protects itself to be safe. On the second turn Kangaskhan can OHKO Charizard with Return and Meowstic either Swaggers the opponent to try for hax or Swaggers Kangaskhan so that it will be at +2 attack. If using a Mawile you can OHKO Charizard with a +2 Sucker Punch and Venusaur can’t touch Mawile.

Rotom-H (with Lum Berry / Safety Goggles)

Rotom-H can KO both Charizard and Venusaur with its STAB moves while resisting their common moves (except for Sludge Bomb.) With either Lum Berry or Safety Goggles you’ll be safe from Sleep Powder (Lum Berry also helps against Dark Void, while Safety Goggles shields you from all Powder and weather.)

Opposing Weather + Prediction

Having a Tyranitar or a Politoed shuts down Charizard completely and slows down Venusaur. If the opponent goes for a double Protect turn one and sets up the sun you can switch your counter weather in to shut them down. Mega-Tyranitar can also control the weather with proper prediction, so long as you Mega-Evolve either on the same turn or on a turn afterwards you’ll have the last say in the weather war.

Mega Mawile


Mawile @ Mawilite
-Play Rough
-Iron Head
-Sucker Punch
-Protect

Mawile is one of the most popular Mega Pokemon right now. On top of its insane attack stat Mawile has a ton of resistances, good defensive stats, and Intimidate before Mega-Evolving. Like most physical Pokemon Mawile can be handled by burn and repeated intimidates. Mawile’s STAB moves are both resisted by most Steel types and Fire types, just be sure that whatever you decide to attack Mawile with can survive a Sucker Punch.

Mega Manectric

Manectric isn’t as popular of a Mega as Kangaskhan, Mawile, and Charizard which have higher stats and are easier to use. Regardless, Manectric is still dangerous in the hands of a good player. Volt Switch allows Manectric to use Intimidate over and over again while avoiding attacks heading its way. Before Mega-evolving Manectric supports its partner with Lightning Rod. Our favourite partner for Manectric has been Gyarados, which provides further Intimidate support and enjoys having electric attacks diverted away from it.

Mega Gengar

Gengar @ Gengarite
-Perish Song
-Protect
-Shadow Ball
-Sludge Bomb / Disable / Hypnosis

We’ve already looked at Perish-trapping before, so I’ll make this brief. Dealing with PT is all about applying as much offensive pressure as possible and finding ways to switch out through Shadow Tag. Volt Switch and U-Turn can save one of your Pokemon from being KO’d by PS, just be sure not to Volt Switch into a Protect on the last turn. Ghost types can freely switch out and their Ghost STAB moves are huge threats to users of Shadow Tag.

Garchomp + Salamence


These two have been best friends lately. Double Dragons have been a powerful combination in the past, and continue to be effective despite the introduction of the Fairy type. Its tough to go two battles without encountering one of these Dragons, so you should have at least one way of dealing with them.

The standard Garchomp set is Jolly 252 atk / 252 speed with Earthquake, Dragon Claw, Rock Slide, and Protect. This always out speeds base 100s and is the second fastest Dragon type available after Noivern. Salamence is commonly Scarfed with a Modest/Timid nature and 252 Sp.Atk and 252 Speed. The common moves include Draco Meteor, Dragon Pulse, Fire Blast, Hydro Pump, and Rock Slide.

The first thing that comes to mind when countering dual dragons is to use Fairy types. I’ve been a fan of Scarf Gardevoir which is popular in Japan as an answer to dual dragons. Mawile and Azumarill can KO either with a Play Rough even after an Intimidate, Azumarill gets special mention because it is neutral or resistant to the dragons other moves, while Mawile gets Intimidate before Mega-Evolving.

Another way is to use your own dragons. A Salamence, Noivern or a Hydreigon holding a Haban Berry will likely catch the opponent off guard and allow you to KO their Dragon after they fail to KO yours. Both Garchomp and Salamence have a 4x weakness to Ice, so using something quick like Mega-Manectric with Hidden Power Ice can KO these Pokemon with ease.

Rotom-A

Electric / Water
Electric / Fire

Rotom is possibly the most used Pokemon in VGC right now, although it owes this partially to its multiple forms. The popular forms of Rotom are its wash and heat forms. Rotom has great typing that allow it to wall many common threats. Both Rotom forms resist Fire and Flying, leaving Talonflame without a way to threaten either of them. Rot
om-H resists Fire and Grass, so Charizard can’t touch it unless it resorts to Ancient Power, which is only a 2HKO at best. Rotom-H also resists Fairy and Steel, adding Mawile to the list of things that it doesn’t care about. Couple these great resistances with high defences and solid attack and speed stats and you get a Pokemon that fits onto most any team.

Rotom like to spread burn with Will-O-Wisp, so physical attackers tend not to work well against them unless they carry a Lum Berry or Safeguard. If you can resist Rotom’s attacks or just be neutral against them and have high special defence you’ll be fine against them. The issue is being able to KO them before the Pokemon they wall can attempt to sweep.

Talonflame

Talonflame is a rather frail Pokemon with lower base stats across the board with the exception of its great speed stat. Yet Talonflame is still a threat because of Gale Wings, which gives all its flying moves +1 priority. If most of your team have low defence stats or are weak to Flying you will have a hard time dealing
with Talonflame. Talonflame can also set up Tailwind to support its team.

Talonflame isn’t too hard to deal with. Intimidate lowers its already so-so attack stat making it much more manageable. Pokemon that resist both its STAB moves such as Rotom-W, Rotom-H, and Tyranitar will be able to take anything Talonflame throws at them and KO in return. Quick Guard blocks Brave Bird. Another plan is to let Talonflame KO itself through recoil, Life Orb damage, and potentially Rough Skin / Rocky Helmet.

Ferrothorn

Kill it with fire!


If you don’t have any Fire attacks on your team, you will have a lot of trouble with Ferrothorn. Last year I had a game where I Leech Seeded my opponent’s last two Pokemon and they froze Ferrothorn, only for Ferrothorn to survive off of Leech Seed and Leftovers until it thawed out (then got frozen immediately afterwards and thawed out again.)

Having one Fire attacker on your team gives you a way to deal with Ferrothorn but if that Pokemon is taken out you’ll probably lose to Ferrothorn. If you have two Pokemon that can carry Fire attacks your opponent will probably decide that Ferrothorn isn’t a good Pokemon to bring against you.

Conclusion:

Next time you build a team, ask yourself: will my team be able to handle these Pokemon? If not you’ll in for a rough time. If your team can handle these threats you’ve probably got yourself a solid team. There are plenty of threats that weren’t covered here, most of which are more obscure and aren’t seen as frequently. If you can develop a good sense of what a team is trying to accomplish from team preview alone you’ll be much more successful in this game.

Oregon Regionals VGC Team Analysis + Tournament Report

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
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 52 Atk / 4 Def / 180 SDef / 20 Spd
Carreful Nature
– Iron Head
– Play Rough
– Sucker Punch
– Protect

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
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 148 SDef
Calm Nature
– Quick Guard
– Safeguard
– Swagger
– Charm

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
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Atk / 52 SDef
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spd
– Power Whip
– Gyro Ball
– Leech Seed
– Protect

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
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Modest Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Dragon Pulse
– Flamethrower
– 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
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw
– Rock Slide
– Protect

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
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 116 SAtk / 100 SDef / 36 Spd
Modest Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Hydro Pump
– Will-O-Wisp
– 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’s Tournament

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.

Win, 1-0

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.

Win, 2-0

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.

Win, 3-0

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.

Lose, 3-1

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!

Win, 4-1

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!

Lose, 4-2

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
used Pokemon…

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.

Win, 5-2

In Conclusion

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!