Hello Hat Lovers!
This weekend I replicated Mark’s success and won a Premiere Challenge in Vancouver. The tournament was happening at the same venue as TCG BC Regionals was, so I got to see Trevore, Chase and Josh while I was there. They’re still scrubbing up playing TCG, Chase won in Masters and Josh made top 4 in Seniors. Our tournament was supposed to start at 3PM once the Juniors were finished but they took much longer than expected and we ended up starting around 6 PM.
The team I used started out as the Raichu team seen before on VGC w/Hats, and has changed over to become what it is. I’ve been shaping this team for a few months now.This is a stark contrast between Mark, whom has been making his teams sometime between 3AM and when the tournament starts. I’ve been yo-yoing in the 1400-1600 range on Showdown as I’ve been testing changes and new party members. I realized that Showdown wasn’t a reliable indication of how I would do as I was facing the same players over and over again so the view of the metagame I was getting was biased. On top of that most of the best players in BC aren’t playing by the (current) metagame. I had a rough matchup against Tyranitar so I was hoping that I wouldn’t face very many. I tried a lot of different members on the team to deal with Tyranitar and while I don’t think I’ve managed to make the team favourable against it I gave the team enough outs to be able to defeat it.
Charizard @ Charizardite Y
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 20 SpA / 12 SpD / 212 Spe
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam
Charizard was the lone Mega on my team. Charizard has a favourable match-up against the most used Mega in the metagame, Mawile. Charizard also brings high-power spread moves to the table as well as Overheat which can KO most targets in the Sun after some chip damage. I haven’t felt comfortable using Charizard-Y safely in the past with all the Garchomp and Rotom-H in the metagame. Having Raichu on the team makes Charizard so much easier to use. I can lead it with Raichu and be able to pressure the things that are weak to Charizard or I can save it in the back until the opponents counters are either eliminated or weakened.
The EVs allow it to survive Adamant Kangaskhan’s Return, Jolly Garchomp’s double target Rock Slide, and Modest Specs Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor. 4 SAtk was enough to OHKO 4 HP Mega-Kangaskhan, and I used 20 because I had 16 points left over that weren’t doing anything for any other stat. 212 Speed puts Charizard over Jolly Gyarados, and anything speed creeping positive base 80s by one.
Raichu @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 16 Def / 236 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 24 Atk / 30 Def
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Fake Out
Raichu is by and far my favourite support Pokemon in VGC 2014. The control you gain from Fake Out, Encore and Lightning Rod are what make me comfortable using Charizard. You’ll notice I didn’t actually use Encore on this Raichu as per Mark’s recommendation. Mark made me realize that I didn’t actually use Encore very often and when I did use it successfully I could probably win anyways. I went with Feint to get surprise KOs here and there. My team used a lot of spread moves so lifting Wide Guard was incredible. The above IVs were the best I could get, as I only started breeding for this Raichu the night before. Mark also stayed up trying to breed perfect Raichu with me, before I found an acceptable one and he decided to go with another team.
Zapdos @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 76 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 172 Spe
IVs: 30 Atk / 30 Def / 29 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Volt Switch
After the last set of Premiere Challenges where I had a disappointing 3/3 finish and a 4/2 finish bubbling at 9th place I knew my team still needed work. My main core was Raichu/Charizard/Aegislash. I had trouble dealing with multiple Rock Slide users and relying on Wide Guard Aegislash wasn’t consistently winning games. I had been watching some battle videos on Nugget Bridges Youtube channel when I saw Simon Yip use a Choice Scarf Zapdos in a Premiere Challenge. I realized that this could form a really cheesy combo with Raichu. Zapdos could Discharge and boost Raichu’s Special Attack high enough to always OHKO Garchomp with Hidden Power Ice, as well as having Discharge hit both the opponents Pokemon. This strategy worked surprisingly well in testing, and Mark appropriately dubbed it “ScrubChu”. There are always battles where you can overwhelm the opponent right off the bat with this strategy, and theres also the chance for para-hax.
Mamoswine @ Life Orb
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Ice Shard
– Icicle Crash
Originally I had a Garchomp in this slot to form a Dis-quake combo with Zapdos. Early in the season I really enjoyed using Garchomp but as time went on I found it harder and harder to use it successfully. I switched over to Mamoswine so that I could still have a Ground type with a strong Earthquake and have priority Ice Shard to KO Garchomp and Salamence. I’ve been using Jolly for the entirety of my testing but I switched to Adamant at the last minute so I would have a higher chance to OHKO Salamence with Ice Shard at -1 Attack. Mamoswine also works much better against opposing Manectric and Raichu, being able to eat up their attacks and KO them before they can accumulate Lightning Rod boosts. Removing an Ice weakness from my team was very important and made Mega Manectric much more manageable.
I’ve been using Ludicolo on all my teams lately to improve my Rain matchup, but it also works pretty well in general. Ludicolo is another Pokemon that can deal with Rotom, Dragons, Mamoswine, and Tyranitar/Amoonguss teams.
This spread survives Kangaskhan’s Return and KOs Garchomp with Ice Beam. I don’t believe in investing heavily in speed for Ludicolo as I don’t set up Rain and if Rain is up then I’m only getting out-sped by other Ludicolo, Scarf Politoed and Brave Bird.
Aegislash @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 92 SpA / 156 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
IVs: 0 Spe
– Shadow Ball
– Wide Guard
– Sacred Sword
– King’s Shield
The last slot of this team has been rotating between various potential Tyranitar counters. Tyranitar is the Pokemon that I don’t want to face the most as only Mamoswine and Ludicolo can do much to it. I’ve tried Mawile, Lucario and Conkeldurr but none of them really gelled with me. A day or two beforehand I decided that I would just use Aegislash again as I was the most comfortable playing it. I decided on using Wide Guard as it deals with Scarf Pokemon using spread moves like Tyranitar and Mamoswine. I used Weakness Policy so I’d be able to get surprise KOs against Pokemon like Garchomp, Kangaskhan, Mawile, Mamoswine and Hydreigon.
This Aegislash is EV’d to survive Modest Specs Hydreigon’s Dark Pulse 100% of the time. The rest is dumped into Special Attack. I’ve continued to use Sacred Sword over Flash Cannon because I wanted to chance to OHKO Tyranitar that don’t invest in any bulk and deal a ton of damage to bulky one.
Aegislash is also useful against Gothitelle because it can switch out, under speed a lot of their Pokemon in case of Trick Room, and can OHKO most of their Pokemon at +2 Special Attack
- Four members of the team had very similar physical bulk with ~180 HP and ~100 Def
- There were only three moves with <100% accuracy, all of which were 90%.
- There were four Electric attacks and four Ice attacks on the team.
- My team had two Protect, two Fake Out, and two Protect-like moves (King’s Shield & Wide Guard)
The tournament had 32 players in Masters, which gave us five rounds of swiss and a top cut of eight. After the first round I calculated that two 3/2s would make cut out of the ten players that could have 3/2 records. This meant I had to go 4/1 to have a shot at cut as I couldn’t rely on having good resistance.
I took more detailed notes about what happened during these games, but I’m bound to have forgotten exactly how everything went down. All I know for sure is whether or not I got the win.
Round 1: Aryana
I’ve faced Aryana in all the Premiere Challenges so far, and we were one for one. I knew she liked Tyranitar so I figured I was in for a tough match.
She brought: Chaizard, Ludicolo, Tyranitar, Aegislash
I brought: Raichu, Aegislash, Mamoswine, Ludicolo
At some point I manage to catch the Charizard switching in for her Tyranitar and nail it with a Sacred Sword for the OHKO. After this I’m able to clean up and take the win.
Round 2: Toki
I’ve never faced Toki before, so I don’t know what to expect from him.
He brought: Talonflame, Aegislash, Rotom-H, Lapras
I brought: Raichu, Zapdos, Ludicolo, Charizard
Looking at his team I see an easy win going with Raichu/Zapdos. He sets up Tailwind early, but I’m able to stall it out by switching between Raichu and Ludicolo to get more Fake Outs. There was a turn where I used Fake Out and Thunderbolt and got a crit on his Lapras, which I don’t think mattered in the long run, but it did stop him from being able to switch out his Rotom-H after an Overheat.
Round 3: Randy
One of the few players I didn’t want to face before top cut, I knew Randy was going to be a challenging opponent, but we would probably get a good game out of it.
He brought: Gyarados, Talonflame, Manectric, Tyranitar
I brought: Mamoswine, Zapdos, Charizard, Aegislash
I figured Dis-quake would fair well against him. On the first turn I discharge and Icicle Crash the Talonflame spot expecting Garchomp to come in. Instead Talonflame switches to Manectric and Icicle Crash misses. Gyarados is still taken out by Discharge but Manectric gets a boost. I stopped taking detailed notes at this point, but Mamoswine goes down soon, Aegislash gets in safely and gets a critical hit Shadow Ball to OHKO Manectric and the battle comes down to Charizard Aegislash vs Talonflame Tyranitar. My only hope is to have his Scarf Tyranitar KO Charizard with Rock Slide and have Talonflame trigger Weakness Policy so I can OHKO it and then stall out Tyranitar with Wide Guard. He Crunches Charizard and Overheats the Aegislash for KO, and I Solar Beam the Tyranitar for the KO. Talonflame finishes me off next turn.
Round 4: Leonard
I’ve faced Leonard before, so I’m not especially worried about him. He made it to the finals of the last Premiere Challenge so he did know what he was doing though.
He brought: Aegislash, Hydreigon, Garchomp, Mawile
I brought: Raichu, Zapdos, Mamoswine, Charizard
Here are my notes from the battle:
T2: Scrubchu Hydreigon KO’d
T3: Scrubchu Mawile Protects Garchomp KO’d
T4: Scrubchu Mawile KO’d
When Raichu/Zapdos go unhindered they can ramp up pretty quickly. Raichu’s Special Attack reached 420 by the end of the fourth turn and was able to take a KO on anything it wanted by turn two. After the game he mentions that he should’ve brought Garchomp to deal with me. I told him that my team eats Garchomp for breakfast but I wasn’t able to convince him while also withholding information that I didn’t want anyone to know yet.
Round 5: John
I’ve never heard of John, I didn’t know what to expect. Mark used my notebook and faced him in the last tournament in top cut, which would’ve been cool to know beforehand.
He brought: Kangaskhan, Amoonguss, Garchomp, Rotom-W
I brought: Raichu, Zapdos, Mamoswine, Charizard
I didn’t lead well going into this game at all. By turn 2 both of my Pokemon are asleep. I’m able to burn some sleep turns of Zapdos and Raichu to wake up without losing anything. Mamoswine comes in and is able to Icicle Crash the Amoonguss for KO. Garchomp is dispatched by Feint and Ice Shard, while Mamoswine is KO’d by Kangaskhan. I’m able to KO the Kangaskhan with Charizard’s Overheat (Charizard was faster than Kangaskhan surprisingly, so I don’t take any damage on Charizard yet) and Rotom-W is left to face a Zapdos and -2 Charizard in the sun.
Whenever I think back to this game I get this fear that I didn’t actually win and didn’t really make cut or win. Now I know why Alex Ogloza doesn’t want to watch any of his games from Nationals.
With this I’ve made Top Cut for sure. Mark goes off to get me some food and I prepare for top cut.
The first four members of my team were used the most often, which is to be expected. Ludicolo and Aegislash did have their time to shine and weren’t dead weight. At this point I was wishing I ran a Substitute & Leftovers Aegislash
Top 8: Graham
I see the Tyranitar that is probably Mega and I am scared that I need to kill it twice in order to advance.
I’m just going to post my battle videos here so you can see exactly what happens.
Game 1: 7GSG-WWWW-WWWA-6KFW
Game 2: SNTG-WWWW-WWWA-6KFF
I was able to win the first game by predicting how he’d try to deal with Aegislash and making good reads for enough turns to put myself in a winning position. The second game was won in similar fashion. Tyranitar is so scary for me but I was able win in the end.
Top 4: Tsukasa
My top eight match finished long before Tsukasa’s top eight match so I had plenty of time to eat some food that Theo’s mother brought and drink some water. I knew I’d be facing the winner of his match. I faced Tsukasa last time and he Swaggered me to death, so I had hoped his opponent won their match even though I was sure he’d pull it out. Thankfully because my team is so light on physical attackers he doesn’t consider Meowstic to be worth bringing against me.
Game 1: 2WTW-WWWW-WWWA-6KFS
The Special Attack drop on Aegislash from Moonblast prevented me from finishing off Garchomp with Solar Beam, forcing Zapdos to lock into Hidden Power Ice when Tsukasa had Bisharp in back. Fortunately I’m able to stall out the Bisharp until I find a turn I’m sure he won’t Sucker Punch the Charizard and I’m able to Heat Wave for the KO.
After saving game 1 I reached 100 saved battles and couldn’t save any more. Tsukasa saved it fortunately.
Game 2: PA5G-WWWW-WWWA-6KRT
In the second game I’ve figured out how he plays against my team so I’m able to put myself in a more comfortable position. It comes down to Mamoswine and Charizard with Aegislash in back vs Garchomp and Kangaskhan. I know that Return can’t OHKO either of my Pokemon without a critical hit so if I Ice Shard the Garchomp to force it to Protect I can Overheat the Kangaskhan and then declare checkmate with another Ice Shard. He does Protect Garchomp but dodges the Overheat allowing him to get a Power-Up-Punch on Mamoswine. He is able to take out Charizard and Mamoswine next turn. I send in Aegislash as my last hope. I’m pretty distraught at this point as I was so close to ending the match and now I had to face the prospect of a game 3. However I keep spamming Wide Guard so that he can’t touch my Aegislash. He hits his Kangaskhan a couple times doing this. After a couple turn he starts getting nervous about Sucker Punch PP and I’m able to take an Earthquake and trigger my Weakness Policy, allowing me to get the Shadow Ball KO on Garchomp. With Aegislash facing his Kangaskhan he forfeits as he was either out of Sucker Punches or didn’t want to continue playing Sucker Punch Hell against me.
I had some tough breaks in these games but both times his win condition was Sucker Punch which I was able to get around.
I’ve never faced April, even though she always does well at these local tournaments. I see her team and there are no major roadblocks to victory, which makes me feel confident. These games aren’t being streamed online but there is a TV set up so Mark can watch me win a Premiere Challenge.
Game 1: 9BFW-WWWW-WWWA-6L87
I lead Charizard/Raichu against Mawile/Rotom-W. I want to make a flashy play turn one so I Feint the Mawile and use Heat Wave. She switches in Ludicolo and Charizard takes a Hydro Pump. Hydro Pump does a ton of damage but I didn’t realize that the Rotom was carrying Choice Specs yet. Despite this early set back I’m able to KO the Mawile after 5-8 turns and she forfeits as she doesn’t feel she has a chance with 3 special attackers against my Ludicolo (and the rest of my team is still alive). At this point I thought her Hydreigon was Specs as it hadn’t actually attacked yet so I was a little surprised.
Game 2: GALG-WWWW-WWWA-6L84
After the first game I’m confident that I can win and try to set up another flashy turn one knock out (because it worked so well the first time). I figure she’ll lead with Hydreigon, so I lead Raichu & Aegislash. My intention is to Fake Out the partner and take a Dark Pulse on Aegislash, triggering Weakness Policy and knocking out the Hydreigon in response. I know that once Hydreigon is gone Charizard can go to town on the remainder of her team. She does lead Talonflame and Hydreigon, but she sends in Ludicolo for her lead Talonflame and Dark Pulses Raichu, not even triggering my Sash tipping me off that it isn’t Specs. I still get about 65% on Hydreigon with Sacred Sword. I get Ludicolo in for Raichu and King’s Shield with Aegislash. From here I predict Hydreigon to switch out for Talonflame fearing the Ice Beam so I Scald it. As soon as the animation for switching out Hydreigon begins I look at her, her eyes meet mine and I start to grin and she now has a look of fear as she know what’s about to happen. Talonflame comes in and is dispatched by Scald. At this moment I finally think to myself “I’m going to win a Premiere Challenge”. I’m never arrogant enough to assume I’ve won a game until it is completely impossible for me to lose but
Top Cut Stats:
Unlike Swiss Ludicolo and Aegislash were two of my most used Pokemon in top cut. During cut I was able to appreciate the safety net Wide Guard provided me as well as the potential power Weakness Policy offered me. Zapdos offered less utility in cut, but that had more to do with the teams I faced rather then how good it was on the team.
Throughout the entire tournament all of my Pokemon remained important. This is kinda new for me as usually I’ve had one Pokemon that just never ends up being brought to battle. While Wide Guard put in work in top cut there were so many games where I could’ve set up a win condition with Substitute. Its tough to say which is better for the team but I’m happy with how things turned out.
After winning I’m swarmed by my friends who were watching to give me their congrats as well as having prizes thrown at me. I won a Shiny Mega-Gengar plush donated by Aryana, ten booster packs and this cool pseudo 3D Pidgeotto card someone made by cutting up multiple Pidgeotto.
Like Mark, I was quite happy to have finally won an official VGC tournament. I wouldn’t consider a Premiere Challenge win to be as big as a Regionals Top 4, but there’s just something to be said about winning the whole thing even if it was a smaller event.
I’d like to thank Mark for helping me build the team, giving me the idea to use Feint over Encore, Jason for giving me the Zapdos I used and Tony for letting me stay overnight at his place.
I’ll be attending more Premiere Challenges this season trying to reach my best finish limit. If I keep getting Championship Points I could earn a travel stipend again, or maybe even a worlds invite, or maybe they do nothing. We don’t really know yet.