Hello Hat Lovers!
I played in two Premiere Challenges this weekend in Victoria. These were the first tournaments I’ve played in since switching to the new format, and my goal was to win at least one of the tournaments. I’ve had a team I’ve been testing for a while now and while it has done well in practise (winning an online Smogon tournament the day before) I decided I didn’t want use it and would rather build a team focusing on Pokemon I knew would be good against the local metagame. I knew which Vancouver players would show up and what they used in the past, as well as what the Victoria players would use.
Since this tournament took up my afternoon and I went out on Friday I ended up getting home at 1AM without knowing what I wanted to run. There were a couple threats I needed to prepare for. I knew Rushan had used a Trick Room team with Slowbro and Gastrodon so I wanted a Grass type to make that match-up easier. Murray was likely to have a rain team, so a Grass type would pay dividends in that matchup as well. Hongyu was the one player I didn’t know was coming, but I wouldn’t have known what he was running anyways.
Terrakion was the first Pokemon I wanted to use. Terrakion has great match-ups against a lot of Pokemon is the metagame. After Terrakion I knew Bisharp was my second Pokemon and decided that I wanted to use Mega Salamence and a redirection Pokemon as my next two.
As I’ve mentioned before Bisharp is my favourite partner for Terrakion as it has great coverage and deters Intimidate users. I normally advocate Focus Sash on Bisharp but that item was taken so used Life Orb. After this weekend I would never recommend Life Orb Bisharp because you are always at risk of being KO’d and there were many times where I would be fine if Bisharp could take an attack. Life Orb actually worked well on day one but it cost me a game on day two.
I can’t remember why I went with Mega Salamence specifically. It could’ve been that it has amazing stats, brings Intimidate to my team, and it made a great switch in for my most common leads, but it was probably something along the lines of “this hits really hard right? I’ll use this”. For whatever reason I was set on Salamence. Salamence proved to be quite strong when it KO’d Rushan’s Gastrodon from nearly full HP with Double-Edge.
I knew I wanted redirection on my team. Amoonguss was chosen over Togekiss for its utility against Rushan’s Trick Room team. If I didn’t have Amoonguss I’d have no chance against his team outside of getting a ton of Air Slash flinches with Togekiss. I decided I wanted max Defence on this Amoonguss so I had to rebred for a Relaxed one. Thankfully the first egg I hatched was perfect since I started breeding around 3AM. I would’ve been much better off with more Special Defence so the whole effort was a complete waste of time.
I decided I wanted Infernape because it had a faster Fake Out then Kangaskhan. When I’d face Kangaskhan with other teams I’d always have to double Protect and risk giving them a chance to set up or accept an unfavourable trade in damage. Infernape alleviates this concern and gives me more viable first turn options against Kangaskhan. This Infernape was originally a Rotom-H. The consequences of switching to Infernape were that I was weaker against Talonflame and I didn’t get to use Focus Sash on Bisharp.
I decided I wanted a Gengar because it was good against Kangaskhan and could prevent Trick Room with Taunt. The flaw in this logic was that most Trick Room setters can OHKO Gengar instead of going for Trick Room and I already have two Fighting types for Kangaskhan. Focus Sash was taken and I didn’t even have access to Life Orb so I gave it Gengarite as the next best item. I didn’t end up bringing Gengar to a single game, though it would’ve at least given me a good match-up against Kangaskhan/Smeargle if I faced it.
Game 1 VS Cameron
Cameron was the lone Junior at the event, so he had to play against Masters. His team had an Umbreon, a Vaporeon and some other Pokemon that didn’t evolve from Eevee. After I’ve KO’d three of his Pokemon he forfeits, as per his master plan.
Game 2 VS Evan
Evan was a new player to the competitive scene. There is a Talonflame on Evan’s team which I didn’t have a great way to deal with. He lead with Talonflame and Bisharp against my Terrakion and Bisharp. I have no safe way to deal with Talonflame, so I just Double Kick the Bisharp and Knock Off the Talonflame and hope for the best. Terrakion survives the Choice Band Brave Bird with a sliver of HP and Double Kicks his Bisharp and my Bisharp KOs Talonflame with Knock Off. After such a good first turn I’m able to win pretty handily.
Game 3 VS Rushan
Rushan has a Trick Room team with Kangaskhan, Slowbro, Gastrodon, Chandelure, Ferrothorn and Bisharp. I have no way to stop Trick Room without just losing a Pokemon so I have to accept that Trick Room will happen and use Amoonguss to Spore all of his Pokemon. Since I played Rushan four times on the day all our games blur together. I remember feeling like I was behind but I managed to survive until Trick Room ended and was able to clean up afterwards.
Game 4 VS Murray
Murray has a hail team with Rotom-F, Abomasnow, Suicune and Conkeldurr. The game is pretty close throughout, the game ends when my Terrakion is put into Ice Shard range with a critical hit Blizzard. I did the damage calculations later and Terrakion would’ve survived the Ice Shard without the Blizzard crit, so I might’ve been able to win if that didn’t happen. This was the round to have the opponent get a critical hit as I make top 4 all the same. I’d make up for the crit the next day by flinching his Politoed with Air Slash twice in a row.
Swiss only took an hour to complete. We decided to start top cut as soon as the hack check was over. I was paired up against Rushan and Murray was paired with Hongyu.
Top 4 VS Rushan
In game 1 I dodged a couple crucial moves, so I was able to close out the game. In game 2 I tried changing things up and it didn’t work. I forget exactly how game 3 went but it was the most convincing win I had against Rushan this weekend.
Physically defensive Amoonguss was very disappointing in this game as it only ever got hit by special attacks. Amoonguss was still critical in these games as it could outrun all of Rushan’s Pokemon and put them to sleep to help stall out Trick Room turns. I found out in game 1 that Salamence could OHKO his Gastrodon with Double-Edge which made this match-up much easier as Gastrodon was the only Pokemon that could OHKO my Salamence.
Finals vs Hongyu
I’m relieved that Hongyu was able to beat Murray, because I was sure I was going to lose to Murray. Hongyu’s team consisted of Kangaskhan, Suicune, Heatran, Thundurus, Landorus-T and Sylveon.
In game 1 I lead Bisharp/Terrakion against Kangaskhan/Thundurus. I double-Protect as he switches Thundurus out for Landorus. I double into Kangaskhan expecting Landorus to switch and get the KO as Thundurus and Landorus comes back in. He goes for a Swagger on Bisharp as a last resort but I get through and KO Landorus while Terrakion switches for Amoonguss. Heatran comes in and KO’s Bisharp. Terrakion comes in and locks down Heatran while I have Lum Berry+Rage Powder to ensure Thundurus can’t hax me out with confusion/paralysis.
Hongyu gets Tailwind up while I bring Suicune down to red HP. When he has two turns of Tailwind left we’ve traded his Heatran for my Salamence. He is disconnected at this point and he agrees that he was losing that game so rather then go through the steps of trying to recreate that game I’m given the win. I’m sure I’d have game so long as he didn’t get a Scald critical hit on my Terrakion as I can survive one, Infernape can Fake Out the Kangaskhan/Thundurus and then I can KO Suicune and Protect off the last turn of Tailwind / Kangaskhan’s Fake Out and then Terrakion/Bisharp take care of Thundurus/Kangaskhan.
I end up winning the first Premiere Challenge of the weekend. I decided to change up the team since I figured people would try to adjust to it and it was also suboptimal. The team had little switching potential and Rage Powder was my only defence. I stayed up until 3AM helping my roommate make a new team for the event. I made my team on Sunday during registration.
On the next day I decided to change up the team. I replaced Amoonguss for Togekiss, Infernape for Rotom-H and Gengar for Breloom. We had five rounds of swiss and I went 3-1 to start but then our last round of swiss was dropped thanks to TOM being TOM and I bubbled at 5th. With another round of swiss all 3-2 players would make cut so even if I lost the next round I’d still be within the top 8. Still, its hard to complain about not getting top 8 when some PC have three times as many players and still only get a top 8 cut.
With my third Premiere Challenge win I’m able to replace the top 12 in my best finish limit. This brings my up to 166 championship points. I’ve set my goals for the season to be winning two more Premiere Challenges and getting more sleep before events.