Hey there Hat Lovers,
This past weekend was a back-to-back set of Premier Challenges in Vancouver, which means I wasn’t hosting them! And you know what that means? I got to play in them! A novel idea indeed. Taking the trip over was Max, myself and our new friend and NCPA UVic teammate Wesley, who showed up out of nowhere and Top 4’d the last Premier Challenge I hosted in Victoria. We left the night before to try and get a good night’s sleep before the event; this means staying up until 3am watching Pacific Rim while pining over team decisions.
Entering the tourney, I was looking for a way to incorporate Thunder Wave/Swagger onto my team and went over a variety of options, but ultimately never included the combo for Saturday. I did decide to drop Zen Headbutt on M-Metagross for Hammer Arm though; Hammer Arm OHKOs Hydreigon, has a chance to OHKO M-Kang, and has a chance to OHKO Heatran depending on bulk. The important part was that I could deal most of their HP and just combo that with any chip damage for KO. It sounded pretty good.
There’s also a bit of a story behind this team, being that Max essentially built this team at the start of ORAS, and I was using a very similar team as well. Then Randy Kwa won a local Premier Challenge with it independently, and he was using Breloom instead of our 6th mon. So we adopted Breloom, and it really brought things together.
Togekiss @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 236 HP / 196 Def / 4 SpA / 68 SpD / 4 Spe
– Follow Me
– Air Slash
Hydreigon @ Choice Specs
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Draco Meteor
– Dark Pulse
– Earth Power
Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 116 SpA / 68 SpD / 4 Spe
– Hydro Pump
Breloom @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Bullet Seed
– Mach Punch
Day 1 – Saturday Jan 31st
We had 32 Masters (+1 who was late >.>) for five rounds of swiss and a Top 8. One short of an extra swiss round, which thankfully didn’t end up mattering for me.
R1 – Patrick
Patrick had a really bulky Raichu with Sitrus Berry, which caught me off guard. I thought I’d broken its sash at one point and felt really smug, and then later my Bullet Seed failed to KO it with 3 hits when it had already taken ~30% from an Air Slash + Rocky Helmet damage.
R2 – Max
Round 2 paired up against Max! Yay… At the start of this game Max was apparently intending to scoop to me as a gesture of thanks for hosting the Premier Challenges in Victoria (of which he’d get many more chances at), and he tried to Thunderbolt his own Bisharp on the second turn. To protect my Metagross from an Overheat, I used Follow Me on Togekiss and drew in his Thunderbolt. At that point, without telling me, he decided he’d treat it like a real match. Follow Me makes games happen folks.
Max only told me about this afterward. His first couple plays seemed completely legit.
R3 – Jason Wynja
We gave each other so much information in the first few turns it’s ridiculous. Lots of defensive switches. Also… Oh man… Jason is still trying to make Leer work. Honestly… it’s not even that bad. I think his biggest problem is that he hasn’t learned the wonders of Tail Whip yet.
R4 – Dylan King
Dylan had Ice Fang on his Mawile. This gave me a heart attack on one turn, as I had Landorus-T out, but it went into my Breloom ->Togekiss switch, who took it like a champ. I was excited to see Scizor actually; I was thinking about whether Scizor could use that Bug typing to KO bulky Psychic types and the odd grass Pokemon here or there. Spoiler warning, it can’t.
R5 – Rushan Shekar
And with that I had made Top 8 as the second seed on day 1! My opponent for Top 8 was:
Top 8 – Graeme Meekison
Man… I had such a good start to game 1. I thought I had Graeme on the ropes. Then, in Trick Room, his Sylveon used a Helping Hand boosted Hyper Beam to OHKO my full HP M-Metagross (and I’ve got a bulky M-Metagross); we both went “woah.” After that… I was in a bad spot. Breloom’s Bullet Seed let me down here real bad, failing to pick up the remainder of the KO on Sylveon afterward (it even got 3 hits). In the end I lost. It was an impressive Hyper Beam. We calc’d it afterward and apparently it had a 25% chance to OHKO. Take note folks.
Game 2, I led with Metagross and Togekiss to his Conkeldurr and Cresselia, and doubled into Cress with Iron Head and Air Slash; no flinch. So he gets Trick Room up as he switched Conk out for Heatran. Turn 2, I predict his Flash Cannon onto Togekiss and go for a Hammer Arm on Heatran to pick up some major damage; it missed. After that I got pretty sloppy and didn’t give myself a chance to crawl back into the game. Trick Room too strong once it’s up.
L 0-2 for 5th place.
Day 1 closing:
After the tournament I still had pretty good confidence in the team, and mostly blamed myself for the losses. I decided I would replace Hammer Arm on M-Metagross on day 2 for Earthquake so I had a 100% chance to hit Heatran for the KO (which is the biggest thing that moveslot was there for). On day 1, both teams in the finals had a Thundurus, and I know at least one Thundurus had the Thunder Wave/Swagger combo. This really affirmed my desire to include this on my team. What’s more, I didn’t bring Rotom-W all day and I never really liked it much to begin with; It’s mostly on the team for its resistances.
I was considering dropping Rotom-W for Thundurus-I, or even Latias but didn’t like the extra Ice weaknesses they brought. In the end, I realized there was no reason I couldn’t just put Thunder Wave and Swagger on Rotom-W and call it a day. Considering I never brought it, it couldn’t be worse than the day before! So that’s exactly what I did. I also replaced Bullet Seed on Breloom with Superpower for day 2. Later that night, after Subway and delicious Subway cookies, we decided to watch Iron Man. While we were waiting for it to transfer to my USB, we put on “Rubber” at my recommendation as an apparently “badgood” B movie about a psychokinetic tire that kills people. I would not recommend it. After 20±19.5 hours, Iron Man transferred from my computer to my thumb drive and we watched it into the early morn.
Day 2 – Sunday February 1st
We had 19 Masters for five rounds of swiss and another Top 8. Fun fact: >50% of the field had made Top 4 at least once at previous local Premier Challenges. So it was a small, dense field, but with a very good chance of making Top 8 if you went 3-2.
Wesley also needed help making his team since he didn’t have all the TMs, or an easy way to raise happiness for learning Draco Meteor. I ended up giving his Hydreigon Draco Meteor and Flash Cannon (neat idea) over Flamethrower. I kinda like that. I’m totally gonna run Flash Cannon on Hydreigon one day.
R1 – Jordan
I’ve played Jordan once or twice before. Nice guy! He managed to make Top 8 at the end of the day with his rain team. Not that I saw Politoed in our game. He brought Ludicolo/Rotom-H as leads with Mawile and Conk in the back. Just a solid game here; nothing to see folks.
R2 – Rushan
Much love for using Chandelure at all! I love Chandy. He led Slowbro/Kangaskhan to my Breloom/Hydreigon. Max had been curious about this calc in the instance that Slowbro was holding a Colbur Berry, and found that Draco Meteor picked up the OHKO. So that’s what I did turn one. I threatened a Superpower KO on Kangaskhan (not that Rushan knew), and a Draco on Slowbro. Either way I was ending the turn up one Pokemon.
He Faked Out Breloom and Slowbro went down. After that, if I’m honest, I failed to protect my lead with some sloppy play. This game came down to Swagger from Rotom, which prevented Gastrodon from doing anything for the last 2-3 important turns. In the end, it was Rotom-W vs. Gastrodon and with Muddy Water dealing like… 13 damage, Gastrodon ended up going down to confusion.
R3 – Max again
Mirror match! And a pair down! And Max! Max decided to play the same 6 mons with mostly the same spreads as I was using on day 1. The biggest swing in this match was a critical hit Iron Head on his Togekiss which KOd it from really good HP. Max had the advantage before that, but from there-on there wasn’t much he could do.
R4 – Raphael
Rotom-W wrecked Rapha this game. Oh god it was good. Thunder Wave was totally unexpected, extremely effective, and it was just a Rotom-W against rain to top it off. Swagger helped against the four Special attackers he brought to our game.
R5 – Randy
With both of us sitting at 4-0, we had both made cut at this point. I didn’t really want to give away the fact that my Metagross had Earthquake, or that Rotom-W had Thunder Wave/Swagger in this game, so I avoided using these moves. Superpower on Breloom never came up. That said, I got destroyed by a fast Togekiss’ Dazzling Gleam that took out my Breloom, and I just kinda got wrecked after that… One neat thing I was able to confirm was that Iron Head from M-Metagross was able to deal ~30% to Bisharp, which ended up being handy knowledge in our inevitable Top Cut match!
After that, Randy and I left to get Subway while the round finished up and hack checks happened. With a poor man’s Pizza Sub (Genoa Salami+Marinara sauce) to go, I came back ready to play my Top 8 match.
Top 8 – Ryan
I think this was Ryan’s first time in Top Cut, and boy was he excited. Every time I was fully paralyzed or flinched, he celebrated quite audibly, with really over-the-top hand gestures. I think he’d be good for a broadway jazz routine with that sort of enthusiasm.
Did I mention he had Baton Pass Scolipede which was trying to pass a substitute to Blastoise so it could Water Spout my face off? I probably should have. In game 1, I had Landorus-T and Rotom-W as leads against Scolipede and Klefki. I figured his Scolipede would Protect, and got a KO on Klefki with EQ + Thunderbolt. He sent in Politoed as a response, and I was worried about Landorus-T being KO’d by something like Scarfed Ice Beam, so I switch Landorus out while Thunder Waving the Scolipede slot. At this point, I found out Scolipede wasn’t trying to do some gimmicky Swords Dance set… it was a gimmicky Substitute + Baton pass set. Meanwhile… Politoed Toxic’d my Rotom-W. Oh boy… Blastoise at +4 speed with a substitute and Helping Hand support wrecked me something fierce.
In game 2, no longer fearing Politoed, I didn’t let that happen and won quite handily. Ryan switched it up and passed his boosts to Mawile instead. I also found out Scolipede wasn’t carrying Megahorn, and had Rock Slide as its 4th move instead. Oh my god I was so relieved that Hydreigon could just win me game 3… It was amazing.
Game 3, Hydreigon locked into Earth Power on Turn 1 and proceeded to KO things until the game ended. Luckily I wasn’t fully paralyzed more than 50% of this game, which let me KO the things I needed to, within a reasonable amount of time.
Top 4 – Raphael
Game 1, it took 9 turns before I hit something for more than like… ~30 damage. I could swear we were playing Singles considering how much switching we were doing. My advantage was that I was switching while also Thunder Waving his Pokemon. I had to be careful not to launch a Swagger into a potential Lum Berry Terrakion, but eventually I found myself a good position and got to start taking KOs instead of absorbing hits with Togekiss.
Game 2, Rapha switched up his team a bit. His Togekiss survived an Iron Head from my Metagross with a sliver of HP at one point. I feel like my Metagross needs more attack… I also lost Togekiss to a critical hit Rock Slide, where it would’ve been able to draw in a Hydreigon’s Dark Pulse the next turn to protect my Breloom. I joked that I could still win if I froze his Hydreigon with an Ice Punch, which Metagross ended up doing. Hydreigon thawed out on the same turn though, so no harm done. It was definitely a tougher game for me thanks to smart plays on Rapha’s side.
Game 3, Game three, I somehow won. I seriously don’t know how though. I lead Rotom-W and Landorus-T to his Metagross/Ludicolo. I figured he wouldn’t take the bait and wouldn’t actually just Fake Out + Ice Punch the Landorus-T slot, so I went for a bit of a ballsy play. He proceeded to Fake Out and Ice Punch my Landorus, so after Turn 1 I had lost a Landorus, and his Metagross was paralyzed. I’m pretty sure that’s called a “terrible trade.” I realized early that the only way I could win this game was to start using Thunder Wave + Swagger to the best of my ability and hope for the best. This strategy paid off, and I was able to come back from a game I easily could have lost. Breloom launched a Superpower onto his M-Metagross this game; it was pretty disappointing. Breloom’s Mach Punch was able to close out this game nicely, and off I was to the finals.
Finals – Randy
Before I begin, can I just say that Randy’s Togekiss had some major swag going with its contest ribbon?
Game 1, Randy wrecked me pretty bad. On the first turn I gave a Bisharp its Defiant boost, and took a Fake Out unnecessarily. Thanks to my swiss game though, I was able to use Iron Head to KO his Bisharp rather than reveal Earthquake, while still trying to win.
Game 2, I got a Tailwind up at the cost of my M-Metagross. But that Tailwind let me spread some paralysis around which would prove invaluable as I doubled up on Paralysis and started using Air Slash and Swagger to further remove Randy’s chances of moving. Before Rotom-W went down, it had managed to Paralyze all the remaining members of Randy’s team. Breloom launched another Superpower this game to put Salamence in range for Togekiss to KO it with Air Slash. My Togekiss then managed to hang on with 1 HP surviving Randy’s Dazzling Gleam to give me a chance at winning. Air Slash and Paralysis fended off Randy’s lone Togekiss, and I scraped past game 2 with a win.
Game 3, Randy treated my Rotom-W with a bit more respect than before. Rotom-W spread Paralysis early this game as well. Gothitelle showed up this game instead of Bisharp, and I was able to use Metagross’ Earthquake to great effect (man was it weak though). Randy pulled a fast one on me this game, revealing he was also hiding Earthquake on his Salamence which KO’d my Metagross. I expected it to be a mixed set running something like Fire Blast, so I lost a turn there. But with Landorus-T in back, and Togekiss able to set up Tailwind, I guaranteed myself game.
Day 2 Closing:
And with that I had won! None of my matches in Top cut were clean 2-0s. I had a few scares along the way that turned out ok. I would definitely go back to Hammer Arm on M-Metagross. Zen Headbutt is ok too I guess… but it’s kinda neat to beat out Hydreigon one-on-one, and have a way to deal with Heatran. Considering those are two of Mega Metagross’ hardest counters, I think that’s worth it.
So I finished the weekend with 60 more Championship points, and brought my Premier Challenge BFL up to 1st, 1st, T8, T12. Considering my only chance to play is in Vancouver, it’s really nice to have made this trip count as much as it did. Hopefully I’ll be able to bump out that T12 with another couple strong finishes, and add some Regionals points to the mix.
Hands down, Rotom-W was my MVP of day 2. Looking over my games, Rotom-W bailed me out so much. I won two games in Top Cut after losing a key Pokemon very early in the match; Rotom-W was the sole reason for this. That is a huge improvement over never wanting to bring it.