Hello Hat Lovers!
Mark, Trevore, Chase, Jason and myself all drove down to Portland last weekend to compete in Oregon Regionals. Trevore, Chase and Jason all played in TCG Regionals on Saturday and then in a League Challenge on Sunday. Me and Mark played in a Premiere Challenge on Saturday and in VGC Regionals on Sunday.
We got in around 1:30 AM after getting lost a couple times and our TCG friends were up until 5AM preparing their decks. This made me incredibly thankful that I had decided on my team well in advance. We got up at 7AM to deliver them to the event. I made top 8 in the Premiere Challenge. I changed some of the items for the PC so that if I faced the same people at Regionals they would have false information on the team. The item changes were not ideal for the team, but they were worth trying.
Chase made top cut and stayed up until 3AM deciding on what deck to play on Sunday. We got up again at 7AM to get to the event in time for registration. There were 175 masters registered, giving us 8 rounds of swiss and a top cut of 8. Only 8-0 and 7-1 records were ensured a spot in top cut, with two 6-2 records making it.
The first team I made this season had five of the six on this team. I eventually shelved the team to play around with other stuff. After seeing that Randy won a Premiere Challenge with five of the Pokemon I had as well as a Breloom I decided to revisit it and my love for Breloom was rekindled. I shared the team with Mark and it quickly became our main team.
Ever since we started using this team it has made top cut in every Premiere event we’ve played in (and also won a Smogon tournament.)
Since playing with the team Mark has made a handful of changes to the team. Mark used Thunder Wave and Swagger in place of Will-O-Wisp and Hydro Pump on Rotom-W and Hammer Arm over Zen Headbutt on Metagross. While I didn’t like giving up Zen Headbutt and the idea of running Swagger on Rotom gives me cancer, Thunder Wave was brilliant. Thunder Wave gave the team a second form of speed control and was great in combination with all the flinching moves the team had.
*Mark’s edit: I dropped Swagger for Hydro Pump relatively quickly…
Breloom @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Bullet Seed
– Mach Punch
Breloom is fantastic because of the pressure Spore puts on the opponent. Slower Pokemon like Suicune and Sylveon get put to sleep before they can move. Bullet Seed is needed for its damage output against bulky Water Pokemon as well as Fighting resistant Pokemon. Mach Punch can KO Bisharp before it can Sucker Punch Metagross and gets the KO on a Kangaskhan that attacked Togekiss.
Breloom brings a lot of RNG to a match due to the amount of sleep turns and Bullet Seed hits it gets. Sometimes I had to rely on the opponent not getting the second turn wake or not getting two hits on Bullet Seed twice in a row. I try not to rely on RNG based mechanics but I’ve learnt to accept that sometimes you need to play the odds.
Togekiss @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 196 Def / 4 SpA / 44 SpD / 12 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Follow Me
– Air Slash
Togekiss has always been a favourite of mine ever since Diamond & Pearl and I’ve used it in every format it was legal for. Follow Me is one of the best moves in doubles and can win games on its own. Keeping my other Pokemon safe was crucial to keeping them alive. Between Follow Me and Air Slash I could usually keep Togekiss’ partner safe.
I used Rocky Helmet because it allowed my common Breloom/Togekiss lead to take Kangaskhan apart as well as breaking a potential Focus Sash on Bisharp. Togekiss can KO Talonflame with a combination of Air Slash, Rocky Helmet and Brave Bird recoil. The lack of healing was felt on occasion but Sitrus Berry was taken and Leftovers doesn’t do enough for me. Since I was planning to take a lot of physical hits I focused on physical bulky on this Togekiss. 196 Defence was chosen because it was an efficient amount of investment and let me survive Iron Head from Mega Metagross and Life Orb Bisharp.
Tailwind gives my team speed control and increases the amount of Pokemon Air Slash can flinch. Air Slash gives its target a 43% to move. On this team the chance the opponent doesn’t get to move is compounded by Paralysis and my four other moves that cause flinching. I’ve had some disgusting games where I only write down 2-3 of my opponents moves because they don’t get to launch any others. This can make for some salty opponents when their chance to win is robbed by a heartbreaking flinch. Using Air Slash on a target that has spent a turn sleeping is also nice for covering a potential wake.
Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 60 SpA / 180 SpD / 12 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Thunder Wave
Rotom-Wash originally had Will-O-Wisp instead of Thunder Wave, but after Mark’s win in Vancouver I adopted it and never looked back. Paralyzing the opponent’s team was great for a team that had so many flinch chances. Having a second form of permanent speed control was also greatly appreciated as Tailwind could be spoiled by an opposing Tailwind or Icy Wind.
I didn’t adopt Swagger from Mark’s Rotom, and at Oregon he went back to Hydro Pump as well. In Vancouver I had gone 2-3 with this team with two games being lost due to Rotom misses, but I still knew that Hydro Pump was important for combatting Landorus-T.
This Rotom was EV’d to survive Draco Meteor from Specs Hydreigon, as well as being able to outrun and OHKO Landorus-T with Hydro Pump in Tailwind. I decided that a specially defensive Rotom was important since the rest of my team favoured physical defence and I needed a Pokemon that could take Special attacks well. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the 68 EVs to invest in Defence (which is the magic number for Rotom as I found out last year in Washington.)
Metagross-Mega @ Metagrossite
Ability: Tough Claws
EVs: 252 HP / 36 Atk / 4 Def / 36 SpD / 180 Spe
– Iron Head
– Zen Headbutt
– Ice Punch
Metagross is one of my favourite Pokemon of all time, and when ORAS came out the first team I made started as Metagross & Togekiss. Originally I had used a simple Jolly spread with 252 attack and speed but was unsatisfied with the lack of bulk. Randy posted his bulky spread on Twitter and I adopted it. Metagross was EV’d to outrun neutral natured base 10o Pokemon. 36 attack is an efficient number and the rest was put into bulk so Metagross could take hits.
Mark has been replacing Zen Headbutt with Earthquake and Hammer Arm in an attempt to improve his matchup against Heatran, Hydreigon and Kangaskhan. Like with Mawile and Iron Head last season I think that Metagross’s second STAB move is too important to get rid of and it needed for type coverage too often to drop. Iron Head and Zen Headbutt added to the list of attacks that could cause flinching.
Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
Landorus had two purposes on the team, to provide Intimidate support and be a fast attacker outside of Tailwind. Intimidate is great against teams with several physical attackers like Kangaskhan and Terrakion. Bisharp didn’t even deter Landorus as I could redirect Sucker Punch with Togekiss and Rocky Helmet would break their Focus Sash. I never thought of Landorus as one of the core members of the team but after looking at its usage stats I realized I bring it to over 50% of my games.
Hydreigon @ Choice Specs
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Draco Meteor
– Dark Pulse
– Earth Power
Hydreigon was the Pokemon I brought the least on the team, but when I did bring it I did so because it was needed against the opponent. This team doesn’t have a lot of good ways to KO Aegislash and Heatran, so Hydreigon was important against them. Draco Meteor was great for powering through physically bulky Pokemon. Using a Choice Item made Hydreigon difficult to use in some situations, but without the power of Choice Specs Hydreigon couldn’t perform the role I needed it to.
Due to how exhausted I was during Regionals I didn’t take many notes outside of what Pokemon my opponents had and what moves & items they used. As such I’ll just mention some memorable moments from Swiss.
In round 1 I lost to Conan, whom I would end up facing in the finals. Due to my round 1 loss I knew I needed to win the rest of my games in order to make top cut.
In round 5 I faced Rapha, whom I’ve played against several times in 2014 but not this season. He surprised me on turn one when his Metagross used Substitute to block Thunder Wave. I never actually landed an attack on Metagross, and KO’d it entirely from Rocky Helmet damage and the HP paid to make Substitutes. Late game I KO’d Rapha’s Terrakion. I had thought he would Protect but when I had 5 seconds left I noticed he was frantically tapping his stylus picking his own moves and decided he wouldn’t Protect when being so rushed. He ended up using Close Combat on my Metagross instead of Hydreigon and Terrakion went down without doing its job. He said later that he thought Hydreigon had Life Orb and Protect since Randy used Life Orb on his version of the team.
In round 6 I make a misplay in sacrificing both Togekiss and Rotom at once. I had Landorus and Metagross left against a Sylveon and Salamence with one Pokemon in back. I have three turns of Tailwind so I use Earthquake and Ice Punch to KO both of his Pokemon. I fully expected Heatran to be his last Pokemon, but it ends up being Milotic. We both Protect ourselves from an Earthquake, then I KO my Metagross and deal ~40% to Milotic. Thankfully he doesn’t have Ice Beam so he goes for a Scald and misses out on the KO and the burn. Because Earthquake is no longer a spread move I’m able to KO Milotic with another Earthquake and win the game.
In round 7 I faced Demitrios. I got some crucial flinches and the game ended up with my full HP Landorus locked into Rock Slide against his ~10% Aegislash. There were ~4 minutes on the clock when this began and since time was on my side and I couldn’t do anything other then Rock Slide I crossed my arms and waited for the timer to run out. He kept using Wide Guard to try and PP Stall me, even though a Struggle would’ve KO’d his Aegislash if it came down to it. When the timer is almost up he stops using Wide Guard and Rock Slide KOs his Aegislash. Thankfully Demitrios was able to make top cut in the end, this would’ve been a horrible game to end a tournament on.
In round 8 I faced Chris Stotts. I’ve faced him twice in Oregon last year in a side event and round 1 of swiss, so it was cool to see him again. I had beaten him both times so in addition to making cut I also wanted to keep my streak going. I found out in our games that he used Icy Wind Kingdra and Protect Kangaskhan, while also avoiding any big surprises on my team. At one point the game was 4-2 for me and all I had to do was Follow Me + Mach Punch for game but I clicked Protect on Togekiss instead without paying attention. This play ended up working out even better as I got to find out that his Kangaskhan was Adamant and he didn’t get to see that Togekiss had Rocky Helmet.
I faced Devon Honer in top 8. I’m really happy that I faced him because he was 2013 Max. Like me in 2013, he didn’t play much VGC but was given a team before the event and managed to go X-1 and make top cut. He was a really cool guy and was happy to be in top cut. I hope he continues to play VGC and I meet him again.
In top 4 I was paired with Chris Stotts again. I was pretty confident about these games as I felt I had the team advantage. The biggest nuisance on his team ended up being Kingdra. In game 1 it was able to lower both of my Pokemon’s speed while I set up a Tailwind, so it didn’t actually accomplish anything. In game 2 I wanted to avoid taking an Icy Wind and lost because I went for a risky play on turn 1 trying to end the game quickly and it didn’t pay off. More cautious playing was able to lead me to victory.
I face Conan in the finals. I’m able to win game 1 convincingly, I remember him never doing anything to Breloom as it puts everything to sleep while Rotom chips away at his team with Thunderbolt. I got the impression that Thundurus didn’t carry Taunt as he never used it on Breloom at any point even though he had so many good chances to do so.
In game two I get to the point where I have Metagross and Breloom out and he has Aegislash and a Thundurus that has slept for one turn. If Thundurus stays asleep this turn I can KO it with Ice Punch and put Aegislash to sleep. This would’ve given me a ton of momentum as Metagross handles the Terrakion and Salamence in back. I thought that even if Thundurus woke up it wouldn’t be have Taunt anyways so when he woke up and Taunted Breloom he was able to get a Shadow Ball off on Metagross after it KOs Thundurus and Breloom does nothing for the turn. This caused the game to spiral out of control and caused me to lose. I could’ve been more cautious and used Protect on Breloom but I really didn’t think he had Taunt and he would still need to wake up on turn 2 to make it happen so I still think it was the correct move at the time.
I don’t remember much from game 3, other then a massive Landorus VS 10% Terrakion and Paralyzed Aegislash stall fest. I forgot about Aegislash being paralyzed and figured the game was over but decided to play it out as it shouldn’t take him long to KO Landorus anyways. After 3 turns of him being really excited to see his Wide Guards going off I remember that he could’ve gotten paralyzed with Aegislash which would result in Terrakion going down and Landorus having to flinch/paralysis stall his way to victory like it did in round 7.
Once the finals are over I collect my prizes and am met with congratulations from my friends. We leave the event ASAP so we could make it back to Victoria before Monday.
The team has five moves with below 100% accuracy. There were four Ice weakness on the team (As is the style for an Oregon Regionals team). The only move I didn’t use was Earth Power.
I did actually rebred my Togekiss, Rotom-W and Hydreigon to have a 0 attack IV to minimize confusion damage. I also used my stash of PP Maxes and PP Ups I’ve been stockpiling for the last couple months to maximize the power points on every move on the team.
Top Cut Usage (8 games)
My finish at Oregon Regionals netted me 100 Championship points, bringing me up to 266. I am now 19th in North America for Championship Points. Hopefully I’ll be able to win some more Premiere Challenges and top cut Washington Regionals again to keep myself in the running for a worlds invite.