Dropping Raindrops & Rocks: 1st Place Premiere Challenge Report

Hello Hat Lovers!

I played in another Premiere Challenge in Victoria this weekend. I didn’t expect to see many faces from Vancouver, but we got a couple players come over to play. I needed to reach the finals in order to get CP from this event and I needed to win in order really make it worth it.

The Team:

After the last set of Premiere Challenges in Victoria I decided I want my team to be ready for each event before the day of the actual event so I decided on my team two days in advance and assembled it the night before. I decided I wanted to use Terrakion and Thundurus as I could stack the odds in my favour with Rock Slide and Thunder Wave. Thundurus can also use Swagger on Terrakion to power it up, which is an idea I’ve been wanting to use all season but never made a team to do it with.

Me and Mark originally had Rotom-W and Weavile on this team. I found that these two Pokemon weren’t working out as well as I would’ve liked so I dropped them and added the rain duo to help out against Pokemon like Terrakion, Landorus and Heatran.

The team was stacked with fast Pokemon, but every member of the team had a respectable amount of bulk. When Terrakion’s 91/90/90 defences make it the frailest Pokemon on the team you’re doing something right.

Terrakion

TerrakionTerrakion @ Lum Berry
Ability: Justified
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Close Combat
– Rock Slide
– Double Kick
– Protect

After the winter regionals were over one of the teams I was interested in playing was Conan’s team. I liked that he had multiple ways to power up his Terrakion to set up sweeps. I tried out Weavile but I didn’t like it due to how frail it is and how most competent opponents can stop a Beat Up sweep. I’m still using Double Kick even though I think there are better options because I knew there would be a few Sash Bisharp and Smeargle at the tournament. I didn’t end up facing any of them, so my only Double Kick launched was against a Breloom while at +2.

Thundurus

Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 4 SpA / 68 SpD / 28 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Swagger
– Taunt
– Thunder Wave

I’ve grown to like Thundurus after using a Rotom-W with a similar role. Like my Oregon Regionals team I had the option to paralyze my opponent’s Pokemon and then use moves like Rock Slide to give them a low chance of attacking. Thundurus also has the option of boosting Terrakion’s attack with Swagger. Swagger can also compound with paralysis and flinching to prevent the opponent from moving. Taunt was an answer to Trick Room and redirection. This spread makes Thundurus faster then positive natured base 70 Pokemon. Thundurus is always 3HKO’d by Terrakion’s Rock Slide with Sitrus taken into account. The rest was but into special defence to take Ice Beams.

Salamence

Salamence-MegaSalamence-Mega @ Salamencite
Ability: Aerilate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Double-Edge
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– Protect

Salamence’s Intimidate and high physical defence make it difficult to OHKO and Double-Edge hits stupidly hard. Earthquake was mostly for Heatran and other Steel types. There’s a bit of a story behind using Rock Slide as my filler move. Originally I wanted to use Leer to help my other physical attackers. I’ve been giving advice to a local player who also uses Rock Slide and they insisted they use it for coverage. I’ve been ghosting their games on the Showdown and Battle Spot ladders and he kept getting put into situations where Rock Slide was his only way to win, either because it was a spread move that hit Flying types or he needed flinches to win the game. After all these games I decided that Rock Slide was actually a really good move for Salamence. I occasionally find myself missing Dragon Dance to punish defensive plays but I rarely used it when I had it.

Metagross

Metagross @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Meteor Mash
– Zen Headbutt
– Ice Punch
– Rock Slide

Mark wanted to try out Choice Scarf Metagross after the last Premiere Challenge. Mark’s had a solid track for ideas and this sounded viable. The idea is that Metagross can get surprise OHKOs to get easy swiss wins. Metagross isn’t as powerful as Mega Metagross but it never gets Intimidated so it keeps the power it has. In practice we found we needed to use Meteor Mash in order to get KOs on Terrakion and Sylveon so we dropped our beloved 100% accurate Iron Head. The lack of accuracy came into play once but Iron Head wouldn’t have done enough damage to be worth it.

Politoed

Politoed @ Leftovers
Ability: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 212 HP / 132 Def / 4 SpA / 116 SpD / 44 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Icy Wind
– Helping Hand
– Protect

For nearly ever draft of this team I had to above four Pokemon and two slots that didn’t see much usage. While thinking about what I was likely to face in Victoria and what I would have  trouble against I decided that rain would handle my team’s weaknesses. I copied Rapha’s Politoed from Oregon Regionals even though he had moved onto a Choice Scarf set since I prefer bulky Politoed (and Choice Scarf was taken). Scald is a good source of chip damage and can even if the opponent resists it they risk getting burnt for more residual damage. I never used Icy Wind once. Helping Hand was great as it would allow Ludicolo to 2HKO bulky Rotom-W after Sitrus Berry. Unlike Rapha I brought Politoed to nearly every game I played, only leaving it behind against Rapha who also had Politoed.

Ludicolo

Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
Ability: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Def / 156 SpA / 12 SpD / 148 Spe
Modest Nature
– Scald
– Giga Drain
– Ice Beam
– Fake Out

Where there is Politoed there also Ludicolo. Ludicolo has fantastic coverage with Water, Grass and Ice attacks. The metagame is full of Pokemon that Ludicolo can hit super effectively which makes up for its low special attack stat. This Ludicolo is nearly identical to the set Rapha used in Oregon Regionals, but I moved one HP into Special Defence because I would get an extra stat from Assault Vest. More stats is always good and having higher defences over HP works well with Giga Drain anyways.

The Tournament:

Round 1 VS Jennifer Newberry

645-T700257479w+115094

Jennifer was a new face on the Pokemon scene, so I was surprised when we got to team preview and a legitimate was staring me down. I found out she played online after meeting some friends from PAX. She wanted to play against people locally and found out about us through Facebook.

I figured that rain would scare her out of leading Landorus-T so I lead Salamence and Terrakion. She lead with Landorus and Sylveon which was the only combination that would’ve been good against me so it was a good read on her end. I switch out to rain on the first turn and am able to stabilize after that. Once Politoed goes down Salamence and Ludicolo are able to clean up.

Round 2 VS David Powell

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I lead with Terrakion and Thundurus against David. I knew that if I KO’d Thundurus I’d be able to run through his team with Ludicolo so I Swagger’d my Terrakion and used Rock Slide to KO Thundurus. His Breloom Protects so this turn went better then I could’ve asked for. After that Terrakion gets to KO a Pokemon every turn until the game is over.

Round 3 VS Ewan

642681214468645-T260

I didn’t have an easy way to stop Thundurus from spreading paralysis, so I use Fake Out and Taunt on it turn one as it switches to Heracross. His Thundurus reveals a Life Orb, which gives me hope that it wouldn’t have Thunder Wave. The game comes down to Salamence VS his damaged Thundurus and Togekiss. I was hoping he didn’t have Thunder Wave and I could win with Rock Slide but he reveals it and that kills my last hope. There wasn’t anything left to do but study the information I got and prepare for a potential match in top cut.

Round 4 VS Hongyu Zhu

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Hongyu was 1-2 at this point, so he agreed to scoop to me so that I could make top cut. We decided to play the game anyways to see what would happen. I end up winning as Metagross and Salamence put pressure on his rain counters and rain puts pressure on his checks to my physical attackers. I’m glad I’m able take a legitimate win here rather then a forfeit.

Top 4 VS Rapha Bagra

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We just couldn't have been on opposite sides of the bracket

We just couldn’t have been on opposite sides of the bracket

Rapha has still been using his team from Oregon Regionals, so I knew all of his sets. Both of us needed to at least make finals in order to improve our best finish limits so facing in top 4 was rough. Despite this these were the most casual games I’ve ever played in a tournament (other then the time me and Mark had a sandbagging competition). We had the following conversation in game 2

Rapha: I’m gonna Stone Edge your Thundurus
Me: You’ll miss
Rapha: Nope, I’m gonna hit
Me: Then I’ll switch Ludicolo out for Salamence and Intimidate you
Me: Wait, can I live a -1 Stone Edge from your Terrakion?

Our teams were pretty similar, but I felt I had the edge because I had Thundurus to paralysis his Pokemon while he had Togekiss for redirection. I could’ve sworn his Ludicolo had one less speed then mine because I remember his reaching 108 speed and mine hit 109 speed. This ends up not being true and his Ludicolo wins a speed tie against mine. Rapha did change his Hydreigon to Choice Specs, which I figured from how he switched it out when he did.

Overall these were probably the most fun games I’ve ever played as we could both play a serious game while also having a laugh about it at the same time.

Finals VS Jennifer Newberry

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Jennifer recovered from her first round lost and made it all the way to the finals. In game one I brought Terrakion even though she didn’t bring Kangaskhan in swiss. She used the same four Pokemon she used in Swiss so Terrakion was pretty much a waste of space. Metagross is able to KO her Sylveon and the rain duo clean up everything else.

In game two I decide that she just isn’t bringing Kangaskhan and leave Terrakion behind. She brings Gengar over Rotom-W but once again leaves Kangaskhan behind. I play very aggressively in this game, KOing Landorus and the first turn. I then set up a turn where she KOs my Metagross and I can send in Politoed so I can KO Gengar with Ludicolo and Blaziken with Politoed. Her last Pokemon is Sylveon which can beat my Salamence in back.

Conclusion

I now have my fourth Premiere Challenge win this season, with one more I’ll have filled my best finish limit. With three Premiere Challenges left in Victoria I have room to play around with stuff like Mega Beedrill and Mega Jet Plane, which I’ve been wanting to use for a while now.

~Max

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