US Nationals Report

Hello Hat Lovers!

Today I’m going to talk about the team I brought to Nationals. I was hoping to fill the front page with Nationals reports from more successful players but Rapha’s Nationals report is going on Nugget Bridge (sellout) and our new unannounced author hasn’t finished their report yet.

Before Nationals I wanted a new team. I didn’t think rain was going to be a good metagame choice for Nationals. I was very comfortable with Salamence & Aegislash and knew I wanted both on my team. I tested a couple different ideas but never found anything I really liked. About a week before Nationals I decided to play the same team I used at Regionals. Because Heatran was increasing in popularity I figured rain would be good. My attitude was that Nationals was going to be a free vacation and if I could make day two than that would be another free vacation at worlds.

Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite
Salamence-MegaAbility: Aerilate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Double-Edge
– Hyper Voice
– Earthquake
– Protect

Salamence remained the same for me, though Mark switched Earthquake to Draco Meteor on impulse right before registration before I got to Indianapolis. It just goes to show that if I wasn’t around to set him straight he’d be playing garbage like Raichu, Sableye and Beedrill. Draco Meteor would’ve been cool for the Salamence mirror and to deal better damage against Electric types but I liked having more options for Heatran. Draco Meteor can miss and that goes against the theme of this team.

Aegislash @ Life Orb
Aegislash-ShieldAbility: Stance Change
Level: 50
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 60 Spe
Modest Nature
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– Shadow Sneak
– King’s Shield

After Spring Regionals me and Mark were looking at our finals losses and thinking about how we’d be able to beat those teams in the future. The common element in both of those matches was Sylveon being able to survive a Double-Edge and KO Salamence before Aegislash could KO Sylveon.

Our solution was to be real try-hard speed creepers so we could KO Sylveon with Hyper Voice + Flash Cannon. If any Sylveon were faster than Aegislash they wouldn’t have enough bulk to take a Double-Edge. We could also beat other Aegislash with Hyper Voice + Shadow Ball, though we weren’t as concerned about that. Life Orb Aegislash hadn’t really caught on yet so if their Aegislash out sped ours we would survive a Shadow Ball in Shield form.

As it turns out a number of top performing Aegislash players were super try-hards and had even faster Aegislash than ours. I wasn’t going to post a report after Nationals because I wanted to keep this all a secret for Worlds but it seems everyone at Worlds will be expecting faster Aegislash anyways.

Politoed @ Choice Scarf
PolitoedAbility: Drizzle
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Surf
– Rain Dance

Politoed stayed the same as before. The one neat thing about Rain in best of three play is how players react to it. No one wants to bring Landorus and Heatran in game one and I never want to bring Rain. In games two and three Rain is better because the opponent is now more inclined to bring their Rain weak Pokemon.

Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
LudicoloAbility: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 28 Def / 156 SpA / 4 SpD / 172 Spe
Modest Nature
– Scald
– Giga Drain
– Ice Beam
– Fake Out

I changed Ludicolo’s spread a bit. More importantly, I bred a new one in a Dive Ball. The reason why I’ve become disillusioned with Rain is that I don’t always want to commit two of my four to Rain but Ludicolo is terrible on its own this format and Politoed is slower than Scarf Landorus.

Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
ThundurusAbility: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 4 SpA / 52 SpD / 44 Spe
Bold Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Taunt
– Swagger
– Thunder Wave

Thundurus also didn’t change at all. I really should’ve replaced Swagger with something else, to this day I’ve still never gotten that miracle play where I use Swagger and they hurt themselves to block their winning attack and allow me to use mine. I hate it when people make that their game plan so I’m not mad about it, I’m just not the kind of player to use Swagger effectively. I did make one really inspired play where I swaggered a Scarf Landorus locked into Earthquake when they only had Kangaskhan left so they’d KO their own Pokemon with Earthquake.

Terrakion @ Lum Berry
TerrakionAbility: Justified
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Close Combat
– Rock Slide
– Helping Hand
– Protect

One idea Mark had before Nationals was to put Helping Hand on Terrakion over its third move. The third move is pretty unimportant so I decided to try it out. His logic was that Helping Hand would be another asset that prompts us to bring Terrakion to games. Helping Hand was pretty neat, you can use it when you predict Kangaskhan to Fake Out Terrakion turn one and still get a boosted attack off.

Conclusion

I only went 6-3 at Nationals, failing to make day two and securing my day one bye and travel award for Worlds. Two of my loses were matches were I won a game by out playing the opponent, then losing a game to a combination of getting outplayed and bad RNG and losing the last game by being outplayed in general. The other lose was against a sun team where I completely fell into their pace and couldn’t break out of it.

Overall the event was everything I wanted from it. I got an amazing vacation with a bunch of friends, I got to sleep in for the second two days, I won some side events and everything was paid for by the Pokemon Company. I would’ve preferred to advance to day two but at least Rapha won a travel award so I can stay in his room for Worlds.

This probably will be the last time I play this team. I’m working on something spooky for Worlds.

~Max

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