Hello hat lovers!
This past weekend I won my second PC of the season, doubling my total from last year already. I had very little practice with this team: I started testing the archetype two to three weeks ago and really liked it, but haven’t used it until the PC itself. I threw the team together the night and morning before the tournament because I wanted to try something other than Gardevoir, and I figured I could at least get carried by having good matchups. I noticed that locally, Charizard and Salamence were the most popular megas, and I assessed that Salamence / Rhyperior / Cresselia had a good matchup versus those teams. Unfortunately, Rushan and Hao, two people that use Charizard, were instead using different teams during the tournament. Hao wanted to use Gardevoir instead and Rushan forgot to bring his 3DS so he instead borrowed my Metagross rain team. Thankfully I never played Rushan because that team has an excellent matchup versus mine, and it would have just been cruel fate to lose to my own team.
Making last minute team decisions is a cardinal sin for me but I couldn’t get myself to keep using the same team when there are other options that I genuinely like, and I ended up getting incredibly lucky that this led to a win.
This team has the exact same six Pokemon as the team Harrison Saylor and Colin Heier used during spring regionals, but I originally took inspiration from a team that did well in Japan (I don’t remember from who though). That team instead had Tyranitar over Rhyperior. I used Rhyperior because I liked having a STAB Earthquake, especially on the team. Earthquake / Heat Wave / Pixilate Hyper Voice is very powerful and is something that also derived from the Gardevoir team I’ve been using. Admittedly, I also didn’t have a battle ready Tyranitar that had an EV spread I was comfortable with, even though as you’ll see, I made a lot of dubious choices with the fine details of the team. The six Pokemon together are obviously very effective as seen from the success it’s had, but my lack of practice led to some quirks like Sylveon’s horrid EV spread, among other things.
Fun facts: this is the first team I’ve used at live events this season that didn’t have redirection. This was also the first time I used Cresselia, Rhyperior, and Sylveon at said events, and the first time since January that I’ve used Salamence.
Salamence @ Salamencite
EVs: 52 HP / 172 Atk / 20 Def / 28 SAtk / 236 Spd
– Draco Meteor
I’m not a fan of the standard Naive Double Edge / Hyper Voice Salamence set, because while it’s very powerful, I don’t like how it compromises Salamence’s great bulk. I used an Adamant nature to maintain much of the power that I lose from using Return over Double Edge, and I wasn’t particularly worried about the Pokemon that reside between the two speed tiers anyway.
I have no idea whether the EV spread is any good or not, but this Salamence has done well in practice and during the tournament. It outspeeds Jolly Garchomp, survives a Play Rough from Azumarill, OHKOes opposing Salamence with Draco Meteor, and the rest was thrown into attack. I had mulled over using Hyper Voice in place of Earthquake but figured I wanted more ways to hit Steel types.
Cresselia @ Mental Herb
EVs: 212 HP / 60 Def / 236 SAtk
– Ice Beam
– Trick Room
Modest Cresselia is one of my favorite sets at the moment. The added power helps a great deal in knocking Pokemon like Kangaskhan down in range for Salamence, and it allows for 2HKOes / OHKOes versus things like Amoonguss and Salemence respectively. For the longest time I also thought Protect was incredibly dumb on Cresselia because of all the great support moves it can learn. I can’t explain into words why Protect is great on Cresselia other than Protect is Protect, but it’s a tech that has worked a lot better in practice than in theory. During the tournament, though, a move like Toxic might have been more beneficial because I had a lot of trouble versus Calm Mind Cresselia, of which there were apparently three people that had it. I had only faced Calm Mind Cresselia once during PCs.
Unfortunately with all that special attack, Cresselia isn’t as bulky as it could be, especially because it doesn’t hold a Sitrus Berry. I really like this moveset and EV spread with Sitrus Berry on CHALK among other teams, but I figured Thundurus needed the item more. I slapped on Mental Herb because I liked it more than other alternatives like Safety Goggles. I’m still trying to find a way to have both Cresselia and Thundurus gain the benefits of Sitrus Berry, but it’s difficult, and Pokemon like Zapdos simply aren’t the same without Prankster.
The EV spread OHKOes opposing Salamence and survives a Knock Off from Life Orb Bisharp.
Sylveon @ Life Orb
EVs: 140 HP / 44 Def / 240 SAtk / 4 SDef / 80 Spd
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 SAtk / 30 Spd
– Hyper Voice
– Hyper Beam
– Hidden Power Fire
The best and worst Pokemon on the team during the tournament. I built this Sylveon sometime before Worlds when I was using it on a different team, so I had no idea what its EV spread was when I used it, but even then, I can’t imagine a situation where this spread makes any sense. 80 EVs in speed (90 speed stat) doesn’t outspeed anything notable even with Tailwind so I have no idea why I had this in the first place, and a fast Sylveon is obviously detrimental for a Trick Room team. It also speed ties neutral base 70s like Politoed. Having a fast Sylveon gave me fits versus Aegislash during the tournament because I would move last in Trick Room.
Thankfully though, Sylveon is still Sylveon, and it did quite well in spite of the quirky EV spread. I chose HP Fire over Ground because I realized I had no ways of beating Ferrothorn + rain without it, and I already had three Pokemon with Ground moves. I did face a team with Ferrothorn + Rain but I never got to use HP Fire. I never needed HP Ground either though. Nor Detect. I don’t remember if I ever used that, as Sylveon did Sylveon things and mostly just used Hyper Voice. Hyper Beam was chosen because I didn’t have great ways of hitting Water types and my solution was just to Hyper Beam them for good damage. It was hilariously effective during the tournament: I picked up two KOes with it, one of which was crucial in the finals, and it helped deal good damage versus Cresselia.
I chose Life Orb because I didn’t want to be locked with Choice Specs, and I don’t like how Pixie Plate doesn’t boost Hidden Power. Detect is used over Protect because of Imprison.
Heatran @ Shuca Berry
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 36 HP / 4 Def / 236 SAtk / 4 SDef / 228 Spd
– Heat Wave
– Earth Power
I chose to use a faster Heatran to improve my matchup versus Bisharp. This is the same Heatran that I use on the Gardevoir team: It hits 126 speed to speed creep CHALK Kangaskhan among other things, and it survives an Earthquake from Landorus-T. I chose Overheat to improve my matchup versus Aegislash. I didn’t bring Heatran very often but it helped a great deal in the finals.
Heatran is one of my favorite Pokemon and has become a staple on my teams. Its spread Fire type move has fabulous synergy with Sylveon and Rhyperior, especially under Trick Room.
Rhyperior @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Solid Rock
EVs: 132 HP / 236 Atk / 44 Def / 92 SDef / 4 Spd
– Drill Run
– Rock Slide
Rhyperior was fantastic during the tournament, and I like it more every time I use it. It’s over reliant on Trick Room, has a myriad of weaknesses, and has dreadful special bulk, but it has a number merits that make it an excellent option. For one, its monstrous physical bulk makes it difficult to KO for a lot of teams, and if your opponent is reliant on things like Kangaskhan and Landorus to hit it for good damage, they risk activating Weakness Policy. Two, it has useful resistances to Flying type and Electric type attacks, making it a great counter against common threats like Charizard, Salamence, and Thundurus. Having access to both STAB Drill Run and Earthquake is also unbelievably effective. A strong spread move is important to take advantage of Trick Room turns, and a single target ground move helps a good deal versus Aegislash. Rhyperior isn’t an easy Pokemon to use on most teams but it’s excellent when supported properly.
The EV spread allows Rhyperior to survive two Earthquakes from Landorus-T and a Flash Cannon from Aegislash. I considered using Lum Berry to improve my matchup versus dumb Smeargle shenanigans but wanted the benefits of Weakness Policy more. Also, I keep wanting to use Ice Punch, but just can’t justify it over these four moves. Earthquake and Rock Slide are both important STAB spread moves, and Drill Run is useful for Aegislash, or in general is a strong single target attack if you want to KO something instead of simply getting good damage off.
Thundurus-I @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 28 Def / 4 SAtk / 180 SDef / 52 Spd
– Thunder Wave
Pretty straight forward Thundurus. It allows me to have an extra means of speed control should Trick Room ever be a poor option, and Taunt is useful against things like Aegislash. I’ve been trying to find a different spread on Thundurus because I’m not sure if this one (like Heatran, also from the Gardevoir team) is the best option, but Thundurus has largely done what I needed it to. Other than that, there’s not much to say here.
Round 1: Chen Jiang (Win)
Not too much happened here. CJ set up Tailwind while I used Trick Room, then Sylveon and Heatran swept through his team. Salamence was able to finish the game once Trick Room expired.
Round 2: Randy Kwa (Loss)
I led well and had a good advantage after the first couple of turns, however, Randy was able to string together some good turns to allow him to win this game. I remember I missed a Draco Meteor on his Aegislash switching in and later, his Aegislash would OHKO my Thundurus with Head Smash.
Round 3: Steve Golding (Win)
During this round, the person next to me said he recognized me and asked if I was Angel Miranda. I… don’t think I am. Someone correct me though. I was really afraid of this team matchup. I have all of one Water resistance in Salamence, so I knew I had to play this carefully. Thankfully his Kingdra didn’t have Lum Berry and it was easy to deal with after I paralyzed it. I didn’t have to reveal HP Fire on Sylveon as Salamence was able to KO Ferrothorn towards the end of the game.
Round 4: Tony Cheung (Win)
I was in a really good position early on after I set up Trick Room and got Rhyperior in. However, I let Rhyperior go down too easily to Thundurus-T’s Grass Knot after I failed to KO it with Rock Slide. Thankfully Sylveon was able to win me this game since Tony didn’t bring Scizor. Hyper Beam was able to finish the game as it KOed Diggersby.
Round 5: Quinn Johnston (Win)
I was really afraid of this team matchup because my answers to Calm Mind Cresselia are mediocre at best. I also needed to win this game because my resistance was very weak and I could have missed cut at 3-2. Thankfully, Rhyperior did its best Landorus-T impression here and I was able to flinch Cresselia twice in a row, preventing it from using Moonlight, and I eventually KOed it. The rest of the team outside of Cresselia wasn’t too difficult to beat, as Rhyperior was excellent in this matchup.
I finished swiss at 4-1, then entered cut as the 4th seed. I faced off against Quinn again in top 8.
Top 8: Quinn Johnston (2-1 Win)
I knew I got lucky in round 5 and would need to figure out a way to beat Cresselia in a BO3. However, my best answer to it was Taunt, and I just couldn’t justify bringing Thundurus over Salamence / Cresselia / Rhyperior / Sylveon.
I win a fairly straight forward game 1, as I got Trick Room up, and Rhyperior did its usual thing. Quinn couldn’t set up enough Calm Minds as Trick Room got the better of him.
In game 2, he adjusted and brought Thundurus. Swagger and Thunder Wave bought him enough turns to set up some Calm Minds and I just could not break through Cresselia.
In game 3, I led Rhyperior and Cresselia to his Cresselia and Thundurus. I got offense off right away as Cresselia set up Trick Room and then immediately switched out to Sylveon. From there, Rock Slide went to work a again, as it flinched Cresselia on consecutive turns, preventing it from using Moonlight. Rhyperior and Sylveon then ran through his team.
Top 4: Randy Kwa (2-1 Win)
Game 1 started out virtually the same way as our swiss match. This time, However, I was able to maintain the advantage and win a close game. Protect on Cresselia really saved me in this one.
In Game 2 Randy adjusted and led Salamence and Tyranitar, both Pokemon he elected not to bring in either of the previous two games. I trade my Thundurus for his Salamence turn 1, then I was able to get Trick Room up and had Sylveon out. This is where my Sylveon’s speed really cost me, as this game would have been won if it was slower: I would have been able to KO Randy’s Aegislash with HP Fire + Psychic, then Cresselia would be able to KO Garchomp on the next turn. However, Aegislash KOed Sylveon with Iron Head before Sylveon got to move, then Aegislash finished off Cresselia on the next turn.
In game 3 I lost my Salamence on turn 1 in exchange for getting Trick Room up. I don’t know why I elected to bring Rhyperior in versus Salamence and Tyranitar when Sylveon was the better answer, but I got bailed out by a crit Earthquake on his Tyranitar. This cost him an extra turn to stall out Trick Room and Rhyperior and Sylveon swept through his team.
Finals: Yuanhao Li (2-0 Win)
In game 1, I thought Hao’s Landorus was Assault Vest, thus my Heatran would be able to survive an Earthquake. It was instead Choice Band. However, I get lucky with a 1/16 damage roll and my Heatran survives, enough for me to set up Trick Room and KO his Landorus and Zapdos on the next turn. However, I was in a bad spot because he now had Aegislash and Gardevoir. Hao made a series of mistakes. He should have used Iron Head on my Heatran to cover for a Sylveon switch, but my Sylveon was able to withstand a Hyper Voice + Life Orb Shadow Ball. I KO his Gardevoir with Hyper Beam and I finish off Aegislash with Salamence and Heatran after Trick Room expires.
In game 2, I Taunted his Aegislash, but my Salamence’s Protect was blown, so I thought he would stay in with Aegislash anyway. I couldn’t switch Salamence as I had nothing to take a Shadow Ball + Hyper Voice. I attempt to trade my Salamence for Aegislash and Thunder Wave his Gardevoir so I can outspeed it with Sylveon on the next turn. However, he switched his Aegislash to Landorus, but I got bailed out by a crit Earthquake on Gardevoir and also a fully paralysis. This allowed me to switch. I also got lucky to avoid a flinch four times from consecutive Rock Slides, and his Aegislash also hit itself in confusion on a turn where he could have KOed Heatran with Shadow Sneak.
Needless to say, I got very, very lucky in top cut. The flinches on Quinn’s Cresselia, the crit on Randy’s Tyranitar, the low damage roll and fully paralysis against Hao all allowed me to win games that I might have otherwise lost.
However, all wins count the same, and 30 CP is still 30 CP, so I definitely don’t feel bad about getting lucky en route to my second PC win! I’m hoping to fill out my PC BFL with six finals appearances at the very least, but obviously ideally with six wins. Good start to the season so far.