Hello Hat Lovers!
With VGC 2015 coming to a close I decided to take a look back at my 2015 season. I’ll be looking at all the teams I played throughout the year.
Start Of The Season
The first team I made when ORAS was released was Metagross, Togekiss, Hydreigon, Rotom-W, Landorus-T and Infernape. As you may recall from a post back in 2014, I was very excited to have these Pokemon back in the format. The other three were added to the team because of their type synergy.
I played around with this team, as well as a team using Terrakion, Bisharp, Salamence, Amoonguss, Infernape and Gengar. I won a Premiere Challenge with the Salamence team. Me and Mark tried out a couple other ideas, but nothing seemed like what we wanted to play for Regionals.
About a month before Oregon Regionals Randy Kwa won a Premiere Challenge using Metagross, Togekiss, Hydreigon, Rotom-W, Landorus-T and Breloom. After seeing this I was inspired to revisit the team with Breloom instead of Infernape. The only thing I knew about Randy’s team was the Pokemon he used and Metagross’s EV spread, which I took as my own.
This team really came together when Mark got the idea to run Thunder Wave on Rotom-W instead of Will-O-Wisp. Mark won a Premiere Challenge with the team, while I went 2-3 due to a series of misses and critical hits, so I was eager to adopt the change.
Mark: I also put Swagger on Rotom-W over Hydro Pump at the time, because wynaut? Hydro Pump was added back to Rotom-W after Max reminded me of the importance of KO’ing Landorus-T in one hit.
Oregon Regionals 2015
I had a weird relationship with Metagross at the start of the season. I’ve always thought it was bad but for some reason it just worked. Metagross didn’t get a lot of OHKOs and a disturbingly high percent of relevant Pokemon can wall it. I always felt like it only did as well as it did because the metagame was developing slowly.
Mark: I think, in retrospect, Metagross did really well as a Mega that was powerful and bulky. Some things can OHKO Metagross, but many others can only 3HKO it if it’s bulky (as many M-Metagross were at the start of the year). Metagross as a Mega was probably also good as a Mega that was easy to switch in to situations, which let you bring your Mega in without having to worry much about it losing too much HP and ceasing to be useful.
While CHALK would’ve given this team trouble, the standard Kangaskhan & Pals team of early 2015 was easy to handle with this team. At the time most of Kangaskhan’s partners were slower than Breloom and could be put to sleep while a combination of Rocky Helmet and Mach Punch would dispatch Kangaskhan. Togekiss could even check one turn sleeps with Air Slash.
Unfortunately, as the metagame progressed Landorus & Thundurus started showing up on nearly every team. Togekiss doesn’t enjoy seeing the genies and Rotom can’t slow them down with Thunder Wave. I was able to use this team in the NCPA up until playoffs and was undefeated with it. After this point, however, I decided I needed a new team.
Spring Regionals & Nationals
Getting second at Oregon Regionals changed my season completely. All of a sudden I had 266 CP and could reach 300 by maxing out on PCs. This made a Worlds invite seem like a very real possibility and was what made me to decide to go to Utah Regionals as well as Seattle Regionals.
After the success of our Oregon Regionals team I decided I wanted another team that would stack all the odds in your favour. I wanted Terrakion and Thundurus to spam Rock Slide, Thunder Wave and Swagger to give my opponents little chance of being able to respond. At some point Mark got the idea to use Scarf Metagross. He liked the idea of catching players by surprise with a fast physical attacker that wasn’t affected by Intimidate. Like all ideas Mark has I made a draft within 15 minutes of him pitching it. Salamence was our goto mega after Metagross so we added it. We even gave Salamence Rock Slide to further the theme. I decided to add a rain mode to deal with Landorus. The team ended up with three Jolly-natured Pokemon that knew Rock Slide, so we named the team Jolly Rocks.
Mark: To be clear about how fast Max’s turnaround is… I told him about Scarfed Metagross while leaving work, and by the time I got home he’d already drafted a full team around it. I spend a lot of my time thinking of fun ideas, and I don’t know how often I get a chance to team-build when Max is around, because you tell him an idea and he’s got a full team drafted before you’ve even thought of what rounds out your core.
I was able to fill out my best finish limit for Premiere Challenges with this team. Mark… got to play this at one Premiere Challenge after everyone in BC knew what the team was all about.
To make up for exposing his idea to use Scarf Metagross I gave him an idea of my own; Life Orb Aegislash. Everyone in BC used a Fairy type Follow Me user at the time and I figured they’d expect to survive a Flash Cannon. Aegislash was more defensive option for the team and also freed up the Choice Scarf for Politoed. These changes lead to our Spring Regionals team.
Mark: I still wanted speed on the team though. I’d been playing around with a fun M-Abomasnow team at the time, and had appreciated Ice Shard being able to pick opponents off. So I suggested Shadow Sneak to go with the Life Orb Aegislash set, which proved to be a very valuable asset in that metagame. Life Orb Aegislash’s Shadow Sneak does a minimum 20% to almost anything that’s neutral, which is a powerful 40-50% to things that are weak to Ghost. An impressive damage output for a priority move, to be sure.
This was the most successful team we’ve ever made, earning two second place finishes at Spring Regionals as well as a top 8. Mark also got top 8 at the Utah Premiere Challenge which was basically a dry-run for Utah Regionals. We dubbed the team Hypermode because it had Hyper Voice and had a lot of Pokemon that applied immediate pressure on the opponent.
Using mixed Salamence was a neat idea that Randy Kwa gave us. Early in the season I decided that special Salamence was really underwhelming, but having Hyper Voice as a secondary option was fantastic. Salamence could launch an initial assault with Double-Edge, and once they had Intimidated and burnt it I would start using Hyper Voice to finish things off.
Life Orb Aegislash was a fantastic find for us. Normally I would’ve looked at Shadow Sneak and said “Go home Mark, you’re drunk” but boosting Shadow Ball’s damage put so many Pokemon in range for Shadow Sneak.
With these changes we had moved away from our focus on playing the RNG and instead ended up with a team that was extremely consistent. The only moves that didn’t have 100% accuracy were Swagger and Rock Slide. There was still the potential to abuse the RNG with these moves along with the status potential of Scald and Thunder Wave (not to mention critical hits always exist) but we had minimized our reliance on it as much as possible.
Before Nationals I originally intended to come up with a new team. I never found anything I really liked so I went back to Hypermode. Me and Mark made a few changes to the team and brought it to Nationals.
Both me and Mark felt our team had a poor match-up against our finals opponent during Regionals due to their bulky Sylveon. We decided to run a faster Aegislash to help with this. Since Nationals was announced to be best of three swiss we knew that we could KO Sylveon with a combination of Hyper Voice and Flash Cannon and if Sylveon was faster than Aegislash then it wouldn’t have the bulk to survive Double-Edge and we could take the set with this knowledge.
Mark got the idea to run Helping Hand on Terrakion. I was of the opinion that Terrakion’s third move wasn’t important to this team and decided to try it out. Helping Hand gave Terrakion some extra utility that could help justify bringing it to games. There was a strong consideration for Focus Sash, but like Garchomp last season I faced enough players that didn’t respect the Lum Berry that made me want to keep it. It also preserved the Swagger combo with Thundurus which was appealing.
Mark: Helping Hand was neat, but like any third move on Terrakion, only niche-useful. Still, I think I like priority moves in that third moveslot to help Terrakion deal with things before getting picked off by priority moves the opponent expects to work. Quick Guard was the default on Terrakion prior to Utah, and was great for helping Terrakion protect teammates from Pranksters and Fake Outs.
After Nationals I looked into new teams again. I saw a Mega Sableye while commentating the Utah Premiere Challenge and a Mega Sableye got top 4 at Regionals, so I decided to try it out. The first team I made was M-Gardevoir, M-Sableye, Amoonguss, Aegislash, Heatran and Rotom-W. Gardevoir had Imprison to guard against opposing Hyper Voice. Amoonguss, Heatran and Aegislash were all put on the team because they were good against Fairy types. Rotom-W was put on the team because bulky waters. This team got me familiar with Mega Sableye.
I tested Imouto Island’s Nationals team and really enjoyed it. I decided to run it with Sableye in place of Jellicent. The two filled similar roles but the difference in typing changed which Pokemon gave them trouble. Against Chalk teams Jellicent had trouble with Thundurus, while Sableye didn’t mind.
I managed to go 3-3 with this team, falling just short of making day 2. Unfortunately my team had a weaknesses to Life Orb Thundurus and I faced two of them. Replacing Quash with Gravity was also a big mistake. Quash would’ve given me another option against Life Orb Thundurus that would’ve evened out the matchup. Angel mentioned in his report that part of the reason he did so well was that he faced mostly Kangaskhan teams day one and double Ghosts carried him in these matches. Unfortunately I didn’t face any Kangaskhan at Worlds. There were Kangaskhan in the field I just didn’t happen to run into any.
Mark: At Nats, without Max, I subbed Draco Meteor onto Salamence over Earthquake on our Hypermode team. I’d had the conversation with myself many times that Draco Meteor wasn’t worth it on the team, and that Earthquake was important. But I think my weakest point as a player is an inconsistent mindset and judgement capacity, which I am constantly battling. Upon hearing Max ran Gravity on Sableye at Worlds, it reaffirmed to me that I wasn’t alone, and that even Max needs a reminder every now and then to not give in to bad ideas we’ve already logically rejected; no matter how #Swag it may have been.
While writing this I came to the depressing realization that throughout the year Mark’s been pitching ideas that I make our teams out of and coming up with changes that push them to the next level and then after Nationals he stopped playing and I used Gravity Sableye at Worlds. Maybe next year he’ll qualify and I can help a Mark that remembers my name win Worlds.
2015 was the first season where I was planning to play VGC as my main game instead of TCG. I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did, and next season I’m gunning for a worlds invite right out of the gate.
Mark: Crawdaunt will take us to Worlds 2016. After all, the task seems far less daunting when you’ve got such a powerful Aqua Jet.