Hello Hat Lovers!
Today, I’m going to be going over my Top 4 Seattle Regional run. This team also garnered a Top 8 finish by Justin and a Top 32 finish by Rapha. The team report will be out soon as well.
Going into the tourney, I knew that I would be most comfortable running Dual Primals as I had most of the season. Between the Midseason Showdown and Seattle, I had more time to practice, but my attempts to do so proved ineffective due to Battle Spot being relatively quiet. As such, I spent more of my preparation figuring out matchups and theorying. Despite the lack of battles, I felt comfortable enough with the team and what it was capable of. By the time the weekend rolled around, it was only a matter of deciding upon one or two moves. Also, it’s been a while since the event, so my memory may be a bit foggy on some matches…
Round 1 VS Sebastian Fernandez
Team preview indicated that his team had few answers to Groudon under Trick Room (especially given Levitate), though I would have to be wary of Skill Swap on Jellicent.
Game 1: Salamence and Bronzong lead into Suicune and Kangaskhan from his end. Salamence was swapped for Groudon as Trick Room went up. Skill Swap onto Groudon allowed me to run through his team without much resistance (in spite of Suicune revealing Toxic to wither Groudon’s health).
Game 2: Seeing how few answers my opponent had to Groudon and Bronzong, I opted to lead the two into his Suicune Jellicent. The game played fairly similarly, though a critical hit Hex onto Bronzong to an early exit meant I had to deal with Xerneas more carefully. At one point, overly conservative playing let him to set up a Geomancy, allowing Xerneas to start picking up knockouts. Thankfully, Groudon survives on 7 HP from Dazzling Gleam and retaliates to let me take my first win.
Round 2 VS Anthony Aldapa
Mewtwo is a concern to the team due to Ice Beam being able to take out Thundurus and Salamence and Psystrike chunking Kyogre. Thankfully, Mewtwo’s attacks are all single target and susceptible to careful switching and Protects. Going into the set, I prioritized keeping Groudon healthy to ensure Sun would be able to protect Mawile from his Kyogre.
Game 1: Thundurus and Mawile meet Kangaskhan and Mewtwo on the first turn. Fake Out goes into Thundurus while Mewtwo sets up Safeguard as Mawile whiffs a Play Rough. The Intimidate onto Kangaskhan gave me an easier time to regain board position with my Kyogre. Furthermore, I learn his Kyogre does not carry Thunder, as well as it outspeeding my own Primals. Suspecting his Arcanine to be Choice Band, I choose to double Protect to scout what he locks himself into. Wild Charge comes my way, giving me the opportunity next turn to switch into Groudon to retain momentum.
Game 2: In order to immediately exert offensive pressure, my leads were swapped for Kyogre and Mawile as Anthony leads Arcanine and Kyogre. Double Protect baits Arcanine into locking in with Close Combat, giving me a relatively free switch to Groudon the following turn as Mawile proceeds to Play Rough Kyogre. From this point on, Groudon was free to launch Precipice Blades with little risk. His choice to bring Mawile over Kangaskhan also helped Groudon’s case in this match.
Round 3 VS Thomas Nishimura (BuffCharizard)
Weavile would prove to be a nuisance to Thundurus and Salamence. Amoonguss (especially with Mental Herb) was also a massive pain, as rain meant only Salamence could one shot it (and subsequently be threatened by Kyogre) while Mawile could be redirected.
Game 1: Weavile and Kyogre from his end gave me little room to breathe. Fake Out left Thundurus vulnerable to other attacks and Feint was also a possibility. I manoeuvred into a favourable position by having a chipped Groudon and paralyzed Mawile come into a paralyzed Salamence and Kyogre. Unfortunately, I make two costly blunders toward the end. Firstly, not Protecting Groudon meant that Ice Beam + Hyper Voice would take down Groudon. If I Protected, Mawile would be safe to attack and it would be more difficult for him to take down both. The second would be not paying attention to the Timer. With a less than a 1:30 left, Mawile and Salamence were brought to red health, but Mawile would have been able to win on timer based on percentage. However, I chose to Sucker Punch instead of letting the timer run as long as possible. Much to my fear, Mawile gets paralyzed… only for his Salamence to also get paralyzed. Mawile gets paralyzed again the following turn, going down to Salamence’s Hyper Voice. Tom was a great sport, apologizing for the messy set. However, I knew I played the ending terribly.
Game 2: Tom switches his leads to Weavile Groudon. A combination of solid reads and switches lets Tom take this game handily. However, I do find out that his Kyogre carries Thunder and Icy Wind and that his Groudon is Jolly. This information would come handy many times throughout the weekend.
Round 4 VS Daniel Tapp (ProFluffy)
Upon seeing the preview, I recall reading about Yuudachi’s Groudon Dialga report and expected its techs to be present on my opponent’s team (such a Resto Chesto Dialga, Life Orb Ferrothorn, and Quiet Groudon). Funnily enough, I had played this team a few times on Battle Spot the week before and had lost all of them. Welp.
Game 1: Thundurus and Mawile lead into Dialga Groudon. Fearing Trick Room, I Taunt Dialga while swapping Mawile for Kyogre. However, Daniel smartly targets Thundurus to capitalize on the turn. Thundurus goes for a Thunder Wave Dialga so that Mawile can come in later and pick up the KO after Water Spout chip damage. Throughout the set, Dialga was able to stay on the field for a long time thanks to Rest while Landorus was able to threaten Mawile. Thankfully, Hidden Power Water is able to 2HKO Landorus, making the game more manageable.
Game 2: The same leads from both ends come out Game 2. This time, I paralyze Dialga instead of Taunting, expecting him to attack anyways, and switch into Kyogre. This backfires as he proceeds to Trick Room. However, paralysis happens onto Dialga and Kyogre is able to launch off attacks freely. From this point, Hidden Power Water lets me control the field for Mawile to start picking up knockouts for the second game.
Round 5 VS Kimo Nishimura (TFC)
Heading into the set, I had heard that Kimo was running the same team as Tom from their streamed Swiss round. Seeing how I lost to Tom in Round 3, I was admittedly apprehensive approaching the matchup.
Game 1: Recalling my set with Tom and how he left Amoonguss on the bench, I figured that Kimo would do the same, trading support for more fire power. In assuming this, Thundurus and Mawile were chosen as leads. Unfortunately, Kimo played this set differently than anticipated, leading Amoonguss and Weavile. With Weavile possessing Feint and a Protect-less Thundurus, Amoonguss had free reign this game, as I was unable to burn sleep turns fast enough before his Primals were sent in. Kimo proceeded to take this game in a commanding fashion.
Game 2: Scrambling for solutions after a hard loss, I switched Mawile for Salamence to have better answers to Amoonguss. Kyogre and Salamence go into a Kyogre and Amoonguss from his end. In a tricky situation, I end up Double-Edging into Amoonguss as Salamence takes a significant amount from Icy Wind. Although trading Amoonguss for Salamence initially seemed like a poor decision, I felt I would have the advantage in the Primal mirror once redirection was a non factor. Furthermore, from my previous Swiss round, I had known that his Jolly Groudon would be unable to take a Hidden Power Water from Thundurus. Eventually, I do position myself to knock out the Groudon to force his Kyogre and Salamence against a Thundurus and Primals. Subsequently, I take the second game.
Game 3: Taking note of how he had lead Amoonguss in the previous games, I compensate accordingly by leading Groudon and Salamence. In hindsight, this was a very dangerous lead, as if he lead with Kyogre, he would have gained the weather advantage. Paired with Amoonguss or Weavile, this would have been a precarious position. Thankfully, he proceeds to lead Amoonguss and Weavile. In a similar fashion to Game 2, Salamence trades with Amoonguss and the Primal mirror ensues with Thundurus carrying the game to win the set.
Round 6 VS Kyle Gordon
Prior to heading to the table, I talked to Max, who had played him earlier in Swiss. I learned that Rayquaza held a Focus Sash, Kyogre had Thunder, and that Mega Gengar carried Hidden Power Water. In playing this matchup, my plan was to always take care of either Rayquaza or Kyogre as soon as possible so that Groudon would have no trouble switching in. Weavile also meant that I was more inclined to bring Mawile over Salamence.
Game 1: Mawile and Kyogre lead into Talonflame and Kyogre on his end. I end up calling his Protect on Kyogre as he sets up Talonflame sets up Tailwind before going down. Rayquaza replaces the fallen Talonflame, putting me in an awkward position to stall out 3 turns of Tailwind. Interestingly, Rayquaza mega evolves, making weather management easier later in the game ( as well as indicating that he didn’t have Gengar in the back). I end up winning the Sucker Punch mindgame on his Kyogre, as well as downing Rayquaza with two Rock Slides to have Ferrothorn left against Groudon. Although this matchup involved much switching, I was able to take control of the match once Tailwind expired.
Game 2: Seeing how well Game 1 went, I expected Kyle to switch his leads, as well as trying to capitalize on my heavy switching. As such, I end up leading Mawile Groudon to cover for a potential Ferrothorn lead. Unfortunately for me, Kyle ends up going with Talonflame and Kyogre again. This puts in me a rough spot where both of my leads are threatened. Expecting him to withdraw Talonflame into Rayquaza, I switch Groudon into Thundurus so that I can start spamming Paralysis next turn (knowing that Air Lock Water Spout won’t knock me out). In hindsight, switching to Kyogre would’ve been much safer, but I was too fixated on attempting to paralyze his restricted ‘mons to consider it. However, his Kyogre smartly Protects while Talonflame sets up Tailwind again. I withdraw Mawile into Kyogre to minimize the damage and attempt to Thunder Wave, but Talonflame’s Quick Guard nullifies it as Thundurus survives the Origin Pulse. The following turn goes no better, as Thundurus goes down, leaving me with fewer options against the incoming Rayquaza. Eventually, I am able to knockout Rayquaza, but a wrong prediction lets Kyogre go down to a Brave Bird. This leaves the end game to a full health Groudon in the rain with a quarter health Mawile against a faster Kyogre and Ferrothorn. Playing to my odds, Groudon uses Protect as Mawile goes for a last ditch attack onto Kyogre, hoping for an Origin Pulse miss. By chance, I end up getting the miss I need, letting Mawile fire off a Play Rough. The next turn, I whiff my Sucker Punch into Kyogre’s Protect, but Ferrothorn’s Gyro ball fails to pick up the knock out onto Mawile. Kyogre proceeds to fail the double Protect and I take the set from there. I don’t think I played this game very well; letting my opponent gain an immense lead from Turn 1 and sacrificing Thundurus early made the game much harder. However, Origin Pulse missing was a possibility I had to play to, and it ended up saving me at the right time.
Round 7 VS Sam Schweitzer (Sam)
Looking up the pairings, I was excited to play against a name I recognized as one of the NB editors. I knew the set would be difficult, especially since we were one game away from cut. However, RNG played a heavy role in both games, making both of them less than stellar games. Despite the messy games, Sam was a great sport throughout the set and understanding of the games.
Game 1: Thundurus and Mawile come out from my end into Kangaskhan and Groudon. I swap Mawile into Kyogre as I fire off a Thunder Wave into Kangaskhan. Kangaskhan gets fully paralyzed and Groudon’s Eruption fizzles in the rain. Kyogre’s Water Spout proceeds to clean up. Although I manage to take the first game thanks to RNG, I learn very little about his team, leaving me with more questions than answers going into Game 2.
Game 2: I didn’t see too much of a reason to switch leads, so I stuck with Thundurus and Mawile. Sam leads with Togekiss and Kangaskhan, opening up a few possible plays. Expecting him to Follow Me and Power-Up Punch, I go for both the Thunder Wave onto Kangaskhan and the Iron Head onto Togekiss. By doing so, if Togekiss chooses to Follow Me, I secure a knock out. If Togekiss chooses to Protect, paralyzing Kangaskhan allows my Primals to outspeed. However, Togekiss doesn’t Protect or Follow Me. Instead, it uses Air Slash onto Mawile to attempt to flinch it. As such, Thundurus is able to get its Thunder Wave onto Kangaskhan to slow it down. Unfortunately for Sam, Kangaskhan gets fully paralyzed again and Air Slash doesn’t flinch, leaving him without a Togekiss at the end of the turn. Groudon gets sent in in Togekiss’ place against Thundurus and Mawile. However, a switch from Mawile to Kyogre and Hidden Power lets me pick up the knock out and brings the game to a 4-2 situation, promptly wrapping up the set.
Following the Swiss rounds, the VGC with Hats crew went back to our hotels later that night to discuss our top cut game plan (as well as helping Rapha and Max prepare for NPA).
Top 8 VS Zheyuan Huang (Ken)
Having discussed with Justin (who played him in Swiss), I knew that his lack of fire moves meant Bronzong would give him trouble. Furthermore, I would have to play the set carefully with Thundurus, as Raichu was a factor.
Game 1: Salamence and Bronzong lead into his Kangaskhan and Landorus. Throughout the set, Ken uses his Amoonguss and Landorus to harass my team with Intimidate and redirection to try to gain momentum with his Kangaskhan. I opted to play the first game as safe as possible. As long as I was getting damage off every turn with Hyper Voice, I was fine with the slow pace of the game. Eventually, Groudon and Bronzong are left against his Rayquaza at Sash, Amoonguss, and Landorus in the back. Groudon is able to survive the Waterfall and get off the Fire Punch while Gyro Ball knocks out Rayquaza. A lone Landorus is left to take on the two. Thankfully, Rock Slide does not flinch and I am able to take the first game.
Game 2: Predicting him to bring Xerneas, I lead Salamence and Groudon. My prediction is correct as I see Raichu and Xerneas come out from his end. Raichu targets its Fake Out into Groudon as Salamence fires off a Double-Edge, bringing Xerneas to half health before setting up Geomancy. Salamence swaps out for Bronzong, taking the Dazzling Gleam, as Raichu Flings its King’s Rock into Groudon’s Protect. Fire Punch and Gyro Ball pick up the double knock out, with only Amoonguss and Rayquaza left to deal with my full team. Eventually, Salamence comes in safely and is able to clean up both to take the set, advancing me into Top 4.
Top 4 VS Tom Nishimura (BuffCharizard)
Nugget Bridge was able to stream the Top 4 matches. Here, I’ll just give a few thoughts.
Game 1: Fairly straightforward. Tom calling my Thundurus switch with an Icicle Crash gave me a scare but I had enough ‘mons at the end to take the game. Precipice Blades miss also helped, as I’m not sure if weakened Water Spout would’ve knocked out his Kyogre from that range.
Game 2: Calling whether he was going to Feint or Fake Out was difficult, but I should have gone with my gut and played more aggressively here. I wanted to Double-Edge and Precipice Blades, but my hesitation lead me to double Protect. Icy Wind made this set more difficult for me to switch; I either had to sacrifice something to get a free switch or I would have to deal with the speed drop coming in. Choosing not to Protect Groudon was also a misplay on my end, but I’m not sure how much that would’ve changed the outcome of the match.
Game 3: I thought that Tom would Fake Out after going for Feint in Game 2. Evidently, this didn’t work out and I suffered an immense deficit by the end of the turn. In the set, I gave Amoonguss too much respect when he never brought it once. Not leading Thundurus was also an issue, as it would’ve been smarter to trade Thunder Waves early and sacrificing it to get a safe switch. Tom went on to take the title, so congratulations to him!
With a Top 4 finish, I’ve reached 394 CP, which puts me in Top 64 for US and Canada going into Nationals, as well as securing my worlds invite. The team’s been through numerous iterations for the past few months and has proven its worth. With Dual Primals becoming more popular, there will most likely be more counters to it leading up to Nationals. However, I’m excited to see how this archetype will evolve to adapt.
- Rapha, Justin, Arsal, Aaron: These guys all took a huge initiative in developing the initial team and making the proper adjustments to optimize it throughout the past few months. I wouldn’t have been able to get these results without these guys supporting me.
- Mark and Max: A great pleasure to be able to write for VGC with Hats, as well as helping the VGC with Hats crew get our own merchandise with spiffy new hats for Seattle.
- Wesley: Major thanks for driving us down to Seattle and helping us with our hotel.
Thank you for reading my report!