Revisiting VGC 2015: NPA 5 Review

Hello Hat Lovers!

Over the last couple months I’ve been playing in the NPA as a member of the Fortree Brave Birds. I was one of the 2015 format players on the team. This gave me a chance to revisit VGC 2015 and my old team.

Week 1 VS Hayden (Loss 1-2)

Hayden’s Team: Salamence, Rotom-W, Cresselia, Heatran, Aegislash, Conkeldurr

For week 1 I went with a Mega Sableye team (I forget exactly what I had, I picked stuff more or less at random from my box). I remember it doing well against Hayden the last time we faced. It didn’t go so well. I later remembered that when I last played against Hayden I had Swampert which gave his team a lot of trouble. The match was streamed after the PC at UBC. I hoped that using Mega Sableye in the first week would scare away potential counter teams for a couple weeks.

Week 3 VS GogogoGolems (Win 2-0)

GogogoGolems’ Team: Kangaskhan, Sylveon, Thundurus, Landorus, Heatran, Amoonguss

Salamence-MegaAegislash-ShieldPolitoedLudicoloThundurusTerrakion

Thundurus is the one major threat my opponent has against my team. Removing Thundurus while limiting the amount of Thunder Waves it gets to spread is the way to win this match.

Game 1:
Game 2:

I was able to limit the amount of Pokemon Thundurus could paralyze. Once Thundurus goes down I’m able to handle the remaining Pokemon with little difficulty.

Week 4 VS Hongyu (Win 2-1)

Hongyu’s Team: Charizard, Scrafty, Milotic, Landorus, Zapdos, Aegislash

Salamence-MegaAegislash-ShieldPolitoedLudicoloThundurusTerrakion
Game 1:
Game 2:
Game 3:

Like Thundurus on most teams, Zapdos was the greatest threat on Hongyu’s team. In game 1 I didn’t deal with Zapdos well enough and it shut down my whole team. When he didn’t bring Charizard in game 1 I realized that he was playing Wolfe’s worlds team and it was a Charizard-X, which improves my match-up significantly. I decided that Salamence wasn’t important in this match and that my other Pokemon were better at clearing Zapdos. Once Zapdos goes down the rest of his team loses to mine.

Week 5 VS Rapha (Win 2-1)

Rapha’s Team: Kangaskhan, Azumarill, Amoonguss, Heatran, Landorus, Thundurus

I knew Rapha would either use Kangaskhan/Azumarill or Gardevoir. I talked to fellow Brave Bird and VGC w/Hats author Kelvin Koon and he suggested I use a team with Entei and special Landorus-T. I scrambled to put the team together the night after Seattle Regionals so we could play after top cut. This is what I ended up using:

Kangaskhan-MegaAmoonguss1bc2c-azumarillLandorus-TherianThundurus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t the kind of team I would usually play, and some of the misplays I made reflect this. While not all of my moves worked out as intended I played a very safe game throughout and was able to win in the end. You can view our set here:

Week 6 VS DrizzleBoy (Lose 0-2)

DrizzleBoy’s Team: Kangaskhan, Cresselia, Thundurus, Landorus, Heatran, Amoonguss

I knew from Rapha and Hongyu that Drizzleboy was playing a standard CHALK-T team with Calm Mind Cresselia. I figured if he would use the same team against me. I decided to bring a Mega Sableye team because I had a lot of fun using Sableye in the past and it is fantastic against CHALK teams.
Sableye-MegaAegislash-ShieldLandorus-TherianThundurus-TherianPolitoedSwampert-Mega

The first four had a fantastic match-up against CHALK, while Politoed/Swampert give him another mode to worry about in team preview and give me another option if he switched teams.

Game 1:
Game 2:

I ended up losing this match to insane luck. Magic Bounce stops Thunder Wave and Swagger but that didn’t stop Thunderbolt from paralyzing Sableye first try both games. From here critical hits, Will-o-Whiffs, paralysis and even a freeze for good measure kept me out of both games. Feels bad man.

While this team didn’t work out it does make me wish we were still back in the 2015 format and I could develop the team further. A lot of players seemed to have given up at the end of 2015 and just played CHALK because it did well at worlds and this team loves that (though it wouldn’t have enjoyed the Azumarill variants the spawned later).

Week 7 VS KellsterCartier (Win 2-0)

Kelly’s Team: Kangaskhan, Milotic, Breloom, Rotom-H, Aegislash, Landorus-T

Salamence-MegaAegislash-ShieldPolitoedLudicoloThundurusTerrakion

I used my usual team here. The mission of this team has been to get rid of the opponent’s Electric type and proceed to win the game. Kelly’s Electric type of choice was Rotom-H, which doesn’t match-up well against Rain. Kelly’s team didn’t have good answers to Rain and Ludicolo was able to control the game. Kelly played game 2 very well and was almost able to pull out a win, but when the match-up is as bad as it is I can afford to make safe plays and win in the end.

Game 1: V5JG-WWWW-WW47-FE8E
Game 2: QHLG-WWWW-WW47-FE93

I finished the season with a 4-2 record.

I didn’t play in the playoffs as I was not the most active member leading up to the playoffs.

Hypermode Revised

Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite
Salamence-MegaAbility: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Double-Edge
– Hyper Voice
– Protect

During the 2015 season I couldn’t imagine why anyone wanted to focus on special over physical. This was because I was originally using physical and switched to mixed later. After playing 2016 I grew fond of special Salamence. Back in 2015 Salamence could actually OHKO things with Double-Edge, but many of there Pokemon would either EV themselves to survive Double-Edge or rely on Intimidate. This Salamence loses some potential for OHKOs but provides a good source of spread damage.

Aegislash @ Life Orb
Aegislash-ShieldAbility: Stance Change
Level: 50
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 60 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– Wide Guard
– King’s Shield

Fast Aegislash improved my match-up against Sylveon and made playing against other Aegislash easier. If Sylveon runs speed it wouldn’t be bulky and if it had bulk it would be slow enough that Hyper Voice and Flash Cannon would OHKO it. I decided that Wide Guard was a much better move than Shadow Sneak overall. Shadow Sneak was cute but Wide Guard is the more useful move and I feel better having it even if I’m not actually using it.

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

I originally used Timid Politoed to increase the range of Pokemon I would be faster than. Since I was only going to be playing sets against good players and not sifting through the less viable strategies relying on obscure high speed Pokemon I figured that the power boost from Modest would be more useful. The only relevant repercussions of this change is that Politoed isn’t faster than Mega Salamence or Scarf Tyranitar. Since Scarf Landorus is rare Politoed has become more useful on its own. While Politoed can’t reliably OHKO Assault Vest Landorus it can KO it after any chip damage.

Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
LudicoloAbility: Swift Swim
Level: 50
EVs: 76 HP / 36 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 140 Spe
Modest Nature
– Scald
– Giga Drain
– Ice Beam
– Fake Out

Like Politoed, I figured I wouldn’t need as much speed as I used to run. I dropped Ludicolo to a point where it would still be faster than Scarf Landorus in the rain. I put the extra points into HP and Defence to increase overall bulk. I decided to max out my Special Attack to increase my damage output. The loss in bulk doesn’t come into play very often, Ludicolo needs a Scald Burn or an Intimidate to survive most physical hits anyways.

Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
ThundurusAbility: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 4 SpA / 220 SpD / 20 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Thunderbolt
– Swagger
– Thunder Wave
– Protect

I adopted a spread similar to the one that won worlds, with a little speed creeping to counter others doing the same. I decided to run Protect over Taunt. As with changing the speed on Politoed and Ludicolo, I figured Taunt would have fewer applications when I’m less likely to face random gimmicks. I like to have Protect on at least four Pokemon per team as a soft-rule of mine, and not meeting that is something I’ve always disliked about this team in the past.

Terrakion @ Focus Sash
TerrakionAbility: Justified
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Rock Slide
– Close Combat
– Quick Guard
– Protect

I tried out Focus Sash in place of Lum Berry.  I hoped that my opponents wouldn’t bother Thunder Waving Terrakion because I’ve always used Lum Berry and had multiple reports with this team. Focus Sash is useful against common threats like Landorus and Sylveon. Terrakion never got paralyzed in my games but it still would’ve been nice to have the extra insurance against Thundurus.

Conclusion

The Brave Birds won the NPA this year. I want to thank Zack for hosting the NPA and adding old formats to the tournament. I’d also like to thank Gavin for drafting me and making me a 2015 player. At the end of 2015 I wanted a break from the format but getting a chance to revisit it was great.

#BirdUp

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