Ni Hao Hat Lovers!
This is Hao, one of your new authors of VGC with Hats. I started playing VGC last year, learning a lot from local tournaments and friends, keeping improving myself as well. At the time, I surprisingly cut my first regional in Seattle last year. This year I played decently in PCs and qualified for world championships day 1.
I’m just back from San Francisco, where I finished my first world championships. I went 6-1 on day 1 to advance to day 2, in which I finally finished 4-3, barely missing the cut after I lost my last set. I am going to analyze the team I prepared and used and how the matches went during the tournament.
For day 1, I picked a very standard Big B after I watched US Nats. In the entire season, I started learning and using Big 6 or Big 6 variants after I saw Big 6 for the first time and got beaten by it in a PC. I used regular Big 6 until I lost to Dual Primals Bronzong with Safeguard two times in PC finals. Then I tried Big Thundurus, Big Aegislash and Big Cress & Thundurus in different tournaments but they did not work very well. I realized I just improved the matchup against Bronzong teams; however, I still did not have a solid answer to Big 6 mirrors or other Xerneas teams. After I played US Nats, I chose to use Big B at worlds, which has a decent matchup against popular big 6, and is not weak to other teams as well.
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 220 HP / 148 Def / 68 SpA / 4 SpD / 68 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
A fairly standard Xerneas set. 220 HP EVs and 148 Def EVs allow Xerneas to survive two Pblades from Adamant max attack Primal Groudon, and 68 SAtk hits an 11n number, which gives Xerneas an extra SAtk stat. For the speed, Xerneas with 127 speed can be faster than Mega Salamence after it takes an Icy Wind. Therefore, I gave my Xerneas 68 Spe EVs to speed creep. Unfortunately, I had about 4 to 5 speed ties on Xerneas in the tournaments, which I will explain later.
Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 60 SpD / 36 Spe
– Fire Punch
– Precipice Blades
– Swords Dance
On Big B, because of the Trick Room mode, Groudon is ideally built to be bulkier. I wanted my Groudon to be more physically bulky when I put EVs to SpDef to make Groudon survive an Earth Power from max SpAtk timid Groudon. Therefore, I gave it max Hp EVs and 60 SpDef EVs. 156 Atk EVs hits 11n number and the rest of the EVs was given to speed. I chose to used physical Groudon because under Gravity, Pblades would do good amount of damage to most Pokemon. Swords Dance helps Groudon take advantage of when opponents have passive turns.
Kangaskhan-Mega @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 4 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Power-Up Punch
– Fake Out
– Sucker Punch
I chose Kangaskhan because it is the best Fake Out user. On regular Big 6, I had Fake Out Smeargle to support Xerneas’ Geomancy. On Big B, because Smeargle had no longer Fake Out, I kept Kangaskhan on my team to support Xerneas. Besides, a lot of players use Return, but I prefer Double Edge because with PuP, +1 Double Edge can OHKO Xerneas and +2 can OHKO bulky Groudon, whereas Return can never do so.
Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 252 Spe
– Hyper Voice
I think Salamence is the best mega in this format because it is immune to ground type attack and resistant to fire and water type attacks on primals. Hyper Voice provides strong chip damages whereas Double Edges is a strong single target attack. I used Tailwind instead of Draco because I want another way to control speed in addition to Trick Room and Draco does not play a huge role.
Smeargle @ Focus Sash
EVs: 244 HP / 212 Def / 52 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 9 Spe
– Dark Void
– Wide Guard
– Spiky Shield
– Crafty Shield
Here is our evil Smeargle. I ran Fake Out and Follow Me Smeargle on Big 6 I used before. However, I realized I could not always rely on Smeargle Xerneas to win the games, so I choose this move set that can support the whole team. Wide Guard will prevent my Groudon from the spread moves from opponents’ primals, and it also will prevent some moves like Icy Wind, Hyper Voice etc. Crafty Shield will prevent the whole team taking Taunt, Encore or status moves. On EVs spread, 244 HP and 212 Def EVs allows Smeargle to survive Double Edge from -1 attack Jolly Kangaskhan. 84 Speed makes Smeargle faster than Kangaskan under Tailwind or if it gets a speed boost; it also allows Smeargle move before primals under Trick Room. I prefer Focus Sash to other items on Smeargle because it guarantee it survive any single attack.
Bronzong @ Lum Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 36 Def / 216 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Gyro Ball
– Trick Room
Bronzong has a really good matchup against Xerneas because of its resistance and powerful Gyro Ball after Xerneas boosted. Gravity helps Groudon’s Pblades and its own Hypnosis hit opponents more accurately. Heatproof is a really good ability, as it allows Bronzong to survive a Fire type attack from most Pokemon. With max Hp and 36Def EVs on Bronzong, it can take two Fire Punches from -1 attack Groudon.
Round 1: VS Kimo Nishimura (US)
Surprisingly, I played my NPA manager in the first round. Kimo used a really interesting team. He had Rotom-Wash with Rayogre, which was a big threat to dual primals; Bronzong and Mega Gengar helped him a lot against Xerneas. In 3 games, he all used Gengar, Scrafty, Kyogre and Bronzong against my team. I did not bring Kangskhan because I realized it was really bad in this match up.
In game 1, basically I set Gravity for Groudon to use Pblades with the protection of Wide Guard. In this game, he also revealed Hypnosis and Safeguard on his Bronzong, where I needed to be more careful.
In game 2, in first turn Kimo removed the ability of my Mega Salamence and trapped it on the field. My Salamence could do little, which allowed Kimo to get free switch and better position. When I got the chance to switch out Mence to Xerneas, I used Geomancy. However, Kimo managed to set Trick Room with his Bronzong, putting him in a decent position. In the following turns, I managed to get a triple Protect, but I made the wrong play that I did not try to knock out his Bronzong with my Mence.
In game 3, I did not bring Xerneas and played more carefully. I tried to repeat how I played in game 1, which worked again. However, Kimo was trying to play on timer, which I even did not notice. Finally, I won the game on timer because I was in good position in most time and had more total HP percentage left.
Round 2: VS Jun Hong Kyun (KR)
Jun Hong had a Groudon Yveltal team with Mega Gengar-Whimsicott-Terrakion combination. My Xerneas had a really good matchup against his team, and I realized my win condition was to get Geomancy on Xerneas and use Fake out/Crafty Shield to protect it from Encore.
In game 1, I really thought he would lead Terrakion and Whimsicott, which he did do. I totally forgot the possibility of Taunt on Whimsicott, going for Geomancy and Wide Guard. He used Quick Guard and Taunted my Smeargle. I found I already lost game 1 because I had Mence and Groudon in the back, which could not take boosted Rock Slide well and could not help Xerneas get rid of Encore. Finally I got a +6+6+6 Xerneas but lost game 1 very ugly.
In gamea 2 and 3, I just followed my win condition and brought Kangskhan instead of Mence. My boosted Xerneas just easily destroyed his whole team.
Round 3: VS Pablo Godoy (GT)
This is the first Big 6 variants I played at worlds! Pablo used Amoonguss on his team to counter Trick Room or support other Pokemon by redirecting attacks. I basically followed how other Big B users played, leading Smeargle Mence and finding the best chance to switch to Bronzong. However, because Pablo had Amoonguss on his team, I tried not to set Trick Room but take advantage of Groudon and Bronzong to counter his Xerneas and Amooguss. In Game 1, I lost because his Smeargle got +6 evasion boost. I even could not hit him under Gravity and he just put my Pokemon to sleep. In games 2 and 3, everything went correctly, which let me picked another win.
Round 4: VS Shohei Kimura (JP)
Next round I played another Big 6 player from Japan. In team preview, Shohei had a pretty standard Big 6 team. However, in game 1, he revealed Crunch on his Kangaskhan, which did huge amount of damage to my Bronzong and stopped it using support moves. I also found his Groudon was special and had max speed. In Game 2, he revealed Taunt on his Talonflame and Twave on his Groudon. However, my Mence already did a lot of damage through Hyper Voice and sealed the game by Groudon and Bronzong.
In game 3, I did everything correctly at first, but in the last several turns I made a mistake that I used Hypnosis to his Groudon under Trick Room even though I knew his Groudon could not knock out mine. His Smeargle used Dark Void, putting my Pokemon to sleep. I finally lost because my Groudon did not wake up before Trick Room was expired, and his Groudon’s Eruption got a critical hit, stopping my Bronzong potentially waking up and setting up another Trick Room.
Round 5: VS Walter Burgos (CL)
Once I saw this team in team preview, I thought I definitely would win this matchup. My opponent has a Rayogre team with Kangaskhan, Lucario, Smeargle and Whimsicott, which was frail and had no Fairy resistance. What I worried about was if his Lucario was Mega, its powerful stab would bring big trouble to my Xerneas. Fortunately, He did not bring Lucario in both games. I just boosted my Xerneas under the protection of Crafty Shield and easily picked a 2-0 win.
Round 6: VS Nasseruddean Fadhil (MY)
After a pleasant Rayogre matchup, I played another Big 6 with Cresselia. However, Nass had a faster mixed Groudon, which learned both Pblades and Eruption. I did not remember how game 1 went, but fortunately my opponent choked at last. His full HP Groudon used Eruption and put both of my Groudon and Bronzong into red HP and I had no Pokemon in the back. Next turn his Groudon still had full HP but used Pblades instead. My Groudon dodged Pbaldes and hit Pblades back to reverse the game. In game 2, I led Kangakhan, Xerneas and managed to get the boost to seal the game.
Round 7: VS Duh Jenn-Chua (TW)
Finally I came to the game which could determine if I could make day 2. I was really desired to win this set because I did not want the suspense was left to the last round. Duh was from Taiwan, who was using a dual primals Bronzong team, which I was very familiar with. Thanks to the losses in PCs, I learned a lot and now my team was improved, so I was so confident to beat him and make day 2.
In game 1, I led Mence Smeargle and he led Khan Bronzong. I switched Mence to my own Bronzong and protected my Smeargle. He Fake Out my Smeargle and set Trick Room. Next turn I switched Smeargle to Groudon when his Khan could do little to both of my Pokemon. His Bronzong set Safeguard and mine set Gravity. In the next few rounds I set Swords Dance and let Smeargle in to use Wide Guard to protect my Groudon from opponent’s Primals. I figured out his Groudon was faster than mine, and mine was faster than his Ogre. I won game 1 and got important information.
In game 2, everything went the same. However, when I was about to win and so excited, his Groudon used Earth Power, which was not revealed in game 1, to break my dream.
In game 3, he led Mence instead, keeping none mega and protecting itself in the first turn. After his Trick Room was set, I switched my Smeargle to Bronzong and my Mence got OHKOed by opponents Mence’s Draco. However, I did get a free switch to my Groudon. When my Groudon set Swords Dance for free, he switched his Bronzong to Kyogre, which moved before my Groudon under Trick Room. Then I Protected my Groudon and reversed Trick Room. However, he Protected his Ogre too, which was a problematic play. Next turn, I made the best play that I set Trick Room again and Pblades. He switched his Ogre to Bronzong, and I knocked out both of his Mence and Bronzong this turn due to Gravity. Because his Ogre was already primal but Groudon was not, we got harsh sun on the field. Even though Groudon was already Primal, thanks to Trick Room, sun would be still up. My Groudon used +2 attack Pblades to finish opponent’s both primals.
I was so excited when I saw both primals HP go down. I finished Day 1 with a 6-1 record and was moving to Day 2!
I have already prepared a team right after US Nats for Worlds Day 2. However, my friends suggested me not to use this team because I did decently with Big B on Day 1. I am very happy to see that Justin Carris used a very similar team and finished top 8 at worlds. Here are Pokemon in my team I planned to use initially:
However, I kept using the same Big B on Day 2.
Round 1: VS Andrew Nowak (US)
In round 1 I played Andrew, a regional champion that I know. He had a RayDon team, which had a lot of offensive pressure to my team. In game 1, he led Smeargle Don and I led Smeargle Mence. He got a speed boost on his Smeargle and it became faster than my Mence, which I did not expect. He put my Pokemon to sleep before my Mence moved and won game 1.
In game 2, when I had Smeargle Bronzong on the field against his Crobat Don, I overpredicted that he would double attack my Bronzong to stop my Trick Room because I already revealed my Crafty Shield. He taunted my Smeargle and Eruption to put the game in his favor, which was a safer play for him.
Round 2: VS Alexander Poole (AU)
Alex used the team that I used at US nats. However, he had a totally different set on Cresselia. I did not remember very well how this round went. I lost game 1 and figured out the move set and Lum Berry on his Cresselia. This set came to game 3, my boosted Xerneas got a crit on Alex’s Pokemon, which mattered. In the last turn, my Xerneas’ Dazzling Gleam got a crit again on Alex’s 40% HP Groudon, which might matter too. I was very lucky in game 3 and brought my record back to 1-1.
Round 3: VS Juan Naar (CO)
Round 3 I played DonVGC, who had a Xogre team which I was familiar with because I built my own Xogre team too. Juan took advantage of his Amoonguss under Trick Room and won game 1. In game 2, I played more carefully with my Bronzong and took game 2. I also found my Groudon was faster than his Kyogre when I saw his Kyogre burn a sleep turn after my Groudon moved. In game 3, I led Smeargle Xerneas and Juan led Mence Thundurus. I predicted that he would double attack my Xerneas because I already showed my Crafty Shield. However, he double attacked my Smeargle instead. I got a free switch to Groundon but switched back to Bronzong immediately because I was sure that he must have HP Water, which put the game in my favor. Finally I won game 3 when my +2 Groudon picked double KO because Juan did not realize his Kyogre was slower.
Round 4: VS Eric Rios (ES)
Eric had a Rayogre team with dual Steel types. In game 1 I predicted that he would lead Weavile to counter my Bronzong or just Fake Out so I led Xerneas Khan. However, he led double Steel types and used double Gyro ball to my Khan. I lost game 1 when Xerneas could really not do too much.
In game 2, I played much better. I repeated the play in round 3 that I got free switch to Groudon but switched it back to Bronzong, which worked perfectly again. My opponent choked in the last few turns when he had chance to easily pick double KO. However, in the last turn I had 40% HP Groudon in the sun, 10% HP Xerneas and my opponent had 60% Kyogre which was the slowest Pokemon on the field. I went Geomancy and Pblades when I was thinking why not watching the beautiful animation before I knocked out Kyogre. If I missed Pblades, just try another one. I did miss my Pblades and got Geomancy boost, but my Xerneas got knocked out by Ice Beam. When I tried another Pblades, I just realized TIME WAS OUT! If I did nothing, if I selected any move except Geomancy, if I got a heart attack at that moment, I should have won game 2.
I paid a lot to take the lesson due to my poor experience about timer, which I should do better and be more careful in the future.
Round 5: VS Gary Qian (US)
Round 5, I played the elimination game with my friend Gary when we both had a 2-2 record, which was extremly crucial. One of us would definitely be out of the tournament after this round. Gary still had a unqiue team in his own style. Unfortunately, I had no chance to see his ZEBSTRIKA because I had no Kyogre or Electric type attack. I realized my Xerneas had a really good matchup here since Gary had 3 fairy weaknesses and no resistance, but I found his Ditto probably would stayed behind and might hold Red Card. Therefore, my plan is to take advantage of Xerneas but no Geomancy before his Ditto showed up.
In game 1, I led Mence Xerneas and he led Sableye Xerneas. I was worried about some moves like Fake Out or Quash and switched my Mence to Bronzong. My Bronzong took Will-O-Wisp and my Xerneas knocked out his Sableye with Dazzling Gleam. Next turn, my Bronzong easily took a +2 Moonblast + Overheat combination thanks to Heatproof and managed to set up Trick Room, which helped me dominate the rest of the turns.
In game 2, I led Mence Bronzong and Gary led Xerneas Scrafty. I used Hyper Voice and switched Bronzong right back to Groudon to take a Fake Out or Knock Off. Gary did Fake Out my Bronzong slot and got Geomancy boost. Next turn he switched Scrafty to Ray to prevent his Xerneas being knocked out by Fire Punch. However, my Fire Punch got a burn on Gary’s Xerneas, which upset him a lot. On this turn, my Mence did not Protect and managed to set up Tailwind. Therefore, I think the burn did not matter too much because the game was still in my favor.
Gary is a very strong player devoted to build the team and practise a lot for worlds. Really hope he can do better next year!
Round 6: VS Javier Senorena (ES)
Javier ran an X-Ray team with Mienshao, which made me think I could easily win again. However, his Amoonguss really brought a lot of trouble to me. In game 1 and 2, the games all came down to Xerneas vs Amoonguss. In game 1 his Amoonguss got a very high roll on last Grass Knot and knocked out my Xerneas. Unfortunately, I did not remember game 2 too much. In game 3, I had sliver HP Groudon and Xerneas against 80% HP, -2 Def and SpDef Life Orb Mega Ray in the sun. Because Groudon’s Fire Punch in the sun should KO 70% Khan, I thought my Groudon was able to KO opponent’s Ray after he KO my Xerneas. My opponent probably read me and KO my Groudon first, but my Xerneas just easily finished his Ray when I chose to double attack.
Round 7: VS Alejandro Jimenez (US)
I could not believe I was still in this tournament and came to my last round. When I found my opponent was Legacy, I realized he was a really strong player, who I played for a few times before on Battle Spot.
In game 1, we both led Khan Xerneas but I switched my Xerneas to Bronzong. It did not work very well probably because I wasted some turns of Trick Room, which I cannot remember.
In game 2, I led Mence Smeargle and Legacy led Groudon Cress. After I used Wide Guard and correctly predicted his Icy Wind, my Smeargle got evasion boost. Next turn it fortunately dodged a Psychic and got off a Dark Void, which put the game in my favor.
I was very desired to make the cut and led safer Khan Xerneas again when Legacy also led them. Turn 1 we traded Fake Out on both Xerneas. In turn 2, I thought we had Xerneas speed tie by mistake, using Double Edge to his Xerneas and Dazzling Gleam. I thought my Double Edge might KO his Xerneas when it was a roll, or my Dazzling Gleam would finish survived Xerneas if I won speed tie or he went Geomancy. However, Legacy’s Xerneas survived and he did a better play that he double attacked and KO my Xerneas since he knew it was not a speed tie. After I got a free switch to Bronzong and set the Trick Room, Legacy switched his Xerneas to Groudon, which forced me not to set Gravity. I went a blind Hypnosis on his Groudon but missed, which decided my loss.
In game 3, I definitely had better play like switching Xerneas to Bronzong but I failed, which left me a huge regret of missing the cut at worlds.
For more detail, also check Legacy’s Youtube channel:
Even though I barely missed the cut, I was so exicted because I fought until the last moment of my first worlds. I not only played and learnt a lot from the games, but aslo met and talked to a lot of good players all over the world. Now I am really looking forward to Pokemon Sun & Moon and competing at such a huge event again next year.