Hello Hat Lovers!
I competed in my second World Championship this year.
Going into Nationals I didn’t do a lot of testing because I was pretty disillusioned with the format. After Nationals I really wasn’t interested in team-building for worlds. I tried out a couple teams that did well from various Nationals but once Pokemon Go came out I had stopped playing VGC altogether.
A week before Worlds I looked at the teams I could run. I decided to use Alan Schamber’s Nationals team. The team had strong options against Big B teams and didn’t rely on inaccurate moves. I knew the items and move sets from Pokemon’s official website but had to make my own spreads.
While I had no hand in this team’s creation it has elements from two teams I’ve played earlier in the season. I tested the Gengar/Crobat/RayOgre core early on and Mawile/Thundurus/Kyogre on Dual Primals. This made me fairly comfortable with the team even though I didn’t play test it much before Worlds.
A big part of picking this team was how popular I expected Groudon/Xerneas to be. This team is good at shutting down Xerneas and Smeargle while also putting a lot of pressure on Groudon. Bronzong isn’t hard to deal with, but Cresselia seemed like it would be problematic.
Rayquaza/Groudon teams were also picking up a bit of steam, and I knew it would have a respectable presence in the field. I figured Rayquaza/Kyogre had to be favoured against it so this was another potentially good match-up.
Rayquaza/Xerneas was a bit of a wild card thanks to the variety of partners it could use, but my team is good against Xerneas/Smeargle memes so I figured this wouldn’t be a bad match-up to face.
I figured RayOgre mirrors would be difficult as this team is geared more around beating other teams. This is the one match-up where I expected to use Mega Rayquaza over my other mega evolutions.
Yveltal was a minor concern, I couldn’t imagine many players feeling brave enough to use Yveltal in a field expected to be full of Xerneas. I have Mawile and Thundurus for Yveltal and RayOgre for Groudon, so I figured that if I lost to an Yveltal it would’ve been my lack of practise to blame rather than my team.
At the request of fellow VGC w/Hats writer Kelvin, I will be including my Pokemon’s nicknames in this report.
Rayquaza-Mega @ Focus Sash
Ability: Delta Stream
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
– Dragon Ascent
– Extreme Speed
Early in the season Focus Sash started replacing Life Orb as Rayquaza’s default item. I wasn’t a fan of using Focus Sash over Life Orb but I felt it was better overall as I had a harder time against Focus Sash Rayquaza. The team originally had Water Pulse for another option against Groudon but I was afraid I had a terrible match-up against Ferrothorn without a Fire move. I did face a team with Ferrothorn but they never brought it against me, so Overheat ended up being a poor move choice and I’d be better off with Draco Meteor or Swords Dance.
With two other mega evolutions on the team I don’t actually use Mega Rayquaza all that often. Rayquaza is mainly there for Air Lock. This is probably my least favourite part about this team and if I were to continue team building in this format I’d try out a team that focuses on using Mega Rayquaza.
Ballz Deep (Kyogre-Primal) @ Blue Orb
Ability: Primordial Sea
EVs: 172 HP / 244 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Origin Pulse
– Ice Beam
Until the night before I was planning to use Water Spout and Scald on Kyogre like I did on dual primals, but my friends staying in my hotel room convinced me to use Origin Pulse and Thunder like the original team did. These moves are the best choices for Kyogre… if you hit with them. The logic my friends presented is that you either run hot and win or get unlucky and lose. This isn’t the logic I usually follow but considering my lack of caring I decided to roll with it. Origin Pulse misses were a big factor in many of my losses, but that’s what I get for using inaccurate moves. Making room for Thunder was a good choice, however, as I faced a lot of Kyogre.
When deciding on an EV spread I looked at the various teams archetypes I could face and how much speed I’d expect to want. I decided that most teams would either use max speed Groudon or min speed Groudon so there wasn’t much benefit to investing heavily in speed. I wanted a lot of defensive investment so I wasn’t going to speed creep other Kyogre. Having a slower Kyogre also deters the opponent from setting up TR, which benefits the rest of the team.
The Dream (Gengar-Mega) @ Gengarite
EVs: 44 HP / 68 Def / 172 SpA / 4 SpD / 220 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Shadow Ball
– Sludge Bomb
VGC w/Bats (Crobat) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 172 HP / 108 Def / 228 Spe
– Super Fang
Gengar/Crobat is one of the two main leads for the team. This lead is for Xerneas/Smeargle memes and situations where I don’t know what to do. Gengar is EV’d to take Life Orb Brave Bird. I forgot what goal I had in mind for Crobat (I think it survived Kangaskhan’s Return) but it did survive a Volt Tackle and Extreme Speed in Strong Winds.
Shadow Ball can combo with Super Fang to OHKO Bronzong and non-Sitrus Berry Cresselia. Will-O-Wisp is great against Kangaskhan. Ironically I always expect WoW to miss and Super Fang to hit but I never missed a WoW and Super Fang had a lot of crucial misses.
Devil’s Maw (Mawile-Mega) @ Mawilite
EVs: 236 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 132 SpD / 20 Spe
– Iron Head
– Play Rough
– Sucker Punch
Just A Prank (Thundurus) @ Life Orb
EVs: 196 HP / 80 Def / 52 SpD / 180 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def / 30 SpA
– Hidden Power [Water]
– Thunder Wave
Mawile/Thundurus is the second goto lead for the team. This is a lead combination that was familiar after playing dual primals in Seattle Regionals. I generally use this lead against dual primals and figured I’d use it against Yveltal if I faced any.
I used the Mawile spread from our Spring Regionals team, though I can’t remember what it does. Despite using Life Orb I didn’t see the value of a 252/252 spread on Thundurus when looking at damage calculations, so I instead opted for a bulky spread that could take Life Orb Yveltal’s Sucker Punch and 76+ Kyogre’s Origin Pulse. Life Orb is enough to ensure Hidden Power Water OHKOs Groudon and Thunderbolt could pick up 2HKOs on Kyogre and Yveltal. Not having Taunt on Thundurus hurt me in a couple match-ups but Protect seemed important. In hindsight I might’ve been able to get away without Protect. I wanted Protect because of Kangaskhan and I’m more likely to use Gengar/Crobat if they have Kangaskhan.
Round 1: Corey Esmeier [US] 0-2 L
My first opponent was also playing RayOgre. In both games I had some critical Origin Pulse and Super Fang misses. I felt like this was a game I could’ve won but got some bad variance. Always punished for using low accuracy moves.
Round 2: Sheldon Greenway [GB] 2-1 W
This was the match-up I was looking for. I won game 1 quite handily with a Gengar/Crobat lead. In game 2 I play to a win condition predicated on his Xerneas being the bulky set, but Sheldon’s was Timid and this left me in a losing position. In game 3 I switch to Mawile/Thundurus and am able to eliminate Talonflame while Groudon retreats in fear of Hidden Power Water. From here I ride my momentum to victory.
Round 3: Rodolfo Cuellar Mota [MX] 2-1 W
The only Pokemon I was afraid of was Cresselia. Rodolfo doesn’t bring it game 1 and I win a close game. Some interesting moves were revealed like Soak + Protect on Smeargle and Thunder Punch Groudon. He brings Cresselia in game 2 and is able to find a winning position with it. In game 3 I switch up my leads to Mawile/Thundurus and was able to take a commanding win. I flinched Cresselia with Iron Head at one point preventing Trick Room but Mawile was the slowest Pokemon and I had such an advantage at that point that I don’t think it mattered.
Round 4: Erik Holmstrom [US] 1-2 L
Here’s a team I didn’t expect to face. Dialga is fantastic against Ray/Ogre and I have nothing to hit it with other than Mawile. He also has Ferrothorn, which outside of Overheat I can’t deal with either, though he never brought it. His Scarf Landorus caused a lot of trouble as his Thundurus could prevent Crobat from setting up Tailwind to match it. I managed to win game 1 somehow but he’s able to win the next two. At one point we both go for Thunder under Air Lock and both hit, which was amusing.
Round 5: Jon Hu [US] 2-0 W
I faced Jon Hu on Showdown once before Nationals, so I knew his team going into the game. In game 1 he brings Shedinja which leaves him with a dead slot essentially. I find out that his Gengar is faster than mine which makes things tricky but also ensure I’m not tempted to go for a speed tie. In game 2 he leaves Shedinja behind but an offensive Kyogre/Thundurus lead puts too much pressure on Gengar/Whimsicott and I’m able to take the game.
Round 6: Gavin Michaels [US] 0-2 L
I faced my NPA manager this round. In both games he leads Manectric/Talonflame with Primals in back. Both games were close and involved hitting multiple Thunders in Air Lock but Gavin wins both games. I got some bad RNG in these games but on average I’d expect to go 1-2 with how I played so I don’t feel like I should’ve won.
At this point I’ve been eliminated from day 2, I was tempted to drop here but decided I wasn’t going to quit. You might as well play out all your games at Worlds for the experience.
Round 7: Luis Alberto Rubio [CO] 1-2 L
I expected X-Ray to be a good match-up (not that I tested it), but Luis has some tricks to change that. I win a dominating game 1 with Mawile/Thundurus, which made me feel really good about winning the series. Since Thundurus didn’t have Taunt I decided to use Gengar/Crobat instead for the next two games to try and deal with Smeargle. I thought I’d be safe to go for a Tailwind + Protect turn 1 but Talonflame uses Swords Dance. This won him game 2 easily. In game 3 I stopped caring and said to myself “If he hits all his Dark Voids and gets 2+ sleep turns I’ll lose and whatever”. This then happens and I lose.
Round 8: Carlos Antonio [US] 2-1 W
My opponent is using Gavin’s team with Kangaskhan over Gengar, which gives me a chance at redemption. In game 1 I wasn’t paying attention and forgot he had Manectric and used Thunderbolt on the switch in. While I thought I didn’t care at this point I really didn’t want to go negative. I don’t remember how the next two games play out, all I remember is that I hit my Origin Pulses and win.
Once again I finish worlds with an X-X record. While I’m not satisfied with this record I barely played VGC 2016 before Worlds so I didn’t have high expectations. I had hoped to run into more Groudon/Xerneas and Groudon/Rayquaza teams and get wins from these teams. Unfortunately I only ran into one of these teams.
I’m looking forward to Sun & Moon and VGC 2017. I’ve been burnt out from this format for the last couple months and can’t wait to try out new teams with the new Pokemon and game mechanics in S/M.