Rapha’s World Cup of Pokemon Report

Hello hat lovers!

This past month I took part in the World Cup of Pokemon, a NuggetBridge tournament that featured country and region based teams. I played for team Canada along with fellow VGC With Hats members Kelvin (lyingliepard) and Max (starmetroid), and the team was captained by Randy (R Inanimate). Other members of the team include 2015 senior national champion Ben Piercy (qertyk), 2016 senior worlds quarter finalist Daravone Souphommanychanh (Lilsquinty08), Tyson Gernack (Firefly), Myles Krystalovich (drakon), Dan McSorely (DONGSONG), Shingo Fukuyado (Uwaki Shin), and Curtis Cousins (Blaazin14). Unfortunately we were left short handed by the fact that our only day 2 worlds competitors in masters Hongyu (fivepointstars) and Hao (…Hao) chose to back out from the tournament, and our admittedly thin roster didn’t allow us to advance. Regardless, the World Cup was a lot of fun because I got to play the 2015 format all three weeks, and unlike the NPA, I had already been acquainted with most of my teammates in real life.

Week 1: keonspy, West Europe (2-0W)
His team:
My team:

Game 1: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-428533971
Game 2: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-428534471

Same team as this one, except with some changes. I adjusted Amoonguss’ defenses to be slightly more physically bulky, and it now has Calm nature instead of Sassy. This is because moving before opposing Amoonguss actually has significance when using Sludge Bomb. The bigger change though was that Kangaskhan had Jolly nature and Ice Punch. Given that it’s my second mega and is largely only used to support Heatran, this specific Kangaskhan allowed me to patch up some iffy match ups against Smeargle and Landorus-T. Being able to handle Landorus-T much more easily supported Heatran greatly, and this is especially important because winning Chalk-esque mirrors largely come down to whoever can get the most mileage out of their Fire type. This is far and away my favorite team that I’ve used ever in VGC so I decided to just stick with comfort for the first week.

Anyway, this set wasn’t overly interesting because I played against a team match up that I normally just follow a flow chart for. In game 1 my opponent made a mistake towards the end by not going for double Fake Out + two Protects, then trying to go for double Protect with both of his Pokemon. If he got just one (which has a 55.6% of happening), he would have won. Instead, he used Fake Out with only one of his Pokemon and only had one chance at a double Protect, and my 67% win chance held up. In the second game my opponent again made a mistake towards the end of the game by attacking with Gothitelle on the first turn of Perish Song, which meant that he again needed a double Protect to win. Had he just used Protect on each turn I would have needed a critical hit through either a double or a triple Protect to win the game. Justin suggested leading Kangaskhan + Gardevoir is actually my best lead in this match up, which I definitely agree with. Amoonguss / Heatran aren’t overly helpful in this match up anyway, and even though regular Kangaskhan has piddly offensive output, just having Fake Out supports Gardevoir greatly.

Week 2: Lajo, Germany (2-1W)
His team:
My team:

Game 1: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-433596118
Game 2: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-433600521
Game 3: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-433605259

I used budget big 6 this week. This team was a lot of fun because it functioned virtually the same way as other standard teams, but having Milotic and Volcarona over Heatran gave me a good match up against Chalk. This is because Chalk struggles to hit Water types for good damage and didn’t particularly enjoy taking Water attacks either. A strong Fire type was also a good way to beat Chalk, and Volcarona handles Kangaskhan, Thundurus (because Volcarona has Lum Berry), and Landorus better than Heatran. Smeargle + Volcarona was a really watered down version of Smeargle + Xerneas, but was still generally effective anyway, and the team had other modes with Icy Wind + Dark Void, Khan Artist, Kangaskhan + Volcarona (which handles Chalk and Gardevoir well), and genies. I’ve since gone with a more standard and less gimmicky version of this team with Aegislash over Smeargle (Smeargle is frustrating to play against but Aegislash is honestly just flat out a better Pokemon), Life Orb Thundurus, which fixes some issues I have against Water types and Thunder Wave wasn’t quite as imperative on this team, complemented by bulky Volcarona and bread and butter sets on Kangaskhan, Milotic, and Landorus. I don’t think this that team is quite as good as my week 1 team but it has better match ups against common archetypes.

I played Lajo again after playing him in the NPA last year. Game 1 was pretty ugly because I straight up got out played and don’t think I brought the right Pokemon. I won game 2 despite making a less than stellar play when I Protected Volcarona towards the end. It was an obvious play, but it wasn’t really a safe one either because the downside was the same if I got that prediction wrong, and he was more likely to make the aggressive play by not Protecting Amoonguss. I semi expected Amoonguss not to Protect, but even beyond that, Lajo read that turn perfectly by also Protecting Milotic. Thankfully I got lucky to not get unlucky with Smeargle. Turn 1 of Game 3, I decided to Fake Out Landorus instead of Thundurus because he revealed that he doesn’t have Taunt, and Landorus, likely Banded, doesn’t have Protect. I had to Earthquake my own Volcarona at the end because it was the only way I could stop Gardevoir from attacking. Sadly we weren’t able to eliminate a power house team in Germany this week, as we narrowly missed out on beating them and ended up with a tie instead.

Week 3: davidness, Central America (2-1L)
His team:
My team:

Game 1: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-439555785
Game 2: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-439556349
Game 3: http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/battlespotdoubles-439556118

This team was used by Koki Sakurai to place top 16 at worlds last year. Blastoise is a lot of fun as a second mega to Gardevoir, as Blastoise covers Gardevoir’s weaknesses to Fire types and Aegislash (I had Dark Pulse over Aura Sphere), whereas Gardevoir beats Grass types that Blastoise struggles with. Both Pokemon function similarly as strong abusers of spread moves and are complemented equally well by the quartet of Heatran / Amoonguss / Genies (HALT?). Blastoise isn’t as good as Kangaskhan obviously, but it has a very niche role as being one of the few, non Rain centric Water types that dishes out good damage.

I have quite a bit of regret about how I played this set. I played pretty recklessly in the first two games and made the incorrect assumption in game 3 that my Landorus was faster than his Thundurus under Trick Room. I should have realized that his Thundurus didn’t run much speed because of how bulky it was. I also have regret not using my week 1 team because Jolly Icy Punch Kangaskhan + Heatran would have just run through my opponent’s team, but that’s hindsight.

Unfortunately we didn’t net the win we needed this week and were eliminated. At least we lost and didn’t tie, so my losing was only partially the reason why we didn’t advance. Until next year!

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