Double Rock, Double Bubble – 9th Place Oregon Regional Report

Hello hat lovers!

I recently attended Oregon Regionals and went 6-2, finishing 9th place, the second time that this has happened at this regional. Unlike 2015 Oregon though I actually had aspirations of making it further in the tournament, and I felt really good about the team I used and the preparation that lead up to the event. Sadly I didn’t make cut, but sometimes doing well involves uncontrollable factors going your way, and I have no regrets about my play and team decision for the weekend. It was also great to see that three Canadians ended up being the ones who made cut at 6-2. I also finished second in the Premier Challenge that was held right after Swiss ended (a moral victory on its own given that I haven’t been to many events this season).

This team is similar to the one Max and I used at the Vancouver MSS last month, though despite having 4/6 of the same Pokemon, my Oregon team took inspiration from a Japanese team Kelvin sent me. Heading into Oregon I was looking at different variants of Gigalith teams and this was the one that piqued my interest the most, because the six Pokemon on the MSS team didn’t appeal to me enough to bring to Oregon (though ironically, Max used the same team and did better than me at Oregon, finishing top 4). I still wanted to use Gigalith out of comfort given that I’ve been using it since late January, and looking at all the high ladder teams I’ve seen that had it gave me multiple perspectives on how to build a Gigalith team. The team Kelvin gave me had Trick Room Nihilego, and at first it made zero sense to me how this team could do as well as it did on the ladder, because double Rock types seemed to just compound on weaknesses. After trying it though, I felt very comfortable with the team and liked a lot of elements it had, despite the atrocious defensive synergy of the six Pokemon. It’s also a fun thought that this is a Sand team, of sorts. Three Pokemon take advantage of Sand, and even Arcanine can benefit from it, as the sand chip damage helps activate Mago Berry.

Nihilego @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 36 SpD / 212 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Power Gem
– Trick Room
– Protect

Before I talk about this set, this is important to address: it’s pronounced Nye-yuh-lee-go (like the word “nihilist”), not knee-hill-leg-oh. Stop mispronouncing it please! Knee-hill-leg-oh sounds stupid, is wrong, and doesn’t even match the pronunciation of Nihilego’s name origin. Anyway, moving on…

Probably the most defining set on the team and has been one of my favorite things to use in this format. At first I didn’t really understand what the value was to using Trick Room Nihilego on this team, and Nihilego in general was something that didn’t appeal to me in the slightest: it’s the very definition of a “match-up” Pokemon, good in match ups against a number of common choices, but is otherwise very lacklustre. If Nihilego ever becomes more popular than it is now, I don’t think it’ll be difficult for people to adjust to it, as its STAB moves are walled by a number of things. As it stands in the current meta game, though, common double Fairy + Arcanine teams, as well as Tailwind setters, struggle greatly against Nihilego, and even Garchomp still has to be wary of HP Ice even if I don’t have it. Nihilego + Arcanine is also a great combination to beat Liligant + Torkoal, as well Nature Power Whimsicott teams.

On Trick Room specifically: This format greatly lacks ways to support setting up Trick Room, as Fake Out’s value is diminished because of Tapu Lele, and there’s a shortage of viable redirectors. This makes it difficult to use Trick Room in match ups where it’s valuable because offensive teams can often just use Pheromosa and have Taunt on one of their Pokemon, most notably Tapu Koko. One solution to this problem has been to use multiple Trick Room setters; this idea isn’t exactly revolutionary, as teams with Porygon2 + Mimikyu have seen a fair bit of use.

What makes Nihilego a viable Trick Room setter over Mimikyu is its ability to cover Porygon2’s issues with setting up Trick Room. Pheromosa is less likely to want to attack Nihilego because of the threat of Arcanine and Tapu Lele, whereas trading Pheromosa was a viable option to prevent Trick Room getting set up by Porygon2. This idea doesn’t really work when the team has two ways to set up Trick Room. Furthermore, Nihilego just so happens to be a big threat to a lot of common Taunt users like Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, and to a lesser extent, Aerodactyl and Mandibuzz. It is very difficult for those Pokemon to stop Trick Room coming out from both Nihilego and Porygon2, on top of the fact that using Taunt could mean losing their Taunt user and giving Nihilego a Beast Boost.

In addition, even with Trick Room, this Nihilego can still function largely the same as a standard Nihilego set: be fast and threatening to Pokemon that are weak to Poison or Rock. I often bring Nihilego with Garchomp, Arcanine, and Tapu Lele if I just want offense and don’t need speed control.

Having two Rock types might also seem redundant and a waste of a valuable team slot, but strangely, it’s effective at compounding on each other’s strengths. Double rocks is similar to double Dragon teams in the past; they didn’t have the best synergy in the traditional sense of being able to cover each other’s weaknesses, but they were effective as a pair because the combination of two strong Pokemon of a type that was difficult to resist was often able to overwhelm teams. A lot of teams are ill equipped to handle Rock attacks, and having Nihilego and Gigalith on the same team means that I can sandwich Pokemon like Arcanine and Araquanid in terms of speed; whether or not Trick Room is up, I’ll have a way to out speed and threaten them.

One criticism people have for Trick Room Nihilego is that it’s too frail to make use of the move, which is only somewhat true. Nihilego is only poor at setting up Trick Room multiple times in a game like Porygon2 can, but Focus Sash allows Nihilego to set up Trick Room in the face of physical attackers. The fact that common physical attackers like Arcanine are threatened by Nihilego is also a way to mitigate its poor physical bulk. Furthermore, on the special side, Nihilego’s bulk is massive. With Gigalith’s Sand Stream and minimal investment, Nihilego has roughly the same special bulk as the standard Porygon2 set. This means that special attackers often can’t stop Trick Room from getting set up. To illustrate Nihilego’s absurd special bulk in sand, Timid Tapu Lele in Psychic Terrain + an attack from Drifblim or Mandibuzz fails to pick up a KO! This isn’t actually something I rely on often because Tapu Lele often carries a boosting item, and I only note the Timid nature on Tapu Lele because Modest means that it’s slower and needs a fair bit of bulk to survive Modest Sludge Bomb; that was just to show how specially bulky Nihilego is, even with only 40 EVs invested in its special bulk.

I used Modest because out speeding Garchomp wasn’t too valuable without HP Ice, and Modest has actually been valuable in picking up KOes against things like Tapu Lele, especially with Sand chip damage. The 36 special defense EVs was to survive two Muddy Waters from Specs Tapu Fini in sand. This Nihilego hits 150 speed to speed creep Timid Xurkitree.

Gigalith @ Rockium Z
Ability: Sand Stream
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 244 HP / 252 Atk / 12 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake
– Protect

Gigalith is great at rendering several key Pokemon useless. The most notable is Ninetales, and in addition to Nihilego and Arcanine, Gigalith offers Garchomp plenty of protection against the Ice type. Ninetales being flat out atrocious in Sand gives an easier time for Swords Dance Garchomp to sweep. The second notable Pokemon that Gigalith is effective at countering is Araquanid, once the king of the Trick Room archetype. Araquanid can theoretically beat Gigalith out of Trick Room, but without it, Araquanid is far easier to beat with the rest of the team. This is a big reason why Iron Ball Araquanid has seen usage recently; it still offers a lot of the same value as the standard Araquanid set, but with Iron Ball, its sweeping capabilities aren’t severely halted by Gigalith.

The MSS version of this team had Curse, but I dropped it because I felt that while it was a great move in general situations, other options were better at covering specific match ups for this team. Wide Guard was valuable to help against Garchomp, but I chose to use Earthquake because Magnezone would often impede a Gigalith sweep even if Magnezone’s partners were weak to Trick Room. Earthquake was also important against Gavin’s team. Earthquake was a terrible decision in hindsight, as I didn’t use it once during the regional tournament, and it only saw use once in the Premier Challenge (and it didn’t really help in that situation either). I don’t regret using it though because I felt that there was a decent chance I’d face someone who used Gavin’s or Shoma’s team, but it’s not a move that I recommend in a lot of situations.

A lot of people have used FIWAM Berry (most notably Nails, who finished T4 at Collinsville and T8 in Melbourne), but I have a tough time getting sold on the idea. In practice I felt that Rockium Z was far too valuable in helping against Celesteela, Tapu Fini, and Snorlax. FIWAM Berry isn’t a bad item by any means: it’s just not what I preferred in testing.

While I love Gigalith for its positive match ups, weather control, and ability to beat many other Trick Room sweepers, a big issue that I have with using it is its accuracy. This was a problem in testing but thankfully during the tournament, I either never missed Rock Slide or I never missed an important one. Flinches also helped me put me in a better position in a couple of games, so Rock Slide’s side effects were an overall positive.

Porygon2 @ Eviolite
Ability: Download
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Def / 116 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Ice Beam
– Tri Attack
– Trick Room
– Recover

Same Porygon2 that I’ve been using since January, with the only change ever coming from occasionally swapping out Tri Attack for Thunderbolt or Toxic. The EV spread allows it to survive Z-Wood Hammer from Tapu Bulu, -1 All Out Pummeling from Pheromosa (this hasn’t actually come into play, it was just a good calc to know) and Z-Hydro Pump + Scald from ducks. I use Calm over Sassy because I find it more valuable to outspeed Muk out of TR, and it has also been handy to have a better chance of winning Porygon2 end game mirrors. I think Thunderbolt would have been good to help with Gyarados more, as that has seen a resurgence in popularity, but I still liked Tri Attack most for its power in general match ups, and the 20% secondary effect has honestly been very useful as well. I don’t think Toxic is very good and I prefer having a second attack. Other than that, Porygon2 is standard and is the most reliable Trick Room setter in the format, and is a solid answer to Garchomp to support Gigalith.

Garchomp @ Groundium Z
Ability: Sand Veil
Level: 50
EVs: 52 HP / 220 Atk / 4 Def / 20 SpD / 212 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Fire Fang
– Swords Dance
– Protect

This team had Kartana originally, but when I used this team in the IC, I almost never brought it and immediately replaced it with Garchomp to help against Metagross, Magnezone, and Muk. I ended up using the same set as the one from the MSS but with Fire Fang over Poison Jab, because Poison Jab felt redundant with Nihilego on the team, and Fire Fang was important to give this team an extra way to deal with Celesteela. Sadly, replacing Kartana meant that I was weaker to Water and Ground types, so using Garchomp wasn’t a decision without downsides.

The EV spread was to survive Tectonic Rage from opposing Jolly Garchomp and Ice Beam from uninvested Porygon2 if it doesn’t get a special attack boost, and the speed was to out run Jolly Mimikyu, as well as max speed base 95s. One nice thing about this set is that opposing Garchomp were either slower or couldn’t OHKO with Tectonic Rage, which allowed me to win the mirror. If I had to rebuild this set I’d probably make it absurdly bulky like Max had. The speed wasn’t too important because this team is overloaded with Arcanine counters and Tapu Lele could be handled because I often lead Nihilego with Garchomp.

Sand Veil is used because I just don’t find Rough Skin to be useful in the slightest. Even without Gigalith I think I’d probably use Sand Veil as I can’t count the number of times I’ve taken advantage of opposing Gigalith’s Sand Stream to avoid crucial attacks, which is especially important because Gigalith teams tend to have a weakness to Garchomp.

Swords Dance is Garchomp’s best set in my opinion, as I think without it, Garchomp is fairly mediocre. This team not having a Ground resist or immunity is less of a problem with dealing opposing Ground types and actually more of a problem with using my own Garchomp, as I can’t safely Earthquake alongside anything. Swords Dance is still a good way to generate pressure even if Garchomp doesn’t get many attacks off as you can force your opponent to play a certain way, but this set’s potential is definitely hindered on this team.

Arcanine @ Mago Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 124 Atk / 36 Def / 84 SpD / 28 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Extreme Speed
– Will-O-Wisp
– Protect

In a way, Arcanine is the glue of the team, as it’s my only reliable counter to Steel types, and Intimidate is always valuable.

The bulk was to survive -1 Liquidation from Araquanid, Earthquake from Adamant Garchomp, and Muddy Water from Choice Specs Tapu Fini. I don’t remember what the 124 attack EVs did; it might have been to KO Metagross or Celesteela in combination with Power Gem, and the rest of the EVs were dumped into speed. I wasn’t too happy with the split with attack / speed, because in practice, Tapu Lele were always faster than my Arcanine, so I was essentially just wasting 28 EVs. I’d probably make this Arcanine faster in the future if I can afford to drop the attack, or just use no speed at all.

The MSS version of this team had Snarl, which definitely helped against this team’s poor Eevee match up. However, I noticed that many of the things that I’d use Snarl against were faster than Arcanine, and I found Will-O-Wisp far too valuable against Snorlax. It also helped greatly in punishing switches: for example, if my opponent has Celesteela or Kartana against my Arcanine, I’d often use Will-O-Wisp instead of Flare Blitz. I’ve been able to catch many Garchomp and Gigalith switching in in this situation, and burning them is obviously a lot more valuable than doing nearly inconsequential damage with Flare Blitz (unless you’re Max, in which case you’ll burn with Flare Blitz anyway).

I also considered using Roar over Extreme Speed to help more against Snorlax and Eevee, as Extreme Speed wasn’t being used very often given that this team has Tapu Lele. However, I felt that priority was too important to pass up and Roar was fairly situational. I think this would have been a justifiable change though, I just never ended up testing it.

Mago Berry works really well with Arcanine, especially because I can manipulate its activation with Flare Blitz and Gigalith’s Sand Stream. It’s better than Sitrus Berry and the other FIWAM berries, because Mago Berry can confuse Bug Bite Araquanid (you still shouldn’t let them steal your berry though; losing your item and allowing them to heal is far more consequential than the confusion).

Tapu Lele @ Choice Specs
Ability: Psychic Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 244 Def / 20 SpA / 4 SpD / 4 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Psychic
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Thunderbolt

I theoried bulky Choice Specs Lele in early November but didn’t know what exact benchmarks to hit with its stats, given that it was probably too early in the meta game for that. While it’s probably the Pokemon I bring the least, this Tapu Lele has been fantastic, covering a lot of specific match ups against things like Garchomp + Tapu Koko which would otherwise run through this team. Its combination of bulk and power has been great even if it lacks speed. Being able to survive Tectonic Rage and OHKO back with Moonblast helps this team greatly because I don’t have any Ground resists, as my approach to Garchomp often involves scaring it off as a lead and establishing speed control with Porygon2.

I very rarely use Dazzling Gleam and Thunderbolt, and I considered using things like Shadow Ball and HP Ground to help against Metagross and Magnezone respectively. In the end though, I stuck with the two moves I thought would be the least situational because Shadow Ball and HP Ground just weren’t being used enough when I tested them. Thankfully I never actually needed either of those moves during the regional.

The EV spread allows Tapu Lele to survive Tectonic Rage from Garchomp, Smart Strike from Kartana, and the HP stat hits a 16n-1 number to minimize damage taken from Sandstorm.

QR Code for the team.


Ground Types: East Sea

This one is fairly obvious because I have three Ground weaknesses and no resistances. The only saving grace to this is that Garchomp, the most common Ground type, isn’t actually that high on the list of things that I’m troubled by because Tapu Lele and Porygon2 can both OHKO it. Gastrodon also isn’t very strong. However, Mudsdale is probably the worst matchup for this team. Two of my losses during the weekend were to Mudsdale, and in the Sao Paolo Challenge where I only went 3-3, I lost to two teams that had Mudsdale.

Steel Types:

Kartana and Celesteela are manageable, because the former is really frail, and the latter can be beaten by Gigalith with Continental Crush. I struggled a lot versus Magnezone before I put Earthquake on Gigalith, and while in theory I now have an extra way to handle it, I haven’t faced many Magnezone since making the change, so I have no idea how much that adaptation has actually helped with this specific match up. Metagross on the other hand, is a serious problem. Arcanine can’t Intimidate it, and neither it nor Garchomp deal with Metagross well under Trick Room. I also have three Pokemon weak to Steel, and Metagross also occasionally carries Hammer Arm to beat Porygon2. It’s no surprise that one of my losses ended up being to Metagross.

Water Types:

There’s a common theme here: this team’s defensive synergy is atrocious, as this is yet another type that I have three weaknesses to. For Milotic and Gastrodon, I have to rely on my opponent letting me wear them down with Tapu Lele. I don’t know what my match up versus ducks is like, given that I haven’t faced it enough. I did beat ducks in the regional but my game plan in that match up was very different because I knew Phillip’s Pelipper didn’t have Focus Sash, which is it’s most common item.


I have nothing for either of these.


The Tournament

Round 1 – Edison Paulino: WLW

My opponent had weird Pokemon, but this was actually kind of a tricky match up.  The way I approach these super hyper offensive teams is to use Nihilego and Porygon2 to ensure that Trick Room goes up, but my opponent had Scarf Tapu Lele + Psychicium Z Espeon that could threaten both of my Trick Room setters. Games 1 and 2 went exactly as you’d expect from the result and team match up: I won game 1 because I was able to get Trick Room up, and Game 2 I took too much damage to do much with Trick Room. In game 3 he revealed Trick Room Espeon to reverse my Trick Room, but I managed to get it back up to win.

Round 2 – Sam Johson (@RastaCharmander): LWW

Game 1 I went with a Trick Room mode with Gigalith, and it didn’t really work out because Tapu Fini + Celesteela + Krookodile were too difficult to damage with Gigalith. Games 2 and 3 I instead went with Garchomp / Nihilego / Tapu Lele / Arcanine and just apply offensive pressure as best I could and was able to win both games.

Round 3 – Casey Cullen: WW

He didn’t bring Gastrodon in game 1, which was probably honestly the most threatening thing he had, and Gigalith was able to hit both Rock Slides through Waterfall. At the end of game 2 his Choice locked Tapu Koko was forced to Discharge his own Celesteela, which allowed me to win.

Round 4 – Jirawiwat Thitasiri (@Karfeteria): LWL
Alola Form

In game 1 I played pretty recklessly and took too much damage, which I couldn’t afford to do given that this was a tough team match up. In game 2 I thought Jira played a little too safely and I was able to capitalise with Swords Dance Garchomp once Trick Room expired. In game 3, I foolishly thought that my Arcanine could survive -1 High Horsepower from ~75% HP. That turn in addition to a turn where I should have Protected Nihilego only to instead let it get KOed from a double target cost me valuable turns to stall out Trick Room. Given the team match up and that he was in a very advantageous position, I thought he would apply more offensive pressure, which is why I didn’t make the obvious play of Protecting my Arcanine and Nihilego. I should have learned from the previous two games though that he’s probably not the type of player to make big predictions, as he played fairly safe and straightforward throughout the set. Not adapting to this cost me this match. I was upset at losing this at first because it was also a pair down, but I knew all that I could do from that point was maintain composure and focus on nothing but the next round.

Round 5 – Matt Alcina: WW
Alola Form

Matt cut San Jose back in December, and I also played him at Oregon two years ago. Funnily enough he and I both remembered how that game went: lots and lots of flinches that led to me winning an ugly game (it was BO1 swiss back then). Sadly I don’t remember how I won game 1. Game 2 I was up 4-3 and in a good position, but I got ahead of myself and made a mistake of using Continental Crush to KO Tapu Koko. With my Tapu Lele weakened I had very little to stop Porygon2 because I could no longer use a Z move with either Gigalith or Garchomp and he was able to get Trick Room up alongside his Muk. My Gigalith was also too weakened to deal with Muk effectively. However, his Porygon2 was unable to hit Ice Beam through Rock Slide and Sand Veil, and on the last turn of Trick Room, my boosted Garchomp got a double Protect to win me the game. Thankfully Matt was a good sport about how ugly the end of game 2 was.

Round 6 – Kamran Jahadi (@KamJahadi): WLW

I got info on his team because he was on stream earlier, and knowing that he had Sky Drop Tapu Koko gave me some idea on how his team functioned. In game 1 I was in a good position for most of the game but made some reckless plays that almost cost me. In game 2 he brought the same four Pokemon but lead differently, and he made several solid plays with Sky Drop + Garchomp that was tricky for me to play around. If I had Wide Guard on Gigalith I think I would have been able to win this game because his Swords Dance Garchomp only had spread moves, so this is the one game where Gigalith’s last move actually would have mattered. In game 3 I was able to get Gigalith in safely under Trick Room, and a flinch on Snorlax prevented it from using Recycle, granting me an extra turn to make use of Trick Room.

Round 7 – Phillip Wingett (THATSAplusONE): WW
Alola Form

This was streamed! Thanks to NuggetBridge for streaming and to the commentators for picking me to be on stream. Hao played Phillip in round 2, so I had some info on his team. I knew he had Fling on both Raichu and Pelipper and that Tapu Koko was Choice Specs. Not only was I elated to make it on stream, this was the the perfect team match up that I wanted to be on stream for, because I would be able to show off Trick Room Nihilego. My game plan was simple: Get Trick Room up at all costs. Phillip’s team had plenty of ways to stop Trick Room from going up, but would struggle versus teams that had two Trick Room setters, so I felt that I had an advantageous team match up.

In game 1 I thought that Nihilego + Porygon2 was my best lead versus Rain. Ducks have nothing to stop Porygon2 from setting up Trick Room because Nihilego could OHKO his Pelipper before it got to move, given that it didn’t have a Focus Sash and my Nihilego did. My lead would also have been good against either of his Tapus. Instead, he lead Pheromosa + Raichu, so I had to maneuver around to get Trick Room up. Towards the end of the game I made a mistake going for a Rock Slide instead of using Stone Edge on Pelipper, but got bailed out by a double flinch. I still had a better than 50% of winning because he’d need to avoid a crit with Pelipper, avoid two flinches, and also hit Hydro Pump through one of those flinches. Another play I could have made was to Protect + Rock Slide; even if Gigalith goes down that turn, Phillip is forced to double Protect on the last turn of Trick Room, and I can use Trick Room with both Nihilego and Porygon2 to reverse it and reactivate it on the same turn.

Game 2 started out mostly the same way, except I Protected with Nihilego turn 1 to prevent Focus Sash from getting broken. I did consider him having Encore, however, it would have been impossible for me to predict that his Raichu didn’t have an Electric attack, especially on a team with Tapu Koko, so I don’t regret my play at all. If he didn’t have Encore, and even if he did predict Tapu Lele to switch in on turn 1, there was no way for him to stop Trick Room from Nihilego while also conserving his Pheromosa to stop my Porygon2. Instead what happened was that I got lucky with damage rolls as High Jump Kick + Poison Jab didn’t KO my Tapu Lele, which it does most of the time. I would have lost the game if I couldn’t KO Pheromosa in that situation. Afterwards, I forgot that his Tapu Koko had Choice Specs which is why I chose to KO Raichu instead of setting up Trick Room with Porygon2, as I was fearing Taunt. He missed a Thunder in the end game, but that didn’t matter as all that would have changed was that he’d get an attack off on Gigalith, which wouldn’t have KOed.

I do agree with the commentators that Phillip probably should have played more aggressively given the team he was using. However, if he had done that, I still felt that I plenty of options to adjust to his play style, as he would still struggle to stop two Trick Room setters. Once Trick Room went up, there just wasn’t a way for his team to realistically win.

Round 8 – Nikolai Zielinski (@guayguinnent): LL

The holes in my team were exposed in this set. I only have an average match up versus Snorlax, and Snorlax is the type of Pokemon that could take control of games if you don’t have hard counters to it. Nikolai also having Metagross just exacerbated this issue. This set wasn’t particularly close as he simply did not make mistakes, which I probably would have needed to win.

I ended up needing to pray for resistance to be kind to me, but instead, I tied my performance at this regional two years ago as my best regionals finish, finishing 9th. That regionals top cut appearance still eludes me. I decided to play in the Premier Challenge that was held right after the regional, because I haven’t been to many events this year and needed all the points that I could get.

Premier Challenge:

Round 1 – Tim Hipple: W

Extreme Speed + Power Gem KOed his Gyarados turn 1, and the game was basically over from there.

Round 2 – Ellie Homen: L
Alola Form

I have a terrible match up versus Mudsdale, and only average at best match ups versus Tapu Fini, Celesteela, and Muk. I needed to make some hard reads to win this game but she made the right decisions on every turn and I lost.

Round 3 – Alan Tuchtenhagen: W

Trick Room Nihilego caught him off guard, and given how offensive his team was, it was hard for him to stall out Trick Room, especially given that he didn’t bring Kartana.

Round 4 – Kimo Nishimura (@TapuKimo): W

I was in a good position early but foolishly thought that Gigalith could survive a +1 Tectonic Rage from burned Garchomp. I knew that -1 Tectonic Rage was a roll to KO Gigalith, so given that +1 with a burn is stronger than -1, I should have known that that attack would KO. However, I got very lucky as Tapu Lele crit his Snorlax that had set up Stockpile.

Round 5 – Patrick Smith (@SalamenaceVGC): W? I think?

Patrick was one turn away from winning but forfeited on the last turn, because he was already guaranteed cut at 4-0 heading into the last round. I actually ended up with the best resistance among the 4-1s and finished swiss as the first seed.

Top 8: Mitchell Robinson: WW
Alola FormAlola Form

My opponent had five Pokemon hit for super effective damage by Nihilego, three by Gigalith, and had no Rock resists. You can imagine how this set went.

Top 4: Brandon Tuchtenhagen (@Kotori_VGC): WLW

In game 1 I was able to neutralize his Bulk Up Buzzwole with Intimidate and Will-O-Wisp. He apparently didn’t have Ice Punch, which made it easier for Garchomp to win this game for me. In game 2 I had the advantage early but he made a series of strong plays to claw back and force a game 3. At the end of game 3, he made a good decision to double into Garchomp with Moonblast + Continental Crush. I didn’t expect a double target which is why I was content with staying in versus Tapu Fini, but he missed Moonblast, thanks to Sand Veil that he activated with his own Gigalith. I could have still won with a string of good reads, but hitting Moonblast on Garchomp definitely would have put him in a better position to win.

Finals: Patrick Smith (@SalaMenaceVGC): LL

I didn’t play aggressively enough in game 1, as I fired a Tectonic Rage into a Celesteela that switched in for Arcanine, among my many sub optimal plays. On turn 1 of game 2 his Tapu Koko revealed HP Ice to OHKO my Garchomp, and the game was basically over from there.

I earned 94 CP from these two tournaments, more than doubling my total heading into the weekend. I’m still a long way away from clinching my worlds invite, but it was definitely good to earn some points, even if I was incredibly disappointed not to cut the regional.


  1. Your team seems fairly standard. However, one thing that must be pointed out is your odd pronunciation of Nihilego. It’s composed of the Latin word “Nihil” (pronounced knee-hill), meaning “nothing”, and “ego”. Basically the name denotes it’s a creature with no emotion/soul, just plain instincts. So there you go. It has nothing to do with nihilism.


    1. Nihilism is based on the Latin word and has a related meaning. Nihilego’s name could realistically be based on either, but honestly, it’s more likely to be the English one. (Though don’t take that bit too seriously. That was a joke because I think knee-hill-leg-oh sounds stupid lol)


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