Hey there Hat Lovers!
I’ve been meaning to write a report for a while, but never got around to it. Now that I don’t have any events until US Internats, I thought it would be a good time to release the team(s) I have used this year. The team I used in Brazil is a product of a team I have been changing and improving on since December, but I will start after St. Louis.
Building the Team:
I placed in the Top 16 in St. Louis, and here’s the team I used. This team was fairly strong, but I felt I could make something better that dealt with threats like Lele Drifblim more efficiently. I decided to keep the core of Tapu Koko, Porygon2, Mudsdale, and Arcanine because of its good matchup against common Gigalith teams. After spending a long time playing with four Pokemon on Showdown, I decided to add Trick Room Nihilego. This was mainly inspired by Rapha’s Nihilego, which you can see here. A lead of Nihilego and Arcanine with Firium Z could almost guarantee me a good position against Lele Drifblim teams, at least in the first game. After playing with this, I realized that the main issue with this team, like all my teams this format, was Snorlax. And what better way to counter Snorlax than with my own Snorlax? In all seriousness, I tried many different Pokemon in this last slot, including Kartana, Hariyama, and Tapu Bulu, before deciding on Snorlax. Now, let’s move on the Pokemon analysis.
Tapu Koko @ Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Volt Switch
– Dazzling Gleam
This Tapu Koko was fairly standard, chosen for its ability to switch around, manage terrain, and deal chunks of damage along the way. I used Timid for the rare Modest Fairium Z Koko, so I could lead Koko safely and Volt Switch out into Arcanine. I used the Showdown recommended spread because I’m lazy, but dropping some special attack for a bit of bulk could have been more useful.
Porygon2 @ Eviolite
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Def / 36 SpA / 108 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Ice Beam
Why couldn’t it be Analytic?! Sigh… I tested Analytic Porygon2 for the weeks leading up to the event on Showdown, only to learn a week before that it was glitched, using the entire field’s speed and not just the target’s. I kept the spread because I liked the bulk, but switched to Download. The Defense and HP guarantee the survival of -1 Z-High Jump Kick from Pheromosa and Z-Superpower from Buzzwole, and takes 47-56% from a Garchomp TecRage. There is probably an important calc that this hit but it has been over a month since I made the spread so I honestly don’t remember. The 36 SpAtk was to OHKO 44/140 Garchomp with Ice Beam, but it is largely irrelevant. The reason I opted for Thunderbolt over something like Toxic was again for the matchup against the common Nails-esque teams from Australia. It was also helpful for putting Tapu Fini into range of Mudsdale’s TecRage, which I will get into next.
Mudsdale @ Groundium Z
EVs: 252 HP / 172 Atk / 84 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– High Horsepower
– Close Combat
– Heavy Slam
Mudsdale was a Pokemon I chose because of how well it matched up against Arcanine/Koko/Gigalith. Its EV spread is to take a Choice Specs Fini Muddy Water, and the rest is dumped into Attack. I had EQ over CC at St. Louis, but decided that the extra 5 Base Power on Tectonic Rage and a spread move wasn’t worth the ability to deal lots of damage to the likes of Kartana, Snorlax, and P2, who I would consider the team’s 3 biggest weaknesses. The most interesting thing about this set, however, is of course the Z Crystal. I started using Z Mudsdale when I added it as a 6th slot on an earlier team that had no Z Crystal, and fell in love. Most people dislike Mudsdale because of its seemingly lackluster damage output, but with Groundium it could OHKO the likes of Gigalith, Arcanine at -1, and Nihilego through Protect. This allowed me to keep up the pressure in Trick Room, instantly 1 Pokemon. Heavy Slam was also quite good at removing one Pokemon specifically, Tapu Lele. Tapu Lele was a big problem for this team, having a total of 0 psychic resists. If I was able to set up Trick Room, Mudsdale could reliably do 80-100%, depending on the spread. Mudsdale matched up well against Lele Muk teams, sometimes being able to OHKO both. The final move on this set, Protect, I feel warrants discussion because of the assumption many people make that Mudsdale is Assault Vest. After Trick Room expired, many players would target down Mudsdale, giving me a free Protect + Trick Room play. In my first set with an earlier version of this team against Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, this won me the first game. You can watch the match here. The team I used in that match was an earlier version of the team I brought to Brazil, with the Araquanid eventually being replaced by Snorlax. On the topic of Snorlax…
Snorlax @ Iapapa Berry
EVs: 68 HP / 252 Atk / 188 Def
IVs: 29 Spe
– Belly Drum
Snorlax was the oddest Pokemon on my team by a wide margin, not really fitting in with the rest. Snorlax was added as an afterthought, but I worked surprisingly well. There were times when I was down 2-4, went for Trick Room + Belly Drum, and the game was over from there. The EVs, item, and ability on Snorlax are all really standard, ripped straight from the Trainer Tower damage calc. The only benchmark I wanted my spread to hit was to OHKO +1 Def Snorlax at +6 Atk, which required near max Atk:
+6 252+ Atk Snorlax Return vs. +1 68 HP / 188 Def Snorlax: 252-297 (103.2 – 121.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
The Speed IV was to outspeed Vikavolt and Araquanid out of Trick Room, whilst still being slower than Hariyama. Belly Drum and Whirlwind helped my Snorlax beat other Snorlax (this was a very ill thought-out way of beating Snorlax, which consequently became my worst matchup by far). Whirlwind also helped against Palossand and Mimikyu Snorlax. I preferred going with a Belly Drum mode against Eevee, because I felt OHKOing the sweepers was more efficient than forcing a switch. Return was used because with Facade I missed out on OHKOing other Lax and with Double-Edge I did too much damage to myself. Recycle was great at keeping Snorlax around for more than three turns. High Horsepower felt unnecessary with Mudsdale already on the team, so it was omitted. A few players have mentioned Crunch as an option over Whirlwind, but I never tested it. Protect is also a solid choice for that moveslot, but I felt Whirlwind was better for those few matchups where I needed it.
Nihilego @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 2 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Power Gem
– Trick Room
Arcanine @ Firium Z
EVs: 4 HP / 188 Atk / 4 Def / 60 SpD / 252 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Extreme Speed
– Helping Hand
(I’m writing about Arcanine and Nihilego together because that is how they were commonly used.)
Arcanine and Nihilego was by far my favorite pairing on this team, due to the power of Helping Hand. With Helping Hand, things like Sludge Bomb onto Tapu Fini and Power Gem onto Arcanine went from a 2HKO to an instant KO plus a Beast Boost. Against slower teams, Helping Hand Nihilego was able to pick up a Beast Boost turn 1 and snowball to victory.
Nihilego was occasionally used without Arcanine to guarantee Trick Room, however. This was another mode I became particularly fond of because of how I was able to play around Taunt. On previous teams, if I needed Trick Room up to KO one of their Pokemon, Taunt became an autoloss. With Nihilego, I no longer had to worry about that. Other than that, Sash was used over Life Orb because I didn’t need the boost when I had Helping Hand and the guaranteed Trick Room was much stronger.
Arcanine was a standard Z-Fire set. I gave it max speed to outspeed almost all Tapu Lele and OHKO (most of the time) with Inferno Overdrive. This was especially helpful against the then-common Drifblim + Tapu Lele teams. I could lead Nihilego and Arcanine, Inferno Overdrive the Lele, and set up Trick Room. This was particularly strong in best-of-one, where many opponents were caught off guard. On Showdown I got a lot of turn 1 forfeits. As far as the spread goes, I made sure Arcanine could survive a Timid Lele Psychic in Terrain and a Timid Koko Life Orb Thunderbolt in Terrain. The rest was dumped into Attack and Speed.
Leads/Modes of the team:
The most common mode for this team was Tapu Koko Porygon2 with Mudsdale and Arcanine in back. This lead allowed me to go for the somewhat obvious play of Volt Switch + Trick Room, allowing Mudsdale to put on immediate pressure with its Z Move. I mainly used this lead against FAKEPG and its variants.
Arcanine Nihilego with Porygon2 and Mudsdale in back was used against Lele Drifblim and Fini teams. I could Trick Room to invalidate any Tailwinds, or go for Helping Hand to try and get a KO. This lead was my favorite part of the team.
Tapu Koko Arcanine is without a doubt one of the best leads this format, so I occasionally used it as a counterlead, but it wasn’t a go-to option. I preferred the immediate power of Arcanine Nihilego or the safeness of Porygon2.
Snorlax is a downright awful matchup for this team. High Horsepower threatens KOs on Koko, Arcanine, and Nihilego, and it can use Curse to invalidate anything Mudsdale can do to it. I had to hope that A: they used Curse out of Trick Room the turn I go for Belly Drum, or B: they set up as I Whirlwind them out. In hindsight, something like Kartana over Snorlax could have remedied this, but I didn’t like how it played in testing. Other than Snorlax I didn’t feel any matchup was particularly bad.
I’m not going to go into details for the matches because it is a month after the tournament and I doubt anyone cares, but here’s my schedule.
R1: Pablo P. (WW)
R2: Cleber A. (WLW)
R3: Luis P. (LWW)
R4: Ashton Cox (WLW)
R5: Markus Stadter (WLL)
R6: Eduardo A. (WW)
R7: Javier Señorena (LL)
R8: Andrea D. (WLW)
Final Record: 6-2, 12th Place
Having only 1 X-2 cut was heartbreaking for me, because if my opponents had won three more games throughout the day I would have made it as the 8th seed. Albeit not moving on, I was still pretty satisfied that I was able to go X-2 facing so many good players. Hopefully I will be able to make it to the 2nd day come US Internats. Best regards, Carson.