Author: raphaelbagara

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.



BattleSpot Doubles Team (Peaked 1954 Rating)

Greetings hat lovers!

This isn’t VGC anymore technically, but I’ve taken a mini break from worlds practice to ladder on BattleSpot doubles. Beyond the intro, the post will be shorter than usual because I know non-Japanese readers don’t care for the format anymore, and truth be told, the team is fairly standard and I’m just posting this as an archive of sorts.

The biggest deviation from the standard with this team is the use of both Mega Gardevoir and Mega Kangaskhan. As strange as it is to say after having played 2016 for so long now, double mega teams aren’t overly common on BattleSpot doubles, but I believe having both makes the team better than the alternatives. The idea came about from having alternated between my nationals / worlds team and CHALK-T whenever I take a casual stroll through the format. As much as I love Scrafty, the version of the team that had it was overly weak to Milotic, Charizard teams, and Heatran among other things, whereas CHALK+T had a very difficult time with rain, Perish Trap, and in general, lacked valuable Fairy coverage. I took the best of both worlds from Scrafty + Gardevoir and Kangaskhan + Cresselia, and while they don’t cover their respective weaknesses perfectly, it complements the other four Pokemon very well and gives me more options versus their poor match ups. The biggest downside I’ve found with having both Gardevoir and Kangaskhan is that I lose the Fake Out + Trick Room option that the other two versions had. I’ve considered swapping out Trick Room on Gardevoir for this reason; however, I find other alternatives to be more situational, and without Trick Room, I lose any speed control option versus Ground types.

I haven’t done a comprehensive count, but if I had to guess, I bring Gardevoir about 70% of the time, compared to 30% for Kangaskhan. I honestly believe Gardevoir was the best mega from 2015 despite whatever biased conclusions people may draw from 2015 worlds results. Generally speaking, I bring Kangaskhan versus Charizard teams, Milotic teams, teams that are weak to Heatran (more on that later), and Gardevoir versus most others, because Kangaskhan, I feel, is too weak against Amoonguss and Intimidate to justify bringing it against teams that have them.


Surf N’ Turf Update

Hello hat lovers!

I recently won back to back PCs in Victoria, putting my best finish limit at 1/1/1/1/1/16E. I used virtually the same team as the one in this article so this post will be shorter than usual. I’ll detail some of the slight changes I made regarding the team, and how those changes affect certain match ups.

Also, big thanks to Max once again for letting me and Hao stay at his place for the weekend!




Surf N’ Turf Rings a Bell

Hello hat lovers!

This is the team I’ve been using for the past few months. The basic structure of the team started in January when I used Kyogre / Groudon / Mawile / Cresselia / Smeargle / Talonflame. I took the team to two PCs, finishing 3-2 at both, and while I thought the general premise of the team was strong, the fine details of it were quite lacking and I thought it needed fixing. Because of this, I chose not to use this team in the January IC, instead using Big 6 where I finished top 32. For much of February I was practising with Big 6 except with Thundurus over Talonflame (because I personally think Talonflame is a really bad Pokemon), and because I almost always brought Thundurus / Salamence / Groudon and rarely aimed to set up Xerneas or supported it with Smeargle, I found Xerneas and the team (only really because of the way I was using it) to be fairly mediocre and looked for alternatives. In a way, I combined my previous, unpolished team with Big 6 and came up with this. Bronzong was mostly inspired by a user on Pokemon Showdown who kept beating me with it, and after seeing Aaron Zheng win Anaheim regional with it, I realized just how strong it was against Big 6.

I took the team of Kyogre / Groudon / Salamence / Bronzong / Thundurus / Smeargle to Oregon regional, and even then, that iteration of the team was still fairly unpolished. Combined with lacklustre play from my end, I only went 4-3 as a result and missed out on gaining valuable CP. I didn’t have much time to practice for the Bellevue MSS just a week later, so I used the same team with one change. I played better for the most part and finished 4-2 and finished in the top 16, but still feel like I played my loss against Nicholas LeCrampe in round 4 really poorly and I feel like that that was my set to lose.

Nevertheless, I’ve become a huge fan of the archetype and have been improving the team ever since. I recently won my first PC of the 2016 format with it. I’ve also been testing Gavin Michaels’ (who finished top 8 at Florida regional) variation with Cresselia and Amoonguss and have liked it a fair bit also, but in general, I think Kyogre / Groudon / Salamence / Thundurus is a really strong core.


Oregon Regional Preview

Third and final weekend of winter regionals! I swear this isn’t a dare for Florida to have problems with their tournament, but given time zones and whatnot, Oregon will be the regional that caps off an exciting month of our new format.

Difficulty Rating:  / 5
(Three extreme weathers the Pacific Northwest sees everyday)

Location: “Not Portland but at least it’s also not Salem” Clackamas, Oregon (Monarch Hotel & Conference Center – 12566 SE 93rd Ave)

Registration Time: 8 AM on Sunday, February 28th (There will be a Premier Challenge on Saturday, with registration starting at 10:30 AM)

Last Year’s Winner: Conan Thompson (conan)

Residing on what is unequivocally the best coast, Oregon is the home of Voodoo Donuts and will be visited by three former world champions and half of US Nationals top cut. Clackamas will also be invaded by a fleet of beaver loving moose riders known as “Canadians” who will go to battle against the more local competitors of Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, and one ambitious visitor from North Carolina.


Player Flaws and the Anatomy of Poor Results

Hello hat lovers!

This topic will be more rambly than usual, and some aspects of it will be less Pokemon specific. I wanted to highlight some flaws I thought people had when it came to approaching the game. I had meant to write this a lot sooner but didn’t quite know how to structure the post, so the tangents I go off of will be informal, but I figured it was the best way I could simply spew out my thoughts on this kind of topic.

Also, all of the examples here will be related to the VGC 2015 format and not 2016, because I’m not overly familiar with the new format just yet. 2015 is also the more developed meta game which makes it easier for me to determine what is actually effective instead of more creative ideas people have but have fairly untested success.


On Banning Dark Void

Hello hat lovers! Rapha here.

If you are active on Twitter you may know of the recent arguments that have arisen regarding Dark Void, unquestionably everyone’s favorite aspect of VGC. If not, to recap, some people have called for the move to be banned whereas people on the other side of the issue see the clamoring as nothing other than a symptom of a lazy team builder.

On some level this is true, but I’m really not a fan of the cherry picked targeting towards the poorly thought out arguments made by a fraction of people that happen to share a common opinion, and using that as a way to dismiss the idea. Unfortunately with a platform like Twitter, the people who are best heard aren’t those with the most compelling arguments, but rather who shouts the loudest, which is unfortunate because there are valid reasons as to why VGC would benefit from a banning of Dark Void.

This is a problem: discussions should be about whether or not Dark Void is beneficial for the game, not whether or not those who want a change from the status quo should be labelled as idiots or if they’re actually worth listening to. There’s responsibility on both sides to keep this civil and actually informative, but it often devolves into wah-wah-wah on one hand and shaming on the other, and the targeting of the people on the extremes only escalates the problem.

I’m going to do my best here not to come across as being whiny, entitled, or misinformed about how to approach problems posed during team building. Admittedly, I have also not played the VGC 2016 format yet, and my opinion on Dark Void will be on how it affects the game as a whole, not how it pertains to this rule set specifically.

I would be in favor of a Dark Void ban – Just because I share an opinion with several of the whiny people you may have seen on Twitter it doesn’t mean I represent or advocate that approach to an issue. Dark Void has issues that extend beyond just the problems with a player, and I’ll do my best quell some anti-ban arguments.