VGC with Hats commentates Washington Regionals

Hey there Hat Lovers!

Be sure to tune in to the official Nugget Bridge stream this weekend to catch Mark commentating the Seattle Regional Championships.* He’ll be commentating on both Saturday and Sunday, and will be joined by Gabby Snyder (JTK) from www.teammagma.net on Sunday to commentate the Top Cut.

You’ll also be able to find the entire VGC with Hats crew at Seattle this weekend. Just look for anyone wearing a VGC with Hats hat, sporting our new logo; naturally a Togekiss. The schedule for this weekend will be:

Stream Schedule

Saturday – Catch Mark starting at ~11:00 am PDT / ~2:00pm EDT

Sunday – Catch Mark and Gabby for the Top Cut (TBA)

VGC with Hats authors attending


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.


Hard Reads and Coin Flips: Decisions, decisions

Hey there Hat Lovers,

Today’s article will be a discussion of one kind of “misplay.” Probably the most common, easiest mistake to make is to go for a hard read and have it backfire on you. These misplays are often called things like “overextending” or “missed predictions.” But at the end of the day, what’s often happened is that someone has gone against the safest path to victory in favour of a more rocky one.

Sometimes, that’s what you need to do, absolutely! Not all paths to victory are going to be laid down for you. But if you’re too eager to sail off course, you’re going to hit stormy seas. Playing safe is almost always a more guaranteed path to victory. To play safe, you need to select moves that allow you to come out on par or on top at the end of every turn. Indeed, to win, you need to select the best moves to use every turn. In most instances, selecting safe moves will get you there, but I don’t deny that a hard read may be necessary from time to time.

For the record, I’m going to define “hard read” as an umbrella term here. That means there are different kinds of hard reads you can make, but they’re all still hard read scenarios. Meanwhile, I’ll define a “coin flip decision” as a subset of hard reads. Keep this in mind as you read through!

So what is a hard read?


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.


Smeargle: Then and Now

Hey there Hat Lovers,

Today’s article is going to take a good hard look at the current upset about Smeargle. I have a hypothesis that I will state outright, here and now: Smeargle is not the problem, Xerneas is. I’m going to look back over the years, back to VGC 2010 and up to VGC 2016. We’ll look at the status of Dark Void bans, and frequency of Smeargle usage. I wasn’t playing in 2010, and 2011 didn’t have Smeargle in the format, so my experience with Smeargle starts around VGC 2012/2013.

My hypothesis is that Xerneas is the problem with this format, not Smeargle, and not Dark Void. How can I test this hypothesis? Well, luckily many previous formats did not ban Dark Void, including VGC 2010. So if Dark Void itself is a major issue, we’d expect Dark Void to have posed problems and annoyances in VGC 2010; again, VGC 2010 was fairly similar to this format, with highly notable exceptions like Sand (and Hail) being viable, and in-between games in a Best-of-3 you could switch your team’s items around. This meant you could put Lum Berry or even Chesto Berry where it needed to be for the matchup.

VGC through the years


Fitting in: Crobat vs. Talonflame

Hey there Hat Lovers,

With the advent of VGC 2016 and Xerneas’ Geomancy shenanigans, both Crobat and Talonflame have risen in popularity to the point that they are now metagame mainstays. The two serve very similar purposes, often running both Tailwind and Quick Guard, and also potentially running Taunt (more common on Crobat than on Talonflame). However, each has a unique and useful ability, and also unique and useful tech moves to run. Today will be a quick summary and discussion of the merits of both, and what teams might find them more effective (spoiler alert, they’re both good).


I’ve played a lot more with Talonflame than with Crobat this generation, so just recognize my perspective might be a bit biased. Here is your cookie-cutter Talonflame set for clarity (taken from 3ds.pokemon-gl.com): (more…)