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  • Featured Blog Posts

    • Top Cut teams from the VGC'16 Regional Championships
      By RpIndaHouse in RP's Corner 72
      These are the teams that top cut Regionals during the VGC'16 season. This blog entry will be edited constantly to keep Regionals results updated.
      Big thanks to the people who helped the community gather the information on some of the standings, mainly my friends and also nuggetbridge/pokemon for the stream archives from the events.
      This blog entry is being made in cooperation with LightCore, this will make it easier for both of us to get teams published faster. Also, check out his usage stats table here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BSSSjaK-xJWsdMbszHX5OxkNRmHhLuNn4ruH4CVo_eE/edit#gid=0
       


      Stockholm (Sweden) Regional - 16/ 01/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Markus Stadter: 
      2nd. Chandra: 
      3rd. Pontus: 
      4th. Simon: 
      5th. Rey: 
      6th. Luke: 
      7th. Baris Ackos: 
      8th. RangerBuddy: 




      Singapore Regional - 23/ 01/ 2016:
       
      1st. Saw Lip Leon: 
      2nd. Ryan Chiam: 
      3rd. Melvin Keh: 
      4th. Vishal: 
      5th. Aiman Ishak: 
      6th. Yan Ze Guan: 
      7th. Jonas Yew Meng Chow: 
      8th. Chan Ji Yun: 
       
       
      Chile Regional - 23/ 01/ 2016:


      1st. Nicolas Del Campo: 
      2nd. Matias Roa: 
      3rd. Jorge Aburto: 
      4th. David Pezoa: 
      5th. Catalina Castillo: 
      6th. Javier Espejo: 
      7th. Alexis Hormazabal: 
      8th. Nicolas Matus: 
       

      Taiwan Regional - 24/ 01/ 2016:


      1st. Zhe Zhang: 
      2nd. Jie-Ru Lin: 
      3rd. Hung-Wei Lai: 
      4th. Zhi-Qun Chen: 
      5th. Yu-Xiang Zhang: 
      6th. Zhi-Yong Deng: 
      7th. Yi-Xuan Chen: 
      8th. Hao Xuan Sun: 
       

      Wakefield (UK) Regional - 24/ 01/ 2016:


      1st. Jamie Boyt: 
      2nd. Alex Gomez: 
      3rd. Daniel Oztekin: 
      4th. Dominic Rhodes: 
      5th. Joseph Richardson: 
      6th. Luke Dunscombe: 
      7th. Marcus McNally: 
      8th. Phillip De Sousa: 
       

      Argentina Regional - 30/ 01/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Sebastian Escalante: 
      2nd. Christopher Soto: 
      3rd. Alejandro Diaz: 
      4th. Fernando Valle: 
      5th. Fernando Ferreira: 
      6th. Martin Cohen: 
      7th. Ezequiel Ruidiaz: 
      8th. Sergio Scabbiolo: 
       

      Preganziol (Italy) Regional - 31/ 01/ 2016:
       
      1st. Riccardo Appamea: 
      2nd. Matteo Donati: 
      3rd. Luigi Schiavone: 
      4th. Alexander Kuhn: 
      5th. Edoardo Bertani: 
      6th. William Bassolino: 
      7th. Ricardo Rispoli: 
      8th. Simone Perilli: 
       
       
      Glasgow (UK) Regional - 07/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Joseph Richardson: 
      2nd. Lee Provost: 
      3rd. Jamie Boyt: 
      4th. Ben Grover: 
      5th. Jeremy Mantingh: 
      6th. Adam Mack: 
      7th. Christopher Arthur: 
      8th. Joshua Penny: 
       
       
      Innsbruck (Austria) Regional - 13/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Alessio Yuri Boschetto: 
      2nd. Simone Sanvito: 
      3rd. Pascal Hoppenberg: 
      4th. Daryl Sprenger: 
      5th. Damir Lokmic: 
      6th. Simone De Lucchi: 
      7th. Dominic Scheffler: 
      8th. Noah Fuchs: 
       

      Virginia (USA) Regional - 14/ 02/ 2016: 

       
      1st. Paul Chua: 
      2nd. Alec Rubin: 
      3rd. Tommy Cooleen: 
      4th. Samuel Amity: 
      5th. Joohwan Kim: 
      6th. Edward Glover: 
      7th. Tiago Maltez: 
      8th. Kazi Rahman: 
       

      Arnhem (Netherlands) Regional - 20/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Luis Conti: 
      2nd. Eloy Hahn: 
      3rd. Alexander Kuhn: 
      4th. Noah Fuchs: 
      5th. Rafik Saldi: 
      6th. Andres Escobosa: 
      7th. Reinier de Vries: 
      8th. Nemanja Sandic: 
       

      Collinsville (USA) Regional - 20/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Drew Nowak: 
      2nd. Shaun Martin: 
      3rd. Franklin Lewis: 
      4th. Chuppa Cross IV: 
      5th. Nikolai Zienlinski: 
      6th. Alex Underhill: 
      7th. Roman Isakov: 
      8th. Stephen Morioka: 
       

      Anaheim (USA) Regional - 21/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Aaron Zheng: 
      2nd. Patrick Smith: 
      3rd. Sam Johnson: 
      4th. Joshua Winfield: 
      5th. Alvin Mo: 
      6th. Alberto Lara: 
      7th. Gerald Delacruz: 
      8th. Mitchell Moscrop: 
       

      Centro de Lima (Peru) Regional - 21/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Paul Ruiz: 
      2nd. Nicolás del Campo: 
      3rd. Carlos Holguín: 
      4th. Javier Parada: 
      5th. Manuel Juárez: 
      6th. Victor Ortíz: 
      7th. Brando Medina: 
      8th. André Quiñonez: 
       

      Argentina Regional - 27/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Federico Turano: 
      2nd. Sebastián Escalante: 
      3rd. Federico Impemba: 
      4th. Gonzalo Bureau: 
      5th. Gino Gropponi: 
      6th. Emanuel Guzman: 
      7th. Federico Andino: 
      8th. Nicolás Campos: 
       
       
      Florida (USA) Regional - 28/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Wolfe Glick: 
      2nd. Matt Coyle: 
      3rd. Kamaal Harris: 
      4th. Ashton Cox: 
      5th. Chalkey Horenstein: 
      6th. Will Aiken: 
      7th. Gavin Michaels: 
      8th. Erin Schrader: 
       
       
      Oregon (USA) Regional - 28/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Randy Kwa: 
      2nd. Brandon Myers: 
      3rd. Gary Qian: 
      4th. Brandt Willems: 
      5th. Samuel Haarsman: 
      6th. Conan Thompson: 
      7th. Emilio Estrada: 
      8th. Markell Thornton: 
       

      Mexico Regional - 28/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Javier Hernandez : 
      2nd. Jonathan Juarez: 
      3rd. Christian Ramírez: 
      4th. Ruben Escobedo: 
      5th. Rogelio Espinoza: 
      6th. Julio Palafox: 
      7th. Lizandro Gonzales: 
      8th. Israel Olmedo: 
       

      Dublin (Ireland) Regional - 05/ 03/ 2016:
       
      1st. William Tansley: 
      2nd. Nigel Gower: 
      3rd. David Mizrahi: 
      4th. Thomas Plater: 
      5th. Miguel Martí: 
      6th. Lee Provost: 
      7th. Guillermo Ibanez: 
      8th. Mark Mcquillan: 



      Turin (Italy) Regional - 13/ 03/ 2016:
       
      1st. Arash Ommati: 
      2nd. Nicola Tomasini: 
      3rd. Flavio Del Pidio: 
      4th. Ugur Tatli: 
      5th. Michelangelo Baudanza: 
      6th. Giovanni Milani: 
      7th. Eric Rios: 
      8th. Francesca Giacometti: 
       

      Longjumeau (France) Regional - 26/ 03/ 2016:
       
      1st. Giovanni Milani: 
      2nd. Justin Miller: 
      3rd. David Mizrahi: 
      4th. William Bassolino: 
      5th. Luca Cacciolato: 
      6th. Brian Zourdani: 
      7th. Andrea Sasso: 
      8th. Florian Henry: 



      Sutton Coldfield (UK) Regional - 09/ 04/ 2016:
       
      1st. Joseph Richardson: 
      2nd. Eden Batchelor: 
      3rd. Max Waterman: 
      4th. Daniel Nolan: 
      5th. Kai Winwright: 
      6th. Matt Carter: 
      7th. Sam Gilbert: 
      8th. David Battell: 



      Lanaken (Belgium) Regional - 17/ 04/ 2016:
       
      1st. Christoph Kugeler: 
      2nd. Marc Werner: 
      3rd. Eloy Hahn: 
      4th. Andres Escobosa: 
      5th. Baris Ackos: 
      6th. Markus Stadter: 
      7th. Jonas Wiegal: 
      8th. Pauli Moors: 
       
       
      Barcelona (Spain) Regional - 23/ 04/ 2016:
       
      1st. Javier de Blas: 
      2nd. Juan Carlos Mateos: 
      3rd. Juan Trillo: 
      4th. Ricard Rodríguez: 
      5th. Victor Sánchez: 
      6th. Juan Gil: 
      7th. José Yerai Pozo: 
      8th. Eric Rios: 



      Adelaide (Australia) Regional - 01/ 05/ 2016:


      1st. Sam Pandelis: 
      2nd. Joshua Callister: 
      3rd. Luke Curtale: 
      4th. Martin Larumbe: 
      5th. Nihal Noor: 
      6th. Nicholas Bingham: 
      7th. Brandon Miller: 
      8th. Josh Matos: 
       
       
      Colombia Regional - 01/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Fredy Vanegas: 
      2nd. Diego Llanes: 
      3rd. Andrés Quintero: 
      4th. Juan Pablo Naar: 
      5th. Mario Stefani: 
      6th. David Davila: 
      7th. Ivan Yepes: 
      8th. Ivan Macias: 
       
       
      Auckland (New Zealand) Regional - 07/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Haris Sahovic: 
      2nd. Trent Sayer: 
      3rd. Robert Whitehill: 
      4th. Matthew Gall: 
      5th. Matthew Buttler 
      6th. Junlei Zhou: 
      7th. Geoffrey Gunn: 
      8th. Vishal Patel: 
       
       
      Rome (Italy) Regional - 07/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Simone Sanvito: 
      2nd. Flavio Del Pidio: 
      3rd. Alberto Gini: 
      4th. Gilberto Goracci: 
      5th. Ugur Tatli: 
      6th. Michelangelo Baudanza: 
      7th. Aniello Iuliano: 
      8th. Eric Rios: 
       
       
      Eindhoven (Netherlands) Regional - 08/ 05/ 2016:



      1st. Luca Breitling-Pause: 
      2nd. Timo Koppetsch: 
      3rd. Williem Schouten: 
      4th. Jip Snoek: 
      5th. Elco Zeijlmans: 
      6th. Damir Kodzoman: 
      7th. Koen Van Leeuwen: 
      8th. Fatih Yeven: 
       
       
      Mexico City (Mexico) Regional - 08/ 05/ 2016:



      1st. Carlos Mario Villanueva: 
      2nd. Lizandro Gonzalez: 
      3rd. Ricardo Anaya: 
      4th. Jorge Roldan: 
      5th. Jose Galicia: 
      6th. Hugo Trujillo: 
      7th. Edwin Munive: 
      8th. Saul Hernandez: 
       

      Sydney (Australia) Regional - 14/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Martin Larumbe: 
      2nd. Daniel Walker: 
      3rd. Richard Buckley: 
      4th. Sam Pandelis: 
      5th. Joseph Do: 
      6th. Denaysh Selvakkumar: 
      7th. Brent Tonisson: 
      8th. Simon Konsti: 
       

      Chile Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Heriberto Pacaje: 
      2nd. Sebastián Lara: 
      3rd. Abel Yantorno: 
      4th. Sergio Morales: 
      5th. David Pezoa: 
      6th. Ariel Romo: 
      7th. Cristian Aravena: 
      8th. Javier Córdova: 
       
       
      Costa Rica Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Esteban Molina: 
      2nd. Daniel Perez: 
      3rd. Max Morales: 
      4th. Reynord Gonzalez: 
      5th. Maria Avila: 
      6th. Joshua Quiros: 
      7th. Esteban Hernandez: 
      8th. David Rodriguez: 
       
       
      Seattle (USA) Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Thomas Nishimura: 
      2nd. Hongyu Zhu: 
      3rd. Kelvin Koon: 
      4th. Mitchell Davies: 
      5th. Henry Maxon: 
      6th. Conan Thompson: 
      7th. Zheyuan Huang: 
      8th. Justin Burns: 
       
       
      Taiwan Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. BBT Liao: 
      2nd. Chien-Chien Tsai: 
      3rd. Zhi-Qun Chen: 
      4th. Chao-Chen Ku: 
      5th. Lai Chun Hang: 
      6th. Zhe Zhang: 
      7th. Meng-Hang Wu: 
      8th. Chu-An Wu: 
       

      Brisbane (Australia) Regional - 21/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Richard Buckley: 
      2nd. Martin Larumbe: 
      3rd. Josh Callaghan: 
      4th. Mitch Kendrick: 
      5th. Daniel Walker: 
      6th. Damon Murdoch: 
      7th. Shisir L.: 
      8th. Alexander Kollasch: 
       
       
      Athens (USA) Regional - 21/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Toler Webb: 
      2nd. Kyle Morris: 
      3rd. Wolfe Glick: 
      4th. Kyle Ayala: 
      5th. Brady Smith: 
      6th. Erik Holmstrom: 
      7th. James Grizzle: 
      8th. Eric Hogan: 



      Madison (USA) Regional - 22/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Diana Bros: 
      2nd. Sam Schweitzer: 
      3rd. Justin Crubough: 
      4th. James Baek: 
      5th. Alec Rubin: 
      6th. Tommy Cooleen: 
      7th. Chuppa Cross IV: 
      8th. Matthew Peroutka: 



      Ecuador Regional - 22/ 05/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Sebastian Altamirano: 
      2nd. Oscar Zhunio: 
      3rd. Rafael Tavarez: 
      4th. Raul Ramirez: 
      5th. Jose Ubilla: 
      6th. Andryell Herrera: 
      7th. Pedro Avellaneda: 
      8th. Mario Pillajo: 
       
       
      Braunschweig (Germany) Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Michael Riechert: 
      2nd. Matthias Suchodolski: 
      3rd. Ying Jun Qi: 
      4th. Jan Michelberger: 
      5th. Kai Goebel: 
      6th. Florian Wurdack: 
      7th. Steven Markhardt: 
      8th. Thomas Gabor: 
       
       
      Colombia Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Mateo Arias: 
      2nd. Alfredo Prada: 
      3rd. Hazan Perez: 
      4th. Juan Pablo Naar: 
      5th. Andrés Campos: 
      6th. Freddy Vanegas: 
      7th. Juan Castrepo: 
      8th. Andres Quintero: 
       

      Melbourne (Australia) Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Nihal Noor: 
      2nd. James Farrugia: 
      3rd. Aviel Lee: 
      4th. Alex Poole: 
      5th. Emma Williams: 
      6th. Tim Walsh: 
      7th. James Katsaros: 
      8th. Bryan Freeman: 
       

      Malaysia Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Ariff Erzanie Ramli: 
      2nd. Poh Yu jie: 
      3rd. Kevin Ngim: 
      4th. Stephen Tan: 
      5th. Chaiyawat Traiwichcha: 
      6th. Wilson Foong: 
      7th. Muhammad Nasserudean: 
      8th. Aiman Ishak: 



      Kansas (USA) Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Ian McLaughlin: 
      2nd. Collin Heier: 
      3rd. Mike Suleski: 
      4th. Oliver Valenti: 
      5th. Jake Muller: 
      6th. Blake Hopper: 
      7th. Stephen Morioka: 
      8th. DJ Mead: 
       

      Massachusetts (USA) Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Paul Chua: 
      2nd. Enosh Shachar: 
      3rd. Ashton Cox: 
      4th. Chuppa Cross IV: 
      5th. Stephen Mea: 
      6th. Angel Miranda: 
      7th. James Baek: 
      8th. Chris Danzo: 
       
       
      Utah (USA) Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Riley Factura: 
      2nd. Thomas Nishimura: 
      3rd. Mitchell Davies:
      4th. Chase Lybbert: 
      5th. Joseph Selmer: 
      6th. Arthur Colby II: 
      7th. Habib Matar: 
      8th. Jordan Jue: 
       
       
      Costa Rica Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Leonardo Chinchilla: 
      2nd. David Rodriguez: 
      3rd. Max Morales: 
      4th. Francisco Bernard: 
      5th. Raul Arias: 
      6th. Jose Pablo Oviedo: 
      7th. Adrian Araya: 
      8th. René Alvarenga: 
       
       
      Peru Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Renzo Navarro: 
      2nd. Gonzalo Padilla: 
      3rd. Diego Paredes: 
      4th. David Samanez: 
      5th. Luis Mera: 
      6th. Alexiev Castro: 
      7th. Giorgio Falconi: 
      8th. Miguel Linares: 
       
       
      VGC '16 Regionals Usage Stats: 
      Note: The pokémon from the Taiwan, Brisbane, Athens, Madison, Ecuador, Germany, Australia, Colombia, Malaysia, Kansas, Mass, Utah, Costa Rica and Peru Regionals were not added yet, the graph will be updated once all the info is gathered.
       

    • Sleep Tight Side-Pupper: Second Place Madison Regionals Report
      By Sam in he doesn't even play this game 19
      Contrary to what the title suggests, this isn't meant to be just a regional report like my last one (if you really want to call that a report). I want to go over the past two weeks as I have had the time of my life with friends all over the VGC community. Since a lot of people want to just take the team and go probably, I'll start with that and get into the warstory later.
      The Team

      At a glance the team is pretty basic: regular "Big Six" variant with Zapdos. However, I think the team has a lot of cool techs that make it unique and that I think are worth trying on a number of teams. For the record, I had a single practice game with the exact team and very little big six experience across the whole of VGC 2016, which should explain some of the plays I made on the Round One stream game.
      In Detail

      Xerneas @ Power Herb  
      Ability: Fairy Aura  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 196 HP / 252 SpA / 60 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Dazzling Gleam  
      - Moonblast  
      - Geomancy  
      - Protect
      Standard Xerneas outside of being bulky. I regret not using one with little HP investment and more into Defense but it obviously worked out fine. The speed lets it outrun other Xern when both are at +2 after an Icy Wind. For being one of my first experiences with Xerneas, I really loved it.

      Groudon @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Drought  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 212 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 36 Spe  
      Adamant Nature  
      - Precipice Blades  
      - Fire Punch  
      - Stone Edge  
      - Protect
      Same Groudon as I used last week but I actually creeped myself in speed in case anyone copied the spread. Also put Stone Edge over Eruption and I enjoyed that change a lot. The 3rd slot could be a number of things though and I don't know whether or not Stone Edge is best. In case you don't remember, it takes 252 Salamence Hyper Voice + Draco and outspeeds Kangaskhan after an Icy Wind + some creep now.

      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Scrappy  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 36 HP / 140 Atk / 76 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Return  
      - Power-Up Punch  
      - Sucker Punch
      Also standard Kangaskhan, takes Kangaskhan Low Kick except when I get crit which ended up happening way more than I would have liked over the course of the weekend. I pretty much exclusively use PuP Kang, I think you take away so many ways to pressure opponents and create wincons when you use Low Kick. Low Kick is a more acceptable option on Double Mega Big Six variants, but since I only had Kang I definitely wanted PuP. I think Inner Focus is realistically better than Scrappy but I was worried about running into a Gravity Sleep team with Sableye, so I used Scrappy.

      Smeargle @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Moody  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD  
      Relaxed Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 29 Spe  
      - Dark Void  
      - Crafty Shield  
      - Follow Me  
      - Spiky Shield
      Everyone's favorite Pokemon of the format, I actually found Smeargle to be insanely underwhelming. Moody can bail me out of games but I don't like to put myself into positions where that's necessary so it didn't come into play often. Being slow was both a good and bad thing; it helped me against Alex in Round 7 but would have made my matchup against Chuppa in Top 8 much easier if I was fast. Crafty Shield is amazing and I have no regrets on using that, I think it's an amazing move. In the future I'd consider using Wide Guard over Follow Me or just using a different Pokemon entirely though, wasn't exactly impressed.

      Cresselia @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      Shiny: Yes  
      EVs: 236 HP / 132 Def / 12 SpA / 68 SpD / 60 Spe  
      Bold Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Icy Wind  
      - Thunder Wave  
      - Helping Hand  
      - Skill Swap
      This Cresselia was an amazing choice and I'm really glad I ended up bringing it. Icy Wind is one of the best moves in the format in my opinion and Thunder Wave helps it against Xerneas. Helping Hand support is also amazing as well as Skill Swap. One mistake I did make is forgetting to move the speed up to be faster than my Groudon which made some situations harder than they needed to be. Really enjoyed Cresselia though, highly recommend this set.

      Zapdos @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Static  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 196 HP / 44 Def / 16 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 1 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 SpD  
      - Thunderbolt  
      - Hidden Power [Ground]  
      - Tailwind  
      - Roar
      The most unique member of the team and the one that certainly raises the most questions, I actually really liked Zapdos in this tournament. I got the idea from my good friend Dawg after he saw another friend Mudhiman using Big Six Zapdos on PS that night. I decided it looked fun, changed the set Mudhiman had, and went with it. The idea is that it's a sort of Talonflame that is way bulkier, takes on Primals better, pressures Kangaskhan with Static, and does way better against Salamence. Hidden Power Ground is really weird, but it 3HKO's 4HP Groudon and allows Zapdos to be useful in Sun. I definitely think Timid is the way to go with Zapdos and I think more people should really try it out over Thundurus on some teams.
      Matches
      Round 1 vs Collin Heier (TheBattleRoom) (Loss 0-2) (Finished 5-2)

      It isn't on the stream archive anymore, but this was a streamed match. Pulling Collin Round One was probably the worst pull I could have asked for, but I did my best and played well. He got pretty lucky on some crucial turns and I did not, but I enjoyed the games and I'm glad I got to play Collin. The lack of experience with Big Six probably showed as I didn't quite play optimally but played well enough to win as long as I didn't get unlucky. Good example of how putting yourself in truly optimal positions can make a huge difference over good positions.
      Round 2 vs Richard Wehmas (Win 2-0) (Finished 4-3)

      Really nice guy and we had a great set. I played the set really safely, leading Kangaskhan and Zapdos both games with legends in back. My plan was to chunk through his whole team and get Xerneas in at a good time to Geomancy and win the game, and at worst win with Groudon. Boosted Moonblast KO'd his AV Landorus, which was probably due to being Modest so that certainly helped.
      Round 3 vs Ryan Compton (Win 2-0) (Finished 4-3)

      Super nice guy and was pretty relieved when I saw team preview and he didn't have any Xerneas resists. The games were pretty straightforward, lead Kang + Zapdos and set up Xerneas, get Kyogre trapped in as one of the last two Pokemon, then win with Groudon having sun up. Executed the plan both games and ended up winning. Ryan was a cool guy and ended up talking to him a few more times over the weekend. 
      Round 4 vs Ethan Simpson (PacoTaco) (Win 2-1) (Finished 5-2)

      This was a super intense set and could have easily gone either way. Ethan had a really good Big Six plan game one that I wasn't quite ready for and had to adapt smartly for Game Two. Game Three came down to a lot of RNGon both sides but I ended up on the positive end of it all. Ethan was a great sport and I'm glad we had such a good set.
      Round 5 vs Zach Jens (Win 2-0) (Finished 5-2)

      Zach was certainly one of my more entertaining opponents of the weekend, as we had a really fun conversation throughout our whole set. I got caught off guard by Scarf Smeargle game one and almost to getting double max slept, but pulled it around and won a nail biter. Game two I revealed Crafty Shield on Smeargle which messed him up pretty badly. Fun set and I was excited to be 4-1.
      Round 6 vs Oliver Valenti (Smith) (Win 2-1) (Finished 4-3)

      Probably one of the best sets I've ever played, I really wish we could have been streamed. I got smacked Game One and it went the other way Game Two. I wasn't very well versed at all in Big Six mirrors so I'm glad that I was even able to take one at that point. Game Three I managed to call everything he did the first few turns, but he Crit a Double-Edge onto my Xerneas to give himself a chance. The game ended up coming down to 50% Groudon vs 10% Boosted Xerneas. Groudon takes Moonblast with 2HP and Fire Punches back. Did an HBox-esque pop off and went onto Round 7. Fantastic games Oliver, I had a ton of fun and you're a great guy.
      Round 7 vs Alex Underhill (Lexicon) (Win 2-1) (Finished 5-2)

      I got really sad when I saw that I had to play Alex for Round 7. Alex is one of my best friends in VGC and we were both 5-1, so odds were whoever lost wouldn't end up in Top Cut. The match was streamed, so go check it out on twitch.tv/pokemonvgc . Alex is a great guy and a good sport so I'm sad one of us had to lose, but I ended up winning. I was really happy to end up cutting my 3rd regional and started prepping for Top 8.
      Top 8 vs Chuppa Cross (Chuppa) (Win 2-1)

      Playing another friend immediately after playing Alex was awful and it also wasn't exactly an optimal matchup, so I wasn't looking forward to it too much. I'm not going to be going into these matches too much since I recommend watching them on stream, but I got a little lucky in Game Three and clinched both a Top 4 berth and my Worlds Day One invite!
      Top 4 vs Justin Crubaugh (iMagikarp) (Win 2-0)

      Rematch of a finals PC from way back at Fort Wayne in the Fall, I was really excited about this set. Ended up being similar to that set both in result and how we got there. Go watch it!
      Finals vs Diana Bros (EshiVGC) (Loss 1-2)

      I was thrilled to be in my first regional final and decided to just play all in and follow my heart. I certainly did this and had a lot of fun. Diana is super nice and I'm glad we got to play, she's a fantastic player. Certainly an entertaining set and worth watching. 
       
      Now that we have the boring Pokemon part out of the way, I'm gonna drop a bunch of pictures and stuff and talk about my experiences the two weeks I spent away from home and attended both Seattle and Madison regionals.

      Journey started with an Amtrak ride down to Chicago where I got this amazing breakfast at a diner downtown. Pretty boring day, as I spent most of it sleeping in an airport or flying to Seattle, but the food was amazing and I had a good flight. Met up with Zach and got some Jack in the Box before heading to bed.

      Picture is near Zach's workplace, I got to downtown Seattle bright and early since Zach had to go to work and I didn't know how to do bussing on my own. Went and explored for the rest of the day though!

      Nice shot from a park downtown.

      Typical tourist thing to do, but went to the Space Needle and got some sick views of the Seattle area.

      Went to Pike Place which was amazing! Had so many cool and unique shops, ended up going there 3-4 times during my stay.

      [S2P]





      All shots from the EMP Museum right next to the Space Needle! I spent a long time in there, so many of the exhibits were amazing and it was cool to see different aspects of pop culture. Highly recommend going if you're ever in the area.

      Pretty bad picture, but visited the Olympic Sculpture Park.

      Onto Thursday, this was a significantly more boring day. Me and Harrison helped Zach move into his new apartment and not a whole lot else significant besides this good food from BJ's in Redmond. William also flew in later that day.

      Friday I visited beautiful Bellevue!



      Visited Valve HQ in Bellevue, so many cool things there.

      Random shot on my walk back to Redmond.

      Some amazing Ice Cream I had, I believe it was Honey Lavender or something.

      Visited the Pokemon Center kiosk on the way to (kind of) picking up Cybertron from the airport.


      Saturday was regionals day, ended 9th. It was a fun regional, but also probably one of the less exciting things I did on my trip.





      Spent the first bit of Sunday going out to eat with everyone, and vising the Nintendo of America sign for some quality selfies and selfies with people taking selfies. 


      Spent the next part of Sunday going back to Pike Place and hanging with Gerry Thompson (Thage here on the forums, he wrote some quality articles back in 2014). He was super fun to hang out with and it was fascinating to hear about the Magic circuit. Also, the Halibut was insanely good even as someone who isn't typically into seafood.


      After parting ways with Gerry, we stopped in Chinatown before dropping Harrison, William, and Aaron at the airport. 



      Did some more exploring around Seattle on Monday, not a ton of significant stuff but I had a good time finishing up a few things.

      Kacaw, bird up, etc.

      Tuesday and Wednesday were generally pretty boring packing/traveling days, went and got the best donuts I've ever eaten with Zach Tuesday night and flew back to Chicago. Went to Alex Underhill's place and slept for a looooong time since I didn't get much sleep on the plane. 


      Did some exploring with Alex, Gina, Jake, and Chuppa around Downtown Chicago Thursday before going back to Alex's apartment at NIU that night. Had a ton of fun around downtown and playing various party games at the apartment when we were also joined by Alex's brother Henry and friend Ryan. I didn't get the chance to say it on Twitter before, but Alex and Gina were amazing hosts and I'm extremely thankful for the hospitality. Also, Gina makes amazing food.


      Friday we traveled to Madison, the car ride there was amazing. We played a bunch of late 2000's songs and jammed. Was very surprised at how many I lyrics I still remembered. We got to Madison and I managed a strong last place at the Premier Challenge that Friday. I did however meet a friend named Eleanor, it was her first regional/tournament and I had a great time hanging out with her. Brought back a lot of memories from when I was starting VGC, which now seems so long ago. We went back to the hotel, went to the hot tub, and played some Smash. Also, had a Mac and Cheese bacon burger for dinner and it was a m a z i n g. Prepped a team for regionals the next day (aka played one practice game and called it good) and went to bed. Tommy (Tman) is the worst person to sleep next to btw, he WILL take up 80% of the bed.

      Went to regionals Saturday and finished 4th after swiss! Really fun tournament, Best of Three swiss makes everything much more enjoyable. Had some really fun sets throughout the day and got streamed twice, 10/10 regionals.

      Went to get Buffalo Wild Wings after Swiss, found this bag of chips in Franklin's (Avos) car and decided to send it to Chuppa as foreshadowing to what would happen the next day. Got back to the hotel and fell asleep immediately, Best of Three swiss is amazing but also pretty exhausting!

      Sunday we went back to the venue to play Top Cut. Beat Chuppa in Top 8, Justin in Top 4, and lost to Diana in finals. Really fun sets all around and happy to finally win a regionals Top Cut set after 2 missed tries at Fort Wayne and Kansas City. Chuppa apparently was pretty tuckered out as well as he ended up falling asleep in the van back to Alex's apartment. We played more party games, ate more amazing food, then I stayed up until 5 am just to lose an NPA set. Quality regionals weekend.

      Monday and Tuesday we didn't do much besides go to iHop, where I learned Jake has awful taste in breakfast beverages, and drop Chuppa and Jake at the airport Sunday. I got a train back Tuesday after spending an unforeseen night at Alex's place again (Shoutout to Alex's family for being so kind and also being amazing cooks). I was extremely exhausted after everything, and this building we passed summed up my feelings pretty well.
      Shoutout to:
      All the pear Braverius for hosting me in Seattle and missing Pblades William, Harrison, and Aaron for being a blast to hang out with at regionals, also Aaron and William for being champs and sleeping on the floor Gerry for being a great guy and giving me a lot of thoughts on things Pokemon could be doing better Alaskan Mother Theresa for offering me weed in the park in Seattle The Light Rail guy for understanding my inability to understand how to purchase a ticket All of the West Coast players for being a ton of fun to spend time with, you're all super chill and I'm excited to come back in San Franciso in August. Alex Underhill and Gina Wachowski for being amazing hosts and great friends, you guys are the best Jake, Chuppa, and Tommy for rooming in Madison Tommy for being an awful person to share a bed with but a great friend All of my opponents at both regionals, you all were super kind and I had some of my favorite VGC sets of all time Diana for being a great finals opponent and Regional Champion The stream crew at both Seattle and Madison for putting me on (Multiple times even at Madison), I always love playing on stream and the work you guys do to grow the game is amazing.  Nails for reminding me that I was supposed to give him a shoutout Side pups You, for reading this article! I hope you enjoyed, and see you at Nationals!
    • UK National Championships Top 8 Report
      By MrJellyLeggs in MrJellyLeggs's blog 3
      So...
      In case you don't recognise my NB name, I am Jamie Boyt (otherwise known as the best Jamie), and I managed to come in the top 8 of the UK National Championships last weekend. Normally for every tournament I attend, I put up every match that I played with analysis since I am putting my entire VGC16 season onto YT (I'm quite behind atm since I have had a couple of issues with capturing matches and I don't have a capture card), but since this was a battle box locked event, I have no way to capture my matches. In their place, I have made a video report on the team I used at Nats, and I have gone through all the matches I had, which will be linked just below this. I will also put a paste of my team in case you wanted to try out the team on PS, or tweak the team slightly to suit you. Enjoy
       
      Salamence @ Salamencite  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 84 Atk / 172 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Naive Nature  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Hyper Voice  
      - Draco Meteor  
      - Protect  
      Groudon @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Drought  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Precipice Blades  
      - Fire Punch  
      - Rock Slide  
      - Protect  
      Kyogre @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Drizzle  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 108 HP / 116 Def / 28 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Water Spout  
      - Scald  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Protect  
      Ferrothorn @ Life Orb  
      Ability: Iron Barbs  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Power Whip  
      - Gyro Ball  
      - Bulldoze  
      - Protect  
      Gengar @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Sludge Bomb  
      - Icy Wind  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Taunt  
      Zapdos @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Static  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 84 HP / 8 Def / 160 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def / 30 SpA  
      - Thunderbolt  
      - Hidden Power [Water]  
      - Tailwind  
      - Roar  
    • Top Cut teams from the VGC'16 National Championships
      By RpIndaHouse in RP's Corner 24
      These are the teams that top cut Nationals during the VGC'16 season. This blog entry will be edited constantly to keep Nationals results updated.
      Big thanks to the people who helped the community gather the information on some of the standings, mainly my friends and also nuggetbridge/pokemon for the stream archives from the events.
      This blog entry is being made in cooperation with LightCore, this will make it easier for both of us to get teams published faster. Also, check out his usage stats table here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BSSSjaK-xJWsdMbszHX5OxkNRmHhLuNn4ruH4CVo_eE/edit#gid=0
       
       
       
      Korea National - 08/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st.  MeLuCa: 
      2nd.  KrelCROC: 
      3rd.  JJI: 
      4th.  Duggabi: 
      5th. Sepia: 
      6th. Takoyaki: 
      7th.  Ryusin: 
      8th.  Jeshirem: 
      9th.  Alpha: 
      10th.  Kaljang: 
      11th.  Soy: 
      12th.  Freesia: 
      13th.  Guze: 
      14th.  Stielike: 
      15th.  Sejun Park: 
      16th.  Junghoon: 
      17th.  SuiCa: 
      18th.  SeaBass: 
      19th.  Galchaam: 
      20th.  Chasle: 
      21st.  Oisungmo: 
      22nd.  GoongE: 
      23rd.  Popalsinsa: 
      24th.  Nirhog: 
      25th.  Dragon: 
      26th.  Goukamong: 
      27th.  SB: 
      28th.  Junghan Kim: 
      29th.  Nimsookoh: 
      30th.  Ggodalgae: 
      31st.  Geunjeol: 
      32nd.  Sangsangchowol: 
       

      UK National - 15/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st.  Alejandro Gomez: 
      2nd.  Ethan Hall: 
      3rd.  Luis López: 
      4th.  William Tansley: 
      5th.  Jamie Boyt: 
      6th.  Matteo Marinelli: 
      7th.  Riccardo Appamea: 
      8th.  Eric Rios: 
      9th.  Anis Haque: 
      10th.  Daniel Nolan: 
      11th.  Daniel Oztekin: 
      12th.  Jonathan Evans: 
      13th.  Matthias Suchodolski: 
      14th.  Matteo Gini: 
      15th.  Stephen Gibbon: 
      16th.  Ying Jun Qi: 
      17th.  Arash Ommati: 
      18th.  Carlos Lima: 
      19th.  Claúdio Serpa: 
      20th.  Conan Wild: 
      21st.  Dominic Scheffler: 
      22nd.  Genki Yamada: 
      23rd.  Jonathan Marston: 
      24th.  Joseph Richardson: 
      25th.  Kai Wainwright: 
      26th.  Max Waterman: 
      27th.  Maxwell Boyle: 
      28th.  Lee Provost: 
      29th.  Pietro Chiri: 
      30th.  Rachel Annand: 
      31st.  Simone Sanvito: 
      32nd.  Szymon Wojdat: 
       
       
      South Africa National - 15/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st.  Michael Riechert: 
      2nd.  Baris Ackos: 
      3rd.  Brendon: 
      4th.  Marc: 
      5th.  Monrene Steinmann: 
      6th.  Dales Schwikkard: 
      7th.  Clive Lai: 
      8th.  Andries Colff: 
       
       
      Germany National - 21/ 05/ 2016: 
       
      1st.  Arash Ommati: 
      2nd.  Till Bohmer: 
      3rd.  Tobias Koschitzki: 
      4th.  Steven Markhardt: 
      5th.  Koen van Leeuwen: 
      6th.  Florian Wurdack: 
      7th.   Brian Zourdani:
      8th.  Bin Lin: 
      9th.  Andres Escobosa: 
      10th.  Marvin Lange: 
      11th.  Alexander Kuhn: 
      12th.  Roberto Carbonara: 
      13th.  Michael Riechert: 
      14th.  Eloy Hahn: 
      15th. Fevzi Oskan: 
      16th.  Rafik Sadli: 
      17th.  Mathias Grauer: 
      18th.  Dominik Wappler: 
      19th.  Lajos Woltersdorf: 
      20th.  Lukas Müller: 
      21st.  Yannik Gietz: 
      22nd. Lucas Neier: 
      23rd. Kai Goebel:
      24th.  Nils Harbich: 
      25th.  Christian Cheynubrata: 
      26th.  Luis Conti: 
      27th.  David Mizrahi: 
      28th.  Nima Moradi: 
      29th.  Willem Schouten: 
      30th.  Roman Carballo: 
      31st. Peter Probst: 
      32nd.  Thomas Gabor:
       
    • VGC 2016: Post Midseason Thoughts
      By Jibaku in Fun Cave 10
      VGC 2016: Post Midseason Thoughts

      Midseason has just ended so I figured this would be a good time to post my opinions on this format before Spring regionals start (which I can't attend unless I can get a ride lol). Let me preface this by saying that, unlike what seems to be the vocal majority, I actually enjoy playing in VGC 2016. But it would be unwise to not notice the numerous game health flaws in this format. Regardless, this is a format that comes every once in a while - we haven't had a format like this since 2010, which I regretfully did not attend, and before that, 2006, which I did attend and was my first live tournament experience!

      But enough about that - let's get into what's right and what's wrong with VGC 2016 (from a personal standpoint, of course). I'll be covering metagame stuff, so issues like expensive entry fees and accessibility won't make an appearance.  Note that this isn't meant to be an argumentative piece or anything and is meant to be brief and somewhat casual, so take it as you wish. Quick reminder that I hardly played in the previous VGC formats - I only played in 2011, early 2012, and the end of 2015, so I don't really have a base of comparison.  That's not stopping me from posting about this meta, though.

      What I like about VGC 2016

      Let's start with the happy news shall we.

      Primal Groudon, Primal Kyogre, and Emphasis On Weather Wars

      Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre are probably some of the most fun Pokemon to use, because they create a major contestable variable on the field - the weather. As a player, I value interactivity and nothing really does that more than these Pokemon. Controlling the weather leads to interesting mindgames on either side that's not always set every match and there are many ways to do it. Instead of complaining about how teams are often forced to carry at least one of these Pokemon, I've embraced their centralization and enjoyed what they brought to the table.

      Both Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon bring a lot of flexibility to the table. With their insanely high stats across the board and their board control abilities, both primals offer a lot of flexibility in enabling various archetypes and in their EV spreads and usage. I may be forced to run one of them in various teams, but they're the ones enabling other options, so I don't really care lol. I'm not one to care about Pokemon diversity and I think that's just overrated, but I do value playstyle diversity. Can you imagine if something as inflexible as Xerneas had the same usage as Primal Groudon?  Could you expect a playstyle variety other than hyper offense? Do you think a metagame where only hyper offense exists would be fun to play?

      Oh yeah and this means that double primal is my favorite archetype. Go use this info against me in the NPA. Whatever.

      Depth and Growth of the Metagame

      Or at least relative to the early state of the metagame, VGC 2016 honestly really grew since the dark depths of Big 6 and RayOgre spam in December-January. While we did see experiments with Groudon/Palkia (Aaron's team), Ho-Oh stuff (Jon Hu and Kyogre/Ho-Oh tests), and Yveltal (which won't rise until later), we really didn't see much other than these 2. Big 6 was deemed unbeatable for a while and some people just gave up and left. But after the Big 6 infestation in  Virginia Top Cut, the metagame broke open. Double Primal, despite its early criticisms of anti-synergy, went into full force, eventually becoming the metagame's primary defensive archetype. Dialga's potency as a RayOgre counter and a solid tank overall was realized and rose. Also worth mentioning that Kyogre's EV spreads became noticeably bulkier around this time (FatOgre <3. Screw you Gavin). Yveltal's devastating Dark-type exploits and emphasis on stacking debuffs on enemies (or just hit stuff with its really power Dark STAB and surprising kill ranges) soon took hold as a soft counter to the two aforementioned defensive archetypes. Kyurem-W punctured holes in the metagame's overall weakness to Ice-type attacks, eventually solidifying itself as a Gravity abuser thanks to its powerful Blizzards. While this is all happening, Big 6 and RayOgre maintain their viability. We started with 2 major archetypes at the start of the season; we now have at least 4 (B6/Dual Primal/RayOgre/YvelDon) and a couple more that are trailing just behind them (Dialga/Ogre, Yveltal/Ogre, Kyurem-W/Groudon, Xerneas/Kyogre).

      The list doesn't end there. Palkia/Kyogre, Palkia/Groudon, Mewtwo/Groudon, Rayquaza/Xerneas, Kyurem-W/Kyogre, Rayquaza/Groudon. There are probably more I missed but these are worthy archetypes to also check out.  

      Tech versatility is also something that we saw during regionals, but I'm not covering them because there's a lot. There are just so many ways to synergize with the seemingly limited combinations of restricted Pokemon, and we're still discovering them! Careful to not confuse them with cheese or memes though. I will accept Bisharp as a fringe viable tech, but please don't run Golduck.

      Important to remember that Big 6 is still a strong archetype though. Please do not disrespect it.

      I Get to Use my Favorite Mons

      Well I have to point this out lol. These restricted mons are some of my favorite mons in the game, and being able to finally use them after years of absence just feels amazing! If the metagame were to ever go wrong, I'll have this to fall back on.

      What I Dislike About VGC 2016

      Let's face it - while I do enjoy playing in 2016, this metagame is stressful at times. Consistency can feel challenging, for example

      Putting Dark Void and Moody aside here, because the dislike for these two are almost universal so I'm not really adding much. I'll just briefly mention Mental Herb / Choice Scarf Smeargle here.

      I guess I could mention cheese sets in general, but this is more or less enabled by the combination of above and this thing right below.

      Geomancy (and I guess Xerneas and a little about Big 6)

      Ok this move's just silly. Playing as Xerneas forces you to devote too many resources to getting it set up or else it's useless, because the power difference between a boosted and unboosted Xern is so huge.  Playing against a well supported Xerneas requires a ton of pre-planning and basically scripted play (hello Big 6).  Playing a script is hardly competitive and is incredibly repetitive, but you kind of have to because Xerneas punishes a mistake or a miss harder than anything else in the game. Your plan against these teams have to be incredibly solid. If you execute that plan correctly, Xerneas could become more useless than virtually any other restricted mon, but make a mistake and it turns your team to dust. Oh and this is where cheese comes in, because sometimes these plans are so rigid that you don't have a lot of room to fix things if something were to go wrong. You got Thundurus to Taunt standard Smeargle? It would be a shame if it was holding a Mental Herb...

      Did I mention that Xerneas is inflexible? You pretty much can't have a defensive build with Xerneas on your team or it becomes suboptimal because so much of its power is tied to Geomancy. Making a balanced build is possible though, but that's probably as defensive as a Xern team will go. You can run bulky Xern if you want, although that hardly changes its playstyle - just some calcs (I do think bulky Xern is relatively unexplored though).

      Would I ban Geomancy? Probably not actually. In theory banning Geomancy will weaken Xerneas to a point where other Dragon-type restricted mons become viable enough to constantly keep the primals in check, while Xerneas itself will still maintain enough power to keep these dragons in check without going overboard. But that's all just theory - I'd rather not step into this gray area.

      I'm going to briefly mention here that Big 6 takes too many resources to check properly and I think it's the reason why team matchups can be frustrating in this format.

      tl;dr: Xerneas is an incredibly polarizing Pokemon and when it's consistent at its job it's basically overpowered beyond belief. If it's not doing it's job, it's a bad Pokemon. Oh and it's purely offensive, so its dominance leads to a hyperoffense centric meta. Which is bad for reasons I won't discuss. Thankfully it's not -that- dominant.

      Do I consider Xerneas overpowered? In terms of actual power, not any more than the primals. But its effects on the game are considerably more negative than the primals.

      Also I don't understand why Geomancy has a SpDef boost attached to it. +2 Spe and SpA already give Xerneas tons of power - does it also have to be immortal on the special side?

      Isn't it ironic how the "Life" Pokemon possesses the most destructive move in the game, while the "Destruction" Pokemon is the one that's annoying to take down?

      It does have a pretty animation though.

      Gravity/Sleep Spam

      Mostly refers to the Sableye/Gengar/Whimsi/Kyu/Groudon team. This setup kinda lives and dies by sleep turns since the mons tend to be frail and fast to quickly take advantage of the gravity turns. And when you deny Gravity from them they'll start firing inaccurate sleep moves/blizzards on you and try to decide the game on dice rolls.. Just not a fun team to face in general and I hope gamefreak looks into sleep mechanics in general once again. Sleep in general should be more reliable but less debilitating and also less RNG based.
      Team isn't borked by any means, just annoying.

      PBlade/OPulse Accuracy

      Self explanatory. Very game defining moves shouldn't be subject to accuracy checks. This is more of a minor thing but I have to mention it anyways.

      Closing Thoughts

      VGC 2016 is fun but requires some degree of masochism. Out of the years I've played (2011, early 2012, late 2015, and 2016), this is probably still my favorite overall despite  the roulettes and the monotonous experience facing the most common team in the format. Maybe I just like playing with the restricted mons that much to really care about the downsides?  I think I'm not the only person who shares this sentiment, though.

      From Stephen Morioka, when asked what his thoughts on the meta are,

      " Another important thing I don’t think players realize is how special this format is. This format allows for two restricted Pokémon to be on your team from a group of 15, such as Mewtwo, Groudon, and Kyogre. Normally, since they are so overpowered compared to other Pokémon, they are always sitting on the sidelines because they are not allowed to play in official formats. This year is only the 3rd time I’ve been able to use these Pokémon in a double battle format (the last two being in 2006 and 2010), so I am appreciating every second of this format because who knows, it may be another four to six years until we see these Pokémon in competitive play again."
      source: http://pokepress.blogspot.com/2016/04/pokemon-vgc-midseason-showdown.html

      As a JAA veteran, these words resonate with me incredibly well, and I do hope we'll see a return of this format sometime in the future. Probably not next year, and hopefully they'll make some game mechanic adjustments and make more Pokemon feel like they're worth the restricted slots (Zekrom!) whenever this type of format returns.

      One thing that bugged me more than the format's downsides is the amount of complaints over social media. I guess TPCi's promise to investigate Dark Void gave people an excuse to do this. Thank goodness that has died down. But now I wonder what would happen if Dark Void were to get banned. I think people would use the banning to justify about complaining other things as a precedence has been set, giving hope to ban more things in the future. That would be rather catastrophic, and in a sense I'm glad TPCi didn't do anything. I still want DV gone, but having partaken in Smogon's suspect tests, the threat of slippery slope banning is probably not something we want here. It was omnipresent in the BW OU suspect test era. That happening in VGC is a scary thought.

      But as long as I get to use my restricted mons, I'll still have fun . Don't touch my primals!
      PS: Yveltal is the best designed restricted mon from a competitive standpoint.
    • ICPA Spring Series Wrap Up
      By ICPA Writer in The International Collegiate Pokemon Association 14
      Hey there Nugget Bridge!
      Update: The ICPA Player Statistics have now been separated as the whole season, or either the Fall or Spring Series' individually.
      After the Fall Series held in VGC 2015, this semester has been a challenge for every school to adapt to the new format. This year's VGC rules involving restricted legendaries are a new experience to most, considering the last time players saw Groudon and Kyogre in the format was six years ago. A number of schools qualified for the ICPA playoffs in the VGC 2015 format, and headed into the Spring Series with some breathing room and time to adjust to the new ruleset. These schools were also competing in the Spring Series for a chance at a BYE in the playoff bracket.
      To challenge them, a number of new schools hailing from Mexico joined the association, largely entered into group B. New groups were also sorted based on geography and Fall Series results to give teams a chance to prove they were amongst the best in the conference. Well the dust has settled, and the Spring Series has concluded. While we saw repeat invitations handed down to some teams, others managed to claw out of their Fall Series performances and clinch a playoff berth. Which schools were these? Well...
      Group A

      Group A was an interesting spectacle to behold. The top three teams from 2015 were all bundled into this group due to Fall Series placings; that top 3 being UNT, UCSD, and UVic respectively. Included in this competitive bunch were Fall Series-qualifiers Monterrey Tech, a new school from Baja California (CETYS), and OSU. The teams with an invite from the Fall Series were UCSD and Monterrey Tech, while UVic bubbled off resistance in the Fall. The big story entering the Spring was whether reigning champions UNT would be able to right their ship after a disappointing Fall Series. How did the Spring turn out?
      University of Victoria (5-0) University of North Texas (4-1) Tecnológico de Monterrey (3-2) University of California San Diego (2-3) Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior (1-4) Oklahoma State University (0-5) Throughout the Spring Series, UVic demonstrated why they were semi-finalists last year, posting commanding victories round after round; UVic finished the Spring Series with an impressive overall record of 21W - 4L, en-route to a 5-0 Spring Series finish. It seems like the team is thriving in the new format. ACEs Max Douglas (@starmetroid; 8-2) and Mark Hanson (@Crawdaunt) both went undefeated in the Spring, and finished amongst the league's top players in the overall player stats. UVic seems to have found its core fielding Jason Wynja (@Arti; 5-0), Alex Cheung (@machdragon; 5-1), and Evan Wilmot (@Varoomashroom) through most of the Spring series. The team swept two divisional rivals, and took convincing 4-1 wins against two others; an intriguing feat given that the group had both of last year's finalists and another Fall Series qualifier. Whatever happened, UVic has found their mojo and looks ready to compete through April and maybe into May. They'll be joining the University of Waterloo to represent Canada this playoff season.
      Not to be outdone UNT rebounded after a disappointing Fall Series, finishing a strong 4-1; UNT had to knock off both UCSD and Monterrey Tech en-route to their well-earned playoff invitation. ACEs Tiffany Stanley (@Shiloh) and Evan Bates (@Veteran Padgett) also clawed out of the bottom of the player statistics to finish within the Top 30 players. Captain Paul Barrera (@Paulitoed) sat back a bit this semester to let teammates Cody Kyrk (@Kyrk), Kevin Paramo (@guycecil01), and Cade Keeton (@Bazzeltroff) gain experience heading into the playoffs. UNT's overall player records leave a bit to be desired outside the ACE slot, but Cody Kyrk (4-1 in Spring) has rounded out each of UNT's victories recently. It can't be ignored that UNT entered last year's playoffs as the 8th seed of 8 teams, and pulled off underdog victory after underdog victory en-route to the championships. It certainly seems like UNT's style to enter as the dark horse, so maybe their record will fare well for them.
      The other teams in Group A heading to the post-season earned their spot in the Fall Series. UCSD swept through the Fall Series 5-0. Their 2016 performance hasn't been stellar, but throughout VGC 2015 UCSD went undefeated, so they're not a school to count out. Captain Alvin Mo (@corsolafan) recently finished in the Top 8 of Anaheim Regionals, so perhaps the team has some success to model its play-style off of entering the playoffs. Meanwhile Monterrey Tech had a solid showing in both the Fall (4-1) and Spring (3-2) under the guidance of captain Luis Canseco (@Chaivon). Monterrey has switched up its ACEs playing Luis Hernandez (@ldhc22; 9-1), captain Luis, and Ruben Escobedo (@Rubalx) throughout the semester, implying a deep roster poised to take on the playoffs; Monterrey is also one of three Mexican schools that will be competing in the coming weeks.
      The final two of Group A will look to regroup for next year. For CETYS, this first year has hopefully had a building year and captain Luis Vargas (@chacks13) will return in Fall 2016 ready to take a run at the post-season. Meanwhile, OSU captain Kaston Murrell (@Chronos) has built a small base for the future. Oklahoma is a team that has had trouble settling out a 4th and 5th player. But this season, OSU has five players sporting at least two wins. Finding those victories more consistently will be key for both CETYS and OSU in future seasons.
      Group B


      This Spring one group had a grand total of eight teams, composed of many unproven new Mexican schools and a number of capable institutions. To accommodate the greater number of teams, a total of three invites were up for grabs over the Spring's five rounds of play. The two teams entering Group B as playoff-qualifiers were last year's semi-finalists UCB and newcomers UNSW. With so many unknowns in the group, it was anyone's guess as to who would come out on top. In the end:
      Instituto Politecnico Nacional (5-0) Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (4-1) University of California, Berkeley (4-1) University of Calgary (3-2) University of Hawaii at Manoa (2-3) University of New South Wales (2-3) Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico (0-5) Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana - Iztapalpa (0-5) Without knowing anything about the four new Mexican schools, it would have been incredible to have called IPN's romp of Group B; though intriguingly IPN never faced off against either fellow invitees UCB or UNAM. Nonetheless, as the only 5-0 in the group, IPN has showed they are no slouches to say the least, and that they are possibly contenders for the ICPA championships this May. Captain Lizandro Gonzalez (@Gonsser; 5-0) must be pleased with his team's performance, leading the team as their undefeated ACE throughout the Spring. Fellow ACE Alfonso Esqueda (@Pktrainer1994) has held his own, while Eliezer Gomez (@TerranceZer; 5-0), Daniel Nuñez (@DannyTDS; 4-1), and Jonathan Juárez (@Gupiman) round out the team's core. Indeed the team has four Worlds-qualifiers this year alone, and their captain and undefeated ACE is ranked 2nd in Mexico; it should be noted that the CP bar in Latin America is only 150 CP for Masters division players. IPN finds itself in a similar situation to UCSD in 2015; undefeated throughout the regular season but without having competed against its top divisional rival(s). Last year, UCSD went on to finish a close 2nd place, so if history has taught us anything, it's that IPN can't be underestimated as serious contenders. They'll be joining Monterrey Tech as Mexican representatives in the ICPA playoffs.
      Also charging into the post-season is UNAM, who earned their 4-1 finish by toppling UCB. Captain Daniel Martínez Rivera (@Zlatant; 2-0) sat much of the semester out, as did his teammates. A total of 10 unique players helped UNAM along to the post season, sporting perhaps the deepest roster in the ICPA; a feat that's even more impressive given their 4-1 finish this season. That depth will surely help UNAM remain a contender for years to come, but in the meantime they'll have to figure out who their core of five is if they intend to take a run at the plaque. Osvaldo Cruz (@StatsDracko) has been the only mainstay for the team, while Christian Ramirez Lira (@EwokPadawan) and Daniel Salazar García (@walavii) complete UNAM's roster that have played in ACE matches. While UNAM took a close set against UCB, they also dropped a close set to UC. Captain Daniel Rivera will have a tough time hammering out a playoff-ready lineup out of so many players to choose from. Whoever is selected will join Monterrey and IPN as Mexican representatives this post-season.
      Finally, UCB shored up their double invitation with a second series of strong play. Captain Ajit Unnam (@kamikaze17) and fellow ACE Kimo Nishimura (@TFC) have relied on non-ACEs Edward Hong (@EdoPhantom; 7-1) and Gustavo Reynoso (@Psynergy; 7-1) for victories; Gustavo took a stab at the ACE slot in the last round. Former ACE Brandon Kho (@NYC) returned after a semester largely taken off. With four potential ACEs, UCB will have its work cut out for themselves hammering out their playoff roster. Expect the names listed above, and possibly Charles Thorson (@nvakna) as a 6th member. That said, UCB has a deep roster themselves, sporting nine unique players this season. After having their run cut short in the semifinals last year, UCB should be hungry to repeat their success and try to take themselves farther in 2016. With a double invite earned, UCB is one of three schools confirmed to have a BYE straight to the Top 8. Who will UCB rely on to try and proceed to the Top 4? We'll have to wait to find out.
      Group B's runner-up this series wound up being Calgary, who managed a close victory over UNAM in Round 4. Captain Myles Kristalovich (@Drakon) can applaud the team for improving on their Fall Series record, having just missed out in a close affair with IPN followed by a loss to UCB to wind up 3-2 on the spring. The team has benefitted from the consistency of Kevin Zhao (@Twitchhy; 4-1), Jason Cey (@Jirox8; 4-1), and Eric Provencher (@moocowdoom; 4-0) throughout the season, but will look to build on its developing player base for next year. Meanwhile, Hawaii fell short in the Spring losing a do-or-die round against UNAM, but can build on a solid season heading into the summer and next fall. Hawaii captain Keola Nakamoto (@Kasoman) had a strong showing amongst ACE players this season, and the team stands to benefit from Premier events being hosted for the first time in Hawaii this past Spring.
      Captain Jimmy Yao Long Chen (@aeon; 5-1) of UNSW on the other hand will be looking to right his team's performance (2-3) from the Spring as UNSW heads into the playoffs off of their Fall success. ACE Corey Munro (@Thecorey0) sits amongst the top players in the league, while Eric Vo (@bagmiku; 5-1) has had a successful Spring himself. Perhaps fellow ACE Denaysh Selvakkumar (@phoxfiyah) could end up competing as a non-ACE given the playoff format and the successes of Jimmy and Eric.
      Bringing up the rear, UAEM and UAM-I will look to take their first ICPA series and all of its experience with them into the summer tournament. Captains, Julio Olvera (@Julzz) and Erwin Alejandro De Valdemar Romero (@Erwiniche) will want to keep honing their rosters and growing their player bases. The summer tournament should provide a good proving ground for both schools to sort out their teams and give their large rosters some valuable practice.
      Group C

      All Spring Group C felt the dominating presence of the University of Michigan (UM), who are blazing amidst a league record 15 straight regular season wins. The group ended up playing host to both United Kingdom schools after Strathclyde felled Oxford in their rivalry match in the Fall. On the outside, Cornell set out to improve on a disappointing 1-4 Fall Series, as TAMU-CS and BSU hoped to improve on 2-3 finishes in the Fall. While the East doesn't sport as many big name schools, Round five saw an undefeated UM face off against equally undefeated Strathclyde to settle the top team in Group C. After the dust had settled UM stood atop Group C, indeed atop the East, and look strong entering the playoffs.
      University of Michigan (5-0)
      University of Strathclyde (4-1)
      Cornell University (2-3)
      Texas A&M University- College Station (2-3)
      Oxford University (1-4)
      Ball State University (1-4)
      Michigan captain Keegan Beljanski (@Darkeness; 5-0) has been solid all season, while league-leading ACEs Jon McMillan (@MrEobo; 9-1), and Kevin Swastek (@kswas; 7-1) triumphed all year, and particularly in their final match against Strathclyde. By the end of the Spring, Michigan's individual game record was 22W-3L, which says all it needs to say. Garrett Yee (@GYee; 5-1), Alec Beljanski (@Polecat; 5-0), and Jordan VanderZwaag (@jvswag; 4-1) have all factored in heavily towards UM's success, while Rosemary Kelley (@Nekkra; 3-0) went undefeated herself posting 6 wins and 0 losses in individual games. Michigan's roster runs deep and it's no mystery as to how they've earned two invites en-route to the Top 8 of the ICPA playoffs. With such a deep roster, it'll be difficult to settle on a starting lineup. The team will have plenty of time to prepare for their run this year, hoping to break out of the Top 8 this time around.
      Meanwhile, Strathclyde demonstrated why they were atop the Fall Series, finishing 4-1 for the second time in a row. Captain Benjamin Grover (@Arch11Heretic; 8-2) is amongst the league's leading ACEs, alongside fellow ACE Maxwell Boyle (@InfernoMonkey). Drew Hannah (@Werd95; 7-0) has been a force for Strathclyde this year, while Robert Fleming (@FallibleScot), Michael Wilson (@gavoustemick), and Jacky Leong (@MaftyEllin) have all contributed greatly to Strathclyde's victories. These six will joust for a spot in Strathclyde's starting five as the team sits back to watch how the Top 16 plays out. What can be said is that Strathclyde has made its mark on the ICPA, and hopefully on the East as well. With new schools bringing a competitive spirit to the conference, next year's Eastern divisions will have likely upped their game. This post-season, Strathclyde has the pride of not only Glasgow, not only the UK, but the entirety of Europe resting on their shoulders. Perhaps their performance can inspire fellow European schools to join the ICPA next season.
      On the outside, Cornell improved on a disappointing Fall Series and will look to continue improving into next year. Captain 桜ミツォのみ (@SakuraMitsonomi) should be pleased with how the series played out, and will likely build the team around the summer tournament heading into next fall. One more series has found TAMU-CS and BSU on the lower rungs of the ladder, but their spirit is unmistakable. Captains Nicholas Martinez (@HolyShadow31) and Chris Purvis (@Gh3ttolizard) will want to regroup in the summer themselves. Each of these teams stands to continue improving with experience. Amidst its share of drama, Oxford fell off the wagon in the Spring and what becomes of the team in the coming months remains to be seen. After a strong 2015 NCPA season, Oxford went a solid 3-2 in the ICPA Fall Series. Hopefully captain Will Bate (@yochocola) can help the team can rebound with some new recruits in Fall 2016.
      Group D

      Group A was a tightly contested affair. Group B had numerous unknowns waiting to play out. Group C witnessed a record not only being set, but continuously extended. With all that excitement, it's easy to overlook Group D's newfound challengers. Waterloo maintained its position near the top of the Group, but fell mid-series to UNC-CH as UNC fought for survival. Thanks to those efforts, UNC-CH found itself in a do-or-die finale against fellow upstarts URI, who took down RIT to put themselves in a similar position to qualify for the playoffs. The winner of UNC-CH and URI was set to determine the final playoff standings. That winner was... :
      University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (4-1)
      University of Waterloo (4-1)
      University of Rhode Island (3-2)
      Rochester Institute of Technology (3-2)
      Michigan Technological University (1-4)
      Rowan University (0-5)
      North Carolina! After a disappointing finish just outside of a playoff berth in the Fall, UNC-CH persevered and not only qualified for the playoffs, but even managed to finish first place in Group D! The team has relied and built on the league-leading performance of ACE and captain Nicolas Peckman (@Ace Emerald; 9-1), who finished the season with an impressive 18W-4L; I do believe this has earned Nicolas the league MVP title for 2015-2016! Fellow ACE Luke Tannenbaum (@Lukedicolo) has been solid all season, while the remaining core is made up of David Brock Suddaby (@skyarrow), Luis Julio Lucas-Tzun (@halterofilador), and Brian Fischer (@ratfr0). The team will be competing in the coming weeks to show off just how far they can go. An anonymous source has also informed me that former World Champion and current US National Champion Toler Webb (@Dim) will be attending UNC-CH in the fall of 2016. This season has shown that the team has a solid core to build on, and regardless of how they fare in the playoffs, next year it seems they'll be returning with a vengeance.
      Not to be outdone, Waterloo completed a double invite endeavour of their own, improving on their playoff-qualifying Fall Series finish. Due to the total number of double invitees, it seems Waterloo will be entering into the Top 16 as the best-ranked team playing in the round. Captain and ACE Sean Wen (@Hegna; 6-1) should be proud of the team's impressive showing in their first year of competition. Fellow ACE Dian Jin (@hyperbuttz), Brandon Munshaw (@bthomas; 6-1), Kyle Pimental (@kjk462), and Troy Mazerolle (@Drachenlarge; 4-1) have all been instrumental in Waterloo's post-season berth. The team has also been aided by John Chen (@Isochronicle), and numerous other members; 10 in total this season. Riding the high of a strong finish, Waterloo will be one of two Canadian schools in the playoffs; the other being UVic. With both schools being ranked fairly similarly, the two can look forward to fighting for an all-Canadian match in the later stages of the post-season. That is... if they clear their first hurdles.
      And credit where credit is due. Rhode Island had a rough Fall Series finishing 1-4. To bounce back and tackle playoff-qualifying RIT en-route to a solid 3-2 finish is commendable. At the end of the day, Captain and ACE Justin Friedman (@tennisace) should be proud of both his play, landing him amongst the league's leading ACE players, and the play of his teammates. Fellow ACE Daniel Laplante (@ninjafridge), and ACE substitutes Shane Hobe (@LilBabyJesus) and John Vachon (@JPVpoint3) all had solid Spring Series' performances. Going from a 1-4 to a 3-2 finish demonstrates a big change that will be interesting to see both in the summer and going into next Fall.
      Rochester on the other hand will be gearing up for another playoff run. They continue to assure me that they're all about dank memes, but I see through their bluff. Captain and ACE Jeffrey Karger (@thewildvegetable) and fellow ACE Travis Robinson (@FerociousKeyz) have performed well this season, and are both sitting near the top. The team's core is completed by Dan Blackmore (@Hashtag), Peter Killian (@wolftail42), Charles Parr (@SteelOsprei; 4-1), and Tremayne Baker (@MLGFro; 4-1). Yes, RIT is possibly the most serious contender entering the playoffs this season, looking to improve on their Top 8 finish last year. But to take the title, your only option is to go X-0, something RIT has yet to figure out.
      Rounding out Group D were former favourites for the championships, MTU (#MTUChamps2016), and the renewed Rowan University. Michigan Tech captain Amanda McCuistion (@AtomicAbsol) and Rowan captain Tom Hill (@Dusk Ball Tom) will look to have their team pick up valuable experience over the summer in the official competitive circuit, and maybe some new recruits to bolster the roster.
      Wrapping it all up
      The playoffs are right around the corner, and captains will be looking to figure out their playoff rosters for the first week. Unlike the regular season, ACE players can sub in and out of the ACE slot freely during the playoffs; though there are restrictions. The ICPA playoffs require teams to register three players as potential ACE players for the playoffs, and teams can only use those three players as ACE players throughout the playoffs. This doesn't mean they can't play as non-ACEs, but at least two will always be in the top slots. This is a big chance for non-ACE players to make their mark on the format. Look forward to our player coverage in the upcoming playoff preview, where we'll also be announcing this year's League MVPs and Runners-up, which will include awarding $250 USD in scholarships!
      Who will be taking home the coveted ICPA Championship Plaque in May? We've got 13 schools competing in the playoffs this year, but only one will come out on top. Last year's Top 4 have all returned, comprised of the University of North Texas, the University of California San Diego, the University of Victoria, and the University of California Berkeley. Back again from the 2015 season's Top 8 are the University of Michigan, and Rochester Institute of Technology. Promising faces new to the 2015-2016 season include the University of Strathclyde, the University of Waterloo, and el Instituto Politecnico Nacional. This year's dark horses are el Tecnológico de Monterrey (Monterrey Tech), la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the University of New South Wales, and late upstarts the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
      Playoffs start Monday April 18th!
      Cheers,
      ICPA Writer
       
      p.s. If anyone is curious, I included player records whenever a player had a greater than or equal to 80% win rate.
      Acronyms used
      Group A
      UNT - University of North Texas
      UCSD - University of California - San Diego
      UVic - University of Victoria
      Monterrey Tech - Tecnológico de Monterrey
      CETYS - Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior
      OSU - Oklahoma State University
      Group B
      IPN - Instituto Politecnico Nacional
      UCB - University of California, Berkeley
      UNAM - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
      UNSW - University of New South Wales
      UH - University of Hawaii at Manoa
      UC - University of Calgary
      UAEM - Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico
      UAM-I - Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana - Iztapalpa
      Group C
      UM - University of Michigan
      Strathclyde - University of Strathclyde
      Cornell - Cornell University
      TAMU-CS - Texas A&M University- College Station
      BSU - Ball State University
      Oxford - Oxford University
      Group D
      Waterloo - University of Waterloo
      URI - University of Rhode Island
      UNC-CH - University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
      RIT - Rochester Institute of Technology
      MTU - Michigan Technological University
      Rowan - Rowan University
    • TOP 10 SNAIL POKEMON NUMBER 4 WILL SHOCK YOU
      By makiri in makiri's blog 26
      10. SLIGGOO

      9. OMANYTE

      8. ESCAVALEER

      7. SHELMET

      6. SHELLOS WEST

      5. MAGCARGO

      4. ELECTABUZZ

      3. SHELLOS EAST

      2. SHUCKLE

      1. ESCAVALIAYE

       
    • Some Say... He steals all the luck of the Irish. A Runner-Up Dublin Regional Report!
      By Wyrms Eye in VGC through the Wyrms Eye 10
      Special thanks to Thowra for the article art! It really is a fantastic piece and made my week when I saw it! If you want to see some more of his work, click here!
      Hello everyone! For those of you who don’t know, my name is Nigel Gower, otherwise known as Wyrms Eye generally. Today I would like to take you through my run at the Dublin Regional Championships in Ireland that took place on the 5th March, where I reached the Final. Before I go over the event and the team that I ran, I’ll start by giving a brief introduction to the man behind the mask.
      I’ve long been an avid follower of Pokémon from an early age, from pretty much when Pokémon hit the UK way back in the late 1990s. Since then, I've long considered it a guilty pleasure, endless hours sunk into numerous games. My actual first foray into VGC came a couple of weeks after the release of Pokémon X and Y back in late 2013. I initially decided the join Nugget Bridge to give the new format a go for a year after watching parts of the World Championship that summer. I went into the format with relatively little competitive battling under my belt, though I at least knew the mechanics behind everything. My aim was to attend an actual event during the season, something that I achieved by attending UK Nationals in Spring 2014 and went a respectable 5-3. The bug of attending events soon kicked in and I would eventually become part of the furniture at events, you could say. Over the few years between then and the present day, I have shown glimpses that I am capable of playing at a high standard, possibly my greatest achievement was the magnificent 5-3 season run in NPA 3 as part of the Mistralton Jets against very stiff opposition. But it had never truly shown itself in major real life events.
       
      Heading into the event
      The preparation going forward to Dublin actually spanned back as far as early as January. Those who know me well will know that my stance on the format has been pretty negative because it doesn’t fit my style of play particularly well at all. The hyper-offensive nature of the games, as well as the development of a primary team of six that was proving insanely dominant killed a lot of enthusiasm in playing. I like to play a semi-defensive style, with the impetus on switching to try and build momentum and initiative, something you can see in some of my best teams over the years, but the style is very ill-suited to this season. I had experimented with a number of ideas and team cores, from the Big Six to a Rayquaza & Kyogre core as well as many much less favoured choices in between. I spent a good portion of January feeling frustrated at not being able to find any deal of consistency with any team, languishing under the 1200s on the Showdown ladder pretty much in its entirety.
      I spoke to a few friends and of those that continued to give me the pep talks was Ricardo Pinto (RpIndaHouse). He was very sympathetic to my ongoing issues of consistency and graciously decided to throw a few team ideas my way to try which he had been laddering with. The early precursor to the team I got very late that month comprised of a Dual Primal and Bronzong core that had been rising in popularity thanks to Alex Gomez’s 2nd Place in Wakefield, with Mega Salamence and Gengar as further offense and supporting roles.
           
      Despite my general distaste in Trick Room at the forefront of my offensive options, the team felt better than a lot of others I had tried and was winning more consistently, but I found it very reliant on setting up every game as both Groudon and Kyogre were minimum Speed. Over the next couple of weeks, I had practised with this setup and was gracious enough to be given an updated version of the team by Ricardo one week before my trip to Arnhem in the Netherlands. This team made some pretty drastic changes outside of the main core, going from a semi-hard Trick Room setup to a semi-soft one.
           
      I figured, based on what he had told me, that this would be a better fit as it was a semi-TR team and so not as heavily reliant on the setup. It immediately felt much more natural and intuitive in practice, giving me some much-needed confidence before the trip.
      I took the above squad to Arnhem, where I had a poor start early on to go 1-2 before recovering to 4-2, playing some very respectable opponents along the way. My final round match I was up against Tobias Koschitzki (TobySxE) and the match probably served as a very telling reminder to consider all of my win conditions as well as not to throw away such a valuable position I had gained, whether by good fortune or otherwise. I eventually lost on the timer, something which Tobias was right to go for, but obviously left me rueing my own mistakes. As a result, my 4-3 record ended up finishing in 37th Place, just outside any CP awarded. That evening I was incredibly angry and riled about the situation in general. I felt like quitting the season, and probably would have were it not for the Premier Challenge hosted the next day I had entered for mostly as a time-killer while my friend Rafik Sadli played in the Top Cut of the Regional.
      My Swiss run in the Premier Challenge included Brian Zourdani who I had also made the trip to Arnhem with, who had ‘seen the light’ and ran a Scarf Smeargle based on Rafik’s flawless Swiss run, a lucky escape at 1-1 where an opponents’ Precipice Blades missed to allow me to get the necessary attack off setting in motion a win condition and finally a rather interesting match where my opponent and I had a similar team composition which led to quite a few laughs in the early game when he both made similar plays against each other. My 4-1 record meant I reached the Top Cut and I subsequently proceeded to reach the finals. The games for the Semi-Final and the Final can be found with the links provided. The result was a much-needed shot in the arm and probably can be attributed to saving me from abandoning the season. It was also really great to play on the stream in Arnhem in front of friends whose support cannot be understated. While my final was very much me being soundly demolished, it did highlight a change that was desperately necessary; that there was a need to cover for Smeargle even more in my team. I convened with a few people on what they felt would work and Smeargle unsurprisingly was the main option. Some light-testing later, I convinced myself that the change was the right one for me to make, thus the team you saw in Dublin came together…
       
      The Team

      KYOGRE @ BLUE ORB
      Quiet Nature
      Drizzle > Primordial Sea
      252 HP / 180 Def / 76 Sp.Atk [0 IV Speed]
      Ø  Water Spout
      Ø  Origin Pulse
      Ø  Ice Beam
      Ø  Protect
      Your general slow, bulky Primal Kyogre build. While it certainly isn’t as bulky as a few I knew of and encountered over the weekend, it’s hard to overstate just how incredibly valuable the Defense was. This build allows you to survive two spread Precipice Blade hits from Jolly Primal Groudon and can take an Adamant Life Orb Dragon Ascent from Mega Rayquaza, two of the biggest physical hitters in the format. The spread also allows it to survive Double-Edge from the conventional Jolly Mega Kangaskhan and can largely take a Fake Out and Double-Edge in combination generally in my favour, though obviously not a situation I aimed to play for. The remaining EV’s were put into the Special Attack largely to aid boosting damage output, although there were no other major benchmarks that were important. The Quiet Nature and minimum Speed IV were to assist Kyogre in making full use of Trick Room when it was up.
      Despite being slow, the latent bulk of this thing meant that, even outside of Trick Room, it could be a massive damage dealer to opposing Pokémon. Water Spout is of course the preferred STAB move of Choice, but Origin Pulse provides a semi-reliable backup when Water Spout becomes largely redundant. Ice Beam provides useful coverage on Dragon and Grass-types notably, while Protect is self-explanatory. The set therefore does leave much to be desired against any users of Wide Guard, but generally this was a risk I was happy to take thanks to the general cohesiveness of the team. In practice, Kyogre provided me with my main offensive mode in Trick Room, but saw successful use consistently outside of it both in practice and at proper events. There’s obviously merit in running Kyogre somewhat bulkier and not worrying too much on the Speed aspect of it as there’s remarkably little that can knock it out in a single hit.
       

      BRONZONG @ LUM BERRY
      Sassy Nature
      Levitate
      252 HP / 76 Def / 180 Sp.Def [0 IV Speed]
      Ø  Trick Room
      Ø  Skill Swap
      Ø  Gyro Ball
      Ø  Imprison
      This is a semi-standard Bronzong build, based more on being more defensive in exchange for trying to secure knockouts with Gyro Ball on its main targets. The Special Defense itself is a substantial investment designed to take Primal Kyogre Water Spout with a boosting nature, doing so with a bit of health to spare. It also tanks its key target, Xerneas, with relative ease. A +2 fully invested Timid variant only achieves a 5.1% chance to 2HKO. On the physical side, Bronzong can take a Precipice Blades from Jolly Groudon 15/16 times if it is spread damage and Levitate is not a factor. In all, defensively it meets a lot of the criteria that a Trick Room setter needs to match.
      All of Trick Room, Skill Swap and Gyro Ball are staples on Bronzong. In my specific situation, Gyro Ball is only a 2HKO on typical Xerneas, even at +2 Speed, but that’s usually not a big issue given the bulk allows it to get those hits off, especially in Trick Room. The main quirk of this set lies with Imprison. There is a specific reason I ran Imprison over Gravity which is more standard; it allows me to dictate the weather war much more effectively when facing a similar Trick Room Double Primal team who opts to run Cresselia. By using Imprison after a Trick Room is set up for example, it effectively neuters the Cresselia from being able to Skill Swap their weather condition to win the war, opening up completely new win conditions. It does mean the Bronzong needs to stay active on the field, but it combines extremely well with Kyogre. It also means if such a player makes the call to Skill Swap and attack with Groudon while I have Bronzong and Kyogre on the field and rain is up, the Imprison usually leads to heavy damage dealt. This was not my first use of Imprison this season; some players may recall my unusual Imprison Landorus-T set I used at a range of Premier Challenges in late 2015 to some decent success.
      Whilst in practice I used Bronzong on a semi-frequent basis, the actual events saw its use somewhat muted, Dublin being no exception to this. I also had no need for Imprison during the whole weekend, but hindsight is a wonderful thing in such cases, so it’s hard to quantify how much I missed Gravity there in the long run. Despite that, it provides a plethora of options that make it such a dangerous beast to play against. Under the right circumstances, Bronzong can literally be a win condition in its own right.
       

      KANGASKHAN @ KANGASKHANITE
      Jolly Nature
      Inner Focus > Parental Bond
      4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Speed
      Ø  Fake Out
      Ø  Double-Edge
      Ø  Sucker Punch
      Ø  Low Kick
      Standard Kangaskhan build. I decided to run a basic spread because I felt it was the most comfortable option, even though I did risk ties with opposing Kangaskhan and could conceivably be knocked out from an opposing Low Kick in exact mirrors. I chose Inner Focus because it meant that I could still reliably Fake Out an opposing Pokémon on the field if necessary or get some needed damage off. I think it only came into play once during the event, but proved itself in practice a lot more. I think moving forward I will look into optimising the spread, but I do feel that whatever happens, the Speed is mandatory.
      The moveset is pretty basic and self-explanatory. The decision to run Double-Edge or Return as well as Power-Up Punch or Low Kick is often down to the users personal preferences. In this particular case, I favoured damage output over setup-sweeping potential, but either work really well in this format. It’s worth noting that a lot of Pokémon are starting to be much more invested defensively now in the run towards Nationals. The raw output is of course the matriarch of mayhem’s biggest selling point, able to mercilessly steamroll ill-prepared teams, especially if she has Power-Up Punch. On the whole, I feel she has once again retained her crown as the best Mega in the format, although Salamence I am sure will provide a sustained challenge in the next few months.
       

      GROUDON @ RED ORB
      Jolly Nature
      Drought > Desolate Land
      4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Speed
      Ø  Fire Punch
      Ø  Precipice Blades
      Ø  Substitute
      Ø  Protect
      Perhaps somewhat unusually for a Double Primal Team, a fast, physical Groudon. I think most of my prospective opponents when at team preview would generally consider that both Kyogre and Groudon were built to be slow, bulky variants. However, as a team, I liked the change Ricardo suggested in running a faster Groudon because it meant I occasionally caught people by surprise out of Trick Room. I’m also of the opinion that the physical variant is better than special sets, although I do believe there is some untapped mileage in mixed. It might be something I look into going forward.
      Fire Punch, Precipice Blades and Protect are pretty standard for physical Groudon, while Substitute is a little more unorthodox. When talking to Ricardo, he suggested it was good as a way to block Dark Void from Smeargle affecting Groudon as you out-speed the Sash variants. In practice, it worked fairly well, but often requires some fairly solid prediction on my part. Either way, if I had Substitute up, it provided an additional safety net. There’s no reason why an alternative move such as Rock Slide or Stone Edge could have been used, but generally Groudon can cover the majority of threats with only those two moves.
       

      WEAVILE @ FOCUS SASH
      Jolly Nature
      Pressure
      4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Speed
      Ø  Fake Out
      Ø  Feint
      Ø  Icicle Crash
      Ø  Knock Off
      Typical Weavile build, making use of its latent strengths. The Focus Sash is highly useful in allowing Weavile to usually get one more attack off, save for being doubled into or just hit by Mega Kangaskhan. One thing I took into consideration when using Weavile was that I could usually be fairly safe to Fake Out in the face of opposing Quick Guard users, including Talonflame, who predominantly run Adamant natures rather than Timid. It’s simple, but effective. Only Crobat really puts a dent into this idea, but it’s very rare you aim to Fake Out while a Crobat is on the field anyways.
      Generally, Weavile is used purely for fast Fake Out needs, but also has access to arguably one of the best supportive moves in my opinion this generation in Feint. Being able to break any guard or Protect that is used is extremely powerful. It can also be good to guarantee knockouts on severely weakened opposition who might aim to Protect to stall out one more turn. Indeed, Feint came into its own in a number of matches across the day, helping to pick off ailing opposition freely. While Icicle Crash is not a guaranteed knock-out at -1 on Mega Salamence from full health, it is enough damage to usually put it within easy range for other team members to take it down. However, Weavile comes into its own when dealing with Rayquaza and can also severely help in hampering Yveltal, Liepard and Gengar cores from operating how they would like to, who would otherwise provide this team with something of a major headache. Icicle Crash and Knock Off are good STAB options on the whole.
      I really feel Weavile is criminally undervalued in the metagame right now as it has a very good typing that allows it to cover a lot of ground and can provide the support teams crave to do some pretty powerful plays. While it does find itself in the fast and fragile range and Xerneas is still a massive threat for it, its Speed gives it a notable edge over other Pokémon fulfilling similar roles. This thing helped to patch a few holes on my team and makes the RayOgre match much more finely balanced.
       

      SMEARGLE @ CHOICE SCARF
      Jolly Nature
      Own Tempo
      4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Speed
      Ø  Fake Out
      Ø  Dark Void
      Ø  Crafty Shield
      Ø  Follow Me
      The final member of the team was the most recent addition, made to cover a very specific scenario, but ultimately carries incredible utility that honestly would be rude not to use. For what it was worth, Smeargle only saw action in three games total; two of them it did absolutely nothing while the third it got one attack off integral to winning that game. The EVs are designed with Trick Room Bronzong’s in mind, as well as being better equipped to deal with a few physical hits on the whole. I wasn’t completely down with my Smeargle defensive calculations though, something that would ultimately come back to bite me later. The Scarf is arguably an unpopular build choice, in addition to many people who I spoke to suggesting I run a slow Sash variant, but given the Focus Sash was already taken and didn’t feel like making the switch to a Life Orb Weavile instead, I made an executive choice to run it and keep it under my hat.
      The moveset is arguably the best for a Scarf variant, though Crafty Shield is used over Wide Guard which is mostly to cover my teams’ general needs. The rest of the moveset is pretty standard. While I dutifully respect that the use of Smeargle might deter people, I do feel that not taking full advantage of its set of skills during the Swiss rounds probably made my progress more difficult than it otherwise might have been. On the flip-side though, its purpose on the team was to cover me on opposing Smeargle in general, plus I felt it was prudent to not use it as a crutch. For the most part it wasn’t a major loss in the long run.
       
      Trip and Event
      My journey to Dublin started early on Friday with two largely uninteresting coach journeys to one of the hotels nearby at Stansted Airport, which would act as a stop-over point. I met up with Will Tansley (StarKO), Adam Walker (Senran) and Rafik Sadli at the hotel later that evening before getting some sleep before the unspeakably early morning flight to come. We got a short lift to the airport from Matt King (MSK), having a largely smooth passage through security before eventually boarding the flight – not before catching up with Brian Zourdani in the queue to board!
      One flight later, we hit the tarmac on the Emerald Isle, where I finally got to meet Konrad Janik (Gonzo) and Shang Lou for the first time. From the terminal, a short 20 minute bus ride and a small walk through the local university campus later, we arrived at the venue! The hotel that the G-Series event which encompassed all of the general e-Sport games taking place there was very much a high-end establishment, and as such the room it had set aside for the whole event was pretty sizable. I only explored a small chunk of it, in the form of the modestly sized hall we were given. I am under the impression though that the main halls for the bigger and more lucrative games were in easy reach for viewing and considerably bigger though. Cue general check-in, meet up with friends and socialising time before the event kicked off at around 11am! It became apparent that numbers would be down on what previous regional events had seen, but the standard of player that were in attendance was on average much higher. It also attracted a few players from France, Spain and Portugal to attend. As we drew closer to the player meeting, there was a murmur that we may miss hitting 64 Masters, which would have seen the kicker for points go down to the top 32 players. By a small miracle though, we hit the number on the button, meaning we would play six rounds of Swiss with a Top Cut of eight players. I need not tell you the cheer when that got announced was one of unbridled relief and joy!
      My aspirations going into the event were modest enough; I would be happy to get CP although a spot in the top 16 would have been respectable. Anything above that I considered a bonus and beyond reasonable expectations.
       
      Round 1 – Xavier Sabardeil (IchiVGC) - 21st Place (4-2)
          ::  
      Video Code: X96G - WWWW - WW3Q - CCCS
      My first round opponent Xavier was a French player whom I’d not personally met before but given he had made the trip over to Dublin, it’s fair to assume he was a decent player with ambitions on qualifying for Worlds. The match-up was one that had a slight variation away from standard, but not enough to be a major concern. I decided to lead Weavile and Kangaskhan as it gave me a general good opening against his squad, and offered sensible switch potential, while he led Kangaskhan and Kyogre.
      The opening turns were very much a chess game as both of us tried to put ourselves into a favourable position by some tactical switching. Turn 2 arguably proved important as Weavile was able to Knock Off the Power Herb on his Xerneas on the same turn he chose to Geomancy, locking it down. While Groudon failed to hit Xerneas on that turn, the damage done onto the Kyogre slot indicated a bulky Kyogre, most likely not running much Speed investment. This made my turn 3 read much easier, though not without its risks, in using Precipice Blades in order to pick up a double-knockout and leave myself a solid 4-2 position. At this point, my win condition is simply knockout the Kangaskhan on his side as Talonflame would succumb to its own recoil over time. Good game Xavier!
      Win (1-0)
       
      Round 2 – Miguel Marti de la Torre (Sekiam) - 5th Place Overall (6-0 & 1st Place Swiss)
          ::  
      Video Code: W59G - WWWW - WW3Q - CCJ2
      Nothing like being thrown into the fire early on in the Swiss rounds! My next opponent would be none other than Sekiam, a world calibre player and without a doubt was one of the hot favourites to do well in the event. Miguel’s team was an adaptation on the popular ‘Big Six’ archetype that I expected to see and hear a lot of throughout the event, with his change being a Cresselia over the Smeargle. I decided to once again lead with Kangaskhan and Weavile to best cover his leads, with Miguel opting to lead with Xerneas and Salamence.
      It’s safe to say with hindsight I know that the combination of the first two turns set me up for the loss I was soon to incur. My turn 1 play for the most part was reasonable to a degree, but the fact that the Salamence did not Protect meant I had a golden opportunity to potentially KO it that turn by doubling up into it. The Xerneas going for Dazzling Gleam was also sensible, as Weavile causes the biggest issues for his freshly Mega Evolved Salamence. Likewise, the Mega Salamence is arguably the biggest threat to my team, so the following turn I reasoned that it would most likely Protect then… but it didn’t. The huge over-extension on my end, combined with the brazen offensive plays he made meant I never saw his rearguard selections. Needless to say I was kicking myself after, but I took some solace from the fact that I would likely benefit in my resistance figures. Good game Miguel, hopefully we can play again and I can provide a sterner test for you!
      Loss (1-1)
       
      Round 3 – William Redmond
          ::  
      Video Code: 2V4G - WWWW - WW3Q - CCNP
      Going into this round at 1-1, I was somewhat apprehensive as a number of very notable faces were already with a single loss. My feeling of dread soon melted away as I found myself paired with a name I had not heard of. William though was an exceptionally chill guy and going into the team preview, I had to give him credit for bringing the team that he did, but it certainly allayed some of my nerves. Will was carrying just a single restricted Pokémon in Rayquaza, and only one other major offensive threat in Mawile. I lead with Weavile and Kyogre and found, to my surprise, that he led with his two biggest hitters.
      I see no reason not to Fake Out the Rayquaza and Water Spout on the opening turn; at worst the Mawile will Mega Evolve and use Sucker Punch to weaken the damage dealt, but it would still be severely damaged. When he elected to go Mega Rayquaza, I knew that I would have control of the game. From there, removing Rayquaza was the key as whatever he had in the back, which turned out to be Cresselia and Wobbuffet, would simply not be able to cope or cover sufficiently. I asked him why he made the first turn as he did, his response was he wanted to remove my rain. I make the point that his Air Lock was already achieving the same function, just not showcasing its effect in an obvious manner. While it is apparent William was more of a casual player, he still enjoys the game and I have to applaud his choice of team members, it was a nice distraction to the general humdrum of offerings we see. Good game man!
      Win (2-1)
       
      Round 4 – Kelly Mercier-White (KellsterCartier) - 24th Place (3-3)
          ::  
      Video Code: 73RW - WWWW - WW3Q - CCQL
      My round 4 opponent would be the face of Ireland’s VGC hopes neatly packaged in a Canadian spirit, my good friend Kelly. It was a great shame to see him at 2-1, especially as he had also played Sekiam in the previous round. While we have played a number of times outside of events for practice and testing, this would be out first official tournament battle! It is fair to say I was nervous, but playing against friends can either be a fantastic experience, leading to some of the best battles you’ll ever have on the circuit… or they can be emotional train wrecks that should be discarded. Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, I present to you Exhibit A of why my report is called “Some Say he steals the luck of the Irish.”
      Critically before this battle, Kelly already has a very decent advantage as he has prior knowledge of the team thanks to the Arnhem PC and being on the stream there, so he knows what to expect and a few of the small techs I carry, though he specifically does not know anything about the Smeargle. The team preview reveals Kelly is using a fairly standard RayOgre team, with Ferrothorn and Thundurus providing the supporting pieces of a very strong core. Weavile immediately is valuable for a lead to get the fast Fake Out and cover for a lot of what Kelly’s team has to offer, and Kangaskhan beside it means I carry strong offensive pressure from the outset. Kelly elects to lead Kangaskhan and Thundurus.
      Turn 1 plays out ideally for me. Kelly opts to Protect his Thundurus, presumably expecting a Fake Out, while I figure the Kangaskhan poses more of an immediate problem, so I double into him, abusing my faster Fake Out on Weavile and Kangaskhan’s Low Kick to remove it from the equation. The Fake Out from Weavile crits. In general, that critical hit didn’t matter; judging from the damage of Low Kick, I would have secured the knockout regardless. Either way, Kelly is far from amused at the situation. Cue ‘Unamused’ the Kyogre to switch in and I immediately start laughing at the appropriateness of the name. I didn’t consider the Kyogre a bait switch, so when he immediately pulled back out into Ferrothorn, I was slightly apprehensive given I had just used Double-Edge into that slot, with Weavile going for the safe Icicle Crash onto the Thundurus. Thundurus gets an attack off first and paralyses my Kangaskhan. Weavile crits with Icicle Crash, securing the knockout. That mattered. Double-Edge then goes off. Critical on the first hit… critical on the second hit. I make a beeline to try and hide under the table. Yeah… needless to say Kelly was not happy. Four critical hits in two turns is beyond reasonable.
      I’ll let you guys enjoy the rest of the battle, because Kelly, for all the bad luck he was dealt, gamely brought it back and nearly pulled off an amazing win after I badly misplayed. My plays from 4-2 should definitely come with a choking hazard, because I could have locked up the game much cleaner than what transpired. I cannot apologise enough to Kelly; the RNG was the clear winner here, robbing us of a good game but kudos for taking it so amazingly well under the circumstances and still making me sweat in the closing stages.
      Win (3-1)
      We had the luxury of a decently long lunch break, which pretty much everyone took openly by heading across the street to the local Subway for lunch (or at least it felt like it!). I learned that William for his part had got to 4-0, meaning he was one win away from his first Regional cut, and the majority of our group had a neutral record or better. I knew myself I had a probably a very solid shout at earning some championship points, though one more win would be enough to consolidate my position and avoid a bubble situation. However, my prospective opposition would also be in a similar position, with both likely to be very talented players in their own right.
       
      Round 5 – Tom Plater (TheSaxlad) - 4th Place Overall (4-2 & 8th Place Swiss)
          ::  -w
      Video Code: QRFW - WWWW - WW3Q - CCTR
      I was not surprised in the slightest to end up playing someone I knew at this stage. I have had a few previous battles with Tom during the season, including our set up at the Battlemaster Finals and at least one match in a local Premier Challenge down in Whitstable. In pretty much every case I can remember, the battles have been somewhat one-sided and whoever gained an early advantage often went and carried the momentum from there to win. Aside from that though, it was good to see Tom doing so well at this event, so I was interested to see what he had brought to the table. After a glance, it was immediately apparent on what the team was designed to do.
      Tom’s team, who I would later find out was using Barry Anderson's (Baz Anderson) very unique team and core idea for the weekend, was built exclusively around the concept of Gravity and Sleep-inducing moves. Particularly noteworthy was the Hypnosis on the expected Mega Gengar and Grasswhistle on the Whimsicott. In addition, the Groudon would most likely be packing Precipice Blades and the Kyurem-White would carry Blizzard. Perhaps the most obvious comment some of you might be thinking is ‘Why didn’t you bring Smeargle considering it has Crafty Shield?’ The answer to this is frankly at the time, I wasn’t thinking all that clearly and a part of me was hanging onto some pride at not having to bust it out until it was necessary. It most certainly would have been helpful here, we learn from the experience. I decide to lead Kangaskhan and Weavile, the latter being an integral part of my strategy, while Tom elects to lead with Gengar and Sableye.
      Given that Kangaskhan can do nothing to either of his leads, I switch out to Groudon to keep it for his two in the back, assuming Groudon and Kyurem are the most likely to be there. At the same time, Weavile applies as much pressure as possible to his Mega Gengar with Knock Off which pays off by turn 3, although at the loss of Primal Groudon. Tom’s Whimsicott knowing Protect was a surprise, but a highly valuable play that gives him the advantage in the next turn to freely Grasswhistle whatever he wanted. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I present Exhibit B. I made a speculative play on the turn he Grasswhistles by opting to attack Groudon with Icicle Crash, playing to flinch to preserve the Sash on Weavile and in so doing burn the automatic turn of sleep on Kangaskhan and stall out his Gravity. Even with this flinch however, the game at this point was still mostly in his favour I feel. Neither of us played the endgame remarkably well; Tom’s lack of consideration to Weavile’s Feint meant he lost Groudon cheaply where he could have swapped in Sableye. On the flip-side, not going for the Icicle Crash onto Whimsicott meant my Kangaskhan was knocked out cheaply as well. At the end of the day however, I am glad that this loss did not cost him a top cut berth, as he sneaked into the knockout phase as the best 4-2 record on his resistance.
      Win (4-1)
       
      Round 6 – Jake Birch (WhiteAfroKing92) - 18th Place (4-2)
          ::  
      Video Code: 2XTW - WWWW - WW3Q - CDWY
      At 4-1, there was a mixture of relief and nervousness in equal measures, knowing I had CP in my pocket, but at the same time, the opportunity to Top Cut was just a single game away. The trainer to stand in my way was another friend of mine in Jake Birch. I’ve played Jake numerous times at events, my first occasion being back in 2014 at UK Nationals. Since then we’ve had some fantastic matches. He’s always been such great fun to be around (especially after a couple of pints), whatever the situation.
      The team he was running was a standard Big Six, with him exclaiming that I would definitely enjoy the matchup at team preview. In many respects I did and didn’t in equal measure with my patchy record against it. I decided to lead with Kangaskhan and Groudon, a semi-standard lead for me in this matchup, while Jake opted to lead with his own Kangaskhan and Smeargle. Immediately I’m concerned about the Smeargle, and I am prepared to risk the Spiky Shield play. Fortunately, he overextends and opted to Dark Void right off the bat, which means that Smeargle goes down for free. I learn next turn that his Kangaskhan is max Speed by virtue of his winning the Speed tie, but I make a blunder by opting to Substitute on my Groudon, where a Fire Punch onto either of his active Pokemon (the Talonflame the better choice here) would put me in a 3-2 advantage and crucially win the weather war. From that position, I’d have free reign to make some sensible switching and set up the Trick Room, rather than end up in an agonising situation of banking on a 15% miss as it eventually transpired. In fairness however, Jake revealed after the game that he had Earth Power but was not confident it would have picked up the knockout on Primal Kyogre. As much as it will hurt, Jake choked and I got given an out I should never have had offered. I don’t think either of us could actually believe what happened on that last turn. Good game Jake, as ever our battles never cease to entertain. All credit to the guy, Jake took the loss gracefully and wished me well in top cut…
      Words I didn’t think I’d hear that weekend. I knew (and I still fully accept) that I had largely sailed through the last three rounds of Swiss on a wave of good fortune and opponents making small but costly errors, but I’ve always been a firm believer that to do well at an event, you need to play decently well and benefit from the factors that fall in your favour.
      Win (5-1)
       
      My first port of call was to find the guys I had traveled with to see how they did. William for his part secured his top cut berth by winning in round 5 against Lee Provost on stream, before losing to Miguel in the final round. He was naturally very happy to have a major breakthrough after a season of near misses. Let me just say, seeing him smile during Swiss is a rare event! Adam went 4-2 after a final round loss to Mark McQuillan. While obviously crestfallen at letting his own top cut aspirations slip, he defied his expectations for the weekend and finished 13th with a team of very unorthodox choices, one place behind Rafik who recovered well from a slow start to also finish 4-2. Matthew King also went 4-2 after beating Kelly in the final round of Swiss. Both ended up in the top 32 of the standings along with Brian who went 3-3.
      When it came around to me saying I was 5-1, most of them were shocked, like I was. None of them ever really expected it, but I think the people who were the most surprised ended up being Matteo and Will. Matteo had been busy on the stream for the final two rounds but was doing running duties shortly after the conclusion of the final round, trying to gather the early kernels of information for the stream. When I told him, I got pulled into the biggest embrace of the weekend; you could tell he was ecstatic for me because he knew how much it meant, and similarly reserved an embrace for Will’s exploits too. With Will, he had seen the nadir of my season from Arnhem and was fully aware how invested I was into the chase. He also knew fully just how painful it was to be just out of reach of your goals and thus could appreciate just how significant it truly was.
      When the standings were announced, I found myself sat in 4th Place. Immediately I looked at 5th and saw that my next opponent would be Lee Provost, Finalist at the Glasgow Regional. I had never played Lee before, but fully appreciated he would prove one of the sternest challenges I could face as a previous top cut World Competitor. In general, the quality of the top cut field was pretty exceptional, to be in such excellent company was pretty satisfying. To raise the stakes a little more, we got word that me and Lee would be playing on the commentated streaming capture card. Suffice to say there was a large groundswell of support to have me on the stream which I later found out after re-watching it!
      We had a sizable wait before we actually got to begin playing, so Lee and I were able to have a decent conversation prior to the battles. I don’t remember much of the context within the chat (I’ve been to sleep since then!), but it was incredible to listen to his thoughts and viewpoints. It also reaffirmed just how tight and supportive the community is regardless of experience and background. Once given the go ahead, we shook hands, said our “Good Luck’s” and got down into the battle.
       
      Top Cut QF – Lee Provost (Osirus) - 7th Place Overall (5-1 & 5th Place Swiss)
           
      Lee’s RayOgre team looked extremely solid. The core included Ferrothorn and Crobat which complimented his restricted legendary Pokemon very well. In addition, Togekiss and Hitmontop added what looked to be some other supportive options that could make the games somewhat difficult to work around. Judging from this team, I could tell that removing Rayquaza from the game for as little impact as possible would prove key for me winning this encounter. I also had to be mindful of his Ferrothorn as another potential win condition if Groudon was removed from play. On my side, Weavile would be very important to my overall chances because of the pressure it puts on Rayquaza, but he also needed to remove Groudon at the earliest convenience. I’m not going to comment too heavily on these games due to the commentary, but I will highlight the key points that might raise a few questions. Also, fair warning for viewers, this entire set comes with a hefty choking hazard from both sides!
      Game 1:
      There are arguably two key turns in this game that I felt gave me the advantage. The first turn, where I removed the Hitmontop without it being able to do anything meant any speculative Wide Guard he could’ve had I would not have to worry about. The other turn where he doubled into Primal Kyogre with his Mega Rayquaza and Ferrothorn while I used Double-Edge with Kangaskhan to take down the Mega Ray meant it opened up the game almost exclusively in my favour. I don’t think his Rayquaza needed to attack Kyogre by any means. That said, I didn’t play the endgame cleverly but his board position at the end was not strong enough to mount a comeback.
      I did get to take some good information from the game, most notably that the Mega Rayquaza is holding the Assault Vest which is really quite cool. Given my previous antics with the Vest, I know that there will be some ridiculous damage calculations, if the damage from my Primal Kyogre’s Ice Beam is any indication.
      Game 2:
      I saw no reason not to lead differently, but I fail to spot the obvious baited switch into Ferrothorn, which left me at a modest disadvantage from the outset. The other main play I made that most may question is my switch into Groudon on the same turn he decided to bring in Rayquaza. Short answer is yes, had I not switched on that turn, I would have been in a potential game-winning position. I was making a very speculative play. I don’t also understand why I made that play so I put it down to a heat-of-the-moment call and a massive choke.
      Game 3:
      Lee for his part makes a very clever adaptation to his lead strategy and opts to bring Crobat to the battle. The early game I was definitely being heavily punished for not making a suitable adaptation from the previous game and I took a great deal of damage on both Primals before I even got a foothold in the match. I made a conscious choice to switch Weavile on the turn I did. While it was valuable for the expected Rayquaza in the back, critically I felt that it posed the least benefit to my position at that point and there was an element of hope that I would get out of the turn with Weavile on 1HP to get off a cheap hit, but it was not to be. My subsequent switch in also left people scratching heads, and possibly this entire game. I was nervous, playing over-aggressive at this point and occasionally making some huge calls, some of which were unnecessary, whilst also benefiting from a couple of Lee’s own errors. The commentary team I think summed up this game pretty well. Somehow, I had clawed my way into an endgame that would have been difficult to lose from (though it was possible). Once again though Lee, thank you for the games and I wish you luck in your hunt for that Day 2 qualification!
       
      Once the game had finished and both me and Lee exchanged some brief words, I celebrated in perhaps the loudest fashion by shouting ‘Come On!’ at the top of my lungs. Such was the relief and joy at winning such a close encounter that my normally very reserved demeanour I keep for events got shattered. The fact it was loud enough for the microphone setup the commentary stream was using to pick it up says something for the volume I shouted at and the brilliant sensitivity of the microphone! One interview later and a brief spell outside to calm down, I was ready to go into the Semis, a re-match against one of my Swiss opponents…
       
      Top Cut SF – Tom Plater (TheSaxlad)
           -w
      Tom for his part had pulled off a major victory over Miguel Marti in the previous round and was in a very buoyant mood for making it this far. These games, like so many where opponents have already played in Swiss, would probably see Game 1 played out in a similar fashion to a Game 2; there’s information that has already been given and both sides would look to adapt to this. For my part, I’m dead set in the knowledge that no matter what happens, I should expect to be put to sleep, so my mindset whilst playing was not to be put off if it happened and probably helped me keep my cool considering there was a place in the final at stake.
      Game 1:  Q5WW - WWWW - WW3Q - CD5J
      That said, my Smeargle has Crafty Shield and I decided to lead Smeargle in the first game. In my generally mentally fatigued state though, I made a very speculative play on my end. In the Swiss rounds, I knew that Sableye had revealed three moves to me, none of which were Taunt. I figured it was possible that it might have been carrying Fake Out or Quash, which is why, against all reasonable judgement, I clicked Dark Void on that opening turn. Fast forward to the end of the turn, and Smeargle is no longer able to battle. Despite being 3-4 down, I was able to safely switch in Kyogre, and secured a double knockout on the following turn as he decided to set up his own Gravity and switched Groudon for Landorus-T. The turning point of this match I feel was when he made by his own accounts a grave error in his target selection the following turn. I managed to break his Focus Sash with Feint on the Weavile, still standing after the massive turn 1 hit, which he then inexplicably Grasswhistled, leaving my Primal Kyogre free to Ice Beam it and remove it from the game. The other bit of good fortune was the marginal survival of my own Primal Groudon after his revealed it had Earth Power on 2HP. In a game with such small margins, its stuff like that which can define a tournament.
      Game 2: XEVW - WWWW - WW3Q - CD8C
      This game, I figure that I want to go in with a team designed to be more aggressive and head on, so Smeargle gets benched. I immediately catch Tom in a poor lead which quickly sees me establish a 4-2 position, once more his Landorus-T being the scapegoat to try and regain some sort of momentum. He makes a couple of sensible plays in this game to stop me from casually breaking down his Whimsicott with my Weavile, but the clincher here comes in the form of a Protect on my Kyogre which blocks what I felt was an obvious Grasswhistle attempt from Whimsicott. In the situation at hand, I feel the decision was a 50/50 gut play for him; my Kyogre obviously holds the key to me being able to win, so to try and incapacitate it long enough for Groudon to attack unimpeded was sound reasoning. In the same logic, Whimsicott is his win condition because the Sash means I need two hits to remove it, allowing him potentially two cracks at putting something to sleep, so Kangaskhan getting in to attack it was the only guaranteed measure I had. This immediately gave me the security to wrap up the contest, though not before his Groudon got a parting salvo of a last minute crit on my Kyogre. Good games again Tom, and congratulations on the finish!
       
      So I made the final. Sure, I had probably stolen all the luck of the Irish to do it, but I had made it there. My match with Tom finished before Will and David Mizrahi’s, despite starting later due to technical issues with the streaming equipment not showing the capture screen on the venue’s TV monitor. I was able to catch the final couple of turns of the other match once they switched over to watch to see Will apparently asserting his dominance in Game 3. If I had been able to see the opening salvos of that match it would have been far from the case! When he finished, I was actually the first person to congratulate him after David. When I let him in on the fact he was playing me, he was literally grinning ear-to-ear at the unbelievable circumstances of the day. We both got a short interview over with Matteo, prior to which saw the creation of a glorious meme face when he found out I was in the final. Hopefully someone will share it, because it’s pure gold. Once that was done, Will and I went back to the top table for one last time…
       
      Top Cut FINAL – William Tansley (StarKO) - (5-1 & 2nd Place Swiss)
           
      Will had a pretty conventional path to the final with two Big Six mirrors from his opponents. It was almost fitting to play him in the finals. Having broken his long-standing issue of bubbling at Regional events, Will had shown comprehensively that once he got to this stage that he would thrive. Given we’re such close friends and talk on a regular basis, we both knew what the other was essentially running so a lot of the information that we would normally try to gather was essentially already committed to memory. The only thing that served as a wildcard was my Smeargle as while he previously knew of it being on the team as an addition post-Arnhem, he was unaware of the setup it ran.
      The match-up itself is under normal circumstances in my favour, but once again my patchy record against such teams and the fact I’m arguably playing one of the best Big Six players in Europe means it is far from clear cut. Trick Room is by far the best answer to his team, so I go into Game 1 with intent on getting the strategy running.
      Game 1:
      I think this was by far the worst game I had played across the weekend. It wasn’t because I was nervous on this occasion; I was pretty much at ease, but because of how poorly I read the game. The first turn was probably the killer play as I tamely try to Fake Out the Smeargle, ending up hitting its Spiky Shield, while Will gets his Mega Kangaskhan to +2 for free. That alone placed enough pressure on me that I would likely be severely damaged by the time it left the field. In addition, his Smeargle seemed to be Detroit-bent on bolstering its Defense to an insane level, which on a team of mostly physical hitters is far from good. From then on I was playing catch-up and made some pretty desperate calls in order to make something happen. The Bronzong Skill Swap play to grab Moody was a desperate roll of the dice, hoping to pick up ideally an Evasion boost or at the very least a Defense boost. But alas, Moody showcased why it can be incredibly useful and cruel in equal measures as, in Trick Room, Bronzong proceeds to get a Speed boost. I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation, the sheer comical timing was on point.
      Game 2:
      I knew I needed to shake my leads up and try to pull my finger out to make a match of this. Smeargle obviously fitted the bill. One of the critical details that made my first turn play here so easy was that I was 99% sure that Will’s Kangaskhan had the Scrappy ability. This meant Weavile’s Fake Out onto it was a safe play in my eyes and knowing my Smeargle had the Scarf, I would be able to Dark Void straight away and provided it connected, set myself into an ideal position. While I was in pretty good control throughout the match, there was an element of relying on the sleep turns. Will knew the score and would have punished me, but even he will concede that he took a dose of his own medicine this game.
      Game 3:
      Once again, this game was decided on the first turn with me crucially overestimating the defensive capabilities of Smeargle which I learnt to my ultimate cost. I still stand by my Pokemon decisions and there were plays that I could have made that might have made the game itself far more interesting. For example, if Smeargle had opted to Fake Out Kangaskhan and Weavile went for Knock Off, the net result would have seen the game go 3v3 into the following turn with options to switch in on my side. There would still have been some unsavory speed ties that would have been a factor in who gained that fateful edge, but VGC16 is full of them. At the end of the day, Will made the better adaptation and was thinking much more clearly than I did, and is a worthy champion. Good games mate, I have no regrets losing to you at all.
       
      The Aftermath
      Following the conclusion of the tournament, we spent around an hour milling about at the venue as various individuals decided their next course of action. Both Will and I were running on pure adrenaline from our results, neither of us really all there, you could probably tell from the post-match interview on the stream. That said, Matteo’s kiss on stream was a real shock, but he kept his promise to the viewers, that's what matters!
      Our initial plan had been to get a sizable group of players together and find a local bar and enjoy a few drinks and grab something to eat at the same time, but it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t going to be entirely feasible. In the end, a group of nine of us decided to indulge in a small pizzeria restaurant only a few streets away from the venue. Though we had a short wait for a table, the food was certainly worth it. Amongst the group were those that I had travelled with from Stansted and had met in Dublin’s arrivals area, Suzie Masters who had been assisting the running of the event and the two French players, including my first round opponent Xavier, who had struck up a rapport with Rafik at the venue. We also had Kelly, Matteo and a few others join us shortly before we left, bolstering numbers. While not long after the group fragmented, the core group caught the bus back to the airport and after getting a more comfortable night sleep than anticipated, we were soon on our way back into Stansted Airport.
      The result itself has been a massive turning point in my season, so much so that qualifying for Worlds, even on the Day 1 invite, is now very much within reach. Prior to Dublin, I sat on 105CP all earned through Premier Challenges (Including the Arnhem result which I was not aware had got elevated status despite falling short on numbers). I felt that unless I made something of this event, I would have curtailed my silly season and would most likely only have attended UK Nationals. As it now stands, I'm keen to secure the remaining points I need, preferably before the National events so I can go there relaxed and aim to savor the weekend.
       
      Metagame Ramblings
      I suppose this tournament has largely helped me find some redeeming qualities about the format. The natural balance between the three favored archetypes that teams have clustered around form an interesting triangle, but there is some interest in the overall significance of a major omission in this balance in the form of Yveltal. This is despite accumulating Regional victories on the continent, it is only now starting to come to the foreground. This is something of a developing storm approaching as Yveltal has the potential to break the non-Big Six teams. The question is can a team be formed around it that can provide it a stable match-up against the Xerneas and Groudon teams that populate the ladders?
      I do think the metagame has not fully developed now after speaking to more players and experiencing the larger tournaments, which have pulled out a great deal of interesting ideas, so going forward into the final stretch of Regional events and the Nationals will I think showcase new combinations that are less explored gaining traction. That’s not to say the establishment teams will completely be broken apart though. It’s more a case of how the new ideas marry up with the current state of affairs. Tom's use of Gravinosis, which was the brainchild of Barry Anderson, is a welcome reminder that there are strategic options that can readily take advantage of under-explored and under-appreciated ideas.
      One thing that still does give me some consternation is Smeargle. I used Smeargle more as a versatile sixth Pokemon which covered a notable hole in my team whilst also adding a further facets to it that aid in giving me more flexibility. Part of my reason for not using it earlier in the season could be put down to stubborn pride on not wanting to resort to it, which probably says as much about my character in not wanting to upset the apple cart as it does in showing a weakness in my armory as a player. I feel it’s now something I’m openly addressing by using it. I still do feel strongly about Smeargle’s very massive effect on games and have given support to some form of ban on either Dark Void, Moody, or the combination of the two. It adds such a huge luck factor into proceedings above and beyond what we currently have and can turn finely poised matches quickly into one players’ favour. It’s now becoming increasingly apparent that any action that the player-base may have hoped would come is unlikely to be anytime soon, so players will need to actively cater to having a way to neuter it. I still hope some action will be taken, but even I have accepted that it’s likely not going to come anytime soon.
       
      What I took away from the weekend:
      ·         Closing out games is an area of the game I need to work on. Far too often during key battles, I was not closing out solid win conditions on a number of occasions. This led to some close shave victories and a few damning losses. I am hoping that more practice will tighten this area up once again. ·         Even the best players can make mistakes. I think a lot of people, especially when they are starting out, carry the mentality that the best players are such because they make so few errors there is no opening for them to exploit. My weekend showed me, admittedly in an extreme fashion, that even the best players can make questionable calls and that no individual is exempt from pressures to do well. ·         Know when to pull the trigger between a safe play and a read. My match against Miguel Marti was probably the biggest reminder to why you should not try and overcompensate just because of what you expect. Making a read needs to be balanced by how much you will concede if you call incorrectly.  
      Closing Remarks
      First off, there are a few people I want to say thank you to:
      ·         Ian Walsh and Suzie Masters for the organisation and running Ireland’s biggest ever Pokemon event in such a smooth fashion. I think everyone was more than happy with how the day panned out on the tournament front and we shall doubtless look forward to returning next year hopefully! ·         Duncan McLeod, Matteo Dorrell (MattDorell) and Rina Purdy (SqishyRina) for helping to organise, run and successfully host the live stream for this event. I know A LOT of effort and sacrifices went into getting this running over the weekend, far beyond the normal call of duty. You can see the unedited footage of the stream on Duncan’s twitch channel in addition to Matteo’s YouTube videos dedicated solely to the battle segments and post-match interviews. ·         Ricardo Pinto (RpIndaHouse) once again for being my rock of VGC16 on the teams. Seriously, you’ve been so gracious at throwing teams my way to test and just generally being there to discuss matters. I know I didn't play anywhere near ideal and you made it clear when I was on stream, but hopefully the result at the end of it makes up for it! ·         To the guys in our dedicated VGC chat forum #TeamSlackVGC. There are simply too many to name and everyone in that chat has been as much a part of the madness of it all, but I do want to mention Matthew King (MSK), Adam Walker (Senran), Kelly Mercier-White (KellsterCartier), Brian Zourdani, Rafik Sadli and of course William Tansley (StarKO) who made the trip to compete. I think it’s safe to say we had a good weekend! ·         To all of my opponents who I played, thanks once again for the games (and sorry in a few cases!) I hope to have the opportunity to battle you guys again in the not-too-distant future. ·         And finally to everyone who has read this report or was watching the stream on the day. I know so many of you had been showing your support for me and constantly asking of my progress and numerous other players while the stream was live. I cannot stress how much it meant to see all the supportive messages I got, the community is awesome in that regard. Thank you all!
    • Nugget Bridge Major 5 Round 1 is Here
      By makiri in makiri's blog 34
      Welcome to Round 1 of the 5th Nugget Bridge Major. I first want to extend a big thanks to everyone who joined the tournament, we can't have big tournaments like this without the players. I wish everyone good luck and hopefully we have a smooth tournament. With that I'm looking forward to hosting this tournament and crowning this year's Nugget Bridge Major Champion. 
      Lets take a look at the prizes available for this tournament:
      1st place: $832 + 130 NP 2nd place: $362.80 + 120 NP  3rd/4th place: $138.84 + 110 NP  5th-8th place: $56.92 + 100 NP  9th-16th place: $7.98 + 70 NP  17th-32nd place: 40 NP 33rd-64th place: 20 NP 65th-128th place: 10 NP (All values in USD)
      This is the biggest prized tournament on Nugget Bridge ever with a total of over $1,750, eclipsing the previous record by over $750. Quick reminder that 100 NP are necessary for an invite to the Nugget Bridge Invitational.
      We have 304 players which equal 9 rounds of Swiss play and a 32 player top cut. Approximately 5 6-3 players will make top cut, so you aren't officially out of it until you lose 4 games. Top 128 will get NP, BUT you have to finish the tournament to obtain the points.
      We have players from 28 different countries, this is truly an international event. The list of countries represented:
      Spoiler Australia
      Austria
      Brazil
      Canada
      Chile
      Colombia
      Costa Rica
      Denmark 
      Ecuador
      Finland
      France
      Germany
      Ireland
      Italy
      Japan
      Mexico
      Netherlands
      Peru
      Philippines
      Poland
      Portugal
      Singapore
      Spain
      Sweden
      Switzerland
      Thailand
      United Kingdom
      United States

      Communication:
      One of the most important parts of the Nugget Bridge Major is communication. Communicate with your opponent by contacting them here on Nugget Bridge using our private messaging system. Your opponent's username should be relatively close to the one listed in the Battlefy bracket. Try to reply to your opponent as promptly and courteously as possible, and try to include important information such as time zone, best time for you to play, and your friend code. Failure to communicate with your opponent can result in an activity loss. You will have about 1 week to complete your best of 3 match so while battles do not need to be done immediately, do keep in mind that there is a deadline to each round. This leads into my next point.
      Not every match will be completed. Sometimes people forget they joined the tournament. Sometimes they no longer wish to play. Sometimes you guys just can't find a suitable time to battle. This is where the Nugget Bridge private message system comes in handy. In case of any dispute or if a battle didn't get completed, you can add makiri to your private message with the following steps:
      Step 1:

      Click the invite a member button.
      Step 2:

      Type in a name, for this tournament use makiri. Then click invite.
      Step 3:

      All done! The tournament host will now be aware of any issues with your battle. Don't always expect an immediate response though. PLEASE do not include me until a problem arises or the last 24 hours in the case of an activity decision. I am the only one who should be included. 
      Score Reporting:
      While we will be using Battlefy for the Bracket, score reporting will take place in each new round thread. EACH PLAYER NEEDS TO REPORT THE SCORE. Win or lose, you need to make an indication of the result in each round thread, this is important for confirmation of records.
      To report a score use the match number, both player names, and the game score. An example score report:
      The thread for the current round is where you should report your score. For round 1 use this link.
      Tournament rules:
      The ruleset will be the Standard VGC 16 Format. The tournament will follow the Swiss structure and leads to a final single elimination top cut to determine the champion. This means you play every round whether you win or you lose. The top 32 players or all players with 2 or fewer losses (whichever is the larger number) will make it to the top cut single elimination stage. Games will be played in a best of 3 set and the winner of 2 games will be declared the winner of the match. Report the proper score because your tiebreakers are affected. The only results should be 2-0 or 2-1. You may not change teams during that best of 3, but you can change teams between rounds. Games must be played on Nintendo 3DS systems using Pokémon Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire. In certain circumstances Pokémon Showdown may be used, but it needs to be cleared with makiri, the tournament host. This is not a live tournament. Matches will play out over the course of the week. As mentioned it is Swiss, just because you lose it does not mean you are done, play the tournament out! The games will be played with Normal rules on the battle option. This means players needs to be on the look out for players bringing more than 4 Pokémon, bringing banned Pokémon, or breaking item clause. Repeatedly going to activity will result in losses or even disqualification. Match dodgers will not be tolerated. Even if time zones are difficult there will be 7 days for each round to complete. Please record a video while playing your match (using a phone or camcorder or something similar) to help in case of disputes. We also recommend saving all battle videos. Cheating will not be tolerated and any cheater caught will be heavily punished. This is a paid event and any sign of cheating will be fully investigated. If you come across cheating, notify the organizer as soon as possible and present all your evidence possible. Failure to follow these rules will result in a game loss, match loss or even a tournament disqualification.
      Highlight matches:
      Wolfey vs Cybertron
      Two of the biggest names in VGC ever who worked together for their back to back National Championships find themselves facing off in round 1. I don't think any match in this tournament can actually eclipse this, what could've been predicted as a final is happening right now.
      ryuzaki vs DaFlo
      Both are great players with some sustained success, both also seem to be frequently on the other end of hax so who knows what will happen here.
      Bucket vs hammer
      Battle of the inanimate objects. Which is better, a bucket or a hammer? We will find out!
      13Yoshi37 vs Gengarboi
      Both have been long time players though Gengarboi has seen most of his success in recent years, neither player is a pushover. Expect a great series from these two.
      [Unreality] Unreality vs [BigBidnessGaming] TFC
      A player who sponsored multiple players versus a player who has been sponsored by multiple sponsors. 
      If you are a highlighted match please forward battle videos to Eiganjo, we would love to get them on YouTube after the tournament.
      Deadline for this round is Monday, March 21, 2016 at 9:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. 
      And finally the bracket. Please use the forum thread for round 1 to report your scores.

    • Is this the guy who won Anaheim Regionals? No, this is Patrick... and James! Anaheim 2016 2nd place and top 16 report!
      By SalaMenace in SalaMenace's Blog 20
      Intro: Hello everyone this will be a dual written article by Patrick Smith (SalaMenace) and James Eakes (Eakes) on our 2016 Anaheim Regionals performances, placing 2nd and 16th respectively. But first we want to give a little introduction. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to showing you our team we worked hard on.
       
      Patrick: Hello everyone, I’m Patrick Smith, aka SalaMenace. I’ve been into competitive Pokémon since D/P, but I first got into VGC around February of last year, when I started watching Aaron Zheng’s videos on YouTube. Who would have thought that a year later I’d be playing against him in the finals of Anaheim Regionals? I also managed to win my first regional, Arizona, back in the 2015 format. But of course, this report will focus on the team I used to get second place at Anaheim.
       
      James: Hey everybody my name is James Eakes, I go by Eakes on the forums here. I’ve been playing VGC since the beginning of 2014 but have competitively battled ever since Diamond and Pearl came out. This season I have had many consistent results such as top 16s at Arizona 2015 and Anaheim 2016, but have yet to have a break out top cut performance. My consistent results have netted me my worlds invite for this year and for that I am grateful, but I still look forward to showing people what I can do and prove I can breach the top 8 barrier. I really look forward to this article; Patrick and I put a lot of work into it and had a great time making it!
       
      Teambuilding: Patrick was inspired to use a Kyurem-W, Groudon, Meowstic core after seeing it have good results on the Pokémon Showdown ladder.  While we do not know exactly who to credit for the creation of this core, we would like to make a shout out to a player by the name of “Silk” for being our main inspiration.
       
      James was having trouble adapting to the new format and never found a team he was comfortable with, so Patrick shared the Gravity team he was working on and James felt it was love at first sight. Patrick’s first iteration of the team looked like this, “Groudon, Kyurem-W, Meowstic, Kangaskhan, Sableye, Gengar”. The whole week before regionals we toyed around and optimized the team as much as we possibly could. We realized that we brought the core of Groudon, Kyurem-W, Meowstic, and Kangaskhan to practically every single game, and when we brought Sableye or Gengar we almost always lost (lol). So we decided to start toying around with the final two slots. We messed around with a few Pokémon like Ferrothorn, Sylveon, Ludicolo, and Whimsicott. All had mixed results, we needed something that could do damage under trick room, while still being able to support Groudon’s sweeping potential. We wanted something that could support the team while doing damage and we settled on Machamp, we will speak more in detail about him below. With the 6th slot still up in the air, what better Pokémon to spread happiness with than the one and only Smeargle.
       
      The Team:

       
      Teambuilding Pokémon Details:
       

      Meowstic @ Mental Herb  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 SpD  
      Calm Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Trick Room  
      - Gravity  
      - Safeguard  
      - Swagger
       
      We’ll start with Meowstic as it enabled the entire team’s strategy. It was the bread and butter if you will. For the team to work we needed at the bare minimum Gravity or Trick Room, and we felt the priority Gravity from Meowstic had amazing synergy with Kyurem-W. The most important part of making sure Meowstic does its job is protecting it, and Meowstic was very well protected by Kangaskhan and Kyurem-W. Meowstic was the sole user of both Trick Room and Gravity, so he had to be brought in every single game. While Trick Room and Gravity were necessary for the team, Safeguard was chosen to not only render opposing Smeargle useless, but also to allow us to Swagger our own Pokémon for many surprise KO’s. Swagger also works out of Safeguard to disrupt the enemy and hopefully cause them to tilt. Mental Herb was an amazing item to have on Meowstic, it helped Meowstic function to the fullest. Against opposing Thundurus we could go for Trick Room turn one even after being taunted, and then Gravity or Safeguard the next turn because Meowstic would be faster than Thundurus under Trick Room.
       
      Defensive Calcs:
      252 Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 252 HP / 156 Def Meowstic: 155-186 (85.6 – 102.7%) – 6.6 chance to OHKO
      Surviving Kangaskhan Double-Edge was paramount to this team’s success. This ensured that Meowstic was very rarely killed on the first turn before it was able to get the team rolling.
      252 SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100+ SpD Meowstic in Harsh Sunshine: 153-181 (84.5 - 100%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO
      76+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100+ SpD Meowstic in Heavy Rain: 175-207 (96.6 - 114.3%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO
      252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 156 Def Meowstic: 135-160 (74.5 - 88.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
       
      76 Special Attack modest water spout is only one point less than timid 252 so we thought this was a good benchmark to hit. While this doesn’t look like an impressive calc, Kyogre was almost never going to get a full health attack on Meowstic due to Kangaskhan’s Fake out/inner focus, and Kyurem’s fast blizzard. A minimum damage blizzard roll from our Kyurem-W on Kyogre would give Kyogre only a 31% chance to OHKO Meowstic. As we needed much physical bulk, we were safe going with these calculations.
       
       
      Kyurem-White @ Choice Scarf
      Ability: Turboblaze  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 100 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 148 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Blizzard  
      - Draco Meteor  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Fusion Flare
       
      Kyurem-W was another uncommon pick that fit the role on this team perfectly. Also with the surge of Crobat/Gengar RayOgre teams Kyurem-W’s potentially could truly be unlocked. Kyurem-W’s job was to either chip things hard enough for Groudon to come in and sweep, or sweep the opposing team itself if they were unprepared. Kyurem was an amazing lead as it immediately put on pressure forcing the enemy to either focus it or feel Kyurem’s frosty wrath. If they chose to focus Kyurem-W, this would allow Meowstic to put Groudon in a winning position. The EV’s were quite simple, the speed was enough to out speed positive nature Crobat, and the rest was for maximum damage and bulk respectively. As for the moves, we very rarely used anything but Blizzard, but having the option to avoid Wide Guard with Ice Beam was great. Draco Meteor was fine but not used very often. While we used Fusion Flare for the final slot, we never used it in practice or in the tournament. Using Fusion Flare would always put us in a horrible position, even if we scored a knockout with it. We recommend using Earth Power as a final slot, but you most likely won’t find yourself using anything besides Blizzard and Ice Beam.
       
      Damage Calcs:
      252+ SpA Turboblaze Kyurem-W Blizzard vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Rayquaza in Strong Winds: 188-224 (103.8 - 123.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      252+ SpA Turboblaze Kyurem-W Blizzard vs 252 HP / 4 SpD Crobat: 222-264 (115.6 – 137.5%) – guaranteed OHKO
      252+ SpA Turboblaze Kyurem-W Blizzard vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Primal Groudon: 103-123 (49.7 - 59.4%) -- 99.6% chance to 2HKO
      As you can see Kyurem-W’s power was nothing to laugh about. Taking off 50%+ to Groudon meant it could never hit Kyurem-W back with a strong eruption and would just be 2HKO’d.
       

      Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Desolate Land  
      Level: 49  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Precipice Blades  
      - Fire Punch  
      - Substitute  
      - Protect  
       
      Groudon was the main focus of this team, providing almost all of the team damage by itself. Without Meowstic, Groudon is not able to function to the fullest so they were great teammates. We will go into more detail near the end but Swaggering our own Groudon under Safeguard resulted in many surprise KOs. We would also like to give a shoutout to Michael Groshans (Mikewando) a.k.a. Mike Groshaus, for his idea to run level 49 Groudon. We loved it and do not regret using it in the slightest. In the finals of Anaheim regionals Patrick received some flack on twitter for his Groudon being level 49 and barely missing a KO onto Aaron’s Kyogre. I can assure you that without level 49 Groudon we would not have achieved these results. Level 49 Groudon was amazing and picked up many crucial KOs even with the slight drop in attack. With all the minimum speed primals going around, this assured we would always under speed and this was paramount to the team success. In practice on Pokémon Showdown we would under speed opposing Groudons or Kyogres under trick room and be met with a prompt “F****** Speed Ties” in the chat. Every time we read this we would have a good laugh and move on to our next victim.
      Fire Punch and Precipice Blades were very reliable forms of STAB. Precipice Blades under Gravity is absolutely devastating as no one is safe, and it alleviates the need for a Rock type move. Popular Flying types like Talonflame, Crobat, Thundurus, and even Ho-oh are all hit super-effectively. Fire Punch was a great way of dealing huge damage and playing around Wide Guard. Substitute was our 3rd move of choice, and it was a great move to punish double protects on the final turn of Trick Room. We were also able to get up substitutes when our Smeargle came in as Dark Void is unavoidable under Gravity.
       
      Damage Calcs:
      +2 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Salamence: 160-190 (93.5 - 111.1%) -- 68.8% chance to OHKO
      +2 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 252 HP / 44 Def Primal Kyogre: 207-244 (100 - 117.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      +2 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza: 201-237 (111 - 130.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      +2 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Pikachu: 800-944 (720.7 - 850.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO
       
      As you can see Swagger enhanced Groudon’s damage absurdly. While these calcs are at +2 from Swagger, Groudon had the ability to 2hko almost everything in the game at neutral attack. If Meowstic were not on the field to swagger, Smeargle/Kangaskhan would also be either chipping damage off the opposing Pokémon or stopping them in their tracks making Groudon safe to attack for many turns.
       

      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Inner Focus  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Sucker Punch  
       
      Kangaskhan was the perfect Mega for our team. Threats to Meowstic, such as opposing Fake Outs or Taunts, were almost always met with a Kangaskhan Fake Out of our own. Kang also assured that Smeargle/Xerneas leads were almost rendered useless as we would just non-Mega Fake Out the Xerneas in case of a Choice Scarf Smeargle Fake Out, and Safeguard. After Safeguard is put up Swagger’d Kangaskhan becomes a huge threat and allows time for Meowstic to set up for Groudon. In games where Kyurem-W was led, having Kangaskhan in the back was also very helpful as a late game Fake Out can swing the tides for us. Having Kangaskhan in the back helped us function after Trick Room ended as well. The EV spread and moves are completely standard, no need for any damage calcs here.
       

      Smeargle @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Own Tempo  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD  
      Relaxed Nature  
      IVs: 16 Spe  
      - Fake Out (James) / Tailwind (Patrick)
      - Transform  
      - Dark Void  
      - Wide Guard  
       
      Smeargle was the only Pokémon we used a different set on. Tailwind worked well as a final turn of Trick Room punish, as most player would feel safe going for a Protect on both of their Pokémon. Opponents met with a Substitute Tailwind on the final turn of Trick Room usually didn’t stand a chance. Fake Out provided immediate pressure as the turn Smeargle comes in, it can affect the battle even if not under Trick Room. Both options work well, and it comes down to player preference; we both see the merit in each option. As you may notice our Smeargle did not run Spiky Shield. This was due to Smeargle almost always coming in under trick room and immediately using either Fake Out or Dark Void and then Transform. Smeargle was usually next to Groudon and enemies would focus their resources on Groudon not Smeargle, leaving Smeargle relatively safe. After Dark Void, Transform was the most crucial move on the set. Not only did it allow us to have two Primal Groudons terrorizing the field, but it acted as a pseudo Skill Swap vs Kyogres. Against a late game Kyogre coming in getting rid of the Sun, we could Transform into our own Groudon putting Sun back up and leaving Kyogre helpless. Transforming into enemy Pokémon was also very effective. For example against a mega Salamence we would Transform into them, and not worry about a Draco Meteor speed tie loss as we had Focus Sash. Transform also goes through Protect, yet again punishing enemy Protects under Trick Room. Wide Guard while not used often in the tournament proved to be a very effective move in protecting Groudon. We believe it was a better option to have than Follow Me; it kept Smeargle’s sash intact against spread moves, while also protecting Groudon. The 16 speed IV’s were important, as under Tailwind it would allow us to out speed max speed Primals, while still under speeding minimum speed Cresselia in Trick Room. Also max HP investment is used to get the most out of our Transformations. (Editor’s note: Transform copies all of the target’s stats except for HP; it’s the only way to have a Shedinja with more than 1 HP!)
       
      Damage Calcs:
      252+ Atk Mega Mewtwo X Focus Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Focus Sash Smeargle: 161-161 (99.9 - 99.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
       

      Machamp @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: No Guard  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Dynamic Punch  
      - Ice Punch  
      - Wide Guard  
      - Quick Guard  
       
      Machamp was brought in to be the Guardian of Groudon even though it has No Guard 8^). Machamp also did significant damage, and Dynamic Punch-induced Confusion is always a bonus. While Machamp was not used at all by James and only once by Patrick in Anaheim, we don’t regret running it. We were comfortable with it in practice, and it did its job nicely. Protecting Groudon from spread moves and late game Fake Outs made every turn count. Also having Lum Berry meant we did not have to have Safeguard up for Swagger to make some big damage plays. Quick Guard and Wide Guard were used to support the team, and Dynamic Punch/Ice Punch were used for coverage and damage, pretty straightforward. Although Ice Punch was rarely used even in practice. We started with encore to punish even more Protects under Trick Room, but Machamp usually came in on the last turn of Trick Room, rendering the Encore useless. The EV spread was short and simple; it did dat damage, and took dem hits.
      Damage calcs:
      +2 252+ Atk Machamp Dynamic Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Primal Kyogre: 205-243 (116.4 - 138%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      252+ Atk Machamp Dynamic Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 188-224 (103.8 - 123.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Wide Guard Machamp in Heavy Rain: 0-0 (0 - 0%) -- guaranteed NOKO
      252+ Atk Choice Band Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Quick Guard Machamp: 0-0 (0 - 0%) -- guaranteed NOKO
       
      Basic Team Strategy:
       
      Leads:
      +      or      +
      In Pokémon selection we first identify if we will be leading Kyurem-W/Meowstic, or Kangaskhan/Meowstic. These are our leads almost every game. Kyurem-W gets led against teams where it could bust holes, preparing for Groudon to sweep. Sometimes it would even sweep the entire game without Groudon’s help. Kyurem-W with Meowstic would usually start with a Gravity and Blizzard ensuring Kyurem does big damage. If we suspect Kyurem-W will be knocked out immediately, such as if the opponent leads Ferrothorn, we stay calm and go for Blizzard and Trick Room. Even if Kyurem fainted and missed Blizzard on both targets, we get a free Trick Room, allowing Groudon to clean up from there.
      Kangaskhan was brought against heavy disruptors such as Weavile, Thundurus, Liepard, or opposing Kangaskhan. Kangaskhan was also our main answer to Smeargle and Xerneas, as described in her section. With Inner Focus Kangaskhan was able to buy time for Meowstic to do his thing. Also, by choosing not to Mega evolve, and going for Trick Room Kangaskhan could move before threats the next turn, as the Speed boost from its Mega wouldn’t yet be in effect. Just as with Kyurem-W, if Kangaskhan were to be OHKO’d on the first turn, we did not fret... it just prepared Groudon to win.
       
      Mid-Late Game:
      After Kyurem-W or Kangaskhan goes down, Groudon is free to pump out damage. With Meowstic next to Groudon, he could proceed to Gravity, Safeguard, and Swagger depending on the situation. In a scenario where both Meowstic and its partner are knocked out. Smeargle and Groudon under Trick Room usually had enough power to finish the game. Punishing Protects with Substitute, using Dark Void to put both opponents to Sleep, or using Transform to make the board more threatening. Kangaskhan Groudon also applied much needed pressure with the option to Fake Out Substitute. If the enemy could somehow survive Groudons offensive pressure hammering down on them until TR ended, Kangaskhan was there to finish the job.
      Main Threats:
      This team didn’t have a huge amount of threats. After optimizing the team we found that our losses were mostly on account of our own misplays. While the team isn’t perfect; it was very solid. That’s not to say it has no weaknesses. Its weaknesses are mostly things that could OHKO turn 1 Meowstic.

      Weavile: Weavile is a huge threat to our team for two simple reasons. First, it has a faster Fake Out than Kangaskhan, which means that Meowstic may not be able to move on the first turn. Second, it can OHKO Meowstic with a Knock Off. Weavile’s speed is hard to deal with as it stops Meowstic from performing its basic functions. Weavile usually forces us to switch out Meowstic before its job is done and save it for late-game. Or it causes us to target Weavile with a Kangaskhan Low Kick on the first turn. But that’s a risky play because we would have to Mega evolve our Kangaskhan to ensure we get the knock out through Focus Sash, and this leaves Kangaskhan open to being targeted by Weavile’s Fake Out. Additionally, if Kangaskhan doesn’t go for Fake Out on turn one, it leaves Meowstic vulnerable being OHKO’d by Knock Off right off the bat. Sometimes to remedy our glaring Weavile weakness, we actually lead Kangaskhan with Kyurem-W. This immediately applies fast offensive pressure from two sources, leaving Weavile overwhelmed.

      Scizor: Scizor while not as threatening as Weavile, is a threat because Kangaskhan is not able to OHKO it, and Scizor threatens to OHKO Meowstic with Bug Bite. Unlike Weavile though, Groudon switching in for Meowstic against Scizor usually put us in a good position. Even without Gravity or Trick Room in effect, Groudon threatens Scizor without being threatened in kind, and this usually prompts our opponent to switch.

      Kyogre: While speedy Kyogres aren’t a problem for the team, extremely bulky Kyogres have a chance to live +2 Precipice blades. Which can result in Groudon and its partner fainting to an Origin Pulse. Smeargle and Machamp are here to help though, as Wide Guard and Dark Void are able to defend Groudon. Transform from Smeargle also puts the sun back up swaying the tide back in our favor.
      Level 48 Groudon: lol
       
      James Swiss Analysis:
      I am always extremely nervous going into round 1 knowing that it can dictate the entire day and your resistance will falter greatly with a round 1 loss. Also I am not very good at playing vs inexperienced players as funny as that sounds. I very commonly go for plays based off what I anticipate my opponent will do, and sometimes they act erratically which throws off my prediction game. Long story short, people who never protect scare me.
      I have listed the Pokémon in order of appearance, the first two names were the leads for both players, and the second 2 were brought in the back.
       
      R1 vs. Nicole Stockel Nikkielovespokemon (4-4)
      I brought:
      They brought: ( , )
      Nicole is also from Nor Cal and has been a friend of mine for many years! While it sucks we had to play vs each other especially in round 1, I was a bit relieved to know my opponent was a competent player. She had a very Ice weak team so I led Kyurem-W and Meowstic. She led with Crobat Rayquaza and I couldn’t have been happier. I go for the standard Gravity Blizzard play killing Crobat and freezing Rayquaza while bringing it to its sash. While the freeze was unfortunate I do not think it changed to outcome of the game very much as she said she was going for Dragon Ascent on Meowstic. Without a Life Orb or Mega Evolution Rayquaza’s attack would not have come close to killing Meowstic. After playing the game pretty methodically and after not mega’ing my Kangaskhan on accident almost throwing the game (Round 1 jitters lol) I ended up winning. I wished Nicole good luck and felt great going into R2 as the dreaded R1 was conquered.
      1-0
       
      R2 vs. Kristofer Tumangan (4-4)
      I brought:
      They brought: (, )
      Kristofer seemed very familiar and after talking with him for a bit I learned he was from the Nor Cal area! Only he hadn’t been coming to many events lately. Even with the threat of Mienshao Fake out/Wide Guard, I knew that leading Kyurem would buy time for Meowstic to set up. I remember going for Ice Beam on Yveltal turn 1 to avoid a potential Wide Guard and to also try to pick up the OHKO as Blizzard unreliably 1HKO’s Yveltal. I get a Critical hit and it lives in the yellow, alerting me to an Assault Vest. I do not remember if Mienshao Fake Outed Meowstic or just killed Kyurem-W, but all I know is Trick Room was set up and Groudon was coming in next to Meowstic. I remember this game ended smoothly as I played safe and around Wide Guard as much as I could until Mienshao was KO’d but turns out he never had Wide Guard to begin with. Either way it was a fun match and I wished Kristofer luck and told him I hope to see him at more Nor Cal events!
      2-0
       
      R3 vs. Jonathon Mendoza (3-4)
      I Brought:
      They Brought: ( , )
      My first and only opponent of the whole regional I didn’t know prior to. He was a nice yet quiet guy focused on winning, I knew that feeling and we just got to battling. Turn 1 could not have gone any better, its reads like this that make you think “feelsgoodman”. Xerneas protects while Talonflame Tailwinds, I mega evolve Double Edge Talonflame and Trick Room. Honestly the game was over right after this point. I let Kangaskhan die as I switch in Groudon with both TR and GV up. Groudon cleaned things up very nicely with its high damage output. Xerneas actually lived a +2 Precipice blades at what had to be sub 5 hp. It was the last turn of TR so I attack with Groudon and switch to Smeargle to cover the protect option and the attack option. He ended up protecting allowing me to end the game with a very hype Smeargle Fake Out KO. I wished my opponent good luck and went to chill with the peeps.
      3-0
       
      R4 vs William Hall Biosci (5-3)
      I Brought:   ??
      They Brought: ( ,)
      Next round I was facing off vs SoCal’s 2nd place finisher two years running. Me and William first met at Arizona regionals earlier this season and have been friends since, he is a very nice guy and while I was nervous to play him, I knew I would have to play good players to obtain results and this was but a test. After seeing Crobat Gengar meet my Kyurem-W Meowstic and thinking he had his two restricted mons in the back I knew it would be a slaughter. Gravity Blizzard KO’d Crobat and brought Gengar down to low red as it went for a Sub, failing. Turn 2 I don’t want TR up quite yet so I safeguard and knock out Gengar as Groudon protects. Next turn I fire off a Huge Blizzard and Groudon comes in to clean up. William was very upset after the loss and I assured him he could still place high as I knew how strong of a player he was. Entering lunch break 4-0 felt very good man.
      4-0
       
      R5 vs Emilio Forbes Emforbes (6-2)
      I Brought:
      They Brought ??, ?? ( , , ,)
      Another Nor Cal player! As you can see by the question marks you can guess that I was Karma slaughtered by Emilio. This was a lead me and Patrick had faced MANY times and I was punished for not going for the safe play. The only Move capable of OHKO’ing Meowstic on the field is Flare Blitz from Talonflame, but I questionably predicted a quick guard and went for the Double Edge into Groudon to weaken Eruption. This was a huge mistake as I feel if I played safe and just Fake Out’d Talonflame (Even if met with an Eruption after) I would be in the winning position. Meowstic was knocked out and Kang ate a single target precipice blades, assuring me that if I went with Fake out TR I would have been in an amazing position as Groudon/Smeargle can sweep through big 6 all by itself. I was very disappointed in myself after this match and could not shake the tilt off in time for my next round.
      4-1
       
      R6 vs Riley Factura GengarBoi (6-2)
      I Brought:
      They Brought: ?? , ?? ( , , , )
      Another good friend of mine! While I have played Riley many times in the past I do not have a positive record vs him. I honestly respect Riley as one of the best players in the country, there are very few players I believe make the most optimal play every single turn and Riley is one of those players. Riley’s leads put him in a good position vs me but by no means was I out of the game. I was very scared of him doubling into Meowstic turn after turn so I tried switching around which isn’t how I usually play the team at all I was punished greatly for it. I believe if I just stuck to the game plan and set Meowstic up as normal I could have won this game, but I was over predicting way too much and ended up forfeiting a few turns in as I had run out of steam.
      Destroying the tilt: While I find myself to be a very level headed player, after these two consecutive losses I had a lot on my mind and couldn’t shake the feeling of failure. I decided to sulk over to the bathroom to relieve myself and wash my hands. As amazingly cliché as this seems when I went to wash my hands I was met with a mopey scrubs face in the mirror. That’s when I had a revelation “Why are you acting like this? Your dream is to get a world’s invite and Top 16 will get you that. Why would you travel all the way here to give up when it’s not over? Your resistance is most definitely strong enough to secure a top 16 so snap out of kid.” And this is exactly what happened (yes I said all these things to myself in my mind lol). Feeling reinvigorated and forgetting about the past rounds I was set on winning.
      4-2
       
      R7 vs Jonathan Rankin JRank (4-4)
      I Brought:
      They Brought: ( ,)
      JRank is known as one of the country’s best players to never obtain a world’s invite, placing high at almost every event he attends. It was an honor to play with him and after joking around that he should scoop to me to help me get a worlds invite he said “You’ll have to earn it” and I couldn’t agree more. With my leads I felt quite confident. While my memory of this game is quite foggy I remember getting up TR while he set up tailwind, and I also remember him Low Kicking my Kangaskhan and me hoping it would die so I could get a free switch as it did. Groudon made quick work of his team as the +2 Precipice blades were too much for his team to handle. I wished Jonathan luck in his final round and felt very confident going into my final round.
      5-2
       
      R8 vs Andrew Ardans Bufforz (5-3)
      I Brought:
      They Brought: ( , )
      What else to be the top 16 gatekeeper than the one and only big 6. Andrew is awesome guy also from Nor Cal who has recently started to come to events and has become a good friend! As we NorCalians want what’s best for each other, we first compared our resistances and saw who had the best chance to obtain top 16 with a win here. While Andrew’s resistance wasn’t terrible, mine was much higher with two opponents being 6-1 going into the final round. We decided to play it out fair and square and if Andrew won he said he would think about scooping. After a turn 1 fake out trade, He decided to protect his Kangaskhan out of fear of it being knock out by my Kang. This was the last thing on my mind as I just decided to focus down Groudon to put it in Precipice Blades range while setting up. Groudon was able to come in under TR and wipe out Andrew’s team pretty cleanly. With the final round won I nervously awaited the standings…
       
      Finish: After finding out that EVERY SINGLE one of my high resistance opponents lost the final round, I was extremely nervous waiting for standings. My good friend Jordan Jue (BasedSnorlax) walked up to me from the direction of the standings post and met me with a “You’re going to worlds buddy!” and we had a nice bro hug. I was very emotional after obtaining my worlds invite as it has been a dream of mine ever since 2014. While this year is MUCH easier to obtain a world’s invite, I was very proud of myself to have an invite before the third cycle of Regionals AND before Nationals, showing that I really did earn it and can compete with some of the top dogs. I was very happy to find that Patrick moved on to top cut and couldn’t wait to relax and watch Patrick stomp some kids.
      Finish: 6-2 , Top 16
       
      Patrick's game analysis:
      I didn’t take extensive notes in any of these games, only writing down the opponent’s team and occasionally counting Trick Room/Gravity turns. My memory is a little foggy so I’ll do my best to try to piece together what happened in each game.
      R1 vs. Andre Echols Motel Vacaville (5-3)
      His team:
      He led Bronzong+Smeargle, I led Kangaskhan+Meowstic. Safeguard protected me from any Smeargle shenanigans, so his leads were very unthreatening to me. He didn’t realize I was level 49 Groudon, so he set up Trick Room for me, and then Groudon just came in and took advantage of it and swept him under Gravity at +2.
      1-0
       
      R2 vs. Jobany Vazquez (2-4)
      His team:
      Going into this match I was the most concerned about Sableye, as he could potentially Quash my Groudon, and my Kangaskhan and Machamp couldn’t really touch it, but he didn’t bring it. He got up a Geomancy with Xerneas while I got up Trick Room, and I had to make a few calls such as not Precipice Blading as he Wide Guarded, and getting up a Substitute while he protected, both of which were crucial as I ended up barely winning in the end.
      2-0
       
      R3 vs. Jayden Thomas (4-4)
      His Team:
      He led Gengar+Raichu, and I led Kyurem+Meowstic. I was afraid of Shadow Ball onto the Meowstic, so I withdrew into my Kangaskhan and took a nasty Sludge Bomb and got poisoned as he used Fake Out onto my Kyurem. Despite this, I felt like I was in a solid position as he didn’t really have a great answer to Kyurem. He didn’t bring Mawile to this game, and Kyurem was able to get four knockouts with Ice Beam, all in the next four or five turns.
      3-0
       
      R4 vs. Samuel Haarsma DrFidget (6-2)
      His team:
      This was a really weird looking team and I still don’t understand how it functions, but my strategy was to just overwhelm with offense, and that’s exactly what happened. Kyurem put a dent in his team, and then Groudon came in under Trick Room and cleaned up. This matchup was probably in my favor, I don’t really know what he could have done to stop me.
      4-0
       
      R5 vs. Kimo Nishimura TFC (6-2)
      His team:
      Kimo is a fellow Nor Cal player and friend of mine, and I knew I could expect a good match from him. This match was streamed, and it basically came down to a few key plays. He led Weavile+Zapdos and I lead Kyurem+Meowstic. Turn one he made a great play of Roaring my Meowstic as I tried to Trick Room expecting him to Tailwind, which really caught me off guard. If I had used Gravity instead, I probably would have outright won the game right there, as the matchup seemed to be heavily in my favor. Turn 2 I probably should have just Ice Beamed but I went for Blizzard and thankfully landed it on his Zapdos, preventing him from getting up Tailwind. Then later on, I was in a situation where I had to call whether or not he Protected on his Kyogre, and made the right play.
      5-0
       
      R6 vs. Alberto Lara CaliSweeper (7-1)
      His team:
      Adamant Kang kills Meowstic. He had Adamant Kang. That’s basically what happened. I couldn’t get up Trick Room, and so there wasn’t much I could do against his Geomancied Xerneas+faster Groudon+Kang.
      5-1
       
      R7 vs. Shawn Tang (5-3)
      His team:
      Weavile is a huge threat, so I had to lead Kang+Kyurem. This combination basically dismantled his entire team if I remember correctly. Kyurem hits Thundurus/Rayquaza/Togekiss hard and Kang hits Ferro/Kyogre/Weavile hard, so I just clicked moves and got KOs, pretty straightforward.
      6-1
       
      R8 vs. Emilio Forbes Emforbes  (6-2)
      His team:
      Emilio, another Nor Cal player who I’ve played a couple times at PCs, was one of the last players I wanted to face in the last round. He had already played James earlier, so he knew our team. Also, he’s good lol. I don’t remember exactly what transpired, but he got to +2 Kang with Power-Up Punch which was really scary, but then my Kang won the speed tie and got a good damage roll to OHKO him with Low Kick, which pretty much sealed the game for me.
      7-1
       
      Top Cut
       
      T8 vs. Alberto Lara CaliSweeper
      His team: 
      Alberto was my only loss in swiss, so I wasn’t looking forward to playing him again. The first few turns of game one played out exactly the same as our previous game, but then instead of Trick Rooming like I did before, I went for Swagger on his Xerneas. He still got up his Geomancy, but the next turn when I sent in Smeargle, he hit himself and I landed a Dark Void on him, putting me in the commanding position. He got some early wakes on his Groudon and Xerneas and so the endgame came down to his Groudon at half HP vs my full HP Groudon and Smeargle. He had already revealed Precipice Blades so I thought that I was safe in going for Wide Guard+Precipice Blades, but that’s when he revealed Earth Power. I was terrified when I saw that move but my Groudon ended up surviving with 20 HP or so, and I hit him back with a Precipice Blades to win.
      Game two we both decided to switch up our leads, I went with Smeargle+Meowstic, and he went with Kangaskhan + Groudon. Turn 1 he Fakes Out Smeargle and Fire Punches Meowstic, and I get up Trick Room. Turn 2 I Gravity+Dark Void him. At this point I’m thinking as long as he doesn’t get a one turn wake with Groudon, I win the game. So turn 2 I switch in my Groudon and get up Safeguard, and he wakes up with both Pokémon and gets a double knockout. So it’s literally my Kangaskhan and half HP Smeargle vs his full health Groudon, Kang, Cresselia, and Xerneas. The rest of this game serves as the perfect example of why Dark Void should be banned. I just did everything I had to do to have a chance at winning, which required getting a 3 turn sleep on his Kangaskhan, and either a 2 or 3 turn sleep on his Xerneas. I transformed into my own Kangakshan with Smeargle, and was able to barely squeeze out a victory.
       
      T4 vs. Joshua Winfield
      His team:
      This was definitely a scary matchup, as Kyogre+Mence can be hard to break with this team. This was the one time I decided to bring Machamp, because I felt like I needed the extra offense, and liked the way he matched up. Game one was pretty close, it came down to my Smeargle Transforming into his Kyogre and sweeping the rest of his team with it. Game 2 he had a bad lead matchup, and also made the mistake of using Tailwind after I Trick Roomed, so it was a pretty clean win for me from there.
       
      Finals vs. Aaron Zheng Cybertron
      His team:
      I played really poorly this set, I’m not sure if I was tired or what. Game 1 I made the mistake of leading Kyurem+Meowstic against his Groudon+Mawile, which put me in an awkward 50/50 position from the start.  Either his Mawile targets Kyurem, in which case I can get up Trick Room and send in Groudon for free, or he targets Meowstic, in which case I can Gravity, then send in Kang do work with Kyurem+Kang. I went for the Gravity play, expecting him to want to stop my Trick Room, and he killed Kyurem. I had to send in Kang, and seeing that his Groudon was in range for a Double Edge, I decided to make a risky play to get back in the game and Fake Out Mawile, because if Mawile got an attack off onto Kang, then I’d be in Sucker Punch range, and I needed to be at full health to take on his Kyogre. His 100% best play was double attacking, and he went for it, sealing up a quick win in game 1.
       
      Game 2 I knew I couldn’t bring Kyurem again, so I decided to go with Smeargle, as his team looked pretty weak to Dark Void, and Smeargle could really help vs Kyogre. And I couldn’t bring Machamp because of Mawile. Turn 1 he led Bronzong+Groudon and I led Kang+Smeargle. I knew his Bronzong had Lum Berry, and I knew my Smeargle was slower than his Groudon, so I had to Fake Out his Bronzong and Dark Void, since it was the only guarantee way to get Dark Void off. Otherwise he could have Protected his Groudon and Gyro Balled into my Smeargle, finishing me off with Groudon the following turn. Of course, none of this matters when Smeargle decides to miss Dark Void on the Groudon. This was a huge setback, as his Groudon would have had a guaranteed sleep turn, and the next turn I could either Dark Void again to put Bronzong to sleep, Transform him, or pull some switches to get my offense going. I don’t remember what happened from there, except that I made a dumb play of switching out Meowstic because I thought he Skill Swapped Prankster from it when he actually didn’t. Oh and I still could have won if I got a better damage roll onto his Kyogre on the last turn when I Swaggered myself and went for Precipice Blades, but I can’t be too upset about that because I was confused anyways.
       
      Final Thoughts: I hope everyone enjoyed reading this article, we put a lot of effort into it and were glad we could share our unconventional team with you. Overall the team is very reliant on setting up with Meowstic so at first it looks very gimmicky, but the team actually supports Meowstic well enough to get the job done. We hope to be back on here soon with other successful team reports! Below we will have some shoutouts for our homies, thanks again.
       
      James' Shoutouts:
      Patrick Smith (SalaMenace): Thanks for showing me the team and allowing me to use it! Building it with you was a blast and the fact that we were so successful with it is awesome. You’re a great friend and hopefully we can do well at worlds. I’m glad you decided to join the Nor Cal scene you are a great member to the meme team.
      Nor Cal’s Finest: As there are too many of you to name you all know who you are. Everyone in the group is very awesome and keeps me coming to events. Playing the game is only so fun, but as lame as it sounds hanging out with all you guys makes it all the more fun.
      Kamran Jahadi (Kamz): I’m glad you could make it to the Regional with us last minute, I had an awesome time memeing with you in our bedroom over the weekend. Your tough love has always pushed me to get better at the game and hopefully senpai has noticed me. Yung Mon3y 4 Lyf3.
      Team Tank Top: All of you guys are really cool and I love being able to hang with you guys at events. Worlds 2015 was so much fun and can’t wait for this worlds to be even better.
      Mikewando: Once again thanks for the idea of level 49 Groudon! And also for volunteering to proofread/edit our article. Without out you this wouldn’t have happened <3 (Editor’s note: Don’t try to run Eruption on your level 49 Groudon kids; it doesn’t learn it below level 50! Also thanks for giving me an article to edit in Comic Sans, James <3)
  • Recent Blog Posts

    • VGC Metagame Changes Episode #4: Nationals and Stuff
      By SamuelTemple2 in A Journey up to the Temple 2
      It's time to talk about things that are going on in the current VGC metagame. Some things are getting more popular while others are starting to fad out. Since I'm not the best with intros, let's start with the first change that's going on in the current VGC season since Episode 3 was published.
      Original Post: http://samtemplekurokyunevgc.blogspot.com/2016/05/vgc-metagame-changes-episode-4.html?m=0

      Cresselia

      After Alex Gomez won the 2016 UK Nationals in a close game with Ethan Hall, players started to look at his team and see if there's anything they really liked about his team to try on their team and improve it. Alex's Cresselia was a big one that players really enjoyed. Even though Alex ran a Dual Primals team, his Cresselia had a lot of tricks. The use of Icy Wind and Thunder Wave provided Cresselia with effective ways to use multiple forms of speed controls. Icy Wind helped both of his Primals to use their powerful spread moves like Water Spout, Origin Pulse, Eruption, and Precipice Blades to utterly destroy teams with precision. Also, the use of Thunder Wave on his Cresselia allowed it to essentially act like a Thundurus since it could paralyze a threat after it used it move so it could be crippled the subsequent turns while the rest of the team could be take their team out. This was used by Chuppa Cross IV. to get Top 8 at Madison Regionals, which shocked players when facing it since it was so recent after it bursted into the scene.

      Thundurus-I

      While Thundurus hasn't been through some major changes, it has been through changes which will be discussed. When the season started for Thundurus, Thundurus' EVs were 252 Sp. Attack & 252 Speed since bulky Thundurus was deemed unviable. As time went on, Thundurus started to carry a Sitrus Berry and started to invest move into bulk so it can take hits as the metagame got more defensive. Also, in order to be better equipped to handle Primal Groudon, Thundurus started to carry Hidden Power [Water], which can OHKO Primal Groudon with enough investment in the Heavy Rain. While offensive variants are still viable, it'll be up to players to decide which fits best with their team.

      Big 6 Variants
            + (  )
      When the format started, the new common team known as the Big 6 emerged, which was a very common & powerful team that has won countless Regionals & Top Cut many more that it both win and didn't win. As the metagame went on however, players have started to realize that while the early meta variant is still strong, some changes were going to be made to be able to keep up. Some big changes were changing a member to something else, like Thundurus and Cresselia would clear up a sixth slot, which would help out other matchups. If Talonflame wasn't on the team, then Salamence would drop Draco Meteor for Tailwind while Smeargle got slower and started to carry Crafty Shield so opposing Smeargle couldn't put your team to sleep. Xerneas got a little slower and bulkier. Primal Groudon stopped being a primarily special attacker and started to be more of a physical attacker. Kangaskhan and Talonflame are still the same sing the beginning of the metagame.

      Bronzong

      Bronzong is a Pokemon that has been through some changes since Alex Gomez got 2nd at Wakefield Regionals then Aaron Zheng won Anaheim Regionals with it alongside both Primal Pokémon. When Bronzong first got popular, the main goal it was doing then is what it's doing now. Bronzong's role in the format, which probably won't change is that Bronzong can use a STAB Gyro Ball to OHKO Xerneas and act as a support Pokémon with Trick Room and Gravity. After it uses Gravity, it can use Hypnosis to put Pokémon to sleep with ease. It also has access to Skill Swap to help both of the Primal Pokémon control weather and not get hit by Groudon's Precipice Blades. Bronzong is commonly seen on Dual Primal teams as it provides an effective answer to Xerneas which can OHKO Xerneas after it uses Geomancy. Even though it isn't common, Bronzong does have access to Safeguard to shield the team from status moves like Thunder Wave, Dark Void, and Spore, which can cripple a team.

      Dual Primal
       
      Dual Primal is a core that emerged and has gain popularity since Alex Gomez got 2nd at the Wakefield Regional and Chuppa Cross IV got Top 4 at the Collinsville Regional. The idea of this core is to use both forms of weather with the Harsh Sun and the Heavy Rain to control the battlefield. These are 2 very diverse Pokémon as they can go fast or slow, and everything in between. The tricky part on your opponent's part is figuring out which is which. You may see this core paired with Intimidate users, Gravity setters for Groudon and Kyogre's signature moves, or some nice speed control, which is all set up in a way for Groudon and Kyogre to be the star of the show, though the other 4 members of that team will get their time to shine. Recently, Alex Gomez used it to win UK Nationals, Diana Bros used it to win Madison Regionals and Tom Nishimura used it to win Seattle Regionals, so this core is currently shining and it'll be up to the players going forward to either try and stop its continued success or join in on that success.   YvelDon (Yveltal + Groudon)  
      With the increasing popularity of Dual Primal, since Alex Gomez won UK Nationals and recently, Diana Bros and Tom Nishimura winning Seattle and Madison Regionals respectively. Yveltal came in the picture as it can use a powerful Sucker Punch to do at least 50% to both Primal Pokémon. Yveltal is a very strong Pokémon against the Dual Primal core generally won't have the firepower to handle it on its own, while it can do more damage to both of them before they can KO you. Since Xerneas is the natural enemy of Yveltal, Groudon comes in as a physical powerhouse to use powerful moves like Precipice Blades and Fire Punch to do more damage to Xerneas to Groudon before they do more damage do you. This core is generally strong as it started as an anti-meta core, which Arash Ommati used to win 2016 German Nationals, and Alessio Yuri Boschetto won the 2016 Innsbruck Regionals with this core.

      Some changes that are happening, but aren't common of big enough for their own section.
         - Kyogre start to use the Bold Nature to take physical hits better and also have Icy Wind as a form of speed control.  - Mewtwo has increased in usage as a fast Gravity setter and an offensive threat.  - Kyurem-White has increased in usage as a Gravity abuser with Blizzard since it gets a lot of important damage when needed. I hoped you enjoyed this article. If there's anything that you think should be added, let me know in a comment below. Check out my older content if you haven't already. I'll see you next time in a new article. I have a couple in the works that are coming soon so be ready for them.
    • Build A Pokemon: Xerneas and Yveltal Edition
      By TeddieToGo in Teddie's VGC Corner 1
      Welcome back to Build A Pokemon! Since I just got home and I am bored, I decided to create a little bonus post for you, considering that I just covered Landorus earlier today.
      I have to admit that I am really enjoying this series. It's been opening my eyes to different ways to run Pokemon. For this post, I've decided to analyze the X and Y box legendaries- Xerneas and Yveltal!
      This is going to be a bit of a different post than the last three. A lot of people may not realize that Xerneas and Yveltal have the exact same stats, which is fascinating since they are both used differently. Because Xerneas has a very specific set that it is known for, I don't really feel the need to go into it that deeply. Instead.  I'm going to provide one set for each of these two- a "life" set for Xerneas and a "destruction" set for Yveltal. 
      Before we get there, here is what you need to know about these two- both are special attackers, with Xerneas being an extremely potent setup sweeper and Yveltal being a bulky special attacker. If you are curious about how these two are typically run, check out the Smogon page on them. on them. In a nutshell, Xerneas's main set involves it setting up with Geomancy and subsequently sweeping through the opponent's team, while Yveltal is typically run with Assault Vest or Life Orb 
      Now that's out of the way, let us get into the two sets that I have come up with!
      Guardian of the Forest

      Xerneas@ Sitrus Berry
      Ability: Fairy Aura
      Nature: Modest
      EVs: 252 HP, 156 Def, 64 Sp Atk, 36 Sp Def
      - Thunder Wave
      - Heal Pulse
      - Gravity/ Aromatherapy
      - Dazzling Gleam/ Moonblast
      So, this is the "life" themed set that I came up with for Xerneas. I actually got this idea after visiting the Smogon page. Because Xerneas usually has a very specific way that it is used, I wanted to explore something completely different. I came up with a very bulky, support set that takes advantage of some of the great support moves that it has, while still exploiting its ability. The EVs given allow it to take a variety of threats, it can take an Eruption from Groudon in the sun and a Gyro Ball from Ferrothorn.  From there, I went with Thunder Wave for speed control, Heal Pulse and Gravity or Aromatherapy for support and Moonblast or Dazzling Gleam for an attacking move.
       
      Awaken the Chaos

      Yveltal@ Life Orb
      Ability: Dark Aura
      Nature: Modest
      EVs: 36 HP, 20 Def, 140 Sp Atk, 60 Sp Def, 252 Spd
      - Oblivion Wing
      - Snarl/ Dark Pulse/ Heat Wave
      - Foul Play
      - Sucker Punch
      This is the "destruction" themed set I came up with for Yveltal. I decided to go for a Modest nature and a Life Orb to complement a range of useful attacking moves. I ended up investing mostly in Special Attack and Speed and spreading the remaining EVS to help it tank hits better. You have some options for your main special attacking move, but Yveltal's main claim to fame, so to speak, is it's signature Oblivion Wing, which helps increase its longevity. Foul Play is to punish physical attackers and Sucker Punch gives some very handy priority. 
      So there is your bonus post. This might be the last one for a few days, but I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on these two. If you have any ideas for the next edition of Build A Pokemon, let me know in the comments. I'm thinking that Zapdos or Suicune will be next, but any suggestions are welcome! 
       
    • Top Cut teams from the VGC'16 Regional Championships
      By RpIndaHouse in RP's Corner 72
      These are the teams that top cut Regionals during the VGC'16 season. This blog entry will be edited constantly to keep Regionals results updated.
      Big thanks to the people who helped the community gather the information on some of the standings, mainly my friends and also nuggetbridge/pokemon for the stream archives from the events.
      This blog entry is being made in cooperation with LightCore, this will make it easier for both of us to get teams published faster. Also, check out his usage stats table here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BSSSjaK-xJWsdMbszHX5OxkNRmHhLuNn4ruH4CVo_eE/edit#gid=0
       


      Stockholm (Sweden) Regional - 16/ 01/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Markus Stadter: 
      2nd. Chandra: 
      3rd. Pontus: 
      4th. Simon: 
      5th. Rey: 
      6th. Luke: 
      7th. Baris Ackos: 
      8th. RangerBuddy: 




      Singapore Regional - 23/ 01/ 2016:
       
      1st. Saw Lip Leon: 
      2nd. Ryan Chiam: 
      3rd. Melvin Keh: 
      4th. Vishal: 
      5th. Aiman Ishak: 
      6th. Yan Ze Guan: 
      7th. Jonas Yew Meng Chow: 
      8th. Chan Ji Yun: 
       
       
      Chile Regional - 23/ 01/ 2016:


      1st. Nicolas Del Campo: 
      2nd. Matias Roa: 
      3rd. Jorge Aburto: 
      4th. David Pezoa: 
      5th. Catalina Castillo: 
      6th. Javier Espejo: 
      7th. Alexis Hormazabal: 
      8th. Nicolas Matus: 
       

      Taiwan Regional - 24/ 01/ 2016:


      1st. Zhe Zhang: 
      2nd. Jie-Ru Lin: 
      3rd. Hung-Wei Lai: 
      4th. Zhi-Qun Chen: 
      5th. Yu-Xiang Zhang: 
      6th. Zhi-Yong Deng: 
      7th. Yi-Xuan Chen: 
      8th. Hao Xuan Sun: 
       

      Wakefield (UK) Regional - 24/ 01/ 2016:


      1st. Jamie Boyt: 
      2nd. Alex Gomez: 
      3rd. Daniel Oztekin: 
      4th. Dominic Rhodes: 
      5th. Joseph Richardson: 
      6th. Luke Dunscombe: 
      7th. Marcus McNally: 
      8th. Phillip De Sousa: 
       

      Argentina Regional - 30/ 01/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Sebastian Escalante: 
      2nd. Christopher Soto: 
      3rd. Alejandro Diaz: 
      4th. Fernando Valle: 
      5th. Fernando Ferreira: 
      6th. Martin Cohen: 
      7th. Ezequiel Ruidiaz: 
      8th. Sergio Scabbiolo: 
       

      Preganziol (Italy) Regional - 31/ 01/ 2016:
       
      1st. Riccardo Appamea: 
      2nd. Matteo Donati: 
      3rd. Luigi Schiavone: 
      4th. Alexander Kuhn: 
      5th. Edoardo Bertani: 
      6th. William Bassolino: 
      7th. Ricardo Rispoli: 
      8th. Simone Perilli: 
       
       
      Glasgow (UK) Regional - 07/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Joseph Richardson: 
      2nd. Lee Provost: 
      3rd. Jamie Boyt: 
      4th. Ben Grover: 
      5th. Jeremy Mantingh: 
      6th. Adam Mack: 
      7th. Christopher Arthur: 
      8th. Joshua Penny: 
       
       
      Innsbruck (Austria) Regional - 13/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Alessio Yuri Boschetto: 
      2nd. Simone Sanvito: 
      3rd. Pascal Hoppenberg: 
      4th. Daryl Sprenger: 
      5th. Damir Lokmic: 
      6th. Simone De Lucchi: 
      7th. Dominic Scheffler: 
      8th. Noah Fuchs: 
       

      Virginia (USA) Regional - 14/ 02/ 2016: 

       
      1st. Paul Chua: 
      2nd. Alec Rubin: 
      3rd. Tommy Cooleen: 
      4th. Samuel Amity: 
      5th. Joohwan Kim: 
      6th. Edward Glover: 
      7th. Tiago Maltez: 
      8th. Kazi Rahman: 
       

      Arnhem (Netherlands) Regional - 20/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Luis Conti: 
      2nd. Eloy Hahn: 
      3rd. Alexander Kuhn: 
      4th. Noah Fuchs: 
      5th. Rafik Saldi: 
      6th. Andres Escobosa: 
      7th. Reinier de Vries: 
      8th. Nemanja Sandic: 
       

      Collinsville (USA) Regional - 20/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Drew Nowak: 
      2nd. Shaun Martin: 
      3rd. Franklin Lewis: 
      4th. Chuppa Cross IV: 
      5th. Nikolai Zienlinski: 
      6th. Alex Underhill: 
      7th. Roman Isakov: 
      8th. Stephen Morioka: 
       

      Anaheim (USA) Regional - 21/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Aaron Zheng: 
      2nd. Patrick Smith: 
      3rd. Sam Johnson: 
      4th. Joshua Winfield: 
      5th. Alvin Mo: 
      6th. Alberto Lara: 
      7th. Gerald Delacruz: 
      8th. Mitchell Moscrop: 
       

      Centro de Lima (Peru) Regional - 21/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Paul Ruiz: 
      2nd. Nicolás del Campo: 
      3rd. Carlos Holguín: 
      4th. Javier Parada: 
      5th. Manuel Juárez: 
      6th. Victor Ortíz: 
      7th. Brando Medina: 
      8th. André Quiñonez: 
       

      Argentina Regional - 27/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Federico Turano: 
      2nd. Sebastián Escalante: 
      3rd. Federico Impemba: 
      4th. Gonzalo Bureau: 
      5th. Gino Gropponi: 
      6th. Emanuel Guzman: 
      7th. Federico Andino: 
      8th. Nicolás Campos: 
       
       
      Florida (USA) Regional - 28/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Wolfe Glick: 
      2nd. Matt Coyle: 
      3rd. Kamaal Harris: 
      4th. Ashton Cox: 
      5th. Chalkey Horenstein: 
      6th. Will Aiken: 
      7th. Gavin Michaels: 
      8th. Erin Schrader: 
       
       
      Oregon (USA) Regional - 28/ 02/ 2016:
       
      1st. Randy Kwa: 
      2nd. Brandon Myers: 
      3rd. Gary Qian: 
      4th. Brandt Willems: 
      5th. Samuel Haarsman: 
      6th. Conan Thompson: 
      7th. Emilio Estrada: 
      8th. Markell Thornton: 
       

      Mexico Regional - 28/ 02/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Javier Hernandez : 
      2nd. Jonathan Juarez: 
      3rd. Christian Ramírez: 
      4th. Ruben Escobedo: 
      5th. Rogelio Espinoza: 
      6th. Julio Palafox: 
      7th. Lizandro Gonzales: 
      8th. Israel Olmedo: 
       

      Dublin (Ireland) Regional - 05/ 03/ 2016:
       
      1st. William Tansley: 
      2nd. Nigel Gower: 
      3rd. David Mizrahi: 
      4th. Thomas Plater: 
      5th. Miguel Martí: 
      6th. Lee Provost: 
      7th. Guillermo Ibanez: 
      8th. Mark Mcquillan: 



      Turin (Italy) Regional - 13/ 03/ 2016:
       
      1st. Arash Ommati: 
      2nd. Nicola Tomasini: 
      3rd. Flavio Del Pidio: 
      4th. Ugur Tatli: 
      5th. Michelangelo Baudanza: 
      6th. Giovanni Milani: 
      7th. Eric Rios: 
      8th. Francesca Giacometti: 
       

      Longjumeau (France) Regional - 26/ 03/ 2016:
       
      1st. Giovanni Milani: 
      2nd. Justin Miller: 
      3rd. David Mizrahi: 
      4th. William Bassolino: 
      5th. Luca Cacciolato: 
      6th. Brian Zourdani: 
      7th. Andrea Sasso: 
      8th. Florian Henry: 



      Sutton Coldfield (UK) Regional - 09/ 04/ 2016:
       
      1st. Joseph Richardson: 
      2nd. Eden Batchelor: 
      3rd. Max Waterman: 
      4th. Daniel Nolan: 
      5th. Kai Winwright: 
      6th. Matt Carter: 
      7th. Sam Gilbert: 
      8th. David Battell: 



      Lanaken (Belgium) Regional - 17/ 04/ 2016:
       
      1st. Christoph Kugeler: 
      2nd. Marc Werner: 
      3rd. Eloy Hahn: 
      4th. Andres Escobosa: 
      5th. Baris Ackos: 
      6th. Markus Stadter: 
      7th. Jonas Wiegal: 
      8th. Pauli Moors: 
       
       
      Barcelona (Spain) Regional - 23/ 04/ 2016:
       
      1st. Javier de Blas: 
      2nd. Juan Carlos Mateos: 
      3rd. Juan Trillo: 
      4th. Ricard Rodríguez: 
      5th. Victor Sánchez: 
      6th. Juan Gil: 
      7th. José Yerai Pozo: 
      8th. Eric Rios: 



      Adelaide (Australia) Regional - 01/ 05/ 2016:


      1st. Sam Pandelis: 
      2nd. Joshua Callister: 
      3rd. Luke Curtale: 
      4th. Martin Larumbe: 
      5th. Nihal Noor: 
      6th. Nicholas Bingham: 
      7th. Brandon Miller: 
      8th. Josh Matos: 
       
       
      Colombia Regional - 01/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Fredy Vanegas: 
      2nd. Diego Llanes: 
      3rd. Andrés Quintero: 
      4th. Juan Pablo Naar: 
      5th. Mario Stefani: 
      6th. David Davila: 
      7th. Ivan Yepes: 
      8th. Ivan Macias: 
       
       
      Auckland (New Zealand) Regional - 07/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Haris Sahovic: 
      2nd. Trent Sayer: 
      3rd. Robert Whitehill: 
      4th. Matthew Gall: 
      5th. Matthew Buttler 
      6th. Junlei Zhou: 
      7th. Geoffrey Gunn: 
      8th. Vishal Patel: 
       
       
      Rome (Italy) Regional - 07/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Simone Sanvito: 
      2nd. Flavio Del Pidio: 
      3rd. Alberto Gini: 
      4th. Gilberto Goracci: 
      5th. Ugur Tatli: 
      6th. Michelangelo Baudanza: 
      7th. Aniello Iuliano: 
      8th. Eric Rios: 
       
       
      Eindhoven (Netherlands) Regional - 08/ 05/ 2016:



      1st. Luca Breitling-Pause: 
      2nd. Timo Koppetsch: 
      3rd. Williem Schouten: 
      4th. Jip Snoek: 
      5th. Elco Zeijlmans: 
      6th. Damir Kodzoman: 
      7th. Koen Van Leeuwen: 
      8th. Fatih Yeven: 
       
       
      Mexico City (Mexico) Regional - 08/ 05/ 2016:



      1st. Carlos Mario Villanueva: 
      2nd. Lizandro Gonzalez: 
      3rd. Ricardo Anaya: 
      4th. Jorge Roldan: 
      5th. Jose Galicia: 
      6th. Hugo Trujillo: 
      7th. Edwin Munive: 
      8th. Saul Hernandez: 
       

      Sydney (Australia) Regional - 14/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Martin Larumbe: 
      2nd. Daniel Walker: 
      3rd. Richard Buckley: 
      4th. Sam Pandelis: 
      5th. Joseph Do: 
      6th. Denaysh Selvakkumar: 
      7th. Brent Tonisson: 
      8th. Simon Konsti: 
       

      Chile Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Heriberto Pacaje: 
      2nd. Sebastián Lara: 
      3rd. Abel Yantorno: 
      4th. Sergio Morales: 
      5th. David Pezoa: 
      6th. Ariel Romo: 
      7th. Cristian Aravena: 
      8th. Javier Córdova: 
       
       
      Costa Rica Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Esteban Molina: 
      2nd. Daniel Perez: 
      3rd. Max Morales: 
      4th. Reynord Gonzalez: 
      5th. Maria Avila: 
      6th. Joshua Quiros: 
      7th. Esteban Hernandez: 
      8th. David Rodriguez: 
       
       
      Seattle (USA) Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Thomas Nishimura: 
      2nd. Hongyu Zhu: 
      3rd. Kelvin Koon: 
      4th. Mitchell Davies: 
      5th. Henry Maxon: 
      6th. Conan Thompson: 
      7th. Zheyuan Huang: 
      8th. Justin Burns: 
       
       
      Taiwan Regional - 15/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. BBT Liao: 
      2nd. Chien-Chien Tsai: 
      3rd. Zhi-Qun Chen: 
      4th. Chao-Chen Ku: 
      5th. Lai Chun Hang: 
      6th. Zhe Zhang: 
      7th. Meng-Hang Wu: 
      8th. Chu-An Wu: 
       

      Brisbane (Australia) Regional - 21/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Richard Buckley: 
      2nd. Martin Larumbe: 
      3rd. Josh Callaghan: 
      4th. Mitch Kendrick: 
      5th. Daniel Walker: 
      6th. Damon Murdoch: 
      7th. Shisir L.: 
      8th. Alexander Kollasch: 
       
       
      Athens (USA) Regional - 21/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Toler Webb: 
      2nd. Kyle Morris: 
      3rd. Wolfe Glick: 
      4th. Kyle Ayala: 
      5th. Brady Smith: 
      6th. Erik Holmstrom: 
      7th. James Grizzle: 
      8th. Eric Hogan: 



      Madison (USA) Regional - 22/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Diana Bros: 
      2nd. Sam Schweitzer: 
      3rd. Justin Crubough: 
      4th. James Baek: 
      5th. Alec Rubin: 
      6th. Tommy Cooleen: 
      7th. Chuppa Cross IV: 
      8th. Matthew Peroutka: 



      Ecuador Regional - 22/ 05/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Sebastian Altamirano: 
      2nd. Oscar Zhunio: 
      3rd. Rafael Tavarez: 
      4th. Raul Ramirez: 
      5th. Jose Ubilla: 
      6th. Andryell Herrera: 
      7th. Pedro Avellaneda: 
      8th. Mario Pillajo: 
       
       
      Braunschweig (Germany) Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Michael Riechert: 
      2nd. Matthias Suchodolski: 
      3rd. Ying Jun Qi: 
      4th. Jan Michelberger: 
      5th. Kai Goebel: 
      6th. Florian Wurdack: 
      7th. Steven Markhardt: 
      8th. Thomas Gabor: 
       
       
      Colombia Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Mateo Arias: 
      2nd. Alfredo Prada: 
      3rd. Hazan Perez: 
      4th. Juan Pablo Naar: 
      5th. Andrés Campos: 
      6th. Freddy Vanegas: 
      7th. Juan Castrepo: 
      8th. Andres Quintero: 
       

      Melbourne (Australia) Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Nihal Noor: 
      2nd. James Farrugia: 
      3rd. Aviel Lee: 
      4th. Alex Poole: 
      5th. Emma Williams: 
      6th. Tim Walsh: 
      7th. James Katsaros: 
      8th. Bryan Freeman: 
       

      Malaysia Regional - 28/ 05/ 2016: 
       
      1st. Ariff Erzanie Ramli: 
      2nd. Poh Yu jie: 
      3rd. Kevin Ngim: 
      4th. Stephen Tan: 
      5th. Chaiyawat Traiwichcha: 
      6th. Wilson Foong: 
      7th. Muhammad Nasserudean: 
      8th. Aiman Ishak: 



      Kansas (USA) Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Ian McLaughlin: 
      2nd. Collin Heier: 
      3rd. Mike Suleski: 
      4th. Oliver Valenti: 
      5th. Jake Muller: 
      6th. Blake Hopper: 
      7th. Stephen Morioka: 
      8th. DJ Mead: 
       

      Massachusetts (USA) Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Paul Chua: 
      2nd. Enosh Shachar: 
      3rd. Ashton Cox: 
      4th. Chuppa Cross IV: 
      5th. Stephen Mea: 
      6th. Angel Miranda: 
      7th. James Baek: 
      8th. Chris Danzo: 
       
       
      Utah (USA) Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Riley Factura: 
      2nd. Thomas Nishimura: 
      3rd. Mitchell Davies:
      4th. Chase Lybbert: 
      5th. Joseph Selmer: 
      6th. Arthur Colby II: 
      7th. Habib Matar: 
      8th. Jordan Jue: 
       
       
      Costa Rica Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:  
       
      1st. Leonardo Chinchilla: 
      2nd. David Rodriguez: 
      3rd. Max Morales: 
      4th. Francisco Bernard: 
      5th. Raul Arias: 
      6th. Jose Pablo Oviedo: 
      7th. Adrian Araya: 
      8th. René Alvarenga: 
       
       
      Peru Regional - 29/ 05/ 2016:
       
      1st. Renzo Navarro: 
      2nd. Gonzalo Padilla: 
      3rd. Diego Paredes: 
      4th. David Samanez: 
      5th. Luis Mera: 
      6th. Alexiev Castro: 
      7th. Giorgio Falconi: 
      8th. Miguel Linares: 
       
       
      VGC '16 Regionals Usage Stats: 
      Note: The pokémon from the Taiwan, Brisbane, Athens, Madison, Ecuador, Germany, Australia, Colombia, Malaysia, Kansas, Mass, Utah, Costa Rica and Peru Regionals were not added yet, the graph will be updated once all the info is gathered.
       

    • Looking Past the Legendaries - My Thoughts on Restricted-Free Teams
      By ChimechoOP in Veilstone Game Corner 0
      Hello and welcome to my second-ever blog post. Today, I'll be talking about something different: teams without restricted legendaries.
      [obligatory]
      I'm sure we've all seen teams like this in places like the RMT forum by people who don't like using legendaries. They usually get replies like this: "Hello. Unfortunately for you, you have to use legendaries if you want to do well. There's literally no reason to use [unfortunate water type] over Kyogre because the latter has higher moves, stats, and yadda yadda yadda... tl;dr Use these legendaries and you should be fine." I want to put a stop to these kinds of posts because they're not helpful; not from a rating perspective - that team may very well have the capabilities to win a competition - but because they go against the goal of the team. Once, a rater defended their decision by saying that even the top players used legendaries, so the builder of the team had no reason not to. What the rater failed to realize was the fact that the top players' goal was to win. The builder's goal was to win without legendaries.
      The age-old debate on whether to use tried-and-true methods, or to deviate from the group and use the Pokémon you like, is one I'm on the fence about: While I don't really mind using Primals anymore, there's one Pokémon that I just can't stand and never use because of that. But that's a story for a different entry (or maybe the comment section). Let's talk about the opinions of people who disagree with me, and how they translate into the meta.
      There is no "perfect" team, and there never will be. However, there are good teams, the likes of which are everywhere: Big 6, CHALK, etc. have gained popularity because they're good. Most legendary-less teams aren't that good, because they're built by newer players who have less understanding of the meta. However, can a team without 780-BST monsters potentially be good?
      An ideal team without restricted legendaries would feature six Pokémon, each supporting the others to such an extent that adding in a legendary would actually make the team worse. After all, the restricted legendaries consist of only 15 Pokémon, and although according to popular opinion, two of them are necessary to win, each one, from the lowly, underrated Zygarde, to the titanic, dominating Groudon, has its weaknesses. The teams of today are doing whatever they can to focus on these weaknesses (an example being the popular RayOgre archetype) and a good legendary-free team would try to exploit these weaknesses without being weak to them itself.
      For newer players who don't want to use legendaries, I have this advice: Try them out and see what their weaknesses are. Not until you use the lashing leviathan, Kyogre, for yourself can you understand how it falls. Also, don't be "that guy" who brags every time they manage to hax a legendary user to death - people will respect you if you don't use legendaries. Don't mess that up.
      For more experienced players, don't waste all that time you've amassed by bringing the Big 6 to every tournament. It's your turn to make the best team you can with no legendaries. Doesn't work? Let us know! Take craziness to the next level! USE CLOUD NINE ALTARIA! With experience like yours, the world is your oyster!
      Maybe I'm wrong about the potential of these teams. Maybe none of the 1.181520044 * 10^17 possible teams can ever be called "good" with Primals everywhere. But I personally doubt it; that's a pretty big number, even without all the event legendaries and NFEs. Somewhere in there, there's potential.
      So long. Thanks for reading. Be sure to leave a comment, whether you liked it or not, and let me know if there's something I could've done better.
    • Off-topic: What the Detroit happened to Top Gear?
      By DJQuack8D in The Enigmatic Machinations of My Mind 1
      Welcome to my new blog!
      This blog is gonna focus more on my personal thoughts that aren't Pokemon related (for Pokemon related things, you can check my other blog, The Frost Cavern). It's just gonna be a bit of fun, a light prod to the current events of the world, if you will.
      Enough of the exposition, here's the topic at hand; Top Gear. More importantly, the recent Top Gear reboot. For those of you living under a rock with some decent wi-fi, here's a link to the episode on iPlayer:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07dwp1f/top-gear-series-23-episode-1
      At the time of writing, this aired last night. A simple Google Search of Top Gear will already bring up a seemingly infinite number of comments regarding how they've changed it and messed it up. I completely agree with them. Chris in particular, is just really annoying. I understand what he's trying to do as a replacement to Clarkson, but his incessant shouting and general awkwardness between him and Matt (who is actually pretty good; why couldn't they just let him do the show himself?) just makes him seem dated and as if he's trying too hard.
      On the subject of Matt, the entire first episode seems to be dedicated to the fact he's American. From his very introduction at the start of the episode, to the main VT in the show, the entire thing is centered on his American-ness. Is that how the show is going to be, with all 6 of its presenters being assumed to stereotypes? In her one appearance, Sabine seemed to have cemented herself as a tomboy, what with the movie references and her supposed ability to make a fighter pilot sick by driving him around in a Corvette (which is actually addressed by Matt in the show; even they acknowledge their own stereotyping!) Quite frankly, I'm worried for the other presenters who haven't been shown yet; Rory Reid in particular, who I fear will just be turned into the standard black guy character in such a forced way.
      Forced; that's a good word to describe the show as a whole. The audience, the 'jokes', the VTs, the presenters, the guests, the premise as a whole; it seems like they all have been put into a situation where they have to act rather than just, you know, be. One of the great things about the old Top Gear was the way that everything you saw was natural and the way Clarkson, Hammond, May, and everyone around the set were portrayed were actually how they were. If they were angry in the show, they were angry on set. That's how it was. But now, every interaction seems blunt and without personality.
      The show itself, in the way of content, felt very lacking. It feels stripped back to the very minimum; a power test, a lap, Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, main feature, and that's all. A very bare-bones approach, but you could argue that that means the quality of each would be better. Nope. All of the VTs feel rushed, the lap was full of Chris' EXTREME annoyance and the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment was even blander than ever. Also, they removed the news! That was one of the funniest segments of the old show and a breeding ground for good jokes; no such things here. If anything it seems like a place where jokes come to die. All jokes made seem bland and tasteless, particularly the ones at the beginning regarding the Indian caterers.
      All in all, I was very disappointed with Chris' efforts. However, I am going to watch the other episodes, partly because there's nothing else on on a Sunday afternoon, partly because I want to see if it gets any better as it progresses. I really wanted to like it, I wanted to say that it was amazing and a perfect continuation, but sadly that isn't true. It's more of a terrible cover band than a reunion, and it shows. But hey, at least the people over at Amazon Prime will have enjoyed it.
       
    • Teams & Results from Colombia Regional 28/05/2016
      By VGColombia in VGColombia: A Latin American blog 0
      The last saturday here in Colombia we had our last Regional and competitive event before our future National Championship (July/02/2016), in it there was 31 participants, 4 Seniors, 27 Masters, And this is the the top 8 (masters) and top 4 (seniors), also I will leve you with the archive of the top 8 transmision in twitch:

      Top 8 Masters:
      1. Mateo Arias (Albus):

      2. Alfredo Prada (AlfreDo):

      3. Hazan Perez (HaPK):

      4. Juan Pablo Naar (DonVGC):

      5. Andrés Campos (Andrés):

      6. Freddy Vanegas (Angel):

      7. Juan Camilo Restrepo (juancavgc):

      8. Andres Quintero (Krulcifer):

       
      Top 4 Seniors:
      1. Samuel Delgado (Samuel):

      2. Camilo Andres Esquivel:

      3. Braian Gordon (Braian):

      4. Juan David Daza:

       
      Finally here I leave the recording of the transmision (top 8, semifina and final):
      https://www.twitch.tv/vgcolombia/v/69182849

      Finally special thanks to Mangalianza Centa for organizing the regional.
    • Build A Pokemon: Landorus Edition
      By TeddieToGo in Teddie's VGC Corner 0
      Happy awesomely humid Midwest Memorial Day!
      So, in honor of this important holiday, I decided to analyze one of the biggest threats from VGC 2015, Landorus- Therian! It actually took a little while for Landorus to become popular in this format, and I'm not really sure why. I discovered it early in the season and I realized that it is an excellent check to some of the biggest threats, combining great offensive prowess with a fantastic ability and typing. Let's take a closer look at this gem of a Pokemon.

      Name: Landorus- Therian
      Type: Ground/ Flying
      Ability: Intimidate
      Stats:
      HP- 89
      Atk- 145
      Def- 90
      Sp Atk- 105
      Sp- 80
      Spd- 91
      Nine times out if ten, when you see Landorus, specifically Therian Form, it is going to be run as a dedicated physical attacker, although one of the sets I came up with deviates from this a bit. It's defenses, while solid, are not the highest in the format and it sits at an awkward speed tier, being able to outspeed both Primals, while being subsequently outsped by Yveltal. Despite this, it has been blessed with an awesome Attack stat and one of the best abilities in the format. As a Primal Groudon counter, its one of the best, although it will faint at the sight of Primal Kyogre.
      I'm just going to quickly run through Landorus's viable moves, since they are pretty straight forward.
      Earthquake- Landorus's main stab
      Knock Off- awesome for removing defensive items
      Rock Slide- One of the best spread moves
      U- turn- useful for bringing in more powerful attackers
      Superpower- For Mega Kangaskhan
      Protect- Duh
      Focus Blast- Also for Mega Kangaskhan
      Earth Power- Interesting single target Ground attack
      Grass Knot- Useful for getting chip damage on Kyogre
       
      I've got two sets for you toady. One is Landorus's standard set, the other is one that is a bit more unorthadox.
       
      Choice Scarf

      Landorus- Therian@ Choice Scarf
      Ability- Intimidate
      Nature- Adamant
      EV's- 252 Atk, 252 Spd, 4 HP
      - Earthquake
      - Rock Slide
      - Superpower
      - Knock off/ U- turn
      Not much to say. This is probably Landorus's most well known set. I'm not a huge fan of it to be completely honest, but if you want something really straightforward, this would be it.
       
      Land's Wrath

      Landorus- Therian@ Life Orb
      Ability- Intimidate
      Nature- Naive 
      EV's- 220 Atk, 180 Sp Atk, 108 Spd
      - Earth Power
      - Rock Slide/ Stone Edge
      - Superpower/ Focus Blast
      - Grass Knot/ U-turn
      I know that you are probably scratching your head right know, but let me explain.
      The main reason that I am not a fan of physical Landorus is that I think is it just plain underwhelming. Earthquake does not do as much damage as I would like and I do not think that Landorus does well when locked into one move. With the EV's given, Landorus can actually OHKO Primal Groudon with Earth Power, something it cannot do with Earthquake. Grass Knot is to soften up Primal Kyogre, although some might prefer U-turn. The nice thing about this set is that, once it's Attack is lowered with Superpower, it still has options with Earth Power. It is a much more diverse set overall.
      I hope that you enjoyed my little analysis of Landorus! Consider this a springboard for coming up with your own sets to fit your team, or completely disregard this advice. I'm not sure who will be the next focus of Build A Pokemon, so comments are completely welcome.
      Oh,and for those who have, are and will serve our country, we salute you. Thank you for your sacrifice.
       
        
    • "D.J. Mead? Who's that?" A Kansas City Regionals/PC Top 8 Report
      By BlazingBreloom in BlazingBreloom's VGC 2016 season 3
      Hello Nugget Bridge! My name is D.J. Mead, and I recently attended the Kansas City regional event over Memorial Day weekend. Now, some of you are thinking "D.J. Mead, I've never heard of him before." There is good reason to be thinking that. Since nobody really knows who I am, I figured this would be a good way to talk a little about myself as a player and let the community know a little bit more about this kid who cut top 8 at an arguably stacked regional.
      As stated before, my name is D.J. Mead. I have been playing competitive pokemon since 2014, but began attendance at events as of last year. I am currently a high school student, so traveling around the country to obtain CP is not totally in my range. So, as of last year I decided to attend the closest regional to me, which was the Kansas City regional in 2015. I attended the event with Max Easley (PandaWarrior) and we had a total blast meeting people in the community for the first time in person. Neither of us did anything spectacular, as I had finished the day at 3-5. For a first tournament, I felt like I got a good feel for events, and was eager to work on preparation for the next season in 2016.
       
      So, now that were done with the boring stuff, lets talk about the preparation for the regional first.
      roughly two weeks prior to the event, there were two teams I was bouncing around in my head. These were the teams:
      Team 1-
      Team 2-
      I did end up using both teams, one at the regional and one at the premier challenge the next day. I had to consider 2 major factors: Team 2 was a team I had more practice with, but was weak in best of three. Team 1 I had less practice with, but was better in best of 3. I tossed and turned over this decision until I had agreed with myself that I needed consistent play in best of three. So, one day before the regional, I made a commitment to the first team.
       
      Team 1 was.. Interesting to say the least. On battlespot this team played less than optimal, and actually had dropped me way down into the high 1590's the night before regionals (ouch, right?). However, I did know this team was built more for best of three over Team 2, which was crucial if I wanted even a glimmer of success. When I committed to using Team 1, I went into team registration Saturday morning with the expectation to just have fun because I knew that I had a lack of practice with the team.
       
      Before I discuss the depth of Team 1, I need to be sure to clarify that the EV spreads were not mine in any way, and do not intend to take credit for them. They are from Conan's Seattle top 8 team, which can be seen here { http://conan-vgc.hatenablog.com/entry/2016/05/16/045045 }. A super huge thank you to Conan for posting this team, it helped me get to where I did at Kansas City.
       
      The Team:
       
      ->
      Salamence @ Salamencite  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 84 Atk / 172 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Naive Nature  
      - Tailwind  
      - Hyper Voice  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Protect  
      Salamence: The only pokemon I did not use once the entire regional. I never have felt comfortable with salamence in VGC 2016, and I don't know why I did not swap out my 'Mence for Talonflame.

      Xerneas @ Power Herb  
      Ability: Fairy Aura  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 68 SpA / 4 SpD / 44 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Geomancy  
      - Dazzling Gleam  
      - Moonblast  
      - Protect  
      Xerneas was a pokemon I was resentful to use at first, but slowly grew on me. I had always been a big double primal fan, but I figured I would try Xern/Groudon as my restricted because it covered more weaknesses for me, and had been a superb late-game cleanup. Xerneas was a pokemon I kept in the back 100% of the time.
      ->
      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Inner Focus  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Sucker Punch  
      Kangaskhan, the best mega in the entire meta right now in my opinion. Kang gave me a perfect lead option to pair with Cresselia or Smeargle in almost any situation. Kang was one of my lead choices 100% of the time.

      Cresselia @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 20 SpD / 228 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe  
      - Psychic  
      - Helping Hand  
      - Trick Room  
      - Ice Beam  
      Cresselia was a pokemon I had neglected up until the night before regionals. I never saw her as the diamond she was, and I think some of that reflects on the glaring fact that I had so little practice with this team. I opted to go T-wave over trick room, and Ice beam over Icy Wind to pick up guaranteed OHKO on opposing salamence. However, I only used cress one time the entire regional.

      Smeargle @ Mental Herb  
      Ability: Moody  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 196 Def / 60 SpD  
      Bold Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Dark Void  
      - King's Shield  
      - Wide Guard  
      - Follow Me  
      Smeargle was by far my personal MVP, and was crucial to my success. Now, A lot of people are probably thinking that I just got lucky rolls and the RNG was in my favor all day, but this wasn't the case. I had multiple situations where my back was against the wall with the RNG. Smeargle's ability to redirect attacks and protect from P-Blades and Water Spouts was huge. King's Shield was something that would typically catch opposing Kangaskhan off guard when faking out/double edging/low kicking and lowering their attack by 2 stages. I used Smeargle all but one time during the day.
      ->
      Groudon @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Drought  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 140 HP / 156 Atk / 44 SpA / 116 SpD / 52 Spe  
      Brave Nature  
      - Precipice Blades  
      - Eruption  
      - Fire Punch  
      - Protect  
      Groudon was my preferred primal over Kyogre. Groudon was in the back 100% of the time, but honestly did not see a whole lot of playtime because I had won most of my early matches fairly quick. Mixed groudon definitely helped pull some great KO's, though.
       
      I did not exactly keep track of my battles, and this was because I had no expectations as I had said before. I do know I did not drop a single game within sets until after round 4, and it was about then I knew I had a legitimate chance at cutting top 8. I remember playing Ian M., Mike S., and Jake M. better than any other of my matches. My two losses came at the hands of Mike and Jake, which was nothing I fretted over because I knew they were both terrific players. When cut was released, I was stoked to see I had managed to grab 6th seed with a 5-2 record. I noticed Ian was 3rd seed, which meant I would face him Sunday in round 1 of top 8. I had beaten Ian in round 5 of swiss, but I did not underestimate him by any means. When the first round went underway, I won the first game comfortably. Ian then matched my Kang/Smearlge lead with his own Kang/Smeargle, and he clean swept me 4-0. Our game 3 was totally completely clutch. It was neck and neck, until his Groudon fire punched my Xerneas to burn it, and he then proceeded to stall burn damage to put my Xerneas in Dazzling Gleam K.O. range. It was a tough loss to swallow, because I am near positive I would have won had I not been burned. However, Ian deserved his win against me and in the entire regional, so great job Ian!!
       
      I am not going to go in-depth on the PC, But I will reveal the spreads. I went 4-1, and was seeded 3rd out of about 20 competitors. This team was inspired by a blog post that I saw earlier in the 2016 season here on NB, and cannot seem to find the original author. I do know that the original creator kept his or her spreads somewhat secret, so most of these spreads are my own that were collaborated with PandaWarrior. Enjoy!!
       

      Gengar @ Focus Sash 
      Ability: Levitate
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252SpA / 4SpD /
      Quiet Nature  
      - Trick Room
      - Destiny Bond
      - Sludge Bomb
      - Shadow Ball

      Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
      Ability: Iron Barbs
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 164 SpD  
      Relaxed Nature  
      - Worry Seed
      - Gyro Ball
      - Power Whip
      - Protect  

      Crobat @ Lum Berry
      Ability: Inner Focus
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 20 HP / 236Def / 252 Spe  
      TimidNature  
      - Tailwind 
      - Quicj Guard
      - Haze 
      - Super Fang
      ->
      Groudon @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Drought  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 248SpD 
      Brave Nature  
      - Precipice Blades  
      - Rock Slide
      - Fire Punch  
      - Protect  
      ->
      Kyogre@ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Drizzle
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 196 HP / 68 Def / 76 SpA / 168 SpD
      Quiet Nature  
      - Water Spout 
      - Thunder
      - Ice Beam 
      - Protect  
      ->
      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Inner Focus  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
      Adamant Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Sucker Punch  
       
      Again, thanks to everyone who supported me. I am sorry I did not have a full in-depth look at both of my teams, but hopefully the spreads can help some people out like they've helped me Good luck to everyone in their future competitions!
       
       
       
    • Top Cut Teams from the VGC 2016 Peru Regional (May 29)
      By Dietrich in Zapdos hideout 1
      What's going on guys? This is Dietrich coming to you once again with another post of "top cut teams", this time I´m bringing to you the top teams from the last Pokemon VGC2016 Regional from Lima, Peru. We are trying to get things ready for our main event, "The Peru Pokemon VGC2016 National Tournament" which is going to be held in June 25 and we would like to share the teams from this Regional in order to help the Pokemon vgc community. Well let´s take a look at those teams.
       
       
      1st Place: Renzo Navarro (Renzo)
       

       
       
       
      2nd Place: Gonzalo Padilla (Sinnoh Legend)
       

       
       

      3rd Place: Diego Paredes (Madara-T)
       

       
       
      4th Place: David Samanez (Dietrich)
       

       
       

      5th Place: Luis Mera (Cancerberus)

       

       

      6th Place: Alexiev Castro (Alexid)
       

       

      7th Place: Giorgio Falconi (GiorgioFL)
       

       
       

      8th Place: Miguel Ángel Linares (UltraSubZero)
       

       
       
       
      Well, this is all guys, I hope you have enjoyed this, see you next time.
       
      Good luck in your battles.
      Dietrich, Pokemon trainer.
    • What is Academia SOS?
      By AcademiaSOS in Academy Bulletin 9
      Hello VGC players of the world! 
      Here's a brief introduction to our beloved Academia SOS made by our leader "Kracken" and "Bright" (Pktrainer1994):
      Academia SOS is a team of mexican Pokémon players. Founded in 2007 in the old Forum "Club Nintendo". We are a school-type team dedicated to teach the metagame in different formats. To date we have about 50 members.

      Originally we focused only on Smogon Single Battles format until recent years in which the VGC format was introduced officially in the country, since then we have been actively participating in various events, from Premier Challenges to Regional Championships and an upcoming debut on the first National Championship in Mexico.

      Active Players:
      Jonathan Juárez (Gupiman)
      Alfonso Esqueda (Pktrainer1994)
      Humberto Acosta (Sparkzter)
      Ulises Arreola (Kracken)
      Eliezer Gómez (TerranceZer)
      Enrique García (DocThor)
      Jesús Cocaño (jcocano)
      Christopher Velazquez (YukiMinami)
      Rafael Conteras
      Israel Olmedo (Monsterneitor)
      Alexis Hernandez
      Jonatan Mejia
      Jair Gallardo (Metal)
      Stephanie Valenzuela (Kuishi)
      Pedro Avellaneda
      We have some minor acomplishments winning Premier Chapionships by Jonathan Juárez (Gupiman), Alfonso Esqueda (Pktrainer1994), Eliezer Gómez (Terrance Zer), Jesús Cocaño (jcocano),. One Midseason Showdown Top 8 and 4 thanks to Israel Olmedo (Monsterneitor) and Alexis Hernandez. Two regional's Top 8 by Pedro Avellaneda (our Ecuadorian player) and Israel Olmedo (Monsterneitor) and a Regional Runner Up well deserved by Jonathan Juárez (Gupiman) whom managed to master a borrowed team by a member of the Academy in one night XD.
      Well this sums up what "Academia SOS" is. We started this blog in the first instance to gain some popularity outside Mexico and also to grow as players. So... expect some VGC related content in the next weeks and hopefully through eternity.

      Smell'Ya later!