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    • Release the Kracken! A report on Mexico’s National Championship’s Top 8
      By AcademiaSOS in Academy Bulletin 4
      Greetings, my name is Ulises Arreola, better known as “Kracken” within the Pokémon community. This article holds special meaning to me since it is my first contribution to the Nugget Bridge community, as well as my first Top Cut, which I got in the very first National Championship in Mexico.
      Ever since Mexico’s National Championship was announced, I was aware that my participation was mandatory; however, due to my lack of assistance to the other tournaments throughout the season, I was feeling rather insecure on how I would perform in the most important tournament in the country. The result exceeded my expectations: I got into the Top 8 and the prize were 420 Championship points that got me an invitation to this year’s Pokemon World Championship in San Francisco in August.
      The Core
      Throughout the season I tried different cores of restricted pokémon with Groudon+”something else” as the base for my team until I got to the pair of pokémon that would participate with me: Groudon and Yveltal.
      For Groudon I tried with various sets striving from Special, Trick Room, Gravity and Physical Groudon, which was my final choice. As for the partners for Groudon my first options were Palkia and Rayquaza, but as soon as I saw the damage that Yveltal deals with his powerful dark-type attacks I fell in love and decided that Yveltal would be in my team.
      The Team

      Crobat (Greed) @ Lum Berry
      Ability: Inner Focus
      Level: 50
      EVs: 252 HP / 36 Def / 220 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Super Fang
      - Haze
      - Tailwind
      - Taunt
      Xerneas and Smeargle are a duo that has proven to be very problematic, so having a counter for both of them is mandatory. Crobat is a perfect pokémon as a lead for the battle, immune to flinch (thanks to Inner Focus) and also immune to Dark Void and other statuses thanks to the Lum Berry, with the primary function of setting Tailwind as well as to assist in some KO’s with Super Fang.
      Taunt prevents Xerneas from setting up with Geomancy or, in case it is already boosted, Haze resets its stats before Xerneas gets to attack (obviously with a prior Tailwind).

      Clefairy (Envy) @ Eviolite
      Ability: Friend Guard
      Level: 50
      EVs: 244 HP / 172 Def /  92 SpD
      IVs: 0 Spd
      Sassy Nature
      - Icy Wind
      - Thunder Wave
      - Helping Hand
      - Follow Me
      This was the hardest slot to fill. Originally occupied by Cresselia, to make room for Thundurus later and finally making it to the ultimate answer: Clefairy. The most fulfilling supportive set with speed control and increase of both offensive and defensive power, everything in the same cute little pink package.

      Ferrothorn (Sloth) @ Leftovers
      Ability: Iron Barbs
      Level: 50
      EVs: 252 HP / 128 Atk / 30 Def / 100 SpD
      Brave Nature
      IVs: 0 Spe
      - Power Whip
      - Gyro Ball
      - Protect
      - Thunder Wave
      Ultimate counter for Xerneas and Kyogre, as well as speed control. If everything else fails, Ferrothorn is the emergency plan to gain control of the battle. There’s not too much to say about it, Ferrothorn is one of the most trustworthy pokémon in this and past formats.

      Kangaskhan (Lust) @ Kangaskhanite
      Ability: Scrappy
      Level: 50
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Fake Out
      - Sucker Punch
      - Double-Edge
      - Low Kick
      A Kangaskhan… with a kangaskhanite. This is pretty much the VGC 2016 standard set, which I found to be useful for this team.

      Groudon (Pride) @ Red Orb
      Ability: Drought
      Level: 50
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Fire Punch
      - Rock Tomb
      - Precipice Blades
      - Protect
      I find Groudon to be the best pokémon in this format, even though it hates speed ties, as well as being slower than Rayquaza, Mega-Kangaskhan and Mega-Salamence, which is why Rock Tomb was an invaluable move during the tournament.

      Yveltal (Wrath) @ Dark Glasses
      Ability: Dark Aura
      Level: 50
      EVs: 252 HP / 68 Atk / 188 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Foul Play
      - Knock Off
      - Sucker Punch
      - Protect
      This was my first serious participation with Yveltal on my team and it was an incredible experience. The power of dark-type attacks, boosted by Yveltal’s ability, Dark Aura, and the black glasses, is devastating. Any pokémon other than Xerneas is afraid of getting hit by any of these attacks.
      Last Words
      I find myself really happy and proud of the results of this tournament with a record of 6-1 in swiss rounds and a global record of 6-2. In regards to my participation at the Pokémon World Championship… well, that will have to wait until next year, as for this year I’ll just have to cheer up my teammates (Alfonso Esqueda and Israel Olmedo) from home.
      But mark my words: this won’t be the last time you hear from Kracken as I am waiting with excitement for the beginning of the next season and hopefully in VGC 2017 I will finally assist to the Tournament that has been a lifetime dream for me.
      Until the Next Time.

      Bright (Pktrainer1994), kuishi and WolfSOS
    • The Pokémon Video Game Championships "Season" and Where to Improve
      By Havak in A Veteran's Log 5
      Another season in the life of a competitive Pokémon player; positives, negatives, and a whole host of talking points that I'd like to delve into and start a creative discussion among everyone involved. I do believe that it would be somewhat outrageous to claim that no improvement has been made over the years and I think I can attest to this more than most, having attended every United Kingdom VGC National tournament since the beginning in 2009 (along with a few in other countries as well). The Pokémon Company International has made huge steps toward making this game better for the players and the appointment of Chris Brown (AlphaZealot) in 2012 (?) was and is something I approve of massively. While numbers in European National tournaments are down slightly, I think the growth of the game has been evident everywhere else and I'd put money on more people having Championship and Play! Points worldwide this time than any other season. It's fair to say that it is mostly casual players who have given up on attending tournaments for various reasons in recent years, but on the flipside due to improvements to the games themselves, a lot of once-casual players are now competitive. Why have a lot of casuals given up on attending? Well, speaking for the United Kingdom at least, it's largely down to poorly run National events. However, I'd like to delve into the "Season" approach that was introduced a few years back, meaning that travelling to various events became a necessity. Baris Akcos (Billa) was one of the first to bring up the point of a "pointless pre-season" and it's hard to disagree with it too much. I had my worries once we saw the Championship Point system for this season, so after this brief introduction, let's get to the root of the discussion.
      Disclaimer: This is going to be a Europe-centric discussion, anything regarding North America will be for comparison basis only and how us, as European players, would like to get closer to the system that US players are used to more quickly than we currently are.
      Pointless Pre-Season?
      This is something that a lot of people can relate to, as when we look at the Championship Point table for Europe, there's around 60 players on over 500 Championship Points who didn't quality for Day Two of the Pokémon Video Game World Championships. I would hazard a guess that almost all of these players paid out over 250£/e to compete in this season, receiving very little reward in doing so (other than their Day One Invitation). I think a huge issue with this is the weight of the Pokémon National Championships in terms of Championship Point award, if we really want this to be a season-long game. This is especially evident in the placing of players in the Top 32 and Top 16 of a National Championship. The biggest example of this makes me think the system is truly laughable and it relates to a player called Joseph Richardson (Gogogo Golems). As most people reading this will know, Joseph managed to win three Regional Championships this season alone, along with winning an International Challenge, winning some Premier Challenges, and finishing in the Top 32 of the United Kingdom Championship after unfortunately being paired with Jamie Boyt in the decisive round. Hitting 843 CP with an International Challenge to come this weekend, Joseph cannot quality for Day Two of the Pokémon Video Game World Championships in San Francisco this August even if he were to win that as well. 
      So, this is where the "pointless pre-season" statement comes into play. From 2009-2013, Invitations to Worlds could only be earned in Europe through top finishes at a National Championships (or a combination of finishes at multiple National Championships). Now that we are aiming for a season-long approach, with results across multiple tournaments in all forms and sizes, it is crazy to see that someone who won multiple difficult tournaments and made it to the Top Cut in the National Championship has not managed to acquire the main prize everyone was working toward this "season". After a good start to working out a season-long series of competitive Pokémon, this instance just slams it back in our face as a huge step backwards. If you need to be getting Top 16 minimum (generally even higher than this) just to have a chance at a Day Two Invitation, then why do we have all of these other tournaments in the first place? Given the poor prize support at these non-National tournaments in Europe (and let's be honest, Nationals itself as well), all they do is serve as ways for us to spend even more money that we could be saving toward travelling to the World Championships outright. Of course, developing the metagame and giving us practice is great, but if we're serious about doing well, we'll get plenty of that online anyway. 
      If the weight of Nationals is going to remain so heavy in determining who goes to Worlds, then it should at least offer a Top 2 auto-invitation for Day Two of the World Championships. However, I would much rather see this along with an adjustment to the Championship Point award. It's fair to see this season was a test, especially with the introduction of a Championship Point bar for the first time in the Video Game, but how long will it take until the Pokémon Video Game Championship Series is no longer in a BETA? It seems like it has been in BETA for seven years now, so as a competitive player, a loyal customer and tournament attendee, and just a lifelong Pokémon fan in general, I do feel as though I have every right to demand better and more quicker than it is happening. If it's going to be a case of constantly two steps forward, one or sometimes two steps back, then we might as well just stand still and have it how it was in the beginning. Nationals is all that matters in the end. 
      So, there's my opinion on how the isn't in the best of places right now. But what's the point in me, or anyone else complaining if we can't try and come up with ways to make it better for everyone? Let's try it!
      Why are Tournaments not Tiered? 
      Now, I'm not trying to call out Baris Akcos here by any means, but he and a few other players made the most of travelling to events that had a high Championship Point pay-out coupled with very low attendance and a somewhat inexperienced pool of players (for the most-part). This isn't their fault, it's just how the system is and if someone feels that's their best way to get to Worlds, then they should by all means go for it. It's smart, it saves time and money by earning large amounts of CP at few events. However, why should a Regional tournament with 17 players in, for the sake of a better phrase, in the middle of nowhere, award the same as a Regional in Spain with over 200 players? Premier Challenges had an adjustment if they reach a certain amount of players, so why not everything else? My suggestion is to attempt something like this:
      Premier Challenges - BFL 5
      These numbers are not final by any stretch of the imagination, just a quick thought on how things can be tiered and distributed to make things a bit fairer and balanced. If the CP Bar was 300, and you were in an area of your country that could attract 10-15 players per Premier Challenge, then you could have a realistic chance of winning five of them and making it half way toward your World Championship Day One Invitation. If your area was more active and you were playing in tournaments of over 32 players, then you could get all the way up to 250/300 CP toward Worlds Day One. 
      I won't go into Online Tournaments too much, but I do believe that there should be more of these and they should offer a similar Championship Point award to Tier 1 Premier Challenges. However, I think it'd be an interesting experiment to separate them by region, as I don't think that players who can't earn Championship Points should play against those who can. I also believe that while it is fun to play against players from other regions to test yourself, that it should not be done in CP events. After all, you are competing against players in the same region for a Day Two Invitation, so why should you have to face anyone else before Worlds? If this isn't logistically possible, then I'd like to see placements separated again for North America, Europe, and any other region involved. 
      Regionals - BFL 3
      These are just rough estimates again and more of an idea as to how I think Championship Points should be distributed in terms of attendance levels. Do not take the numbers as final, as everyone will have a different opinion on how much should be awarded. However, for arguments sake in terms of a World Championship Day One Invitation, I think the bar should have been 300 CP - meaning in this system, you'd need to place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd/4th over three Tier 1 Regional tournaments in order to earn a Day One Invitation (not counting Premier Challenge results or Nationals). This is a discussion for another time though, so let's leave it there for now. 
      I also think 'Mid-Season Showdowns' should be scrapped. They were good in theory, but in practice they were actually rather pointless. If they are to be kept in the circuit, then the way they work needs to change. Give them their own BFL, or use them as a means to give smaller participating countries Regional level events to grow the game. However, this is already solved by simply adding Tier levels to all tournaments as explained above. So, Mid-Season Showdowns can go. 
      While I'm discussing Regional tournaments in Europe, we also need a set system like North America. We need to limit Regionals in Europe to 15 at a maximum, over Autumn, Winter, and Spring. As a bias, countries with a National would get one Regional per sector (meaning three Regionals for each of Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom). Some may argue that they already have enough tournaments, but people from outside of these countries will have to travel for the National anyway and it's still less tournaments than these countries have had in the current season. With six other potential Regionals, countries such as Spain, France, the Netherlands etc can all still get major events and with a bit of planning, it can't be too hard to make it easier for the players. For example, make sure that the Spanish and French Regionals are not at the same time, thus travel is somewhat reasonable for players in both countries to attend each one. 
      Nationals should have its Championship Point awarding system streamlined a bit more. I think the difference between Top 16 and Top 32 is far too great for starters. I do not think going one round further than someone else is equivalent to finishing roughly 2nd at a Regional. Why was this even in place from the get-go? I'd argue that 50 Points difference at maximum is enough between one placement and the next, while we can scrap CP all together for National finalists. I think a system where someone could not make it to any other events bar Nationals, be the National Champion, and not be able to get to Worlds using funds of their own, is wrong. The National Champion should be at Worlds (probably even Day Two), and for my money, 2nd Place probably should be as well. I would be all for a system where the Top Two at all three European Nationals are instantly given the paid Day Two Invite, while the remaining Top 10 based on CP form the Top 16 for Day Two of Worlds. Along with this, I think players right down to the Top 32 in Europe should receive some form of travel award in order to get to Worlds. It is madness that finishing on 850 CP and 275 CP earn the exact same rewards. This needs to be rectified in a competitive circuit that involves competing in multiple high level events and travelling your country (and possibly other countries). This leads me onto the last section:
      Prize support at European tournaments has been traditionally terrible. A Wii U for 1st Place, 3DS Consoles for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.. These are generally things people competing already own, and their net worth these days probably averages to about 100£/e, which would likely not even cover the cost of the travel and hotel to take part in the tournament itself. This is even more depressing when players have spent years competing for minimal prizing, only to see tournaments for the new Pokkén Tournament Video Game reach prize pools of actual cash in the thousands at the same event, when there's likely 1/8 the amount of players or less. Even if it meant players need to pay a small entrance fee to take part, I'm sure people would fancy their chances if they could say, at least double their money if they finished in the Top 64. Consoles and boxes of cards are actually OK with me, it's difficult to find much else that is relevant. But come on now, it is time that cash prizes become the norm alongside these things. Reiterating a point from above, travel stipends equal to at least $1000 should be awarded down to at least the Top 32 in Europe based on Championship Points. I left prizes until the end as while they are important to players, and important in attracting more players, most of us do this because we love the game and community first and foremost. However, it would be nice to be rewarded a bit more for continually competing. 
      I think that's all I've got to say for now, but I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions! Have I said anything outrageous? Am I totally wrong? How would you like to see the European circuit improve? 
      Thank you for reading. 
    • What We Learned: VGC16 European Nationals Edition
      By Wyrms Eye in VGC through the Wyrms Eye 4
      It has been a long time since I’ve properly looked to write an article covering anything remotely metagame related, dating back to late January in fact. Since then, we’ve tried to get to grips with the format, had a myriad of Regional events on a truly International scale and are soon heading into the crescendo of the season, with the World Championships just weeks away. While some regions are still to have their National event, Europe’s season has come to an early conclusion with all three of the centrepiece events completed. In this Masters-centric article, we’ll be going over some of the strategic calls made by European players, including the winning squads from each National as well as some other significant points of interest from across the four-week period. For those of you who would like the see the squads that top cut, I heartily recommend Ricardo Pinto’s ongoing project to log every National Top Cut team, which you can find here.
      Fledging Broadcasting
      First off though, I do want to highlight that one of the main features that all three National Championships benefitted from was an official broadcast of the event across all three game disciplines. This certainly was a major step forward for the region being the first official streams run by TPCi, with the full backing of a dedicated production team. Hopefully this will be the first of many official streams that we will see in the coming years, as any streamed content of this calibre is always gratefully received by players competing at the venue as well as those watching at home. It all provided brilliant exposure for the European scene, and we saw a number of high calibre matches being put forward, with a wide mix of familiar names spread out by some fresh faces and rising stars of the future.
      We should also not forget the hard work of those in the front line of the operations; the casters. The guys were kept extremely busy and on their toes across the three weekends and really did a fantastic job for their first time in front of the cameras. Specifically, I want to thank Markus Stadter, Matteo Dorrell, Jay Blake, Nemanja Sandic and Sebastian Ernst who all played a significant role in casting the VGC events, as well as the lesser-spotted Scott Glaza for a surprise appearance at Liverpool!
      Team Analysis
      Before I go into any detail on the overall trends, I want to go over the three trainers and their chosen teams that led them to victory in the respective tournaments:
      Alejandro Gomez’s (Pokealex) UK National Championship Team
      Going into the event one of the favourites to have a deep run, Spain’s Alejandro Gomez certainly lived up to the expectations with a team that saw him use the Dual Primal core that he is certainly familiar with, but notably different from the team he piloted in Wakefield to the finals. The team shares many similarities to the Wakefield team in focusing on Speed control to manage an advantageous board position. This is where the similarities end as the primary modes of Speed control rely on Icy Wind on Cresselia and Thunder Wave rather than the previous reliance on Trick Room. These options allow both the key offensive behemoths of Groudon and Kyogre to relentlessly fire off attacks with limited concern of being beaten to the punch. As a result, Alejandro was able to dedicate more resources into the defensive benchmarks that some teams might not have been able to do. The natural bulk of Cresselia makes it an ideal exponent of Icy Wind in this format, something he used to great effect, going unbeaten in best of 3 all weekend.
      The dual primals also offers greater flexibility to control the weather to suit the ever-changing needs of a battle. On top of this, the option of using either Kangaskhan or Salamence as a complimentary aid to do respectable damage should not be understated, and both have shown incredible reliability for a myriad of teams all season. This complete package therefore offers a great degree of flexibility to the overall strategy behind the team, something that is generally accepted with the archetype compared to the other main offerings.
      Arash Ommati’s (Mean) Germany National Championship Team
      Ex-World Champion Arash Ommati was in imperious form in Kassel after a disappointing championship in Liverpool. His subsequent victory in Kassel mean he now stands as the only player to win a Regional, National and World title in the Masters division. The team he used in Germany greatly mirrors the squad he used to win the Turin Regional back in March, though a minor amendment saw the Amoonguss replaced for the rarely seen Jumpluff. The Groudon and Yveltal core is arguably considered part of the main group of restricted cores that see prominent use and are widely effective. Looking at Yveltal in more detail we could see the build placed an emphasis on physical offense with preference to moves such as Knock Off, Sucker Punch and Foul Play. The Jumpluff also is intrinsic to the team, with Chlorophyll pairing up with the Desolate Land from Primal Groudon to make it one of the few Pokémon in this format able to outspeed a Geomancy-boosted Xerneas. Significant as it then gives him an option to put it to sleep with Sleep Powder. We also saw Jumpluff utilize the Coba Berry, making threats such as Mega Salamence and Talonflame less of an immediate threat to it.
      Once again though, the team is one that Arash has had great success with this year, so his familiarity with the team and knowing its capabilities allowed him to reliably read the board position. This, combined with his ability to unerringly make the safest and correct moves on a turn-by-turn basis meant that he was a fearsome prospect for any opponent, irrespective of some of the frailties that the team suffers from at a casual glance.
      Javier Señorena’s (Proman) Italy National Championship Team
      Javier’s run to the championship gave Spain its second National Champion, certainly showcasing the strength and depth of the country’s talent. The team Javier piloted to victory in Italy departs greatly from much of the conventional wisdom surrounding Rayquaza, electing to use Xerneas as the partnering restricted Pokémon over the commonly-used Kyogre. The team also appears more reliant on its supporting cast, focusing on allowing Rayquaza and Xerneas a free rein to do as they please while they cover the various issues opponents might have to offer. That’s not to say the supporting cast aren’t also able to hit hard though! Once more however, Speed control is integral to the teams’ success, with Thunder Wave and Tailwind both valid options that were available to Javier. The main supporting benefits outside of this control come through the utility of Feint, the various guards and even Substitute.
      While the team departs from common expectations, the synergy within the team, and indeed with any team, is paramount and ultimately proved essential to his deep run. The supporting cast on this team in-particular are central pillars to the overall success in allowing Xerneas and Rayquaza to thrive.
      Close, but no cigar
      Perhaps one of the most surprising facets of all three Nationals was the lack of a so called ‘Big Six’ or variants of the team victory at any of the championships. While the team that has become almost infamous this year in the most rigid sense has seen usage curtailed as more people become accustomed to dealing with it, the variations that trainers have made to give it their own unique spin are still very effective. The key planks to these teams revolves around Xerneas and Primal Groudon, whom together form a fearsome pairing that can cover the majority of the metagame under the right circumstances. The partners that support this duo are always integral gears into making the team the fearsome force it is, with supportive options such as Talonflame, Thundurus, Cresselia and yes, unfortunately Smeargle to name a few. On the offensive side, the Mega Pokémon offer good backup support, with Mega Kangaskhan or Mega Salamence (or both!) on a team to add further offensive pressure.
      While Xerneas and Groudon as a pair failed to win any event, they did appear on the same team in two finals: Liverpool, under the direction of Ethan Hall, and Kassel, under the command of Till Böhmer. Both teams showcased novel variations on the popular archetype to try to eke out a competitive advantage in a metagame often maligned for its uniformity.
      In the case of Ethan, his use of a Scarf Latios meant he could apply significant direct pressure offensively, but also carried some devious surprises in the form of Trick, as well as the highly unusual Memento, which both saw action in the finals. Both were tools aimed to either destabilize the board position of an opponent or carried a unique utility to give his Xerneas a free passage onto the field whilst also neutering offensive pressure from an opponent, by lowering their Attack and Special Attack harshly.
      For Till, the support trifecta of Thundurus, Cresselia and Clefairy really allowed him to pick and choose the appropriate support set for each relative opponent. Clefairy in-particular is a focal point for this team with Friend Guard boosting ally defenses by a third. With the threat of a myriad of supporting options at its disposal including the likes of Follow Me, Clefairy takes hits for the team, literally!
      The results also showcase that the archetype still has great mileage, with a string of familiar names piloting this particular restricted core to top cuts in all three events. It showed particularly good form in Kassel, backed by many big names from Germany who attended the tournament and displayed a very assured set of performances with the team. But it also fared strongly to an extent in Milan as well.
      Divisive metagame trends for Nationals
      While we have touched upon the subject of Xerneas and Groudon showing particularly strongly in Kassel, it is worth noting that all three of the Nationals had distinct archetype focuses within them that really helped to paint a picture of how various countries in Europe focus on in terms of their call on the metagame.
      In Liverpool, the Dual Primal archetype was an extremely common and popular choice for the majority of players, opting to take advantage of the perceived natural advantages it had over Xerneas and Groudon restricted cores and generally having a solid overall match-up with most other combinations. The United Kingdom in general this format has very much tried to shy away from being totally reliant on Big Six which can be seen in the unusual diversity in Regional top cuts. While arguably having a few of the best Big Six players in the format, certainly in Europe, that carved successful streaks, many established UK trainers have tried to forge paths with other cores. In that respect, it was not surprising to see the trend continue into Nationals, or the fact that the Dual Primal core won the entire event, as it became the restricted core of choice for most of the main UK players.
      While Milan certainly had its fair share of Xerneas and Groudon used across the event, the extreme lack of representation at the business end of the event was telling. One notable Pokémon that garnered a lot of attention was Rayquaza. Half of the top eight trainers had it on their teams, with most electing to run it with its spiritual restricted partner, Kyogre to great effect, despite often being considered an inferior choice of restricted core to Dual Primal or Xerneas and Groudon. The Rayquaza mirror in the finals of Milan was very unexpected. We covered Javier’s team to some detail, but the opposing finalist Yeray Núñez was using a team heavily influenced by that of the UK’s Lee Provost in design. The key attributes of the team centred around Assault Vest Rayquaza which under the Delta Stream can tank Ice Beam’s with relative ease, but also included one of the most potent tricks to neutering Xerneas, with Crobat carrying Haze. One other unusual quirk of the top cut saw a surprisingly higher number of fast, frail Pokémon dedicated towards quick and effective Fake Outs, while also carrying an array of supporting options aimed to allow the main threats to break through. Weavile and Raichu in-particular fared very nicely with the rise of Cresselia and Thundurus use respectively, providing useful options as leads to stifle or mitigate early lead choices from the opposing side of the field.
      It’s nothing new for trainers globally to notice themes across Regional blocs with some often borrowing inspirations from others to help the metagame evolve in their Region. The best example of this could be seen last year with Japan’s Quicksand team making big waves in America and Europe, which fed through into the Spring Regional and National circuits respectively to great effect. The diversity between each countries’ metagame is more notable than ever, but it’s interesting to see how Europe as a whole has been very happy to experiment with team ideas to a much greater degree than most and are being able to adapt and play against them with a great deal of fluidity. It’s worth noting that in one of his personal tweets recently, Scott Glaza has been very impressed with the standard of Europe this year but also with the diversity factor on the table. High praise indeed with one of the influential voices of Pokémon!
      The Changing Dynamics of Speed Control
      This year so far has been epitomized by the interactions being opposing teams trying to engage each other with minute but important advantages. As such, Speed control has been at the forefront of many teams in order to hold these advantages, especially given that Speed ties are very much an integral factor.
      Going into Nationals, most teams focused on two primary methods of Speed control: Tailwind and Trick Room. Both moves revolve around a broad field-wide effect, with Tailwind doubling your sides’ Speed for 4 turns, while Trick Room reverses Speed so that slower Pokémon go first for 5 turns. As such, teams largely diverged to either be very speedy or as slow as possible to best use these moves, which made for some interesting match-ups in other events.
      However, the National events were a huge departure for the most part with an increase in the use of moves such as Thunder Wave and Icy Wind. The former, a status move that causes Paralysis on a target was largely re-popularized thanks to the rise in Thundurus usage. While opposing Electric and Ground-types are immune, reducing an opposing Pokemon’s Speed to a quarter while also having the potential to have them fully paralyzed is very effective. Thunder Wave is certainly nothing new in VGC and has proven in the past to be a very effective tactic, but had not really taken off until recently.
      In a similar manner, Icy Wind only really spiked in popularity thanks to Liverpool showcasing Cresselia using this move to devastating effect. While it is a relatively weak move in terms of power, it’s real utility lies in it being a spread move and lowers the Speed of opposing Pokémon by one stage if the move connects.
      The popularity of these moves across the National events meant that more players were intent on defensive investment of their team over raw Speed. The focus for many teams then comes down to hitting integral benchmarks on the Speed front, with most placing emphasis on out-speeding threats such as Groudon, Kyogre and Salamence after a single Icy Wind. It also meant that some teams elected to change their tactical choices on where certain Pokemon sat in terms of Speed. may be a trend that we will see continue in other events and at World’s, where teams tend to prioritize bulk over raw offense.
      Cream of the Crop rises with format change
      Much has been said this year about how the nature of the format makes Best of 1 sets much more of a lottery in terms of seeking out consistency. Therefore, the change to Best of 3 for all of the National events in Europe, bringing it in line with other major events, was widely welcomed by players despite their being some reservations about the time management issues which had dogged these events in the past. Thankfully, it appears that the organization was greatly improved on all fronts, despite some late nights occurring. It did mean that players played well over double the number of games during the Swiss stages, more time dedicated to playing than before and a step in the right direction.
      Without a doubt, the top cuts for each National seemed to have much stronger fields generally than in previous iterations, with the nature of Best of 3 Swiss allowing stronger players the ability to adapt and counter unusual team builds and surprise techs on opposing teams. Such obstacles that would be heavily prevalent in single game matches include unusual move choices or specialized counter-plays. This year the best example of this is the high number of Pokémon carrying Hidden Power Water with either a Kyogre or Rayquaza, designed to directly nail Primal Groudon. Other possible pitfalls included the use of niche or unseen item choices designed to prey on general conventions and give major surprise factors.
      While many players did opt to carry such tricks, teams looked and felt much more refined and avoided the pitfalls of dedicated gimmicks (though there were some arguable exceptions), giving rise to more nuanced conservation of information on sets and moves. Established trainers with significant practice in the Best of 3 format could use this to their advantage to hide key points of information in earlier games to gain advantages later on. It also placed a greater emphasis on managing your mental stamina, particularly with the very real problem of mental fatigue setting in for the length of the day playing. This is an area that a lot of players who are looking to break above the parapet will need to develop. Experiencing the grind is the only way you can train yourself to manage this area better.
      In all, I believe that nearly all of the top players enjoyed the change as it rewarded players with a higher degree of skill and consistency in their plays. I even had a few people tell me that they found the experience of playing Best of 3’s with this format a fun experience, probably not the word I would have expected to be used if you had asked me at any other event!
      Match-defining Seasons
      One of the major talking points during the season was how much of an effect the smaller tournaments leading up to Nationals would actually have an impact into the final standings, and more specifically for the paid invite trips. With the change of best finish limit for Nationals reduced to one event, many people were intrigued to see how fine the balance would be between scoring heavily in Premier Challenge and Regional events against the high value Nationals. The actual results were mixed, but did go some way to highlighting some inherent winners and losers.
      The biggest loser in terms of the paid invites was Joseph Richardson. Joseph went into Nationals leading Europe’s CP standings, winning three Regional Titles and amassing a healthy payload of points from Premier Challenges along the way. Despite securing a top 32 spot in Liverpool, Joseph failed to finish inside the top 16 in Europe, thus missing out on the invite that undoubtedly he was deserving of. In this sense, one match defined his season that it is hard in such circumstances to not feel somewhat aggrieved for his position now. Similar positions can also be meted out for the likes of Simone Sanvito, Andres Escabosa and Florian Wurdack among a host of others, who all fell short of making the cut for a paid invite by a single game. Simone especially can be aggrieved given he top cut in all three events but never progressed past the top 32. I know this was particularly heart-breaking for him given the efforts he had made to earn the paid trip.
      Exactly half of the current top 16 in Europe were inside the threshold as of before the National events. The majority of those eight had deep runs in one National event, with a handful attending multiple Nationals to shore up positions or reclaim lost ground because of earlier results. I think few would argue of the names on that list being deserving of their prize though. The question that should be posed is does the National events place too much emphasis on big results in one event rather than showcasing the consistency across a whole season? It’s a debatable topic area, one that might require some constructive critique of the format of the European circuit in general, but best left for its own dedicated piece.
      Europe’s Diversity
      With the Nationals bringing the curtain down on the season, we now know our full line-up of Day 2 Invitees, with this year bringing forward many fresh faces into the limelight, but also showing the progress the region has made with a greater division of invites among the main powerhouses of Europe. While Germany still leads the way with five invites to Day 2, it is a significant drop on the previous year. The main beneficiaries have been the UK, Spain and Austria, who all have three invites apiece, while Italy and France both have a single player through to the second day.
      Invites for the first day unsurprisingly sees the triumvirate of the UK, Germany and Italy carve out a significant portion of the 200+ invitees who have qualified for the showpiece event. We will see a host of other countries represented at the World Championships however, with Portugal, the Netherlands and Switzerland to name a few of the regions that will be fielding major names in the first day. For the vast majority of the players who qualified, Nationals served as the final place for earning the required points to exceed the CP Bar of 250. While it is a modest total of points and there is much discussion about the value of the Day 1 invite, to see the excitement and celebration of many players was encouraging to see. It shows that people do care about striving towards what they see as an achievable goal, with a great deal of budding debutantes (including myself) who will relish the opportunity to be in San Francisco to play.
      In all, the depth and diversity of countries in Europe continues to improve yearly and bodes well to increasing the competitiveness of the Region as we head towards the next generation of games!
      Final Thanks and Wrapping Up
      I want to take a brief moment now before wrapping up to thank all of the organizers as well as the volunteers at each of the three events for the wonderful job they did to put these festivals of gaming on. There are just far too many to personally thank or even name here, but without your dedication and support, we would not have the opportunities to play Pokémon like we do.
      I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this ‘What We Learned’ article. In the coming weeks the conclusion of the various National Championships will occur and the invites will be set for all internationally. Attention will then turn to focus on the final event of this season. Expect the hype to begin building soon! Thoughts and comments are very much appreciated below, and I look forward to reading them.
    • Taiwan Nationals !!!!!
      By JohnSunTW in John Sun's VGC at Taiwan 8
      Hi everyone. 0611 was the first Nationals game in Taiwan at Taipei, and I want to share TOP 8 teams to everyone.
      123 Master players and 4 senior players and 1 junior player  competed at the event. 7 Swiss Rounds took place on Saturday 11th .
      From Taiwan VGC16's Meta, I want to show VGC16 isn't boring and invariable. The Big6 is not only choice for us to get good results. They'll still have lots of scenes in this Meta.
      Here is the teams~
      1.Luian  Luian91701132

      2.Cheng-Fong Lee XUAlYRBCmmLx8cg

      3. Zhe Zhang (politozhe)

      4.Jack Kurniawan

      5. Chu-An Wu (Lazy Cat) lilluacat

      6.Yoko Taguma

      7.Zong-Hong Liou (little four)

      8.Hao-Hsuan Sun (John Sun)  sun62211112

      And here is the MS game's broadcast:
      game1: 1:17:48
      game2: 1:53:15
      game3: 2:24:54
      game4: 3:01:28
      game5: 3:29:50
      game6: 3:56:32
      game7: 4:25:50
      quarter-final: 5:02:03
      semi-final: 5:51:42
      final: 6:27:41
      The quarter-final game was the best part of National Championships!
      VS at 5:11:17 !!!
        Finally for this season. We had a such great honor to invite with Masuda going here and he made us have a good memories in this end. Thank for Nintendo HK!!

      Thanks for your watching~
    • bReakMyTeam - 2016 Update!
      By squirrelboy1225 in VGC and Some Programming 13
      You might remember a certain popular tool back in ~2014 called bReakMyTeam/wallMyTeam.  It was part of a larger project (SweeperCalc) made by migetno1, but it was mostly centered around Smogon tiers with a bit of VGC integration as an afterthought.  It still exists here, but has not been updated in quite awhile.
      Today I am excited to release a revamp of this tool built around the VGC 2016 metagame, which you can access right here, where it is being hosted from my GitHub.
      I've added some more convenient functionality for VGC users, including some redone and re-arranged icons, automatic VGC settings, etc.  Most importantly however, I have changed the usage statistics to align with the top VGC 2016 threats according to Battlespot statistics and added standard VGC sets for each Pokemon!
      Special thanks to migneto1 and veeveearnh, the original creators of the tool, as well as LightCore for the suggestion to update this and really reminding me that it ever existed.
      Feedback is appreciated, and there are likely still bugs that I haven't found, but ultimately I'm pretty happy with the result I've achieved, considering I started this project about 48 hours ago (seriously though, there are probably bugs, so let me know).
    • Diogre Slugger: A Top 32 UK Nationals Report
      By Therazer456 in Razer's VGC2016 Stuff 0
      So for those of you that dont know me my name is Conan Wild and i recently participated in the 2016 UK National Championships which were held over 2 days on the 14-15th May at Liverpool's BT Convention Center. As the title suggests i managed to make the top 32 which gave me a nice 222 cp which also got me my worlds invite which is nice i guess
      The Team
      So going into this tournament i didnt really know what team to bring to the tournament so i was testing a bunch of archetypes namely RayXern, RayDon, Dual Primals and Yveltal Kyogre. But i wasnt really comfortable with any of them to a degree which i liked so i decided to go back to my roots you could say and i made a Dialga Kyogre team which if you read my previous report i managed to win the manchester MSS with but for nationals i decided some changes needed to be made since the team had issues with dual primal teams and some big 6 variants.
      (Nicknames are in japanese since i decided to use them on showdown )

      ディアルガ (Dialga) @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: Telepathy  
      EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 108 SpA / 76 SpD / 4 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Dragon Pulse  
      - Flamethrower  
      - Trick Room  
      - Protect 
      This is essentially the same dialga i brought to the manchester MSS. Dragon Pulse is there for STAB Damage, Flamethrower was to hit steel types namely ferrothorn and the odd mega mawile. Trick room was chosen to help the slower part of the team since the teams big hitters including dialga itself are relatively slow, and protect is protect . The ev spread lets dialga live either a spread adamant precipice blades from primal groudon or a modest earth power from primal groudon and the lum berry was chosen to help with smeargle or the odd swagger .

      カイオーガ (Kyogre-Primal) @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Primordial Sea  
      EVs: 204 HP / 236 Def / 52 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe  
      Bold Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Scald  
      - Water Spout  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Protect
      In terms of where the kyogre came from its the same one i brought to the manchester MSS. The moveset is really simple consisting of dual water STAB with water spout and scald and ice beam for coverage against dragon types and the odd grass types.
      The ev spread hasnt changed the key benchmarks are:
      Can take a +2 +nature precipice blades from primal groudon as long as spread damage is factored in 100% of the time. Can take a jolly zap plate boosted raichu volt tackle with around 10% hp remaining on the highest damage roll. Can take a critical hit double edge/helping hand boosted from a 252 neutral nature mega salamence.
      ボルトロス (Thundurus) @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Thunder Wave  
      - Thunderbolt  
      - Protect  
      - Taunt
      The same thundurus from the manchester MSS. Ill say this now all of the teams spreads and such bar two came from the MSS winning team since i didnt feel the need to change them for nats. In terms of moveset this is a pretty standard thundurus thunderbolt for STAB damage, thunder wave for speed control/dice rolls, taunt to stop shenanigans and protect is protect.
      Since the thundurus is holding a focus sash bulk isnt necessary so a simple 252/252 spread is used here

      ナットレイ (Ferrothorn) @ Leftovers  
      Ability: Iron Barbs  
      EVs: 252 HP / 188 Atk / 68 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Power Whip  
      - Gyro Ball  
      - Protect  
      - Leech Seed
      In terms of moveset its the same ferrothorn as before. In terms of ev spread somebody in the comments of my previous report stated that i could make the ev spread more efficient with a sassy nature that person was DonVGC so i thank him for that. The spread itself allows this ferrothorn to tank 2 252+ nature water spouts from primal kyogre.

      ボーマンダ (Salamence-Mega) @ Salamencite  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      EVs: 12 HP / 28 Atk / 180 SpA / 36 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Hasty Nature  
      - Hyper Voice  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Substitute  
      - Protect
      This is one of the teams 2 pokemon that underwent changes in some way in terms of salamence here it was its ev spread and nature. The ev spread maintains max speed while letting this salamence take a 252 dazzling gleam from unboosted xerneas while still dealing chunks of damage to most of the meta with double edge and hyper voice. Substitute helps salamence against smeargle and boosted xerneas if it can be setup.

      トリトドン (Gastrodon) @ Assault Vest  
      Ability: Storm Drain  
      EVs: 140 HP / 236 Def / 76 SpA / 52 SpD  
      Relaxed Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe  
      - Scald  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Earth Power  
      - Clear Smog
      In the previous iteration of this team landorus therian occupied this slot but i was noticing the team had a weakness to dual primal teams since kyogre can chunk most of the team at least decently and if sun was up groudon can hit everything if it has the right moveset. So in came gastrodon with the storm drain ability it can wall most primal kyogre sets indefintely especially with the assault vest boosting its special defense and if gets hit by a water type attack gastrodon will get a nice spatk boost. The ev spread from what i recall can let gastrodon here take 2 jolly 252 precipice blades from primal groudon while 2 hitting most sets with earth power ice beam could OHKO most mega salamence and scald could one hit groudon easily if the rain was up. Clear smog was chosen as a backup way of dealing with xerneas since the assault vest lets it take any one attack even if xerneas is boosted and clear smog will then remove the boosts.
      The Tournament
      So tournament day i was decently rested and awake after walking to the venue from the train station after getting a bus from our accomodation. And we arrived as people were going through registration and I saw several familiar faces too many to mention at this point . After registration I explored the main hall a bit and was mesmerized by the size of it along with the streaming equipment.
      Soon after round 1 of 9 started. (All matches at this tournament were best of 3) since i failed to save my games im running off memory here so i might not remember everything that happened :I .
      Round 1 vs Mike Wood ()
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :      
      In team preview i wasnt feeling confident xerneas groudon teams arent the best matchup as it is but ferrothorn made it an even bigger problem since it pretty much forced me to bring dialga to hit it for super effecitve damage. During the set i learned that his groudon was special with eruption and earth power and that his kangaskhan had double edge and power up punch which was interesting his thundurus also had hp ice to probably help check opposing salamence.
      Loss (1-2)
      Round 2 vs Aaron Bennett ()
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :   
      So after losing the first round of the tournament i obviously wasnt feeling great but team preview in this round cheered me up since it was a pretty weird looking team the first thing i saw was the fling whimsicott to weakness policy lugia combo. During the set i learnt that his girafarig had skill swap with sap sipper to make his mega swampert immune to grass type attack which i forgot about at one point lol.
      Win (2-0)
      Round 3 vs Catherine Finnigan ()
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :
      So for round 3 I see another weird looking team in preview. During the set i learned that the jolteon was specs, the infernape was sash and had thunder punch and the staraptor was life orb and probably had the reckless ability.
      Win (2-0)
      Round 4 vs Richard Fairbrother (@Nidorich)
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :
      Now for round 4 i see a familiar name and face which made me anxious and excited at the same point since i at least got to face both of the Fairbrother's in at least one match each during the season . Looking at team preview dual primals meant my team wouldnt have an easy time but this is where gastrodon gets to shine since it can pretty much ignore thundurus, hit groudon and both of his mega pokemon for super effective and wall kyogre for the most part. Gengar having skill swap threw a wrench into those plans so i had to play around that while maintaining weather control so i wouldnt get steamrolled by his groudon. 
      Win (2-1)
      Round 5 vs Arash Ommati (@MeanVGC)
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :
      So for round 5 i face none other than the 2013 world champion Arash Ommati this got me stoked but again i was also anxious since i was facing such a big name and looking at team preview didnt exactly improve my confidence since yveltal groudon spell trouble like dual primal teams do. During the set i learnt that his yveltal was physical with a life orb and that his groudon was special with eruption and earth power.
      After this round i knew that i was now on the bubble as it were in terms of making top cut since i had lost 2 rounds so i had to win out to guarantee top cut.
      Loss (0-2)
      Round 6 vs Sean Croft ()
      My Team :
      Opponents Team : meowstic (needs a sprite :I)
      Another fun looking team for round 6 this time featuring mega lucario. During this set i learnt that his mamoswine was sashed, the golduck was choice scarf, and the lucario was a fully physical set.
      Win (2-0)
      Round 7 vs Hannah Glover ()
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :
      So for round 7 we have our first big 6 team luckily for these sorts of teams i have a gameplan i wont reveal what that is . During the set i learnt that the smeargle had fake out follow me and dark void and most likely spiky shield with a focus sash and the kangaskhan had Power up punch and return.
      Win (2-0)
      Round 8 vs Josep Maria Larrosa ()
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :
      So for round 8 we have another big 6 ish looking but this time featuring landorus over smeargle which made me happy since i didnt have to deal with dark void but it made placing my ferrothorn in good positions more difficult due to intimidate and the potential for superpower. During the set i learnt that the landorus was life orb and did indeed have superpower and that his xerneas was most likely a bulkier modest set.
      Win (2-1)
      Round 9 vs Alex Soto ()
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :
      And finally for round 9 i face yet another big 6 variation this time featuring thundurus over talonflame. During this set i learnt that the smeargle had helping hand which was interesting and that his thundurus was a bulky set with both taunt and swagger.
      Win (2-0)
      So after that tense set I knew that i managed to make top cut which was my target for the tournament after coming so close in 2015 and as you could guess I was hyped and relieved at the same time. Also i forgot to mention that in the last 2 rounds i was in "concentration mode" .
      Top 32 vs Matteo Gini (@Matty)
      My Team :
      Opponents Team :
      So for the first round of top cut i got to face another big italian name this time in Matteo Gini the 2011 world championships runner up. During this set I learnt that the groudon was special most likely since i revealed earth power and that his thundurus was a bulkier set with thunderbolt and taunt.
      Loss (0-2)
      Follow the link above for the obligatory post tournament team picture .
      Conclusion and Post Tournament Shenanigans
      After losing in the top 32 set I decided to hang back to see how some friends got on in top cut. And after that myself and some friends decided to hang back to watch the rest of the tournament on stream and when the finals came round we contributed to the roar you could here on stream at the end of game 2 . After this myself and some others decided to go to pizza express and enjoy some pizza while watching a US regionals stream (I cant remember which one :I)
      @Necrocat219 , @Kateraxe and @Senran for being awesome room mates
      The pizza express crew you know who you are .
      All of the people I met at the tournament .
      My opponents throughout the tournament .
      And the judges and TPCi for running the whole tournament there wouldnt have been a UK Nats without you guys .
    • One Man, Two Primals: 2016 Spring Regionals Report
      By MajorBowman in Bowman's Corner 3
      After my mediocre showing at Collinsville Winter Regionals I didn't put too much time into VGC since school got pretty hectic and I lost a lot of motivation. I didn't have another tournament to attend until the Oklahoma Midseason Showdown in mid-April, so when that time rolled around I was teamless. I asked around and ended up talking to Chuppa about the double primal team he used to cut Collinsville. At the beginning of the season I was the #1 hater of double primal teams, but after seeing their success and playing a few games with one I knew I was wrong. I ended up cutting the Oklahoma MSS at 4-1 after losing round 1, but somewhat disappointingly lost in top 8. Nevertheless, I loved the team and decided I'd stick with it through Spring Regionals. I changed a couple sets, replaced a couple Pokemon, and came up with the final product. As always I named my Pokemon after songs, so along with 6 Pokemon you get 6 new songs to listen to. What a treat!

      Gasoline (Groudon) @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Drought  
      EVs: 12 HP / 236 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Precipice Blades  
      - Fire Punch  
      - Substitute  
      - Protect
      You can't wake up, this is not a dream / You're part of a machine, you are not a human being / With your face all made up, living on a screen / Low on self esteem, so you run on gasoline
      Gasoline by Halsey
      The first of the two primals. I wanted to use physical Groudon because I think its the best set for doing consistent damage to multiple targets. Precipice Blades just does so much damage for a spread move, and Fire Punch is incredibly powerful as well. As you could probably guess, Substitute is one of my favorite moves in the game, and Groudon is a great user. Substitute allows Groudon to avoid getting put to sleep by Dark Void or Spore, take advantage of Protects and switches, and prevent taking more damage than necessary. Stone Edge and Eruption were both moves I considered in this slot and I do think they're good options, I just valued Substitute more since its a move I've used a whole lot. I went with max Speed Jolly because, even though there were 4 methods of speed control on this team, I liked knowing that there was always at least a 50% chance that my Groudon would be attacking first. Jolly also allows Groudon to outspeed and Substitute in front of Smeargle, which was pretty essential for Sub to be worthwhile. I respect slower, bulky spreads as well, but I'm just so used to Jolly that I thought it was my best option. The HP EVs just hit a Substitute number (4n + 1) and I put the rest in Attack.

      Sad Machine (Kyogre) @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Drizzle  
      EVs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 68 SpA / 4 SpD / 12 Spe  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Origin Pulse  
      - Thunder  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Protect
      And though I know, since you've awakened her again / She depends on you, she depends on you
      Sad Machine by Porter Robinson
      Origin Pulse + Thunder > Water Spout + Scald. I hate how you have to play daintily with Water Spout Kyogre, switching it in is almost always a bad idea since you're bound to be taking some damage that will weaken Water Spout. Scald does alright damage and the burn chance is nice, but consistently hitting both opposing Pokemon for big damage made Origin Pulse too appealing. I know I've called both Precipice Blades and Origin Pulse consistent and I know they both have annoying miss chances, but we're just going to pretend those don't exist for now because everyone knows that good trainers never miss their attacks. Thunder is really nice for coverage and gives Kyogre an easier way to win the mirror than just hoping for Scald burns. The 30% paralysis chance doesn't hurt either. The EVs allow Kyogre to survive 2 Precipice Blades from Jolly Groudon and outspeed Kangaskhan after an Icy Wind. The rest was just dumped in Special Attack.

      Playing God (Salamence) @ Salamencite  
      Ability: Intimidate
      EVs: 148 Atk / 108 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Naive Nature  
      - Hyper Voice  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Tailwind  
      - Protect
      If God's the game that you're playing / Well we must get more acquainted
      Playing God by Paramore
      Looking back I think I've used Salamence at every 2016 tournament I've played except for a PC on January 1st. While I've loved Salamence all year and originally brought it a lot with this team, I ended up not using it too much at either Spring Regional. I threw Kangaskhan on the team a couple days before Madison and ended up bringing it to the majority of my matches for various reasons. That being said, I still think Salamence is great and I definitely don't regret using it. I went with Tailwind as the filler move because it can set up the rest of the team pretty well. If Salamence is about to go down, it's really easy to throw up a Tailwind and get a free switch into one of the primals to do some big damage. Specifically, Kyogre in Tailwind is really threatening to a lot of teams, especially if there's no opposing Groudon to prevent Origin Pulses. If you remember my 2015 Worlds report this is the exact same nickname, and probably the only nickname I've ever used on Salamence. Get used to it lol.

      Artangels (Kangaskhan) @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Inner Focus  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Protect
      Angel, baby, you got me feeling kinda blue / Think I need you and you know the things I would do / Everything I love is consolation after you
      Artangels by Grimes
      Kangaskhan was a bit of a last minute addition, but I'm super glad I used it. I brought it to 9 of 16 games in Madison and to all but one game in Kansas City. Fake Out support is always amazing, and Kangaskhan helps a lot against Smeargle since it ignores Focus Sashes. While I respect Power-up Punch and think it's great on some teams, I've never had any success with it. I prefer the immediate damage potential and consistently strong Fighting coverage Low Kick provides, as well as the ability to potentially OHKO other Kangaskhan. Since I didn't have PuP I went with Double-Edge since I felt like unboosted Return damage was somewhat lacking in this bulkier format. Protect is the more unique choice, though I have seen a lot more Fake Out + Protect Kangaskhan this year compared to last year. The ability to block other Fake Outs or save Kangaskhan from damage for a turn really helped its longevity, and I never really missed Sucker Punch. Sucker Punch damage is pretty sad without a PuP boost so it wasn't a big loss in favor of Protect.

      PBJ (Cresselia) @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: Levitate   
      EVs: 236 HP / 132 Def / 4 SpA / 76 SpD / 60 Spe  
      Calm Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Icy Wind  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Helping Hand  
      - Thunder Wave
      "Spread it like peanut butter jelly / Do it like I owe you some money"
      Peanut Butter Jelly by Galantis
      Cresselia was easily the MVP of both Regionals. After watching the stream from UK Nationals the weekend before Madison and seeing PokeAlex win with this Cresselia set, I knew I wanted to use it. Cresselia's ability to control games in many different ways is unparalled. Icy Wind has become a very popular move on double primal teams for good reason, as it punishes switches really hard and sets up your primals to win games. Skill Swap helps with weather control and can also pass the Levitate ability to either primal in order to protect them from opposing Precipice Blades. An opposing Groudon has a really hard time dealing damage to either primal if it can't touch them with its Ground type attacks, so Skill Swap was incredibly useful in that sense. It was also really useful for taking away abilities from Pokemon that rely on their abilities for damage output, such as Kangaskhan or Mawile. Thunder Wave made Cresselia a great tool in the Xerneas matchup, since paralyzing Xerneas is much more effective than trying to Icy Wind it twice to get its speed back down to normal and Cresselia's Thunder Wave can't get blocked by Quick Guard. If you don't think Icy Wind is necessary on a given turn, you can also just Thunder Wave other things for speed control and a fun little full paralysis chance. Thunder Wave is often a straight up better option than Icy Wind anyway, since you can't switch out and reset the speed drops. Helping Hand was somewhat of a filler option but it was also a really nice tool. Both primals and both megas on this team benefit immensely from Helping Hand support. The primals specifically love it since often times a Helping Hand boosted spread attack (either Origin Pulse or Precipice Blades) is enough to KO both enemy Pokemon at once. Helping Hand Double-Edge from both Salamence and Kangaskhan are incredibly strong, and not many Pokemon can comfortably take either of those attacks. Helping Hand also allows Kangaskhan to always KO other Kangaskhan with Low Kick so you don't have to worry about the roll. The EV spread allows Cresselia to take two boosted Dazzling Gleams from boosted Timid 252 Xerneas and two Fire Punches from Jolly 252 Groudon. The speed is one point faster than my Kyogre so I can Skill Swap + Origin Pulse while Sun is up. It also meant that Cresselia was faster than Kangaskhan at -1 speed, so if I could Icy Wind it on a switch I had an easy Skill Swap the next turn to limit its damage output. Ideally I would have used Sitrus Berry on Cress, but Sitrus was already taken on this team and Lum Berry made Cresselia a much better option for leading into Big 6. I can't really speak highly enough of Cresselia, it performed incredibly well at both Regionals and is a fantastic support option on double primal teams.

      Migraine (Thundurus) @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Prankster  
      EVs: 236 HP / 116 Def / 4 SpA / 52 SpD / 100 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Thunderbolt  
      - Taunt / Hidden Power Water
      - Thunder Wave  
      - Protect
      "I've got a migraine / And my pain will range from up, down, and sideways"
      Migraine by twenty one pilots
      Thundurus is always going to be a good Pokemon as long as it has Prankster Thunder Wave. However, I began to be super unimpressed by it as soon as I started using Cresselia on this team. While Prankster Thunder Wave is good, the prevalence of Quick Guard and inability of Thundurus to punish a Ground type switching in made it underwhelming to me. I used Taunt in Madison and I was glad I had that option against Smeargle, but decided to switch to Hidden Power Water (and fixed the EV's according to the IV change) for Kansas City. I absolutely hated the fact that Thundurus didn't have a way to damage Groudon in Madison, and I felt like Taunt was the easiest move to drop on this set. Three of the four Smeargle I played in Kansas City were Mental Herb anyway, so it was a change I don't regret. Even so, I eventually just stopped bringing Thundurus to games at all because its one dimensionality and general frailty felt out of place on a team that was otherwise pretty flexible and bulky. If I keep using this team going forward, I'll probably test a few other Pokemon in this slot to see if they can bring more to the table.
      Madison Regionals
      Round 1 vs Aaron Deen

      Honestly I was hoping for an easy round 1 against a bad team, but unfortunately I got a big 6 variant. The Jellicent was a bit different but honestly if you have Big 6 you can win games regardless of what the filler Pokemon is. Game 1 I got Moodied pretty hard, as he got Evasion, Speed, and Accuracy boosts consecutively. I tried to shake off that game and remember making some pretty solid plays to take the next two games.
      Round 2 vs Franklin Lewis (avos5)

      I was bummed to pull my grandson this early in the tournament but we were chosen to play on the official stream, which was really exciting. When I saw what he was using I was a bit relieved, since I had some experience with a very similar team and knew how it played. I thought the Suicune was kind of a weird choice considering he didn't have a Kyogre or Rayquaza to switch in and allow it to use Water moves against opposing Groudon, but it was a tertiary Snarl user and provided Icy Wind and/or Tailwind support so it made sense. Yveltal was definitely the biggest threat on Franklin's team, and I figured that if I could eliminate it early I would have a pretty easy time with the rest of his team. Game 1 he gave it up to a Helping Hand Double-Edge from my Salamence, then I was able to clean up after a clutch 1 HP survival from Salamence and a SUNDER. Game 2 was a little bit closer in the beginning, but I broke it wide open when I called a switch from his Manectric into his Yveltal and Helping Hand Fire Punched that slot for the OHKO on Yveltal. From there it seemed like he brought the game pretty close, but I just played it safe and set myself up for easy knockouts and eventually won it 1-0.
      Round 3 vs Grant Wheldon (Velocity)

      I knew Grant was having a solid season and had already locked up his Worlds invite before Madison, so I was expecting a tough match. He didn't disappoint, and played the first game of the set very well. Unfortunately, towards the end of game 1 he double missed a Precipice Blades, allowing me to take that game from what was certainly a losing position. He bounced back very well in game 2, and ended up revealing Hidden Power Water early on to get rid of my Groudon. Game 3 started out pretty tight, but I made a play that put me in a fantastic position. Grant's Thundurus was on the field at -1 Speed, and since I had already revealed Substitute I knew that he knew that my Groudon couldn't touch Thundurus in the rain. I expected him to switch in Kyogre for a free Hidden Power, so I subbed with my Groudon to block the Hidden Power damage then Skill Swapped to reset the sun. This left his Thundurus and Kyogre in the sun against my Levitating Groudon, so he was effectively unable to do significant damage to my Groudon with his Kyogre, Thundurus, and Groudon. This play put me in such a good spot that I mostly just had to not miss attacks from there to win the game. This was a very intense set, and I was pretty fortunate to come out of game 1 with a win. I was really happy with how I played game 3 though, and I had some pretty good momentum going forward.
      Round 4 vs Gregory Wallace

      We had a lunch break before this round, so I went with some friends to a food truck festival in nearby downtown Madison. While the food was great, I got pretty relaxed and a bit tired after eating, so my focus began to slip. It definitely showed in this round, as I played pretty lazily. Gregory led Xerneas and Talonflame into my Cresselia both games, so I got a free Thunder Wave off both times. I prioritized the Xerneas in both games and forgot to acknowledge his Ferrothorn, which ended up being the reason he won. I don't know if I was trying to predict a Protect from it or if I just thought I could handle it later, but it just started firing off Leech Seeds and I ran out of time to knock it out before it started getting 40% of its health back every turn. I even had a chance to Fire Punch it in game 2 but chose to target its partner, and I paid the price. I lost this set in 2 games, and was pretty disappointed in my performance.
      Round 5 vs Jon Hu (Jhufself)

      I'm not going to say much about this game for risk of being offensive or rude, but this was one of the most frustrating sets I've played in my life, probably second only to my round 9 set at 2015 Nationals. Jon clicked Swagger a bunch of times and there wasn't really much I could do about it considering his Klefki was also carrying Crafty Shield and Mental Herb to block Taunts. I felt like I played both games in this set decently at the very least, but I just couldn't seem to land any attacks through confusion. Game 2 specifically was pretty bad, I remember 3 different times when I could have Origin Pulsed his Groudon but my Kyogre hit itself. I admittedly reacted pretty poorly, but I was just a bit overwhelmed by the fact that I had dropped to X-2 at a regional again and that it had to happen like this.
      Round 6 vs Walter Morales

      Knowing that I needed Top 16 at Madison to get my Worlds invite, I really wanted to bounce back and win the last two rounds to give myself a decent chance. This set was a pretty classic double primal mirror, a mirror that I actually greatly enjoy playing. During Game 1 I missed a couple attacks against his Mawile, which put me in a pretty bad spot towards the end of the game. However, his Kyogre got fully paralyzed on an absolutely crucial turn, so I was able to win a pretty sloppy game 1. At the beginning of game 2, I made a huge play that set me up to win really well. I led Cresselia Kyogre into his Zapdos Mawile, and expected a Groudon switch. He brought Groudon in for Mawile as I Skill Swapped my own Kyogre and Origin Pulsed, eliminating the Groudon immediately and putting some big damage on his Zapdos. At that point he had very limited answers for my Groudon, and I ended up winning game 2 4-0.
      Round 7 vs Jake White

      I was pretty annoyed to see Klefki on team preview considering how my match with Jon went, but tried to keep my head straight. Honestly the details of this match are pretty fuzzy to me, but I remember not having too many issues with Klefki this time around. I won game 1 3-0 according to my notes, and I know that I won a big Groudon speed tie to win game 2. I honestly had no idea what Leavanny did and it made an appearance at the end of game 2, but Jake forfeited before it showed anything off.
      I was really happy that I was able to rebound after dropping two straight games and expected that I would have good enough resistance to make Top 16. However, I was pretty frustrated to see that I placed 17th, missing out on Top 16 by 0.4% on opponents' opponents' resistance.
      Kansas City Regionals
      If I had finished Top 16 or better at Madison I probably wouldn't have made the trip to Kansas to save money and spend some time with family before going back to school for the summer. I was still considering skipping out and banking on Nationals for my Worlds invite, but I was convinced in no small part by Kamz and Team Texas to go and redeem myself. I'm very thankful I did, as Kansas Regionals contained some of the best and most enjoyable Pokemon I've played in my life.
      The only team change I made was Taunt ---> Hidden Power Water on Thundurus. I felt the rest of the team performed really well and I could attribute my losses in Madison to other factors. This was mostly an inconsequential change, as I only used Hidden Power three times and only actually knocked out a Groudon once. As I mentioned before, 3 of the 4 Smeargle I played held a Mental Herb so Taunt would have been mostly useless.
      Round 1 vs Andrew Hovis

      I played Andrew at 7-0 when I top cut St Louis Regionals in 2015 and a few more times online, so I knew that he was a solid player. The Latios was an interesting pick but unfortunately he never brought it so I didn't get to see what it could do. I know that game 1 I just let Xerneas set up at a relatively low cost and got swept from there. From what I can remember, I managed the Xerneas much better in game 2 but got pretty lucky in game 3, probably with a Precipice Blades miss or some full paralyses or something like that. It was a sloppy game for sure, and I managed to come out on top.
      Round 2 vs Andrew Crandall

      This was almost a perfect mirror, with the only difference being his Ferrothorn and my Salamence. His lack of Salamence made me pretty comfortable bringing Kangaskhan to every game since Kang performs much better against Cresselia and Thundurus, especially without opposing Intimidate. Game 1 we got into a Skill Swap war pretty quickly with our Groudon and Cresselia. At one point both Groudon had Levitate and both Cresselia had Desolate Land, and a couple turns later everything was back to normal. His Cresselia had Trick Room, but I was able to manage those turns pretty well with Skill Swaps and Substitutes to put myself in a great spot once Trick Room expired. I think game 2 was a little more straightforward, he either didn't set up Trick Room or I just abused the fact that my Kyogre was slower than his and did some work inside Trick Room.
      Round 3 vs Shannon Williams (souldewz)

      Another mirror, this time a perfect 6 for 6. I had played Shannon a few times before and knew that even though she was a delightfully pleasant person, she would put up a strong fight in battle. She played game 1 really well and I was caught a bit off guard, so she ended up taking it pretty handily. In game 2 she switched up her mega, bringing Kangaskhan instead of Salamence, which made my Groudon much more of a threat. I believe it was this game where I got a Hidden Power Water off on her Groudon only to see it do around 65% damage. I was really surprised to see it do that little, and she told me later that she was running a bunch of bulk on it. I took game 2, but game 3 was very close right down to the end. I had managed to figure out that my Kyogre was faster than both of her primals, so when the game came down to both of our primals out on the field at low health, I was confident that all I had to do to win was hit my attacks. Thankfully Groudon cooperated and landed its Precipice Blades, so I was able to win game 3 to put myself at a 3-0 record for the second regional in a row.
      Round 4 vs Oliver Valenti (Smith)

      I had reached the same place I was in at Madison, 3-0 going into a lunch break. This time, I was pretty determined to take advantage of my momentum and keep winning. Based on attendance, every X-2 finisher would make Top 16 so all I wanted at the time was to win 2 more sets so the pressure would be off. I knew Oliver was running Big 6 and that he was pretty confident in his double primal matchup. I also knew that he was very motivated to do well at this tournament and was working on his mental game, so I figured I'd be playing a bit from behind. I was right, as he played really well game 1 and won it without much of a fuss. At this point I was mad at myself for letting my guard down and something in me clicked. I was not about to let myself drop to X-2 after a good start two weeks in a row. I actually don't remember many specifics from the second 2 games, but I just went to work with Cresselia and played two of the most intense games of my career. Fortunately I came out with a win, putting myself one round away from Worlds. While I did win, I was really impressed by the way Oliver played all 3 games and I was really happy to see him make it to Top 4. He just published his team report and a run down of his mentality leading up to the tournament so you should definitely check it out!
      Round 5 vs Collin Heier (TheBattleRoom)

      If you're going to make it to Worlds, may as well have to beat one of the best players in the world to get there. I definitely did not want to pull Collin this round, even though I had won our only previous meeting, since I knew he was using Conan's Top 8 Seattle team and had probably been giving a lot of tips as to playing the "grimerty double primal" matchup. Similarly to last round vs Oliver, I buckled down and played some of the best Pokemon I could play, but this time didn't wait until I had lost a game. Game 1 I led Kangaskhan Cresselia into Kangaskhan Smeargle and went for a Helping Hand Low Kick onto his Kangaskhan while Smeargle used King's Shield. Game 2 I led the same into his Smeargle Xerneas and Double-Edged the Smeargle while Xerneas Protected. I was very proud of those two first turns, as they both set me up very well for the rest of each game. Game 1 was pretty straightforward, as he didn't have a great way to handle my Kangaskhan after his went down. Game 2 he adjusted by bringing Salamence instead, which gave me a bit more trouble. The game came down to my Kyogre surviving a Precipice Blades and a Double-Edge then hitting both Groudon and Salamence with an Origin Pulse, and I popped off pretty hard. I was ecstatic not only to have made Worlds, but to have done it by playing so well against a player for which I have a ton of respect.
      Round 6 vs DJ Mead

      DJ's name wasn't familiar to me, but his team certainly was. I wasn't exactly thrilled to have to play Big 6 for a third round in a row, but I had just beat it twice so I was pretty confident I could do it again. Game 1 got really scary as his Smeargle started getting some godlike Moody boosts. I'm pretty sure it hit +6 Evasion at some point lol. He had revealed Wide Guard, but there was a turn where I had my Groudon and Kyogre out in the rain against his paralyzed full health Smeargle and paralyzed ~40% Xerneas. My only real option at that point was to hope he was fully paralyzed trying to go for Wide Guard and just click Precipice Blades and Origin Pulse. Thankfully his Smeargle did get fully paralyzed while trying to use Wide Guard, so Precipice Blades missed Smeargle but knocked out Xerneas then Origin Pulse connected with his evasion boosted Smeargle and OHKOed it. That turn was certainly very lucky, but I didn't feel too guilty considering the fact that I had missed Smeargle with a few attacks earlier in the game as a result of the evasion boosts. Game 2 I made Smeargle more of a priority, which made managing the Xerneas infinitely easier. Cresselia took the game away from there, paralyzing Xerneas and slowing Kangaskhan and Groudon down with Icy Wind to set up my primals for the endgame sweep. After clinching my Worlds invite in round 5, I had finally made it back into top cut at a Regional, a feat I hadn't accomplished since the 9-0 run in Missouri. I felt as though there were a few Regionals between Missouri and this point where I had played well and might have deserved a shot at top cut only to hit some pretty unfortunate luck, so making it back to cut after a while really meant a lot to me.
      Round 7 vs Blake Hopper (Bopper)

      This was such a close set. Every turn was full of hard reads from both players, and each game came down to the absolute wire. Honestly I'm not sure if I have every played such an crazy set in my life.
      Just kidding, I sat down and signed the slip lol. I was the only 6-0 player and I had been paired down to Blake. He's scooped to me in this situation a couple of times at PC's so I just returned the favor, happy to see him make top cut as well. I had played a couple practice matches with him on the way up to Kansas and we knew each others' teams, so I didn't even feel the need to play the games out. I finished Swiss with a 6-1* record, but since I had been the last undefeated player my resistance was strong enough that I was still the first seed. Collin squeaked into top cut at 8th, so I would have a rematch with him the next morning.
      As it turned out, Blake and Oliver were also playing each other in top 8. This made for a pretty awkward in our hotel room, including the 4 of us and Benji. I did my best to stay out of any game plan discussions since I didn't want to put any of my friends at a disadvantage. I also knew what my gameplan would be for Top 8 vs Collin, so I just tried to relax and enjoy the success of the first day.
      Top 8 vs Collin Heier (TheBattleRoom)

      I mentioned a couple times in Swiss when I got a bit lucky, and I suppose my luck ran out on Saturday. I had a great start to game 1, as I led Groudon Cresselia into Smeargle Xerneas then Thunder Waved Xerneas and Subbed while he Dark Voided and Geomancied. Since Cress had Lum Berry it was free to move the next turn, so I went for a Helping Hand Fire Punch into Xerneas while Collin used Wide Guard and Dazzling Gleam. I was really happy with how this game was playing out, but then Smeargle got a speed boost. And then an accuracy boost. And then an evasion boost. I was pretty disappointed that the game was going to end like this, especially considering how well it started. At this point there wasn't much I could do except hope for a bunch of full paralyses from his Xerneas. I got one or two, but needed many more to have a chance to win. A bit frustrated after that game, I made some less optimal plays in game 2 and Collin punished them very hard. He played game 2 absolutely perfectly and ended up wiping the floor with me. Considering the way he commanded game 2, I wasn't too shaken up about the unlucky game 1. He clearly had a plan and he executed it well, really can't complain about that. Congrats to Collin for making it to the finals and becoming the second person to beat me in the first round of top cut at a regional then go on to get second place.
      All things considered, I am very happy I was talked into not bailing on Kansas, since that tournament was a big stepping stone for me mentally. I'm really proud of how I played in Swiss, as I proved to myself that I can play at a consistently high level throughout the day with minimal hiccups. I'm also happy with the way I reacted when I dropped games or was in unfavorable spots. Of the 6 rounds I played in Swiss, I lost game 1 and came back to win the set three times. The defining moment of the day was definitely after I lost game 1 against Oliver. A fire was lit inside me stronger than I had experienced before, and I went on to win 6 straight games to clinch Worlds and Top Cut. I faltered a bit in top cut, but hopefully I can tap into that fire again when Nationals and Worlds roll around this summer. See y'all there!
    • University of Michigan: ICPA Champions 2016
      By ICPA Writer in The International Collegiate Pokemon Association 0
      Greetings Nugget Bridge!
      Last year, our champions were the University of North Texas (UNT). UNT rose up as the dark horse, entering the playoffs as the last seed only to win each match by narrow margins, eventually toppling the (then-undefeated) University of California San Diego. This year the story went a little differently, as the Top 2 seeded teams made it to the finals. Now, the International Collegiate Pokemon Association 2015-2016 has concluded, and we have our new champions! Congratulations to the University of Michigan on your undefeated season en-route to an ICPA championship! Every game was a hard-fought match in these finals, with most being won by narrow 2-1 margins:
       1 : 4 
      Ace Matches
      Kimo Nishimura (TFC) 1 : 2 Jon McMillan (MrEobo)
      Ajit Unnam (kamikaze) 1 : 2 Kevin Swastek (kswas)
      Non-Ace Matches
      Gustavo Reynoso (Psynergy) 2 : 0 Keegan Beljanski (Darkeness)
      Edward Hong (EdoPhantom) 1 : 2 Alec Beljanski (Polecat)
      Charles Thorson (nvakna) 1 : 2 Garret Yee (gyee)
      The team was led all season by ACE player and MVP runner-up Jon McMillan @MrEobo, who finished 9-1 (19W-6L) in the regular season, and went 3-0 (6W-3L) through the playoffs. Fellow ACE Kevin Swastek @kswas also earned an honourable mention for league MVP, going 7-1 (15W-4L), finishing off the season with a 3-0 (6W-1L) run in the playoffs. A major congratulations to these two on such fantastic seasons, and Michigan is lucky to have such talented players to help lead the squad over the last two years. Captain Keegan Beljanski @Darkeness brought together the squad that won this championship, and credit where credit is due. Fellow captains can certainly understand the reward that comes from that kind of effort spent over the whole year. After an undefeated ICPA year (8-0 in all), Alec Beljanski @Polecat may have reminded folks of his play if he was looking to get drafted in next year's National Pokemon Association. Garret Yee @GYee (7-2 in all) also capped off a strong season with a pivotal win in these finals. You can find his ICPA Finals match on his youtube GyeeGaming!
      Michigan wouldn't have made it this far without the contributions of all of its team members, and so, here they are:
      Your 2016 ICPA Champions

      The University of Michigan
      Jon McMillan @MrEobo
      Kevin Swastek @kswas
      Alec Beljanski @Polecat
      Garrett Yee @GYee
      Keegan Beljanski @Darkeness
      Caitlin Beach @RandomVGC
      Rosemary Kelley @Nekkra
      Jordan VanderZwaag @jvswag
      Matthew Myers @oreo
      Yes, it's time for the ICPA Championship Plaque to change hands. For any students entering college/university in Fall 2016, it's certainly worth looking into your school's potential for an ICPA team! We had 30 colleges and universities from five countries enter the race this year. With institutions from Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States, there is a decent chance that there is a Pokemon scene near you. If your school did not compete in the 2015-2016 ICPA season, we encourage folks to start their own team! The earlier you get on this the better, so definitely check out the ICPA 2016-2017 recruitment thread in the forums.
      After an undefeated run this year, the University of Michigan seems like it could use some new challengers. 
      For current students of the ICPA, we are also of course interested in any volunteers that would like to help organize and/or run any of the ICPA's departments, including:
      Twitter and Social Media Player Statistics Tournament Organizing Treasury Articles and Writing Youtube and Commentary  
      Feel free to apply through this google form! If you have any questions about the form or volunteering, feel free to contact Ajit Unnam @kamikaze. There is a summer planning meeting being held on June 12th at 17:00-19:00 EDT (click here for more details), and all are welcome to weigh in! If you'd like to provide feedback on this season feel free to email icpa.president@gmail.com, and/or bring up any concerns during or after the summer planning meeting as appropriate.
      ICPA Most Valuable Player Awards
      Congratulations as well to those players who qualified for one of the ICPA Most Valuable Player awards this year! The MVP race was highly contested this season, with no player going undefeated. So congratulations to Nicolas Peckman who finished atop the scrum for 1st place with a 9-1 record (18-4 overall)! Finishing just behind, Jon McMillan of this year's champions the University of Michigan also finished 9-1 (overall record of 19-6). Rounding out the list was last year's league MVP Max Douglas (8-2, 17-6 overall). 
      Most Valuable Player: Nicolas Peckman (Ace Emerald) - University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
      Awarded - $150 USD scholarship
      Runner Up: Jon McMillan (MrEobo) - University of Michigan
      Awarded - $50 USD scholarship
      Runner Up: Max Douglas (Starmetroid) - University of Victoria
      Awarded - $50 USD scholarship
      Summer 2016
      The ICPA 2015-2016 season may be over for now, but look forward to competing in the ICPA summer tournament(s)! These are held for individual players to represent their schools separate from the team format. Last year's summer tournament winner was current ICPA president Ajit Unnam of this year's finalists the University of Berkeley! Who will take the crown for their own this year?
      That's all for now! We look forward to everyone's participation in the 2016-2017 International Collegiate Pokemon Association! Again, if you're going to be attending a new school in the fall, the earlier you get on this the better, so definitely check out the ICPA 2016-2017 recruitment thread in the forums.
      ICPA Writer
    • Nugget Bridge Major 5 Top 8 Spotlight
      By makiri in makiri's blog 0
      Reaching the top 8 of any tournament is a great success and the Nugget Bridge Major is no exception. Players have fought long and hard to reach this point and I'm proud to say all 8 have officially qualified for the Nugget Bridge Invitational at the end of the year. To celebrate their achievement in making it to this point I have a quick spotlight on each match up so you can get to know these players a little better. Soon one will be crowned your fifth Nugget Bridge Major Champion.
      Nihal Noor is one of the top Australian players with two regional victories and three more top 16 finishes. While Nihal has had some great success at the regional level he hasn't yet reached the higher level of competitive play just yet. The Major has been a bit of a coming out party for him, sneaking in at 7-2 with a victory over Pd0nz, Nihal won both top cut matches with 2-0 victories, including fan favorite and former Major champion R Inanimate. 
      William Tansley is having spectacular season right now. He managed to qualify to represent England in Worlds 2015 but 2016 has been his year. Dublin Regionals was probably where most of us noticed him but he has been competing at a high level across a number of tournaments the entire year including third at the recent UK Nationals and currently sports an undefeated record in NPA. His road to top cut has included some difficult battles and managed to reach top 8 with a close victory over NPA teammate Porengan.
      Who will go on to represent the Commonwealth in top 4?
      Nico Davide Cognetta known as Dave to his friends is no stranger to the Major top cut. Last year under the name Doge he was able to reach top 16 so this is new ground for him. While he hasn't had much success in TPCi events this Italian is hoping to make a big splash at this years upcoming Italian Nationals. Desu has managed to knock out some big time players in top cut so far, including Wolfey so he is well on his way to proving himself a capable player.
      [Unreality] Nails
      The final member of the Unreality group of sponsored players is here in top 8. Nick Navarre has mostly been a Smogon player until last year's Boston Open where he top cut setting up his first season of VGC in a great position and is qualified to represent the US in this year Worlds already. Nails has managed to win some big tournaments on Smogon and he is now translating it to VGC success. His Swiss wins are almost a who's who of VGC, R Inanimate, Blitznburst, Porengan, and bissiges Bissbark.
      Who is going to continue their unprecedented success?
      Chuppa or Chuppa Neely Cross IV is no stranger to the Major top cut. He is here once again and having his best competitive season so far. Three regional top cuts including two top 4 placings Chuppa may have finally found his stride and is looking to extend his success here in the Major. He has beat some tough but underrated competition to get to this point including a rematch in top cut to Masakado, Chuppa managed to avenge his only Swiss loss to reach top 8.
      2011 Senior World Champion has always had off and on success and I think this is one of those on years for him. Kamran Jahadi was a little tyke when I first met him but he has grown into an exceptional player when he puts his mind to it. I'm looking forward to see how far he goes this year because of my biased opinion, he is my number 1 fan. Kamz has had a reasonable but tough road getting here including a win over SoulSur to make top cut.
      Which former Senior turned Master will go on?
      Pretty much an unknown until this point, Kyle Ayala is doing quite well for himself this Major. He has had limited success in the TPCi circuit mostly doing well in local events but does have a Regional top 4 to his name. Kyle has had some big wins in Swiss defeating names like Spurrific, SoulSur, and UchihaX96. His top cut battles haven't disappointed either, managing to eliminate Benji and bissiges Bissbark.
      This is Szymon Wojdat's second top cut and second top 8 in the Nugget Bridge Major. Might be considered Poland's best player at this point with a some success at a few European Nationals including top 8 and two top 32s. His Major consistency is only rivaled by a couple other players and winning here could help solidify him as one of the Nugget Bridge Circuit's best ever. 
      Who will win the rematch of Round 9 Swiss?
      I want to wish all the players good luck and I'm looking forward to seeing every battle and seeing how each player does in the Nugget Bridge Invitational.
    • Top Cut teams from the VGC'16 Regional Championships
      By RpIndaHouse in RP's Corner 78
      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 Restrepo: 
      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: 

  • Recent Blog Posts

    • The Teams I Faced in the June International Challenge
      By SamuelTemple2 in A Journey up to the Temple 0
      Like in March, i'll be documenting the teams I faced in the June International Challenge. If I face someone I know or is notable, then I'll link their Twitter with all the other stuff and believe you should follow the person since they're cool. Also keep in mind that some of the interesting teams existed because people wanted to play so then can get the special Shiny Mewtwo and needed the 1 Play Point to obtain it.
      The Team I Used:      
      DAY 1
      DAY 2
                                                                                                  DAY 3
      After this, I was content with my rating so I decided to stop playing. Don't forget to follow riopaser and SamVGC on Twitter as they were some very good battles and had a lot of fun. You can also follow me on Twitter @TempleVGC as well if you want.
    • A ghost among the players: A 2nd place MSS and Regional Report
      By SkarmSteel1 in Steven Stone's Place 1
      2nd Place Chile's 2nd MSS 2nd Place Chile's 2nd Regional Introduction
      Hey guys! Sebastian Lara, aka SkarmSteel here. I'm here to write about my run in the last 2 tournaments I went to and how i got high placings at it with a mon that's not usually seen at all in competitions, let alone getting high places. 
      Before all of that, a bit of my story. I'm by no means a known player besides locally, and even then I'm sort of a random player that rarely shows up at events. The first tournament I went to was back in 2015, in an event called "Pokemon Day". The event itself didn't have any status but the prize was a trip to go and see the Pokemon World Tournament of that year (and in case you got the CP placing required to qualify, participate in said tournament). I didn't have much experience with VGC as a whole, but I went anyways. The tournament had small groups of 4 people play against each other and the best two of each group would pass to a Single Elimination round, where the top 2 of each elimination round would get into a bigger single elimination round (iirc). It just so happened that the other 2 participants of my group didn't attend and i steamrolled everyone in the elimination round. Before I noticed, i made it into top 8 of that tournament. I eventually lost to Omar Acuña, one of the strongest players in the country, and missed on the prize.
      A lot of time passed for me to attend another event. It was a premier challenge after 2015 Worlds, where I didn't go... too well. After that, I started to consistently top cut PCs and got a handful of CPs. Then 2016 came along and I participated in Pokemon Day again, this time with a regional status. Got top 32 with big 6, to dissapear again afterwards. Then, I came back with many surprises in hand...
      04/30: Mid Season Showdown
      Would cover this event in full detail but because I know we young people have a limited span of attention time I will make this quick. There were two consecutive MSS in the same week, and because many of the players that went the day before didn't want to spend money on the other one nor they needed the points, we played the second MSS with a handful of players (around 30 iirc). Almost went undefeated in Swiss with my team, passed to finals then lost because questionable plays from my part and my opponent just being a good player. It just so happened that after top 8 i didn't need to keep playing since I did qualify that day, but who wants to drop on top cut anyways?
      05/14: Regional
      Had plenty of confidence after playing the MSS so I told myself: Why not? Went into this event with the same team than the MSS, just that tweaked a bit to patch its weaknesses better:

      In-depth coverage:
      The tournament:
      Round 1 vs Pablo Honorato
      His team:
      I brought:

      Silly me didn't have enough space on the SD card before this round and couldn't record it... Oops! Well, if my memory serves me right, Mega Salamence and Talonflame did an amazing job against this team, together with Primal Groudon. Weavile + Mence was my lead... I think. I don't know, all I know is that I won this match fairly easily.
      Btw if anyone knows the Nugget Bridge usernames of these guys, go ahead and tell me!
      W 1-0
      Round 2 vs Marcelo Muñoz
      His team:
      I brought:

      Milo has been a player that I've played COUNTLESS times on events, always getting on top of him. In the MSS, I won because of a Precipice Blades crit early on the game, and this time I wanted a clean game without hax. The Weavile + Salamence lead didn't left me on the best spot against Kangaskhan + Gengar, so I thought it would be smart to switch Weavile out into Giratina-O and just attack with Salamence, expecting him to predict the Protect. His Gengar went for Icy Wind while his Kangaskhan went for Low Kick on the Weavile slot, and I get to fire off my Hyper Voice. Next turn, he switches his Mega Kangaskhan out into his Kyogre, while Gengar stays in. I finish off the Gengar with Shadow Sneak while Kyogre takes a nasty Double-Edge into the face, with Salamence killing itself from recoil that turn. I get a free switch into Weavile while Kangaskhan comes from the other side, while I just Fake Out the Kangaskhan and Shadow Force the Primal Kyogre. Then I get Primal Groudon into the field, avoid the Sucker Punch and Origin Pulse, and finish the Kyogre off. All its left is the Rayquaza, which finishes off my Giratina, while Rock Tomb BARELY misses the KO on Rayquaza. I predict Rayquaza's Protect and double into Kangaskhan to close up the game with Feint afterwards.
      W 2-0
      Round 3 vs José Rodríguez
      His team:
      I brought:

      So in this match we lead Weavile Talonflame mirrors. I get the Tailwind up with no problem and then got rid of the Talonflame the next turn. Xerneas got in, forcing my switch into Groudon, and Talonflame gets KOed by Feint. Weavile got in to get KOed by Dazzing Gleam while i got the KO on the opposing Weavile with Precipice Blades. Primal Kyogre got in while Ferro comes in from the other side. Should be a won match, eh? Wrong. I make 2 misplays, the first one being not going for Protect with Groudon (that would have kept Water Spout at spread damage), and going for Leech Seed on Kyogre, as opposed of Gyro Ball on Xerneas or Power Whip (in this case, the play being Gyro on Xerneas to then proceed to stall with Leech Seed). Leech Seed also happened to miss, nullifying any chance of me winning.
      L 2-1
      Round 4 vs Javier Parada
      His team:
      I brought:

      Lead match-up was terrible for Salamence, so I decided to inmediatly switch into Ferrothorn. He went for Ice Beam while Xerneas got struck with Weavile's Fake Out. I decided to Protect Ferrothorn since it was a threat for his team and I thought he would try to get rid of it inmediatly which was a prediction on spot. He goes for Low Kick and Moonblast on the Ferrothorn slot while Weavile gets a free Knock Off on the Greninja. Next turn I double into a Protect of the Xerneas and Greninja fires off an Ice Beam against Ferrothorn. Next turn he switches out Xerneas for Rayquaza and I finish off Greninja with Knock Off, while Ferrothorn gets a crit Gyro Ball on the Rayquaza, bringing it to its sash. Talonflame gets in. Next turn he switches his Rayquaza out into Xerneas while I switch out Ferrothorn for Salamence, expecting the Feint from Weavile to finish it off, and goes for Flare Blitz on the Weavile, bringing it to its sash and getting the burn. This wasn't bad at all, as I got a free switch into Groudon, and I get an Hyper Voice + Precipice Blades on the Xerneas for the KO. Ray gets in and can't do a thing vs Salamence, so he forfeits.
      W 3-1
      Round 5 vs Carlos Del Rio 
      His team:
      I brought:

      Lead match-up wasn't that bad, as Primal Groudon had a good match-up against both Cresselia and Mawile. Turn one he withdraws Mawile and gets Primal Kyogre in, while I Fake Out the Cresselia (that had Red Card) and Precipice Blades. Ferrothorn got in because of the Red Card, and after a few turns of me missing attacks, I get the KO on Kyogre. Primal Groudon gets in as Cresselia got the TR the last turn. Cress now goes for Gravity, Groudon for Blades, Giratina for Draco and Ferrothorn for Leech Seed. Precipice Blades actually crits my Giratina which was unfortunate but wasn't enough for the KO. Next turn I go for Shadow Sneak on the Groudon while Cress goes for Ice Beam on Giratina-O and Precipice Blades KOs Giratina-O but not the protected Ferrothorn, whose Leech Seed KOes Primal Groudon after the Shadow Sneak damage. I sent Weavile just to do some damage to the Cresselia and avoid Mawile's Intimidate, then send Groudon in for the checkmate.
      W 4-1
      Round 6 vs Camilo Ponce
      His team

      I brought

      I have few notes of this match so i suppose it went smoothly for me, but if i recall correctly my opponent disconnected before i could save the replay so I don't have a replay to analyse. Sorry... (he might have it though)
      W 5-1
      Round 7 vs Sergio Morales
      His team
      I brought:

      He had Yveltal. Do I need to say more? Lead-wise, my match-up wasn't the best but not the worst. He decides to Mega Evolve Salamence right off the bat and takes an Icicle Crash to the face, which he flinches. We also set up Tailwind that turn. Next turn I go for Knock Off against the Zapdos which wasn't the best of ideas, given Static actually paralized my Weavile. Everything went downhill afterwards, specially after the surprise KO of HP Water Zapdos on my Groudon.
      L 5-2
      Because all the x-2 missed the cut the last regional, I assumed it was over for me. But I actually manage to get in top 8 as best 5-2.
      Day 2
      The next day I came really early to start playing the top cut. Silly me didn't know that it was stupid to come THAT early, so I waited around 1 or 2 hours for top cut to begin. The day before I thought strategies to take on my next opponent, which was unfortunately the other Giratina-O player of the tournament. Luckily for me, I have played him before (swiss rounds of the MSS) and he didn't switch his team at all, which gave me enough information to break it with my team.
      Top vs Ariel Romo (Amsterdam)
      His team:

      Game 1:
      He brought: 
      I brought: 
      Leads weren't that bad, although it left Mega Salamence in a bad spot (no switch-ins for Draco Meteor is bad too). So we Mega Evolve both Pokemon, he goes for Fake Out on Talonflame and my Salamence's Draco Meteor crits his Giratina-O, which was unfortunate but gave me a huge momentum win, specially since his Gira-O check was gone from the field and my own Giratina was safe now. He sends in Landorus-T, and the next turn I decide to fodder Talonflame while setting up my Tailwind, and Protect Salamence. Rock Slide from the Landorus-T misses my Talonflame (-_-) and Kangaskhan goes for Double-Edge into the Protect. Next turn I switched Salamence out for Groudon, and i went for Brave Bird onto the Kangaskhan. Rock Slide misses Groudon but finishes Talonflame, and Double-Edge hits my Groudon. Next turn we trade hits, with Salamence going for Double-Edge onto the Landorus-T and Groudon finishing off Kangaskhan, and both Salamence and Groudon survive that turn despite Kangaskhan's Sucker Punch and Landorus's Rock Slide. His Groudon gets in. At this point all I really had to do was to fire off Hyper Voice and switch Giratina in to do the Checkmate! effect, but I stayed with Groudon anyways and missed the Precipice Blades on his Groudon that also missed the P Blades on mine. Then the next turn Draco Meteor + Blades finished him off.
      W 1-0
      Game 2:
      He brought: 
      I brought: 
      Went with the same formula, not much could go wrong. Ariel smartly leads Kang + Lando against both flyings, which forces me to get Gira-O in for Salamence. Gira-O, after the Intimidate was really safe and nothing could hit it for significant damage. Protect Talon, Rock Slide + Double-Edge from the opponent, neither of them able to do any damage (Rock Slide missed). Next turn I safely get Salamence in for another Intimidate round, and he switches his Kangaskhan out into Groudon. Rock Slide hits both Pokemon, Salamence took more damage than what I expected, and I miss the Will-O-Wisp against his Landorus-T. Next turn I Mega Evolve Salamence and Protect, mainly to try and get the burn against the Landorus-T, and he reveals Rock Tomb on his own Primal Groudon, hitting it against Gira-O (not like the speed drop mattered). Got the Will-O-Wisp against his Landorus-T, meaning that Salamence was really safe now. I fired off the Hyper Voice with Mence, he went for Rock Slide, missing on the Gira-O but hitting Salamence, doubled onto it with Rock Tomb from Groudon, leaving it at 3 HP and Giratina's Draco Meteor missed the KO on his Groudon as well. Landorus goes for Rock Slide again, missing Groudon this time and Groudon finished off the opposing Groudon with Fire Punch (in case Gira-O wanted to get in) and Giratina flinches. His Lando-T dies from burn. His Giratina and his Kangaskhan got in. Fake Out from Kang into my Groudon and Tailwind with Gira-O as I'm finally able to burn the Kangaskhan. Next turn I make an amazing read, went for Protect with Groudon as both his Kangaskhan and Giratina doubled into it, and I guarantee me the win through Shadow Force against the Giratina. Groudon does faint before it could do anything next turn, but when it fainted I got a free switch-in for Talon, all I had to do was click Brave Bird.
      W 2-0
      Top 4 vs Abel Yantorno (FRIKI TR)
      His team: 

      Missing both matches here due to reasons. Well, basically I didn't play with my 3DS on a LONG time and didn't have it with latest update, so the only option I had left was to play with another console. Thankfully a senior player (Emiliano Reyes) borrowed me his 3DS but I didn't record the matches on his 3DS either, so the only way to analyse them would be if Abel does have those matches saved. Anyways to summarize:
      Me haxing him game 1 Me playing greatly game 2 W 2-0
      And that's how Giratina-O made it to a regional final. Anyways, moving onto the important stuff:
      Finals vs Heriberto Pacaje (Kaze TG)
      His team: 

      YAY! Finals! Thankfully those are on Youtube so I don't have to go and tell you everything that happened on the game. 
      L 0-2
      All I can conclude is that Kaze played g1 beautifully and that all the good luck I had during Swiss ended up being paid in finals g2. Those were great matches, probably the peak of my performance in all the year, and with a Pokemon that's not commonly seen in any top cut. Hope this was a good read, and watch out for more content from my blog.
      I want to say thanks to Pephan for supporting me through all the tournament, he's sort of my mentor by now . Also thanks to Diego Gomez for buying food when I was about to starve.
      Also thanks to crazyck for helping me to get into VGC'16, this year has been particularly hard and I didn't have a good start in the format by any means (in fact, I hated it back in February), and to the Smogon community (specially GradeAGarchomp) for helping me build this particular team.
      Without anything else to say, I hope to see you soon!
    • Top 8 Teams from Mexico's National Championship
      By AcademiaSOS in Academy Bulletin 0
      Hello Nugget Bridge!

      As some of you may know, the Mexico’s VGC National Championship was celebrated last week on June 19th. A week already passed now and we bring you the Top 8 Teams of the event.

      We also want to let you know that our friend Israel Suaste Guendulain (NB: IsraVGC)  is writing a similar article at the same time I’m writing this (he’ll post his entry later this week). He is the First National Champion of Mexico so you’ll probably want to read his article too.

      Well here’s what you were expecting… The Top 8 Teams!

      1.    Israel Suaste Guendulain 

      2.    Israel Gerardo Ramirez Lira 

      3.    Samuel Salgado Alvarez 

      4.    Charly Pastrana 
      5.    Ulises Ruiz Arreola (Kracken) 
      6.    Miguel Santillan Ramos 
      7.    Alejandro Rolan Ramirez 

      8.    Luis Eduardo Plascencia Villalobos 

      We can see how the Nationals of Italy and Germany made an impact in the mexican metagame. Three Rayogre teams made it to Top 4 which is rather odd compared with previous events in the season (I actually enjoy a lot that Rayogre is getting so much love lately), probably the tendence will continue in the upcoming National Championships.

      Also is important to appreciate that Double Primal teams struggled to get into Top Cut and that Yveltal was able to clear the way to Top with Grouveltal and XY Teams.

      That’s probably because Double Primal won so much power in the meta that players are trying to counter it with those HP Water Thundurus or Zapdos by Rayogre Teams and with the offensive pressure that Yveltal puts on both Groudon and Kyogre.

      Well that’s everything I hope you enjoyed reading this entry. Later in this week I’ll make an entry with a deeper analysis of the National.

      Last, but not least I want to thanks my friend Daniel García (NB: eldanken) for providing the information of the Top Cut. Also I want to say hi to RpIndaHouse as he requested the Top 8 teams I hope it’ll be helpful for you.

      Smell’Ya Later!

      Bight (Pktrainer1994)

    • 2016 June International Challenge - My Run
      By shabarai in Shabatte's Corner 5
      Hi there guys, 
      I didn't know what to post as first content of the blog, I finally decided to write down my run at the 2016 June International Challenge.
      I finished the IC at 1852 points with a score of 36-6 (I didn't play the last 3 matches because I was too scared of losing points).
      All the run was streamed to my Team's YouTube channel so if you want to see all the run here are the links:
      Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
      Unfortunately since I'm from Italy, I was commentating in Italian, I'm sorry for all of you that won't understand (but most of the time it's me reading the chat, you are not losing anything crucial). 
      I was using Duomark's Italian National Top 4 team, he told me he will write his report soon, so I won't reveal his EV spreads for now (but I'll add them as soon as he publish his report). 
      The team consisted in  Scarf SashRed Card Choice BandMental Herb Kangaskhanite
      Allright, with all said, this was my run (I won't write Japanese/Korean players' name because I don't know how to write ideograms).

      DAY 1
      Round 1 (Sherwin - USA - 1457)  - WIN
      Round 2 (MEXX -AUT - 1417)  - WIN
      Round 3 (Azelma - FRA - 1456)  - WIN
      Round 4 (JAP - 1597)  - LOSE
      Round 5 (Rodrigo - USA - 1587)   - WIN
      Round 6 (Florian - AUT - 1449)   - WIN
      Round 7 (Patrick - NED - 1498)  - WIN
      Round 8 (Julien - FRA - 1510)  - WIN
      Round 9 (Anscha - DEU - 1485)  - WIN
      Round 10 (Rafa - SPA - 1554)  - WIN
      Round 11 (Gustavo - USA - 1512)  - WIN
      Round 12 ( ♂ DARIUS ♂ - ITA - 1589)  - WIN
      Round 13 (Sergio - SPA- 1559)  - WIN
      Round 14 (DJAMM - USA - 1601)  - WIN
      Round 15 (Old Snake - FRA - 1503)  - WIN

      DAY 2
      Round 16 (MENNEN - MEX - 1656)  - WIN
      Round 17 (ShinyPheonix - DEU - 1715)  - WIN
      Round 18 (Glen - ENG - 1625)  - WIN
      Round 19 (ADIWAN - DEU - 1518)  - WIN
      Round 20 (Jose - SPA - 1604)  - LOSS
      Round 21 (Fruity - USA - 1579)  - WIN
      Round 22 (Pado - ITA - 1682)  - LOSS
      Round 23 (BAD - BRA - 1600)  - WIN
      Round 24 (h i y o k o - JAP - 1656)  - WIN
      Round 25 (davidness- CAN - 1684)  - WIN
      Round 26 (Piotr- POL - 1693)  - WIN
      Round 27 (Masato - JAP - 1662)  - WIN
      Round 28 (Dani Blasco - SPA - 1593)  - WIN
      Round 29 (JAP - 1725)  - WIN
      Round 30 (Brendan - USA - 1609)  - WIN

      DAY 3
      Round 31 (JAP - 1758)  - WIN
      Round 32 (N - JAP - 1781)  - LOSE
      Round 33 (JAP - 1611)  - WIN
      Round 34 (eLbOw 2 - USA - 1731)  - LOSE
      Round 35 (Fairy - JAP - 1797)  - LOSE
      Round 36 (LumarioAS - AUS - 1760)  - WIN
      Round 37 (Amber- USA - 1708)  - WIN
      Round 38 (JAP - 1752)  - WIN
      Round 39 (JAP - 1763)  - WIN
      Round 40 (JAP - 1703)  - WIN
      Round 41 (MaruMaru - USA - 1623)  - WIN
      Round 42 (JAP - 1634)  - WIN

      I'm considering to make a chart of the usage, maybe in the near future I'll add it to the post.
      That's all for now, thanks for reading.
      - Shai
    • New Mega Threats for Sun and Moon?
      By TeddieToGo in Teddie's VGC Corner 5
      I am honestly a bit hesitant to post this. Just know that if you do not agree with me, than its nothing personal.
      VGC US Nationals is in two weeks (woot!) Despite it being in my hometown, I cannot help but look forward to Gen 7. I've always told myself that I would start competing more once Gen 7 came out. Its a bit too early to speculate as to what the meta will be like, but one thing that I am hoping is that there are some Megas that will become more viable, either through new moves or new threats that emerge. I really hope that these guys will get more use next season!
      Mega Pidgeot

      Pidgeot badly needed a Mega, but Game Freak made the strange decision to make it a pure special attacker and to give it the ability No Guard. Its a shame, since it has fantastic Special Attack and Speed. I really hope that we get a special attacking version to Extremespeed that it can utilize! Just that will probably really help.
      Mega Ampharos

      Its sad that Ampharos is so slow, although I've seen it on Trick Room teams. Probably the biggest strike against is its ability Mold Breaker, which only really helps against Multiscale. However, Lunala's ability is a clone of Multiscale and there may be some new abilities that it can break once Sun and Moon comes around. Maybe it will gain a priority move or some new Dragon moves that it can utilize?
      Mega Banette

      Mega Banette sports an awesome Attack stat and the ability Prankster, but it is really fragile and takes up a valuable Mega slot. It already gets Shadow Sneak, so maybe there will be a Move Tutor with some new support moves that it can take advantage of.
      Mega Camerupt

      I've always thought that Camerupt had everything that it needed to be successful. It gets Sheer Force and has enough raw power to do some real damage, but it is very slow. Right now, its best spread moves are Eruption, Heat Wave and Rock Slide. What would really be nice is that if it got something that is a spread version of Earth Power, so it does not have to rely on Earthquake.
      Mega Audino

      Mega Audino is adorable, but its ability and typing are a bit of a hindrance. Healer is still a great ability for VGC and there is always a chance that there could be some new Dragon types that it could wall.
    • Chile's Nationals Top 8 teams + statistics
      By Boah in Boah's Lair 4
      hi guys! time to revive this blog with a new entry haha, i bring for you the top cut teams from the national held in Chile yesterday  please enjoy!
      Wiiner: Javier Ponce (Ponkachu)

      Runner-Up: Christopher Soto (Chris)

      Top 4: Matias Roa (Boah)

      Top 4: Heriberto Pacaje (TG Kaze U)

      Top 8: Estephan Valdebenito (Pephan)

      Top 8: Nicolas del Campo (Sh4dowzon)

      Top 8: Victor Merino (Sigfried)

      Top 8: Diego Ferreira (Diego)

      Link with full statistics https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1a13maZCoOleC2kcf8nF3a_E5eWaJI7-AiH40Mj3X8bk/edit?usp=sharing
      soon i'll do a report about my experience in the nationals  see you later!
    • International Challenge June Team Compilation
      By RevRush in Rush's Blog 10
      Hey everyone! Here are the various teams I faced during the June IC Challenge this past weekend! Hope you like it!
      Day 1:
      15. Whoops forgot to write down one of the teams!
      Day 2:
      Day 3:
      My Team:  
      Overall the team did not function to my expectations. For starters I forgot Taunt on Crobat and was unable to stop Opposing Geomancy & Dark Void (Lum Berry helped a bit). I found myself without too many options to stop Ferrothorn and Xerneas did indeed give me some problems. I enjoyed using Encore Raichu as it punishes opponents for using Protect or trying to set up. Life Orb Yveltal can deal out some serious damage in the right hands as well (useless against Xerneas of course). Kanagaskhan performed as well as it generally does Double-Edgeing opposing Pokemon to their doom. Primal Kyogre loved to miss its Origin Pulse targets but other than that it did its job and luckily undersped many Primal Groudons letting me win the weather wars at the beginning of the match. I honestly only used Amoonguss a few times and it performed well with Giga Drain, but mainly wasn't brought out. Hoped you enjoyed! Until next time! Follow me on Twitter as well! - RevRush
    • Tequila Rain: Giratina-O/Ogre Team
      By Gawd Dang Gilly in In the Trenches with Gilly Suits 1
      Hello all! I go by Gilly Suits though you may know me as Gawd Dang Gilly on showdown.
      I have been playing VGC for a little over two seasons. I am a competitor in the New England region tournaments who is known for bringing unusual mons (In VGC 15, I piloted a Mega Steelix team to a top 32 finish in MA). I don’t use these mons to be a “special snowflake” but I like the advantage of using something less prepared for as well as the time aspect. I am constantly traveling for work, so I don’t have much time to play in-game or on showdown. Instead, I focus my efforts on team building against the meta by using phone apps like PokeType. This year was no different.
      Early in the season, I tried many of the common archetypes of today. My first team in the format was a Rayquaza/Kyogre Trick room team highlighted by its use of Gourgeist as a setter and Choice Band explosion Lando-T. Rayquaza/Kyogre quickly rose to the top rankings and more people were prepared for the team’s intricacies. Losing my advantage, I quickly raced to find a new archetype. I read a lot of Japanese blogs and one small trend I noticed was Double Primal. I was in love until I became enraged by the inaccurate moves if you chose not to use gravity. I began searching for a pair that was totally off the radar but could handle the cheese of the meta. That pair -Giratina-O/Kyogre.
      You may be saying to yourself why, “Why Giratina-O/Ogre?!” Well during the time, gravity was becoming a very popular archetype in the meta along with the resurgence of Big 6. This was especially true in my area with players such as BlitznBurst and Unreality. I saw Giratina’s potential in stalling out Gravity, Trick Room, and Tailwind. Furthermore, Kangaskhan and Groudon have a very tough time touching it. Kyogre was there because it is a direct check to Groudon which I considered the top meta threat at the time.
      I call this pair Tequila Rain because Giratina-O has always reminded me of the worm at the bottom of Tequila bottle. The worm (Giratina) is supposed to increase the potency of the liquid (Kyogre) making it stronger -not to mention all of the times Giratina gets called Xerneas bait.
      The first iteration of the team started off as:

      This team is a complete farce of its newest manifestation however it allows you to see where the ideas for it came from. This first iteration was built on the back of Calm Mind Ogre. I would try and sweep with Kyogre but I didn’t have a true plan for Giratina. Early on I didn’t understand the true strengths of Giratina-O. Like others, I wrote it off as a bulky mon without much offensive prowess. So to combat this I ran a very special Smeargle set capitalized by its use of the move Endeavor. This Smeargle terrorized the masses who fell victim to its tricks however it was not the ideal choice for the team. Smeargle wasn’t the only mon who I had initial issues with; Talonflame fell victim to Fake Out/Water spouts. These problems were only minor as Giratina still hadn’t lost the title of Xerneas bait which made me change the team to this:

      Kangaskhan and Crobat were excellent replacements in this regard. Kangaskhan threatened its own Fake Out while Crobat offered a sure tailwind and a stop to Xerneas/Smeargle. I thought all was well for awhile as the team did better but it was still lackluster versus some archetypes as well as hax. Due to the advice of my friend Mike aka THE GYMNMONS (inside joke), I watched Wolfe’s video on hax (I highly recommend that all players of any skill level watch it). This was probably the most eye opening video on Pokemon that I have ever watched. It caused me to abandon a plethora of inaccurate moves that I deemed alright on a scale of benefit plus prepare my teams better for winning against things such as Thunder wave, secondary effects, and Scarf Smeargle. I made a complete overhaul of the team initially dropping Cresselia and Crobat for two new members:

      I was initially weary of Whimsicott but after seeing Japanese player, Koota488’s, success with it, I then knew it was the right mon for the team. Whimsicott provided the same fast tailwind while its prankster safeguard protects the team from Thundurus-I Thunder waves and Scarf Smeargle Dark voids. Not to mention that it brought back an old friend of the team -Endeavor. Whimsicott unlike Smeargle was fast enough to be disruptive with its Endeavor or even set up KOs first turn. Mega Gengar was chosen close to two weeks for its ability to deal with Xerneas/Big 6. I know the team most look crazy now with three megas but having three megas with such specific uses was pretty key for helping me beat each archetype. I brought this team to MA Regionals. It top 64’d however it lost to hax that was out of my control. However, I contribute one game to the final manifestation of the team that is seeing tremendous success right now- my game 3 versus my friend and local competitor Aaron Traylor:
      A lot of people may look at this and see “LOL Rock slide Flinches”, I see events that could've been prevented with better team building. If I had been timid Ogre, I could of speed tied the Groudon giving myself a better chance of not being rock slide flinched. I see a Giratina-O who missed a key Draco Meteor in game 2 which would have prevented the game 3. I see a team that was unable to capitalize on its tremendous bulk for one reason or another. I also see a team that was very successful in creating team divisions based on archetypes that just needed a little love. Without further ado, the current and last iteration of the the team from me:

      Giratina-Origin @ Griseous Orb  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 228 HP / 68 Atk / 20 Def / 132 SpD / 60 Spe  
      Quiet Nature  
      - Shadow Sneak  
      - Shadow Force  
      - Dragon Pulse/Draco Meteor
      - Will-O-Wisp
      Offensive Calcs:
      68 Atk Griseous Orb Giratina-O Shadow Force vs. 44 HP / 4 Def Xerneas: 105-124 (50.7 - 59.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
        68 Atk Griseous Orb Giratina-O Shadow Force vs. 252 HP / 60 Def Primal Kyogre: 103-123 (49.7 - 59.4%) -- 99.6% chance to 2HKO
        0+ SpA Griseous Orb Giratina-O Dragon Pulse vs. 0 HP / 0- SpD Mega Salamence: 180-212 (105.8 - 124.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
        0+ SpA Griseous Orb Giratina-O Dragon Pulse vs. 252 HP / 156 SpD Primal Groudon: 69-82 (33.3 - 39.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO Defensive Calcs:
      4 SpA Mega Rayquaza Draco Meteor vs. 228 HP / 132 SpD Giratina-O: 216-254 (85 - 100%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO
        252 SpA Life Orb Dark Aura Yveltal Dark Pulse vs. 228 HP / 132 SpD Giratina-O: 211-250 (83 - 98.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
        252 Atk Black Glasses Dark Aura Yveltal Sucker Punch vs. 228 HP / 20 Def Giratina-O: 216-254 (85 - 100%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO
        252+ SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 228 HP / 132 SpD Giratina-O: 210-248 (82.6 - 97.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO  
      This spread was my best take on utilizing Giratina-O’s greatest strengths. Giratina-O is a bulky attacker and I treated it as such by living some of the most devastating hits in the format while still maintaining enough offense to make it prevalent. If you run Draco, you gain the luxury of being able to 100% KO 252 HP Palkia. I noticed the people who did try Giratina-O always defaulted for 252 ATK. I thought this was silly as it wasn’t changing any KOs past low defense Cresselia. Speaking on Cresselia, the speed is for neutral no investment Cresselias. Will-O is useful for keeping Ferrothorn and Kangaskhan at bay so that Kyogre can continue to terrorize the field. Fun fact: Will-O works in rain.

      Kyogre @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Drizzle  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 228 Def / 20 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  or 4 HP / 60 Def / 188 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Protect  
      - Water Spout  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Scald  
      Offensive Calcs:
      Nothing that jumps off the page for the first spread but the second spread does this:
      188 SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Kangaskhan in Heavy Rain: 178-211 (98.3 - 116.5%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO Defensive Calcs:
      First Spread
      252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 4 HP / 228 Def Primal Kyogre: 148-175 (84 - 99.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
        204+ Atk Ferrothorn Power Whip vs. 4 HP / 228 Def Primal Kyogre: 152-180 (86.3 - 102.2%) -- 12.5% chance to OHKO Second Spread
      -1 252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 4 HP / 60 Def Primal Kyogre: 73-87 (41.4 - 49.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
        252+ Atk Huge Power Mega Mawile Play Rough vs. 4 HP / 60 Def Primal Kyogre: 148-175 (84 - 99.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO I switched between the spreads a lot. The first spread trades offense for easier survivability and the second one mirrors the offensive ability of the 76 modest spread many people enjoy. Oh, the second spread also 3HKOs 252 HP Groudon with Ice beam.

      Whimsicott @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 116 Def / 140 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 19 HP  
      - Tailwind  
      - Worry Seed  
      - Endeavor  
      - Safeguard  
      The spread is meant to maximize bulk while having the lowest HP needed to take advantage of Endeavor. A 19 HP IV puts Whimsicott at 1 HP below standard Smeargle so that it always breaks its sash. Safeguard as mention before stops hax. Tailwind is nice for speed control, but the move that put this set together was Worry Seed. So many mons in this format rely on their ability. Salamence without aerilate cannot touch my ghosts, Kangaskhan isn’t nearly as scary without its second hit (nor can it break through my sash), Mawile is pitiful, and Groudon suddenly becomes a deer in headlights while sitting in front of an Ogre that it thought it was safe from in the sun. The spread also does fun stuff like making 252 Adamant Precipices Blades a 3hko and taking a -1 Double Edge from Kangaskhan.

      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Scrappy  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Sucker Punch  
      Standard Kangaskhan, however I felt like Scrappy helps handle Ghost Gravity and support Sash Gengar much better. I also didn’t add into bulk much as I didn’t fear out Kangaskhans. Between Giratina-O and Whimsicott, they were really a mute point. Kangaskhan’s role was to handle Gravity as well as Dialga teams.
      *I sometimes replace Mawile with Kangaskhan as they handle the same teams well, but Kangaskhan is my more common choice. If you decide to use Mawile, I use Fire Fang/Play Rough as it covers similar things.

      Gengar @ Gengarite  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 12 HP / 92 Def / 148 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Protect  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Sludge Bomb  
      - Haze  
      I know this looks like the most random Gengar set ever but Gengar has one job -stop Big 6. This set was excellent in it. The ability to trap any member of big 6 in spells almost certain death for it especially with Haze. Haze was a trick that I truly enjoyed from Crobat before. Xerneas without boosts really isn’t that scary at all. Kangaskhan isn’t allowed to boost itself with PuP. Groudon is not Swords Dancing. And random Dittos were very disappointed when they transformed into my Gengar. Skill Swap was used for keeping weather control, giving Giratina Shadow Tag, and removing opponents abilities.

      Manectric @ Manectite  
      Ability: Lightning Rod  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 84 HP / 4 Def / 196 SpA / 4 SpD / 220 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def / 30 SpA  
      - Protect  
      - Volt Switch  
      - Flamethrower  
      - Hidden Power [Water]
      This was the last change made to the team. Manectric has been a godsend. Its has helped the team handle Double Primal, Yveltal, and RayOgre. With its ability, Intimidate it helps take advantage of the rest of the team’s bulk. The spread survives things like Moonblast from Xerneas and KOs 252 HP Ferrothorn 15/16 times.
      The team has performed well in its current iteration on Battlespot, Showdown (Top 25), and currently in the IC. It posted a record of 24-7 with two losses coming from DC after they were already well in-hand. It holds its own against many top tier players. [Will be edited to include videos after Nats as to not expose teams of would be hopefuls]
      My personal goals for this team was to grow with it as a player while offer something new to the table that most players haven’t explored due to the prevalence of more established archetypes. I am not going to be able to attend Nats, so I would love to see another person pilot this team to success on a stage as big as this.
      Okay, so this isn’t done. I lied. First I would love to give special thanks to a few players. First and foremost, Dragxnfly. Dragxnfly has been an excellent friend, always willing to listen to my crazy ideas as well as things outside of pokemon. I can’t thank him enough. He is an excellent player and probably one of the best spread makers that I know. I would also like to give thanks to the rest of the Mass-ters: Mrbdog46, Pyromaniac 720, ProfShroomish, and Gymnmons. They have been excellent competitors and friends which have generated some very hilarious moments in chat. The rest of the New England scene, Jackofspadesman, Unreality, Blitznburst, Tom Hull, Amelia (hope to see you next year), and of course the legend -Rich Carlson.

      Thank you for reading!

    • World Cup of VGC Commencement
      By Sam in he doesn't even play this game 8
      Logo coming soon™
      Welcome everybody to the very first World Cup of VGC! This is going to be a showcase of the World’s best Pokemon players in a 6 week tournament. Modeled after Smogon’s World Cup of Pokemon, and inspired by Zach Droegkamp’s idea, we are going to have our very own World Cup with 16 different regions represented. Which regions are participating?
      US East
      Captained by Wolfe Glick (Wolfey)
      US Central
      Captained by Jake Muller (MajorBowman)
      US West
      Captained by Gavin Michaels (kingofmars)
      Captained by Markus Stadter (13yoshi37)
      Captained by Arash Ommati (Mean)
      United Kingdom
      Captained by Nigel Gower (Wyrms Eye)
      Captained by Alejandro Gomez (PokeAlex)
      Western Europe
      Captained by Eduardo Cunha (EmbC)
      Eastern Europe
      Captained by Alexander Kuhn (Hibiki)
      Captained by JUNIO
      Captained by Randy Kwa (R Inanimate)
      Central America
      Captained by Chaivon
      South America
      Captained by Boah
      Captained by Yan Sym (Sogeking)
      Southeast Asia
      Captained by Tanzying
      Captained by Nihal Noor (UchihaX96)
      Captains have the option to play if they so choose.
      United States: US East includes OH, WV, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, and anything farther East. US West includes Montana, WY, CO, NM, and anything farther West. US Central is everything in between.
      Southeast Asia: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines
      East Asia: Taiwain, Hong Kong, China
      Western Europe: Anything West of Austria. Main countries include BeNeLux, France, and Portugal. Does not include Germany, UK, Italy, or Spain.
      Eastern Europe: Includes Austra and Czech Republic, and anything East until Russia. West/East EU will share Switzerland. Does not include Germany, UK, Italy, or Spain.
      Central America: Mexico and anything North of, but not including, Colombia.

      So what is World Cup exactly?
      The World Cup of VGC is designed to be an annual post-Worlds tournament to showcase the best of the best in each country; putting not only individual pride on the line but putting your whole country’s pride at stake. It is a 16 Region tournament, with 8 active playing slots per week and 12 total roster spots allotted. The formats played will consist of 4 VGC 2016 spots, 2 VGC 2015, 1 VGC 2014, and 1 VGC 2013. Matches will be played on Pokemon Showdown for maximum viewability unless players have a capture card. The goal is also to have as many matches streamed as possible to make it not only about the players in the tournament, but about playing for a wider audience and making this a spectator event.
      How can I get involved?
      The captains that have been selected are free to choose any method of player selection that they want: some may host tournaments, some might just choose whichever players they think to be strongest, and some may host tryouts. Get in contact with your Captains to find out what they have in mind! If you don’t get selected for the team, don’t worry, spectating will also be quite the treat. Not often do you get to watch the World’s best players bring out their best for National pride and some cool prizes to boot. Speaking of prizing, we’ll be running some donation events to bolster the prize pool and make the stakes even higher.
      When is World Cup happening?
      World Cup of VGC will be starting a week after the World Championships conclude, on August 28th! There will be 3 Weeks of Round Robin pools play between teams, and the top two teams from each pool will move on to the 8 team Single Elim Bracket portion of the tournament. The tournament is going to be short but jam packed with amazing games from the World’s best players.
      With that in mind, feel free to ask any questions, and I’ll see you after Worlds so we can start this tournament!
      Edit log:
      6/27: Team East Asia has been replaced by Team Brazil.
    • Revisiting VGC 2015: NPA 5 Review
      By Crawdaunt in VGC with Hats 0
      Posted by: Starmetroid   Hello Hat Lovers!
      Over the last couple months I’ve been playing in the NPA as a member of the Fortree Brave Birds. I was one of the 2015 format players on the team. This gave me a chance to revisit VGC 2015 and my old team.
      Week 1 VS Hayden (Loss 1-2)
      Hayden’s Team: Salamence, Rotom-W, Cresselia, Heatran, Aegislash, Conkeldurr
      For week 1 I went with a Mega Sableye team (I forget exactly what I had, I picked stuff more or less at random from my box). I remember it doing well against Hayden the last time we faced. It didn’t go so well. I later remembered that when I last played against Hayden I had Swampert which gave his team a lot of trouble. The match was streamed after the PC at UBC. I hoped that using Mega Sableye in the first week would scare away potential counter teams for a couple weeks.
      Week 3 VS GogogoGolems (Win 2-0)
      GogogoGolems’ Team: Kangaskhan, Sylveon, Thundurus, Landorus, Heatran, Amoonguss

      Thundurus is the one major threat my opponent has against my team. Removing Thundurus while limiting the amount of Thunder Waves it gets to spread is the way to win this match.
      Game 1:
      Game 2:
      I was able to limit the amount of Pokemon Thundurus could paralyze. Once Thundurus goes down I’m able to handle the remaining Pokemon with little difficulty.
      Week 4 VS Hongyu (Win 2-1)
      Hongyu’s Team: Charizard, Scrafty, Milotic, Landorus, Zapdos, Aegislash

      Game 1:
      Game 2:
      Game 3:
      Like Thundurus on most teams, Zapdos was the greatest threat on Hongyu’s team. In game 1 I didn’t deal with Zapdos well enough and it shut down my whole team. When he didn’t bring Charizard in game 1 I realized that he was playing Wolfe’s worlds team and it was a Charizard-X, which improves my match-up significantly. I decided that Salamence wasn’t important in this match and that my other Pokemon were better at clearing Zapdos. Once Zapdos goes down the rest of his team loses to mine.
      Week 5 VS Rapha (Win 2-1)
      Rapha’s Team: Kangaskhan, Azumarill, Amoonguss, Heatran, Landorus, Thundurus
      I knew Rapha would either use Kangaskhan/Azumarill or Gardevoir. I talked to fellow Brave Bird and VGC w/Hats author Kelvin Koon and he suggested I use a team with Entei and special Landorus-T. I scrambled to put the team together the night after Seattle Regionals so we could play after top cut. This is what I ended up using:

      This isn’t the kind of team I would usually play, and some of the misplays I made reflect this. While not all of my moves worked out as intended I played a very safe game throughout and was able to win in the end. You can view our set here:
      Week 6 VS DrizzleBoy (Lose 0-2)
      DrizzleBoy’s Team: Kangaskhan, Cresselia, Thundurus, Landorus, Heatran, Amoonguss
      I knew from Rapha and Hongyu that Drizzleboy was playing a standard CHALK-T team with Calm Mind Cresselia. I figured if he would use the same team against me. I decided to bring a Mega Sableye team because I had a lot of fun using Sableye in the past and it is fantastic against CHALK teams.

      The first four had a fantastic match-up against CHALK, while Politoed/Swampert give him another mode to worry about in team preview and give me another option if he switched teams.
      Game 1:
      Game 2:
      I ended up losing this match to insane luck. Magic Bounce stops Thunder Wave and Swagger but that didn’t stop Thunderbolt from paralyzing Sableye first try both games. From here critical hits, Will-o-Whiffs, paralysis and even a freeze for good measure kept me out of both games. Feels bad man.
      While this team didn’t work out it does make me wish we were still back in the 2015 format and I could develop the team further. A lot of players seemed to have given up at the end of 2015 and just played CHALK because it did well at worlds and this team loves that (though it wouldn’t have enjoyed the Azumarill variants the spawned later).
      Week 7 VS KellsterCartier (Win 2-0)
      Kelly’s Team: Kangaskhan, Milotic, Breloom, Rotom-H, Aegislash, Landorus-T

      I used my usual team here. The mission of this team has been to get rid of the opponent’s Electric type and proceed to win the game. Kelly’s Electric type of choice was Rotom-H, which doesn’t match-up well against Rain. Kelly’s team didn’t have good answers to Rain and Ludicolo was able to control the game. Kelly played game 2 very well and was almost able to pull out a win, but when the match-up is as bad as it is I can afford to make safe plays and win in the end.
      Game 1: V5JG-WWWW-WW47-FE8E
      Game 2: QHLG-WWWW-WW47-FE93
      I finished the season with a 4-2 record.
      I didn’t play in the playoffs as I was not the most active member leading up to the playoffs.
      Hypermode Revised
      Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite
      Ability: Intimidate
      Level: 50
      EVs: 4 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 252 Spe
      Naive Nature
      – Draco Meteor
      – Double-Edge
      – Hyper Voice
      – Protect
      During the 2015 season I couldn’t imagine why anyone wanted to focus on special over physical. This was because I was originally using physical and switched to mixed later. After playing 2016 I grew fond of special Salamence. Back in 2015 Salamence could actually OHKO things with Double-Edge, but many of there Pokemon would either EV themselves to survive Double-Edge or rely on Intimidate. This Salamence loses some potential for OHKOs but provides a good source of spread damage.
      View the full article on www.vgcwithhats.com