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VGC '13 North American Fall Regionals Results

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blog-torontoregsmasters13.jpgThe 2013 season of the Pokémon Video Game Championship series kicked off this weekend with events in Philadelphia, PA; Ft. Wayne, IN; Houston, TX; San Jose, CA; and Toronto, ON. Pokémon trainers from across North America competed in six to eight rounds of best of one Swiss, followed by the top eight players from each Regional competing in best of three elimination rounds until the first five Regional Champions of the 2013 VGC season were crowned.

The Philadelphia Regional, often considered one of the most competitive Regionals in the circuit, saw Matt Sybeldon (bearsfan092) defeat Aaron Zheng (Cybertron) in the finals of Aaron's first Masters tournament after a back and forth series that went to three matches. In the Seniors division, the void left by the newly-graduated Masters was quickly filled by current Nugget Bridge Circuit points leader Ben Hickey (Darkpenguin67). Ben proved his NBC record is no fluke after defeating Jeremy Gumbs (Randomtron) in the finals to add the title "Regional Champion" to his impressive and growing collection.

In Ft. Wayne Zach Droegkamp (Zach) followed up his 2012 Regional win in Madison, WI, by conquering the dense Ft. Wayne field, with a convincing win against Stephen Morioka in the Masters division finals and setting the bar for future Midwestern Regionals. Speaking of bar-setting, 2011 Junior World Champion and 2012 Junior Worlds finalist Brian Hough lived up to the high bar set for himself by taking home the title of Champion in this, his inaugural tournament as a Senior.

Down South the hot air of Houston, TX, proved comfortable to the members of Team Magma with Benji Irons (benjitheGREAT) coming out on top over his fellow Magma compatriot Oliver Valenti (Smith) in a tight set of three. The competition in the Seniors division was also hot as lava with Cedric Bernier (Talon) taking the title over 2011 Juniors Worlds runner-up Ian McLaughlin in a fiery series between these two tough challengers.

Pokémon trainers in the Western United States met in San Jose, CA, for fun, sun, and Pokémon. In his first tournament as a Master, 2011 Seniors division World Champion Kamran Jahadi (Kamz) came out swinging, netting a Regionals Championship in addition to his World Championship after defeating Hayden Morrison (hakemo) in the finals. The Seniors division, freed from the shadow of World Champion Kamran, saw Canadian visitor April Hooge (Phenac) take the championship over Tommy Yee (tlyee61) in a close series.

Across the border in Canada, the Toronto, ON, Regional saw an influx of American trainers from the New York area, but Canadian trainer Winston Chan (Chanman) managed to beat back the American invasion like it was 1812 with his victory over Daniel Levinson (dtrain) in another multinational finals. The Canadian line held strong in the Seniors division with Richard Truong (Dittoditto) following up his second place finish at last year's Canadian National Championship with a Regional Championship on his home turf.

Congratulations to all of the Champions and runners-up! In addition to bragging rights, Champions in the Masters and Seniors division take home a paid trip to Indianapolis, IN, complete with hotel room, to compete in the United States National Video Game Championships, dates to be announced, as well as a first round Bye in the Swiss rounds of Nationals and 120 Championship Points to be used towards an invitation to the 2013 Pokémon World Video Game Championships in Vancouver, BC. Runners-up in the Masters division receive $300 to help pay their way to Indianapolis, 110 Championship points, and a first round Bye in the Swiss Rounds of Nationals, with the 3rd and 4th place finishers in the Masters division receiving 90 Championship points. Seniors division runners-up receive $500 to help pay for them and a guardian to attend Nationals in Indianapolis, as well as a first round Bye in the Swiss rounds of Nationals and 110 Championship points, with 3rd and 4th place finishers also receiving the $500 travel stipend and 90 Championship Points each.

Complete Results

Philadelphia, PA

Masters Top 8

  1. Matt Sybeldon (bearsfan092)
  2. Aaron Zheng (Cybertron)
  3. Enosh Shachar (Human)
  4. Kristian Mosquito (Mosquito)
  5. Patrick D. (Pd0nZ)
  6. Nitesh Manem (nachocheese999)
  7. Christopher Warden
  8. Toler Webb (Dim)

Top 37 after Swiss

Seniors Top 8

  1. Ben Hickey (Darkpenguin67)
  2. Jeremy Gumbs (Randomtron)
  3. Frankie Ni (1AznDomination)
  4. Edward Fan (iss)
  5. Brandon Simms
  6. Priten Patel (LudiImpact)
  7. Jonathan Hiller (MrFox)
  8. Fadi Albadrasaui

Top 15 after Swiss

Ft. Wayne, IN

Masters Top 8

  1. Zach Droegkamp (Zach)
  2. Stephen Morioka
  3. Tyler Hagan (Tyler)
  4. Scott Glaza (Scott)
  5. Maurice Easterly (Maurice Easterly)
  6. Andrew Fent
  7. Sam Haarsma (DrFidget)
  8. Miles Swoger (Gamings)

Top 22 after Swiss

Seniors Top 8

  1. Brian Hough
  2. Darrin Cooper

  3. Grace Arnold

Houston, TX

Masters Top 8

  1. Benji Irons (benjitheGREAT)
  2. Oliver Valenti (Smith)
  3. Danish Ali
  4. Logan Castro (Yellowbox)
  5. Kenan Nerad (Lucien Lachance)
  6. Tiffany Stanley (Shiloh)
  7. Jordan Rethmeier (Cathadora)
  8. Trista Medine (ryuzaki)

Top 30 after Swiss

Seniors Top 8

  1. Cedric Bernier (Talon)
  2. Ian McLaughlin
  3. Wade Stanley
  4. Mark Grubbs
  5. Teddy Heinem
  6. Phillip J.
  7. Max C.
  8. Max A.

San Jose, CA

Masters Top 8

  1. Kamran Jahadi (Kamz)
  2. Hayden Morrison (hakemo)
  3. Alex Dylan Ogloza (Evan Falco)
  4. Duy Ha (Duy)
  5. Alan Schambers (Metabou)
  6. Jeremy Fan (AlphaOmega)
  7. Lane Tower
  8. Alex Stempe (Stempe)

Top 26 after Swiss

Seniors Top 8

  1. April Hooge (Phenac)
  2. Tommy Yee (tlyee61)
  3. Daniel Cardenas (KermitTheFrog14)
  4. Matthew Sao (xblade356)
  5. Josh Fernando
  6. Ian Whiton
  7. Tristan Arellano
  8. Luka Levi

 Top 28 after Swiss

Toronto, ON

Masters Top 8

  1. Winston Chan (Chanman)
  2. Daniel Levinson (dtrain)
  3. Shingo Fukuyado (Uwaki shin)
  4. Simon Yip (TDS)
  5. Hamza Khan (MiniWade)
  6. Eric Stevenson
  7. Grant Clail
  8. Matthew Coyle (EnFuego)

Top 30 after Swiss

Seniors Top 8

  1. Richard Truong (Dittoditto)
  2. Allan Xu (Allan Xu)

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      I started my EV spread with the Jolly Nature, because getting outsped by Terrakion’s Rock Slide and Gengar’s Icy Wind are both very bad things that can happen with Adamant Nature. I definitely wanted to outspeed Timid Gengar and Adamant Talonflame, but since Mega Lucario was so close and gave my team a bit of trouble in theory, I opted to invest 196 Speed EVs to outspeed it as well. After a Dragon Dance, Mega Salamence outspeeds almost everything relevant in the metagame, including bulky Suicune after Tailwind, Scarf Landorus-T, and Modest Venusaur in the Sun.
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      Clefable @ Sitrus Berry
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      IVs: 31/1/31/31/31/31
      EVs: 244 HP / 164 Def / 28 Sp. Atk / 68 Sp. Def / 4 Spd
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      Bisharp @ Focus Sash
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      Virizion @ Expert Belt
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      IVs: 30/31/31/x/31/31
      EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd
      Ability: Justified
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      The above team members have a decent matchup against Mega Kangaskhan, but I couldn’t immediately threaten Mega Kangaskhan until I got off a Dragon Dance with Mega Salamence. At first, I had Lum Berry Terrakion like Angel did to fulfill this role. In practice, however, other Terrakion and bulky Water-types like Rotom-Wash, Suicune, and Jellicent were problematic. I originally got the idea to use Virizion from watching Lajo on Showdown and, from there, the Grass-type legendary has not let me down.
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      Heatran @ Chople Berry
      Nature: Modest (+Sp. Atk, -Atk)
      IVs: 31/x/31/31/31/31
      EVs: 132 HP / 20 Def / 132 Sp. Atk / 12 Sp. Def / 212 Spd
      Ability: Flash Fire
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      Suicune @ Rocky Helmet
      Nature: Bold (+Def, -Atk)
      IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/31
      EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 132 Sp. Atk / 60 Sp. Def / 60 Spd
      Ability: Pressure
      – Scald
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      As the last Pokémon on the team, I wanted something that could check Landorus-T and complete a secondary Fire-Water-Grass core. At first, Swampert and Rotom-Wash occupied this slot. However, Swampert was too slow for my liking and Rotom-Wash was too susceptible to flinches from Rock Slide, which can be devastating if it occurs even once. So Suicune took the place of the bulky Water-type.
      My team does not rely on Tailwind, but it can be useful to force some additional pressure on my opponents with fast Knock Offs or even faster Frustrations. I opted to run Protect over Snarl because I felt like Suicune would be targeted often. I used Clefable to soak up weaker single-target special attacks anyway, so Snarl’s role was mostly fulfilled already.
      Suicune was added to the team very close to the start of Regionals, so the EV spread I made was mostly impromptu during practice time. I started with 60 Speed EVs, which allows me to outspeed Scarf Hydreigon (and subsequently Scarf Landorus-T) after Tailwind. Suicune’s HP and Defense EVs let it survive a +1 Jolly Mega Salamence’s Double-Edge 100% of the time, and the investment in Special Attack allows Suicune to 2HKO semi-bulky Heatran with Scald and has a strong chance to OHKO most Mega Salamence after Rocky Helmet chip damage. The rest was placed into Special Defense to increase the chances of making bulky Rotom-Wash’s Thunderbolt a 3HKO.
      Common Leads
      While I could lead anything + anything depending on what I encountered in Team Preview, these leads popped up a lot throughout both the Regional and the Premier Challenge because of their inherent synergy.
      Salamence + Bisharp
      This lead is good for creating early pressure, allowing me to get a turn one Dragon Dance if I predicted the opponent to Protect from Bisharp’s attack. I often carried Clefable in the back when I led with these two. Because of the switching synergy, I could easily Protect Salamence + switch Bisharp to Clefable to maneuver myself into a better board position.
      Bisharp + Virizion
      Surprisingly, this lead was almost more offensive than Salamence + Bisharp. Virizion’s Close Combat allows it to beat out the Terrakion and Mega Kangaskhan that would otherwise threaten Bisharp, while Bisharp’s Knock Off could chunk any Psychic-type trying to pick up a quick KO on Virizion. Taunt + Sucker Punch is also a cool trick the duo can perform, but it is generally better suited for later in a match rather than at the start of one.
      Day 1: Regionals
      Before I move forward, I must give a special shoutout to OmegaDonut, who told me the new location of where Battle Videos are stored on the SD card for ORAS. Thanks to him, I was able to save almost every Battle Video from the event. Unfortunately, I do not own a capture card, so the quality of my Regionals videos is mediocre at best. Additionally, battle animations refused to turn on no matter what I did.  Stick with me though, because my Premier Challenge games were able to be professionally recorded by Eiganjo. In any case, these videos should still serve as a good reference for what actually happened during my matches.
      Round 1 – Aaron Lunsford
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought:  ///
      To begin the tournament, I was paired against an opponent wearing super cool Lopunny ears. When I saw the Blissey in Team Preview along with all the other defensive Pokémon, I knew that I had to consider timer stalling if I couldn’t muscle through Aaron’s team with Mega Salamence. After Vaporeon Baton Passed +4 Defense to Blissey, I started to do just that. However, I managed to be lucky enough to hit through +6 Evasion (and Bright Powder, as Aaron mentioned after the match) to take the game without the timer.
      Win, 4-0; Record 1-0.
      Round 2 – Dakota Meador
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      This game has got to be one of the best I’ve played in my entire life. I felt like I was on fire with my predictions, being able to call exactly when the Mega Metagross would attack and when it would Protect. This game was more than just a win; it was a huge confidence boost for me. I do want to elaborate on turn one a bit, though. I assumed I would not be able to KO with a Leaf Blade + Knock Off combination attack if Rotom-Wash ate its Sitrus Berry in between attacks so, rather than Protect with Bisharp, I opted to Taunt to block a potential Will-o-Wisp or stop a switch-in from being able to Protect.
      Win, 3-0; Record 2-0
      Round 3 – Sean Ring
      Team Preview: / //(/)
      Brought: ///
      Before the match, Sean gave me a Star Wars-themed Valentine’s Day card, which was pretty cool. I also learned that Sean lives within twenty minutes of my hometown. Small world!

      In regards to the match, things play out pretty evenly until turn four, where it looks like I chose the wrong targets for my moves. To be honest, I was expecting a double target into Mega Salamence and didn’t want to risk getting paralyzed on a Protect. However, turn five was just bad. Don’t ask me what I was thinking there. Regardless, I knew that with my Heatran in the back and Sylveon as his last Pokémon, I would have the game locked up if I could take out Thundurus.
      Sean makes a great lategame call though, as he opts to lock Sylveon into Hidden Power Ground instead of Hyper Voice. This led to an interesting situation where his Aegislash couldn’t take two Heat Waves, but my Clefable couldn’t take a Flash Cannon. After some careful playing, however, I managed to secure the win.
      Win, 2-0; Record 3-0.
      Round 4 – Nico Villalobos (Calm Lava)
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      I didn’t know much about Calm Lava’s playstyle, but I did know that he was a veteran player and a member of the illustrious Team Magma. After staring at a team that had a very similar composition to mine, I knew this was going to be an exciting game. This was the match before lunch too, so the pressure was on both of us to be able to chow down undefeated.
      I wanted to get rid of Clefairy’s Eviolite ASAP to allow my other Pokémon to be able to threaten a KO if Bisharp wasn’t able to get off two attacks. After knocking out Clefairy, Nico sends out Terrakion. Now, judging by his Team Preview, I thought he had Focus Sash on his Terrakion. However, I got flinched in the process of trying to break his “Focus Sash”, leading to a wasted turn. Later I discovered his Terrakion was, in fact, not holding a Focus Sash. I also got to pick up some good information about Nico’s Rotom-Wash and, because I knew it wasn’t bulky, I knew I had a guaranteed KO on Rotom with an Expert Belt-boosted Leaf Blade.
      I played this match’s endgame rather sloppily, however. Because I wasn’t confident on my Virizion’s Close Combat damage calculations versus Heatran, I opted to conserve Mega Salamence when I could have KOed Heatran for sure with Bisharp’s Knock Off after a Close Combat with Virizion, even when accounting for multiple Protects and Leftovers recovery. While I still won the game, I opened up the door for a Heat Wave burn on Mega Salamence, not something I would have enjoyed.
      Win, 1-0; Record 4-0.
      Phew! I was really happy to have made it this far undefeated. After I ate a PB+J sandwich and some applesauce, I found a charging outlet by Mario C. We discussed how we were doing so far in the tournament and what kind of Pokémon we had seen. I didn’t have much time to rest, however, because our round five pairings were soon put up.
      Round 5 – Andrew Hovis (Andrew Hovis)
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      This game started off really well for me, but it didn’t take very long for Andrew to reclaim the momentum for himself. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that most Thundurus-Therian aren’t holding Choice Specs anymore, and I made a huge misplay on turn two by doubling up into a Protect. Honestly, from there, Andrew made the correct plays to win, and I never felt the momentum change from that point on.
      When the second-to-last turn rolled around, I tried to get a double Protect with Heatran, hoping to block Mega Kangaskhan’s potential Low Kick and have Thundurus-T KO itself with recoil. However, Ice Punch sealed the deal on my Mega Salamence in a solid 2-0 victory for Andrew. Between rounds, I knew the best thing to do was to clear my head and not let my poor playing in one game affect the results of another one.
      Loss, 0-2; Record 4-1.
      Round 6 – Sean Preiss
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      I was greeted by a vastly different team from the previous rounds in round six’s Team Preview. Approaching this battle, I knew that if I could force switches from my opponent, I could rack up a lot of damage and start to clear Sean’s team of its resources.
      That’s exactly what happened. A strong lead matchup was really all I needed to propel my momentum throughout this game. While I know Sean would have probably taken out a few of my Pokémon if he continued with the match, it’s still cool to say I technically won a game without taking damage.
      The best part about this game, however, was the conversation we had afterwards. It was really cool to talk about the thought process going into each of our teams with Sean. I think I gave some advice as well, though I don’t remember anything specific. Between our conversation and the win, any amount of tilt I had from round five was gone and I was ready to continue with the tournament like I had done in the early rounds of Swiss.
      Win, 4-0; Record 5-1.
      Round 7 – Cody Bernheisel (CodeUmbreon)
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      When I first saw this team, my thought process was quite literally “Get a Substitute up. Don’t lose.” My notes aren’t too good for this game, but I do remember doing just that. I unfortunately didn’t save this battle for whatever reason, but if you’d like, the match I had with Cody in the Premier Challenge the following day is somewhat similar to this battle and can be found a bit further down in this report. While our Premier Challenge battle was slightly more in my favor than this match was, the basic principle remained the same: I weakened his Clefable, played carefully to stall out turns of Trick Room, and managed the threats to my Heatran in the proper order.
      Specifically from this battle, I remember Mega Salamence needing to KO Mega Abomasnow outside of Trick Room in the endgame, but I wasn’t certain of Ice Shard’s damage rolls with the HP Mega Salamence had left. Luckily, its massive base 130 Defense stat proved clutch, letting me survive the Ice Shard with about 10% HP to spare. During the entire match, Cody was very friendly and sportsmanlike, giving me a smile and a strong handshake even after taking a loss to a matchup he wouldn’t have liked his team to face.
      Win, 2-0; Record 6-1.
      After this round, my brother informed me that Seniors were finished with their final round of Swiss. While my brother didn’t end up making it, Oreios had, so I went over to congratulate him. He was pretty psyched, and together we made a gameplan for his match against Logan Postletheweight, who defeated Beau in Swiss. However, I couldn’t stick around to watch how the match would go, because it was time for Masters round eight.
      Round 8 – Steven Burton (PikaPastor)
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      Team Preview was just a mix of emotions. Although Lum Berry Terrakion would have had a strong matchup against a Kangaskhan + Smeargle lead, I could tell Steven had Rain to handle that exact matchup. I knew that the most important thing I could do going into this match was not panic and to manage my targeting just like I would any other match.
      I knew damage on Mega Kangaskhan was way more important on turn one than breaking Smeargle Focus Sash, and I knew if I double Protected into a Tailwind, I would likely lose the game. After trading moves, I knew I had two guaranteed turns of sleep and could not afford to switch either of my Pokémon out. I absolutely have to KO Mega Kangaskhan next turn though and, luckily, Virizion manages to get a one-turn wake up…but Smeargle quickly Transforms into another +1 Mega Kangaskhan.
      Next turn, I really hoped that Salamence would win the fifty/fifty and wake up, especially since the Smeargle-transformed-Kangaskhan went for a Power-Up Punch, which Mega Salamence easily survived. However, because it did not wake up, I knew Mega Salamence will wake up for sure next turn. I planned on sacking Suicune to a +3 Return, then use Clefable’s Unaware to survive for a turn while I KOed Smeargle-Kangaskhan with Frustration. I get even better than that, however, when both PikaPastor and I discovered Smeargle’s happiness wasn’t maxed out. From there, the momentum swung heavily in my favor and I managed to come out of the match with a victory.
      Win, 2-0; Record 7-1.
      I felt like the win against PikaPastor solidified my position in Top Cut, especially since Andrew Hovis was also 7-1, which gave me good resistance. And when my brother told me that I was playing on stream – well, I was overjoyed. However, as I’m sure most of you know from watching the stream, things didn’t go quite as well as I hoped.
      Round 9 – Drew Nowak
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      If you’d like to see our match straight from the source, feel free to check it out on Pokémon’s Twitch channel. Our match starts around 07:08:00.
      I think turn one is the most important turn to discuss here, but I also feel like Scott covered everything I wanted to say about the situation. The Protect + switch play felt like the most obvious thing in the world to me and I had a strong chance to survive an Ice-type attack from either Zapdos or Suicune. Because of this, I thought my best play would be to Dragon Dance, then Follow Me and 2HKO Suicune later. The Thunder Wave was not something I was expecting for some reason, but as soon as it happened, I knew that I would be playing from behind for the rest of the match. Sure, the freeze on Clefable was unfortunate, but as Scott said in the post-match commentary, the Thunder Wave created a potential for things to go wrong. Another big problem with my move was that the prediction was super bold. I had never played Drew before, so making a big turn one prediction without understanding my opponent’s playstyle was a risk I definitely should not have taken.
      Once Mega Salamence and Clefable went down, I basically had to hope for something crazy to come my way, which is why you saw Virizion use Close Combat on the Suicune. The last turn was just for poops and giggles, of course, but I also wanted to conserve any information Drew and I had left about our teams.
      Loss, 0-4; Record 7-2.
      After my brother informed me about how large of a noob I was for losing 4-0 on stream, I found out Oreios had made the Top 4 of the Seniors Division. Encouraged by how well he placed, I congratulated him and waited around for the final Swiss standings to go up.

      Like I was hoping, my resistance was good enough to get into Top Cut. As I was doing the mental pairings, however, I chuckled as I saw I was up against Aaron Traylor (Unreality). I couldn’t remember much about his playstyle, but I did remember his 2014 Worlds LCQ report, especially the section about maximizing your odds of winning a game. I went into the match knowing I was against a top tier player and that I’d probably see a couple moves that were out of the ordinary.
      Top 16 – Aaron Traylor (Unreality)
      Team Preview: /////
      Game 1
      I apologize for not having videos recorded for either this game or game two, but because games in best-of-three matches occur immediately after each other, I had no time to save each battle.
      At the start of the game, I lead Salamence + Virizion versus Kangaskhan + Clefable. I felt comfortable in a situation where both of our Megas were surrounded by Fairy-type redirection, so I swap out Virizion in favor of Clefable, who takes a Fake Out as Salamence Dragon Dances. However, a Minimize from Aaron’s Clefable leaves both Aaron and me with a smile. I know that I need to get damage on Clefable and fast, so I simply Follow Me and Frustration, hitting through evasion as Aaron’s Clefable sets up another Minimize. Next turn, I luckily manage to land a hit through evasion again, but get a low damage roll; Clefable barely hangs on. Knowing the odds weren’t in my favor, I go for a double target Frustration + Ice Beam to try and KO Clefable and I hit through Minimize again with Frustration, much to my relief.
      However, Salamence’s power to land all of its attacks was nothing compared to the freezing power of Clefable’s Ice Beam, as the rerouted Ice Beam froze Mega Kangaskhan, I knew I’d just gained a ridiculous amount of wiggle room to work with. I’d like to think I had fairly good position at that point in the game anyway, but the freeze on Mega Kangaskhan very nearly solidified the game right there. After targeting down the most dangerous threats, I cleaned up the game. I remember intentionally dragging out the game to see if I could pick up any information about Heatran’s item, but all I could determine was that it wasn’t holding a Chople Berry or Leftovers.
      Game 2
      Winning a game by always hitting through Minimize and freezing my opponent’s Mega wasn’t what I had planned, but I knew Aaron wasn’t the type of player to get flustered by bad luck. In game two, we both lead with Bisharp + Clefable. I end up calling a switch from Clefable turn one and Knock Off Heatran’s Shuca Berry, but from there, my plays start to get a little crazy, including using a Helping Hand-boosted Knock Off into Aaron’s Bisharp. Although I was making decent turn-by-turn plays, really, any predictions I made resulted in very little reward, because Aaron had a much better positional advantage than I did. Once Aaron removed my Bisharp, he was able to get in a position where I couldn’t take down his Clefable quickly enough. I remember at a certain point in the game, Aaron was confident that the game was locked up. In a last-ditch effort to win, I revealed Roost on Mega Salamence, trying to dodge a Sucker Punch, but Aaron makes the correct play and Returns my Mega Salamence instead, taking a commanding game two.
      Game 3
      This game was lost in a very similar manner to game two; I never really had a strong board position. If I had brought Suicune in sooner, I think the game definitely would have played out differently. I really admire Aaron’s turn four play in this game: he stays in with Kangaskhan, letting me pick up two knockouts. In retrospect, that play really makes a ton of sense to me. If I overpredicted a switch and didn’t KO Kangaskhan with Close Combat, he would pick up a KO on Suicune, but if I did KO Kangaskhan, Heatran could still OHKO me right back with Overheat.
      To come back after turn five, I would have had to play flawlessly. However, I misplayed hard by assuming without a freeze on Clefable, I had lost the game. Instead of fishing for a freeze, I should have Scalded every time with my Suicune. Clefable could have potentially received a burn a turn sooner or, at the very least, Suicune would not have been obligated to Protect to make sure Clefable fainted from burn damage.
      If I wasn’t obligated to Protect, I could have made an Ice Beam + Protect Suicune play, which would have given me a chance to freeze and ensure that a Scald + two turns of burn damage would KO Bisharp. This would give me a 35.6% chance to win (8% from a potential freeze and staying frozen at least one turn or 30% chance of a Scald burn) compared to the actual game scenario’s odds of 9% (30% chance to burn, 30% chance to double Protect). Regardless, either situation required luck to be on my side, and I don’t want to ignore how well Aaron played throughout this entire set. After all, he did win the entire tournament!
      My Regionals run ended with a total record of 8 wins and 4 losses, netting me 15th place, 40 CP, and some trading cards that I sold immediately. With Regionals pressure gone, my brother and I went back to our hotel room, ate some supper, and got ready for tomorrow’s Premier Challenge.
      Day 2: Premier Challenge
      Despite attending an early-morning church service, I still managed to show up before some of the other Top 8 competitors! After chatting with Andrew Burley (Andykins) about how this and Virginia Regionals were going, Unreality showed us this amazing game called Platypus Evolution that intrigued me far more than it should have.
      It was really cool being able to match up names to faces, like Jonathan Rankin’s (JRank) and Zach Droegkamp’s (Braverius). Soon, though, the match between JRank and Unreality was about to begin, so I sat down in the front row to watch the match. I struck up a conversation with Bryce Stewart (Nodochi) about topics like Jolly Landorus-T, his shiny collection, and soft resetting for legendaries. Bryce was super awesome, lending me his smartphone so I could “preregister” both my brother and myself for the Premier Challenge. He also traded me the Global Link event Berries I was missing for nothing. Needless to say, it was pretty cool to hang out with him.
      Unfortunately, the Top Cut matches overflowed into the start of the Premier Challenge, so we all had to turn spectator mode “off” and get back into the swing of things. To start things off, I am paired up against Nathan Powell, who identifies himself as illuminatimon.
      Round 1 – Nathan Powell (illuminatimon)
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///

      I feel like I played rather poorly throughout this game. Nathan had a solid team matchup against me, but honestly, there were several points where I could have made better plays. Notably, I missed out on two KO opportunities against Heatran by playing too conservatively. Overall, Nathan played extremely well, predicting exactly when I’d go on the offense with Heatran.
      However, that forfeit at the end was actually Nathan’s – he had to leave for the trip home to Canada and he gave me a mercy win. It was really awesome to see someone give a win to a person that clearly didn’t deserve it, and I promised myself that Nathan’s generosity would not go to waste.
      Win (Forfeit); Record 1-0.
      Round 2 – Malik Wilson
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      This was one of my more intense matches of the day, at least in terms of back-and-forth gameplay. I really liked my turn five play by correctly assuming Thundurus would use an attacking move, while still sacking Bisharp to gain a positional advantage with Clefable. The turn afterwards, however, Malik made a great play by not Taunting Clefable, allowing him to nullify the Speed advantage I gained from Dragon Dance. Unlike round nine the previous day, however, I felt like the Dragon Dance was more justified this time. Because he had already revealed Mega Lopunny, I assumed he hadn’t brought Metagross, meaning either Terrakion or Landorus-T would be Malik’s last Pokémon, and a Dragon Dance would almost ensure a victory against a combination of those Pokémon. The second-to-last turn left Mega Salamence with a full paralysis, however, and I knew that another full paralysis or Ice Punch critical hit would lose me the game. Luckily, neither of those occurred, and Malik got to witness the bulk of a Mega Salamence firsthand by seeing it survive Mega Lopunny’s Ice Punch with 7 HP to spare.
      Win, 1-0; Record 2-0.
      Round 3 – No Show
      Team Preview: ///
      Brought: ///
      My opponent was probably worried about the incoming snowstorm and dropped without following whatever official procedures allow you to drop.  Of course, I didn’t mind the free win and chance to relax, but I knew I couldn’t count on my resistance to let me squeak into Top Cut if I ended up with an x-2 record.
      Round 4 – Cody Bernheisel (CodeUmbreon)
      Team Preview:///(/)
      Brought: ///
      A rematch from yesterday! I went into this match with the same gameplan as last time: “Get a Substitute up. Don’t lose”. Information from yesterday’s match helped tremendously in my decision making, like knowing his Jellicent had Scald instead of Water Spout and that Cody didn’t like risky switches.
      A lucky Heat Wave burn on Jellicent helped me to whittle it down much more quickly than I could have before, and the Cursed Body activation didn’t really justify the extra chip damage I was able to get on it. If anything, it prevented Cody from switching to Heatran to try to pick up a free Flash Fire boost. Overall though, I played with my fundamentals against Trick Room and came out with a victory.
      Win, 3-0; Record 4-0.
      Round 5 – Aaron Zheng (Cybertron)
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      Between matches, one of my friends noted that there were only a few 4-0s remaining. And which better 4-0 to go up against than the mighty Cybertron himself? I have a lot of respect for Cybertron because of the maturity he shows when approaching the game, and because of his excellent VGC content that he puts out on his YouTube channel. However, I had theorized the matchup against Cybertron’s Apex-winning team before entering Regionals, so I knew I could approach the match with a clear head.
      I make a strong play turn two, switching out Bisharp to prevent him from safely switching in Suicune after I KOed Gengar. Turn five, though, was an interesting one. Cybertron had already seen my remaining Pokémon, and based on what I had seen so far, I guessed that Cybertron’s last Pokémon was Suicune. Because of this, I figured his best play was to sack Mega Venusaur to give Suicune a free switch-in, while racking up some additional damage with Rock Slide or attacking Heatran with Close Combat.
      With that in mind, my best play would be to not KO Mega Venusaur while getting some extra damage or potentially a KO on Terrakion. I clearly misread Aaron’s thought process, though, because I let Suicune switch in for free. Unfortunately for Cybertron, a lucky critical hit makes up for my misplay, which prevents Ice Beam from knocking out my Mega Salamence. From there, Aaron opts to forfeit and goes off to recollect himself.
      I didn’t think the game was entirely locked up since I would have had to make sure Heatran did not get Leech Seeded from that point on while simultaneously playing around the Terrakion. Needless to say, it would not have been an easy match. If I ever get a chance to play Cybertron again, I hope to be able to rise to his skill level to give him a better match than what I was able to give him here.
      Win (Forfeit); Record 5-0.
      Round 6 – Ryan Brooker (lolfailsnail)
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      I recognized Ryan’s face from earlier today, but it took me a while to remember that he had placed in the Top 8 of Regionals. Since Ryan was undefeated so far, I could tell he was determined to do just as well in this tournament as he had done earlier today.
      Similarly to my matches against CodeUmbreon, I wanted to bring Heatran to force a lot of pressure with Substitute. However, I incorrectly lead Salamence into a Mawile and Ryan makes a solid play by getting Conkeldurr immediately in under Trick Room. A hard read into a Salamence switch enables me to KO Jellicent, however, and from there my gameplan becomes “Stall out Trick Room. Conserve Heatran”. Because of this, I intentionally let both Clefable and Bisharp go down in exchange for a positional advantage. Turn eight brought about a double Protect, which seemed very strange to me at the time. However, Ryan’s play lulled me into a false sense of security and I very nearly pay for it when a critical Mach Punch hit my Heatran. Heatran’s natural bulk was on display that turn though, and because Heat Wave did not miss either of Ryan’s Pokémon, I was able to solidify my position in Top Cut with a 6-0 record.
      Win, 2-0; Record 6-0.
      Round 7 – Hans Knutson
      Team Preview: ///(/)
      Brought: ///
      Being 6-0 was no excuse for some of the silly plays I made during this match. Between Dragon Dancing the turn I know Clefable is going down, Sucker Punching into a switching Mega Metagross, and misjudging the damage output of a +1 Frustration, I’m not quite sure how I managed to not fall entirely on my face. While I did make a decent call on the second-to-last turn by using Sucker Punch on the attacking target, I really should not have let myself get into that position in the first place. Still, a win’s a win, and I was happy to be able to advance onto Top Cut as the highest seed in Swiss.
      Win, 2-0; Record 7-0.

      I was not surprised to see Aaron Grubb’s (LPFan) name paired up against mine for Top Cut. During every event that he and I have attended together, we have had to play each other during a critical round. During Missouri Regionals last year, I managed to squeak in as 16th seed after a close game with him in the final round of Swiss, and at 2014 Nationals, he dealt me my third loss, preventing me from advancing to day two of that competition. Now, we were playing for a chunk of CP in our first best-of-three set together. I was super excited, to say the least.
      Top 8 – Aaron Grubbs (LPFan)
      Team Preview: /////
      Game 1
      During Team Preview, Mega Salamence looked like it would have a field day if I could successfully get up some Dragon Dances. I start off slowly by trading Bisharp for information about his Rotom-Heat’s Speed stat, but once Clefable came in, I had a very solid positional advantage. Unfortunately, I misjudged Staraptor’s Speed after Tailwind and lost a lot of HP on Heatran because of it, but throughout the rest of the match, I simply made the plays that would give me the greatest chance of winning. I don’t think the lategame Rock Slide miss against Mega Salamence mattered too much, unless it would have landed a critical hit and Terrakion also got a double Protect.
      Win, 1-0.
      Game 2
      At first, I thought I had a repeat of game one on my hands when I had a fresh Mega Salamence and Clefable against Suicune and Rotom-Heat. Aaron plays perfectly, however, and capitalizes on an obvious Dragon Dance + Follow Me play by setting up Tailwind while switching in Terrakion.
      I was disappointed to see the Staraptor come in the following turn, as I knew Frustration would not OHKO Terrakion if Mega Salamence’s Attack stat was at neutral. Terrakion’s Rock Slide told me not to worry about the Intimidate though, as a critical hit and a flinch decided to cancel out a lot of my momentum. I tried to stage a comeback, but my Pokémon had simply taken too much damage to power through four relatively healthy opponents. Aaron ties up the set at 1-1.
      Loss, 0-2.
      Game 3
      Since Aaron had picked up on my habit of trying to use Knock Off on Rotom, a solid switch to Terrakion rewarded him with a +1 boost. Luckily for me, though, decent plays and Rock Slide not flinching Bisharp enabled me to take an early Pokémon lead. Even more luckily, Suicune’s Scald never managed to leave Clefable with a burn, allowing me to use Follow Me for an extra turn and deal loads of damage to Rotom with Knock Off (a 24.01% chance disregarding damage rolls).
      After Virizion came in for Bisharp, I knew I had to pick up a double knockout while also avoiding KOs on my end. Since Virizion’s Protect seemed obvious, I ended up attacking with Virizion and got rewarded greatly, forcing a 2v1 situation against Staraptor that was a guaranteed win if Mega Salamence used Protect. During the match, I wasn’t certain about how much the critical hit mattered on his Suicune, but after discussing it later, it turned out the damage rolls were in my favor of Frustration KOing Suicune with the EV spread LPFan’s Suicune had.
      Win, 2-0; Record 9-1.
      I expected a strong set of games against Aaron and, even with a less than ideal team matchup, he gave me just that. After talking with Sean Ring, who I played at Regionals yesterday, I learned that he was also in the Top 4, but he had to play against Cybertron for his chance at making the finals. I knew my own match was going to be tough as well, though, because I was up against Michael Fladung (Primitive), who had just placed in the Top 4 of Regionals earlier that day.
      Top 4 – Michael Fladung (Primitive)
      Team Preview: /////
      Game 1
      Things start off well as I get an early knockout on his Mega Kangaskhan with a combination of Rocky Helmet and Frustration damage. I even managed to use the potential of Thundurus wasting turns to set up a free Dragon Dance, and I got into a spot where I had a fresh Clefable sitting next to a boosted Mega Salamence.
      My momentum comes to a screeching halt, however, as I Helping Hand Frustration into Suicune’s Protect and Michael shuts down Clefable’s redirection with Taunt. From there, Thundurus did what Thundurus does best and paralyzed my whole team. It’d be easy to blame the match on “hax” from that point forward, but there were better plays that could have been made. For example, I could have easily targeted Thundurus down with a Frustration + Ice Beam combination attack instead of aggressively targeting Suicune. It’s not like Michael was grasping at straws either. He was using Thunder Wave for speed control; the full paralysis was just bonus. Luckily, I managed to pick up information about Suicune’s item thanks to Knock Off before Bisharp went down to a Thunderbolt + Scald combination attack.
      Loss, 0-3.
      Game 2
      Virizion seemed like it would be a solid choice here to help even out the matchup, but for some reason, I didn’t think Taunting Thundurus was the correct turn one play. In reality, it would have forced Thundurus into an awkward Sucker Punch situation that I could have potentially taken advantage of. Bisharp proved clutch and managed to survive a Rock Slide from Terrakion, only to flinch and be unable to move. From there, I think I gave in to exasperation. I wasn’t upset, because I truly knew I was playing against the odds when I opened myself up to Rock Slide flinches, but the plays I make afterwards show that I didn’t think the game was winnable, when it definitely could have been. I could have potentially Dragon Danced and taken out Thundurus with an Ice Beam when I sent out Salamence + Clefable, but I had turned on the “don’t get paralyzed” switch in my head and paid for it when a critical Rock Slide hit me. After confirming my suspicion that Michael’s Terrakion was holding a Focus Sash, I congratulated him on the win and wished him the best of luck in his finals match.
      Loss, 0-3; Record 9-3.
      There are times in Pokémon when you can say “my opponent got lucky” and blame a match on hax. More often, however, there are times when you should say “I could have played this better” or “I shouldn’t have brought a team weak to Rock Slide and Thunder Wave”. Michael apologized for the luck that came his way, but both he and I knew that he wasn’t trying to land a critical hit or get a full paralysis. Those things came as a bonus to making the correct plays and being in situations where those events could occur. After all, you don’t make Top 4 of a Regionals competition and the finals of a Premier Challenge without a lot of skill!
      Finally, my run at St. Charles is over. After saying hello to both Aryana Welch (feathers) and Clayton Lusk (Zubat), it was just about time to say goodbye to everyone! I finished watching the finals match, and then my family and I went out to eat at Dairy Queen in celebration. While it’s always fun to play at these events, it can be pretty exhausting to consistently make the best plays throughout the day. I was very proud with my overall result, though: a 16-7 record in games overall, two decent placings at both events, and the chance to play ten different people from Nugget Bridge.
      Carbonific, for taking the time to properly record my streamed match and upload it to YouTube. It looks much better than the recording I had before and I thank you for taking the time to capture the professionalism of the stream. Vince, the tournament organizer, for stopping the Premier Challenge between rounds to let us watch the finals of Regionals and for giving the Top 4 a cool TCG playmat as a tangible prize in addition to our CP. He really knows how to manage a tournament well. Daniel Cardenas (KermitTheFrog14), for trading me a Bold Suicune on such short notice. Brandon Ikin (Toquill), for trading me Heatran, despite leaving his 3DS in his dad’s car. kamikaze17, for trading me the Virizion from his trade thread for basically nothing. Primitive, for letting me use his pictures of the final Swiss standings from both events in this report. The Anistar Aliens (Stats, Oreios, tlyee61, and KermitTheFrog14), for being awesome to practice with and talk to. The miniNPA has been done for over a year now, but it’s really cool how we’ve all stuck together as a group. You’re the best group of friends a guy could ask for! Article image created by The Knights of Wario Land for Nugget Bridge. View more on his Tumblr, or visit his forum thread.
    • No Simulator Required - 9th Place Winter Regionals Team Analysis
      By DaWoblefet
      Hello, my name is Leonard Craft III, aka DaWoblefet, and I am new to Nugget Bridge. Really, I am very brand-new, and that's why you're not seeing a team analysis that happened in January until now. After getting creamed as a senior in the 2011 Nationals Last Chance Qualifier and taking a break from the action in 2012, I came back to St. Louis in January to see how well I had improved in my time "off". Despite having no practice on a simulator or being a member of any competitive Pokémon site, I still thought I had a decent chance of doing well in this tournament. Whenever I practiced and felt like the team needed an adjustment that required an IV or Nature change, I had to RNG them again. It's a tedious process. Also, the only battling I got in was on Random Matchup -- a place where disconnections are extremely common. Battling without a simulator is tough!
      I began making this team by looking around at the best players in the world and Wolfey’s World’s team ended up catching my eye. I loved how he took the weaknesses of Heatran and compensated for them, so that’s what I tried to do with a couple of my Pokémon: compensate for their weaknesses, particularly Latios. I’ll admit, this team is far from being on the level Wolfe‘s is, but overall it performed great in the Swiss Rounds (6-2) and really came through for me when I needed it. Placing 9th in my first year of Masters is pretty OK at least! I also got the pleasure of facing two Magmas, though Benji was out of my skill level for sure in round 7.
      The Team

      Chiken Man (Scrafty) (F) @Chople Berry
      IVs: 31/31/31/x/31/31
      EVs: 140 Atk / 252 SDef / 116 Spd
      Ability: Intimidate
      Careful Nature (+SDef, -SAtk)
      - Drain Punch
      - Crunch
      - Fake Out
      - Bulk Up
      My first Pokemon I looked for was going to be a better version of Hitmontop. Every time I used Hitmontop before on previous teams, I was always let down by the fact that it was so commonplace. Nobody was unaware of how it worked. The Chiken was a fantastic replacement for Hitmontop, as its Dark-typing granted it immunity to Psychic allowing it to threaten Cresselia as well as give it two STAB attacks with a good amount of coverage. With 252 Special Defense EVs, it survives a Timid Latios's Dragon Gem Draco Meteor (though it could have been more efficient with HP invested) and with the Chople Berry it survives a Fighting Gem Close Combat from a Terrakion. With this, Scrafty usually sticks around for a couple turns. Drain Punch and Crunch provided a STAB combination resisted only by Heracross and Drain Punch was great for Scrafty's longevity. I ran enough speed to speed creep Hitmontop by 3 points, and I could immediately tell if I did beat it based on who's Intimidate came up first. Fake Out helped me to set up by shutting a Pokémon down for a turn, including the Hitmontops I was trying to creep. Bulk Up was a great addition, because Scrafty's Attack stat is relatively low, and it allowed him to gain a much needed power boost for Drain Punch to inflict more damage or to set up against Cresselia. I could also use it occasionally to bluff a Fake Out and boost instead.

      Mt.SoulDew (Latios) (M) @ Dragon Gem
      IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/31
      EVs: 28 HP / 76 Def / 252 SAtk / 132 SDef / 20 Spd
      Ability: Levitate
      Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
      - Draco Meteor
      - Surf
      - Tailwind
      - Protect
      Ah, the refreshing taste of Latios. Did you know that EV spreads specifically tailored to survive Timid Latios' Dragon Gem Draco Meteors lose 50% of the time to Modest Latios? I didn't, until I ran some damage calculations. Also, did you know that Latios can actually be defensive? With the investment in Special Defense, it survives a Shadow Ball from Max Sp. Atk Chandelure, and with the defense, a Dark Gem Sucker Punch from max Attack Hitmontop. Also, since Latios is usually paired with Scrafty as a lead, opponents would often be at -1 for Attack. In order to have these great advantages, however, I had to reduce Latios's Speed considerably. That's where Tailwind arrives. With Tailwind under its belt, Latios now outspeeds almost everything -- including Scarf users that like to speed creep this awesome Dragon-type. Surf also throws opponents for a loop because it allows Latios to hit Heatran or other Steel-types for solid damage. Most of my team is weak to Fire-type moves so Surf assists the team with the spread power and surprise element. You wouldn't believe how many people have switched Pokemon simply out of fear of Psyshock, when it's not on my moveset! The 0 Atk IVs serve to minimize confusion damage when the opponent confuses me, which is not uncommon with so many Swagger Cresselia running around. Overall, Latios is the most unique Pokémon on my team and after battles opponents often commented, "Man, that Latios is good."

      Garrett (Scizor) (F) @ Occa Berry
      IVs: 31/31/31/x/31/31
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 108 Def / 92 SDef / 52 Spd
      Ability: Technician
      Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
      - Bullet Punch
      - Bug Bite
      - Tailwind
      - Protect
      My second Tailwind user, revenge killer, and Dragon-resist all rolled up into one. While Tailwind is not as surprising on Scizor as it is on Latios, it still gives the opponent something a little different to work with. Scizor is one point slower than Scrafty, so if the situation comes up that I need Scrafty to move first, I know for sure it'll work. Bullet Punch is a good priority STAB attack; Bug Bite OHKOs Latios and dents/potentially steals a Sitrus Berry from Cresselia/Amoonguss. The Occa Berry lets it survive some Fire-type moves, with it being EV'd to take a Timid Volcarona's Heat Wave. This makes it a full check to Latios, as it can always survive HP Fire, set up Tailwind and then OHKO with Bug Bite. 108 Defense EVs survives a Fighting Gem Close Combat from Max Attack Hitmontop and 252 Attack is to give it all the power it desires.

      Spark Plug (Zapdos) @Yache Berry
      IVs: 31/22/30/31/31/31
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
      Ability: Pressure
      Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)
      - Thunderbolt
      - Hidden Power Ice
      - Heat Wave
      - Detect
      For my next Pokémon, I wanted something that wasn't relying on Tailwind, had a lot of coverage, but not many weaknesses. Zapdos fit the role very well. Electric + Ice + Fire hits lots of things for super-effective, or at least neutral, damage. The EV spread is very basic, and the IVs are to give Zapdos Hidden Power Ice, but the Attack is not as low as it could be because my trade partner could not get anything better. It is also the only non-shiny Pokémon on my team, but thanks to star entrances (which are way better by the way), all my Pokemon had a nice entrance. In terms of the timer, I believe star entrances are a trifle longer than Shiny entrances are, but the advantage with stars is that it is as easy as beating the Pokemon on "Brycen-Man Strikes Back" in Pokestar Studios on the first turn. "Brycen-Man Strikes Back" is also only the second movie, so it's very easy to unlock it. Well, back to Zapdos, the Yache Berry lets it take Ice-type moves like a champ. Normally a Cresselia's Ice Beam would 2HKO Zapdos, but with a Yache, it becomes a 3HKO. And that's merely one example; there were several points in my battles that I loved having the Yache Berry as a cushion.

      Mr. O'Neal (Abomasnow) (F) @Focus Sash
      IVs: 31/31/31/31/31/31
      EVs: 220 HP / 252 SAtk / 36 Spd
      Ability: Snow Warning
      Mild Nature (Up Sp. Atk, down Def)
      - Blizzard
      - Giga Drain
      - Ice Shard
      - Protect
      Nicknamed after my former math teacher because of his college story about how he and his friends lit the ceiling fan on fire and turned it on to see what would happen (you'd be scared), Abomasnow's fear of Fire-type moves is just as great. Abomasnow's main use was to set up Hail and serve as a check to Rain teams with Giga Drain. It's also quite an accomplished revenge killer, with damage from Ice Shard + Hail taking out most low HP foes. I never found much use in underspeeding Tyranitar, as setting up Hail just meant Tyranitar could KO with Rock Slide far easier. With 36 Speed EVs and Tailwind it gets the jump on 252 Speed Jolly Garchomp, OHKOing it with Blizzard providing there's no Yache Berry. In fact, Abomasnow is great for blasting Dragons with Blizzard, and Ice Shard usually revenge kills most of them. The Mild Nature is chosen so Abomasnow doesn't lose any Attack, and losing Defense is not too big a deal when most physical attacks bring Abomasnow to its Focus Sash anyway.

      Egg (Amoonguss) (M) @Sitrus Berry
      IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/0
      EVs: 252 HP / 60 Def / 196 SDef
      Ability: Effect Spore
      Sassy (+SDef, -Spd)
      - Rage Powder
      - Spore
      - Giga Drain
      - Protect
      The first thing people would say is, "Why no Regenerator?" My Amoonguss is very bulky, and if I use Amoonguss, chances are he stays out for a long time. Most of my defensive switches are into Amoonguss, because it can sponge the damage and use Rage Powder because it wants more. While it is taking attacks it really never hurts to have a 30% chance of a status condition happening. Spore is very nice putting opposing Pokémon to sleep 100% of the time, crippling them for several turns. Giga Drain recovers its HP from time to time and Protect is just Protect. Amoonguss was chosen as the last Pokémon on my team because it patches up the team's weaknesses very well. Under Trick Room, Amoonguss is a monster, shutting everything down to give my partners valuable set-up time. I won my round 6 match because my opponent's Trick Room team had no good answer to Amoonguss, and it cost him the match. Amoonguss also gives the team another Rain check and Rage Powder provides a way outside of Fake Out to set up Tailwind.
      After winning six battles in Swiss, I lost to GreySong in round 8. Both of these matches were extremely difficult, and both trainers deserved to be in top cut over me, because they are both fantastic battlers. I have two Battle Videos from the tournament. 24-20774-81894 was my round 2 match against Team Magma member Multi, and 13-19663-70054 was recorded and posted by GreySong.
      Common Leads
      Scrafty + Latios
      This was my most commonly used lead if I wanted to set up Tailwind to have the immediate advantage. Fake Out usually ensured this, but if I could not beat the opposing Fake Out user, I was usually forced to Protect Latios the first turn and go from there. Latios' Surf did little damage to my specially defensive Scrafty, and Drain Punch could recover the HP loss most of the time. The two also had good offensive synergy, as Fake Out + Draco equals OHKO unless I am facing a Steel-type.
      Scrafty + Amoonguss
      This was my most common anti-Trick Room setup, because Fake Out or Spore could shut down the TR user for a turn. If I felt that I would benefit more from keeping TR up, I would let them set up their strategy. Fake Out + Spore was also used on several occasions, to otherwise hinder a Pokémon's usefulness for a couple turns. Amoonguss benefited from the Intimidate Attack drop, and Scrafty benefited from Rage Powder absorbing attacks while Scrafty set up Bulk Up boosts or whatnot.
      Scrafty + Abomasnow
      In case you didn't notice, I love leading with Scrafty. This lead was used against Dragons to cripple them early on. Setting up Hail quickly benefited my whole team greatly, despite only Abomasnow abusing it, because the weather damage at the end of the turn damaging Pokémon like Metagross and Tyranitar was really useful. This was also a common lead against Rain teams, though I never actually faced any Rain teams during the tournament. It was most useful in practice.
      Scizor + Latios
      This lead is for when I need either immediate offensive pressure or a surefire chance of getting Tailwind up. This lead proved to work well against Benji's team, who said that it was a really great way to counter his Amoonguss / Terrakion lead (after the match of course). The lead also has good defensive synergy, as threats to Latios can be handled by Scizor, while threats to Scizor can be handled by Latios. Usually if I used this lead, I left out Scrafty in the back, a fact that was important when I battled Benji.
      All in all, this team is not Worlds material, but I felt that it performed extremely well in St. Louis and I hope I can come up with something even better for Nationals. Now that I am a part of the Nugget Bridge Community, I'm hoping that my skill level will improve even more!
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