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All hail the Queen - A top 8 UK Nationals Warstory

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blog-nidoqueen.pngHello fellow Nugget Bridgers! My name is Ben Gould, better known online as Ben 91293 and in game as Ben 912. I placed top 8 in the Birmingham Nationals in UK the other day and took plenty of notes to track my battles throughout the day.

I will start off with an analysis of the team I used, then onto what actually happened on the day. The motto for this team was "Hit hard, hit fast, go home." With this in mind for a Nationals metagame, I designed a team to counter the most common things I have seen; including TopMoth (Hitmontop/Volcarona core) and the notorious SwaggerGross (Usually Cresselia/Thundurus swaggering a Metagross).

So, onto the members… Firstly we have:


Nidoqueen @ Life orb

Trait: Sheer Force

EVs: 152 HP / 20 Def / 252 SpAtk /84 Spe

Modest Nature

- Blizzard

- Earth Power

- Helping Hand

- Protect

This was the star player of the team hands down. Very few people seemed to recognize the offensive power of its attacks and the bulk it had to back that up. At several points, these threw the games in my favor. For example, in one battle, a Landorus-T switched into blizzard and was OHKOed straight through its Yache Berry! In another battle, I used Nidoqueen to take a Fight Gem Close Combat on the switch, with total total damage being no more than 35%.

The choice of EVs gave me as much bulk as possible for the attacks I wanted to survive. I wanted Hitmontop's Close Combat to be at least a 3HKO, and I also wanted to survive an Excadrill Earthquake or Garchomp Earthquake and hit back for the KO, which Nidoking did very nicely. The speed I invested brought me up enough to outspeed 4 Speed Cresselia and most Hitmontop and other things in that general range.

Finally, the moves. Blizzard and Earth Power have practically flawless coverage and hit everything in the game for the minimum of 12.5% (Bronzong being this one…). The main problem with the rest of my team was their inability to score clean OHKO’s at certain points, leaving the opponent on low red most of the time; Helping Hand allowed me to boost these attacks, as well as having the added bonus of allowing me to do something other than simply Protect to hide from a Fake Out.


Abomasnow @ Choice Scarf

Trait: Snow Warning

EVs: 4 HP /12 Def /4 SpDef / 236 Spe

Timid Nature

- Blizzard

- Ice Beam

- Giga Drain

- Shadow Ball

More or less the standard scarf set, with minor changes, the only surprise being Shadow Ball. I was originally running HP Ground for beating pesky Heatrans and to actually hurt Scizor, but it occurred to me after about 35 games (on GBU) that I never used this. I stuck Shadow Ball on to do more damage to Ghost-types and Cresselia and never looked back. With 48% minimum damage to max HP Chandelure, Shadow Ball helped me a lot online. In the tournament, I never used it, but it was nice to have the option there.

The Defense EVs allowed me to better take neutral hits and survive other things like a non-boosted Scizor Bullet Punch, as I only needed enough Speed to hit the 121 mark.

The main strategy for these two was to start firing off Helping Hand Blizzards. Most of the time, this could net me two OHKOs early on, or at least heavily dent any switches. Basically it was an ice gem power hit from Blizzard, nothing likes to take lots of them.


Togekiss @ Sitrus Berry

Trait: Serene Grace

EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpDef

Calm Nature

- Follow Me

- Air Slash

- Thunder Wave

- Tailwind

A pretty simple Togekiss with one main function. Make the opponent uncomfortable. Be it from redirecting attacks at my partner with Follow Me or changing the pace of the game with Tailwind, people hated fighting this thing. A nice side note on Follow Me, is how brilliantly it stops those teams that rely on using a move on their partner. Swagger is redirected, as is the very irritating Guard Split Shuckle.


Terrakion @ Fight Gem

Trait: Justified

EVs: 4 HP /252 Atk / 252 Spe

Jolly Nature

- Close Combat

- Rock Slide

- Taunt

- Protect

Ah Terrakion, the only physical attacker on the team. The EVs are the standard spread, I couldn’t find anything to fit better, as instantly outspeeding and KOing a member of the opposition’s team fitted the ethos of this team very nicely.

I did wonder whether or not to run Chople Berry prior to deciding on the Fighting Gem, as surviving another Terrakion’s Close Combat is always useful, but decided on the gem for the absolutely huge power it outputs. It runs a 50% chance to OHKO max hp Rotom-W, a huge pain for this team. It hits Garchomp for 85%+ and even if something such as a Zapdos switched into it, it would take around 45-55%. The huge power is what gave this Terrakion huge presence. Taunt placed very nicely here, as it allowed me to shut down the gimmick teams that run mimimize and such, as well as stopping Trick Room set up mid-game by things like Cresselia or Calm Mind set up. I used it on several occasions, all of which caused me to be in a winning position.


Latios @ Dragon Gem

Trait: Levitate

EVs: 4 HP /252 SpAtk / 252 Spe

Timid Nature

- Draco Meteor

- Psychic

- Light Screen

- Substitute

Dragon Gem Draco Meteor hits everything so hard it simply had to be used.  Light Screen is really the only difference between this Latios and the standard Latios set. Latios did well at shutting down rain boosted damage. The Substitute allowed it to dodge status, or as it can be seen in my report, force switches. Psychic was chosen over Psyshock simply because I didn’t fear Amoonguss or Bulky Thundurus. The things I needed to remove were the Physically Defensive Fighting-types like Conkeldurr and Machamp.


Chandelure @ Focus Sash

Trait: Flash Fire

EVs: 252 HP /4 Def / 252 SpAtk

Modest Nature

- Heat Wave

- Shadow Ball

- Imprison

- Trick Room

This Pokémon has been on all my teams since it was released in 2011. With the same set every time. This thing works so well at what it does, stopping Trick Room from going up. With the highest Special Attack stat of any legal Pokémon, it dishes out a ton of damage and helps me remove some problematic Pokémon such as Scizor and bulky Psychic-types, as well as getting some free boosts on the Fire-type attacks aimed at Abomasnow. It played its job very well and proved its worth as a Sun team check in game one.

All in all I was pretty pleased with the performance the team put in, with the thing I need to work on in the next tournament being my ability to dispose of Cresselia. To say I struggled against it isn’t quite right, but it always hung around longer than I would have liked.


These are Pokémon I used together pretty often.

nidoqueen.png + abomasnow.png

This core was a very simple lead that I could use when the opposition held multiple Ice-type weaknesses and few resistances. Helping Hand from the Choice Scarf Abomasnow would usually KO if not heavily wound both things, which was simple yet effective.

latios.png + terrakion.png

If the opponents resist Ice-types heavily I used this. Both are carrying Gems, are fast and KO most things this team hates to fight. Very simple strategy.

togekiss.png + terrakion.png

This was my go-to lead set against anything I was unsure of. It beats TopMoth (Follow Me + Taunt/Rock Slide OR Tailwind/Rockslide OR Tailwind/Protect….you get the picture) and can stop most types of set up, simply with the Taunt. Speed can be adjusted easily with Thunder Wave or Tailwind and switch ins to for the immunity can happen easily too (Nidoqueen for Electric-types or Chandelure in for Fighting-types.)

togekiss.png + latios.png

Hands down my best Rain team check. Usually Politoed/Kingdra on their end meant that Follow Me + Sub put a lot of pressure on them. Abomasnow in the back can remove the rain and Light Screen means that Surf won’t even break my Substitute.

togekiss.png + chandelure.png

The only other lead set I really used. Flawlessly beats Cresselia and Metagross leads, stops Trick Room going up entirely and beats Choice Scarf Chandelure variants with ease.


So, myself and my friend and fellow competitor Josh, who placed 29th overall, stupidly thought that TPCI would make the event two days long. So we arrived in Birmingham on Friday, two days early. A wonderful update upon arrival notified us to preregistration sign ups on Saturday, so at least we had that to look forward to.

We arrived at the event at a nice and early 8:30 AM. We got told the day before to arrive at 9 AM as we didn’t need to queue up, but being early never hurts right? Wrong. By the time we get round to battling, it’s about 1pm. Some ridiculous oversight by the staff caused the computer systems to crash and required all of our user info to be manually re-entered. So after a painful four hour wait, we finally get down to it.

Oh and there are now 9 rounds of swiss, with the two flights from before condensed into one.

First battle (I am 0/0): Callum Etherington

I can’t remember his entire team, but he lead out with Hitmonchan and Salamence. He tells me his Hitmonchan doesn’t have Fake Out before we battle, but I'm sure whether or not that is some kind of ruse. I lead out against him with Togekiss and Latios. He goes for a Protect on Salamence and Ice punch, I Follow Me and Substiute, while Ice punch puts Togekiss onto half HP and Sitrus Berry kicks in.

Turn 2 I OHKO Hitmonchan with Psychic and switch to Chandelure as his Salamence gets off a double Protect.

Turn 3, he brings in Ninetales with Drought. I OHKO Salamence with Latios, he Heat Waves and Critical Hits Latios’ Substitute and gives Chandelure a Flash Fire boost as I Shadow Ball back.

Turn 4 – 7 Venasaur appears, puts Chandelure to sleep with Sleep Powder and I do 55% with Psychic. Basically I sleep a lot, wake up and kill them both.

Relatively simple – Final Score 4-0.

Second battle (I am 1/0): Matty Orchard

Looking at his team preview I see Cresselia, Conkeldurr and some other slow things, so I assume Trick Room.

I lead off with Chandelure/Nidoqueen hoping to catch Cresselia/Metagross off guard. He leads off Conk/Cress.

Turn 1, I Imprison and try Earth Power, he detects and fails to set up Trick Room. Burn activates on Conkeldurr.

Turn 2, he switches to Rotom-W. I Shadow Ball it for about 45% and Earth Power Conkeldurr for about 90%, while he hits back with Ice Punch for about 85% on Nidoqueen.

Turn 3, Nidoqueen Protects. He tries Mach Punch, hits the Protect. I outspeed and KO Rotom-W with Shadow Ball. Conkeldurr faints to its burn.

Turn 4, Cresselia and Metagross come out. I go for Shadow Ball on Cress for 45% or so and Earth Power Metagross for the OHKO. Psychic finishes off Nidoqueen.

Turn 5, I send in Abomasnow, Shadow Ball and finish off Cresselia.

Final score 3-0.

Third Battle (I am 2/0) Anthony Bailey

His team preview reveals little about his strategies, but it looks like Goodstuffs.

Turn 1, he sends out Bisharp and Hitmontop into my Chandlure and Togekiss. He fakes out Togekiss and puts Chandelure into sash with Dark Gem Sucker Punch, while I OHKO back with Heat Wave and hit Hitmontop for moderate damage.

Turn 2, he brings in Abomasnow. I start my turn with a switch to Terrakion. He goes for a Sucker Punch on Chandelure (I assume it was aimed here, it failed) and Blizzard with his scarf Abomasnow. Togekiss eats the Sitrus Berry and sets up a Tailwind.

Turn 3, he attempts a Wide Guard. I finish Hitmontop with an Air Slash and OHKO Abomasnow with Close Combat.

Turn 4, Rotom-W comes out. I switch Togekiss for my own Abomasnow and Close Combat for the OHKO.

Final score  4-0

Fourth battle (I am 3/0) Guillermo D. Castilla

His team preview shows me – Cresselia, Heatran, Landorus-T, Abomasnow, Scrafty and Rotom-W.

I don’t have full notes for this one as I was concentrating pretty heavily, but this is what I have down.

Turn 1, he leads Scrafty and Heatran and I lead Togekiss and Terrakion. He switches out Heatran for Cresselia and I really can’t remember what I did, I didn’t Close Combat it, I know that much.

Turn 2, he sets up Trick Room and brings Heatran in for Scrafty as I switch in Nidqueen in for Terrakion and Thunder Wave his Heatran.

Turn 3, pretty sure this is where he sets up a skill swap, giving Heatran levitate.

Turn 4, I remember having Chandelure out at some point, but don’t know when it came in exactly. He brings in Landorus-T and loses it in 1 hit to my Blizzard.

Turn 5, I Heat Wave and do huge damage to Heatran.

Turn 6, I win the game this turn with a Heat Wave.

My notes are very sketchy, I THINK it was a 2-0 to me, but can’t be sure. All I know is I won.

Fifth battle (I am 4/0) Chris Thorley

I ensure to take this battle seriously as he must be good to have placed 4/0 so far.

His team preview shows: Sceptile, Ambipom, Salamence, Latios, Metagross and Azumarill.

Uncommon Pokémon that are doing well, kind of scares me.

Turn 1, he leads off with Ambipom and Azumarill, I lead off  with Latios and Togekiss. He double targets Togekiss with a gem’d Fake out and an Ice punch KOing it, as Latios subs up.

Turn 2, he brings in Latios for Azumarill and I bring in Abomasnow. He breaks my sub with Acrobatics and I OHKO back with Dragon Gem Draco Meteor.

Turn 3, he brings Azumarill back in. His Latios targets Abomasnow with Draco Meteor. Abomasnow survives with 9 HP and hits back for huge damage (about 97%) to Latios and about 15% to Azumarill. I Meteor the Azu for about 45% more damage and he KO’s back with Ice Punch. His Latios faints to Hail damage.

Turn 3, I bring Terrakion in. He brings in Salamence. Abomasnow outspeeds and OHKO’s Salamence, Terrakion outspeeds and KOes his Azumarill.

Final score, 2-0

Sixth battle (I am 5/0)Ben Kyriakou

The Ben showdown. I am matched with this year’s winner. He apparently hasn’t dropped a Pokémon until now. Again, a good battle so ironically I have very few notes.

I remember turn one I lead with Togekiss and Terrakion, he lead with Hitmontop and Tornadus. I Protect and Tailwind as he targets Terrakion with a Fake Out and also Tailwinds. Turn two Terrakion eats an acrobatics and uses Rock Slide, I Thunder Wave the Hitmontop as it Close Combats my Togekiss.

Not sure what happens here on out, but the game goes to him, 2-0 loss.

Seventh battle (I am 5/1) Jack Chapman

Very easy for battle for me. His team is dedicated Trick Room.

He leads Amoonguss/Hydregion into my Chandelure/Latios. He Rage Powders and Dark Pulses my Chandelure as I Substitute and Heat Wave.

Turn 2, he takes out Amoonguss for his own Chandelure. I OHKO Hydreigon with Draco Meteor and predict the switch putting the incoming Chandelure into sash with Shadow Ball.

Turn 3, he goes for Rage Powder and Trick Room, I Psychic the Amoonguss leaving it in red, and Imprison.

Turn 4 and on, I start killing everything.

Final score 4-0

Eighth battle (I am 6/1) Barry Anderson (Baz)

Again, my notes are lacking for this battle. His team preview scared me with: Liepard, Volcarona, Breloom, Thundurus, Terrakion and Cresselia.

I vaguely recall him leading with Breloom/??? And me having out Togekiss and Terrakion. I taunted the Breloom preventing Spore and Thunder Waved the other Pokémon. From here out my notes remain quiet. I know he brought Cresselia, Volcarona and Terrakion, I had the two I mentioned earlier, Chandelure and Latios. I Critical Hit his Cresselia twice and then his Volcarona at the end (OHKO with Heat Wave when it was +1 Special Defense). I apologize for the pathetic dice rolls that decided this.

Final score ends at 3-0 to me.

Ninth and final swiss battle (I am 7/1)

I get yet another named player ‘Juan’ – Again I didn’t write his username so if anyone could provide I would be appreciative, I think it is Kotx but confirmation would be appreciated.

He has what appears to be Trick Room Rain with some Heatran thrown in…Cresselia/Politoed/Scrafty/Heatran/Ludicolo/Thundurus-T.

Naturally I lead into him with Togekiss and Chandelure. Big mistake. He leads Toed/Ludicolo and to make matters worse, the Politoed has Choice Scarf.

I switch to Abomasnow and Air Slash the Ludicolo, taking damage from Surf and a +1 (Absorb Bulb) Ice Beam. As I go for the Blizzard/Air Slash, he double switches to Cresselia and Heatran, I do minimal damage. I can see what’s going to happen, so swiftly switch Chandelure in and paralyze the Cress. He Heat Waves and Skill Swaps…. A few turns later (after a few misses from us both) he takes the game.

Final score ???-0, can’t rememeber what it was.


The results come out and I check the sheets. Yes! I made top cut (13th seed) and will be playing for a trip to Worlds.

Tenth battle of the day (Battling for a place in the top 8)

Who am I matched with?

Yep. Juan from the last game. The only good news of this is nothing will catch me off guard.

We settle down into the first match, I specifically brought Latios to allow me to get Light Screen off. A double miss on his Scrafty (Air Slash and Draco Meteor) cost me the loss of game 1.

I have now found the perfect set against him, Chandelure and Terrakion out front, Abomasnow and Latios in the back.

I swiftly win back game two with a pretty simple 3-0 and take game three in an epic showdown (I will upload this battle later) relying on Abomasnow hitting Blizzard outside of Hail and a very handy flinch.

Final final score, 2 games to 1. I advance.

Eleventh battle of the day (Battling for a place in the top 4) Albert Bauere (Arbol Deku)

He is running a very similar team to the ones from Korea, featuring Snarl Raikou with Shuca Berry and Skill Swap Cresselia and Heatran.

He takes both games without me taking one. Too many off decisions like when I switched Terrakion into a predicted Crunch as he went for the logical play of Drain Punch for example. Either way, I won my paid trip to Vancouver and a 3DSXL. My heart was hardly broken.

Thanks to anyone who actually read this far and it would be interesting to see if I convinced any of you that Nidoqueen has what it takes to be a Top Cut monster. I hope this gets my name out there and recognized a bit too, that’d always be nice. Just remember. GOULD. Not GOUD.

Best of luck to everyone for the LCQ, Worlds itself, or next year!

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Congrats on the finish, hopefully you can come up with a username with less numbers to make your skill more evident. Did you ever have trouble with your own hail breaking chandelures sash? Anything you would have changed on the team?

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I think you forgot to include some EV's on your Abomasnow. I'm guessing 252 Sp.Atk?

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Amaizing story, amaizing team!
Did you ever have problems to keep your weather up, especially against sand? Seems like you didn´t face any Ttars at all, so may you can tell something from your GBU expieriences?
What were your hardest matchups if not Sand?

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Ha yeah I gonna roll with Ben912 I think. I had a lot of experience with sash chandelure in hail (I used it last year too) and most of the time the two didn't conflict. I didn't have a single game where my own hail lead to chandelure being KO'd. Changes wise, I think this was as good as I could get it really. Chople on Terrakion was the only possible change I thought might work for me. Yes! It was max special attack, not sure why that was left off haha! I must have missed it.

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Congrats on the finish, hopefully you can come up with a username with less numbers to make your skill more evident. Did you ever have trouble with your own hail breaking chandelures sash? Anything you would have changed on the team?

I think it's a Ben thing.
Congratulations again Ben, even though we've talked about it a million times, it was a well deserved top 8. Shame we can't [i]both[/i] make it to Vancouver (what's up with no free guest travel seriously)

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I never found sand to be much of a problem. Togekiss and Terrakion as a lead pair let me get a Tailwind off and start killing the excadrills and ttars that I saw on GBU. Mostly, they would protect/switch ttar and try EQ the Terrakion, so my own protect and Tailwind gave me better footing (allowing me to outspeed excadrill next turn). My hardest match ups were the bulky teams that could take the huge hits I was dealing and hit back harder. Suicune and Calm mind Cress were something to be careful of.

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Trick Room was incredibly popular at Masters UK Nats this year, if this doesn't change I'm definitely bringing Crobat to Nats again next year, CROBAT4WORLD(s)DOMINATION.

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Guest TheGr8


I really like how you used Nidoqueen, mainly because most people would use Nidoking for better offensive power, but I really do like that Nidoqueen has some bulk and can dish out some good hits, great team and nice work on a top 8 finish!

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Great read, love how you used some pretty cool mons and giving the Nidos some respect they deserve. 

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Omg, a Nidoqueen, is this real? Congratulations on your finish! :) Your team is not only eccentric but it actually works. Personally, I'm not too sure about Chople on Terrakion and the bonus from fighting gem is a huge sacrifice and your team already has Togekiss/Latios to help against enemy terrakions. I never in a million years would have thought Nidoqueen would be usable given most just opt for Nidoking. The bulk and synergy with Abomasnow is amazing though and I'm glad you picked up on it!

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Nidoqueen's pretty cool. This team looks like a fun one to use.. lot of offense here. 

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I actually think this team looks really fun to play, I like the choice with NidoQueen, very interesting. I still stand against ScarfSnow, but that'd be the only thing I would change. Congrats on the finish, I may even try this team out myself sometime

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Btw, nidoqueen really suprised me at how bulky it was. And I was basically screwed after imprison, which I also didnt expect :L

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Maaaan I've wanted to use nidoqueen on quite a few different occasions but I always convince myself that its not bulky enough and doesn't hit hard enough on paper so I never use it. It's cool to see someone did though and that it actually had a good use! Good job Ben919393919282838138

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Maaaan I've wanted to use nidoqueen on quite a few different occasions but I always convince myself that its not bulky enough and doesn't hit hard enough on paper so I never use it. It's cool to see someone did though and that it actually had a good use! Good job Ben919393919282838138


At least spell his name right.

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Why is the title not "God Save the Queen"?
Very fun unique team to read about, congrats on top cut!

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Apologies Falconnose! i Will look into getting that altered, I do have you down as the wrong name in my notes... Thanks for the kind words everyone - I actually saw someone using this team on Pokemon Online yesterday and that kind of made me happy :P Oh and its all hail the Queen cos, you know, hail team and we are bowing down to the amazingness that makes up Mrs Nido ;)

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      - 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!
    • By Qertyk
      Hi, I’m Bennett Piercy, also known as Qertyk on Nugget Bridge and Pokemon Showdown and QertykVGC on Twitter, and this is my first Nugget Bridge team report. I started playing VGC in 2014, but I never actually went to an event until the 2015 cycle began. I live in Calgary, so finding VGC events almost always means travelling, thus I’ve only made it to four events throughout my Pokemon career. My first event was a low-attendance Edmonton Premier Challenge in December 2014, where I went 2-2 and finished third. After the 2015 format actually started, I went to another small Edmonton Premier Challenge, this time finishing first. I also ended up winning a bigger Premier Challenge in Seattle the day after the Washington Regional. The team I used for all of my winning events was fairly unique, without using needlessly obscure Pokemon.
      I don't remember exactly how this team came to be, but to some extent it originated from a team I saw on Nugget Bridge - Evan Feroy's Oregon Regionals team of Primeape, Crawdaunt, Clefable, Crobat, Arcanine, and Nidoking. I began replacing the team members with Pokemon that I thought provided more important type coverage, and I eventually ended up with this team.
      I used this team for quite a while. I thought it was pretty good, and I ended up posting it in Nugget Bridge's "Rate My Team" section, but it got no replies. Anyway, I decided that Raikou wasn't very good and that I wanted Fake Out, which I didn't accommodate for at the time, but eventually led to the addition of Weavile.
      This is the version of my team that I used in Edmonton. I love Weakness Policy Lapras, but I really didn't do well with it.  The Gardevoir was a last minute addition to the team. I gave it Choice Scarf and placed it top left in my Battle Box to bluff Mega Gardevoir. I was actually pretty excited about it at the time, but it flopped during testing.
      These five did well in testing, and I began to like them a lot. I only used Weavile in certain situations, meaning I'd use the other four in most games. For the sixth slot, I wanted something that could balance out the team, expecting that the role would go to a bulky water type. I ended up trying out Lapras, Gardevoir, Carracosta, Zapdos, Clauncher, Aegislash, Gigalith, and Milotic. I finally decided on Conkeldurr, but I'm not sure that it was the best choice.
      Team at a Glance
      The Team

      BoJack (Breloom) @ Focus Sash
      Ability: Technician
      Level: 50
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Superpower
      - Bullet Seed
      - Spore
      - Protect
      I named my Breloom "BoJack"after BoJack Horseman. Probably because Breloom is also a non-human anthropomorphic individual, but I don't really know.
      Breloom is a fairly common Pokemon, especially in the Seniors division. Mine is completely standard, apart from Superpower, which I added to OHKO Mega Kangaskhan. I honestly didn't even test Mach Punch for more than a few days, so I don't know whether or not that would have been better. Overall though, I don't have much to say about Breloom.

      Mercury (Nidoqueen) @ Life Orb
      Ability: Sheer Force
      Level: 50
      EVs: 148 HP / 84 Def / 252 SpA / 20 SpD / 4 Spe
      Modest Nature
      - Sludge Bomb
      - Earth Power
      - Ice Beam
      - Protect
      Something about naming a Nidoqueen after Queen frontman Freddie Mercury just felt right.
      Nidoqueen ended up being my MVP of the tournament. The combination of Sheer Force and Life Orb is amazing, and can make otherwise unviable Pokemon like Nidoqueen into dangerous offensive threats. Sludge Bomb merits a one-hit knockout on most Gardevoir, while always doing at least 90% to Sylveon. Earth Power always knocks out Heatran, Metagross, Bisharp, and just about anything else to weak to Ground. Ice Beam always OHKO's Landorus-T, Mega Salamence, Garchomp, as well as non-bulky Thundurus. Although Nidoqueen's offense is impressive, its real merit is its surprising defensive abilities, best expressed in a single calculation:

      252+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 148 HP / 84 Def Nidoqueen: 152-182 (82.6 - 98.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

      Machida Born (Volcarona) @ Sitrus Berry
      Ability: Flame Body
      Level: 50
      EVs: 252 HP / 236 Def / 12 SpA / 4 SpD / 4 Spe
      Modest Nature
      - Heat Wave
      - Bug Buzz
      - Rage Powder
      - Tailwind
      “Machida Born” is a reference to Satoshi Tajiri’s hometown in Japan. Tajiri credits memories of catching bugs as a child as inspiration for Pokemon, so I thought it was a fitting name for my Bug-type Pokemon.
      I brought Nidoqueen and Volcarona to most of my games, normally leading the two as a pair. Volcarona is certainly an underrated Tailwind user in VGC 2015. With Rage Powder and the addition of Tailwind to Volcarona’s move pool thanks to ORAS move tutors, it fits a whole new Togekiss-esque niche. Flame Body is another one of Volcarona’s selling points, thanks to how well Flame Body deals with Kangaskhan. After Sitrus Berry recovery, Volcarona survives Mega Kangaskhan’s Double-Edge 100% of the time and burns the attacking M-Kangaskhan 51% of the time. Even though Volcarona is 4x weak to Rock, my spread allows it to survives nearly all non-STAB Rock Slides in VGC 2015, namely from Scarfed Landorus-T. Here are a few calculations that really highlight Volcarona's bulk:

      252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 252 HP / 236 Def Volcarona: 156-188 (81.2 - 97.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 SpA Politoed Scald vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Volcarona in Rain: 152-182 (79.1 - 94.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252+ SpA Aerilate Mega Salamence Hyper Voice vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Volcarona: 150-176 (78.1 - 91.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

      Brer Dragon (Salamence) @ Salamencite
      Ability: Intimidate
      Level: 50
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Frustration
      - Dragon Claw
      - Rock Slide
      - Protect
      "Brer Dragon" is named after the loveable trickster Brer Rabbit, featured in, but not originating from, Disney's Song of the South.
      This was an entirely standard Salamence apart from Rock Slide. Rock Slide often one-shots Mega Charizard Y, as well as being a convenient spread attack. Contrary to most people's opinions, I appreciated having Dragon Claw on Salamence in many matches, as it deals with fellow Dragons and Pokemon that resist Flying, such as Rotom-Wash. I didn't have time to max out Salamence's happiness, so I went the simpler route and minimized his Happiness. There really isn't much to say about this Salamence, it's just a standard Physical Mega.

      L'Oreal (Weavile) @ King's Rock
      Ability: Pressure
      Level: 50
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature
      - Fake Out
      - Fling
      - Icicle Crash
      - Knock Off
      Apart from Knock Off, I stole this from Ashton Cox's team report. His was named after Covergirl, so I named mine L'Oreal. For anyone who doesn't know, Flinging a King's Rock will make the opponent flinch 100% of the time, making Weavile a uniquely helpful Pokemon. As for actual results, Weavile is kind of iffy, as nearly all teams have multiple ways to take it out in one hit. I think that having Weavile helped a lot during Team Preview, because many opponents think Weavile's item is Focus Sash, thus implying my Breloom carries Choice Scarf (which in reality, I didn't use at all on the team).

      3 of Spaid (Conkeldurr) @ Assault Vest
      Ability: Guts
      Level: 50
      EVs: 252 HP / 140 Atk / 116 SpD
      Adamant Nature
      - Hammer Arm
      - Mach Punch
      - Ice Punch
      - Rock Slide
      Conkeldurr's nickname is an inside joke that you don't get to know.
      I really regret using Conkeldurr in the tournament. I lost every game I brought it to, and I really had never tested it until the week before the tournament. I freaked out last minute because I stopped liking Aegislash, and I ended up breeding this Conkeldurr two days before the tournament. The only discernible feature brought by Conkeldurr was Mach Punch, which makes me wonder why I didn't just give Breloom Mach Punch and switch Conkeldurr for something more useful.
      Washington Regional Swiss
      Note: I didn't keep track of which four I brought to any particular game, so apart from random memories I don't know what I brought.
      Swiss Round 1 vs Jason Wong
      My first opponent of the day, and already my extensive viewing of “Road to Ranked” was going to start paying off. I quickly identified Jason’s team as Cybertron’s APEX team. I was confident I could win this game, especially because Nidoqueen and Volcarona counter most of his team, but Jason proved me wrong. For about the first half of the game, I was confident in my play, and all was going well. I found, however, that I was too reliant on Breloom in this game. At one point, Jason’s Venusaur used Sludge Bomb on Breloom, activating Focus Sash, but the secondary effect of Poisoning (10%) picked up the knock out. With that and a rather decisive Heat Wave miss, I lost the game. This wasn’t exactly a fun game, but my opponent was very gracious, even going as for as to apologize for the bad luck. He ended up making Top Cut too, so that’s pretty cool.
      Swiss Round 2 vs Henry Maxon (Snake)
      I played really poorly in this game. I played way too aggressively, almost completely ignoring Cresselia. I was somewhat thrown off by the first game, and I took plenty of unnecessary risks. This game wasn’t even close, and Henry won something like 3-0 or 4-0. He also ended up making top cut.
      Swiss Round 3
      I was now in an awkward situation. Knowing I had to go X-2 to even get a chance at top cut, I was really nervous. I got lucky, however,  because I had gotten a bye for the third round. Getting a bye means that you don’t play for that round and it counts as an automatic win. I spent this extra time getting a snack and looking at all the merchandise. It definitely relaxed me.
      Swiss Round 4 vs Roman Hatch 
      This game was definitely the best one I had played so far, and it really highlighted the power of Nidoqueen. She picked up all four KO’s in this game, with some help from Volcarona’s Rage Powder and Breloom’s Spore.
      Swiss Round 5 vs Jacob Martin 
      Jacob had a really interesting team with Mega Alakazam. I quickly identified that Nidoqueen and Volcarona could deal with most of the team very well, and sure enough, they did. I remember that I hit the perfect combination of choosing to Protect, attack and Rage Powder with Nidoqueen and Volcarona on the first few turns, that I took an early 4-2 lead. Apart from that, I don't know anything other than that I won.
      Swiss Round 6 vs Tiana Kaguras
      Before my last swiss match, I checked the records of the other competitors and decided I wouldn't be making top cut. I almost didn't pay serious attention in this match, because I thought it was just for fun. I did like the sound of "4-2 record" much more than 3-3, though. My competitor's last name seemed familiar, so I assume she is related to Demitrios Kaguras (kingdjk) in some way. I don't really remember what happened in this game, I just don't. I ended up winning, but again, I didn't think it mattered.
      When the Top Cut was posted, I was ecstatic. I was posted at eighth seed (top cut of eight), because my opponents' win percentage was exactly 60%, higher than any other 4-2 player. I was particularly excited because this was my first high-level event, so making Top Cut felt like quite the accomplishment.
      Washington Regional Top Cut
      Top 8 vs Carson St. Denis (Dorian06)
      Game 1
      I went with my usual lead, Nidoqueen and Volcarona, because they deal with Thundurus, Heatran, and Sylveon very well. Carson led with Salamence and Mamoswine, and for the first time ever I discovered how terrible my Mamoswine matchup was. I had no answers to the combination of it and physical Mega Salamence, and I dropped the game quickly. I don't remember if I forfeited or actually lost, but it wasn't really a close game.
      Game 2
      Because it worked so well the first time, Carson led Salamence and Mamoswine. I went with Weavile (My backup lead) and something else, probably Nidoqueen. This game seemed to be going better for the first two turns or so, and then it turned into a repeat of game 1.  I actually ended up attempting a double protect with my Salamence at one point, when the risk was not worth the reward and it ended up failing. Not exactly an example of me playing (or team building) well, as this was my worst set ever.
      Even though I didn't make it far into Top Cut, I did get plenty of Trading Cards. I also won the Premier Challenge on the same day as Top Cut, which was cool because a lot of the competitors from the Regional participated in that, too.
      Overall, I like this team a lot and I’m excited that it did so well. The main reason I’m not going to bring it to more events is because one of its worst matchups is against Mega Gardevoir, which I expect to be very popular at future events, notably US Nationals. The team may become dated anyway, as this team is very anti-Kangaskhan, which might not be a such a big priority as the 2015 metagame develops.
      Special thanks to:

      Andrew Laigo, for helping me practice everyday at school. Maybe I shouldn't be playing Pokemon at school, but whatever.
      Gavin Gentry and Caden Kamp (scumbagCaden) for hanging out with me on the days of the tournament. They’re both pretty cool.
      My parents, for paying for and taking me to all these events.
      My brother Declan for helping me practice, even though he's not much of a Pokemon player.
      Andrew Laigo again, because he wouldn't stop asking for a second mention.

    • By Biosci
      On May 20th, 2014 the online servers that provide service for Nintendo DS and Wii games will shut down. Once that happens, the online functionality of titles like Pokémon Black & White 2, Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver, and other titles used prior to this year in the Video Game Championships will no longer work. To properly send off the last generation of titles, we're going to hold a tournament using Pokémon Black Version 2 & White Version 2 with the VGC '13 ruleset the weekend before the cutoff.
      The tournament will begin at 12 PM Pacific (3PM EDT / 8PM BST) on Sunday, May 18th, 2014 with registration starting one hour earlier at 11:00 AM Pacific. To register, you need to post in this thread once it opens for registration at that time. Please enter the Nugget Bridge chatroom (#nuggetbridge on SynIRC) for the duration of the tournament to communicate with your opponents as well as receive communication from the tournament hosts. This does take place during the 2014 May International Challenge so we encourage players to get some of their matches for Sunday done a bit earlier in the day.
      We will be using the ruleset that was used as the last World Championships:

      Players must use Pokémon Black Version 2 or Pokémon White Version 2
      All matches are played in Doubles format
      Pokemon above Level 50 will be brought down to 50 for the match while those below 50 will stay as-is
      Players choose 4 of their 6 registered Pokemon after team preview
      Species Clause: No two Pokémon can share the same Pokédex number.
      Item Clause: No two Pokémon can hold the same held item.
      The following Pokémon are banned:
      150 – Mewtwo
      151 – Mew
      249 – Lugia
      250 – Ho-Oh
      251 – Celebi
      382 – Kyogre
      383 – Groudon
      384 – Rayquaza
      385 – Jirachi
      386 – Deoxys
      441 – Chatot
      483 – Dialga
      484 – Palkia
      487 – Giratina
      489 – Phione
      490 – Manaphy
      491 – Darkrai
      492 – Shaymin
      493 – Arceus
      494 – Victini
      643 – Reshiram
      644 – Zekrom
      646 – Kyurem
      647 – Keldeo
      648 – Meloetta
      649 – Genesect

      [*]The following items are banned:

      Soul Dew

      [*]The following moves are banned:

      Dark Void
      Sky Drop

      The tournament format will be best-of-one double elimination. You will not be allowed to change teams in between matches.
    • By TKOWL
      Hello, I’m Ryan Gadea or The Knights of Wario Land as I go on here, and I recently finished in the top 16 at the Winter Regionals in Virginia. This is the first time I’ve ever top cut an event, and although I do have some regrets about not making farther, I’m still incredibly happy I made it that far at such a tight regional.
      Generation 5 is when I started playing competitive Pokemon, and I ended up stealing teams most of the time or just not being that original before trying to put on weird spins that were okay, but nothing really that recommendable. This is what I’ve liked a lot about Generation 6 so far: Ever since the games first launched I've had an easier time seeing what works, trying out a ton of cool new things and learning about what threats I have to counter. Compared to VGC 2011 and the early stages of both VGC 2012 and 2013 , this new restricted metagame has started to develop much quicker and is seeing a wider variety of Pokemon, moves and items being used. I also love how much easier it is to obtain Pokemon in-game with the desired IVs and it’s forced me to think a lot more about my Pokemon team choices before I breed for them.
      My team changed a ton of times during testing: from starting out as a rain team, to a standard Kangaskhan/Klefki/Talonflame/Meowstic/etc team, to what it is now. It became more developed the more I saw what was being used but I wanted to make sure that I was fully confident in what I was using, so it was finalized sometime even before the new year. Me and Cameron (Stormfront) also shared ideas regularly and he played a part in making the team what it is today.
      The Team

      Mienshao @ Focus Sash
      Ability: Inner Focus
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature (-SpA,+Spe)
      -Fake Out
      -Low Sweep
      -Rock Slide
      -Quick Guard
      Used 10/11 matches
      Mienshao has always been a Pokemon I’ve turned down before because it’s “too frail” or “too slow”, but in this metagame, I found myself annoyed when testing Scrafty that its Quick Guard just wouldn’t cut it against threats such as Kangaskhan and Meowstic Fake Outs so I checked the list for other, faster Pokemon that can learn Quick Guard. Mienshao sprung to my attention because of its 105 speed, which in this metagame, where base 100 is the standard of speed to beat, puts it in a very favorable speed tier. Mienshao is also interesting in that it can’t be flinched itself with Inner Focus, so it provides extreme Fake Out pressure on the opponent. That’s where Quick Guard comes in: I can guarantee that the partner can get away with whatever it wants to, and leave threats like Kangaskhan and Talonflame sitting ducks for the turn. Rock Slide was there so that I get off some fast spread damage, and surprise Mega Charizard Y by outspeeding and often knocking it out in one hit. Low Sweep is an interesting move for this metagame considering Icy Wind is almost nowhere to be seen. This means clutching speed ties or guaranteeing the ability to out speed is only really doable with Tailwind, which I personally dislike using because of the limited turns of benefit it provides. The move still has solid 65 base power and is boosted by the same type attack bonus, which was enough to OHKO Tyranitar, deal around 50% to Kangaskhan and put some solid neutral damage on Rotom. Mienshao’s biggest weakness is still its miserable bulk, but that ended up being more of a plus for my team. When pairing up Mienshao and Aromatisse, I want Abomasnow to have a safe switch-in to the battlefield so that it can start KOing in Trick Room, so having Mienshao faint would provide the free switch in I was looking for. Mienshao isn’t really a Pokemon everyone should rush to using, but if you need a fast supporter that still provides offensive pressure, give Mienshao a second look.

      Aromatisse @ Safety Goggles
      Ability: Aroma Veil
      EVs: 252 HP / 96 Def / 24 SpA / 136 SpD
      Sassy Nature (+SpD,-Spe)
      IVs: 0 Spe
      -Light Screen
      -Trick Room
      Used 5/11 matches
      This slot originally belonged to Assault Vest Slowking, but I found more as time went on that it was plain annoying how often Tyranitar had the edge on my team with it (and Aromatisse is 10x more adorable). This Aromatisse was actually donated to me by Cassie for shiny value trading a few months ago, but when I was replacing Slowking to put in a new TR setup, its potential shined: not only did Aromatisse have a better offensive and defensive typing in Fairy, but it had a whole slew of supporting moves that I needed to help out Abomasnow. Abomasnow and Aromatisse are incredibly fun to use together, as Aromatisse sets up the Trick Room for Abomasnow to flourish in, and setting up the screens that will allow it to survive more attacks. Safety Goggles also compliments Abomasnow well: she won’t be taking excess hail damage and can ignore Amoonguss completely which is often a big concern for Trick Room Pokemon. During Battle Spot testing I’ve hilariously had matches where Amoonguss will try to Rage Powder away a Moonblast from its partner, only to have Aromatisse hit the intended target regardless. The EVs are something I could’ve worked on a little bit more: it allows it to take 60% from Scizor’s Bullet Punch and survives Mega Gengar’s Sludge Bomb but I have the dual screens to not only help myself, but my allies. Unfortunately, I didn’t run into a single Amoonguss all tournament (I have to stop overhyping these mushroom Pokemon) so in hindsight, Light Clay would’ve been a better held item.

      Abomasnow @ Abomasite
      Ability: Snow Warning
      EVS: 112 HP / 144 Atk / 252 SpA
      Quiet Nature (+SpA, -Spe)
      IVs: 0 Spe
      -Energy Ball
      -Ice Shard
      Used 7/11 matches
      Before Generation 6 I had relatively no interest in running Abomasnow despite seeing its success. It just always seemed to lack the kind of firepower I’m comfortable with. With the introduction of Mega Evolutions, Abomasnow was one of the Pokemon I really wanted to see obtain one for that reason, which it was thankfully granted. After seeing how much of a technical counter it could be in testing, I decided to run it full-force on my team. Abomasnow helped shape a lot of what my team became, and he was incredibly fun to use. The lowered speed of Mega Abomasnow makes it incredibly scary in Trick Room, as a perfectly accurate 132 base Special Attack Blizzard packs quite a punch (and possibly a freeze). Energy Ball is there for good neutral secondary STAB as I dislike the recoil from Wood Hammer, and Giga Drain isn’t legal for this format (even if it was, the Energy Ball Base Power buff makes it perfectly viable to use on its own). Ice Shard was there to finish off Pokemon that were weakened from Blizzard, and just provide good priority. What’s great is that opponents will freely target Abomasnow with Swagger, but if I’m able to hit through or snap out of confusion, Ice Shard just becomes even more powerful. Mega Evolving also allows me to reset an opponent’s Sand, Rain, or Sun whenever I need to, definitely helping out my team. Abomasnow and Aromatisse formed the bulk of my team’s fast mode, as the two compliment each other incredibly well. The EVs are mostly offensive-based: maxed out Special Attack for the hardest-hitting Blizzards and Energy Balls, and 144 Attack EVs so that I can OHKO Garchomp after a turn of hail damage. Abomasnow has a lot of problems against a lot of common Pokemon such as Charizard-Y and Talonflame, but against other commonly seen Pokemon like Hydreigon, Garchomp, Rotom-W, Politoed, Tyranitar, Amoonguss, Dragonite, etc., it’s a fantastic counter.
      Thanks a bunch to Uncle Taint for providing me with this Abomasnow before regionals.

      Garchomp @ Lum Berry
      Ability: Rough Skin
      EVS: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
      Jolly Nature (-SpA, +Spe)
      -Dragon Claw
      -Rock Slide
      Used 6/11 matches
      Garchomp is probably one of my favorite Pokemon to use: this is the third Regional I’ve used him. In Generation 5, it kinda saddened me to see Garchomp's usage drop thanks to Landorus-T being so much better, but with that tiger genie out of the picture, Garchomp rose up again. Generation 6 has also in my opinion made Garchomp a more balanced Pokemon; with the rise of physical attackers like Kangaskhan and Mawile, it’s very nice to have Rough Skin inflicting that small but possibly crucial chip damage. Garchomp also does well against that previously mentioned 100 base speed standard, with a base Speed of 102. Its typing is also fantastic, and even with the rise of Fairy-types, it still holds strong with some great resistances and defenses. Garchomp also became a great defense against Sun teams, a fact that I wanted to emphasize even more with Lum Berry as the held item. I originally ran it holding a Life Orb, but more and more in testing I would either be massive status bait or just end up killing myself in recoil. I gave up the offensive prowess in order for better defense against Will-o-Wisp from Rotom-W or Venusaur/Amoonguss spamming their sleeping moves. Other than that, this is a pretty bread-and-butter Garchomp EV spread and move set, but it works well and is reliable enough that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Rotom-Heat @ Sitrus Berry
      Ability: Levitate
      EVS: 220 HP / 60 Def / 124 SpA / 96 SpD / 8 Spe
      Modest Nature (-Atk, +SpA)
      Used 7/11 matches
      Rotom is a Pokemon I’m not entirely fond of using, but with how good it is in this metagame, I can’t turn it down. It was originally a Rotom-C,which I ditched after a week because it still couldn’t OHKO Rotom-W and it made my team even more vulnerable to Talonflame. Then it was a Rotom-W, but then Mega Manectric began giving my team problems. Looking at the formes again, I realized just how many resistances and excellent coverage Rotom-H had, so I swapped to it. Rotom-H provided good pressure even before doing anything, immediately threatening Scizor, Mawile and Gyarados, amongst others. Both Garchomp and Rotom-H form an extremely strong combination as they both pack a punch and Rotom-H avoids Garchomp’s Earthquake. Like Garchomp, Rotom-H’s moveset is as standard as you can get. Even when trying to use other options like Light Screen or Thunder Wave, I just ended up going right back the basic one. The EVs are a little bit odd, as I had a hard time choosing whether I wanted Rotom to go offensive or go defensive, so it ended up being a somewhat even split. The 8 Speed EVs are there so that it can outrun 4 Speed Rotom, which I saw a lot of in practice.
      Thanks a bunch to CrimsonBlastoise for this Rotom.

      Clawitzer @ Assault Vest
      Ability: Mega Launcher
      EVS: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA
      Modest Nature (-Atk, +SpA)
      -Water Pulse
      -Dark Pulse
      -Aura Sphere
      -Dragon Pulse
      Used 9/11 matches
      I had a pretty major case of “Can’t decide what Pokemon to use for my last slot” syndrome, as I cycled through a ton of viable Pokemon, including Scizor, Gyarados, Mawile, Aegislash and Gengar, but every one I tried just made my team that much more weak to threats such as Talonflame, Rotom-W, Kangaskhan and Charizard. However, after seeing Zog’s report and how he used Assault Vest Clawitzer to good effect, I decided to try it out for myself. Not only did it provide even more offensive pressure and deal solid damage to a wide variety of Pokemon, but it had rather impressive special bulk, requiring a 3HKO from Rotom’s Thunderbolt. I don't think I would’ve been that comfortable using another Pokemon for this slot. Although I have no Steel or Poison coverage, Clawitzer provides just enough coverage and offensive pressure that I’m fine with it.
      Thanks a lot to BlitznBurst for providing me with a spitback parent because I don’t have access to Clauncher in Y.
      Rotom-H + Garchomp

      This combo puts a lot of pressure onto common leading Pokemon such as Talonflame, Kangaskhan, Charizard and Venusaur, mainly because Garchomp is free to spam Earthquake while Rotom takes care of the rest. If I find myself concerned about setting up Trick Room, I would often go to these two for my lead, and have Mienshao/Clawitzer in the back.
      Mienshao + Rotom-H

      Rotom-H is pretty large Fake Out/Status bait, so Mienshao is there to make sure that it can get off its Will-o-Wisp/attacking move on the opponent unhindered. Mienshao also helps and stops threats like Tyranitar and Gyarados that sometimes give Rotom-H trouble, and using Low Sweep to assure that I can out speed and easily get the final attack off on Rotom-W and Gyarados.
      Mienshao + Garchomp

      A similar combo to the previous one, expect one that moves at a faster speed tier. Mienshao helps tremendously against opposing Garchomp and Salamence by slowing them down, allowing Garchomp to pick up the Dragon Claw KO next turn. Low Sweep is also tremendously helpful in dealing with Greninja and fast Talonflame, allowing Garchomp to KO them. Both also have Rock Slide, which not only deals incredibly solid spread damage, but has an increased ratio of flinching the opponent.

      When I wanted to go into fast mode, this is what I would usually lead with. Mienshao makes sure that Aromatisse is able to get up its Trick Room and/or its screens, but with this combo, Mienshao more than likely is in a sacrificial role, so that I can bring in Abomasnow safely.
      Abomasnow + Aromatisse (AromaSnow)

      This was my favorite combo to use. With Trick Room, Safety Goggles and dual screens from Aromatisse plus a sold STAB in Moonblast, plus hail, low base speed, and hard-hitting STABs from Mega Abomasnow, the two just compliment each other so much. The two do both share unfortunate Poison and Steel weakness, but that’s what the rest of the team is there to deal with, allowing these two to provide incredible pressure onto the opponent.
      Clawitzer + Rotom-H

      Two solid special attackers that cover each other very well. Clawitzer puts pressure on opposing Tyranitar, Mamoswine, Meowstic, Salamence and Hydreigon, while Rotom-H deals with Amoonguss, Gyarados, and other physical attackers.
      Saturday, January 11

      After a brutal 6-hour ride in the rain and traffic from Philly to Doswell (I thank my mom a lot for taking me there), I arrived at the convention center. Though a lot of people complained how the event was in the middle of nowhere, I kinda liked the quietness of the area and how the air was actually clean. I immediately met honchkro13 and FonicFrog, and we hung out at the convention center for a few hours, before we headed back to bearsfan092’s hotel room, and watched some competitive Melee, which is still a marvel and overwhelming to observe. Bears then later drove a bunch of us down to the Cracker Barrel, where Ray was talking about the kinda stupid stuff he knew people were bringing to the tournament tomorrow while everyone indulged on the gravy train.

      After that we went down to Team Aqua vs. Team Flare Laser Tag which was incredibly fun, albeit kind of stupid that you had to have two hands on the gun at all times. After all of that I was exhausted and headed back to the hotel for about 7 hours of sleep.
      Sunday, January 12

      This is seriously giving me some horrible Newark 2011 queuing flashbacks...
      After signing up in the morning I met a few more people from the forums, but then my stomach started to have this really harsh pain. It was horrible for almost an hour, and I was thinking I would have to drop out. Even at the player's meeting table, the announcement of a Top 16 cut and 9 swiss rounds didn't get me all that excited because I was so uncomfortable. But, realizing I'd gone this far south, it would be a waste to just stop right here, so I forced my body to forget the pain and endure the day. As the day passed on, I began to feel a lot better, so I don't know if it was just adrenaline or that pain was all just anxiety.
      Round 1: Patrick (Pd0nZ)
      Me: Mienshao/Aromatisse/Abomasnow/Clawitzer
      Opponent: (Mamoswine/Rotom-C)
      Still recovering from that stomach pain, I came hyped into the first round. From team preview it looked almost like the kind of team I made in the first month of the metagame, instead with less Klefki and Trevenant and more Mamoswine and Rotom-C. Knowing that Abomasnow would do a ton of work against this team, I decided to lead out with Mienshao/Aromatisse, and he went with Kangaskhan/Talonflame. I Quick Guarded as both his Fake Out and Brave Bird were blocked as Aromatisse set up Trick Room. I remember getting rid of Talonflame with Rock Slide (he was running a faster Talonflame as I was able to under speed it in TR), as he switched out Kangashkan with Politoed, and meanwhile Aromatisse set up Reflect. From there I switched out Abomasnow to get rid of the rain while he ended up making a few more switches on the oncoming turns, trying to get back his rain but Mega Abomasnow wasn't having any of that. Aromatisse set up Light Screen and provided the damage enough for Abomasnow to KO everything left with Blizzard/Energy Ball, pulling a 4-0 victory. Pdonz admitted that he hadn't really trained with his team all that much, but I do commend him for still using rain, especially at how nerfed it has become this gen.
      Round 2: Ben
      Me: Mienshao/Rotom-H/Garchomp/Clawitzer
      Opponent:  (Pinsir/Tyranitar)
      From team preview the Pinsir scared me a lot, because I didn't really know what moves it would be running in Mega; however, he didn't even bring it. He led out with Lucario/Leafeon as I led with Mienshao/Rotom-H, which could threaten a good portion of his team. I protected with Rotom-H, as Lucario Quick Guarded and Leafeon immediately went for Baby-Doll Eyes on Mienshao, which caught me off guard a little bit, as Mienshao Low Sweeped the Lucario, ensuring that even if he Mega Evolved, he would still be undersped. Next turn Lucario mega evolved, as Leafeon went for Helping Hand, which scared me as I thought priority would be incoming, but it didn't. Mienshao KO'd Lucario and Rotom-H KO'd Leafeon. As Greninja and Chandelure came in, I was scared Chandelure would be scarfed, but it turned out it was a slower, Will-o-Wisp variant, as it burned Mienshao after I got another Low Sweep onto Greninja while I protected with Rotom-H. The rest of the match was a bit of a blur to me, but I was able to bring in Garchomp safely and then KO Greninja and Chandelure, ensuring another 4-0 victory.
      Round 3: Tanner
      Me: Mienshao/Aromatisse/Abomasnow/Clawitzer
      Opponent: (Garchomp/Salamence)
      This match I just did not play that well in at all. Seeing Garchomp, Salamence, and Greninja on the field, I thought Abomasnow would have a definite advantage, so I went into the same autopilot mode that's worked for me before. However, his Greninja got a burn off every single time it used Scald, which turned a 3HKO on Aromatisse into a 2HKO after burn damage, and he played his Meowstic cleverly, setting up Safeguard and then using Swagger on his own Kangaskhan a few turns later. He won 2-0 against me, as I learned that I needed to get off of autopilot mode and start getting even more serious.
      Round 4: Lucas
      Me: Rotom-H/Garchomp/Mienshao/Abomasnow
      Opponent: (Rotom-W/Tyranitar)
      This is the kind of team I've seen being used a lot on Battle Spot, and I immediately know he's going to want to lead out with Charizard/Venusaur, so I go with the safe Rotom-H/Garchomp lead. He mega evolves and Protects with Charizard as I protect with Rotom-H. He Sleep Powders into the Protect as I go for the safe Rock Slide. Next turn he goes for Sleep Powder onto Garchomp but misses (it wouldn't have mattered anyways thanks to Lum), as Garchomp KOs Charizard and Rotom-H Overheat KOs Venusaur. The following turns I'm able to switch out Garchomp and burn his Scarf Mamoswine, and able to safely KO both it and Scizor, I think finishing at 3-0.
      Round 5: Kyle (Xicious)
      Me: Rotom-H/Garchomp/Clawitzer/Mienshao
      Opponent: (Rotom-W/Amoonguss)
      I don't remember exactly what happened the first two turns, but I do remember he switched out Scizor for Tyranitar, and then went for Sucker Punch+Ice Fang on Garchomp the turn after switching, while Rotom knocks out Talonflame. When switching in Clawitzer for the fainted Garchomp, he was forced to switch out Tyranitar for Scizor because of Scarf, as I went for the safer play and Aura Sphere it. I should've just used Water Pulse. He then switched out Scizor again for Tyranitar as I go for the Water Pulse, playing safe again, but Tyranitar lives by less than 10%. I think Kangaskhan had been burned during this time, and went for a Sucker Punch+Scarf Rock Slide from Tyranitar, but Rotom is thankfully able to live at 3 HP from 99 HP, but it gets flinched, as Clawitzer knocks out Kangaskhan. Clawitzer gets knocked out by hail damage, as I send in Mienshao, and I protect Rotom and go for Rock Slide after he goes for Rock Slide again (thankfully, Inner Focus saves me from a possibly nasty flinch), KOing Tyranitar and leaving me with my Rotom and Mienshao versus his Scizor, pretty much assuring me victory as Bullet Punch fails to knock out Rotom.
      Round 6: Nathan Powell (illuminatimon)
      Me: Garchomp/Rotom-H/Mienshao/Clawitzer
      Opponent: (Mawile/Rotom-W)
      I saw Mawile in team preview, which was one Pokemon my team can have massive trouble against, so I prepared against it accordingly, bringing the same set as last match. This was another match where I can't really remember the specifics of it, but I remember Vivillon being Sashed and going for Sleep Powder on Garchomp, which I immediately recovered from, and then later he was able to Sleep Powder Clawitzer and disable it for the match. He also had Scarf Mamoswine, which I was able to KO with a burn plus additional damage.
      Round 7: Ashton Cox (LinkYoshiMario)
      Me: Mienshao/Clawitzer/Aromatisse/Abomasnow
      Opponent: (Absol/Garchomp)
      This was the guy I heard last match someone across the table talking about how weird it was that there was a Diggersby being used, which I'd only faced a few times before. From team preview, I saw even weirder things like Absol and Weavile, as he lead out with the latter and Charizard, as I decided to go into my slower mode that match. I went for Rock Slide turn 1 and knocked Weavile down to his Sash as he goes for Fake Out on Clawitzer, protecting Charizard. He then switched out Charizard for Diggersby while Weavile went for Icicile Crash onto Mienshao, which didn't knock it down to its sash allowing me to KO Weavile. Diggersby next turn went for a Scarf Wild Charge onto Clawitzer, and I lived by about 5 HP, knocking it out with Water Pulse. I switched out Mienshao and brought in Abomasnow as he brought in Charizard. We both mega evolved, setting up sun, as Charizard protected and I got a Dark Pulse flinch on his Clawitzer. Abomasnow and Clawitzer were knocked out by Heat Wave next turn, allowing me to set up my hail, and that brought me to a vital prediction the next turn: seeing as how he knew Mienshao has Rock Slide, I had to predict whether or not he would Protect with Charizard and allow Clawitzer to live a Rock Slide + Moonblast, or don't Protect and have Charizard KO Mienshao, sacrificing Clawitzer but forcing the match to go with Aromatisse versus Charizard, which I couldn't win. I predicted the former, but he unfortunately went for the latter, sealing my fate right there.
      Round 8: Nicholas Brown
      Me: Mienshao/Aromatisse/Abomasnow/Clawitzer
      Opponent: (Rotom-W/Cryogonal)
      This was the guy that I heard apparently beat Aaron Zheng earlier in the day with Aerodactyl, so I was very interested to see what he would bring. From team preview I saw Nidoking and Cryogonal, which besides making me think immediately of Canadian user feathers, told me I should probably bring my slower mode again. He lead out with Nidoking and Meowstic as I went with the Mienshao/Aromatisse lead. Mienshao went for Fake Out on the Meowstic as Nidoking went for Sludge Bomb on the Aromatisse, which I was thankfully able to take and set up Trick Room. I switched out Mienshao next turn for Abomasnow, as Meowstic went for Swagger on Aromatisse, but I was thankfully able to break through and went for Light Screen, which saved Aromatisse from a 2HKO. Aromatisse broke out of confusion to go for Moonblast on Meowstic, as Meowstic tried to Swagger Abomasnow, but Abomasnow was able to hit both of them with Blizzard for the double KO. He then brought in Machamp and Aerodactyl, as Abomasnow broke through confusion and KO'd Aerodactyl while Aromatisse set up Reflect to save Abomasnow from an OHKO from DynamicPunch. The next turn, I broke through confusion again as Trick Room wore off, going for a +2 Ice Shard to KO the Machamp.
      Round 9: Scott Immel
      Me: Garchomp/Rotom-H/Clawitzer/Abomasnow
      Opponent: (Meowstic/Mamoswine)
      Going into this battle, my opponent was commenting on how his team had a ton of trouble with Rotom-H, and immediately I knew what I was going to lead with. Scrafty surprisingly didn't go for Fake Out and instead opts for Stone Edge, but not before Venusaur misses Sleep Powder on Rotom as I proceeded to burn the Scrafty, leaving me free to spam Earthquake on the team. I knocked out Venusaur and Charizard the following turns, as Scrafty actually reveals it isn't Banded like I thought, but I'm still able to KO it with more hits plus burn damage, until he's left with just Abomasnow. I bring out Abomasnow to take care of it, ending with a 4-0 victory.
      After this match, I'm extremely tense, double-checking my resistance, making sure I don't bubble out. In what felt like an eternity, the placement rankings finally come out:

      I made it into top cut! Coming from so much doubt in the morning, I'm extremely excited to make it this far. However, it's already past like 5 PM, and my mom was thinking we would be heading home at around 4, which definitely didn't happen (but I'm really grateful she understood why I had to stay longer). As the player meeting begins, we're all forced onto the Battle Spot for a very late hack check, but instead of doing rated battles we chose free battles, which I'm still confused as to why. Anyways, as the sun came down, I was paired up with Derek Gazis.
      Top Cut, Round 1/3
      Me: Mienshao/Rotom-H/Garchomp/Clawitzer
      Opponent: : (Chandelure/Charizard)
      I heard from a few other people that his Kangaskhan has Facade, which I had run into a few of those throughout the day. From team preview I saw three Fire-types, which I would be absolutely paranoid of running (I'm already scared of running two Fire-types in regular matches), so I decided to leave out Abomasnow for this match. Turn 1 I'm able to Fake Out the Kangaskhan as Talonflame sets up Tailwind, as I go for Overheat onto Kangaskhan, afraid of burning it. Next turn his Talonflame goes for the Overheat onto Mienshao, which knocks it to its Sash, and then Kangaskhan got a +1 Power-Up Punch to KO Mienshao, however I'm unable to knock out Talonflame with a -2 Thunderbolt. He then switched out Talonflame for Rotom-W as I bring in Garchomp, but I'm swiftly OHKO'd by Kangaskhan's Return, but not without getting some Rough Skin damage+damage from Rotom-H to KO the Kangaskhan. Next turn he sends out Talonflame, which gets almost 75% onto Clawitzer, as his Rotom-W misses Hydro Pump on Rotom-H as I am able to KO the Talonflame and get some solid damage onto Rotom-W. As Tailwind runs out, Hydregion and Rotom-W are both able to easily take care of Clawitzer and Rotom-H, ending the match in a 0-2 loss.
      Top Cut, Round 2/3
      Me: Mienshao/Aromatisse/Rotom-H/Abomasnow
      Opponent: Same as before
      Seeing as this was my last match of the day, I was actually able to record it:

      Needless to say, I was massively outplayed. He made so many better match calls than me that I just couldn't keep up.
      After that harsh loss, I found out that Stormfront had gotten into the same situation as me, but I was a little bit relieved it was over because it had been an incredibly long day, and I wanted to get home sometime before midnight.

      Top cutting regionals for the first time
      Having a lot of excellent games, whether winning nor losing- not a terrible amount of hax for either side
      Meeting all my previous friends and making some new ones, the bond with fellow players is a really big element of what keeps me going
      The bacon cheeseburger from Cracker Barrel was fantastic
      Team Aqua vs. Flare Laser Tag needs to happen again ASAP
      Sunday was absolutely beautiful outside and I would often take breaks to go outside and get some fresh air, which was massively refreshing
      Pulling a GOLD ZEKROM from the packs I won from top cut
      Tournament staff organized the event incredibly well; not as well as Philly, but for something almost Nats-sized, I give them huge props
      Hotel was really cheap, but wasn't all that bad


      No saving battle videos- I can understand why this is in place in order to prevent scouting with the Mock Battle feature, but I'm wondering if there's a way to prevent a Mock Battle on a video, because without battle videos we can only really see from notes and word-of-mouth how players played. This is really my biggest problem and the one I want fixed the most
      That stupid stomach pain in the morning, and how I had to run the whole day without eating anything
      Only two places to eat were Burger King and Denny's without having to drive like 10 miles south
      The rain on Saturday, and how it left a massive puddle in the courtyard of the hotel, so you had to walk all the way around just to get to the other side
      Although I understand the idea of posting records, I feel like it could've been handled a little better- rounds took about 50 minutes because of it
      Laser tag required you to have two hands on the gun
      The questionable hack check process
      No changing the battle music- if I could use music 11 I would've been in the zone all day all night

      Despite those complaints, I had an incredibly fun time. I'm happy I got 12th seed and 15th place, but I'm most likely going to retire this team early because I already have my mind on some bold new things, which I can't wait to try out in future events.
      Article art is done by myself, which you can check out my art blog for more.
    • By Eiganjo
      Frequent visitors to our YouTube page might have noticed that we have archived videos up from the North America vs South America International Friendly. We've compiled them below for you so you can check out a region that you don't normally get to see in action against some of North America's best!

      We'll have a few more 5th generation battle videos from the NPA and last month's Regional Championships before we go into full-on Pokemon X & Y mode once the Standard format for 2014 is announced so subscribe to our channel if you don't want to miss anything!
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