Hello 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
- Earth Power
- Helping Hand
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
- 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
- Follow Me
- Air Slash
- Thunder Wave
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
EVs: 4 HP /252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Close Combat
- Rock Slide
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
EVs: 4 HP /252 SpAtk / 252 Spe
- Draco Meteor
- Light Screen
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
- Heat Wave
- Shadow Ball
- 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
SWISS IS OVER.
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!