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Veni, Vidi, Victini? Italian Nationals and NB Major Team Analysis

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Szymoninho

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blog-3sNp7GC.png"If the title made you cringe, remember that, here at Nugget Bridge, vomit-inducingly pun-tastic titles are basically the norm." - Smith_

Hello, everyone! Let me start with introducing myself - I'm Szymoninho, one of the few Polish VGC players. I started playing Pokemon over a decade ago after I got "infected" by my cousin. In the spring of 2011 I heard about Pokemon Black and White and about one year later I started to discover game mechanics like natures and EVs. In August 2012, after realizing that something like Pokemon Video Game Championships exists, I decided to try my chances and started to learn about VGC strategies. But I don't want to bore you, so let's start the team analysis.

The Team

(In the same order I had them in my Battle Box)

hydreigon.pngamoonguss.png

cresselia.pngsuicune.png

infernape.pngmetagross.png

In my opinion teambuilding on your own is the best way to learn how a team functions. I decided that I needed a new team about five weeks before the Italian Nationals. At the time I was using a rainroom team consisting of Politoed, Kingdra, Cresselia, Landorus-T, Escavalier and Amoonguss, and I really liked it but after hours of thinking about it and practicing with it I came to a decision that it wouldn't be a reliable team to use at an event with best of one swiss rounds for two reasons: it leaned too heavily on inaccurate moves like Hydro Pump, Muddy Water, Draco Meteor, Rock Slide and Megahorn. The second reason was that the team had some very obvious threats, the biggest one being Ferrothorn, which I did not expect a large amount of at the event but if I had to challenge a good (by good I mean making decent predictions, not protecting and switching every time he sees a threat to his Pokemon) player using it I would probably lose, and the thing I wanted least was relying on pure hope to avoid certain Pokemon.

I had a few ideas on my mind but still needed something a bit less standard to get the feeling that my team would perform well at the event. I knew I wanted to use Trick Room paired with two or three fast Pokemon because I noticed that a lot of teams on Pokemon Online heavily relied on Thunder Wave + Icy Wind speed control while lacking a solid Trick Room counter (which doesn't mean having Taunt and hoping that everything will go fine). I also noticed that some combinations of Pokemon, let's call them cores, worked exceptionally well in the 2012 season. Two of them led their users to the biggest success: Tyranitar-Cresselia-Scizor-Garchomp (Cybertron's and Wolfey's USA Nationals winning teams, Jumpei Yamamoto's Japanese Nationals runner up team, MangoSol's all-season-long successful team) and Cresselia-Metagross-Hydreigon (Ray's and Dimsun's Worlds winning teams, huuuryu's Japanese Nationals winning team, R's rainroom team aka skarm's Canadian Nationals runner up team). I decided to pick the second one mostly because it fit better to Trick Room and because of all those Hidden Power Fire Cresselia that people still used even though it was neither original nor unexpected anymore.

So I tested the combination of Metagross, Hydreigon and Cresselia in many different configurations and discovered that its main flaw was a huge Bug-type weakness. And then, while taking a long walk on a beach away from any PC or DS, I reminded myself of a pretty underused but incredible Pokemon that I've seen in action a couple of times doing some amazing work, Infernape. Despite not being very bulky it resisted Bug-type attacks x4 and hit them for super effective damage (most notably Scizor). It turns out that Infernape works really well as a lead duo with Hydreigon which took care of Cresselia while the monkey KO'd all Steel-types with its excellent anti-Steel dual Fire-Fighting STAB. At this point I had two Pokemon remaining to add to the team. I knew I needed a solid rain counter and a slow 'mon able to work well under Trick Room. A few weeks earlier I had become fascinated with Suicune and how "anti-metagame" it was. It also fit the role of the rain and sand counter and walled Heatran which I'm always afraid of due to its insane number of resistances. The last Pokemon is Amoonguss that provided third Water resist to the team and forced some predictable leads. Now let me say a word about each member of the team separately.

Members

cresselia.png

Cresselia (F) @ Sitrus Berry

Trait: Levitate

EVs: 252 HP / 76 Def / 180 SpA

0 Speed IVs

Sassy Nature

- Psyshock

- Ice Beam

- Swagger

- Trick Room

This set might seem to be as boring as possible but proved its worth both in practice and in tournaments. The EVs are very similar to Ray's and Scott's Cresselia but I never managed to make my own spread for it because this one came out to be so good with this team. I maximized HP because I wasn't running Tyranitar so I didn't need to minimize Sandstorm damage. It turned out to be a good decision, because I sometimes survived by one or two HP points while setting up Trick Room. 180 Special Attack EVs let me OHKO 4 HP Salamence that would otherwise threaten Hydreigon and deal heavy damage to Metagross with Fire Blast. The metagame is dominated by Special Attackers but Cresselia's biggest enemies are physical ones (Tyranitar and Scizor) so bulk on both sides was required in about equal amount. Minimum Speed is there for obvious reasons. Swagger boosts Metagross' Attack but also it's a move that makes Pokemon such an unpredictable game. I used it in crucial situations on enemy Pokemon and often paired it with Iron Head to force some luck factor on my side. It is also Cresselia's main defense against such Pokemon such as Heatran, if they're not hiding behind a Substitute, to force switches or gain some time and be able to get a free switch in.

Once during a battle against Human on Pokemon Online he got pretty mad at me for using Swagger on the second turn of the game on his Volcarona. And he was right - using Swagger in the beginning of the match on enemy Pokemon is usually a bad thing to do, in most cases a switch or an attack is much more profitable than flipping coins from the very beginning. I'd like to emphasize how important Cresselia is for this team - it's the only Pokemon able to control speed on the field and I tried to always take it to the battle (unless my opponent had three or more counters to it) after finding out that I usually lose my games without it. I don't have any doubt that this is the best Pokemon in the VGC 2012/13 metagame not only due to its absurd bulk but also because you never know what to expect from it. I ran into many teams spamming Thunder Wave and my strategy against them was to KO Thundurus as soon as possible after letting my faster Pokemon (Hydreigon, Infernape and Suicune) get paralyzed and twist the dimensions to gain a huge advantage. To do that Cresselia needed to be on the field for just one turn. Also some teams were absolutely unprepared for facing Trick Room and their only way to stop it was to KO Cresselia as soon as possible, that's why I chose Sitrus Berry, which in my opinion is the best item for a semi-bulky Cresselia, because it provides burst recovery right after the damage is dealt to increase the chances of Trick Room going up. I chose Psyshock over Psychic to deal with Hitmontop, Amoonguss, Virizion and special "walls" more easily. Being able to hit on both sides of the spectrum paid off on many occasions.

metagross.png

Metagross @ Lum Berry

Trait: Clear Body

EVs: 252 HP / 132 Att / 28 Def / 92 SDef

Adamant Nature

14 Speed IVs

- Iron Head

- Zen Headbutt

- Earthquake

- Protect

Steel types always come in handy when facing all those Dragons dealing heavy damage to everything that doesn't resist their attacks. The thing I like most about Metagross is its ability which makes it Intimidate proof, a great thing to have for a Swagger target. Since it often was at +2 I didn't feel that much offensive investment was needed. The EVs let me always survive a Drill Run from an Excadrill holding Life Orb, so I was able to bring my only Steel-type against sand teams comfortably. It had enough offensive investment to OHKO dragons like Latios and Salamence with Iron Head after the attack boost. The leftover EVs are put in Special Defense to take Thunderbolts, Hydro Pumps, Earth Powers and Heat Waves without any worries. This came in handy in Round 7 when I survived a Gem boosted Hydro Pump from Rotom-W after taking some damage before. If one day I become brave enough to use Meteor Mash I'll definitely move more EVs from Attack to Special Defense. I've been struggling to put Metagross on one of my teams for the whole year mostly due to its inaccurate STAB attacks but after some testing it became apparent that Iron Head is not a bad move. I didn't want to use Meteor Mash in the best of one format because it very often missed, sometimes even twice in a row. Zen Headbutt hits Pokemon like Hitmontop, Rotom-W and Thundurus for at least neutral damage while Earthquake takes care of enemy Steel-types and having a spread move is always good thing. I have tested a lot of different moves, like Gem boosted Ice Punch, Hammer Arm or even Explosion, but no set provided as much coverage as this one. On this team Metagross was an excellent tool to counter Latios-Hitmontop leads and Tyranitar, which I saw a lot of in practice. For a short while I wanted to replace it with Escavalier but that change would've made me even more Volcarona-weak and I needed Metagross' Flying and Rock-type resistances which were my only ones on the whole team. On the downside, it loses duels against Scizor.

hydreigon.png

Hydreigon (F) @ Dragon Gem

Trait: Levitate

EVs: 36 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SDef / 212 Spe

Timid Nature

- Draco Meteor

- Dark Pulse

- Flamethrower

- Protect

Hydreigon is a Pokemon I didn't think very highly of for the most part of the season because it's the slowest commonly used dragon but after Latios turned out to be pretty underwhelming in practice I decided to give the tripplehead another chance. At first I was disappointed after using a Choice Scarf version of it, but later I changed the item to Dragon Gem and it became a whole different Pokemon. EVs let it outspeed Ray's Hydreigon by two points in case someone was smart enough to try to outspeed it by one point but it rarely came to dragon duels. I used the rest of EVs to maximize Draco Meteor power while the leftovers remain in bulk. Dark Pulse lets me hit Cresselia for super effective damage and Flamethrower takes care of most Steel-types. I used to have Earth Power on this set but Scizor was a real pain for this team if I didn't take Infernape to the battle, so I didn't want to rely on only one Pokemon to beat it. I also tested Life Orb but it usually didn't get me all the KOs I wanted, like some bulky Rotom-W. Hydreigon's Dark-Dragon STAB provided amazing coverage with Infernape's powerful Fire-Fighting moves and let me hit any Pokemon for huge damage. I sometimes used Draco Meteor against Heatran when I knew my Hydreigon would go down this turn, it still deals heavy damage and puts enemy in an easy spot to KO for an unboosted Suicune's Scald, so it's good to keep that in mind while using dragons.

A few weeks ago I discovered that many Pokemon Online players are using singles mentality in VGC. What I mean is the biggest difference between those two formats is, in my opinion, speed control. In singles Thunder Wave and Icy Wind aren't commonly seen moves for some reason so you usually need to have the fastest dragon to win a duel (or the most sober one) while in VGC your other Pokemon can do some work to slow down or knock out your opponent. I think that this is the main reason standing for Latios' (along with its base Special Attack, otherwise Latias would've been more popular) and its Choice Scarf versions (which in my opinion is a bit of an overkill) popularity. Despite that during the tournament I noticed a lot more Hydreigon than I expected (two of them winding up playing face to face in the final) while the only Latios I saw was in my round eight game. I'd also like to say a few words about Hydreigon's nature. In my opinion it's much easier to use Pokemon sitting around base 100 Speed when they are Jolly/Timid than Adamant/Modest. Even though some extra power could've helped me to OHKO some Pokemon EV'd to survive a Timid Latios Dragon Gem Draco Meteor, I think that Speed gave me a bit more momentum and let me outspeed Modest Volcarona, Thundurus-T and other Hydreigon which otherwise could deal some serious damage to my team. Sometimes it's better to go for speed instead of power if you're not losing many important KO's/2HKO's.

infernape.png

Infernape (F) @ Focus Sash

Trait: Blaze

EVs: 228 Att / 60 SpA / 220 Spe

Naive Nature

- Fake Out

- Close Combat

- Overheat

- Stone Edge

The first potentially eye-catching Pokemon on my team. As I said before, Infernape was put on the team to counter mainly Scizor but later it turned out that it wasn't the best thing it could do. With so many weaknesses Infernape wasn't able to stay on the field for a long time so I had to put Flamethrower on Hydreigon as my second way of getting rid of the steel bug. The funny thing is that people usually brought Scizor against me and didn't fear Infernape at all, since it was able to survive in most cases only two attacks (one with sandstorm up), so I had to be careful. Despite that I quickly fell in love with Infernape because of its typing, stats and movepool and, even though I didn't plan it, it became a part of my most frequent lead (with Hydreigon), and I guess a Pokemon I brought (at least wanted to bring, more on that later) to every game in Milan. Having one of the fastest Fake Outs in the game never hurts, neither do STABs of 140 and 120 base power. Focus Sash ensured I could survive at least one attack outside sandstorm or hail, and helped me activate Blaze, which is a much better ability than I expected. Actually Blaze boosted Overheats helped me beat Thundurus and Landorus Therian formes, as I often predicted them to target Infernape on the first turn, expecting a Fake Out, so I usually aimed Overheat at my opponent. If they were scarfed, then they would've activated Blaze before I attacked, if they weren't, I would've been able to move first on the following turn, so KO anyway. I originally had Feint on this set, a very helpful move that I recommend to everyone in most cases. But on this team Infernape had also a different role - countering Volcarona, which was the Pokemon I really didn't want to play against. Stone Edge made my Volcarona matchup a lot easier, as I often targeted it on the first turn, especially if it was a part of the infamous TopMoth lead. It also provided a way to hit Chandelure as it's immune to Infernape's other moves. I didn't have many issues with accuracy, in fact Overheat missed more often.

The EVs are pretty simple - enough Speed to outspeed Garchomp by two points, in case anyone wanted to outspeed it by one point (usually HP Fire Latios), with 60 SpA EVs Overheat OHKOs Dimsun's Metagross (basically a bit specially bulkier spread than 252/252), the rest is dumped in Attack, because I wanted Infernape to be mostly a physical attacker. I chose Naive nature over Hasty to take Rock Slides and Psyshocks a bit better, but I guess there's no big difference since this was a glass cannon kind of Pokemon that let me put a lot of offensive pressure on my opponent instead of taking hits. If I was to EV it once again I would have moved a few EVs from Attack to Speed to outspeed a max Speed Liepard, but I didn't face a single one in Italy. In my opinion Infernape is a better Pokemon than Hitmontop in most cases, it's faster, hits harder, has the excellent Fire-type STAB and a much better movepool, including Encore, Acrobatics, Taunt, Will-o-Wisp and even U-turn. If it only this had a better ability, like Intimidate or Defiant, it would've literally outclassed the omnipresent boring Hitmontop.

suicune.png

Suicune @ Leftovers

Trait: Pressure

EVs: 244 HP / 4 Def / 188 SpA / 44 SDef / 28 Spe

Bold Nature

- Scald

- Ice Beam

- Calm Mind

- Protect

This is probably my favourite Pokemon on this team. After over two months of using it I still can't see why it's so uncommon. Suicune's got fantastic bulk, enough offensive power to 2HKO many common Pokemon and superb typing that lets wall a huge part of the metagame after a Calm Mind. In the beginning I mentioned that it's an anti-metagame Pokemon, so now I'd like to explain that. First of all, Suicune counters both sand and rain - it resists Water-type moves and hits Tyranitar, Garchomp and Excadrill for super effective damage. Secondly, current metagame is centered around special attackers and after one or two Calm Minds Suicune can wall entire teams, which won me a crazy amount of battles in practice. Also, given its bulk, it's a great response to dragons. So it walls rain, destroys sand and counters dragons, so it's a pretty situational Pokemon that won't perform well against goodstuff teams, right? Wrong, because you can't counter Suicune the same way as Heatran or Gastrodon. Why? Look at its typing - pure Water. This means only two single weaknesses - to Electric and Grass-types and the majority of Electric and Grass-type moves are specially based, so if I manage to set up a Calm Mind before my opponent switches in his Rotom-W or Ludicolo, he's going to have a hard time fighting Suicune. But they can always double target or hit it a few times in a row until it faints, yes? Yes, of course they can and that's why I chose Leftovers and Protect. Moreover, if my opponent decides to remove Suicune as fast as they can then my Infernape and Hydreigon get a chance to spam some Close Combats and Draco Meteors while Suicune gets all the attention.

The EVs let it survive a Dragon Gem Draco Meteor from a Modest Hydreigon (which is more powerful than Timid Latios) 93.75% of the time (yes, there's always the 6.25% chance for a critical hit) with enough HP to survive sandstorm damage. With 188 Special Attack EVs Suicune OHKOs 4 HP Garchomp and with 28 Speed EVs it outspeeds Rotom-A (most notably Rotom-W) with 12 Speed EVs so I can set up a Calm Mind before they Thunderbolt me. The rest is put into physical bulk because I can't increase it during the battle. I originally wanted Suicune to have a Sitrus Berry but Cresselia needed it more and Leftovers let me recover more damage due to my style of using this Pokemon - setting up and walling the enemy. So now a few words about my move choices. I went for Ice Beam because I think that having Icy Wind on a half Trick Room team is just terrible and I needed an Ice-type move to hit dragons and genies. Scald is there instead of Hydro Pump for two reasons: I was afraid of low accuracy moves and I preferred the burn chance instead of power - on a defensive Pokemon like this burn was the only way to stall out some strong physical attackers (mostly due to lack of Intimidate on this team). Despite not being popular I think Suicune is a great Pokemon to use in VGC, and now, after all those battles I had with this team, I can't think of a better replacement for it. If I had to make a list of the most underused Pokemon in VGC, Suicune definitely would've made top 5.

amoonguss.png

Amoonguss @ Mental Herb

Trait: Regenerator

EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 164 SDef

Sassy Nature

0 Speed IVs

- Giga Drain

- Spore

- Rage Powder

- Protect

This is the only Pokemon on this team I could consider changing. Despite being a great thing to have against rain, especially surf-spam, and full Trick Room teams I don't think Amoonguss is a very good Pokemon. Of course, it can do some work early in the game but never on its own and usually functions as a thing that helps sponge some hits or setup. This team has in fact only one setup move - Calm Mind, and the combination of Spore/Rage Powder spam and Calm Mind spam was my favorite, and the easiest way to beat some rain teams that didn't feature Ferrothorn, Safeguard Virizion or Choice Specs Thundurus-T (especially those Hidden Power Flying versions, I guess that's the only Pokemon able to KO both Suicune and Amoonguss so easily). This was the last Pokemon I added to the team, I had a few 'mons for this spot (Conkeldurr, Brave Virizion) but Amoonguss proved its worth in practice and in theory. It provided the second Fighting-type resist and was a Pokemon that helped me abuse Trick Room a bit easier - Cresselia and Metagross are great but both are undersped by a few popular Pokemon, most notably by slow Tyranitar and Gastrodon.

The EV spread lets it survive Metagross' non-boosted Zen Headbutt as well as many Special Attacks including Latios' Psychic or Dragon Gem Draco Meteor. Basically I decided on more Special bulk in order to take surf-spam teams' attacks better which was very helpful. I brought Amoonguss to a battle only two times in Milan (once on purpose, once not) and I lost both of those games but I still can't think of a better replacement for it. You have to be careful when using it, because it can't hit for much damage and Giga Drain is resisted by a lot of Pokemon, so if you find yourself in a spot with Cresselia and Amoonguss against, say, Metagross it's over. A while ago I discovered that many successful teams in 90-95% of cases need only 5 Pokemon in order to perform well, the sixth 'mon is usually a rain or Trick Room counter (like Amoonguss on my team) and should be used only in such cases. I feel like I wasn't very aware of that in Milan but it's been a very important lesson for me.

Team Combinations

Before I write about my battles I'd like to say how I used this team since its very beginning. This section is called "Team Combinations", not "Leads" because choosing your leads also depends on what do you have in the back to be able to make some good switches and eliminate some threats for those two Pokemon.

infernape.png - hydreigon.png

cresselia.png - metagross.png

This is probably the most neutrally oriented combination I've used with this team. If I was to play without the team preview I'd probably use these four Pokemon most of the time. As I said earlier - Infernape and Hydreigon are the very dangerous together as I very rarely found myself in a situation where I couldn't hit either of my opponent's leads for Super Effective damage. I used to have Feint on Infernape to OHKO enemy Latios right after they protected because they feared the Fake Out + Draco Meteor combo and I have to admit that I sometimes missed Feint, but Stone Edge took care of TopMoth and Volcarona in general so well that I guess I made the right decision here. If I faced bulky Thundurus I'd often let it paralyze both Infernape and Hydreigon just to switch one of them out for Cresselia and abuse Trick Room (once Thundurus was eliminated of course). Metagross in the back often switched into Draco Meteors or just waited for Cresselia's free switch in to begin its sweep.

cresselia.png - amoonguss.png

suicune.png - hydreigon.png

This was my main defense against surf-spam teams and rain in general. Turn one - Rage Powder / Protect + Trick Room, turn two Cresselia out, Suicune in, Spore, turn three - Spore + Calm Mind. This was a very effective combination against rain teams that lacked Taunt or slow Pokemon. There's not much to say about it. If I successfully managed to get to turn 3 the game was usually already over unless my opponent got a critical hit on Suicune.

cresselia.png - metagross.png

infernape.png - suicune.png/hydreigon.png

This one is pretty simple but I had to be careful using it. I usually tried to set up Trick Room turn one and deal as much damage as possible with Metagross, then once the dimensions returned to normal I swept with the fast portion of my team or just finished the game with Suicune if they didn't have anything able to hit it hard.

suicune.png - infernape.png

cresselia.png - metagross.png/hydreigon.png

My only setup move is Calm Mind (except Swagger for Metagross but this required two Pokemon) so with a little help from Infernape, Suicune had a way to set up safely. Cresselia was usually in the back so I could use Trick Room late in the game for Metagross or simply keep Fighting-types and dragons away from Hydreigon with Psyshock and Ice Beam respectively.

cresselia.png - infernape.png

metagross.png - suicune.png

Probably my favorite combo. My team basically lacked surprise moves bar Stone Edge and setup moves but I could still pull out a surprise Trick Room and switch Infernape out for Metagross to put a lot of pressure on my opponent. There were some people that double-protected on the first turn of the game fearing Fake Out and after I dropped Feint I wasn't able to punish them for doing so. This combo provided a way of actually making use of the turn which my opponent was trying to waste. I sometimes used Hydreigon instead of Infernape if my opponent had an Earthquake user (usually Landorus-T) in case they wanted to use it on Infernape (switched out for Metagross).

amoonguss.png- infernape.png

cresselia.png - suicune.png

I think this was the most underwhelming lead I've ever used with this team. In practice it usually worked but I lost game four in Milan mostly because of choosing Amoonguss over Metagross. As you probably noticed this lead was supposed to counter enemy Trick Room by Faking Out enemy Fake Out / Rage Powder user and Spore the Trick Room user. It definitely has potential but you have to be careful using it.

hydreigon.png - metagross.png

cresselia.png - infernape.png/suicune.png

Hydreigon and Metagross are great as leads but you have to play smart. You can't switch in Metagross for incoming Draco Meteors because it's already out. These two have an amazing coverage and synergy that eases prediction a lot.

The Battles

I took notes in Milan, so I don't have to rely on my memory but there are a few things that I've already forgot and didn't write down. During the Nugget Bridge Major I didn't take notes so if I say something untrue please correct me.

VGC 2013 Italy National Championship - Milan

Round 1 - vs. Salvatore G.

His pick: hippowdon.png castform.png abomasnow.png roserade.png

My pick: hydreigon.png infernape.png suicune.png cresselia.png

I was really nervous because it was my first game in a live tournament ever and I tried to do my best and not get Pokemon'd. El Fenomeno was sitting just a few seats away, so we wished each other good luck and I felt it helped me a bit. As I was the first one to arrive at the table I chose to sit in a way that I was facing the wall, not the rest of the venue, so nothing could distract me. His team was very interesting - it seemed to me like he made it just to have some fun there. The other two Pokemon on his team were Politoed and Ninetales. I thought he'd go for Ninetales + Roserade to abuse Sleep Powder (now I know Roserade doesn't get Chlorophyll) but this wasn't the case. Turn one I go for a safe Fake Out on his Castform and Draco Meteor on his Hippowdon for an early KO. I expected him to double-protect to let Castform change its forme (I didn't know that Castform's Sand Forme doesn't exist until now) but well, I really didn't want to overpredict my first ever turn in a tournament. I played OU Singles for one day so I knew that Hippowdon lacks special bulk and his team lacked a Steel-type so it was the best thing I could do there. He sends out his Abomasnow and, if I remember correctly, Castform changes its forme. I go for the Close Combat on Castform and Flamethrower on Abomasnow which turns out to be scarfed. It crits my Hydreigon with Blizzard, does some damage to Infernape which OHKOs Castform (I was a bit afraid of it because I really didn't know what it could do except using Weather Ball). I send out Suicune, he sends out Roserade, I go for Overheat on it but it Protects while Abomasnow spams Blizzard and 'cune uses Calm Mind. The next Blizzard takes out Infernape and Ice Beam deals some heavy damage to his Roserade which uses Giga Drain (I guess). On the next turn I KO Roserade and from there it was easy but I was really scared of getting frozen. Won 2-0.

Current record: 1-0

Round 2 - vs. Manuel D.

His pick: excadrill.png tyranitar.png thundurus.png garchomp.png

My pick: hydreigon.png amoonguss.png suicune.png cresselia.png

I see a basic sand team on the team preview and take some time to pick my leads. I go for Suicune and Infernape with Cresselia and Metagross in the back predicting Excadrill-Tyranitar but as the battle starts I see Amoonguss and Hydreigon on my side. I check what I have in the back and see that it's Suicune and Cresselia, not the worst it could be but I couldn't believe my eyes that I hadn't clicked "Confirm". I was sure I did as it never happened to me before. I was in a rough spot. My Hydreigon got flinched by Excadrill's Rock Slide and from there it was pretty downhill for me. His Tyranitar had Avalanche so I could've spored it but I used Rage Powder before so now I had to switch to get some recovery. For a second I thought I lost to someone who wasn't that bad but when he KO'd my Suicune with Garchomp's Outrage on the last turn and I opened my eyes as wide as possible and looked at him. He looked confident but then I told him that the game picked my leads randomly. Lost 0-2.

Current record: 1-1

Round 3 - vs. Joan B.

His pick: rotom-wash.png volcarona.png metagross.png unown-question.png

My pick: cresselia.png infernape.png metagross.png suicune.png

I tried to focus as much as I could because he didn't have Castform or anything like that and his name sounded Portuguese, which means he probably travelled a long way to get to Milan, so he couldn't have been bad. On the team preview I saw Volcarona for the first time on that day and I wasn't happy about it. I lead Cresselia - Infernape as he goes for Rotom-W - Volcarona. I go for Stone Edge turn one and Psyshock on Rotom, which used Snatch right before me. I didn't miss and as Volcarona's HP was going down I figured it would've been too easy. I was right. It had Focus Sash and now my opponent seemed to have a slight advantage from there. I realized that they both outspeed my Infernape so I went for Trick Room and Close Combat on Rotom. From there it was pretty easy for me to finish the game as my opponent didn't make any brilliant predictions. I remember spamming Earthquake and my Swagger missing on my Metagross. That was pretty funny, because as soon as he saw me Swaggering my own Pokemon he opened his eyes almost as wide as me when I saw the Outrage Garchomp in my previous game. I won 3-0.

Current record: 2-1

Round 4 - vs. Antonio L.

His pick: chandelure.png scrafty.png conkeldurr.png metagross.png

My pick: amoonguss.png infernape.png suicune.png cresselia.png

A Spainard with a solid-looking team. I knew he'd try to go for Trick Room so I picked Amoonguss. I Fake Out his Scrafty and switch out Amoonguss for Suicune. He uses Flamethrower, Suicune gets burned, and I guess that if I switched Infernape here for Amoonguss I would've had the game. I predicted him to go for Trick Room but I guess I went for Calm Mind and Close Combat. I can't remember what happened next, I think his Chandelure had Focus Sash, Scrafty Chopple Berry and his Conkeldurr hit my Suicune for some serious damage with Hammer Arm. A few turns later, when I found myself in a situation where both Suicune and Infernape had very low HP, I realized that if he brought his Metagross then it was over. I prayed for a Garchomp when I took out his Chandelure and had only my Cresselia and Amoonguss left. Unfortunately it was Metagross and I couldn't do anything to it unless I froze it with Ice Beam for about one billion of turns (and it didn't carry a Lum Berry), so I lost. I was mad at myself, because I played really badly, didn't think about saving Suicune for late game, was too lazy to make some switches and got overconfident as soon as I saw Flamethrower on his Chandelure. I lost 0-1.

Current record: 2-2

Round 5 - vs. Ricardo M.

His pick: cresselia.png hydreigon.png scizor.png unown-question.png

My pick:  cresselia.png hydreigon.png metagross.png suicune.png

His team looked pretty solid but he had Eelektross, so I really didn't want to lose. This is the battle I remember least, I guess I used Trick Room and Swaggered my Metagross, then finished his Cresselia with FlinchFusion (+2 Iron Heads + Swagger). His predictions were pretty bad, no offense, but he was that Protect + switch kinda guy. As soon as I realized it the game was under my control but I made one stupid move - used Trick Room without checking how fast his Scizor was. Guess what. It was slow. Very slow. But it had Roost. Late in the game it came down to my Suicune (at +1 probably, but I'm not sure) and Metagross (+2) against his Scizor and Hydreigon. I figured that if I got rid of his Scizor I would win the game and double-targeted it with Iron Head and Scald for the KO while Hydreigon protected itself (not sure about that). Won 1-0 (or 2-0, not sure again).

Current record: 3-2

Round 6: vs. Giuseppe F.

His pick: chandelure.png medicham.png machamp.png zapdos.png

My pick: hydreigon.png infernape.png cresselia.png suicune.png

I was really nervous because if I lost that game I would've lost my chances to get to the top cut. His team was weird but I reminded myself that Baz mentioned he faced a full Trick Room team with a very slow Zapdos. That was it. He had Focus Sash on his Chandelure and got Trick Room up. Then he came out to be better than I expected and KO'd my Infernape with Heat Wave + Zen Headbutt while I switched out Hydreigon for Cresselia. I switch in Suicune and he double targets my Cresselia with Hi Jump Kick and Shadow Ball. It survives with only a few HP and twists back the dimensions while Suicune uses Calm Mind (I knew he thought I would've protected my Suicune). I go for Scald on his Medicham and it survives with only a few HP, crits Suicune with Hi Jump Kick and faints from Life Orb damage. I double-facepalmed as I knew it would've been very difficult to get back from there. He sends out Zapdos and Machamp. The former KOs 30% HP Cresselia with an Electric Gem Thunderbolt and the latter goes down to Draco Meteor. I try to damage his Zapdos as much as I could with Dark Pulse hoping for a flinch while he sets up Tailwind, which I try stall out. He didn't have Hidden Power Ice but Flying so I had a bit more time than I expected. Unfortunately Dark Pulse didn't crit or flinch so here I am with my 15% HP -2 Special Attack Hydreigon against his 40% HP Electric Gem Tailwind Zapdos. I click Draco Meteor. It misses.

Current record: 3-3

Round 7 - vs. Stefano S.

His pick:  togekiss.png mamoswine.png rotom-wash.png chandelure.png

My pick: suicune.png infernape.png metagross.png cresselia.png

Meanwhile I mentioned to Ben that from now on, as I didn't have any chances to cut, I was going to, ironically, get lucky. I wasn't as tense as I had been before, from now on I was playing just for fun. I turned up at the table early as usual, talked a bit with people sitting next to me and wait for my opponent. He came out to be a typical cheerful and talkative Southern-European. I guess both of us enjoyed our time. He had a pretty cool team built around the Follow Me + priority idea. I can't even remember how the battle went but I got pretty lucky twice, however neither of us had chances to cut, so we just continued our conversation and shared thoughts on our teams. Unfortunately I'm not sure about the Pokemon we picked to the battle. I won 2-0.

Current record: 4-3

Round 8 - Maycol Re

His pick: metagross.png latios.png tyranitar.png garchomp.png

My pick: cresselia.png infernape.png metagross.png suicune.png

He was another positive Italian so I really enjoyed our time. His team, as he told me later, was based on Ray's Worlds team, but he exchanged Hydreigon for Latios. He leads Latios-Metagross against my Cresselia-Infernape. On the first turn I switch out 'nape and send Metagross as he double targets it with Zen Headbutt and Psyshock, and my Cresselia uses Trick Room. I remember his Latios had Hidden Power Fire (probably because Ray's Hydreigon had Flamethrower) and I managed to OHKO it with a +2 Iron Head (with a crit, but Metagross was EV'd to get this KO anyway) and his Metagross went down to a +2 Earthquake and Ice Beam (our Metas were of course speed-tied but there fortunately weren't any crucial "coin flips"). He had Garchomp and Tyranitar in the back and the latter was the last man standing on his side before Suicune finished it with Scald. I won 2-0.

Final record: 5-3

Well, 5-3 isn't the best record I could achieve and I have to be honest I was counting on getting into the top cut because in practice this team performed very well compared to other teams I tested. I have to say I'm a bit disappointed with my performance in this tournament, not my team's, because I never found myself in a situation where I could say I had a bad matchup.

Nugget Bridge Major 2

I used the same team in all my matches during the Nugget Bridge Major even though I had a few other ones on my mind. I decided to give this team its probably last chance at winning or generally just doing well. For those of you who don't know, NB Major is a single elimination, best of three type of tournament that takes place once a Nugget Bridge season (twice a year).

Round 1 - vs. Pirate Lion Inferno

His team:

hydreigon.png thundurus.png milotic.png

hitmontop.pngunown-question.png unown-question.png

Here I really can't remember his whole team. In all three games I led Metagross-Hydreigon with Cresselia in the back but I guess I changed Suicune for Infernape for game three. I won the first game pretty comfortably but game two things went a bit differently than I would've expected. He got a critical hit on my Suicune with a Thunderbolt on a switch in from Metagross so it was a bit difficult. Game three I guess it came down to his offensive Thundurus-I and Hydreigon vs my faster Hydreigon and Infernape. I managed to KO Thundurus and took the set. I won 2-1.

Round 2 - vs. araluen7

His team:

breloom.png thundurus.png volcarona.png

politoed.pngkingdra.png bisharp.png

He had a really cool team, I liked it a lot but if he managed to change a few things and play a bit more carefully he would've taken this set for sure. His Breloom was Choice Scarfed (which was fantastic news for me) and Volcarona didn't carry Charti Berry. He never managed to bring his Politoed into the battle. I can't even remember what I've used but I know I led with Infernape both games. At the end of game two he got lots of luck (he flinched Infernape with Rock Slide two or three times in a row, once he flinched Cresselia just to Crit it with Thunder on the next turn) but I managed to finish the game with Suicune since Breloom was locked into Rock Slide. If I remember correctly he even wanted to forfeit after those multiple fliches but that's Pokemon and anything can happen so we finished the game. I won 2-0.

Round 3 - vs. honchkro13

His team:

entei.png suicune.png unown-question.png

unown-question.pngunown-question.png unown-question.png

I smiled when I saw Suicune on the team preview. He also used Entei and won against me on the cool points. I led Suicune-Infernape both games with Cresselia and Metagross in the back, I got some lucky burns with Scald and it really helped me win the first one. Second game I used exactly the same lead and went for Fake Out + Calm Mind, made some good predictions and won pretty much without any exceptional luck. I won 2-0.

Round 4 - vs. Unreality

His team:

dragonite.png nidoking.png rotom-wash.png

virizion.pngcloyster.png bisharp.png

This set was pretty sick. And by sick I don't mean bad but very close and full of comebacks, mindgames and turnarounds. I felt I played every game almost flawlessly. Game one I read him pretty well and it came down to his Yache Berry, full HP Dragonite against my Cresselia (15% HP), Suicune (10% HP), Infernape (1 HP I guess) and Metagross (25% HP). He went for Extremespeed on Suicune while Cresselia used Ice Beam (to bring it down to about 60% HP). After that Metagross used Iron Head while Dragonite took down Cresselia. I sent out Infernape, went for a safe Fake Out but it survived by one pixel of HP, didn't flinch and KO'd my Metagross with Fire Punch. I was screwed and hoped for a misclick or something but he used Extremespeed once again to win the set. I thought nobody uses Inner Focus on Dragonite because Multiscale is far superior to it. I was wrong. Game two came down to my Infernape and Suicune against his Dragonite and Rotom-W. I predicted him to Protect Dragonite and used Close Combat and +1 Scald on his Rotom. Suicune was far from Extremespeed range, so I won. Game three I had everything planned once again, I read most of his moves correctly but late in the game his Rotom-W got a paralysis on my Suicune with Thunderbolt and I was able to finish the game if Suicune's Ice Beam hit his Virizion. Nope, Suicune got fully paralysed and Virizion got a high damage roll (yeah, I put that in a calc) on it with Leaf Blade to take it down. I lost 1-2.

This time I was a bit luckier (unlike NB Major 1) and didn't have to play against Dimsun in the first round. Even though I got to the top 16 I feel I could've went a bit further but that's life. Maybe next time.

Conclusion

If you're reading this it probably means that either the read wasn't as boring as I thought it would be or you're really stubborn, either way, thanks! In my opinion it isn't a very smart or original team but I think it is a textbook example of a solid one. It was built around Dark-Psychic-Fighting core and also offers the combination of Grass-Water-Fire Pokemon, both of them have been proven to work in other teams. Also there aren't more than two Pokemon weak to the same type, but you can find a Trick Room counter, a Rain counter and a few Pokemon that are fast enough to work without any speed control help. The reason I'm posting it is my hope that someone may reuse it, maybe a part of it or learn from my experience, which isn't huge but still better than none. I feel like this team deserved a bit more so hopefully someone can do it for me. For 99.99% I won't be coming to Worlds but next time I'll have a chance posting a team here, at Nugget Bridge, I hope it will be more original, creative and, of course, successful.

Post scriptum

Despite Pokemon being a game where you play alone rather than in a team, the community is fantastic. If someone told me two years ago that there still are people playing Pokemon and that there are Pokemon Video Game Championships taking place every year, I wouldn't have believed. Now, huge shoutouts to:

  • Gonzo - my Polish mate, who's been helping me for the whole season and RNG'd some 'mons for me that I used in Italy. I feel like I learned a lot from him in the past 7-8 moths.
  • Lati - we've known each other online for a few months and we finally got to meet in real life in Milan. He made me think a bit out of standard. It was great to finally see you, man!
  • Baz Anderson - helped me find a hotel in Italy and was a great guy to talk to for the whole weekend. I hope he'll get enough funds to get to worlds because he really is a fantastic player.
  • El Fenomeno - very optimistic and prepared for literally everything. Even though he isn't very active online he's been to Worlds and I'm really happy I got to meet him.
  • Kyriakou - as soon as I met him I realised that he's really good and he proved it in his homeland. Ben was bursting with optimism for the whole weekend, wasn't mad even after he got unlucky in the top 16 and in my opinion his attitude is his strongest part.
  • PsyJ - RNG'd a huge part of my team. You rock, thanks!
  • ryuzaki - this artwork is simply incredible, thanks again!

Also huge shoutouts to everyone I got to meet and talk to at the venue, including bcaralarm, foodking, Mean, Arbol Deku, Fatum and many others that I can't remember right now, sorry for that.

I'm looking forward to meeting a lot more people someday at Worlds.

Article image created for Nugget Bridge by ryuzaki. See more of ryuzaki’s artwork on deviantART.


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11 Comments


Darn you I was expecting Victini on this team even though it is banned.

Haha, but in seriousness congratulations on your wins and experiences!

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I really like the usage of uncommon Pokemon like Suicune and Infernape on this team. They're not bad, but it's tough to use them correctly, and I think you actually did use them really well. Going 5-3 isn't bad at a Nationals. Sure, it's not top cut, but being potentially only one win away is good enough in my opinion. Also, I think your article was really, really, really well-written. It was fantastic in you explaining everything in-depth, while still not boring. Simply fantastic.

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Good article and glad someone could make Infernape + Hydreigon + Cresselia work -- I had them in mind at some point as well (last 3: Tyranitar, Escavalier and Machamp/filler) but... just didn't put work into them anyway, lol, because I hated my rain matchup, among various other things I didn't really find convincing solutions to. Also, you definitely worry too much about creativity. The definition of creativity is probably very subjective, as I consider pretty much all of my teams no creative as well, but there are some clear elements of [i]individuality[/i] here, so shouldn't that be enough at the end of the day?

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First off wow. As I was reading this, the entire time I wanted to make a comment about our match we shared, but I didn't even think I'd get mention in this at all. If I remember correctly, that battle was directly after spring regionals right? I believe I picked up the idea of Breloom the very next day Sejun broadcasted his infamous Breloom/Liepard team, and the rest of the team just kinda came to me. I didn't have very much practice in with this team, and I made a very bad call to use it against you. Truth be told, I had access to your rng request prior to knowing I would end up facing you a short while later (I declined looking at any of your spreads or movesets as you were 'just some European guy I probably wouldn't face at all' but I can't remember if you even posted them or not) So when I actually found out I'd be battling you, I just felt I had a better matchup with this half-developed team than I did with my regionals team. Having never fought an Infernape before I highly underrated his ability and I think that was easily 80% of the reason why I lost. I remember predicting both of his lead choices so I felt comfortable in the actual matches but bidoof if he got the better of me. And just to set the record straight, it was 5 flinches with Rock Slide consecutively and 2 Critical hits with Thunder spread out amongst those turns. Even had I won that match, I would forfeit the set anyway because no matter what, that can't be considered a win.

Back on topic I loved the article, and I would love even more to battle you again sometime hopefully I get to met you in person in 2014

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Glad to be of some help in Milan, it was really cool having you around for the weekend. Hopefully we'll meet again next year!

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Loved the article and especially the use of Suicune <3 I'm glad to see someone else who seems to love Suicune as much as I do even though I dropped him the week before US Nats after using it literally all season. I enjoyed our set in the NB Major--even though your team made me sad by being so resistant to Entei. Like you, I smiled when I saw your Suicune--though I was less amused when I kept getting burned by it, haha. I'm happy that a Suicune won our set either way
 
I chose Scald over Hydro Pump for the same reasons as you, but I did actually try out Hydro Pump on my own Suicune just to test it out. And I found a 3rd reason why Hydro Pump is simply terrible on Calm Mind Suicune: low PP. Suicune is built for longer battles. It can't exactly fight in long battles when its STAB loses all PP after only 8 turns, right?
 
Well done!

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I really like the usage of uncommon Pokemon like Suicune and Infernape on this team. They're not bad, but it's tough to use them correctly, and I think you actually did use them really well. Going 5-3 isn't bad at a Nationals. Sure, it's not top cut, but being potentially only one win away is good enough in my opinion. Also, I think your article was really, really, really well-written. It was fantastic in you explaining everything in-depth, while still not boring. Simply fantastic.
Thanks! After realising how long this article is I was a bit worried if most readers won't give up in the middle of it because of my explanations being too detailed. I'm glad to hear someone actually liked it.
 
Good article and glad someone could make Infernape + Hydreigon + Cresselia work -- I had them in mind at some point as well (last 3: Tyranitar, Escavalier and Machamp/filler) but... just didn't put work into them anyway, lol, because I hated my rain matchup, among various other things I didn't really find convincing solutions to. Also, you definitely worry too much about creativity. The definition of creativity is probably very subjective, as I consider pretty much all of my teams no creative as well, but there are some clear elements of [i]individuality[/i] here, so shouldn't that be enough at the end of the day?
On the ideas behind the team itself, I disagree with Restless Suicune being good against sand. They do have a lot of STAB-neutral physical attackers and also strong Electric attackers aren't rare, and Suicune on the other hand doesn't OHKO much even at +1 but it forever lacks its recovery. As weird as it sounds, have you ever tried Sunny Day Latios or something similar to that?What am I talking, that's just bad against Sand, lol...
 
Infernape and Hydreigon is a very strong duo, especially combined with Cresselia. If you spend a bit more time on choosing the last 3 members I can guarantee it's gonna work well against any kind of team.
About creativity - I know it's not obligatory but I remember that those little unexpected things could give me wins in no time. As I mentioned this team is very weak to Volcarona, actually to the point that I can't remember a single game when I saw it on the team preview but my opponent didn't bring it to the battle. Stone Edge on Infernape was always unexpected and if I use it in the right time it usually gives me a huge advantage. I agree that player's ability to use a team is the most important but when two players use their teams relatively well then creativity can decide on who wins.
This particular Suicune can take physical hits really well. When I was calculating its EV spread I wanted it to survive Escavalier's Bug Gem Megahorn but I found out that it already does, even with a significant margin. Suicune is not designed to OHKO Excadrill or Tyranitar but requires a lot of attention to be KO'd, it usually needs 4 Tyranitar's Crunches to be taken down to give you an image of how long it can survive. I really needed Protect on this set instead of Chesto-Resto and Calm Mind was absolutely crucial, I used it in 95% of games that I brought Suicune to. Electric types might be a problem but still there's Rage Powder Amoonguss, Calm Mind and Timid Hydreigon that outspeeds and KO's Modest Thundurus-T so if I don't misplay Suicune usually causes a lot of problems for sand teams.
 
 
First off wow. As I was reading this, the entire time I wanted to make a comment about our match we shared, but I didn't even think I'd get mention in this at all. If I remember correctly, that battle was directly after spring regionals right? I believe I picked up the idea of Breloom the very next day Sejun broadcasted his infamous Breloom/Liepard team, and the rest of the team just kinda came to me. I didn't have very much practice in with this team, and I made a very bad call to use it against you. Truth be told, I had access to your rng request prior to knowing I would end up facing you a short while later (I declined looking at any of your spreads or movesets as you were 'just some European guy I probably wouldn't face at all' but I can't remember if you even posted them or not) So when I actually found out I'd be battling you, I just felt I had a better matchup with this half-developed team than I did with my regionals team. Having never fought an Infernape before I highly underrated his ability and I think that was easily 80% of the reason why I lost. I remember predicting both of his lead choices so I felt comfortable in the actual matches but bidoof if he got the better of me. And just to set the record straight, it was 5 flinches with Rock Slide consecutively and 2 Critical hits with Thunder spread out amongst those turns. Even had I won that match, I would forfeit the set anyway because no matter what, that can't be considered a win.
It was like 2-3 weeks after spring regionals. In my opinion if you had a bit more experience with your team it would've been a lot more difficult match for me. I remember pulling off the surprise Stone Edge game 2. but I'm pretty sure that if your Breloom wasn't scarfed you would've won this one. Infernape did a good job against Kingdra (mostly because we weren't playing in rain) so I had enough time to strike it twice with Close Combat if I needed to. Also it's always nice to see sportsmanship in Pokemon.
 
Back on topic I loved the article, and I would love even more to battle you again sometime   hopefully I get to met you in person in 2014
 
 
Glad to be of some help in Milan, it was really cool having you around for the weekend. Hopefully we'll meet again next year!
Next Worlds is in DC which is great news to me because my family lives there so there's a good chance I'll come to attend LCQ if I won't win an invite in Euro-Nats.
 
 
Loved the article and especially the use of Suicune <3 I'm glad to see someone else who seems to love Suicune as much as I do even though I dropped him the week before US Nats after using it literally all season. I enjoyed our set in the NB Major--even though your team made me sad by being so resistant to Entei. Like you, I smiled when I saw your Suicune--though I was less amused when I kept getting burned by it, haha. I'm happy that a Suicune won our set either way
 
I chose Scald over Hydro Pump for the same reasons as you, but I did actually try out Hydro Pump on my own Suicune just to test it out. And I found a 3rd reason why Hydro Pump is simply terrible on Calm Mind Suicune: low PP. Suicune is built for longer battles. It can't exactly fight in long battles when its STAB loses all PP after only 8 turns, right?
 
Well done!
I agree that low PP can be an issue as I've seen games where Heatran stalled out Politoed this way and took the game. Looks like your changes worked out in the end as they let you top cut Nationals with this team.
 
Also: I forgot to add this link to the article: 
It's my round 6 game in Milan. Enjoy.

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Wow, I was wondering when the article you mentioned would be online and I expected it the least, it finally is online.^^
 
Great team and thanks for the shoutout (oh, and the Safeguard Virizion mention).^^ I was pretty surprised about how analytical you were for choosing your core and like how solid it seems in theory (never tested it so I don´t know about practice). I´m happy you could also manage to use Infernape that well and how it really fits in the team - it usually gave me a lot of trouble when I had to face it in practice battles on PO...
Another thing that surprised me was Restless Suicune since I think that one of its bigger plus points is that it can stick around all day long with proper team support and for that to be possible, you usually need more recovery than lefties (which was also one of my experiences after running restless Suicune myself). Oh well, I guess those are playstyle differences.^^

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Another thing that surprised me was Restless Suicune since I think that one of its bigger plus points is that it can stick around all day long with proper team support and for that to be possible, you usually need more recovery than lefties (which was also one of my experiences after running restless Suicune myself). Oh well, I guess those are playstyle differences.^^

 
Leftovers combined with Protect is actually a surprisingly good way of recovery. You have to keep in mind that metagame has significantly changed since when I started building this team. Rain was a lot more popular (therefore Tyranitar a bit less) so after one or two Calm Minds Leftovers, in terms of recovery, were all I needed. Also Trick Room was a lot less popular and less expected so most people wouldn't see it coming and would simply attack Suicune instead of double-targeting Cresselia, so Protect was more needed than Rest. I tried to avoid singles mentality as much as I could, in VGC you can let a Pokemon faint once its job is done so I really had no need in winning stall wars in my every battle. When I started testing Suicune, it had Blizzard, CM and Rest, and I paired it with Abomasnow. On that team Rest was obligatory because of the Hail damage but here I went for Leftovers and Protect, I had no doubt about it being the better choice for this team as I've played literally hundreds of battles on PO with it and I don't regret my choice.
 
I'm glad you like the team.

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      - Rock Slide  
      - Wide Guard  
      okay so Kyogre is there as I found it to work better than groudon. This is because its single target attack can actually do something in the harsh sunlight. I also preferred it because groudon cannot super affect it in the harsh sunlight. Xerneas is there for obvious reasons, it does work and can hit groudon hard with its hidden power. Thunurus is there to disrupt geomancy, spores, tailwinds and all that other bad stuff. It can also hit pokemon with a 4x weakness to ice very hard. Amoonguss is something i like to have when I don't see a groudon  or if I want to use it as fire bait. I went with protect Kangaskhan as i think it catches many off guard and also adds a bit of safety to its play. Finally I have mienshao and it is amazing. Its fake out is faster than a kangaskan's. The wide guard is amazing in this metagame with all the primals and xerneas running around. Rock slide hits any Talonflame hard and HJK OHKOs most if not every ferrothorn, which is the thing that gave my team the most trouble
      The things I am most worried about are EVs on the Kyogre, Thundurus, Amoongus and Xerneas. I am also curious about if drain punch should be replaced and if inner focus is the best ability for Mienshao.
      Thank you in advance and I appreciate your input.
       
    • Y did you leave me?
      By Macca
      Hello guys, I need serious help with this team I'm running at the moment. I peaked 1700 on Showdown and now I'm in the 1600's. However when it comes to real life tournament I do very bad. I used this team at Turin regional and I concluded with a very bad score (4-3 but it was over when I lost the fourth one to a player who got to win every possible speed tie, then I start random playing because I was very upset).
      Here is the team, I hope I'm exhaustive enough with explanations and I hope you can help me:
       
       

      Yveltal @ Life Orb  
      Ability: Dark Aura  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Knock Off  
      - Foul Play  
      - Sucker Punch  
      - Protect  

      Reason why it is here: I noticed double primal was increasing in popularity, that's why I decided to build my team around Yveltal. Yveltal has its main weakness in the overwhelming presence of Xerneas but it can be a very annoying Pokémon to deal with if played properly because it has a good match up against double primals and has a very wide movepool. This combined with its offensive pressure are the reason I fell in love with the Y-shaped bird. It is also pretty good against Rayogre with Gengarbat.
      Item: Life orb is the item I like the most on this mon, because it allows me to get important ko's such as on max atk jolly Landorus and Rayquaza (the normal one can take it if I hit the lowest roll possible) with Foul Play. The most common spread of Cresselia cannot survive a life orbed Knock Off.
      EVs: During Turin regs I was playing a mixed set with full special evs and Sucker Punch but I found out Sucker Punch was very useful in order to kill opponents while speed control was not on my favor, so I decided to go full physical in order to maximize damage output. I don't know if investing in bulk can be a good idea because I would invest in order to take hits while I am full hp and I don't think it does make sense when I'm running a Life Orb. If you have a bulky spread that works I'll try it out!
      Nature: There is no reason not to run max speed on a 99 base speed mon. It lets me outspeed Rayquaza and timid primals provided they still exist.
      Moves: Knock off helps me to get the ko on bulky mons such as Cresselia and in bo3s can be useful in order to scout opposing items. Other Trick Room users such as Dialga and Palkia don't like to be hit by a knock off because they can be put in range of any move from the partner provided they don't die from a lucky critical hit. Foul Play helps me dealing massive damage on most mons without caring about Intimidates (however burn still breaks me but WoW is not the most common move this format). It gets the OHKO on the mons mentioned before and deals a lot of damage to primals. Sucker Punch is the priority I need when Speed Control is not on my favor.
       
      ->
      Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Desolate Land  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 212 HP / 204 SpA / 92 SpD  
      Modest Nature  
      - Eruption  
      - Earth Power  
      - Flamethrower  
      - Protect  
      Reason why it is here: Groudon covers Yveltal's weaknesses to Mawile. If Xerneas isn't boosted (and you'll see later why it is going to happen quite often) can also deal a big amount of damage to it. I'm running special Groudon because the physical one lacks a 100% accurate spread move and a lot of mons are immune to Ground-type moves. For example this team has 2 flying mons and one who levitates.
      EVs: I wanted Groudon to survive an Earth Power from Timid Groudon and dealing as much damage as possible. I know there is a spread that reaches the same goals with 252 SpA Evs but I don't like it because it exposes me too much to physical moves. As far as the speed is concerned I was looking for something working in both trick room and Tailwind
      Nature: I have to maximise damage output. I'm not working on speed because I want Groudon to work properly in both speed controls I have.
      Moves: Generic special set: Eruption for massive spread damage, Earth Power in order to kill other Groudons and Flamethrower for a fire stab when I'm low on hps.
       

      Crobat @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: Inner Focus  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 20 HP / 236 Def / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      - Super Fang  
      - Tailwind  
      - Quick Guard  
      - Haze  
      Reason why it is here: I don't like this mon because is unable to take a kill. However pairing it with Kangaskhan it is the best answer to that dumb dog that is Smeargle. I don't care about taunting it. How can I taunt if it gets the evasion boost? That's why I'm running Crobat. Its speed allow me to be faster than +2 speed Smeargle and +2 speed Xerneas after Tailwind and I can haze all the boosts away next turn. There is another Pokémon that can do the trick but I think that with all this Xerneas around running Murkrow is not a good idea.
      Item: Lum Berry helps me dealing with Dark Void coming out from a Scarf Smeargle and with Thundurus's Thunder Wave and other secondary effects ruining my day. I was thinking of Mental Herb since Scarf Smeargle seems to have disappeared and I didn't use the Lum Berry too much.
      EVs: The spread is meant to survive double edge from Jolly Kanga. If I die from that move without crits coming out I'll know I have to deal with an Adamant Kanga and I can handle it easier because it will be slower than my Kanga and Yveltal.
      Ability: Well, I don't see why running Infiltrator. Sub is more common now than before but still... what can I do even if I can hit behind a sub?
      Nature: Full speed, no reason to go other ways.
      Moves: Super Fang helps a lot bringing mons in range of partner's attack, Tailwind is for speed control, Quick Guard helps dealing with priority moves such as Brave Birds and Sucker Punches ruining my day and the last slot is for Haze. Haze is there mainly for Smeargle's Moody (yeah, I hate that mon). However it is a great tool against Geomancy.
       
      ->
      Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Scrappy  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Low Kick  
      - Sucker Punch  
      Reason why it is here: Still the best mega. I was wondering about running Salamence this slot, but then I recognized Fake Out support is very important for my team. Kanga-Crobat is my best lead against Big6.
      EVs: I have no reason to invest in bulk. This meta deals too much damage in order to waste evs in bulk on a mon like this. Even if I'm running Trick Room I think going fast is the best option
      Nature: Jolly because a lot of times I'm not under trick room with the Kangaroo, so I want the opportunity to outspeed boosted Xerneas under Tailwind.
      Ability: I run Scrappy because fake outting Ghosts is not something I dislike. Gengar and Sableye with their gimmicks still exist to ruin my day and I'd like to have the chance to hit them.
      Moves: Basically a standard set. I'm running double edge and Low Kick because I want to hit the hardest I can and I want to deal decent damage to Dialga which is increasing in popularity.
       

      Cresselia @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 228 HP / 124 Def / 156 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 8 Spe  
      - Trick Room  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Helping Hand  
      Reason why it is here: Trick Room support is something I always like with Groudon. I could have chosen Bronzong but the difference in bulk is quite significant.
      Item: I was wondering on Mental herb but I saw that Trick Room was stopped the most by heavy hitters more than Taunts, so I thought it was safer going Sitrus.
      EVs: Still don't know what the Detroit are they meant to. It's bulky and I like it. That's it. Hps are even so that I eat the sitrus as soon as I'm hit by a super fang. 8 speed Ivs are meant to be the fastest possible but still slower than the slowest primal in order to skill swap before they move while in trick room.
      Nature: Sassy still don't know why. Negative speed is useful to underspeed primals in trick room and work with Skill Swap shenanigans.
      Moves: Trick Room for speed control or for removing opponent's one. Ice Beam is the main coverage move meant to deal decent damage to Mence, Landorus and Ray before Delta Stream, Skill Swap to reset the sun and Helping Hand is meant to let Groudon kill unboosted Xerneas with full hp Eruption. It was also meant to help Mawile (that I used to run last slot) getting the OHKO on Kyogre with Play Rough.
       
      I'm unsure about the sixth slot. At Turin regs I used to run Mawile but I didn't use it very much. I'm trying out Ferrothorn but still it isn't what I'm looking for.

      What scares this team the most is the pair Kyogre-Mawile because it f***s up my lead and then my game.
      Thank you very much for reading!
    • Dialga's time! a 3rd Place PC and need help for Regionals
      By Kirlion85
      Yooooo, What's up guys? I'm back after a good 3rd place of a PC in my city, and i'm about to go to Turin Regionals next week end. so i need your help for some troubles against this team that i've Created.
      Let's start!!
       
       
      Building process:
      So, at the beginning the idea for this team was a Dialga based team, followed by Kyogre, Mawile, amoonguss, Crobat and Smeargle. After a couple of testing i've found out that this team was heavily based on Trick Room and it wasnt doing well, also i had huge problems against the Big 6. So i decided to change some things. With the PC getting closer, i run against time and the team looked like this.
       

      Dialga @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Telepathy  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 72 Def / 104 SpA / 80 SpD  
      Modest Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Dragon Pulse  
      - Flash Cannon  
      - Protect  
      - Trick Room  
       
      One of the best Ubers of this year. Yeah surely it doesn't hit hard as Groudon or Xerneas. But it get's  more than an honorable mention in the uber list, also it has an amazing match up against the RayOgre combo, Which is huge because he really helps Groudon. The EV Spread was made for guarantee a 2HKO from both Precipice Blades (Spread damange) from 252+ Atk  and 252+ SpAtk Earth Power from Primal Groudon, and i think that is a good Benchmark. The sitrus berry was put in order to increase Dialga's longevity, and for tank Low kick from mega Kangaskhan. Dragon Pulse is Stab for OHKO Mega Salamence, Rayquaza and Some Palkia set after a life orb recoli (it seems stange but it really happened D:) Flash Cannon is second STAB and  to hit Fairy Types  like Xerneas (without a Geomancy boost, it's a 2HKO) Protect because VGC, and Trick room for Speed control. Having Telepathy gaves me some troubles against min. Spd Groudon, because of the nature lock, but i need Telepathy because i have Earthquake from Groudon and EQ  Explosion from Landorus, but in all honesty, i think i'm going to change some teammates of Dialga, i'll explain that later.
       

      Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Desolate Land  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 84 SpA / 156 SpD  
      Quiet Nature  
      - Eruption  
      - Flamethrower  
      - Earth Power
      - Protect  
       
      The absolute new Mega Kangaskhan of 2016. With his abilìty it get rid of one Weakness, and the chance of multiple set makes him really umpredictable. Yeah, because choosing the role of Groudon is a real Pain. Butbin the end i'm using a special set for hit hard other Groudons, which i'm little weak against. Eruption and flamethrower as Second stab because Fire Punch Sucks. The Ev  spread is designed to survive a Earth Power From other Quiet/Modest primal Groudons. his role is to rip apart other teams and set the Weather against Kyogre or Rayquaza.
       

      Talonflame @ Sharp Beak  
      Ability: Gale Wings  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Adamant Nature  
      - Brave Bird  
      - Flare Blitz  
      - Tailwind  
      - Quick Guard  
       
      Ah, The famous Smogon Bird. His role is more important than VGC15, Mainly because you see less more Lando's nowadays. He set up priority Tailwind and has the power to 2HKO Xerneas with priority Brave Bird, which really helps a lot when opposing Xerneas have already use Geomancy. Flare Blitz is a move to use against Steel types or Pokés that resist Flying type moves (Using it during Harsh Sun provides a hella lot of damange than a Sharp Beak boosted brave bird). About Quick Guard, i never use it at the PC, i had Protect before, but i don't know if i should switch back to it or keeping QG. I choose Adamant nature because the only reason you could run Jolly is for outspeed other Talonflame, which i think is useless, and also Adamant provides a little more damange.
       

       
      Kangaskhan-Mega (F) @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Parental Bond  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Adamant Nature  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Sucker Punch  
      - Fake Out  
      - Low Kick  
       
      Do i really need to talk about him? c'mon, It's Kanga, it does the same job as last year, providing Fake Out support, strong DE and LK damange, and has priority in SP. I choose this Ev spread and nature for make him bulkier and outspeed other Kanga in TRoom and TWind and dealing a lot of damange ( i OHKOed a 4 Hp Xerneas in 2 matches with just double Edge...)
       

       
      Scizor @ Lum Berry
      Ability: Technician  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpDef
      Adamant Nature   
      - Bullet Punch
      - Bug Bite
      - Swords Dance  
      - Protect  
       
      Scizor is more usable this year, as it provides me with another priority and the chance to use Swords Dance for dealing a to of damange and OHKO Xerneas. The ev spread is pretty simple, max bulk and attack for the only reason that i should invest to much on defenses for resisting at least spread Water Spout.
       
      Landorus-Therian (M) @ Life Orb  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Earthquake  
      - Rock Slide  
      - Explosion  
      - Protect
       
      Landorus was a steange addiction to the team, i needed Intimidate for opposing Groudon, but all the groudons that i've founded we're all special, except one Gravity team that i found, which gave me a lot of problems. It has the same set of last year but with Explosion. It gaves me the chance to OHKO timid Kyogre (4 HP set obviously) and provides Rock Coverage, but as for Ferro, i didn't use him. so i don't really know with who i should change him.
       
      The problems that i've found are: Struggle against opposing Groudons because Dialga, Ferro and Groudon are weak to him, and i don't have anything that can KO hm quickly except Earthquake.
      Gravity teams are also a real problem, if the opponent set up Gravity, it's over, Whimsicott can put asleep everyone, and Groudon can easily set up Swords dance.
       
      So here we are. Thank for everyone for reading till here. I hope that someone will leave some advice or criticism. Have a nice Day!
      Kirlion85
       
      *Updates to the Thread:
      -Addes Scizor in place of Ferrothorn
      _ Groudon set to special from mixed.
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