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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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Gotta get my Veni, Vidi, Victini tattoo to stay aesthetic as fuuuarrrrk

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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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      * Lucario, Female, Steadfast, Jolly, 31/31/31/31/31/31
      * Porygon, Genderless, Download, Serious, x/31/31/31/31/31
      * Meowstic, Male, Prankster, Bold, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Reuniclus, Male, Magic Guard, Relaxed, 31/31/31/31/31/0
      * Breloom, Male, Technician, Adamant, 31/31/31/x/31/31
      * Hydreigon, Female, Levitate, Modest, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Ninetales, Female, Drought, Timid, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Eevee, Male, Anticipation, Impish, 31/31/31/31/x/31
      * Skrelp, Female, Adaptability, Relaxed, x/31/31/x/31/31
      * Goodra, Female, Gooey, Modest, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Manectric, Female, Lightning Rod, Timid, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Ludicolo, Female, Modest, Swift Swim, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Aromatisse, Female, Aroma Veil, Relaxed, 31/x/31/31/31/0
      * Gourgesit, Male, Pickup, Impish, 31/31/x/31/31/31
      * Fletchling, Male, Gale Wings, Adamant, 31/31/31/x/31/31
      * Mismagius, Female, Levitate, Timid, x/31/31/31/31/31
      * Smeargle, Female, Technician, Mild, 31/31/31/31/x/31
      * Scraggy, Female, Intimidate, Adamant, 31/31/31/31/x
      * Kangaskhan, Female, Scrappy, Adamant, 31/31/31/x/31/31
      * Scizor, Female, Technician, Adamant, 31/31/31/x/31/x
      * Bagon, Male, Rock Head, Jolly, 31/31/31/31/x/31
      * Gliscor, Male, Poison Heal, Jolly, 31/31/31/x/31/31
      * Pawniard, Male, Defiant, Adamant, 31/31/31/x/31/31
      * Buneary, Female, Klutz, Jolly, x/31/31/31/31/31
      * Clefable, Male, Magic Guard, Bold, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Heliolisk, Female, Dry Skin, Timid, 31/31/31/31/31/31
      * Larvitar, Male, Guts, Timid, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Inkay, Female, Contrary, Adamant, 31/31/31/x/31/x
      * Noivern, Male, Frisk, Timid, 31/x/31/31/31/31
      * Weavile, Male, Pressure, Adamant, x/31/31/x/31/31

      I also have the following collectible legendaries (non-BR):

      * Rayquaza (shiny)
      * Deoxys
      * Mewtwo
      * Reshiram (Spring 2012)
      * Hoopa
      * Suicune (shiny)
      * Entei (shiny)
      * Raikou (shiny)
      * Dialga (shiny, Summer 2013)
      * Kyogre x 2
      * Palkia (shiny, Summer 2013)
      * Zekrom
      * Zekrom (Spring 2012)
      * Azelf
      * Mesprit
      * Darkrai
      * Kyurem
      * Uxie (French)
      * Rayquaza
    • Tailwind for the Win!
      By graybeardhalt
      Here's the first successful"?" team I built myself. Yveltal is a pokemon I always wanted to try out, with dark aura powering up so many amazing moves. I originally liked a physical one, but now I tried out a special one with a lot of success. Whimsicott is amazing paired with yveltal with all of its support moves. I used endeavor after seeing it used on Jamie the Beautiful's channel. Groudon and Kangaskhan were added to take advantage of tailwind and for fake out support. Because I was running a fast team, I needed something to counter trick room, which why I brought suicune. Finally, I was having problems with kyogre and xerneas, so I added Ferrothorn. 
       
      Yveltal @ Life Orb  
      Ability: Dark Aura  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 52 HP / 252 SpA / 204 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      - Dark Pulse  
      - Oblivion Wing  
      - Snarl  
      - Protect  
      Yveltal's dark aura is amazing. It makes dark pulse super powerful and it is able to deal with the majority of the metagame when it is paired with Whimsicott. It runs 204 timid to outspeed max speed primals and landorus, and the rest is invested into bulk. I wanted to run foul play, but I felt snarl did more because it is a double target move, and it lowers the special attack of other pokes. Oblivion wing is stab + has a bunch of healing, so paired with whimsicotts fake tears, it healed almost all of its health. 
      Whimsicott @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 HP  
      - Tailwind  
      - Fake Tears  
      - Encore  
      - Endeavor  
      Whimsicott is my support prankster pokemon. It brings tailwind support to the team, which is important because of all of the speed ties. Fake tears helps a lot of the pokemon on my team and allows it to support groudon and yvealtl well. After protect tailwind, fake tears + a special move destroys most things in the format. If its used with oblivion wing, yvealtal is basicly full health again. Encore is a staple move, used to stop support pokemon or force them to switch out. Endeavor is something new I wanted to try out, with the focus sash, it can bring most things down to 1 hp and allow a easy kill after that. It worked most games, but I might want to switch it out for foul play because endeavor can't pick up ko's, which hurt me a couple times. 
      Spoiler 252+ SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. -2 252 HP / 0 SpD Primal Groudon in Harsh Sun: 191-225 (92.2 - 108.6%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO
      252+ SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. -2 52 HP / 84 SpD Mega Salamence in Harsh Sun: 175-207 (98.8 - 116.9%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO
      252 SpA Life Orb Yveltal Oblivion Wing vs. -2 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas: 183-216 (90.5 - 106.9%) -- 43.8% chance to OHKO
      252 SpA Life Orb Dark Aura Yveltal Dark Pulse vs. -2 252 HP / 0 SpD Primal Groudon: 261-308 (126 - 148.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Desolate Land  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 100 HP / 252 SpA / 156 SpD  
      Modest Nature  
      - Earth Power  
      - Eruption  
      - Flamethrower  
      - Protect  
      This is just a common groudon. I didn't want to invest into speed because I didn't want to deal with 50% chance speed ties. It has enough bulk to survive an earth power from other timid groudons. I ran special to take advantage of powerful eruptions under tailwind and whimsicott's fake tears. 
      Kangaskhan-Mega (F) @ Kangaskhanite  
      Ability: Inner Focus  
      Level: 50  
      Happiness: 0  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Frustration  
      - Sucker Punch  
      - Low Kick  
      Standard max speed kangaskhan. You've seen it before. I run frustration for no recoil and punishing any dittos/smeargles who transform into me and have 252 happiness. 
      Suicune @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Pressure  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 132 Def / 124 SpD  
      Bold Nature  
      - Scald  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Tailwind  
      - Roar  
      Suicune my secondary tailwind setter and counter to trick room. I didn't know what to invest in, so I just spread out the ev's and made a bold nature to deal with kangs/talonflames. It can resist the primal's main stabs and sitrus berry is just to help it stay around longer. Roar is good for switching out boosted xerneas's and trick roomers. I don't use it much, because scald is not very good with groudon, and I don't get to use Roar much. I want to replace it. 
      Ferrothorn @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: Iron Barbs  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Gyro Ball  
      - Power Whip  
      - Leech Seed  
      - Protect  
      Ferrothorn is my counter to xerneas + kyogre. With leech seed and protect, it can take out entire teams if they don't have a fire or fighting move. I use gyro ball for good damage because ferrothorn is slow, power whip for the 120 power and ability to beat kyogre, leech seed for the residual damage and health regain. It is a little slow for my playstyle, because I can't defeat the kyogre/xerneas until the end of the turn, but it does its job and it also functions well under trick room. I can't decide between lum berry and leftovers. Both are good, but I don't know which one I like better. 
       
      Leads: 
      +-> +
      This lead starts out with a protect tailwind 90% of the time. If the opponent brang whimsicott to its sash, then next turn is encore if the opponent used tailwind/support move, or endeavor + snarl/dark pulse. This usually ends in 1 opponents poke dead, the other at -1 special attack, and a free switch into groudon/kangaskhan with my tailwind up. If they ko whimsicott, just switch into groudon/kang and fire off powerful moves with tailwind up. If they didn't attack whimsicott at all, I can just fake tears + dark pulse to kill or endeavor to bring them down to 120 health. 
      +/ -> ++
      Most of the time I would use whimsicott because of the prankster tailwind + the encore and endeavor, which is why I want to switch out suicune, but if the opponent has a team revolving around trick room or xerneas I would bring suicune. First turn is normally fake out/tailwind, and then endeavor/scald/ice beam + frustration to kill. If either of them gets knocked out, go into one of the mons in the back and kill. This lead is also decent against most smeargle because I just go for the fake out into smeargle + tailwind and then frustration the smeargle turn 2. 
      +-> 
      I normally go for the protect/tailwind, but if I outspeed my opponent, I may go straight for the eruption. After I get tailwind up, I can go for eruption/fake tears or earth power/endeavor/fake tears if I predict a kyogre. 
       
      Weaknesses: 
      As you can see from my leads, my team depends heavily on tailwind. If my opponent finds ways to outspeed me, my team is in big trouble. (thunder wave/trick room) I only have 2 bulky mons and most of my other pokemon lose to faster water spout/eruptions. 
      Also, without the taunt on Whimsicott, i'm having trouble with smeargle. I'm not sure whether I should change a move for taunt or if I should change suicune into a smeargle counter. 
       
      Thanks for taking the time to read my report!
    • Blue Moon Squad- Help With The Last 2 Members
      By DragonlordRayko
      OK, so I've been working on this team since the VGC 2016 rules were announced. However, I've hit a road block with my team building. I can't seem to find 2 more Pokemon that fit onto my team. Here's what I have so far:


      Leviathan (Kyogre-Primal) @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Primordial Sea  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 140 HP / 118 Def / 84 SpA / 4 SpD / 164 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Origin Pulse  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Thunder  
      - Protect

      The creator of the seas, Kyogre is stupidly strong, even when it isn't running much SpAtk investment. The HP and Def EVs make Kyogre extremely bulky, and the Spe allows him to outspeed max spe neutral-natured base 90s. Origin Pulse is a strong STAB spread move and provides more consistency than Water Spout. Ice Beam hits Dragon-types and is Kyogre's best option against Primal Groudon when Sun is up. Thunder allows Kyogre to hit opposing Water-types. Protect is Protect. The purposes of Kyogre on this team are simple: 1) Check Primal Groudon and Mega Rayquaza, 2) Clean up late game.

      Offensive Calcs
      84 SpA Primal Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Kangaskhan in Heavy Rain: 123-145 (67.9 - 80.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      84 SpA Primal Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Xerneas in Heavy Rain: 126-148 (62.3 - 73.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      84 SpA Primal Kyogre Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Rayquaza in Strong Winds: 116-140 (64 - 77.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      84 SpA Primal Kyogre Thunder vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Kyogre: 98-116 (55.6 - 65.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

      Defensive Calcs
      252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 140 HP / 116 Def Primal Kyogre: 164-192 (84.9 - 99.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 140 HP / 116 Def Primal Kyogre: 145-172 (75.1 - 89.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 140 HP / 4 SpD Primal Kyogre: 144-171 (74.6 - 88.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 Atk Aerilate Mega Salamence Double-Edge vs. 140 HP / 116 Def Primal Kyogre: 139-165 (72 - 85.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO


      Luna (Cresselia) @ Sitrus Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 168 Def / 6 SpA / 84 SpD  
      Bold Nature  
      IVs: 30 Def / 14 Spe  
      - Psychic  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Helping Hand
      My Cresselia ingame had near perfect IVs and I decided to keep it. The EVs allow Cress to better check physical attackers. Sitrus Berry is necessary to turn certain 2HKOs into 3HKOs. Psychic is STAB and hits Crobat and Gengar for massive damage. Ice Beam hits Dragon-types and helps ensure Rayquaza loses Air Lock, as unlike Delta Stream, Air Lock can't be stopped by Kyogre. Skill Swap helps keep Heavy Rain up and can neuter Kangaskhan and Mawile. Helping Hand aids Kyogre in getting KOs since I don't run a lot of investment.

      Offensive Calcs
      6 SpA Cresselia Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Rayquaza in Strong Winds: 52-64 (28.7 - 35.3%) -- 3.5% chance to 3HKO
      6 SpA Cresselia Psychic vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Groudon: 45-54 (25.5 - 30.6%) -- guaranteed 4HKO
      6 SpA Cresselia Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Salamence: 120-144 (70.1 - 84.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      6 SpA Cresselia Psychic vs. 68 HP / 0 SpD Crobat: 102-120 (60.3 - 71%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery

      Defensive Calcs
      252 Atk Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 168+ Def Cresselia: 117-138 (51.5 - 60.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
      252+ SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 84 SpD Cresselia in Harsh Sun: 133-157 (58.5 - 69.1%) -- 74.2% chance to 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
      +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 84 SpD Cresselia: 163-193 (71.8 - 85%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
      252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 252 HP / 84 SpD Cresselia in Heavy Rain: 150-177 (66 - 77.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery


      Durian (Ferrothorn) (F) @ Rocky Helmet  
      Ability: Iron Barbs  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 124 Atk / 32 Def / 100 SpD  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Power Whip  
      - Gyro Ball  
      - Leech Seed  
      - Protect

      Ferrothorn is my team's answer to opposing Kyogre, as well as a great check to Kangaskhan, Xerneas, Mawile, and Cresselia. I chose Rocky Helmet over Leftovers because it allows Ferrothorn to weaken physical attackers faster, while simultaneously breaking Focus Sashes on Smeargle should I switch into Fake Out. The Atk EVs ensure Ferrothorn will always OHKO 4 HP Kyogre with Power Whip, while the Def ensures Choice Banded Mega Rayquaza's Dragon Ascent never KOs from full. The rest was dumped into SpDef to better take on special attackers like Mega Gengar and Thundurus. Gyro Ball hits Xerneas and Mega Rayquaza for massive damage. Leech Seed is important as it is Ferrothorn's only means of recovery, and it pairs very well with Protect.

      Offensive Calcs
      124+ Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza: 102-120 (56.3 - 66.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      124+ Atk Ferrothorn Power Whip vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Primal Kyogre: 176-210 (100 - 119.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      124+ Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (150 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 212-252 (104.9 - 124.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      124+ Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (150 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mega Gengar: 121-144 (89.6 - 106.6%) -- 43.8% chance to OHKO

      Defensive Calcs
      252 Atk Choice Band Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 252 HP / 32 Def Ferrothorn: 153-180 (84.5 - 99.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 252 HP / 100 SpD Ferrothorn in Heavy Rain: 59-70 (32.5 - 38.6%) -- 98.9% chance to 3HKO
      +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 100 SpD Ferrothorn: 88-104 (48.6 - 57.4%) -- 94.1% chance to 2HKO
      +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 100 SpD Ferrothorn: 88-104 (48.6 - 57.4%) -- 94.1% chance to 2HKO


      Bahamut (Charizard-Mega-X) (M) @ Charizardite X  
      Ability: Tough Claws  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 108 HP / 174 Atk / 28 Def / 4 SpD / 196 Spe  
      Adamant Nature  
      - Flare Blitz  
      - Dragon Claw  
      - Dragon Dance  
      - Roost

      Charizard X may seem like a strange pick, but there is a method to the madness: Unlike Mega Salamence or Mega Rayquaza, Charizard allows me to further pressure Electric-types such as Thundurus and Raichu while also allowing me to defeat things like Mawie, Amoonguss, Ferrothorn and Scizor. Unlike most other Dragon-types, Charizard is can wall Groudon that lacks Rock Slide if Cresselia Skill Swaps Levitate. This makes it so that Charizard has an easy time setting up and destroying teams, as a +1 Flare Blitz deals huge amounts of damage. The EV spread allows Charizard to take an Earthquake from Lando-T, and it also takes -1 Groudon's Precipice Blades. The Spe lets Charizard outspeed Modest Kyogre and Adamant Groudon, while the Atk lets it OHKO Mawile at -1.

      Offensive Calcs
      -1 174+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Mega Mawile: 158-188 (100.6 - 119.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      174+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Dragon Claw vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza: 188-224 (103.8 - 123.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      174+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Amoonguss: 254-302 (114.9 - 136.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      +1 174+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Flare Blitz vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 222-262 (109.9 - 129.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO

      Defensive Calcs
      252+ SpA Primal Groudon Eruption (150 BP) vs. 108 HP / 4 SpD Mega Charizard X in Harsh Sun: 49-58 (29.3 - 34.7%) -- 16.4% chance to 3HKO
      252 Atk Aerilate Mega Salamence Double-Edge vs. 108 HP / 28 Def Mega Charizard X: 129-153 (77.2 - 91.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 108 HP / 4 SpD Mega Charizard X: 124-147 (74.2 - 88%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252 SpA Thundurus Thunderbolt vs. 108 HP / 4 SpD Mega Charizard X: 42-51 (25.1 - 30.5%) -- guaranteed 4HKO

      So that's the team so far. I know I still need a check to Dark, Dragon and Ghost-Types as well as a better Smeargle check. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
       
    • "inside Crystal Mountain, Yvel takes its form"
      By Macca
      Hey guys! Here's the team I ran for the IC. Unfortunately I got a 19-7 score so I decided to drop (even because a lot of them were caused by bad players who managed to get extremely luck and steal the match, and that basically means I were worse than those players). Still, Pokémon is also about luck and I have to improve my team in order for it to be less influenced by bad luck.
      The idea was to build around Yveltal, Salamence and Groudon, a core I had trouble with when I used to run RayOgre team. Then I decided to work out something dealing with Xerneas and I found Mawile was a great choice, being it a solid pick this meta. Cresselia is the best unrestricted Trick Room setter I know, so I had to use it on my team in order to let Mawile be a threat. Liepard in the sixth slot has good sinergy with the team, providing fake out support and fake tears in order to increase damage output.
      Here you are my team:
       -> 
      Salamence @ Salamencite  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 20 Atk / 236 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Naive Nature  
      - Hyper Voice  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Tailwind  
      - Protect  
      Reason why it is here: As I explained before, I built my team around the core Yveltal-Mence-PRIMAL GROUDON. Despite its damage output being pretty underwhelming, this dragon has good tools in Intimidate (being one of the few viable users this metagame) and a very high base speed, one of the highest of the metagame. Item: Since I want it to megaevolve the megastone is required. Ability: I have to megaevolve asap, so Moxie was not worth the slot at all. Defiant and Competitive users are not used at all so there's no risk in running this ability. EVs: Max speed is needed because it is the only reason I use Salamence (except from Intimidate). Atk is meant to kill every Amoonguss not carrying Coba Berry and the rest is put into Special Attack to maximize damage from Hyper Voice Nature: Salamence's special defense is not as high as it needs to be in order to take special attacks of the meta, so I went for naive nature instead of a Hasty one. Moves: Hyper Voice does spread damage useful to finish very weakened opponents and to help other mons to get the kill. Double Edge is meant to deal a decent damage to mons with low base defense being able to get 2hko on most meta mons despite the low attack investment. I decided to run Tailwind over Draco Meteor because I actually didn't feel the need of it while Tailwind provides good speed control and helps me when it's about speed ties. Protect is a must have. ->
      Groudon @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Drought  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 196 SpA / 60 SpD  
      Modest Nature  
      - Eruption  
      - Earth Power  
      - Flamethrower  
      - Protect  
      Reason why it is here: Second member of the core. The best restricted legendary thanks to its sky high atk stats and to its wide movepool in both sides. Item: Since I want it to archeoevolve I need the proper orb. Ability: Well, I guess I have no other choice. As soon as it comes into the battlefield in summons harsh sun and removes Kyogre's rain and Rayquaza's Delta Stream. EVs: I decided to go full special because I'm not confortable with the physical set: the main spread move has a very low accuracy and there are a lot of mons who are immune to it (this team for example has 3 mons immune to Precipice Miss). That basically means I have to run Gravity in order to avoid it being a deadweight. Full HP and 60 SpD are meant to take Earth Power from Timid Groudon 100% of the times unless I get critted. The rest is put in SpA to maximize damage output. I didn't go for speed because I want it to be able to work even inside my Trick Room. Nature: I preferred Modest nature to a Quiet one because I also have Tailwind support by my side and I want Groudon to be able to work in Tailwind too. Moves: Well, I guess there is not too much to say about the moveset. Eruption is my favourite spread damage move: leading it with Liepard/Cresselia I'm able to put a lot of pressure on my opponent and shot a full power Eruption most of the times. Earth Power for the stab and the ability to kill uninvested Groudons and Flamethrower in order to have the Fire stab when I'm low on hp. I didn't choose another coverage move because it wouldn't have been as good as the second fire stab.
      Yveltal @ Life Orb  
      Ability: Dark Aura  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      - Dark Pulse  
      - Snarl  
      - Foul Play  
      - Protect  
      Reason why it is here: Third member of the core. Its speed and its natural bulk paired with its satisfactory damage output make it a very good choice even in a meta dominated by Xerneas and primals. Item: I chose Life Orb because it helps me getting kills I wouldn't get otherwise Ability: The only one it gets. Dark Aura is the reason of Yveltal being this strong. EVs: Since I'm running Life Orb I found useless to invest on bulk, so I went full offensive in order to maximize Snarl and Dark Pulse damage output. Nature: Yveltal needs to be as fast as possible in order to outspeed Primals and to tie with Xerneas that doesn't enjoy taking a Dark Pulse even if resisted (after Liepard's Fake Tears it takes about 70% damage). Moves: Yveltal has an immense movepool, so I found hard to choose what moves to discard. In the end I decided to go special. Dark Pulse is meant for damage and the chance to flinch the opponent is something I always like. Snarl is actually meant to lower SpA of primals but thanks to LO and Dark Aura it deals decent "chip" damage. Foul Play does massive damage to heavy physical attackers such as Groudon and Rayquaza (physical Rayquaza risks the OHKO if not megaevolved and gets knocked out if mega).
      Liepard @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 100 HP / 156 Def / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      - Fake Out  
      - Fake Tears  
      - Foul Play  
      - Encore  
      Reason why it is here: I was looking for the sixth member of my team and I decided to choose him thanks to its good sinergy with the team due to its wide support movepool. Item: Focus Sash is what I need in order to take extremely powerful attacks. Ability: I don't think Unburden and Limber are worth this slot. EVs: Full speed and bulk in order to take Kangaskhan's Double Edge after an Intimidate drop. Nature: Timid in order to maximize speed and to lower Foul Play damage dealt to me. Moves: Fake Out makes it a good lead member and also a good choice for the lategame, stopping attacks from powerful opponents. Fake Tears is preferred over Swagger because it doesn't rely on luck and has great sinergy with quite everyone on my team. Chip damage from Salamence's Hyper Voice after a Fake Tears drop becomes a pretty decent damage. Foul Play in order to avoid it being a Taunt bait and to let it do a decent damage output for a supporter. Encore is to scare people who try to use moves that shouldn't be used twice in a row. ->
      Mawile @ Mawilite  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Iron Head  
      - Play Rough  
      - Sucker Punch  
      - Protect  
      Reason why it is here: I decided to run double mega and as I got 3 fairy weaknesses I had to make up for them by running this mon. Item: In order to be a threat Mawile needs to megaevolve. Ability: Sheer Force is useless since I lose it as soon as I megaevolve, while Hyper Cutter would be pretty situational with Intimidate being not as popular as last year. EVs: There is no reason to run both Salamence and Mawile as they both are useless if they don't megaevolve, so I spread EVs in order for it to do its best in Trick Room. There's no reason not to maximize its damage output IMHO. Nature: Brave for damage and Trick Room Moves: Pretty standard set. I feel both stabs are needed with Play Rough being stronger this year thanks to all the Xerneas fooling around. Sucker Punch is needed to get the kill on weakened opponents while not inside Trick Room
      Cresselia (F) @ Mental Herb  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 220 HP / 188 Def / 100 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Trick Room  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Helping Hand  
      Reason why it is here: I cannot run Mawile without speed control by my side. It also has great sinergy with Groudon making it immune to Ground-Type moves by swapping Levitate Item: I was pretty unsure about it. I wanted to go for Sitrus but I was scared of Taunt ruining my days. Ability: The only one it gets. Useful to swap to Groudon because it cancels its only weakness provided is weather is active. EVs: Don't know about it. A friend of mine gave me those EVs and they looked good. Nature: In order to maximize bulk and minimize speed for the Trick Room Moves: Ice Beam for chip damage. It gets the 2hko on Dragons that is not something I dislike. Trick Room in order to have speed control against opponent's tailwind or opponent's Trick Room and to let Mawile be actually a threat. Skill Swap to reset the weather and Helping Hand to help other mons deal decent damage. That's all about my team. What I struggle against the most is:
      -RayOgre: even if I build around a core that gave me trouble when I used to run RayOgre it still gives me trouble
      -Smeargle-Xerneas: sometimes I get out alive but sometimes I get stuck and my opponent does everything he/she wants
      -Bad luck: I often get into situations in which if opponent is very lucky it can steal the game out of my control and steal the win.
       
      Thank you for reading and I hope I get useful tips
    • A 2016 3rd Place Trick Room Team
      By Vonyc
      Hey everyone!
      Well, it's VGC 2016 and I'm still going to be running Trick Room (TR). I went to one PC at the beginning of the year and had an O.K. run. I went 2-2 and got 7 out of 12. Being the first PC of the year I wasn't too messed up about the loss, but i did learn from my mistakes. I went back and updated my team to better suit the meta-game at its current state. I'll go over my team building process of how i went from my old team to my current one.
       
      OLDER TEAMS

      I played with this team on showdown and it was terrible. I probably wasn't playing it correctly but yeah... I didn't like it so I went back to the drawing board

      This is the team i used in my first PC of this year. It was O.K., but I knew I could make it better and more effective for this format.
       
      CURRENT TEAM

      Rajah (Liepard) (F) @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      Shiny: Yes  
      EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Jolly Nature  
      - U-turn  
      - Encore  
      - Fake Out  
      - Knock Off
      So one thing that was really annoying me was the ever present Kangaskhan. I needed a mon that could Fake Out Kang and out-speed other pranksters. I decided to use a Focus Sash because Liepard is so frail and it would give me a possible chance to have an extra turn of Prankster shenanigans. Since she is so frail I didnt think investing EVs into HP was worth the loss in attack. I used a Jolly nature to maximize her speed to the fullest. Now I have this strategy called "the switch and pivot" (I don't know if this is actually already a thing lol). Basically I switch out the Pokemon in trouble and use U-turn to bring that same mon back into the fight. I usually do this when Cresselia or Kyogre is in trouble.

      Gargantis (Heracross-Mega) (M) @ Heracronite  
      Ability: Skill Link 
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 164 HP / 252 Atk / 92 Def  
      Brave Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Protect  
      - Pin Missile  
      - Rock Blast  
      - Arm Thrust
      Now if anybody knows where his nickname come from you are awesome and had a great childhood. So I decided to go with Heracross as my mega for the fact that it's a tank. Perfect for my team. Boasting 80 HP (eh), a powerful 185 Atk stat, 115 Def, and 105 SpD. All while having a a great 75 Spe stat. I don't know why I like him so much but he's served my team pretty well. Dealing heavy damage to Kyogre with Pin Missile:
      252+ Atk Mega Heracross Pin Missile (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Primal Kyogre: 170-210 (96.5 - 119.3%) -- approx. 93.8% chance to OHKO
      And Cresselia:
      252+ Atk Mega Heracross Pin Missile (5 hits) vs. 220 HP / 172 Def Cresselia: 240-280 (107.6 - 125.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      It even does surprisingly decent damage to Xerneas:
      252+ Atk Mega Heracross Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Xerneas: 110-130 (54.4 - 64.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      This combination pairs well with Kyogre as he can hit hard with Origin Pulse/Water Spout and after Heracross has taken a chunk out of the opponent. Now I know what you're going to say "Close Combat is way better than Arm Thrust" and this is what I have to say to you all. You are right. It is better. The main reason I use it is to take on Kang or steel types. Here's a comparison:
      252+ Atk Mega Heracross Close Combat vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 294-348 (162.4 - 192.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      252+ Atk Mega Heracross Arm Thrust (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 190-240 (104.9 - 132.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO
      IT STILL OHKOs PEOPLE. That's all I need it to do and not getting the drop in my defenses is really nice. Anyways my opponents underestimate him and are always surprised by how much damage he puts out. I might change my Mega as the meta evolves but as of now I like the choice.

      Apollo (Ho-Oh) @ Leftovers  
      Ability: Pressure  
      Level: 50  
      Shiny: Yes  
      EVs: 204 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Def / 44 SpD  
      Relaxed Nature  
      IVs: 2 Spe  
      - Protect  
      - Recover  
      - Brave Bird  
      - Sacred Fire
      To replace Togekiss I decided to scrap Dialga and make Ho-Oh my second legendary on the team. After seeing the base stats on this thing I knew I had to have him on this team. While it would be nice to have Regenerator on Ho-Oh I'll keep this one until that day comes. I made the EV spread such so that it can take a Rock Slide from Primal Groudon mainly. But when testing it i found out i can survive alot of threats to my team. He can soak up the attacks that Heracross and Kyogre can't take and either heal up or hit back. I gave him 2 IVs in speed to outspeed my kyogre by 1 point, so that under TR Ho-oh can clean up whoever Kyogre leaves behind. Outside of TR Ho-Oh can take care of threats before hit gets to Kyogre.
       

      M.O.T.S. (Kyogre) @ Blue Orb  
      Ability: Drizzle  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 172 HP / 84 Def / 252 SpA  
      Quiet Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Protect  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Origin Pulse  
      - Water Spout
      M.O.T.S. Master of the Sea, and it sure has the raw power to back that up. I noticed that Primal Groudon could still use Precipice Blades even in Heavy Rain so I wanted Kyogre to be able to survive the hit.
      252+ Atk Primal Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 172 HP / 84 Def Primal Kyogre: 108-127 (54.8 - 64.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      Originally I didn't have Water Spout, I had Thunder. After missing Origin Pulse an ungodly amount of times I decided to give into the Water Spout hype. I still don't like Origin Pulse but it's needed when Kyogre is down on his luck.
       

      Tsar (Bronzong) @ Chesto Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 252 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
      - Protect  
      - Gyro Ball  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Trick Room
      Now I originally had Dialga as my Steel TR setter but after going up against Xerneas and being able to do little to no damage after Geomancy I thought it was time to make a change. After running into multiple Xerneas + Smeargle leads and having nothing to answer it with I wanted to ensure TR was set up. Chesto is there to make sure that will happen. Since it has levitate and Kyogre is on the team I decided to invest into Special Def. And since Gyro Ball is based on speed investing into Attack is useless. 0 Speed IVs is to ensure Gyro Ball is as powerful as it can be. I sure Skill Swap to predict Groudon switch-ins or take away some of the more troublesome abilities such as Parental Bond or Gale Wings.
       

      Selene (Cresselia) @ Mental Herb  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 252 HP / 196 Def / 60 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 4 Spe  
      - Ice Beam  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Trick Room  
      - Helping Hand
      In my area (Virginia) I'm known for my signature Pokemon being Camerupt but it's really Cresselia as I have her on literally all of my teams and she is amazing. Mental Herb is there to ensure Taunt doesn't affect my ability to get TR set up. As for the EV spread I developed it back in 2015 when ORAS came out to survive Shadow Ball from Mega Gengar and Knock Off from Bisharp. All throughout last season and even this season this spread has helped me tremendously.
      252 SpA Mega Gengar Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 60+ SpD Cresselia: 116-140 (51.1 - 61.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      252- Atk Life Orb Dark Aura Yveltal Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 252 HP / 196 Def Cresselia: 190-226 (83.7 - 99.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
      4 Speed IVs are there to outspeed other Cresselia just in case you want to use Skill Swap that turn to I can have my weather up regardless.
       
      COMMON LEADS
       

      This is my most common lead. When the threat of taunt is evident I'll lead with these two. If I can see a fake out coming my way 8/10 times my opponent expects Kyogre to Protect to one thing I do is Helping Hand+Water Spout and let Cresselia take the hits. Alot of times Kyogre can OHKO most opponents with the sheer force of that combo. The next turn I usually go with TR + Protect lol
       

      This lead was specially developed for Xerneas+Smeargle leads. With this lead I can set up TR safely and let Xerneas Geomancy while Dark Void is used to put Bronzong to sleep as Kyogre Protects. The next turn I usually Water Spout and Gyro Ball the Smeargle to break the Focus Sash.
       
      THREATS

      My team only has one successful way to deal with Ferrothorn and that's Ho-Oh who is usually out when Kyogre is, making it hard to take out.

      With the powerful priority Brave Bird Talonflame doesn't care if TR is set up. My only strategy against it is to Skill Swap Gale Wings away.

      With access to Fake Out and Sucker Punch this big mamma also has no regard for TR. Again I usually try to either Skill Swap Parental Bond away or overpower her with strong attacks.

      Dragon Ascent can OHKO my Kyogre and Heracross as well as take huge chunks out of the rest of my team. All I can do to stop him is change the weather and take him out before he gets to me.
       
      CONCLUSION
      All in all I like this team. Trick Room is harder to pull off in this format and it takes alot of out smarting your opponent to win, but that's what I like about the game. I want to use what I want and I want to use my own abilities to outplay and defeat the opponent. If you have any input into how I can improve the team please let me know. Just know that I want to keep this a Trick Room based team.
       
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