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Ray's blog

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Third Time's the Charm: 2012 Masters World Champion Team Analysis

blog-ttarrotom_smallbyryuzaki.pngFor those of you who don't know me, my name is Ray Rizzo (Ray), and I'm the three-time Pokémon Video Game World Champion. In 2010 I became the Seniors World Champion, which then included both today's Seniors and Masters, by defeating Japan's Yasuki Tochigi in the finals, and then in 2011 I defended my title by defeating Italy's Matteo Gini (Matty) in the newly created Masters division. This year, I faced another tough schedule. I came out of the Swiss rounds undefeated, but that only put me up against Jumpei Yamamoto, the Japanese Nationals runner-up, in the first round of the top 8 followed by Joe Pulkowski (sandman), the US Nationals runner-up, and then, of course, Wolfe Glick (Wolfey), the two-time US National Champion, in the finals.

[Read more about Wolfe Glick's team and Worlds experience in his team analysis: Eggscelent Execution. - Ed.]

But you didn't come here for a history lesson. Let's talk about why you're here: the team. Compared to my Worlds team last year which featured such obscure Pokémon as Gothitelle, Bold Thundurus, and Escavalier, this team is a lot more standard. I’ve got a mix of 2 fast Dragons with good resistances and a slow Trick Room portion of the team, utilizing Cresselia, Metagross, and Tyranitar.


Cresselia @ Sitrus Berry

Sassy (0 Speed IV)

220 HP / 108 Def / 180 SpAtk

-Ice Beam



-Trick Room

This Cresselia set is pretty standard. Unlike some Cresselia, however, it isn't as bulky as it could be. I opted for a more offensive Cresselia which could stand alone as a threat. The 180 SpAtk EVs let it OHKO 4 HP Salamence 100% of the time with Ice Beam, while Psyshock was added to counter the Specially Defensive builds most Pokémon. Swagger sets up a Metagross sweep in Trick Room as well as acts as a defensive move against Special attackers. The Sassy Nature and 0 Speed IV puts Cresselia at 81 Speed, an important Speed tier to hit to make the most out of the next Pokémon.


Metagross @ Lum Berry

Adamant (14 Speed IV)

252 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 136 SpDef

-Meteor Mash

-Zen Headbutt



Steel-types are a must in this metagame with all the Dragons firing off Gem-boosted Draco Meteors. Whether you chose Metagross, Scizor, or Heatran was up to what team you were using, but you couldn't really get away without a Steel-type. I like Metagross the best, and he fit into my team seamlessly. Metagross' 14 Speed IV puts Metagross at 82 Speed, just one point above my Cresselia. This means if Trick Room is up, Cresselia can Swagger my own Metagross, giving it +2 Attack after the Lum Berry, and then Metagross can attack in the same turn. This ensures that I am making the most of my turns under Trick Room to deal the most damage to my opponents. Having Metagross and Cresselia in the back for a late game clean up sweep in Trick Room can change the momentum of a game completely. The moves themselves are standard. I used Earthquake over Bullet Punch because I expect to be going first in Trick Room, and I need to hit other Metagross hard. 252 HP and 4 Def allow it to always survive +2 Metagross Earthquakes, and the Attack EVs let it OHKO 252 HP / 4 Def Thundurus at +2 with Zen Headbutt.


Hydreigon @ Dragon Gem


60 HP / 252 SpAtk / 196 Speed

-Draco Meteor

-Dark Pulse



Hydreigon is my favorite and, in my opinion, the best Dragon. It is also the only repeat Pokémon from last year's World Championship team. Its unique resistances pair really well with the Cresselia/Metagross duo, and it has excellent coverage options. The set itself is very simple. Hydreigon's purpose on the team is to hit hard and fast, using Gem-boosted Draco Meteors to tear holes in an opponent who mispredicts or misplays while its coverage moves, Dark Pulse and Flamethrower, hit Cresselia and Steel-types respectively. The Speed EVs give Hydreigon enough Speed to outspeed neutral natured max Speed base 100s (and 102s).


Garchomp @ Haban Berry


36 HP / 116 Atk / 4 Def / 196 SpDef / 156 Speed

-Dragon Claw




Garchomp, in comparison with Hydreigon, has a slightly more unique set. Just like Hydreigon, Garchomp's EVs allow it to outspeed neutral base 100 and 102 Pokémon. The 36 HP / 196 SpDef EVs, along with Haban Berry, maximize the chances of surviving Dragon Gem Draco Meteors from Latios, while the 116 Attack EVs ensure that Garchomp can OHKO Latios back with Dragon Claw. Substitute is a great move for Garchomp as it allows me to outpredict versus opposing Dragons and Ground weak Pokémon. It can also abuse Swagger and Sand Veil to increase the chances of getting a Substitute up if it comes down to it, and a Garchomp behind a Substitute is something no one wants to be facing down.


Tyranitar @ Chople Berry

Adamant (0 Speed IV)

252 HP / 124 Atk / 36 Def / 96 SpDef

-Rock Slide

-Low Kick

-Fire Punch


This Tyranitar is a little different than most. Most obviously, this Tyranitar is Crunchless. I felt my team was pretty Scizor weak, so I went with Fire Punch as a semi-check for Scizor instead of using the standard Crunch. Luckily, I didn’t face a single Scizor (though I must have faced 4 or 5 Hidden Power Fire Cresselia). The 36 Defense EVs lets him always survive Metagross' unboosted Meteor Mash, and the 124 Attack EVs allow Tyranitar to always OHKO Scizor with Fire Punch. I put the leftover EVs into SpDef to let him switch into Thundurus, Salamence, Hydreigon, and other Special attackers more easily. Tyranitar has a 0 Speed IV both to make it more effective under Trick Room and to help it win weather wars against Politoed as a 0 Speed IV Tyranitar will underspeed minimum Speed Politoed, keeping Sand in play and Rain out of play.


Rotom-W @ Choice Specs


228 HP / 4 Def / 12 SpAtk / 12 SpDef / 252 Speed


-Hydro Pump

-Hidden Power [Grass]


Rotom-W was the Pokémon I used the least. I only brought him against teams that fell in the middle speed tier where he was able to outspeed most of their team or if they had a Rain team. The Speed lets him outspeed Modest 252 Speed Kingdra out of Rain, made easier thanks to Tyranitar, and the HP and SpDef EVs let it survive LO Kingdra Draco Meteors. It already had enough Special Attack from holding Choice Specs, so I didn’t feel I needed much SpAtk investment. Hidden Power Grass is for Gastrodon since he walls my other attacks, and Thunder was purely for Rain teams, since I never used Trick when I had it.

All in all the team I used was pretty standard, but it worked really well, and I felt like it had a lot of synergy. I had a few unique sets tailored to the Worlds metagame which helped. Scizor was the only Pokémon I was really scared of playing, but no team in this metagame is flawless, mine included. Hopefully some of you reading this learned a bit about how I think about the game, and I will try to come up with something cooler next year like I did in 2011 when I defend my World Championship once more in Vancouver.

Article image created by ryuzaki and used with permission by Nugget Bridge. See more of ryuzaki's artwork on deviantART.

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      Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb  
      Ability: Desolate Land  
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      EVs: 156 HP / 68 Atk / 4 Def / 220 SpD / 60 Spe  
      Adamant Nature  
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      Bronzong @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 244 HP / 76 Def / 188 SpD  
      Sassy Nature  
      IVs: 0 Spe  
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      Cresselia @ Lum Berry  
      Ability: Levitate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 228 HP / 68 Def / 4 SpA / 100 SpD / 108 Spe  
      Calm Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Psychic  
      - Icy Wind  
      - Skill Swap  
      - Trick Room
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      Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite  
      Ability: Intimidate  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 4 Atk / 220 SpA / 28 SpD / 252 Spe  
      Hasty Nature  
      - Hyper Voice  
      - Double-Edge  
      - Tailwind  
      - Protect  
      Second mega of the team, providing Intimidate and Tailwind support along with Hyper Voice chip damage and Double Edge when it comes to hit harder. I copied the spread from a report I saw from an Asian blog because it looked fine thanks to its ability to survive HP Ice from Thundurus and to resist better special spread weather-stab-boosted moves from Primals.

      Thundurus @ Focus Sash  
      Ability: Prankster  
      Level: 50  
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
      Timid Nature  
      IVs: 0 Atk  
      - Thunderbolt  
      - Thunder Wave  
      - Taunt  
      - Protect  
      Not very much to say about it, its role has been pretty much explained during team building process. Focus Sash because I want it not to be OHKO'd and I'm not confident in bulky Thundurus in an offensive metagame like this. That is, bulk is not needed because it relies on sash in order to survive hits and I ev'd it to hit as hard as possible.
      The weaknesses:
      I played a lot of games and my score is very bad (I won only 65/112 matches I played) and what I struggle the most against are RayOgre teams, in particular Wolfe Glick's variant and the Scarf Ogre one with Smeargle (the Pokémon I hate the most this format).
      UPDATE: I recognized I have trouble dealing with Weavile and replacing Thundurus ends up in a huge weakness to Talonflame. How can I fix the team while still running Gengar? Some not so uncommon big6 sets annoy me very much even with my big6 lead (i.e. Follow Me/Crafty Shield Smeargle)
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