I would like to present you the team I used in the Pokémon World Championship 2012 in Kona, Hawaii. I finished with a match record of 3-3 and a games record of 7-7. That ranked me as the 19th place overall. To be honest, I am not satisfied with this result at all. I hoped that I would be able to get at least a result of 4-2, but already after round 4 my dreams were crashed, as I was down 1-3 in sets. When I look back at the games and at my team, I can see a lot of mistakes I made but also a lot of potential to improve. Therefore, I hope I can qualify for worlds next season and make a better performance there. When I look how the best players like RubeNCB started at worlds, I am confident and hope that I can improve just like he did. But enough with the unimportant things, here's my team:
Gyarados (F) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 52 Atk / 4 Def / 156 SDef / 44 Spd
Careful Nature (+SDef, -Satk)
- Thunder Wave
Even though Gyarados is listed first, it actually was the last Pokémon added to my party. To be honest, I only got it the evening before worlds... To explain this huge mistake in not being prepared for the most important tournament of the year, I have to explain some things. When I built this team with Toazdt, who used a similar version in Seniors and got 20th place, we started with two Pokémon we knew we wanted to use: Thundurus and Cresselia. They just seemed too good to go unused! Soon we found out that Hydreigon might have a good shot in the Worlds metagame, as it is good against Cresselia + Thundurus leads, hast decent bulk and typing, and its Modest Dragon Gem boosted Draco Meteor is able to kill Pokémon that try to survive Timid Latios' Draco Meteor. Fighting Gem Terrakion seemed to be really good in testing, hast STAB Rock Slide, and OHKOs a lot of things. Garchomp seemed like a nice addition to all those Levitating and Flying-type Pokémon, and we used Metagross to back things up and provide a Dragon-type resistance. The team seemed to be good, fit our playstyle and was decent in testing... until we ran into A TON of Swords Dance Scizors after US Nationals. Swords Dance Scizor just CRUSHES the team as nothing was able to survive a hit at +2 and hit back hard.
We had different approaches in dealing with this threat. At first we just tried to play around it, but that didn't work. We used silly things like Fire Gem Hidden Power Fire Metagross with mixed success, and everybody would expect Cresselia to carry Hidden Power Fire, so the Scizor used would have an answer to it for sure. Time was running out, and I decided to swap Metagross out for Substitute Heatran, a mon DaFlo and Michilele told me would be great for Worlds. Toast didn't want to risk bringing experiments to Seniors and was skeptical about the idea of Air Balloon Sub Heatran. When I was in the plane from L.A. to Kona, I couldn't sleep and thought about whether Heatran could actually cover Scizor 100%, and I just thought, "No." Heatran is easily removed and then Scizor would have a field day...
Suddenly Gyarados came to my mind, and I played around with the idea of replacing Cresselia with the inofficial water dragon. Gyarados could provide Thunder Wave support just as Cresselia does, Intimidate is great, and it is Flying-type as well. It has Taunt to stop slower set-up teams hard, and it counters Heatran and Volcarona, two Pokémon that could probably give me some trouble. Garchomp would deal with Electric-types, and Terrakion has its STAB Rock-type attacks for the likes of Thundurus and Zapdos as well as Fighting Gem STAB Close Combat for Rotom-A. It seemed like a really great discovery, and I decided to talk to other Germans about it. When we were hanging out a little bit, Michilele encouraged me to use Gyarados as he couldn't see any disadvantage over Cresselia. So basically it was in my team for 3 days, but I could only manage to get one the night before... The EV spread was straight forward, providing Special bulk because Physical sweepers would be shut down by Intimidate. The Speed EVS allow Gyarados to outrun slow Cresselia and Taunt them before they can Thunder Wave me or set up multiple Calm Minds. Thunder Wave is of course for Speed control and might allow me to get lucky from time to time. STAB Waterfall was the obvious choice for the attacking move. I regret not having used an Ice move, but I just couldn't find a move that I could replace.
Terrakion @ Fight Gem
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 36 Def / 4 SDef / 212 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -Satk)
- Close Combat
- Rock Slide
- Stone Edge
Terrakion was a mon, Toast told me about. Close Combat boosted by Fighting Gem deals massive amouts of damage to everything that doesn't resist it. It can OHKO non bulky mons even if you are Jolly, and I always liked the powerhouse of Terrakion to outspeed and kill things. It could lead if the opponent had no Intimidate user and has good offensive synergie with Hydreigon. It helps me to deal with bulky Pokémon like Rotom-A or Gastrodon. STAB Rock Slide is great, and with its speed you can normally hope for the 51% chance to flinch at least one of your opponent's Pokémon if you hit both. Stone Edge was there because it can OHKO the bulkiest versions of Thundurus and Zapdos and hit Volcarona/other threats through Wide Guard. Protect is obvious on such a frail sweeper. The Nature and the EVs allowed me to outspeed Garchomp and anything below. Max attack for obvious reasons and the Defense EVs allowed me to survive an unboosted Bullet Punch.
Garchomp (M) @ Ground Gem
Trait: Rough Skin
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- Dragon Claw
When I started bulding this team, I ran a really bulky version of Sub Chomp that barely outran Chandelure. Even though I enjoyed taking some hits, threats like Hydreigon and Thundurus with Hidden Power Ice were always faster and proceeded to OHKO me nonetheless. Since I did not want to change the nature to Jolly because Adamant allows it to OHKO Metagross with Earth Gem, I ended up using this silly-looking 252/252 spread. I think 244 allows Garchomp to outspeed positive natured 85-base and neutral 101, and I saw no point in running 40 HP EVs for example. Therefore, I just maxed out speed. Substitute was there for scouting and blocking the odd Spore. It made more sense to use it on my bulky spread since the sub could actually SURVIVE hits, but whatever. I saw no point in running Rock Slide or even Stone Edge, because Terrakion already covers those and non-STAB Rock Slide is pretty weak in Doubles. Earthquake and Dragon Claw are the obvious choices for attacking moves and the omnipresent Protect completes the moveset. Garchomp's Earthquake hits like a truck and I was able to put high pressure on the bulky teams of my opponents with Gem-boosted Earthquake Garchomp, Draco Meteor Hydreigon, and Close Combat Terrakion. All of those three were able to OHKO or at least 2HKO most threats. The offensive synergie was phenomenal as my Hydreigon lacks Flamethrower -- I could just Earthquake Steel-types instead. Just Scizor was a threat to those two, unfortunately... Dark Pulse could cover Cresselia, a Pokémon Garchomp has trouble against. Against everything else, Draco Meteor was just a night mare for my opponent.
Heatran (F) @ Air Balloon
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 180 HP / 4 Def / 212 SAtk / 4 SDef / 108 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
- Dragon Pulse
- Heat Wave
Heatran is a really cool Pokémon as you can see from Wolfe Glick's (Wolfey) Runner-Up team. I tried to avoid Earthquakes by using the odd Air Balloon as item, something that hit a lot of people by surprise, as they felt like the winner when I switched in Heatran to take Earthquake or even Earth Power. The Speed EVs let it outspeed most Cresselia and Pokémon that try to outspeed Cresselia. I don't think I have to explain why I ran Heat Wave, and Dragon Pulse was mainly for Latios and finishing off Garchomp. When I think about it, Flash Cannon would have been better probably. I don't see any point in running Earth Power barring opposite Heatran, but I did not expect to run into a lot of them. Flash Cannon is Super Effective STAB on Tyranitar and better than Earth Power on neutral hits. My team didn't have a Heatran, Infernape or Volcarona weak after I added Gyarados, so there was no reason to run Earth Power. This thing is pretty good, but Wolfe was able to use it even more effectively, as Air Balloon is just a one-time-help and makes it impossible to switch in against anything but Ground- or Poison-type moves, should they ever show up.
Hydreigon (F) @ Dragon Gem
EVs: 12 HP / 52 Def / 252 SAtk / 4 SDef / 188 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
- Draco Meteor
- Dark Pulse
Hydreigon was really good actually. I liked how it was able to OHKO Thundurus that tried to survive Latios' DM, and Dark Pulse hits Cresselia for about 50% depending on their EV spread. I changed Flamethrower to Substitute on my way to the Convention Center, and it didn't pay of that much. I liked how three of my Pokémon could use Substitute and two carried Taunt, making me nearly gimmick-proof as Robert Kendall (sideshow bob) could tell. Substitute is just my favourite move, and I loved Subbing on Protects. If you have out Garchomp and Hydreigon, and you are faster than both of your opponent's Pokémon, you can just double Sub if you predict ONE Protect. You will probably end up with one Sub being destroyed, but that's only 25% of health. Hydreigon's Sub would survive Icy Winds and the EV spread made it survive an unboosted Dragon Claw from Jolly Garchomp. I normally outran Adamant Garchomps thanks to the Speed EVs, which allowed me to outrun bulky Thundurus as well. Draco Meteor just hits like a truck, but I think I already said that like... two hundred times.
Thundurus (M) @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 220 HP / 236 SDef / 52 Spd
Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk)
- Hidden Power [ice]
- Thunder Wave
Bulky Thundurus was a Pokémon that I was pretty sure I would use because it's just too great. I had several problems facing Thundurus and Cresselia when I decided not to use Tyranitar at all, and I couldn't find a better solution to this problem than running a faster Thundurus with Taunt to stop them from Paralyzing and Swaggering my whole team. The EV spread made it survive Draco Meteor from Latios 100% of the time, and Gyarados would buff the physical bulkiness by providing Intimidate support. HP Ice was to hit Garchomp, and I didn't want to use Swagger on my own because the move just sucks if not used to raise your own Pokémon's attack. I would never rely on a 50% chance or even a 70% chance or something like that. However, in the end, the 90% of Draco Meteor made me lose twice... Thunder Wave support was gladly appreciated, and Terrakion could have a fun day spamming Rock Slide on two Paralyzed Pokémon.
So, that's it for my team! The battles I had were not really special, but I will try to provide a short summary of what happenend in each:
Round 1 vs Sejun Park (0 - 0)
I was able to win Game 1 convincingly, and thought that he was probably not ready to play in masters. I just read him very well and won the match 3-0. Going into Game 2, I thought he would most likely bring Bisharp, but he used Thundurus, Cresselia, Hitmontop and Garchomp again, and my Heatran was completely useless. He totally crushed me Game 2, as it was basically 3 vs 4. I was really confused how I could lose so hard and just tried to focus on Game 3. This time he had Bisharp, but I didn't have Heatran, so I had quite some trouble playing against it. Fortunately I was able to play around it quite well. I'm not sure how it went in detail, butat the end I had Hydreigon behind a Sub with 75% and Garchomp at 100% health, while he had 3 Pokémon left. I could easily KO something with Draco Meteor and get Garchomp behind a Sub or something, but the Timer ran out... I didn't watch it at all and was shocked when it said 30 sec. Of course Sejun was pro enough to not lose on the last turn, and I didn't want to call a judge for 30 sec waiting. I had lost a great opportunity to go 1-0 and Sejun's 5-1 finish made me even more upset, as that just showed that I could have played for Top Cut as well...
Round 2 vs Robert Kendall (sideshow bob) (0 - 1)
I didn't know what to expect from this, but I smelled Drifblim + Hitmontop/Amoonguss leads. I don't remember what I led next to Hydreigon, but it was most likely Gyarados or Thundurus. I was able to Taunt his +4 evasion Drifblim and that was gg. I had some luck with a Dark Pulse flinch in the second game, if I recall correctly, and some other luck as well, but I'm not that sure about it. I probably won 3-0 and 3-0.
Round 3 vs Huy Ha (Huy) (1 - 1)
I was really confused that this guy from Hong Kong had no Trick Room user because the team was really slow. I expected Scarf Rotom and Sash Abomasnow. I was not sure how Rhyperior could fit there, but I thought it was just to make people not use their Electric-type moves such as Thunderbolt against Gyarados or Thunder Wave against Rotom-F, but I couldn't be sure.
You can watch Game 1 here:
And Game 2:
If you'd like to learn more about Huy's team, check out his write-up: Surfing in a Winter Wonderland. -Ed.
Round 4 vs Martin Meisel (Gleizzo) (1 - 2)
Martin was the first German I had to face, but my hopes of making Top Cut were basically gone. I knew Sejun and Huy could probably do well (which they did with 5-1 and 4-2 results), but I was not so sure about sideshow bob. Of course I still wanted to go 4-2. Game 1, he led Conkeldurr and Cresselia against my Terrakion + Hydreigon. I switched Terrakion to Gyarados and Subbed while he destroyed my Sub with Drain Punch and Thunder Waved Gyarados. Next turn I use Substitute again, and he crits with Rock Slide at -1 Atk, bringing Gyarados down to about 30%. I don't know what Cresselia did, but Gyarados flinched. Next turn my Gem Draco Meteor misses on Conkeldurr as he Swaggers and KOs both of mine with Rock Slide. I think I had Thundurus in the back and Terrakion left, but after some more Swaggering and Thunder Waving, followed by self-hits and fully paras, Game 1 was lost.
In Game 2, he crits two times and I hit myself again -- even my crit when I was down 2-4 couldn't help. I would have won over time because I had Hydreigon behind a Sub against his Salamence and Thundurus when it was 2-3 and could just protect + Draco Meteor to kill Thundurus, but he let the time run when we had 45 secs left... I am pretty sure I had more HP percentage, but whatever... So now I'm down 1-3 and out for sure and have only lost two matches because I played badly or was outplayed (my second game against Sejun and first game against Huy) and none of them was the deciding match of the Bo3.
Round 5 vs Sergi Marco Luna Sanz (1 - 3)
Game 1 I outplay him. I Thunderbolt his Garchomp as he switches it out for Suicune, and Hidden Power Ice Suicune when it goes back to Chomp. Game 2 he gets two crits with -1 Chomp against Gyaradsos and Thundurus forcing a third game. Game 3 was probably the worst game of the whole championship... I "timestall" his CM Cune and win 4-3, how silly is that? Nothing was decided but whatever...
Round 6 vs Michael Riechert (Michilele) (2 - 3)
Game 1 I outplay him. I double target his Suicune when he protects his partner and so on. Game 2 I find myself in a better position after some switching and don't give the advantage away again, winning 1-1 on the timer, sorry...
Final result: 3-3. As you can see, I really disliked the timer and was haxxed sometimes when I really couldn't afford to be haxxed. For next year, I will try to build hax proof teams.
Thanks to everyone for the great experience; Hawaii with all of you was just perfect! I will come back to Worlds for sure! Also thanks to everyone who helped me over the season, the Pokedudes^^, especially Massi and ToasT, but also DaFlo and Michilele and many more for great battles on PO! It was a great season and I am really looking forward to battling again in VGC13. Thank you for reading!