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Pokémon Global Link Announces 2012 Autumn Friendly (On Now)

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blog-autumn_friendly2012.pngEager for more competition after the the launch of the Nugget Bridge Tournament Circuit, the Pokémon Global Link today announced the 2012 Autumn Friendly WiFi Tournament.

The 2012 Autumn Friendly will use the same ruleset seen at the 2012 Pokémon Video Game World Championships, aka VG Modified, and last from 00:00 UTC, Friday, September 14th through 23:59 UTC, Monday, September 17, 2012. The Friendly will only allow 50,000 players to participate with registration done on a "first come, first served" basis starting at 00:00 UTC, Thursday, September 6, through 23:59 UTC, Thursday, September 13, 2012, so make sure to register as soon as possible!

Full details can be found on the Pokémon Global Link's website, while inspiration can be found in the many tournament reports hosted on Nugget Bridge.

Good luck!

Update! Registration is now Open

Registration for the 2012 Autumn Friendly has begun! Registration will be open until 23:59 UTC, Thursday, September 13, 2012, with the tournament beginning the next day. There is a cap of 50,000 registrants so don't delay!

Follow along with the tournament and share your experiences with members of the Nugget Bridge community on our forums by clicking the link below.

Update! Autumn Friendly Begins

The 2012 Autumn Friendly has begun! Follow along with your fellow Nugget Bridge users in the comments section below.

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    • By Dozz
      Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and now it's finally time I officially retire this team. I’ve been using one variant or another of it for just over a year now and I think it’s time I tucked it away into a box and looked for something more specific to the current metagame. Even Cybertron is looking at new teams, so I guess I don’t have an excuse now! So, here it is, laid bare for all of you to see. I’m sure most of you have seen it in some way shape or form as I’ve been on some real adventures with it. I took it around Europe through the UK, France, and Italy Nationals last year; I ground out some serious WiFi hours with it in a couple of the tournaments; it even took me to Top Cut of US Nationals in it's most recent incarnation!  I brought it into the early part of the 2013 season, with some limited success, but now the game has changed too much and I can’t just tweak it to adapt. Every Pokémon played its part somewhere and, even though I won’t have any war stories, I’ll try to mention points where it did its job.
      This team came about as a result of my personal team building strategy. I always set myself a “ban list” early in the season, where I tell myself which very overused Pokemon I want to avoid. I always stuck to my guns on this one, and banned weather reliant teams, Hitmontop, Latios and Metagross for the duration of the year. I’m sure it sounds ridiculous to most, but it means I keep enjoying my play, and hopefully keeps my teams a bit more interesting to play against.
      The Lineup

      Chandelure (M) @ Choice ScarfTrait: Flash Fire
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
      Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
      - Overheat
      - Heat Wave
      - Shadow Ball
      - Energy Ball
      The ruse is up, I’ve been running the scarf variant all year. I’ve raved about it for quite a while and I still believe it’s an incredibly strong ‘mon to be running in many teams. I’m an aggressive player (play style that is, not leaning over the table for punch up) and dealing some big damage early doors, without having to worry about Fake Out, is really rather appealing to me. When starting out all I saw were Metagross and Latios everywhere; they seemed to be the two most popular pokemon on the continent. So I was immediately drawn back to Chandelure, which I had used the previous year to decent success, as a solid counter to both of them. I ran the calculations (probably the only time I did all year) and figured that it would need a modest nature to guarantee an OHKO on 4HP Latios, so I went with this. I didn’t want to risk getting hit with the Draco Meteor and it seemed like an easy way to surprise my opponent, taking an early scalp. It also chunked Cresselias pretty hard. I came to an awkward choice when picking the fire move. I much preferred Heat Wave for neutral situations when I wanted to deal some damage to both, and maybe grab a burn, but I couldn’t help shake the feeling I’d regret not having Overheat in some situations. In the end I was greedy and just picked both. Overheat was perfect for OHKO’s when it was required, but at times just staying in for a couple of Heat Waves without the need to switch immediately was also much appreciated. It may seem daft having Energy Ball as well, with Virizion in the team, but I wanted a solid way to beat Gastro and it’s still not always expected. This way I don’t have to bring Virizion every time either. When it came to EV’s, I made sure I had enough to outspeed things I needed to, such as full speed Timid Latios, and basically accepted losing to quicker scarf variants. I think it was enough though, as I took a game at US Nats against editor-in-chief plaid winning the speed war on an opposing Chandelure.

      Terrakion @ Focus SashTrait: Justified
      EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
      Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpAtk)
      - Close Combat
      - Rock Slide
      - Quick Guard
      - Protect
      This is potentially the laziest Pokémon choice ever. I knew I needed a better out than Overheat on the Genies and with Rock and Dark type weaknesses on my Chandelure, which I loved to lead with, Terrakion seemed like a pretty perfect choice. The only downside to this is the double Ground weakness, but on the whole I liked to lead with these two as much as possible, looking to play myself out of any sticky situations when staring down an Earthquake. The final moveslot was the only one I had a real choice with and in the end I settled with Quick Guard. Why you may ask? Well, particularly across Europe -- and in part America -- Dark Gem sucker punch Hitmontop was still very much a thing and often in the lead. Knowing I’d mainly be pairing it with Chandelure, I liked to stop the Fake Out or the Sucker Punch with this. This meant it often took quite a prediction (or a tip off that I was running it) to actually just attack the Terrakion. It really did work for me, as it’s still not taken off as a popular choice on Terrakion -- or really on any Pokémon at all.

      Swampert (M) @ Ground GemTrait: Torrent
      EVs: 166 HP / 252 Atk / 92 Spe
      Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpAtk)
      - Earthquake
      - Waterfall
      - Ice Punch
      - Protect
      This is where I started to try and show some originality in my team. I know it got popular when it top cut the seniors division at Worlds, but I’ve been using this mean mother all year. I was noticing a lot of people bringing Gastrodon and, being a total hipster, I went for its type counterpart. It was a good counter to the large amount of Zapdos the Europeans used, and the Thundurus the Americans loved, as I could switch it in on Thunder Waves, or just Thunderbolts from the back, and then threaten immediately with Ice Punch. I discussed at length with Osirus and Rees the possibilty of a special set but, knowing it would often be paired with a Cress to just “tidy up” out the back, I decided I could get away with Earthquakes in the end. The one change I did make throughout the season was the item. I originally went with Rindo Berry, but after I got KO’d through it on a couple of occasions, I felt there was no point: you just lose to Grass moves. I switched over to a Ground gem, purely for the extra damage on Metagross and to make neutral attacks people may think they can tank a little more threatening to nab some KOs on his way to seeing out the win. If I’ve removed the grass threat early on with Chandelure, he can fairly readily see out a game for me.

      Cresselia (F) @ Lum BerryTrait: Levitate
      EVs: 252 HP / 204 Def / 52SpDef
      Calm Nature (+SpDef, -Atk)
      - Psychic
      - Icy Wind
      - Helping Hand
      - Trick Room
      I needed some kind of support for what I’d picked so far, and unfortunately, I just couldn’t replace such a classic support ‘mon with anything quite as effective. I needed an out to Trick Room and went for a maybe more straightforward way in just reversing it when it was set up, rather than tiddling about with taunts or double targets. I also accepted the fact that every team needs some speed control and opted for Icy Wind over Thunder Wave, purely so I had an option for everything, and because I enjoyed hitting both opposing Pokémon at once. I felt that Thunder Wave was overkill when usually it would only take one speed drop to get things below my fairly brisk team -- particularly the middling Pokemon I wanted to out speed with Swampert to see out games. I also didn’t have a super effective attack to hit the ever present Hitmontop so I just (lazily) slapped Psychic on there, usually doing a good chunk before or after the Close Combat stat drop. I had one more space, and after a few games where Cress ended up being quite passive, I gave her Helping Hand. This just plays into the quick aggressive strategy I liked the team to execute.

      Virizion @ Expert BeltTrait: Justified
      EVs: 212 HP / 184 Atk / 76 Def / 36 Spe
      Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpAtk)
      - Leaf Blade
      - X-Scissor
      - Hidden Power [ice]
      - Protect
      I spent weeks trying to get Rotom-Cut to work, as I loved the look of the little lawnmower, but having to switch it out every time after it did anything was a bit of a nuisance so I spoke to renowned thespian, and part time athlete Wolfey, and we looked in-depth at Virizion as a good answer to weather which my team was really lacking. It’s really not my normal kind of Pokemon. It has bulk investment, strange moves, and isn’t just maxed out in the speed department. Expert Belt Leaf Blade was KO’ing most Politoeds i saw running about fairly handily and X-Scissor was doing big damage on the Ludicolos people loved to pair with them. I didn’t bring a fighting move on here, as I felt it wouldn’t be required considering what I was using it for. Only once did I actually desire it and that was near the end of my run at US Nationals. Although there was no investment in SpAtk, the Hidden Power Ice that Human convinced me to put on was fairly helpful -- particularly against those with a 4x weakness to Ice who thought they were safe. In more recent times, this has done well against Landorus, with his new Therian Forme seeing decent amounts of play.

      Sableye (F) @ Sitrus BerryTrait: Prankster
      EVs: 252 HP / 240 SpDef / 16 Spe
      Careful Nature (+SpDef, -SpAtk)
      - Fake Out
      - Will-O-Wisp
      - Captivate
      - Taunt
      I’ve been running with Sableye all year and fell in love with the tricky little prankster early doors. She needs about 12 move slots, but the 4 she picks are probably going to be useful in any team. I started with her as part of my weather counter with Virizion. I knew Virizion would be able to hurt them, but I wasn’t really stopping them from getting the benefits from their atmospheric changes. I looked at Thunder Wave and such, but I thought as a coverall it would just be much easier to change the weather to sun which very few people would benefit from. Prankster Sunny Day helped Virizion in dismantling rain and sand teams from the get go.
      I got to US Nationals though and I wasn’t really sold on it, but I hadn’t found anything to fill the slot either. It seemed like a kind of wasted Pokémon. I waited at Indianapolis airport, met Cybertron briefly, and waited for Cassie. On the bus wagon, we got talking about our teams for the weekend and she was really animated about the Sableye that she’d devised with Huy and jio. Although it took Huy all night to convince me, I gladly took it off them, and found out what a nuisance Captivate/Will-O-Wisp could be as a combo -- essentially having an answer to either type of attacker. In fact, one of my games was on me getting lucky with 5/5 WoW hits keeping my opponent in check, even with Lum Berry. I wasn’t too upset at being able to cripple many special attackers, including the male-only Latios and the Genies guaranteed. Fake Out wasn’t really that useful, I’d rather just get down to some proper disruption as soon as possible. Taunt proved useful though, stopping some Trick Room and support pokes fairly readily.
      So there’s my thought pattern when I team build, it might seem simple, but it led me through a few decent tournaments to a decent level. I promised sometime, I'd write an article about it, so there you have it. I'd like to hear from you guys what you think in the discussion, and I might even dabble in another article in the near future!
      Article image created by feathers for Nugget Bridge. View more of her artwork on her tumblr or Nugget Bridge forums thread.
    • By Duy
      2012 was a banner year for VGC and competitive Pokemon in general. We saw some incredible matches, intensely competitive tournaments, and a complete reshaping of the North American tournament circuit over the course of the year. Nugget Bridge contributor and distinguished member of the Ha Dynasty Duy Ha (Duy) takes a look back his his top 12 moments of 2012.
      12. Japan Returns After 2011 Absence
      After missing the 2011 season due to the devastating tsunami, Japan returned to the VGC scene with a vengeance in 2012. The presence of the historically dominating Japanese trainers was sorely missed in 2011, but Satoru Masukata and Jumpei Yamamato represented Japan well in the Masters division in 2012 where Jumpei was able to Top Cut Worlds. Unluckily for him, he was paired up against the number one seed Ray Rizzo and had to settle for an 8th place finish. In the Seniors division, Shota was able to qualify again after being one of the only Japanese representatives in 2011, thanks to his invite from Worlds 2010, and Santa Ito continues his streak of qualifying for every Worlds since 2009 by going through the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). (Both of their fathers ended up facing off in the Masters LCQ as well!) Santa ended up cutting but was dispatched in the Top 8 by Nugget Bridge's very own Snake.
      Without a doubt, Japan's return to the VGC scene has upped the competitive level across the board. Though Japanese trainers only competed against North American and European trainers at Worlds, their influence was felt even before then with the results of Japan's National Championships sending shockwaves through the other regions' metagames, most notably by the introduction of Swagger as a mainstream tactic. I look forward to following their performance in the 2013 season.
      11. Scott Bursts the Bubble... Only to Bubble
      Around the Nugget Bridge offices, we have a few inside jokes. There are the obvious like betting pools on which Regional drcossack won't attend next and who will win which tournament with one of Cybertron's teams, but perhaps the most lasting has been Scott Glaza (Scott)'s relationship with The Bubble. The Bubble has been unkind to user Scott. In 2011, he placed 17th at US Nationals, missing out on the Top Cut of 16 on the strength of his tiebreakers and was knocked out at the final round of the Worlds LCQ in San Diego. In 2012, well, he placed 17th in his flight again and missed out on yet another Nationals Top Cut. Unlucky. But Scott persevered and was finally able to prove to the world that he deserved a spot in the World Championships by going through an LCQ stacked with top users, delighting the world and breaking his very own Curse of the Bambino. Scott rolled pretty hot at Worlds, defeating skarm in a mirror match that was broadcast on stream and finished with a respectable 4-2 record. Unfortunately, curses die hard and just like previous years, his tiebreaker was not enough to carry him through, and he bubbled at 10th place. With 2013, Scott has another shot at beating the Curse of the Bubble and has already managed to Top Cut one Regional, though he unfortunately bubbled just out of the prize money. Look for Scott to continue falling just short of great things throughout the season!
      10. Chinese Dood Becomes Canada's First and Possibly Last National Champion
      Pokemon has never been kind to the great white north. From skarm's loss to Flyquaza, to skarm's disqualification from Journey Across America for being Canadian, to skarm messing up 2010 Nationals by forcing organizers to denote which country the players in Top 16 originated from, to skarm's chances at invading 2011 Nationals being ruined by Simisear... err, maybe Pokemon is just not kind to skarm. But nonetheless, the first Canadian Nationals was hosted this year, and Tony Cheung (Chinese Dood) emerged as the champion of the tournament, upsetting tournament favorites R_Inanimate and the perpetually unlucky skarm (though he did place 2nd). Of course, since Canada can never have anything nice, Canadian Nationals has been cancelled, making Chinese Dood the only Canadian National Champion and undisputed King of the North.
      9. Founding of Nugget Bridge
      Full disclosure: My handsome, intelligent, witty and all around nice guy editor made me add this. Still, Nugget Bridge's founding just before US Nationals is kind of a seminal moment in the VGC community. Before Nugget Bridge, we had many different websites we could go to for VGC support, ultimately splitting our community and knowledge base. The creation of Nugget Bridge was able to bring all of us from Europe to Canada to America to Japan and beyond together under one united website. From its founding, we have all had great times, and I think we all have grown as a community. A lot of us have learned more about the VGC metagame and have made some of our closest friends on here that we have since had the opportunity to meet at live tournaments across the country and around the globe. Nugget Bridge is continually expanding and providing more opportunities for the VGC community to grow. [Thank you. -- Ed.]
      8. RNG'ers Get a Chance to Shine
      RNG'ers are an integral part of our community -- they supply Pokemon to practically all of the top players on Nugget Bridge! Even though they are so important, they rarely have a chance to be in the spotlight, with their only shot at glory being when their nicknamed Pokemon were shown on the big screen (an option that was, sadly, taken away during the season). Two of the biggest RNG'ers of Nugget Bridge, however, got their time in the spotlight for their battling prowess in 2012. At Nationals, in only her second VGC Tournament, cassie was able to Top Cut a difficult field and was even about to knock out the eventual winner of the tournament, Wolfe Glick, when the timer ended her tournament. Her story can be found here.
      On the other hand, user Biosci was finally able to use his RNG'd Pokemon himself and get his feet wet in the battling scene at the Worlds LCQ, where he was eliminated just two wins away from qualifying for Worlds. In the last moments of the year, he then followed up this success by winning the first ever Wi-Fi Challenge, netting himself 10 Championship Points and a Bye to whichever Regional he is able to attend. No longer can you look at these users as just a means to an end as they have clearly established themselves as threats to contend with in the coming season!
      7. Abram Burrows Dominates His First Year
      Rarely any coverage of Juniors occurs unless Nugget Bridge's very own Babbytron is involved. That's unfortunate because 2012 saw one of the greatest first year success stories in Pokemon history. In only his first year competing, Abram Burrows notched up an impressive record, placing second at a California Regional, going undefeated throughout Nationals, and then going undefeated throughout Worlds. The only competitor that comes close to this kind of dominance in a season was Jeremy Fann back when he was a Junior in 2009, who also won Nationals and Worlds that year after getting second place at California's Regional. As a bonus, Abram used cool mons to secure his victory at Worlds, including Landorus and Cloyster -- a Pokemon that was released before he was even born!
      6. Graduating From Their Class
      In 2011, the Masters Division was added to allow Juniors some time to adjust to a different metagame. A lot of doubt was in the air as to whether or not this would actually help and whether or not players could do well their first season after moving up a division. Boy did they prove us wrong. Human, a Senior in 2011, was able to succeed in the Masters division, nearly qualifying for Worlds through Nationals, and Snake, a Junior in 2011, was able to take it all the way to the Top 4 of Worlds in the Seniors division. Sejun Park, Seniors runner-up from 2011, performed exceptionally well at Worlds for his first year as a Master. How well? He Top Cut, falling only to Worlds Runner-Up Wolfe Glick in the Round of 8. The 2013 season is poised to have even more graduation stories, including some that have already begun with 2011 World Champ Kamran Jahadi (Kamz) taking first place in the Fall San Jose Regional (defeating yours truly), perpetual competitor Aaron Zheng (Cybertron) placing second in the Fall Philadelphia Regional (using Kamz's Worlds team), and 2012 World Champ Toler Webb (Dim) making it to the Top Cut of that same tournament.
      Not bad, kids. Not bad.
      5. User Dim Shuts Me the Yams Up
      Speaking of Toler, as we all know, I can be a real jerk sometimes. Back when Dim was just a young upstart, I did not think too highly of him because he was just a kid trying to compete with the big boys. The nerve! Turns out 2012, his final year as a Senior, was his breakout season, and Dim was able to capture the elusive title of World Champion. He has since followed that up with an impressive Top 8 finish at the Fall Philadelphia Regional and looks to be a threat for the remainder of the season and Worlds. He has grown so much as a player that I even stole one of his spreads to use on my Regional team. His story can be read here, and congratulations again! That'll teach me to ever doubt anyone ever again.
      4. Wolfey and Cybertron Repeat as National Champions
      The 2012 season saw a lot of changes to the tournament format that we had become used to since 2009. Perhaps the most notable was the decision to switch Nationals from an invitational to an open field tournament, making the tournament just that much more difficult to take. Add on Byes that could be attained from placing well at Regionals and the 2012 US Nationals field was completely different from what I was used to. As a spectator just sitting on my lazy butt from home, I was pretty unsure as to who would win after the first day because of a vast array of names that I did not even recognize along with the powerhouse names on the list of top cutters. Turns out all of that speculation was for naught as known-quantities and defending National Champs Wolfe Glick (Wolfey) and Aaron Zheng (Cybertron) were able to cement themselves as some of the greatest American players ever, capturing their second titles in a row from a field that scared me to death. Congratulations to the both of them!
      3. Ray Rizzo Threepeats Worlds
      Winning Worlds is difficult. Winning worlds a second time is even more difficult. Winning worlds a third time seemed impossible, but to the surprise of even himself, Ray Rizzo (Ray) stepped it up and took his third World Championships title in a row and second from Hawaii. Ray was a little bit out of practice coming into Worlds, having not had to seriously train for any tournaments prior to Worlds, but his innate skill carried him through the tournament as he became only the second player to go undefeated in Worlds after Kazuyuki Tsuji did it in 2009 (the only Worlds that Ray has not competed in). His story can be read here on Nugget Bridge.
      Is a fourpeat in the cards for 2013?
      2. Doing it Big in Hawaii
      Worlds is distinct from the other events in the circuit: they do it big at Worlds. They hold nothing back and unlike other events, Worlds becomes more of a showcase of Pokemon and what that stands for to me. It brings the best players from all across the globe and truly shows me how universal Pokemon is. You see foreign players who can barely speak English playing and being able to communicate with their fellow trainers through the game of Pokemon. Because Worlds is such an exclusive event compared to Nationals, many players you might see deeply focused on Pokemon earlier in the season are, by Saturday, just ready to relax, hang out with their fellow trainers and cheer on those left in the tournament. Me, I did not care if I qualified. I just wanted to be there to hang out with people that I did not get to see during the year (the only person I didn't get to see was evan [We'll do it big in Vancouver instead -- Ed.]). Put all that together at a beautiful location such as Hawaii and, well, you've got a winner. Worlds is consistently the best event of the VGC season and TPCI has not dropped the ball yet. Here's to doing in big in Vancouver next year!
      1. Swiss Regionals and an Open Nationals
      This is probably the best thing that has happened to the competitive scene since VGC tournaments began. The 2012 season was huge for VGC because it shook up everything about the circuit as we know it. Not only did we see long-time VGC head Mike Liesik move on to greener pastures as TCGO baron and be replaced by Smash Bros. staple Chris Brown (AlphaZealot), but 2012 also saw the elimination of the single elimination Regional tournaments that were the bane of competitive players everywhere and replaced by much stronger Swiss style tournaments. Swiss Regionals allow for players to continue playing, even after losing. Since Pokemon a luck based game, this allows players to have an unlucky battle here or there and still have the chance to win the entire tournament as well as allowing less competitive players to play more matches in a day.
      The other huge change was alluded to earlier: Open Nationals. An open Nationals allowed for everyone to compete and have a chance to qualify for Worlds, though previous Regionals winners had a significant advantage. This weeded out those who simply got lucky at a Regional (like yours truly!) and allowed all of the best players to compete! Considering that the top 2 from US Nationals went on to place 2nd and 4th at Worlds at the end of the year, I think we can call the new format a pretty significant improvement.
      Well, that's it... 2012 in a nutshell. For my money, 2012 was one of the best years for competitive Pokemon ever, and there was so much happening that I wasn't able to cover everything in just this one article. Let me know your favorite moments from 2012 in the comments below. Here's to more great battles, more great memories and above all more Pokemon in 2013!
      From all of us at Nugget Bridge, we wish you a safe and happy New Year!
    • By Huy
      Hello friends! It’s Huy again and this time I’m bringing you a little analysis of the team I’ve been using since Worlds. I took this team to Regionals and have been using it in Wifi tournaments and, most recently, the Nugget Bridge Major. I’d like to tell you that there’s something completely new for you to look forward to, but I didn’t feel like I was done with his Worlds team, I was quick to realize that my team would benefit greatly from two things: something to reset my weather and something to help me against Wolfetran, which was growing in popularity. I looked up and down and something quickly caught my eye – Blissey. It did everything I wanted to do. It got Skill Swap to reset Hail and remove Levitate from Heatran, it tanked Chandelure and Heatran which would have given me trouble, and it offered me Speed control that I desperately needed. So let’s take a closer look at what I changed on my team.

      Blissey (F) @ Chople Berry
      Trait: Serene Grace
      EVs: 40 HP / 252 Def / 148 SAtk / 68 SDef
      Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
      - Mud Bomb
      - Skill Swap
      - Icy Wind
      - Softboiled
      This is by far the biggest change to my team. Blissey filled a good number of holes left by the rest of my team and offered me a brand new toy play with. Speed control and Skill Swap were my main reasons to use Blissey. So why not Cresselia? While Cresselia is probably the best Pokémon for Speed control and Skill Swap, it was not the best for my team. Blissey wouldn’t have to worry about Chandelure Shadow Balls, and it gave me something to switch into Dragon Gem Draco Meteors which I did not really have before. While I could use Cresselia to take the Draco Meteor, Blissey gives me the option to recover all of that damage off with Softboiled. Blissey also offers me a lot of fun things to do with Skill Swap that Cresselia wouldn’t let me do. My team doesn’t really benefit from Levitate, but with 3 Blizzard abusers, they’d all love to take a stab at firing off a Serene Grace Blizzard. An added benefit is that two of my Blizzard users have abilities that can be reactivated. Being able to reset Intimidate and Snow Warning and give my partner Serene Grace would really put a kink in my opponent’s plans.
      Now all of that may be self-explanatory but I know what you’re looking at so let’s address the elephant in the room: Mud Bomb. Mud Bomb is a 65 base power, 85% accurate Special Ground-type attack with a 30% chance to lower Accuracy. Now how does that fit into my plan? With 148 Special Attack EVs, Mud Bomb will 2HKO Wolfey’s Heatran while taking negligible damage from whatever Heatran decides to throw back at it. With Serene Grace, the chance of an accuracy drop bumps up to 60% giving me another out with an opponent’s miss. The rest of the EV’s were just dumped in for general bulk. Blissey needed max defense and a Chople Berry in order to survive Fighting Gem Close Combats from Hitmontop so I just ran with that and dumped the rest into HP and Special Defense.

      Gyarados (F) @ Choice Specs
      Trait: Intimidate
      EVs: 60 HP / 204 Def / 244 SAtk
      Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
      - Surf
      - Fire Blast
      - Thunder → Hidden Power [Flying]
      - Blizzard
      I dropped Thunder on Gyarados because I added Blissey. I didn’t really need to bring Gyarados against Rain teams anymore so Thunder was a lot less useful than it used to be so I opted for Hidden Power Flying to give it another STAB attack to lock into. It deals heavy damage to Ludicolo and Hitmontop and hits most things neutrally for okay damage, but I still mainly used it for Surf to power Gastrodon. Paired with Blissey, it could still Surf without worry and Blissey could give it even more Intimidate support with a Skill Swap.

      Abomasnow (M) @ Focus Sash
      Trait: Snow Warning
      EVs: 140 HP / 116 Atk / 252 SAtk
      Quiet Nature (+SAtk, -Spd)
      - Blizzard
      - Giga Drain
      - Protect
      - Ice Shard
      Abomasnow is the same Abomasnow that I’ve used since Nationals. Straight ripped from Cassie’s team it does what Abomasnow is supposed to do: set Hail and hit things with STAB attacks. Abomasnow greatly appreciated the prescence of Blissey, though. With Blissey on the field, Abomasnow did not have to worry about switching in and out in order to get Hail back up. All it has to do is sit there and fire off a Blizzard as Blissey Skill Swaps Serene Grace onto it. People end up having to think twice about switching in and out to get their weather back up for fear of the 20% freeze and the ease of Blissey just Swapping Snow Warning again to bring up Hail again.

      Rotom (Rotom-F) @ Choice Scarf
      Trait: Levitate
      EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 248 SAtk / 4 SDef / 224 Spd
      Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
      - Thunderbolt
      - Volt Switch
      - Blizzard
      - Hidden Power [Fire]
      Rotom is still very straightforward. In Hail, it’s a powerhouse that fires off strong STAB Blizzards. It keeps the damage flowing by abusing Volt Switch to set the team up for the most favorable matchups. In a pinch, it doesn’t mind Serene Grace from Blissey either.

      Gastrodon-East (M) @ Sitrus Berry
      Trait: Storm Drain
      EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 28 SAtk / 120 SDef
      Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
      - Muddy Water
      - Earth Power
      - Protect
      - Recover
      Gastrodon is still just defensive Casstrodon. It’s maximized in bulk to take a few hits while it grabs boosts from Gyarados. It forces you to choose between taking out a Pokémon firing off strong Specs boosted attacks or one that’s constantly getting powered up by them. A timely Recover can change the tide of a match. The strong spread moves of the rest of the team force the opponent to play defensively giving Gastrodon a chance to Recover and start wrecking.

      Scizor (F) @ Occa Berry
      Trait: Technician
      EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spd
      Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
      - Protect
      - Bug Bite
      - Bullet Punch
      - Feint → Natural Gift
      For a Worlds metagame, Feint is definitely the superior choice. But at a Regional where you can’t assume anything about your opponent, it’s hard to be able to use Feint correctly. I opted for one of the lesser known options. Natural Gift with an Occa Berry grants Scizor a one-time use 60BP Physical Fire attack to surprise enemy Scizor. I did not use it very often but on a team with so many thing scared off by Scizor, picking them off in exchange for your item is a great deal. While I didn’t use it much, the times that I did use it, it was probably the reason I won the match.
      How it all comes together
      This team had a lot more options for me to play around with than the version that I brought to Worlds. The addition of Blissey opened many windows for me and helped me cover a large chunk of my weaknesses. Blissey’s Skill Swap allowed me to move abilities and make my opponent play differently. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up with Storm Drain Blissey grabbing boosts from Surf Gyarados or Abomasnow and Scizor eating Heatran Heat Waves with Flash Fire and shrugging it off. Blissey has held more abilities than I can count. It’s fired off Technician boosted Icy Winds, taken Levitates from Rotom so it can Mud Bomb it to pieces and stolen Storm Drain off opposing Gastrodon so that Gyarados can fire off its Surfs.
      But nevertheless these are all just techs for my weaknesses. The heart and soul of the team is still Gyarados/Rotom-F/Gastrodon/Abomasnow. I’ve gotten so comfortable with this team that I feel like I can overcome a lot of things. At its core this is still a 4-Pokémon team built to support each other as best they can. But like all Pokémon teams, nothing is perfect. Blissey is the plug for some of these holes and Scizor is the plug for others. I almost always use 3 of the core 4 and use one of the techs as needed. I may be old fashioned in the way I think about Pokémon teams, but I feel like the way to develop a Pokémon team is to just form a core and then find the best way to plug a hole. I’ve gone through a bunch of revisions to this team and this probably isn’t the end of it. Who knows what we’ll see the next time I decide to break this team out again?
      Article image created by ryuzaki and used with permission by Nugget Bridge. See more of ryuzaki’s artwork on deviantART.
    • By Evan
      Exactly two months from today trainers across North America will compete in the second set of Video Game Regional Championships of the 2013 season. While the format of the next set of events is still to be determined — will it be GBU Doubles, Eevee Cup? — we do know that the format we've been playing over the course of 13 official events in North America, Europe, Japan and Korea will be retired in favor of the new toys available in Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2 game carts. With that in mind, and in the spirit of the season, Nugget Bridge would like to take a moment to thank our contributors, without whom Nugget Bridge would just be a gorgeous template.
      Nugget Bridge will be taking the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving and return on Monday the 26th. While there will be no long-form articles posted from now until them, make sure you stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter accounts as Nugget Bridge Major Highlight Matches and Power Rankings will continue as normal. We'll also be uploading more battle videos, including commentated Nugget Bridge Major matches, throughout the week on our YouTube channel.
      Until Monday, join me in bidding this format farewell by checking out all of Nugget Bridge's coverage from the VGC 2013 Fall Regional Championships:
      Philadelphia, PA

      Masters Champion Matt S. (bearsfan092)'s No Substitute for Skill
      Masters Finalist Aaron Z. (Cybertron)'s Graduation Day
      Master Evan L. (evan)'s Plaid Enterprises
      Master Jeudy A. (SoulSurvivor)'s Korean Influences
      Master Ryan G. (The Knights of Wario Land)'s Tricky Rain
      Master Arbin T. (Cypher)'s Row Row Fight the Power

      Houston, TX

      Masters Champion Benji I. (benjitheGREAT)'s I Think I Need a MOXIE Boost
      Masters Finalist Oliver V. (Smith)'s Four Underscore and Seven Swiss Rounds Ago
      Seniors Champion Cedric B. (Talon)'s Left Behind

      Ft. Wayne, IN

      Masters Champion Zach D. (Zach)'s Ticket to the Gun Show
      Masters Top 8 Sam H. (DrFidget)'s Bat Out of Detroit

      San Jose, CA

      Masters Finalist Hayden M. (hakemo)'s Hayden's Hexagon
      Masters Top 4 Duy H. (Duy)'s Davis Special
      Seniors Finalist Tommy Y. (tlyee61)'s Virizion Wireless

      And of course don't forget about the teams used when the most was at stake at the World Championships:
      Waikoloa, HI

      Masters Champion Ray R. (Ray)'s Third Time’s the Charm
      Masters Finalist Wolfe G. (Wolfey)'s Eggscelent Execution
      Masters 3rd Place Abel S. (flash)'s Spanish Power
      Masters 4th Place Joe P. (sandman)'s Kicking Up a Storm
      Masters 8th Place Jumpei Y. (Jumpei_24)'s Double Dragon - translated by Ren Z. (crobert)
      Masters 9th Place Huy H. (Huy)'s Surfing in a Winter Wonderland
      Masters 10th Place Scott G. (Scott)'s Battling in the Heavy Rain: Press X To Bubble
      Masters 11th Place Manoj S. (MangoSol)'s It’s Too Bright in Here… No, It’s Just MangoSol
      Masters 19th Place Markus S. (13Yoshi37)'s German Engineering
      Masters LCQ Top 16 William H. (Biosci)'s Appa! Yip Yip!
      Masters LCQ Top 32 Rushan S. (Firestorm)'s Long Live the Slowking
      Seniors Champion Toler W. (Dim)'s Heated Up and Ready to Go

      Thanks to these and every other one of Nugget Bridge's contributors for their hard work and dedication. We've only just begun.
    • By Firestorm
      The final Pokémon World Tournament download from the 2012 Pokémon World Championships is live! If you've been waiting for your chance to play the team of three-time world champion Ray Rizzo, now's your chance! You can access the computer terminal to the left of the PWT receptionist and download the event. Only three events can be saved to your game at a time so if you downloaded the incorrect version of the Juniors event, you'll need to pick one to delete before grabbing this one.
      You'll be able to play against the teams of the following players:

      Masters Division World Champ Ray Rizzo (Ray) as "World Champ Ray"
      Masters Division Runner-up Wolfe Glick (Wolfey) as "World Runner-up Wolfe"
      Masters Division 3rd Place Finisher Abel Martin Sanz (flash) as "World Finalist Abel"
      Masters Division 4th Place Finisher Joe Pulkowski (sandman) as "World Finalist Joe"

      Looking for tips to beat these formidable opponents? Each player has given us a look at their teams and strategies over the past few months so check them out:

      Third Time's the Charm by Ray Rizzo
      Eggscelent Execution by Wolfe Glick
      Spanish Power by Abel Martin Sanz
      Kicking Up a Storm by Joe Pulkowski

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