Published on November 3rd, 2015 | by xGSx3ntr0py


Alice Unchained: A 20th Place US Nationals Report

Hi everyone! My name is Kevin Reed (xGSx3ntr0py/TM Silv3r). I started playing competitively in 2012 and placed 20th at 2013 and 2015 US Nationals. The 2015 season turned out to be a fairly decent one for the TM clan, with Kyle Timbrook (TM Ruby) placing top 8 at Indiana and Missouri regionals and Jonathan Neville (TM Gold) placing top 8 at the Madison regional. Although I had a relatively weak season leading up to Nationals, I was able to earn a good amount of CP from my 20th place finish. I think all of us ended up top 80 in the final CP standings,  just short of the ever elusive Worlds invite.

Some have you may have seen Clefable doing serious work in my match against James Baek (Jamespeed1), which was featured on one of the side screens during day 2 (Clefable > Clefairy). Unfortunately I do not take very good notes so I won’t be able to go into great detail about the matches. Without further ado, here it is:

Warning: Cringe worthy hard rock/grunge themed nicknames, proceed with caution.

The Team

ShOot2DriLL (Excadrill) (M) @ Life Orb
Ability: Sand Rush
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 172 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 76 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Rock Slide
– Drill Run
– Iron Head
– Protect

“Shoot to thrill play to kill. I got my gun at the ready gonna fire at will”

The name comes from the AC/DC song “Shoot to Thrill,” and is very cheesy. Despite having played for 3 years, I was, for some reason, under the impression that Life Orb resulted in 1/8 HP loss instead of 1/10 so the HP investment was a sad attempt to reduce Life Orb recoil while allowing Excadrill to retain a decent amount of bulk. 4 EVs were placed in Defense and Special Defense to add to Excadrill’s bulk. Max Attack and Adamant nature were necessary to ensure that Excadrill would hit as hard as possible. The 76 Speed EVs allowed me to out speed Choice Scarf Landorus-Therian in sand and Pokémon such as Milotic, Cresselia, and Rotom outside of sand. I chose Drill Run over Earthquake so that I would not hit my own Tyranitar or Clefable, which were often on the field at the same time. I also used Drill Run over Earthquake because I had been facing a lot of Aegislash with Wide Guard prior to Nationals.


EnTerSaNdMaN (Tyranitar) (M) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Sand Stream
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Rock Slide
– Assurance
– Ice Punch
– Superpower

“Tuck you in, warm within keep you free from sin ‘Til the Sandman he comes”

Named after the Metallica song “Enter Sandman,” for obvious reasons. The EVs allow scarf Tyranitar to outspeed Modest Choice Scarf Politoed and Modest Mega-Gengar. A few EVs were invested in bulk in hopes of increasing Tyranitar’s longevity. I noticed that many of the Japan Sand teams were running Assurance so I decided to follow suit. Other than that, the set is pretty standard.

salamence -> salamence-mega

LeArN2FLy (Salamence-Mega) (F) @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate -> Aerilate
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 36 HP / 244 SpA / 228 Spe
Timid Nature
– Dragon Pulse
– Fire Blast
– Hyper Voice
– Protect

“I’m looking for a complication. Looking cause I’m tired of trying. Make my way back home when I learn to fly high”

Named after the Foo Fighters song “Learn to Fly”. I decided to run special Mega Salamence over the common physical or mixed sets because I knew that the team would be heavily targeted by Will-O-Wisp and Intimidate. The nature and speed EVs allowed me to out speed my own Choice Scarf Tyranitar by 1 point after mega evolving in order to increase Tyranitar’s Assurance damage. The HP EVs were divisible by 16-1 to reduce sand/hail damage. The rest were invested in Special Attack to allow Salamence to hit as hard as possible.


AliceNChains (Clefable) (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 244 HP / 164 Def / 28 SpA / 68 SpD / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
– Minimize
– Follow Me
– Ice Beam
– Protect

“They come to snuff the rooster, yeah here come the rooster yeah you know he ain’t gonna die”

Like the band she is named after, AliceNChains was awesome and was definitely the MVP of the team. The EV spread was stolen from Leonard Craft III’s (DaWoblefet) Winter Regional article which allowed Clefable to survive Kangaskhan’s Return and Bisharp’s Iron Head. The Magic Guard ability allowed Clefable to avoid sand damage and damage from redirected Will-O-Wisps intended to cripple my physical attackers. I would generally try to lead with Clefable in the back and make a safe switch-in to either Protect Excadrill or start Minimizing. Landorus was a very common lead against my team, so with a Bold nature and Intimidate support from Salamence, Clefable was able to switch-in safely and start boosting. After increasing its Evasion, Clefable was capable of putting the team in winning situations with Follow Me support and was actually able to win several 1v1 situations from chip damage and Leftovers recovery.


♥ShapedBox (Rotom-Heat) @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Levitate
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 132 Spe
Modest Nature
– Overheat
– Thunderbolt
– Thunder Wave
– Protect

“She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak. I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks”

Named after the Nirvana song “Heart-Shaped Box”. This EV spread was similar what to Alec Ruben (Namuko Pro) used at Virginia Regionals, but I adjusted the spread to outspeed Bisharp by 1 point and then put the remaining EVs into Special Attack in order to make the most out of Rotom’s offensive presence. I opted for Thunder Wave over Will-O-Wisp for speed control, and the occasional full paralysis didn’t hurt. Safety Goggles gave me a better matchup against Amoonguss and Breloom while also negating sand damage.


NoVeMbErRaiN (Azumarill) (F) @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Huge Power
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 196 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Def / 12 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Play Rough
– Aqua Jet
– Belly Drum
– Protect

“Nothing lasts forever and we both know hearts can change. It’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain”

Named after the Guns N Roses song “November Rain”. Azumarill was the last member added to the team and was initially selected for the resistances it offered my team. However, after using it I discovered what a powerhouse it could be. I used the standard belly drum set so there’s not much to say about it. The EV spread was given to me by Kyle Timbrook (TM Ruby). Despite doing well in practice, it was probably my least used Pokémon during nationals. I felt that a lot of my opponents had good counters for it which deterred me from using it.

Common Leads

azumarill clefable

If my opponents didn’t appear to have any Pokémon that use spread moves (like Hyper Voice Sylveon), this lead was a safe option. I think everybody knows how dangerous +6 Aqua Jet spam can be.

tyranitar excadrill

With the speed this lead possessed, I was able to apply immediate offensive pressure on my opponent. When I chose this lead I would typically bring Clefable and Salamence in the back with the intent of switching in-order to provide Follow Me and Intimidate support for Excadrill.

clefable salamence

If the opponents team preview did not contain Pokémon with Defiant/ Competitive abilities and/or contained mostly physical Pokémon this was a common lead that allowed Clefable to get off a few free minimize boosts.

Tournament Summary

I was very nervous prior to the start of the tournament because I could not get a rank higher than 1,500 on Pokémon Showdown, but I was running out of time and ideas. I decided to enter this team primarily because I had done well with sand in 2013.

Day 1 I faced a lot of really good players, such as Paul Chua (Pwny Person), Mike Suleski (OmegaDonut), Alex Underhill (Lexicon), and Zach Droegkamp (Braverius). I know there are more, but I am going solely off of memory so I’m sorry if I forgot anybody. I played Paul Chua around round 3 and his rain team proved to be too much for me to handle.  Several rounds later I lost to Alex Underhill in a well-played sand vs. sand showdown. My most memorable match of the day was against Zach Droegkamp. I was 6-2 and it was the final round of Swiss.  I needed a win in order to advance to day 2. When I saw my match up I was extremely nervous because I knew the caliber of my opponent.  I ended up getting very lucky in the last match of the set with an Ice Beam freeze that may have won me the game.

Day 2 I played some more exceptional players. Chris Danzo (Lunar), James Ball (Pball0010) , James Baek (Jamespeed1), Demitrios Kaguras (Kingdjk), Paul Chua again, and  and Aaron Liebersbach (Arch).

I finished day 2 with a record of  3-3 which put me at 20th place. I also used this team to place 2nd at my first PC of the 2016 season.  Overall I felt that the team did very well and it was definitely a lot of fun to play with.

Special Thanks

  • Johnathan Neville (TM Gold), Kyle Timbrook (TM Ruby), Erik Humfleet (TM Y3llow/Epoke28), Josh Meyers, and my brother Bryan Reed for spending countless hours throughout the season helping me practice and team build.
  • Erik Humfleet (TM Y3llow/Epoke28) again for taking the time to breed my entire team shiny and EV train it for me. I probably would have ended up with a lot less cool, partially EVd team otherwise.
  • My brother Bryan Reed again for attending all of the tournaments with me and offering words of encouragement.
  • My girlfriend Tara for supporting this hobby, even when I missed Valentine’s day to scrub out in Missouri.
  • Astronautical for creating the awesome cover art! Check out Astronautical’s art thread!
  • The Pokémon community as a whole. There are so many cool people I have met while playing this game and it is always enjoyable to attend these tournaments. You guys rock!


About the Author

14 Responses to Alice Unchained: A 20th Place US Nationals Report

  1. SamuelTemple2 says:

    Congrats. Bulky Excadrill is something I never seen so I’m glad it worked out for you

  2. LasermanZ1 says:

    Congrats. Bulky Excadrill is something I never seen so I’m glad it worked out for you

    Looking back at older articles it existed, but I never thought I would hear about it in 2015. Congrats.

  3. TwiddleDee says:

    This was a lot of fun to edit! Congrats on the finish, and I hope to see you do even better this season!

  4. XacerB8 says:

    Truly a good report. Clefable>Clefairy

  5. Quantumhead says:

    The sole fact that you made a team with references to my favorite band, Alice in Chains, is enough to love it, but you also topped very well with it. You, sir, are a true fan and i respect that, congrats!

  6. Astronautical says:

    First time I’ve seen Clefable in a long while. Good job and great article.

    Also, that art is dope. Whoever did that must be the very best. Like no one ever was.

  7. AlphaArrowz says:

    Great report. Great art. Good job overall.

  8. xicious says:

    All the cringes. -_-

  9. AidanVgc says:

    I love the art

  10. hydreigone says:

    I still love Clefable as well it’s like a thousand times better than the stupid mushroom 

  11. MattDorrell says:

    Great choice in report art 😉

    Also, I never realised why I saw Clefable on Sand teams. I’ve never been to fond of Sane because of the chip damage you do to yourself, but Magic Guard seems to balance that well!

  12. Galaxy Santa III says:

    >all shiney team

  13. Tief says:

    “The 2015 season turned out to be a fairly descent one for the TM clan, with Kyle Timbrook (TM Ruby) placing top 8 at Indiana and Missouri regionals and Jonathan Neville (TM Gold) placing top 8 at the Madison regional.”
    My attention immediately ruined on the second line of the article….
    Should be “fairly decent
    Great job on the team and congrats on the finish :)

  14. TwiddleDee says:

    “The 2015 season turned out to be a fairly descent one for the TM clan, with Kyle Timbrook (TM Ruby) placing top 8 at Indiana and Missouri regionals and Jonathan Neville (TM Gold) placing top 8 at the Madison regional.”

    My attention immediately ruined on the second line of the article….
    Should be “fairly decent

    Great job on the team and congrats on the finish :)

    I missed that, thanks for pointing it out. I’ll have it fixed in just a minute.

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