Published on November 14th, 2015 | by Aiman Ishak10
Blazing Forward! A Malaysian Regionals 2nd Place Report
Hi Nugget Bridge, this is Aiman Ishak hailing from Malaysia here. With the conclusion of Boston 2015 World Championships, I would like to share my team that I’ve used to clinch 2nd place in our first ever Malaysian Regional Championships held on 31 May 2015. The VGC community in Malaysia has grown from strength to strength with our Tournament Organiser Wilson Choong putting in tremendous effort to grow the game. For that I’m very grateful to be part of it. This served as motivation for me to share this report with the rest of the world and to make our presence known!
Teambuilding: Initial Concept
I’ve always been a fan of Charizard and I wished to innovate beyond the common Charizard Y and Sun abuse. Hence I decided to start off with a Charizard X core. Me and my friend Kevin Ngim even today like to make fun of each other, saying that Charizard Y (he’s a fan of this variant) is a fire lizard and Charizard X is a wannabe dragon. But we both knew that regardless of X or Y variants, a well supported Charizard can wreak havoc.
I needed a Water/Grass type to complete the Fire/Water/Grass core. Ludicolo was my choice as it fulfils 2 our of 3 typings required. Furthermore, I wanted a Fake Out user that could aid in Charizard X setting up Dragon Dances to boost its Speed and Attack. At the same time, it is a perfect Rain counter should I lose the weather war by abusing its Swift Swim ability. Its Grass typing also helps in ignoring common status and redirection from Breloom and Amoongus which may impair my Charizard’s ability to deal damage to important targets.
Suicune was selected as my primary means of Speed control using Tailwind. Furthermore, its bulk is essential in ensuring its impact to the team and also for the valuable Scald and Ice Beam coverage against common Pokemon like Landorus-Therian.
I needed a Fighting-type Pokemon that has good bulk, yet can operate in and out of Tailwind. Conkeldurr was my choice as it fulfils my first criteria. With Tailwind support, it would be able to outspeed key targets that are weak to Conkeldurr’s attacks. It is also my check against the ever common Mega Kangaskhan.
In my opinion, every team should always pack a specific tech to improve poor match-ups. In my case, I felt that Sylveon, whilst effective against Breloom and Amoongus with coverage moves and Hyper Voice, it is often stopped by Spore, of which my team has issues with. Hence I picked Safety Goggles as the item choice for this fairy cat.
Bisharp is a cookie cutter Dark-type of my choice. Effective Fairy check. Effective Intimidate check. Nothing much to mention here. It’s just that good. However, key issues such as its fraility and also the prevalence of Fire types severely limited its usage and utility.
Teambuilding: Adjustments for Malaysian Regionals
Overall, the team functioned pretty well in terms of synergy but after testing I didn’t like the feel of the team as it didn’t suit my play style. So I decided to make some key changes to the team until I finally settled on the team I brought to the Regionals.
The first member to drop was Ludicolo, as I felt that its main role is only to exert Fake Out pressure and act as a Rain check. In the event that I do not come across Rain teams, its role would be limited in respect to an underwhelming physical defense. I figured that a better Grass-type should be used, hence Amoonguss came into the picture. It fulfils both the Grass coverage, as well as bulk on both physical and special spectrums with the right EV investment. The redirection is also invaluable in facilitating Charizard X to set up.
Next, the Fake Out user was replaced by Scrafty. It provides Intimidate support and also fulfils the Fake Out pressure that I wanted. Inevitably, Conkeldurr was dropped.
For the Water-type Pokemon, my take was that Suicune was too passive in its role. It seemed to only soak hits and cannot really exert offensive pressure other than 4x Water or Ice-weak Pokemon. I decided to use Rotom-Wash instead. It can help to neuter physical attacks via Will-O-Wisp. The typing also helps since it resists Flying and is only weak to Grass, which Amoonguss can cover for it.
The Steel-type in my team Bisharp was replaced by Aegislash. I figured that Aegislash can do a better job defensively and it has access to support moves such as Wide Guard. Should a physical attacker attack Aegislash, there is the potential to drop their attack courtesy of King’s Shield. This can help to gain momentum and increases the overall bulk of the team.
Lastly, Sylveon was too slow for my liking and I needed a team member that was fast and/or carry some form of Speed control (preferably an Electric type in my case). Originally I planned to add Thundurus. But at that time, I didn’t manage to reset for one and decided to add Raikou instead. It is the fastest Snarl user in the current metagame which can help to increase bulk at the Special spectrum.
Final Team for Malaysian Regionals
Charizard@ Charizardite X
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 60 Def / 4 SpD / 188 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Dragon Claw
– Dragon Dance
Charizard has always been my favourite Pokemon and the choice of X and Y mega variants further improved its potential. In my opinion, Charizard X was the cooler mega. So when Game Freak released Pokemon X and Y, I knew which game I was going to buy. Furthermore, the Y variant of Charizard was more popular in the VGC 2015 metagame since there were so many Intimidators like Salamence and Landorus-T. Choosing the X variant allowed me to grab the surprise factor and initiative by baiting them to use Rock Slide and setup with Dragon Dance… provided that it doesn’t get flinched first of course!
This spread was inspired by my friend Kevin Ngim (Kepp). Defensively, the spread ensures that Charizard after mega-evolving survives the aforementioned Rock Slides and Earthquakes from Landorus-T, allowing it to set up. Offensively, with only 4 Attack EVs I am able to pick up key KOs on Mega Mawile and Steel-types with Flare Blitz.
- 4+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Amoonguss: 224-266 (101.3 – 120.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 4+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Mega Mawile: 206-246 (131.2 – 156.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 4+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Dragon Claw vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Hydreigon: 182-216 (108.3 – 128.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252 Atk Garchomp Dragon Claw vs. 252 HP / 60 Def Mega Charizard X: 120-144 (64.8 – 77.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 60 Def Mega Charizard X: 132-156 (71.3 – 84.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide vs. 252 HP / 60 Def Mega Charizard X: 68-80 (36.7 – 43.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- 252 Atk Terrakion Rock Slide vs. 252 HP / 60 Def Mega Charizard X: 84-98 (45.4 – 52.9%) — 25% chance to 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Aerilate Mega Salamence Double-Edge vs. 252 HP / 60 Def Mega Charizard X: 136-162 (73.5 – 87.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
The Speed benchmark I chose was to out-speed max Speed Adamant Landorus-T by 1 point. Overall Mega Charizard-X performed really well in the tournament, taking a lot people by surprise and often taking advantage of getting a Dragon Dance up and proceeding to clean up games from there.
Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 60 SpA / 148 SpD / 4 Spe
– Hydro Pump
Rotom-Wash was mainly here to wall and neutralise Talonflame, whose priority Brave Bird can cause issues to my team. I chose a more defensively orientated build in order to maximize its impact while on the field to support my teammates. This is also why Sitrus Berry was chosen, as it provides a reliable recovery option.
- 60 SpA Rotom-W Hydro Pump vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-T: 164-194 (98.7 – 116.8%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO
- 60 SpA Rotom-W Hydro Pump vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Heatran: 134-158 (80.2 – 94.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
- 44+ SpA Mega Charizard Y Solar Beam vs. 252 HP / 148 SpD Rotom-W: 126-150 (80.2 – 95.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
Though I wanted to use Rotom as a possible option to burn Kangaskhan and Bisharp, my Rotom doesn’t outspeed 252 speed Adamant Bisharp as I just took a previously made spread rather than breeding a new one. That aside, it was still able to take threats such as Terrakion and Landorus-T down. I couldn’t really remember what the spread was supposed to do. In hindsight, I should have done a little bit more calculating and this spread definitely needs more optimizing should I revisit the team again.
Amoonguss @ Rocky Helmet
EVs: 252 HP / 158 Def / 100 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Giga Drain
– Rage Powder
Standard Amoonguss spread and moveset. I’m not going to elaborate too much on this choice. Its main role, is to provide redirection for Charizard-X to setup or pivot in on a predicted Kangaskhan Fake Out and make a dent in its health via Rocky Helmet recoil. It also is my solution for Trick Room match-ups, whereby it can start Sporing at will and allow me to gain momentum while opposing Pokemon take a visit to dreamland.
An interesting note on this Amoonguss is that it is able to usually survive Ice Beams from Modest Life Orb Ludicolo and Timid Politoed when double targetted.
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Ludicolo Ice Beam vs. 252 HP / 100 SpD Amoonguss: 122-146 (55.2 – 66%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252 SpA Politoed Ice Beam vs. 252 HP / 100 SpD Amoonguss: 86-102 (38.9 – 46.1%) — guaranteed 3HKO
All these are calculated factoring the absence of Snarl support from Raikou, which makes my rain match-up much easier to deal with.
Scrafty @ Lum Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 244 Atk / 12 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Fake Out
– Drain Punch
– Knock Off
I wanted a Fake Out user with the Intimidate ability to provide team support to increase the overall bulkiness of the team. Scrafty was the only Pokemon that could help me to achieve both objectives. Even without any defensive investment, Scrafty is able to hang on from a Kangaskhan’s Low Kick or a Choice Banded Landorus-T’s Superpower, a testament to how bulky it truly is.
Here are some defensive calculations:
- 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Low Kick (60 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Scrafty: 100-118 (58.1 – 68.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Scrafty: 146-173 (84.8 – 100.5%) — 1.6% chance to OHKO
- -1 252+ Atk Choice Band Landorus-T Superpower vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Scrafty: 146-172 (84.8 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
The 0 IVs and the Speed-decreasing nature allows Scrafty to under-speed minimum Speed Aegislash and attack it in its squishier Blade Form. It also gave me an answer to Heatran, especially the Shuca Berry variants where Ground moves may not be an effective answer, since Charizard is completely walled by it. It’s also another viable option to use against Trick Room teams.
For the item, I decided on Lum Berry over the traditional Assault Vest due to the fact that Scrafty is prone to getting double targeted or being inflicted with a status ailment to limit its function. I’ve packed Protect to punish any double targetting and this helps me to swing momentum back in my favor, while the Lum adds a layer of insurance against status.
Aegislash @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– Wide Guard
– King’s Shield
I felt that the team was rather weak to strong spread moves like Hyper Voice from Salamence and Sylveon, or Rock Slide which threatened my Charizard-X severely. Hence Aegislash was my pick, primarily for the invaluable Wide Guard support. In a way it also helped to conceal my Charizard’s true identity too as Wide Guard Aegislash is common support for Charizard Y. I chose a vanilla spread to maximize damage output with or without the Weakness Policy boost. Such a spread makes the boost if activated an icing on the cake. It has a pretty good chance to survive Choice Specs Hydreigon Dark Pulse.
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Hydreigon Dark Pulse vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 152-182 (91 – 108.9%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
The Speed benchmark I chose was Quiet and 0 Speed. The objective was to underspeed opposing Aegislash (31 IV Modest variants) that aren’t holding a Life Orb and retaliating with Shadow Ball when they are in Blade Forme. As the metagame evolved over time, Life Orb Aegislash became a thing (probably thanks to Cybertron). Retrospectively, it would be wise to revisit this spread and investing minimal Special Attack to pick up key KOs after the Weakness Policy boost, so that both bulk and offensive objectives can be met.
Raikou @ Shuca Berry
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Hidden Power [Ice]
The mascot animal for Malaysia is the tiger, and hence our VGC Community is called the KL Raikous. Raikou resembles the tiger in all aspects and hence I felt that this Pokemon is a fitting mascot to represent us uniquely 🙂
That aside, I originally wanted a Thundurus in this slot, but unfortunately i didn’t have one with good IVs at the time so I settled on using a Raikou instead. Surprisingly, Raikou did not disappoint, more than exceeding the expectations I had of it going into the event. Raikou has one of the fastest Snarl’s in the metagame, coming into play many times during my games in the Malaysian Regional. Being able to reduce a Heatran and Sylveon’s Special Attack before they launch a riposte increases the overall bulk of the team on the special spectrum.
The item I picked was the Shuca Berry. It was essential to help it survive Earthquakes from Mega Salamence and Landorus-Therian and retaliate with Hidden Power Ice if they received any chip damage from before to ensure the KOs.
Common Leads and Strategies
This pair would be my go-to lead should I want to exert immediate pressure and my opponent has no way to stop my Fake Out. The main aim with this lead is to allow Charizard to immediately set up a Dragon Dance to attempt to sweep with him.
Should I expect my opponent to lead with a Trick Room setter in mind, this pair would be my lead. Aegislash being 0 IV in Speed is likely to be on an even footing with Pokemon aiming to take advantage of Trick Room. Snarl from Raikou can help to neuter any Fire- or Dark-type attacks that might be directed at Aegislash too, helping it to survive the attack, activate its Weakness Policy and allow it to start dishing out huge damage.
Charizard X is rather weak on the Special Defense spectrum, so Snarl support from Raikou can help to reduce offensive pressure from super effective attacks directed at Charizard. Examples include Heatran’s Earth Power or Draco Meteor from faster dragons like Choice Scarf Hydreigon for instance.
Alternatively, I can use this as a lead to immediately exert offensive pressure against Salamence with Hidden Power [Ice] from Raikou or Dragon Claw from Charizard X. The Hidden Power [Ice] from Raikou can also be used to threaten Landorus-T. And with the benefit of the Shuca Berry, I can usually expect to not get knocked out in a single hit from Earthquake.
If I expect a Kangaskhan/Cresselia lead, this would be my lead of choice. I would Protect Charizard first, and attempt to shut down Cresselia by Sporing. This is to avoid any Trick Room being set up as it would cripple Charizard X’s ability to sweep if speed tiers are reversed. The redirection option (barring Safety Goggles) via Rage Powder would then aid Charizard X to set up its Dragon Dance. I can also opt to switch out Amoonguss to Scrafty after the Dragon Dance to exert Intimidate and Fake Out pressure to attempt picking up KOs.
Such a lead is mainly to protect Charizard from Rock spread moves (namely Rock Slide) from common users such as Terrakion or Landorus-T, as it could chunk a significant amount of health from Charizard X. This is achieved using Wide Guard to support it from Aegislash. This lead pair would be my choice if I expect a turn 1 Rock Slide from the above mentioned.
Threats and Weaknesses
Mega Charizard Y
Yes, the Y cousin, was a nemesis to my team. It can easily deal huge damage on 4 of the 6 present in the team as the team lacks any proper Fire resists. Furthermore, this is exacerbated by Tailwind setters. Sun boosted Heat Wave and Overheat is a significant problem for this team, with Wide Guard often my only logical out.
Tailwind setters for Speed control
and the list goes on…..
My team lacks any decent form of Speed control in general, so once a Tailwind is up, it would be an uphill task to overcome the Speed disadvantage as I’ll be spending the next few turns soaking attacks from my opponents instead of dishing damage.
Substitute variants give this team lots of trouble, as I have only Scrafty and Rotom-Wash to hit it super-effectively via Drain Punch and Hydro Pump respectively. The Substitute itself, and the need to often break it in certain respects, can often mean losing crucial momentum in a match. As it stands, a well supported Heatran can be a huge threat to my Charizard X and its teammates; indeed most teams would struggle against it.
Fairies hit the majority of my squad for neutral damage. Hyper Voice from either Sylveon or Gardevoir is not a joke if you are on the receiving end. The only out is to preserve Aegislash to Wide Guard such attacks as much as possible.
Game Replays during Regionals and War Stories
In this section I would briefly describe my Swiss rounds with my opponents and my road to Top Cut in our first ever VGC Regionals.
Round 1: Muaz Rosjam (Win)
Muaz started with a strong lead pairing with Gengar and Terrakion, while I lead with Amoongus and Raikou, concealing my Charizard and Scrafty in the back. I was outpredicted at the outset as Muaz made unexpected plays like using Icy Wind with Gengar instead of Taunting my Amoonguss like I thought he would. From my perspective, I prioritized taking out his Mega Salamence first, which I felt confident was concealed in the back of his party. With some smart prediction from both ends, I managed to put his Gengar to sleep and Intimidate his Terrakion using Scrafty, also threatening it with Fighting-type attacks. In terms of match-up I was had the upper hand. I eventually managed to take out his Mega and seal the win once the main threat to Charizard X was removed from play.
Round 2: Amir Rafie (Win)
I’ve heard from my peers that the Singaporean players are of top standard in VGC and hence I was really pumped and nervous when I knew my second opponent was Amir from Singapore. He led with both his Kangaskhan and Terrakion with Talonflame and Suicune at his back. On my side, I led with Charizard and Scrafty.
With such a lead on his end, I was worried if my Charizard will be KO-ed turn 1, so I decided to switch in Aegislash and predicting him to Fake Out the Charizard slot. However he targetted the Fake Out on Scrafty instead, which was to my surprise. He managed to even knock it out on the next turn. This allowed him to grab some momentum as my Fake Out pressure was no longer present. Aegislash managed to pull its weight and impacted the game through some offensive plays (#thuglife with no King’s Shielding). Aegislash’s Weakness Policy boost after taking attacks from Talonflame was certainly key in taking down both Mega Kangaskhan and Terrakion. His key attackers were eliminated and this battle was more or less conclusive of the results.
Towards the late game, he only had Suicune remaining against both my Charizard X and Raikou,who were able to seal out my second win.
Round 3: Kenny Lee Yong Hwee (Lose)
In Round 3, I was up against Kenny Lee, who was up-and-coming name in the Singapore VGC community with his superb battling skills. He was also famed for his Kangaskhan team having both modes of Speed control, in particular, using a slow Kangaskhan. It was really a good match for me even though I lost that game. He caught me off guard with Life Orb Heatran which easily nabbed KOs on both Amoonguss and Aegislash, which were key supports to allow my Charizard X to deal damage freely. I managed to make the game more even using Scrafty to pull its weight, but an unfortunate Freeze from Ice Beam by Cresselia sealed the win for him.
Round 4: Destiny Skycloud (Win)
For this round I was up against Destiny. He is one of the veteran players locally with an unique play style. He always brings Pokemon with movesets that I would never expect. He had a Klefki which knew both Rain Dance and Metal Sound and a Mega Mawile with Rock Slide. I believed this was for coverage against Fire-types barring Heatran. I immediately exerted pressure by setting up Dragon Dance to get a boost and impaired Mawile with some Intimidate shuffling on my side. The pace of my team was too fast for him to handle and he had no Trick Room user to reverse it to his advantage. It was a swift victory for me in the end as I didn’t lose momentum after the initial set up.
Round 5: Ryan Loh Junjie (Lose)
In this round I was up against another Singapore player, Ryan Loh who is a really great and friendly guy. He led with both Kangaskhan and Tyranitar, with Blaziken and Amoonguss in the back. At one glance, it is obvious that his team selection opts for more hyper-offense play. In Turn 1, he made a double switch and all of his attacks chose to target Scrafty, as he identified it as a major threat to this Mega Kangaskhan. My Scrafty managed to take down his Amoonguss, which meant that his redirection support is gone and the frailer attackers among his team were exposed. His Blaziken targeted Aegislash which resulted in an Attack drop due to King’s Shield, which I thought he won’t be able to take down my own Amoonguss. However, it managed to snag a critical hit and I also lost my redirection support too. It went downhill for me subsequently after his Tyranitar managed to set up his Dragon Dance and simply overwhelmed my Charizard via a faster Rock Slide. It was a good game and his win was well deserved in my opinion.
Round 6: Samuel (Win)
The last round was against Samuel. He had a great team featuring Blaziken and Mega Garchomp. But unfortunately, the game wasn’t to his favour as he made a significant mis-click which cost him the game. His Blaziken got paralyzed by my Rotom’s Thunderbolt and his Mega Garchomp was taken down by Hidden Power [Ice] by Raikou. That mis-click basically sped up the momentum on my end and it ended really quick.
Result: 4-2 and managed to top cut 😀
For the top cut games, I’ll just let the videos and the commentary speak for itself 🙂 In this section I’ll be featuring videos from Top 8 and the finals!
Top Cut Top 8 Video
Top Cut Final Video
Conclusions and Reflections
Overall, I didn’t expect to reach as far as I did in the tournament, especially considering that I only started playing VGC since February 2015. The amount of strong players in the Malaysian and the Singaporean communities really blows my mind and for me to have the opportunity to battle with them was a great experience. I really hope that the VGC circuit in the Asia Pacific region continues to grow and develop further. Moving forward, I would definitely like to build upon the momentum of this finish and continue to improve my game.
Looking back on the VGC 2015 season, the Asia Pacific region has grown tremendously in the player pool and awareness in Pokemon VGC. In fact, for the Worlds Championships, we had Zarif Ayman being the sole Malaysian representative in Boston. As a Malaysian myself, I was proud and happy for his achievements. His skills are definitely top notch and he flew our flag colours high on the world stage!
I hope to emulate his achievements in the VGC 2016 season and definitely I’ll be working hard in time to come!
Thank you once again for taking the time to read this report, and this is Aiman signing off!
Shoutouts and Credits
- Kevin Ngim for mentoring me and introducing me to VGC. It’s such a fun format.
- Destiny for introducing me to VGC as well. He’s really helpful in team building and I’ve benefited a lot from his insight into the game.
- Stephen Tan (stez) for helping with the initial editing of this report.
- Zikry for the artwork for this article!
- Martin Tan (mewmart) for helping with the final touch for this report.
- KL Raikous and the VGC community, this report is dedicated to you guys and let’s fly our Malaysian flag high for Pokemon VGC!