Published on March 11th, 2015 | by JoeDaPr026
Chesnaught Expecting This: A Senior Champion Team Report from Missouri
Hello, everybody! I am Joe Nunziata (JoeDaPr0), and I recently conquered the Senior Division of the 2015 St. Charles, Missouri Winter Regional without a single loss. I’ve been playing Pokémon competitively for about one year, and until this point hadn’t done anything spectacular outside of getting CP in local Premier Challenges. You can say I’m pretty new to the competitive scene. However, this article isn’t about how I’ve been a poor player prior to this, so let’s dive straight into the Regional. I would say St. Charles was a fairly challenging Regional in terms of the Senior Division. A few players who had gone to Worlds before were in attendance; however, the number of competitors was somewhere around 50, which isn’t the best for a Regional. Some of the notable attendees included Ian M. (raikoo), Brendan Z. (Babbytron), Darrin C. (Ninten678), Jacob W. (ThankSwalot), and Beau Berg (Oreios), and none of those players would be horsing around.
Chesnaught @ Sitrus Berry Ability: Bulletproof
EVs: 224 HP / 60 Atk / 44 Def / 180 SpD
– Super Fang
– Helping Hand
– Low Kick
One member of the core for this team was Chesnaught. I decided to use Chesnaught because of its Fighting type and it’s physical bulk, both of which would come in handy against Mega Kangaskhan, the most dominant Pokémon in the VGC 2015 format. I originally used a pretty bad Chesnaught set, holding a Big Root while using Leech Seed and Drain Punch, but it ended up being dead weight on the team. I scrolled through its movepool and tried out a supportive Chesnaught, which ended up working fantastically. The new Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire tutor moves, including moves such as Super Fang and Helping Hand, really helped Chesnaught out. I found that Drain Punch wasn’t doing enough damage to opponents, so I replaced it with Low Kick. This allowed me to KO Mega Kangaskhan from around 60% HP. Feint is a great support move in general, especially on this kind of team, because if I knew that something was a threat and it was staying on the field, I’d just use Feint to guarantee a KO or at least some additional damage. The Bulletproof Ability isn’t the best, but it does give an immunity to Sludge Bomb, which was actually used twice on it from opposing Mega Venusaur.
252+ SpA Life Orb Heatran Heat Wave vs. 224 HP / 180+ SpD Chesnaught: 159-190 (83.2 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- This wasn’t a very crucial attack to survive, but being able to survive this attack helped Chesnaught survive other powerful Special attacks that weren’t x4 Super Effective
252+ Atk Life Orb Mamoswine Icicle Crash vs. 224 HP / 44 Def Chesnaught: 172-203 (90 – 106.2%) — 25% chance to OHKO
- A 75% chance to survive this attack is better than a 0% chance. Guaranteeing survival took a bit too much investment, but I figured a 25% chance to OHKO was basically the same as landing a Sheer Cold
Heatran @ Life Orb
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA Modest Nature
– Flash Cannon
– Heat Wave
– Earth Power
I’m not going to lie, I wish I could’ve optimized this spread a bit more. It did its job for this tournament, I suppose. Heatran had pretty good defensive synergy with Chesnaught, outside of its Fighting-type weakness. I decided not to go with Substitute/Leftovers variant of Heatran because I felt as though I really needed to deal significant damage to opposing Sylveon with Flash Cannon. Earth Power was essential for dealing with opposing Heatran. Heatran was pretty good for switching into Will-O-Wisps, and I used it as Terrakion bait, which I will explain later. Heatran also ended up being one of my Trick Room powerhouses that could really put a dent into teams that weren’t prepared for it. All around, Heatran was just a great addition to the team.
Cresselia @ Rocky Helmet
EVs: 236 HP / 172 Def / 4 SpA / 92 SpD Bold Nature
– Ice Beam
– Skill Swap
– Trick Room
I took a good look at Heatran and Chesnaught, and realized that both Pokémon were pretty slow. In addition, neither had a way to hit Landorus-Therian or Thundurus-Incarnate Super Effectively. Cresselia looked like a natural choice to support my first two Pokémon, and it ended up being a workhorse. I decided to use Rocky Helmet as my item as a check to the physical side of the metagame. Cresselia synergized well with Heatran due to it being able to Skill Swap Levitate onto Heatran. Trick Room gave me a Speed Control option just in case I felt the opposing team was too fast, or if the opponent had Trick Room themselves. Ice Beam was pretty mandatory to threaten Landorus-Therian, and Psychic helped me deal with troublesome Poison types.
252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Return vs. 236 HP / 172+ Def Cresselia: 94-112 (41.4 – 49.3%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- The reason I calc’d for Return as opposed to Double-Edge was because Mega Kangaskhan was going to be taking so much recoil after attacking that it might knock itself out, or merely rely on using Sucker Punch. I figured at least if I ran into its next best option, Return, I’d still be in a good position.
+2 0 SpA Aegislash-Blade Shadow Ball vs. 236 HP / 92 SpD Cresselia: 188-224 (83.5 – 99.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- I figured if Aegislash was going to use the VGC 2014 standard Sassy spread with 252 HP / 252 SpDef / 4Def, it wouldn’t be able to get an easy knockout on Cresselia.
Salamence @ Salamencite
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Adamant Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Rock Slide
Mega Salamence is just a fantastic Pokémon. Its versatility allowed me to have a speedy option outside of Trick Room, as well as providing sweeping potential with Dragon Dance. The main reason I added Mega Salamence instead of Mega Kangaskhan was because Amoonguss is a great threat to any Trick Room Team, and being able to remove it quickly was pretty nice. Double-Edge also took care of Conkeldurr, which was another threat to this team. I decided to use a simple EV spread just because there wasn’t a need for anything else. I needed maximum power in order to do at least 60-70% damage to anything that didn’t resist Double-Edge. If there was anything I could change, it would have to be Dragon Dance, since I never found the opportunity to set up during this tournament. I would probably change it out for Draco Meteor so it can get KOs on opposing Mega Salamence, of which I saw quite a few. Rock Slide was chosen for dealing with Mega Charizard-Y, and for a possible way to climb out of a game with that flinch chance.
Swampert @ Expert Belt
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 228 SpA / 4 SpD / 20 Spe Modest Nature
– Wide Guard
– Ice Beam
– Earth Power
Yeah, yeah, it’s Angel M. (MikotoMisaka)’s exact same Swampert. It worked beautifully on the team though, since it managed to get unexpected KOs against Landorus-T, Mega Mawile, and other threats. Wide Guard was what set it apart from Rotom-Wash, since it helped out against opposing Heat Waves and Hyper Voices. All in all, it was a brilliant addition to the team.
Raikou @ Assault Vest
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe Timid Nature
– Hidden Power [Ice]
I felt like I needed something to deal with Mega Charizard-Y, specifically something that could outspeed and KO it without having to Protect and Mega Evolve on the first turn. I also needed a reliable way to deal with Suicune that wasn’t Choice Specs Thundurus-Therian (and yes, I did try that). Snarl was a really clutch move that allowed me to win a few games by surviving an attack that would otherwise KO my Pokémon, and then KOing the attacker. I didn’t want to replace the Life Orb on Heatran since it was a pretty crucial item, and being locked into Snarl generally isn’t the best of ideas, so I went with an Assault Vest as my item to have maximum Special bulk. The Assault Vest helped Raikou survive common Special Attacks such as Draco Meteor, Hyper Voice, and Overheat. Some may question why I decided to use Extrasensory in the last moveslot instead of Volt Switch or another option. I used it to get 2HKOs and 3HKOs on Pokémon like Mega Venusaur, which was popularized after Aaron Z. (Cybertron) won Apex 2015 with it. Using a simple spread was good enough for me since Raikou’s Speed, power, and bulk seemed to catch opponents off guard — just what every Pokémon wants.
The team primarily worked by leading with a supporter, such as Chesnaught or Cresselia, alongside a Pokémon with offensive pressure, such as Heatran, Mega Salamence, Raikou, or sometimes Swampert. Swampert could function as either role, depending on the opponent’s team. If I felt the opponent’s team was fast and offensive, I’d use Cresselia to set up Trick Room and wall things to the bitter end. If the team looked quite defensive, I would use Chesnaught to chip away at their walls with Super Fang and break any potential Protects with Feint, while also being able to support my offensive threats with Helping Hand. I had mentioned that Heatran would be used as “Terrakion Bait”. This meant that I would use Heatran in a best-of-three match to get rid of the things that don’t like Heatran, forcing my opponent to bring Terrakion to game two. Terrakion only really hits Heatran hard, and can at most deal decent chip damage to Mega Salamence.
Probably my main lead of the tournament. It doesn’t necessarily fit my team’s playstyle; however, this was my main lead against Sylveon, Charizard-Y, and Ice-types. It is just one of those leads that will work in most situations. The next couple of leads are a bit more descriptive on how they functioned.
I normally used this lead when facing opposing Grass-types or the Mega Charizard-Y/Venusaur with Chlorophyll combo. The basic idea was to use Feint on said Grass-type or Mega Charizard-Y, and then attack with Salamence using a strong Double-Edge or Rock Slide. Chesnaught could also Super Fang bulky Pokémon such as Suicune or Cresselia, letting me pick up a KO the following turn with Mega Salamence. Helping Hand was an option that wasn’t used too much, but, if needed, a Helping Hand boosted Double-Edge could easily KO most Sylveon, considering almost all of them run Choice Specs without Protect.
Here, Mega Salamence would function as a big damage dealer and scare off threats such as Amoonguss in order for Cresselia to set up Trick Room. I would use this combination if I felt my opponent had Trick Room themselves, so I could reverse their Trick Room with Cresselia. My back two would normally be Swampert and Heatran, both of which function well in Trick Room. I would rarely bring Raikou in the back, and never Chesnaught. I only brought Raikou once with this, and it worked well as a late-game post Trick Room sweeper.
Hydreigon has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, many of which gave me problems. To start with, Hydreigon can deal a lot of damage to Cresselia especially if it’s Life Orb or Choice Specs boosted. Chesnaught can’t get the KO with Low Kick, but it can survive basically every attack from the current metagame’s Hydreigon. Heatran always has the possibility of being wiped off the field by Earth Power, which is never good. Salamence can be felled by Draco Meteor from Scarf Hydreigon. Swampert couldn’t hit Hydreigon that hard with Ice Beam, even with a Helping Hand boost. Raikou could take powerful attacks such as Draco Meteors and Earth Powers all day, but could only 3HKO Hydreigon with Hidden Power Ice. It’s a good thing that I didn’t see any Hydreigon in this tournament, but this weakness is something to note in the future.
I understand that Cresselia isn’t normally an offensive threat, but I literally have no attacks that can hit it Super Effectively besides Snarl. Super Fang from Chesnaught can help me KO it with a Mega-Salamence Double-Edge, but that’s a lot of setup just to KO one Pokémon. If you factor in that Cresselia can set up Trick Room in the meantime and then fire off an Ice Beam, I couldn’t count on Mega Salamence to KO it. It’s quite ironic that my favorite Pokémon to use in this metagame is the bane of my existence.
Since Chesnaught does not carry a Grass-type attack, I cannot hit this bulky monster Super Effectively. Cresselia in theory can handle it, as Cresselia can basically wall Rotom with its pure bulk and chip away at it with Psychic. Raikou was one of my only answers to Rotom-Wash, as it can 4HKO it with Thunderbolt after Sitrus Berry activates. If it doesn’t carry Sitrus Berry, then it’s a 3HKO. Rotom-Wash just walls my entire team, though it only threatened to OHKO Heatran. Will-o-Wisp was also annoying to deal with, even though my only Physical attacker was Mega Salamence. Swampert could fish for a burn with Scald, but that was not my best option against Rotom.
Top 8 vs. Ian M. (raikoo)
Ian and I played in Swiss, which made me a bit nervous to face him in Top Cut. I didn’t quite reveal all my tricks during that match, though, with the most notable exclusion being Chesnaught. I knew I wanted to use the spiky rodent in this match. He led Arcanine and Mega Venusaur as I led Chesnaught and Mega Salamence. I decided to Feint Mega Venusaur, breaking the Protect, and Double-Edge it with Mega Salamence. It didn’t quite pick up the KO, as Arcanine’s Intimidate had lowered my Attack stat. Ian decided to Will-O-Wisp my Chesnaught, but missed. I then decided to switch out Salamence for Heatran to avoid a Will-O-Wisp into that slot, as I Super Fanged the Arcanine expecting a switch. Ian actually used Sludge Bomb against Chesnaught, which it is immune to thanks to Bulletproof. I want to say I went for an Earth Power here, but I do know he went for Flare Blitz first in order to deal a pretty good chunk of damage to Chesnaught. After that part of the game, it was a few switches in and out with Heatran, Salamence, and his Bisharp, but I managed to win the game. He did miss a Sleep Powder during this set that could have cost him a game, but I can’t say for certain. Regardless, I was honored to play the #1 Senior in North America and Top 4 in the world, and did not expect to come out of this one with a win.
Top 4 vs. Jacob W. (Thank Swalot)
When playing this set, I was a bit puzzled, considering we had played in the sixth round of Swiss as the only two undefeated players. I had also run out of note paper right before this set, so I felt overwhelmed. Like the vast majority of sets in VGC go, there were pretty good plays from both sides. For example, he Close Combated Heatran with Terrakion when I predicted him to go for the safe Rock Slide. I felt pretty proud of a play I made in the last three turns of game two. Jacob knocked out Cresselia’s partner with Terrakion as Mega Salamence Double-Edged Cresselia, dealing half of its health. I set up Trick Room, knowing it would be a 1v2 with Cresselia. He made a misplay here, Protecting with both of his Pokémon as I Ice Beamed into the protecting Mega Salamence. Had he used Rock Slide with Terrakion, he could’ve won the game. The following turn, I knock out his dragon with Ice Beam as he uses Rock Slide, doing about 23% HP damage. One Psychic brings Jacob’s horse down to its Focus Sash as a Rock Slide brings Cresselia to red HP, and his Quick Attack the next turn secures me the win as Rocky Helmet KOs Terrakion.
Finals vs. Darrin C. (ninten678)
I had a pretty bad lead matchup in game one, as my Raikou and Swampert stared down a Landorus-T and Ludicolo. However, I was able to double switch into Cresselia and Salamence, knowing he had no reason to not Earthquake here. Suddenly, momentum was swung back in my favor. He made a pretty good switch into Bisharp as I Ice Beamed that slot with Cresselia, but I was able to knock out Ludicolo with Double-Edge. Knocking out Ludicolo this turn practically sealed the victory for me, as Swampert could clean up his last three Pokémon — Bisharp, Talonflame, and Landorus-T — with a little help from Raikou. It was interesting to note that he did not have a Mega-Evolution, which was somewhat odd considering it was the Finals match. However, a Mega isn’t necessary to succeed, and I’ve got to give him credit for snagging that runner-up glass brick thing without a Mega.
This is based on what I faced at the St. Charles Regional Championship, as well as what I’ve heard from others.
Mega Venusaur is used with either the Leech Seed/Protect set, or rarely Sleep Powder/Synthesis. It’s a bulky Mega evolution that is pretty annoying to deal with if you do not have the correct Pokémon to handle it. In fact, I would say you lose immediately if you cannot 2HKO or 3HKO it. Mega Salamence can be used with Dragon Dance or Roost, while other Mega Salamence opt for Draco Meteor and another coverage move. I didn’t see any Mega Kangaskhan during this event, which surprised me, but it’s definitely something to look out for.
Terrakion or Bisharp were on nearly every team I had faced, and for good reason. Terrakion can shut down most Mega Kangaskhans by outspeeding with a Jolly nature and picking up a KO with Close Combat. Bisharp mostly runs Life Orb, which can be a huge threat to any Trick Room team, as nearly every Trick Room setter get’s KOed by Bisharp. It was also good all around because it can outspeed and Iron Head Choice Specs Sylveon for the KO. Thundurus-Incarnate forme is pretty standard to see with Taunt, Thunder Wave, Thunderbolt, and Hidden Power Ice. It’s probably the best Prankster abuser in the game, as it can just slow down any non-Ground or Electric-types while Taunting support Pokémon like Cresselia. Landorus-Therian is basically like Garchomp from VGC 2014: fast and powerful with a 4x weakness to Ice. Landorus outclasses Garchomp in that it has Intimidate while having more power behind its attacks thanks to the +10 points in attack. It can run a variety of items as well such as Choice Scarf, Choice Band, Life Orb, Focus Sash, and Assault Vest. Heatran is pretty good, as it is bulky and synergizes well with other common Pokémon due to its unique typing and the ability to use Substitute effectively. Shuca Berry Heatran is OK, but I prefer Chople Berry in this meta if you don’t want to run Leftovers or Life Orb, as Terrakion is just so common.
- Thanks to TwiddleDee for giving me the Cresselia.
- Thanks to MissingNol for giving me the Raikou and helping me teambuild.
- Thanks to mellowVGC for giving me the Chesnaught.
- Thanks to GreenIrokex for giving me the Heatran and the Swampert.