Published on May 8th, 2015 | by peng


Dancing in the Moonlight: A Top 8 UK Regionals Report

Beating everyone else to the obvious title for Charizard / Cresselia teams, get innnn.

I appreciate my name isn’t too recognizable around these parts so I’ll give you a brief-ish introduction to myself as a Pokémon player. I’ve been playing the game competitively since 2006, peaking as a Black/White singles player in 2010-2013, with decent tournament results and representing the UK in Smogon’s World Cup of Pokémon those years. I’ve followed and played VGC on the side since 2009, but mostly as a means to keep in touch with some of the guys I knew through Smogon. After dropping Pokémon altogether for almost a year, I picked up VGC again last season although as I couldn’t make it out to any major events due to my schedule, this season marks my first season “try-harding” at VGC.

Well, that’s how it was meant to go at least. One Premier Challenge attendance (Top 8) by April isn’t too hot, and has resulted in a lot of pressure to perform in the big events to keep my World’s invite hopes alive. The following is a team report for the team I used to reach top 8 at the first UK regional event, and a general review of my performance.

The Team


If you look through my post history, you’ll see how highly I rate Charizard / Cresselia / Terrakion as a core, so no surprises here. It is a core I’ve been messing around with since Chris Barton (Havak) used a variant of it against me at a Premier Challenge over Winter. It has seen a lot more exposure since then, most notably with Sejun Park using a variant in the February International Challenge and a very similar Charizard / Cresselia / Landorus-T core taking the Korean National championships. Expect to see this archetype much more in the coming months!

Like Sejun, I opted to run Venusaur to provide a “fast mode” that limits random losses in early rounds, although Sejun went a little more all-in on this mode than I like with his Pledges. Charizard / Venusaur / Cresselia / Terrakion was the main “functional core”, with the last two slots resigned to counter-play and making a second, non-Charizard mode for mix-ups. I know this kind of “main 4 with 2 substitutes” seems a little primitive and 2010-esque but it genuinely was how I built the team and eh, its not done too bad for me up until now.

At this point, I think it is important to note this is by no means the best version of the team I have made, as weird as that may sound. I have like 20+ variants of Charizard Y builds on Showdown! and I’m sure a number of them would be smarter picks than what I ended up running. I opted for this build because I have significantly more experience with it than the others although it is objectively worse. For anyone interested, Charizard / Clefairy and Sun-TR switch with either LO Conkeldurr or Rhyperior are legit!!

Charizard @ Charizardite Y
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 44 SpA / 20 SpD / 188 Spe
Modest Nature
– Protect
– Overheat
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam

Charizard Y is the mega I’m most comfortable with, having run it for the vast majority of the last two seasons. It kinda effortlessly fits how I like playing the game in that it provides a defensive typing that has become a staple in this format and combining it with solid bulk, a “KO button” in Overheat, and almost unique team support in Drought. Years of playing a certain singles format at a high level in Black and White has also conditioned me into trying to shoehorn some kind of weather control into every team I make, so Charizard is just about a perfect fit for me!

I ended up using Zog‘s / Level 51‘s EV spread because in testing I didn’t find much reason to deviate from it. I know a few guys are EVing to survive Landorus-T Rock Slide and so on, but I avoided going down that route because I think you compromise a little too much speed and/or special bulk. There’s sort of a psychological reason in there too – I know if I EV my Charizard to survive those Rock Slides, I’ll tempt myself into risking the flinch instead of making a smarter play. That might be a slightly hypocritical comment to make given the spread I’m running is specifically EVd to survive Rock Slides from Garchomp and Mamoswine, but I’ve opted for that benchmark here more for the vague region of physical bulk it hits and not really with those calculations in mind.

The moveset is also very standard. Overheat takes out just about any non-resist to open up exploitable holes early game. Heat Wave is the spammable STAB that gets around redirection and is Charizard’s best move for clearing through weakened, paralyzed opponents in the late game. Solar Beam is standard coverage on the bulky Water-types, Terrakion, and so-on. Charizard has a few other cool options in its limited movepool, but as far as consistency goes, you can’t really go too wrong with the moves I, and literally everybody else, have been using for the best part of 2 years.

Venusaur @ Life Orb
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 12 HP / 244 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
– Protect
– Giga Drain
– Sludge Bomb
– Hidden Power [Ice]

The 7 year old in me still can’t quite get over how Charizard and Venusaur are a viable combination in this day and age. It is a nice little reminder that this is actually this same video game we played casually as kids. I was hoping to get on stage and the stream in top cut because everyone backs the Charizard / Venusaur player, but it just wasn’t meant to be!

Charizard / Venusaur isn’t anything particularly clever or groundbreaking, but it is mostly here to clean through first-time players without having to take too many risks. I still use it fairly often against seasoned players because my team tends to do a decent job of luring in dedicated Venusaur counters, but the explicit reason I stuck it on the team was to make sure I don’t ruin a tournament by getting unlucky or misplaying against players that are gonna go 1-6.

Last season, I used Mega Venusaur here for a second mega option, but I ditched the idea this time round. Firstly, I don’t rate Mega Venusuar very highly in the VGC 2015 metagame. It loses really badly 1v1 to all the other “big 5” megas. While on paper it redeems itself by beating the “big 3” non-megas in Landorus-T, Thundurus, and Terrakion, I found in practice that it spent most of its time getting targeted down by paralysis and flinches. Secondly, in order to run a Venusaur that works as both mega and non-mega, you have to compromise both modes to the extent that it doesn’t really work very well in either configuration. For these reasons, I opted to run a Life Orb set and was happy enough running a non-mega mode with Cresselia / Terrakion / Hydreigon / Aegislash if Charizard had a very bad match-up.

The only thing that might stand out on the set is Hidden Power [Ice]. Like with the Charizard-Rock Slide scenario, I wanted to avoid Sleep Powder at all costs because last year I found myself relying on 75% chances to win games way too often instead of playing it safe. The Ice-type coverage helps a lot against Landorus-T (which, as the #1 most used Pokémon, you kind of want to have a good match-up against with one of your main lead pairings) and Mega Salamence (neutral Speed nature variants of which are outsped even after a Dragon Dance).

Cresselia (F) @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 220 HP / 100 Def / 184 SpA / 4 Spe
Bold Nature
– Moonlight
– Ice Beam
– Hidden Power [Ground]
– Thunder Wave

She’s fallen out of favor with many, but still has a place in my heart. Cresselia is an incredible consistency booster for Mega Charizard Y teams and performs a diverse range of roles on this team that I can’t even begin to cover here. The main reason she is on this team is to provide speed control. In theory, one of Charizard’s bigger shortcomings is its speed, and therefore letting it move faster than many of its checks makes it a massive pain to deal with. It only took me 3 games to realize all Charizard Y’s hardest checks and counters are “immune” to Thunder Wave (Scarf Landorus-T, Substitute Heatran, Lum Terrakion), but the move still plays a major role in counter play and sets up situations where Charizard or Hydreigon just… win. Additionally, Cresselia still beats the aforementioned hard checks comfortably by virtue of its typing, ability, and coverage, so it kind of works out.

Moonlight is what makes Cresselia so effective on this team, making her incredibly difficult to wear down for teams that don’t have something like Hydreigon or Bisharp. With access to reliable recovery, Cresselia can free up its item slot for a Rocky Helmet that allows it to ruin Kangaskhan and turns Ice Beam into OHKOs against most Landorus-T and Mega Salamence that try to hit Cresselia with a contact move. Ice-type coverage is a staple on Cresselia, especially on Charizard Y teams. Hidden Power [Ground] lures and wears down Heatran for Charizard and Venusaur, as well as prevents Metagross getting free Substitutes. Many people have asked why I don’t run a set of Moonlight / Psychic / Icy Wind / Hidden Power [Ground] and it simply boils down to the fact I’m really rusty and don’t feel comfortable working with speed stats on the fly. Also, it triggers Defiant / Competitive and I really value actually KOing Landorus-T and Salamence with my counter.

To round up, the EVs have a few benchmarks in mind but like Charizard, it is more of the vague area of bulk I like here. I think the HP and Defense investment with a Bold nature survives Choice Band Bisharp Knock Off whilst optimizing HP for minimizing Sandstorm and Hail residual damage. The Special Attack does hit a specific damage calculation but it is apparently so unimportant that I can’t remember it. All I know is that helps a lot against Landorus-T and Mega Salamence in particular. Cresselia comfortably handles a lot on the special side without needing to invest at all, so I was pretty content with the spread I settled on.

Terrakion @ Lum Berry
Ability: Justified
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Protect
– Quick Guard
– Rock Slide
– Close Combat

See: VGC 2014 Garchomp. Terrakion is a really easy Pokémon to throw onto teams and immediately improve match-ups against Kangaskhan, Charizard Y, Thundurus and a host of other threats.

Everyone experimented with the item slot and final attack on Terrakion for a while but I think we have mostly reached a consensus on Lum Berry and Quick Guard to mess around with Thundurus. Quick Guard also occasionally gets used when I come up against Talonflame or Fake Out + set-up leads, but for the most part it is just a tech to protect Charizard and Venusaur from Thunder Wave and Cresselia from Taunt.

The rest of the set requires next to no explanation really. Close Combat and Rock Slide are reliable STABs and I run a no-brainer EV spread because is there really anything better? There are some spreads going around that survive 0 SAtk Rotom-W Hydro Pump, or some attacks from Mega Salamence, but Terrakion is already kinda borderline on getting the OHKO on bulky Kangaskhan and I didn’t want to compromise that at all.

Hydreigon @ Choice Specs
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Dark Pulse
– Flamethrower
– Earth Power

In my opinion, Hydreigon is a pretty overrated Dragon at this point in the season, but it fits better than anything else in this slot. Hydreigon has great defensive synergy with Aegislash and Cresselia and fits seamlessly into the Sun mode for its amazing match-up against Rotom-H and Heatran. Hydreigon also provides some much needed firepower to the no-mega mode of the team so I am not playing completely passively.

The only thing to note here is that I’m running Timid and max Speed for the mirror match-up against opposing Hydreigon. Hydreigon is really common at the moment and I wanted to make sure I could at least speed tie with the most common sets. I personally don’t think Hydreigon gains too much from running significant bulk anyway, and I see a lot of people losing out on outspeeding Landorus-T for the sake of very situational damage calculations. Again, simplicity works best for me here and I’ve never really been let down by Hydreigon on the defensive side even with no investment. The moveset is standard for Specs Hydreigon although I often considered ditching Flamethrower because I can’t remember ever using it. I was very close to switching to U-turn or Flash Cannon but the threat of something like really well-supported Ferrothorn made me keep it.

Aegislash @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 180 SpA / 76 SpD
Quiet Nature
– King’s Shield
– Wide Guard
– Flash Cannon
– Shadow Ball

Aegislash is a really strange Pokémon in 2015 in that it completely walls around half the metagame but can’t do anything to the other half. I bring it if I’m not feeling too confident about handling specific combinations of Terrakion, Landorus-T, Sylveon, Mega Gardevoir, Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Metagross and so-on. It also has really good defensive synergy with Hydreigon in terms of typing and it is a major reason the Cresselia / Terrakion / Hydreigon / Aegislash selection works when I don’t want to bring Charizard.

I’ve opted for the Wide Guard set here because although I really like the Substitute set most of the time, I have at least one weakness to all the common spread moves and I don’t really want to get cheesed by Rock Slide. Wide Guard in combination with its typing also makes Aegislash a really strong check to Trick Room teams, which often pack on a lot of spread moves so they don’t waste their 4 turns whiffing moves into Protect. I opted for double STAB instead of Shadow Ball + Sacred Sword in the end because not being able to hit Sylveon, Clefable, Clefairy and Togekiss for super effective damage actually turns out to be a really big problem. Leftovers is a remnant of when I was using Substitute and I just kind of stuck with it; I think its a much more consistent option than Weakness Policy and survivability is really needed given how many threats Aegislash can be relied on to beat. Without it, chip damage from the likes of Hidden Power [Fire] and [Ground] Sylveon and Mega Gardevoir put on more much pressure than I’m comfortable taking.


The team is by no means perfect and I probably could have optimized some match-ups a lot more, but I ended up feeling very comfortable with this variant after significant testing on battle spot.

  • Mega Kangaskhan & friends (70-30) – The team is kind of designed to destroy teams like Kangaskhan / Landorus-T / Thundurus / Heatran and I’m proud of how consistently I’m able to win these games on match-up alone.
  • Mega Metagross / Hydreigon & friends (35-65) – It comes down to the sets on these two. I have a poor match-up overall but I basically auto-lose to well-played Substitute Metagross + Choice Scarf (or Timid Specs/LO) Hydreigon. This showed in my Top 8 game, where I had to rely on not getting flinched to stay in the game.
  • Mega Salamence & friends (50-50) – This matchup typically depends on how we lead. I generally have a good match-up against Salamence + redirection, but it baits out all of my Bisharp weak Pokémon. I’d like to say most of the times I’ve lost to this have been misplays so I can’t really say for sure, but I think this match-up is fairly even.
  • Mega Charizard Y & friends (50-50) – Charizard teams can be pretty diverse so its difficult to comment. I have a significant advantage in the mirror because of Thunder Wave Cresselia, Timid Hydreigon, and 252 Speed Venusaur, but teams with very different compositions aren’t nearly as one-sided.
  • Mega Venusaur & friends (55-45) – Thunder Wave Cresselia nullifies Tailwind support, and Hidden Power [Ground] Cresselia baits the Heatran that these teams rely on defensively. It depends if I can do all that before Venusaur really gets going with Leech Seed.
  • Mega Gengar cheese (50-50) – Aegislash + Quick Guard Terrakion has pretty good time against Gengar + Whimsicott, but it comes down to what the back 4 are. I think the best Mega Gengar teams are the ones that take advantage of the specific leads that it forces and have a second mode that gets an immediate lead advantage, but I can’t think of any examples.
  • Rain (90-10) – I don’t think I’ve ever lost to rain before with this team. Mega Charizard Y + Thunder Wave Cresselia is just too good against it. In theory, I’m a little weak to Rain Dance Scarf Politoed + MSwampert + Talonflame but I haven’t faced it before, and between Rocky Helmet Cresselia and Venusaur I’m probably okay anyway.
  • Trick Room (60-40) – Trick Room is a really diverse playstyle so its kinda hard to sum up a match-up into a ratio. If they have a TR setter that can survive Dark Pulse from Hydreigon or Overheat from Charizard, then they have almost guaranteed set-up. However, a lot of these teams have TR abusers that simply can’t get around Wide Guard Aegislash (Mega Abomasnow, non-Drill Run Rhyperior, Mega Mawile). As a result, a lead combination of Hariyama / Cresselia that guarantees Trick Room against me (barring flinch), with Mega Camerupt in the back probably auto-wins against me, but I do okay against most other variants.

Overall Thoughts on the Team

As I said, this definitely isn’t the most solid variant of Charizard / Cresselia out there by any means, but I racked up so many games with it prior to regionals that it would have been silly to switch to something I don’t know the ins-and-outs of.

Ask any Charizard player what the biggest issue with the archetype, and they’ll probably say consistency. These builds tend to be highly reliant on Charizard actually hitting attacks to the extent you will often flat-out lose games if you miss Overheat or Heat Wave. For this reason, I tried to ensure Charizard Y was very well protected so a single miss wouldn’t result in the starter becoming fodder. Wide Guard Aegislash does a good job at giving Charizard free turns and alleviating some of the risk of blowing Overheat or Heat Wave. Thunder Wave’s paralysis chance is just as important as its speed crippling effects here meaning that even if I whiff an Overheat or Heat Wave, I still have a 25% of getting bailed out. Combine this with Terrakion’s Rock Slide having the flinch chance that always seems to be larger than 30%, I have a good chance of keeping myself in the game should Charizard miss an attack on an important turn. To exemplify the point, of the 16 Heat Wave targets during the event, I missed 6 and still went on to win all but one of the games it came into effect in.

Similarly, I wanted to avoid inaccurate attacks elsewhere. Venusaur, Cresselia and Aegislash all have exclusively 100% accurate attacks. Hydreigon carries Flamethrower over Fire Blast so I don’t miss on the odd occasion I even need to use it. Although my Hydreigon packs Draco Meteor, it is really just a secondary STAB to Dark Pulse in this format. Terrakion’s Rock Slide is the only inaccurate move I ever find myself relying on outside of Charizard’s Fire attacks. This gives me a great peace of mind when closing out games because I’m often actually sitting on a 100% win condition as opposed to praying I don’t miss 4 consecutive Hydro Pumps or something. Screw you, Rotom-W!

I think I have done as much as I could within reason in trying to limit how much luck has an influence on games with this team. Not only do I rarely rely on low accuracy moves outside of Charizard, but the presence of Wide Guard and Quick Guard effectively shuts down Landorus-T and Thundurus, two Pokémon I credit with bringing a significant amount of luck back into this format. The core Sun mode of the team is also great at grabbing momentum and keeping it meaning that most of the time I’m applying pressure rather than being on the back foot and switching around. This significantly limits the opportunities I lose due to bad luck.

The other side of that is that if I can’t lead Charizard and Venusaur, I almost always start the game on the back foot. This is why fast Hydreigon + Substitute Metagross poses an issue – I generally have to lead very slow, passive combinations of Pokémon and just give them loads of chances to land a critical hit or flinch me. If I can’t get Hydreigon paralyzed, then I can wave the game goodbye.

Sutton Coldfield Regionals

Round 1 vs Elliot Gibb

gengarsalamence-megamamoswinegallade thundurusbisharp

Elliot said this was his first event. Why can’t we go back to 2009 when new players were actually walkovers? Seriously, for a first timer this team is deceptively solid. Mega Salamence + Bisharp is something I struggle with a little bit and he played well early in the game to scout for Hidden Power [Ice] on Venusaur. He made a bit of a misplay from a neutral position in the late game by making an unnecessary double target into Terrakion which handed me the win, but for his first tournament this guy played pretty well in general. A very scary opening game. (1-0)

Round 2 vs Sheldon Greenaway


The kind of match-up that Sun mode thrives in. His Mega Blastoise Dark Pulse got a critical hit on my Cresselia that put me under pressure a little, but then my Aegislash landed another critical hit right back on the next turn to restore the advantage. On the last turn, I needed a paralysis to get one Wide Guard from two turns. I didn’t get either, but then his Terrakion missed Rock Slide anyway… and finally I could breathe. (2-0)

Round 3 vs Kelly Mercier-White (KellsterCartier)


Kelly came out of nowhere last year and very quickly solidified himself as one of the best European players. Because I didn’t play too much in the last format and hadn’t made it out to many Premier Challenges so far this year, this was my first time meeting Kelly, and he comes across like a great guy. I’m looking forward to playing him again in the future.

I remember reading his Arnhem report but couldn’t recall what variant of Metagross / Hydreigon he was using. I take an early punt on his Metagross not having Substitute and drop a Thunder Wave on it, which sets the pace for the rest of the game. We both make mistakes a couple of turns later in the face of a Hydreigon mirror. With Aegislash in the back, I probably should have not risked the Choice Scarf, but I made the risky play by staying in and targeting his Hydreigon with mine hoping that his was a slower Choice Specs or Life Orb variant. It turns out that his Hydreigon was actually Choice Scarf, but Kelly made a little misplay of his own by targeting down my Cresselia with Dark Pulse that ended up giving me the game. I’m sure neither of us are particularly proud of that turn, but it is what it is! (3-0)

N.B. Kelly, if you read this, I want to apologize for blurting out something about your Landorus-T set midgame. Wasn’t thinking at all and I hope that didn’t make later rounds difficult for you!

Round 4 vs Baris Akcos (Billa)


I recognized the name, but didn’t notice I was playing Billa until we were underway. Sun mode with Hydreigon had a good match-up here, so I ended up running with that. I did not do anything too risky and just made some safe plays to maintain an advantage. Pretty late in the game, my Hydreigon flinched his Aegislash with Dark Pulse but at that point, I think he needed to get a critical hit Sacred Sword against Hydreigon for it to have mattered anyway. The game came down to just waiting for a free switch to Venusaur which came when he knocked out my weakened Charizard the next turn. He was pretty visibly annoyed with this loss, which made me question whether I missed something really obvious and made a bad play somewhere, but he went on to make Top Cut later anyway. (4-0)

Round 5 vs Josh McDonald


After some really difficult rounds against established players, I was kind of thankful to see a Luxray in team preview. I wanted to run full Sun mode at first but eventually decided I wanted all of Terrakion, Cresselia and Aegislash to cover other bases, so dropped Venusaur with a couple of seconds on the timer. Expecting the Talonflame + Garchomp lead in anticipation of Sun mode, I go Terrakion + Cresselia for a near-enough perfect lead match-up. He gets up Tailwind turn 1 while I dispatch the Garchomp which gave Charizard Y an invitation to clean up. His back two turned out to be Sableye and Mega Gardevoir which have no response either Charizard Y or Aegislash. (5-0)

Round 6 vs Hannah Glover (LassieNessie)


Yet another first time tournament player with a solid team, definitely not a walkover. I decide to go with my standard Sun mode here despite a shaky match-up, mainly for a lack of better options. I scout for Tyranitar’s Choice Scarf early in the game and then cleared it out with Terrakion. Arcanine comes in on Charizard Y’s Heat Wave and it turned out to be Flash Fire; Hannah later said she couldn’t get an Ability Capsule in time but it definitely helped her out here! After a few scary turns of Garchomp avoiding Ice Beam with Bright Power and trying to dance around Sun- and Flash Fire-boosted Overheats from Arcanine, I eventually managed to get the game down to burned Cresselia and Charizard Y vs -6 SAtk Arcanine and thankfully avoid critical hits to close it out. (6-0)

Round 7 vs Chris Barton (Havak)


Unlike last time I played Chris, where I had a horrible match-up (my Mega Swampert Rain with Ferrothorn Trick Room mode versus his Mega Charizard Y + Ludicolo + Trick Room Cresselia team, yuck), I go into this one knowing there is surely no way I can lose to it. This is the kind of team that Hidden Power [Ground] Cresselia loves to tear apart. As long as I don’t make the absolute worst plays every turn, I should come out on top.

I start badly and lead poorly against his Kangaskhan + Togekiss. I had a split-second moment of stupidity and targeted the Togekiss with Thunder Wave. This puts me out of position and I have to dance around a lot of scary Pokémon in Tailwind without letting Cresselia get too worn down. The big turn is Kangaskhan + Heatran vs Cresselia + Terrakion, where I’m sure Landorus-T has to switch-in somewhere, or he has to protect his Heatran. Instead, he does neither and Sucker Punches Cresselia, I knock out Kangaskhan with Close Combat and Terrakion gets taken down by Heatran’s Earth Power. Got really annoyed with myself on this one because I had such an amazing team advantage and managed to throw it away with playing really terribly. Mad props to Chris though, for him to take this game he needed to be on fire with Landorus-T switches and he was. Good game pal, I think I’ve found my bogey opponent! (6-1)

Round 8 vs Jamie Boyt (MrJellyLeggs)


Yan Sym just played this guy before me and said he had Charizard X, so naturally I’m a little scared of running Sun mode. He leads Thundurus + Serperior into my Cresselia + Terrakion. I don’t really want to let Terrakion take a Leaf Storm so switch out for Aegislash, only for him to Light Screen and Nasty Plot turn 1 as I paralyse Serperior. Thundurus’ Thunderbolt lands a critical hit on Cresselia that stopped me getting off an Ice Beam that would have limited it to a single turn of Life Orb recoil and at this point, part of me just wanted to resign the prospect of winning this game and just focus on acquiring information in case I play him in Top Cut. This is the kind of team and player that experienced guys will lose to because he’s using established Pokémon in weird ways, even if I’m not convinced he was deliberately trying to catch people out like that. Props to him for what he did with it though, he definitely didn’t have an easy Swiss schedule! (6-2)

Having gone undefeated in the first 6 rounds gave me good resistance and getting paired up in the final round, I knew I had a pretty secure Top Cut place despite the final two losses. I ended up as 6th seed, as the highest seeded 6-2 player:


Top 8 vs Stephen Gibbon (Stegibbon)


The warped lovechild of Baz Anderson’s team and the Hydreigon + Metagross archetype? I don’t know, but I’m just praying to God that he doesn’t have Substitute Metagross and Scarf Hydreigon otherwise this tournament is over for me. You can guess what happens!

Game 1

He leads Breloom + Thundurus as I lead Terrakion + Charizard. There’s no reason for me not to just go Rock Slide and Heat Wave here so that’s exactly what I do, taking out Thundurus as he paralyses Charizard, but Breloom protects itself. Metagross comes in and reveals Substitute right off the bat. Breloom switches out for Hydreigon which dodges a Heat Wave as I sub out Terrakion for Aegislash. He eventually reveals Hydreigon is Choice Scarfed as I feared. The game goes down to the final turn, as I have full health Terrakion and 10% Aegislash vs full health Hydreigon and weakened Breloom, so it comes down onto a 50:50 on whether to Protect Terrakion or not. I don’t, as he risks the roll on Dark Pulse + Mach Punch to take down Terrakion. (L)

Game 2

I know my only shot of winning this was to catch Metagross behind a Substitute with Hidden Power [Ground] and Shadow Ball or to get a paralysis on Hydreigon and luck the guy to heaven and back. I lead Cresselia and Terrakion again into his Metagross and Suicune. Turn 1, I switch Terrakion out for Aegislash and paralyze Suicune with Thunder Wave, which subsequently fully paralyses as Metagross sets up a Substitute. Next turn, he makes the smart play of Protecting Metagross from behind a Substitute to avoid my Hidden Power [Ground] and Shadow Ball, as Hydreigon comes in for free on the Suicune slot. My only shot here now is to get a Thunder Wave off on Hydreigon, but he double targets Cresselia with Dark Pulse and Iron Head and catches a flinch, putting me out of the game and the tournament (L).

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, I’m very happy with the result finally getting some significant Championship Points in my pocket and closing the massive gap to the top guys . I know the team was solid, but nothing really special and I was relying on avoiding my bad match-ups all day if I was going to place well. Of course, there’s a part of me that wonders how far I could have gone had seedings worked out differently, as in my opinion I had positive match-ups against every other team in Top Cut. However, we all have to acknowledge that strength-of-schedule is a huge determinant in how you place at these events. Besides, I’m sure if I got matched up against someone else in top 8 and went on to win the whole thing, somebody would have complained I got lucky by avoiding my worst match-up, just as many are claiming about the guys who got to the finals. Nobody is to blame here but myself; I had a number of teams with better match-ups against Metagross + Hydreigon than the one I ended up running. I knew what I was getting into when I chose to run this variant!

I don’t know how many Championship Points I need to keep a statistical chance at making Worlds this year, but I still have a Premier Challenge planned in the run-up to Nationals, so I’m feeling good. Now I have some actual practice with the objectively better variants of this team, I’m excited to see how far I can go. Thanks for reading, guys!


  • Chris Barton (Havak) – Stop beating me please. Also kinda have to thank you for introducing me to Charizard / Cresselia / Terrakion, even if I really dislike the direction you went with the other three slots way back when, haha. Also let me know when you quit so I can quit as well, we’ve been doing this Pokémon stuff way too long.
  • Tyler Bakhtiari (Pokeguru01) – Stop using bad Pokémon, and change your name to something easier to spell. Seriously though, you’ve tested with me a hell of a lot since this team’s first conception and have always been around to bounce ideas off of. Now just stop trying to be super hipster and you might actually get a positive Swiss record sometime!!
  • Yan Sym (Sogeking) – oO. Good to finally meet you after all these years, man. I can’t understand like every other word you say you Brazilian nutjob but C H A R I Z A R D B O Y S.
  • …and the other guys I’ve inevitably forgotten.

About the Author

British competitive Pokemon player since 2006-7, playing VGC seriously since 2014. Way too old for this.

14 Responses to Dancing in the Moonlight: A Top 8 UK Regionals Report

  1. LassieNessie says:

    Really interesting to read the article after playing you – I’m Hannah from game six. ^_^ I’ve managed to get an ability capsule now! Also, my Tyranitar was actually holding the Smooth Rock – though I have been experimenting with the Scarf on Battle Spot. :)

  2. Excellent report, surprised I didn’t face you at all in the tournament seeing as we had similar scores throughout the tournament! Best of luck at Nationals as well :) By the way, have you considered Leaf Storm (or Energy Ball seeing as it’s 100% accurate and more consistent) on your Venusaur at all as I think the extra damage output could help your offensive variant. 

  3. peng says:

    Really interesting to read the article after playing you – I’m Hannah from game six. ^_^ I’ve managed to get an ability capsule now! Also, my Tyranitar was actually holding the Smooth Rock – though I have been experimenting with the Scarf on Battle Spot. :)

    Haha, good to put a username to a face! I meant I was checking to make sure your Ttar wasn’t Scarf, I kinda phrased tha weirdly. GG again, hope to see you around the circuit in the future :)

    If you PM one of the staff you might be able to get your username inserted into the article, if you’d like?

  4. The Wullz says:

    Great team and great report. I like how you went with an offensive Venusaur rather than the popular bulky build. Also, I’m taking that Cresselia spread.

  5. Havak says:

    Great report mate 🙂 I was really worried about the Hidden Power Ground Cresselia! I think Encore buying me a few turns probably helped me a lot in that game, but I’ll need to re-watch it.

    See you soon, probably when we inevitably get paired again in the United Kingdom National later this month…

  6. LassieNessie says:

    Haha, good to put a username to a face! I meant I was checking to make sure your Ttar wasn’t Scarf, I kinda phrased tha weirdly. GG again, hope to see you around the circuit in the future :)

    If you PM one of the staff you might be able to get your username inserted into the article, if you’d like?

    Ah, that would make more sense! Yeah, it was a great match – hopefully I’ll be able to see you at Nationals! ^_^

    I’m not too fussed about getting my username in there, but I might mention it to someone anyway. :)

  7. Aurorusite says:

    Cresselia set was especially wonderful. Even if HP Ground does small damage against pretty much everything, it is still nasty surprise for Heatrans. Great team in general!

  8. Zekira Drake says:

    Bahahaha I was kidding around with my local community here about HP Ground Cresselia, but seeing it being used here and the number of Heatrans that it had to face, I might actually end up using that myself now XD although now I gotta reset more…

  9. Willem says:

    Dude!!! Dancing in the moonlight is one of Thin Lizzys best songs!! <333 Great team report and great name for a team report!! I actually name my cresselias Thin Lizzy xD

  10. KellsterCartier says:

    Hey Andy! Congrats again on a top 8 finish. You’re a very good player and I hope to see you around at other events this year.

    PS. Don’t worry, that Assault Vest Landorus was still able to clutch in a few future games. 🙂

  11. peng says:

    Excellent report, surprised I didn’t face you at all in the tournament seeing as we had similar scores throughout! Best of luck at Nationals as well :) By the way, have you considered Leaf Storm (or Energy Ball seeing as it’s 100% accurate and more consistent) on your Venusaur at all as I think the extra damage output could help your offensive variant. 

    I never really tried either of those, I ended up being comfortable enough with Giga Drain in the end. I’d definitely stray away from Energy Ball because its not a significant enough increase in power for me to compensate losing the recovery. Leaf Storm is pretty cool but brings a little risk to the Sun mode I’d like to stay away from – you have to think more before you just go for it because you can’t really afford to blow it into a resisted switch, and theres the added miss chance as well. Its something I’ll probably try in the future though.

    Great report mate :) I was really worried about the Hidden Power Ground Cresselia! I think Encore buying me a few turns probably helped me a lot in that game, but I’ll need to re-watch it.

    See you soon, probably when we inevitably get paired again in the United Kingdom National later this month…

    Yeah Encore put me out of position pretty badly and I didn’t respond to it well. I don’t think I did anything right in that game, I don’t really want to watch it back! I know I make a big deal about me choking an incredible match-up away but you played your arse off in that game, you more than deserved it! Looking forward to our game at nats ;)

    Dude!!! Dancing in the moonlight is one of Thin Lizzys best songs!! <333 Great team report and great name for a team report!! I actually name my cresselias Thin Lizzy xD

    Sadly its named after the King Harvest song / Toploaded cover, but the Thin Lizzy song is pretty good too!

    Hey Andy! Congrats again on a top 8 finish. You’re a very good player and I hope to see you around at other events this year.

    PS. Don’t worry, that Assault Vest Landorus was still able to clutch in a few future games. :)

    Same to you, pal. It was a pleasure meeting and playing you. And good to hear about the Landorus-T thing! As soon as I walked away from the table I realised I’d just been basically shouting that you weren’t Choice Scarf haha, got a little caught up in the heat of the moment I guess!

  12. Architeuthis says:

    Nice report, solid team. Now I have the song stuck in my head.

  13. Zog says:

    I will never forget the time a girl skipped my jukebox choice of Eddie Murphy’s “Party All the Time” and replaced it with Toploader’s version of “Dancing in the Moonlight”. Unforgivable.
    I can, however, forgive this lovely report. Well done mate, you deserved a cheeky Waddell to the top. :P

  14. Zyros Phade says:

    It was also my first ever tournament!! The first player you played was my brother he is:

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