Published on September 16th, 2015 | by Hibiki


In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music: Regional Top 4 & National Top 64 Team Report

Hello friends! My name is Alexander Kuhn, but most of you would probably recognize me by the name Hibiki.

I am an Austrian VGC player, currently living in Vienna, who started playing VGC in 2014. The years prior to that I’ve only watched from the sideline, not having the resources to go out and travel to events. With me becoming older, the game offering fairer ways of building teams, and Premier Challenges being introduced, I was finally able to play at events.

My 2014 season went rather poorly, as I finished 6-3 and 5-3 at the Italian and German National Championships, respectively. I was very lucky though, as German Senior Adrian S. (Chess) chose me as his legal guardian to accompany him to the 2014 World Championships, where I lost in Round 3 of the LCQ.

Despite the season being a bit of a letdown for me in terms of performance, I was still able to meet all the friends I’ve made online during the 2014 season, and I’ve been able to compete in some of Nugget Bridge’s online tournaments, even grabbing an invitation for the prestigious Nugget Bridge Invitational. I’ve decided to just keep on practicing and try my luck next year.

After playing a variety of teams in the 2015 Season, I finally managed to go deep in a tournament right after the 2015 World Championships. Despite going 0-3 at World’s Day 1, I wanted to keep trying next Season. After a measly Top 128 finish in the Boston Open I went to the Arena Cup Würzburg Regional Championship 2 weeks afterwards, and I finally managed to win a small trophy and a big chunk of CP for the 2016 Season, making it to Top 4 with a team that I had foolishly retired back around May.

I will introduce you to two versions of the team: the one I used to go 7-2 at the National Championship in Germany, and the updated version I used for the Arena Cup Würzburg.

The Team – Origins

Back in April when I was preparing for the German Nationals, I was playing around with ideas with what I could play. I am usually not too fond of going full-on standard with my teams, so I was looking at Mega Pokémon that were under the radar.

swampert-mega thundurus-incarnate

I don’t even remember how I got the idea in the first place, all I remember is my girlfriend talking about Rain Dance Thundurus at some point before, which I dismissed as a silly tech back then. I then realized that Rain Dance Thundurus would pair very well with Mega Swampert, so I started exploring the combination.

I took the idea to my good friend Aaron “Unreality” Traylor, who helped me get together a solid 6 for the team. I don’t remember what parts of the team came from him (apart from the Landorus-T, because I used his exact EV spread for Nationals), but it doesn’t matter anyways – the team would’ve never come to life without his involvement, and I am very thankful for what he has done for me this season, never dismissing my silly ideas and providing support throughout the whole year.

The basic idea behind using Mega Swampert + manual Rain is that it completely destroys Charizard Y. Mega Swampert in general is amazing against the infamous double genie combination, Landorus-T and Thundurus-I. Mega Swampert is extremly bulky too, and since Grass type attacks aren’t very common apart from Giga Drain on Amoonguss/Venusaur, it isn’t hit for Super Effective damage too often.

I will now introduce you to the team. I will provide detailed explanations for each Pokémon. I will also provide Battle Videos for the Arena Cup Würzburg, as we were able to save them thanks to the lack of tournament software.

The Team

swampert swampert-mega
Swampert @ Swampertite
Ability: Torrent
Level: 50
EVs: 28 HP / 236 Atk / 12 Def / 12 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Waterfall
– Earthquake
– Ice Punch
– Protect

The star of the team. An incredible Pokémon that has a lot of potentional in a metagame infested with Landorus-T, Thundurus-I and Heatran. Amazing natural bulk, a terrifying 150 Base Attack stat and amazing STAB moves are its selling points. Whenever I talk to people about Mega Swampert, reactions are generally positive, but are usually accompanied by “but you kinda need to run Politoed with it right?”. I don’t like the idea of running double water types either, which is why I went for something different regarding that.

Waterfall & Earthquake are the STAB moves of choice, you don’t really have other options for those slots. Waterfall in rain is absolutely amazing, dealing huge amounts of damage to neutral targets and even to Pokémon that resist it, such as Rotom-Wash. Earthquake is a very strong spread move, that pairs up fantastically with Pokémon like Thundurus-I and Landorus-T as partners. Protect is very important to make big plays, and can also be used if you want to avoid not having the Swift Swim boost on the turn you mega evolve.

Ice Punch is used in the last slot to have a better matchup against otherwise problematic Pokémon, such as Mega Salamence and Amoonguss. It also provides better damage than Waterfall against Landorus-T outside of rain. There are a few options for this moveslot if you want to forgo the coverage for utility, such as Wide Guard, Mirror Coat or Counter. You could also run Superpower/Low Kick, but it seems obsolete as Waterfall in Rain hits hard enough already, and the Fighting type moves don’t really provide you with meaningful coverage.

The EV spread used is very simple. The HP/Def investment allows you to survive Adamant Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge 100% of the time. The speed allows you to outspeed Jolly Scarf Landorus-T in rain, which isn’t very common, but I wanted to go as fast as I reasonably could, with and without Swift Swim. Barely outspeeding Adamant Scarf Landorus-T would be my second choice, although it would put you at an awkward speed tier outside of Rain, right around Suicune and Rotom without speed investment.


Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 68 Def / 4 SpA / 160 SpD / 32 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 30 SpA / 30 SpD / 30 Spe
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Flying]
– Thunder Wave
– Rain Dance

Part two of the deadly combination, Thundurus is the perfect partner for Mega Swampert. It has access to Prankster Rain Dance, which is, in my opinion, the best way to set up Rain for Mega Swampert. I almost always bring Thundurus to my games, even when I choose not to bring Swampert.

Thunderbolt is self-explanatory. I didn’t want to use Thunder because that would force me to set up rain before using my primary STAB move. Thunder Wave is used for speed control and disruption. Rain Dance should be obvious, considering the rest of the team.

The big elephant in the room here is probably Hidden Power Flying. I had a few different ideas for the moveslot before, primarily Taunt and Swagger. I chose Hidden Power Flying in the end, as it provided me with the most reliable option against Amoonguss, Mega Venusaur and Scrafty. Psychic could be used as well (thanks MajorBowman), but it would leave me weaker to Scrafty again. I don’t really think there’s a “best option” for this moveslot, but I am glad I was running Hidden Power Flying, as it helped me a lot against Amoonguss and Mega Venusaur.

When I created this EV spread I wanted to be as specially bulky as possible, as it would help me against my tougher matchups, such as Gardevoir + Amoonguss Trick Room and Rain. The spread can survive Adamant Kangaskhan Double-Edge 96% of the time and take two Choice Specs Sylveon Hyper Voices 95% of the time. It outspeeds Breloom by 1. The spread wastes 4 EV points, but that can’t really be avoided because of the Hidden Power Flying IVs.

Aegislash @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 92 SpA / 164 SpD
Modest Nature
IVs: 29 Spe
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– Substitute
– King’s Shield

Ah yes, Aegislash. Possibly one of the best Pokémon in the game right now, it’s a very valuable part of the team. Not only is it a big threat to a lot of strong Pokémon when running the Substitute moveset (Kangaskhan, Cresselia, Amoonguss), it becomes even stronger when utilizing Rain Dance. Rain allows it to use have a better time sitting in front of Heatran for example. It also helps contain what is possibly the biggest threat to Aegislash, Charizard Y.

The moveset is very, very standard so I won’t elaborate on it. I decided against using the Wide Guard + Substitute moveset as I valued the additional coverage a lot more than having Wide Guard on this particular team.

The EV spread is similar to what has been very popular in 2014. It survives Choice Specs Hydreigon Dark Pulse and allows me to use Substitute after being hit by 252+ Special Attack Shadow Ball from opposing Aegislash.
The speed stat might seem a bit weird. I decided to go with it as it allows me to outspeed standard Scrafty by 1 point, allowing me to Substitute up and still be safe on a bad prediction. I also outspeed Quiet Aegislashes and underspeed regular Modest ones, with the above Shadow Ball calculation I feel very safe going straight for Substitute most of the times. Life Orb Aegislash has become a lot more popular ever since, so reconsidering the speed might be a good idea. Maybe it was a stupid idea in the first place, I don’t know. I never had any issues with it though.

Virizion @ Life Orb
Ability: Justified
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Close Combat
– Leaf Blade
– Light Screen  / Taunt
– Protect

I chose to run Virizion for various reasons. It provides me with an active threat to Mega Kangaskhan, Rotom-Wash and other bulky water types, it helps with the rain matchup, and it provides strong firepower in general. I believe Virizion is a very strong Pokémon, but it might be difficult to justify (heh) giving it a spot on most teams.

Close Combat and Leaf Blade are used as the standard STAB moves. Light Screen is used to help with the rain matchup at Nationals. I ended up using it maybe once, and it felt very situational, so I decided to use Taunt at the Regional. Taunt provides me with more options against certain Trick Room matchups, Smeargle and helps Aegislash set up Substitute in front of Mega Venusaur. I considered Safeguard before, even in combination with a Lum Berry and Swagger on Thundurus, but decided to go with something simpler in the end.

The EV spread is very basic, so I won’t elaborate on it.

Landorus-Therian @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs (Nationals):  140 HP / 140 Atk / 12 Def / 108 SpD / 108 Spe
EVs (Regional):  140 HP / 20 Atk / 12 Def / 140 SpD / 196 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Earthquake
– Rock Slide
– Superpower
– Knock Off

Landorus-T gives me much needed Intimidate support and strong coverage. It also helps disrupt the enemy team with Knock Off and Rock Slide.

Assault Vest is used because I dislike the Scarf set, and the ability to switch moves gives me a lot of flexibility. It also helps me against a lot of special attackers, providing a strong switch-in option.

The moveset is very standard for the Assault Vest variant. U-Turn would have been a viable option over Knock Off, but I prefer the latter for how it can heavily weaken certain Pokémon by removing their item.

The first EV spread is a straight copy of Aaron “Unreality” Traylor’s Assault Vest Landorus-T he used to win the Missouri Regionals. He was also the one who suggested using Assault Vest to me, so big thanks to him. I changed the spread a bit for the regional, making it faster than Breloom, as that was still a very tough matchup for me and outspeeding it would give me another strong option against it. I also upped the bulk a bit, now surviving HP Ice from 4 Satk neutral nature Thundurus-I twice 99,6% of the time, turning it into a 3HKO. In retrospect, outspeeding Smeargle would’ve been useful at the tournament. But overall I was very satisfied with the second EV spread.

The last slot was Entei at the National Championship and Volcarona at the Regional Championship.

Entei @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Pressure
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Atk / 12 Def / 12 SpD / 124 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Sacred Fire
– Stone Edge
– Snarl
– Protect

I had Entei in this slot at first to help me with my Venusaur/Amoonguss matchup. I also absolutely wanted a Fire type on the team, despite running Rain Dance, as having one is crucial for dealing with certain Pokémon in my opinion. Safety Goggles are a great item on Entei, especially since other strong options (Leftovers, Sitrus) were taken already.

Sacred Fire is the crux of this set, providing me with a strong supporting move that deals huge amounts of damage. The 50% burn chance is very disruptive, essentially increasing the power of the move. It can also disable physical attackers, although it might be a bit unreliable for that purpose. Stone Edge is there for coverage, dealing good damage to opposing Fire types. Snarl helps with disabling special attackers. Not much else to say there, it felt like my best option for this moveslot.

124 Speed allow Entei to outspeed Breloom by 2. The defensive investment allows it to survive Adamant Kangaskhan Double Edge 100% of the time, as well as Adamant Landorus-T Earthquake. The leftover EVs were put into Attack to boost Entei’s damage output.

After the National Championship I wanted to explore other options for my Fire type, as Entei was a bit too much of a sitting duck a lot of times. In the end I settled with Volcarona (which coincidentally is my all-time favorite Pokémon), using a set very similiar to what the runner-up at this year’s World Championship, bidc, used.

Volcarona @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Flame Body
Level: 50
EVs: 164 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA / 4 SpD / 84 Spe
Timid Nature
– Flamethrower
– Bug Buzz
– Quiver Dance
– Protect

Volcarona is a scary Pokémon to face, regardless of what set it runs. I decided on using a bulky Rocky Helmet Quiver Dance variant after exploring Rage Powder for a bit. I realized Rage Powder doesn’t actually do much for my team, while Quiver Dance turns Volcarona into a huge, active threat that passively threatens physical contact-move attackers with Rocky Helmet + Flame Body, primarily Mega Kangaskhan.

I run Flamethrower over Heat Wave because I already have strong spread move options in Earthquake, and running Heat Wave kinda defeats the purpose of trying to beat Aegislash, as it could just Wide Guard your attack. It also provides slightly stronger firepower on a single target.
Bug Buzz is something I decided on very late, I tried both Hurricane and Bug Buzz in this slot before. In the end I settled with Bug Buzz to help against Hydreigon and Cresselia, two Pokémon that pose a great threat to the rest of my team, especially if they’re paired up. It also provides the strongest damage output against neutral target when rain is up.
Quiver Dance is amazing on a defensive build, as after one turn of setup you become a very active threat that your opponent has to react to, while still having amazing durability and disruptive options in Rocky Helmet and Flame Body. It kind of forces your opponent to deal with it, while on a Rage Powder build they can chose to ignore you for a few turns if necessary or play around your redirection. I am glad that I chose to go with Quiver Dance, even though I haven’t used it much in tournament. I never felt the need of having Rage Powder during the tournament either, so I am glad I dropped it in favor of Quiver Dance.

The EVs allow it to outspeed Adamant Landorus-T by 1 point. The defensive investment allows it to survive Jolly Kangaskhan Double-Edge 98,4% of the time and Adamant Landorus-T Rock Slide 93,7% of the time (15/16).

Arena Cup Würzburg

Unfortunately I didn’t keep detailed notes during the National Championship in Bochum, so I will focus on the Regional Championship. The Arena Cup Würzburg happened on September 5th 2015. The attendance was 100 for Masters, and it was a 1 day event.

European Regionals don’t have access to tournament software yet, so we were able to save Battle Videos.
I asked Eiganjo to kindly upload the Battle Videos to the Nugget Bridge Youtube channel, and I will write a few lines for each match I played.

Rounds 5 and 7 don’t have videos. My opponent prematurely closed his 3DS during Round 5 (I don’t blame him at all, and I will explain why), while I closed mine in Round 7 (oops).

Round 1- Emre Sahan (4-3)

charizard-mega-y venusaur-mega landorus-therian rotom-wash scrafty heatran

Who would have guessed, I ran into a nightmare matchup during the first round of the tournament!
Emre’s team is similiar to what Markus “Blacklag” Stefan used to win the National Championship in Germany this year, utilizing a double Mega strategy involving Charizard Y and Venusaur. As you might have guessed by looking at it, Mega Venusaur and Scrafty are extremely problematic for my team. Needless to say he picked both of them, while I foolishly picked Swampert into the matchup (oops) on the chance that he would go with Charizard Y after all, for some weird reason. I can’t really say much about the battle itself. Emre never found out that I had Hidden Power Flying during the game, I had to explain the huge damage to him after the battle. I managed to put some good damage on his team early on. Turn 7 was crucial, as failing to pick off either of his Pokémon there would’ve lost me the game on the spot. I was anticipating a possible switch-in to Landorus-T on the Scrafty slot, which is why I used Ice Punch. In retrospect, Earthquake would’ve been safer, as it would’ve cleaned up Venusaur had it survived the HP Flying. But I felt rather confident in HP Flying dealing enough damage. After that, Mega Swampert was able to win the game easily after Landorus-T locked itself into Rock Slide and Rotom-W was weakened enough to be picked off by Waterfall.

Round 2 – Andreja “Naruto Uzumaki 97” Turic (5-2)

kangaskhan-mega rotom-heat sylveon mamoswine ferrothorn milotic

I knew Andi was a capable player, as he is rather well known on the German message boards, usually doing very well in their tournaments. At first glance it seemed like he didn’t have a very good matchup against my Swampert, so I decided to lead with Swampert + Thundurus. I anticipated a Fake Out into the Thundurus slot, so I went straight for the Volcarona switch + Waterfall into Kangaskhan. I realized Sylveon wasn’t Specs considering the damage, which was good to take note of. I decided to Protect and try and finish off Kangaskhan with Volcarona, which happened to finish off itself with Return into that slot. I felt safe around Mamoswine, but wasn’t too sure about the item. He missed his Icicle Crash on Thundurus, but I felt that it didn’t matter too much. What hurt him a lot more was Helping Hand Ice Shard failing to KO my Swampert, but as long as it wasn’t Banded or LO I felt safe even with the possibility of Helping Hand Ice Shard. My opponent starting laughing heavily after seeing Virizion coming out last, sealing up the game for me. Unfortunate about the Icicle Crash miss, but there weren’t any hard feelings. The match was a nail biter, but I’m glad that I managed to take the win.

Round 3 – Paul “the guy with the Snorlax cap and Rotom shirt” Hüster (4-3)

cresselia amoonguss aromatisse heatran tyranitar-mega aegislash

Looking at my opponent’s team I saw that he only really had Amoonguss to deal with Mega Swampert. I decided to lead with Thundurus and Aegislash, as I could Substitute or threaten his Trick Room setters right from the start, while disrupting Heatran and Tyranitar with a possible Rain Dance. I anticipated a possible Crunch turn 1, so I decided to switch in my Landorus-T. To my surprise I outsped his Tyranitar with Aegislash. I then went for Substitute again, anticipating a Protect, and fortunately flinched his Aromatisse. After that Tyranitar went down to a Superpower. I anticipated a possible switch into Aegislash from Aromatisse, but I mispredicted and failed to KO it. After he switched in Heatran I still felt that I was in a strong position, so I wasn’t too worried. He did, however, correctly preserve his Amoonguss until the very end to threaten my Swampert, which was strong on his part. I decided to basically sacrifice my Swampert so I can preserve Aegislash, when he suddenly revealed Hidden Power Ice on his Heatran, which fortunately failed to KO my weakened Landorus-T. From there all I had to do was stall out the Trick Room and wait until I can switch in Aegislash again and set up Substitute. He gave up at that point.

Round 4 – Markus “13Yoshi37” Stadter (5-2)

kangaskhan-mega landorus-therian aegislash heatran sylveon zapdos

I had mixed feelings about this, as I respect Markus a lot as a player. We haven’t played against each other in a while though, so I was happy about facing him once more, as I enjoy playing him a lot. Markus helped me grow a lot as a player early in the 2014 season, when I was working with him and Wolfe Glick, so it’s always a pleasure. After we sat down I put my Mega Swampert plushie on the table, and he immediately asked me “are you playing that today?” When I confirmed, he made note that he doesn’t really have a good matchup against it, which gave me some confidence. After seeing his 6 I felt that leading Thundurus + Swampert would be pretty safe. I crit his Zapdos out of the game turn 1, which was rather unfortunate for him, after he doubled into my Thundurus. From there I assumed he would try to go for strong plays to come back, so I was very careful about my next few turns. I knew his Sylveon wasn’t Specs after seeing the damage. I switch in my Volcarona to catch the possible Fake Out on Thundurus while protecting with Swampert to avoid losing momentum on a bad prediction on my part. His Kangaskhan ends up getting burned from the Flame Body, while his Sylveon reveals that it is running a Substitute + Leftovers set. After trading hits it comes down to his Sylveon and Aegislash vs my Landorus-T, Volcarona, and Thundurus. I decide to Quiver Dance with my Volcarona, as he leaves it untouched. I then try to put on some damage with Earthquake while protecting. After rain runs out I decide to double into Aegislash as it had just used King’s Shield, leaving Volcarona and Thundurus against the Sylveon, sealing up the game.

Round 5 – Laurin “Jen Ledger” Arz (5-2)

kangaskhan ferrothorn landorus-therian thundurus-incarnate entei milotic

No video for this match.

I noticed Laurin thinking hard about the matchup pre-game, giving me a feeling of uneasiness, as I was going into the match blind. After seeing the team I thought that it was certainly winnable for me. He led with Thundurus and Kangaskhan, and I made a terrible turn 1 decision, leaving Thundurus in and switching out Swampert, predicting him to anticipate the play of switching out Thundurus and attacking with Swampert. He was afraid of my Thundurus outspeeding his, so he doubled into the Thundurus slot with Fake Out and Taunt (I had Thunderbolt locked anticipating the Taunt). Rather devastated about what had happened, I still tried to bring it back. I used Flamethrower into his Kangaskhan slot with Volcarona. He ended up switching in his Landorus-T in that slot, which received a lucky burn from my Flamethrower, while his Thundurus taunted my Volcarona. I don’t remember what exactly happened afterwards, but I remember having Swampert out at some point, that froze his Thundurus with Ice Punch. He later also received a Flame Body burn on his Kangaskhan through my Volcarona. I only have Icy Wind written down on his Milotic, so I assume my last in the back was Virizion. Understandably angered, he closed his DS at the end of the match. He calmed down a bit though and shook hands with me, telling me it wasn’t my fault that he got haxed this badly. He also told me that he was having a streak of luck prior to this battle, and that it was only a matter of time until the bad luck struck back at him. I was glad that he didn’t put the blame on me directly, and we were able to talk a little later on in the tournament. Again, I’m terribly sorry that you ended up losing this game after I made such a bad play turn 1 Laurin.

After going 5-0 I felt rather safe in terms of cutting, but I knew that I could still go 5-2 and miss out on resistance. There also weren’t a lot of potential opponents left, so I looked around a bit at what kind of teams I could possibly face. The only thing I was able to really find out is that Dominic (TheFlashColonel) who got Top 4 in Italy, was playing Kangaskhan Smeargle, which made me feel a bit uneasy.

Round 6 – Dominic “TheFlashColonel” Scheffler (6-1)

kangaskhan-mega smeargle landorus-therian aegislash thundurus-incarnate cresselia

Oh boy, here we go. It didn’t help that they put our match on the TV screen, and the setup not working properly, so fellow players were actually able to witness my possible downfall. Basically my only viable option I could think of here was leading Virizion + Thundurus, and hoping that he would react to the threat of Taunt on Thundurus. He led with his Kangaskhan and Smeargle, so I switched out Thundurus into Volcarona and hit Taunt into Smeargle. To my surprise he simply used Fake Out on Virizion and pressed the Dark Void button. My Volcarona luckily managed to avoid, although my position was still awful. I am pretty sure he had Sash on Smeargle, so I was really caught off guard here. I still somehow managed to bring the game back to the point where it was my -1 Mega Swampert vs his Aegislash. I had no idea what item he had on Aegislash. I had also forgotten that +2 Shadow Ball is a 1/16 roll on my Swampert, so simply going for Earthquake twice would’ve been the play. But since I was nervous and stuff I forgot about that, and was wrongly afraid of the potential Weakness Policy, so I wanted to hit the Aegislash with Waterfall first to scout the item and possibly flinching him. I fully expected Weakness Policy or Life Orb, especially after revealing Wide Guard and seeing the general lack of damage output on his team otherwise.
It ended up holding Leftovers, which meant that the combination of -1 Waterfall + Earthquake couldn’t KO him.
I only had myself to blame for this loss, so I felt pretty down. I still knew that I could do it, so I got myself together and started preparing for Round 7.

Round 7 – Felix “Brisingr” Wintersberger (6-1)

amoonguss gardevoir thundurus-incarnate landorus-therian heatran charizard-mega-y

No video for this match.

I felt confident in winning this matchup, seeing he was running double Mega with Gardevoir and (probably) Charizard Y. He ended up bringing Charizard Y to the matchup over Gardevoir, which threw me off. I think my leads were Aegislash and Swampert, which was pretty bad for me. He didn’t realize I had Mega Swampert and was caught off guard by the Rain Dance from Thundurus. His Landorus-T was rather slow and not Scarfed. I don’t remember much else. All I remember is that, at the end, it was my Thundurus + Swampert against his Thundurus + Charizard Y with Landorus-T in the back. I was also more or less sure that his Thundurus didn’t have Taunt. All I had to do was set up rain, hit my Waterfall into the weakened Thundurus and then clean up the Charizard Y in rain and the Landorus-T in the back. Easy, right?

Welp, he pressed the Swagger button, my Thundurus hit itself, he removed the Thundurus from play with Flamethrower, and my Waterfall didn’t deal any meaningful damage to his Thundurus. Game over.
I was pretty mad for a minute, closing my 3DS, shaking hands and getting out of there as fast as possible.
I was able to calm down after a bit though, realizing it was indeed his best play and I was fortunate enough all tournament not to receive any unfavorable dice rolls at all besides that single Swagger.

After Swiss was over I was tracking down my previous opponents to find out about my resistance. I ended up having 2 4-3s, 3 5-2s, and 2 6-1s in my schedule, giving me top notch resistance. I also thought at first that 2 5-2 players would make it into cut, clumsily forgetting about my friend Luis Conti from Spain who also managed to go 6-1, allowing merely 1 5-2 to make it into cut. In a slight state of panic I still realized that I possibly had the highest resistance out of all the 5-2s. When standings were finally put up, Markus Stadter told me that I had made it. After checking the standings myself, I saw that I was tied with another player in resistance, and won out on opponent’s opponent’s win ratio. Lucky me.

As the 8th seed I had to play the 1st seed of the tournament, my friend Sebastian “Sebixxl” Ernst, who went 7-0. All I could find out about his team was the fact that he played Whimsicott + Terrakion.

Top 8 – Sebastian “Sebixxl” Ernst (7-0, T8)

heatran thundurus-incarnate terrakion whimsicott gardevoir scrafty

This game was played on TV with everyone watching, which was a great feeling. Looking at his team I immediately noticed that there wasn’t much he could do to answer a Landorus-T and Aegislash lead, so I decided on that. In game 1 I went for a straight double target into the Whimsicott, and what ended up happening was me knocking off the Assault Vest from Scrafty on the switch-in and heavily damaging it with Flash Cannon. Afterwards I managed to clean up Scrafty with Superpower (he probably didn’t know I could switch moves) and bring down Whimsicott to the Sash. He then went for Beat Up + Close Combat onto Landorus-T, while I finished his Terrakion with a Flash Cannon, which was a pretty unsafe move on my part on second thought. Afterwards I decided to switch out Aegislash to avoid being encored and to preserve it, as it would win the matchup for me. He then revealed Fake Tears on Whimsicott, but he failed to KO my Thundurus, which cleaned up his Whimsicott. I then simply set up rain so Swampert and Aegislash could close up the game for me.

I decided to stick with my leads as they were pretty much optimal for the matchup, and I knew that Landorus-T could survive the possible -2 Special Defense Hyper Voice. He ended up leading Scrafty and Heatran, and I felt that I could simply double switch into Thundurus + Swampert and go from there. That ended up working out perfectly, swinging momentum in my favor, allowing me to dictate the pace of the match. He had to react to my plays every turn, and he wasn’t able to swing back momentum until the very end, allowing me to dominate the second game with just Swampert and Thundurus.

I was incredibly happy about winning this match, as it secured my very first VGC trophy, a good chunk of CP and 18 TCG booster packs. Sebastian and I shook hands, and I went off to prepare for my Top 4 match, which happened shortly afterwards.

Top 4 – Pascal “Moeper” Kiefer (6-1, Winner)

gengar-mega scrafty swampert-mega politoed amoonguss thundurus-therian

Pretty much everybody knew by now that Pascal was playing Perish Trap with a Mega Swampert rain mode, and I was super excited about two Mega Swamperts making it this far. Yet at the same time I felt pretty bad, because I knew that the matchup was absolutely terrible for me, as he had Thundurus-T, which usually runs Grass Knot, Amoonguss, and Scrafty, as well as his own Mega Swampert to deal with my Thundurus and Landorus-T. He correctly ended up picking Politoed, Swampert, Scrafty, and Thundurus-T against me (leaving Amoonguss at home, but it didn’t matter too much).

I don’t have much to say about the match, apart from the fact that it was stupid of me not to bring Virizion to game 1, as it would’ve increased my chances of winning. It might have also been better to leave Landorus-T at home (I should know that, I play Mega Swampert after all), bringing Swampert, Virizion, Thundurus and Aegislash. I also hesitated to test the waters with our Swamperts game 1, but towards the end of game 1 I realized that his Swampert was slower than mine, valuable information I could’ve used way earlier on in the game.

Despite my weak performance in this match I was excited about getting this far. I gave Pascal my Mega Swampert plushie to support him during finals, which he ended up winning. We talked a bit about our EV spreads and stuff, and I was glad someone else managed to take this amazing Mega Pokémon so far in tournament. With that I finally did it, I got my first trophy!


Thanks for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions about my team, feel free to send me a PM on Nugget Bridge.
See you next time!

About the Author

18 Responses to In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music: Regional Top 4 & National Top 64 Team Report

  1. Keonspy says:

    so this teem is pretty cool haha

    congrats on your great finish!

  2. LithiumAcid says:

    Ahh Hibiki <3

    I just have so much feelings regarding this post. It was so cool to meet you at Worlds in 2014 (3rd round LCQ eliminations BOIS) and now seeing you improve so much as a player, and making it into Worlds this year.

    Was a shame I couldn’t make it to Boston to see you and Aleex, but I’m pretty sure with your t4 Arena Cup placing you’ll be well on your way to getting to San Fransisco!

  3. AlphaArrowz says:

    Holy Crap, this team is so BAE, the use of Mega Swampert, Virizion, and ENTEI!!!!

  4. Fantastic article! I’m all for any team with Volcarona, as it’s also my all-time favorite Pokemon (which is why I felt the overwhelming need to comment; have also been looking for ideas for a non-Rage Powder Volcarona set, and this helps immensely.) Respect.

  5. TokenVGC says:

    Definitely a pretty creative team, I like it! I believe Mega Swampert has been overlooked for awhile, especially with Prankster Rain Dance instead of Drizzle Politoed. Great choices on other Pokemon and solid report!

  6. XacerB8 says:

    Manual Rain is an interesting strategy I’ve not seen before, nice to see it working and achieving high. Gratz Hibiki.

  7. Princess Unicorn says:

    This site needs more Mega Swampert. Great job 🙂

  8. diegodm26 says:

    great team, i love it

    I’ve been trying for months to make a Mega Swampert team. I love the Mega, I love rain, and it feels so powerful to simply set up rain and let Swampert plow through teams. Seeing your team’s listings as well as Scott’s thoughts on it on twitter was what truly got the gears turning, so I’m grateful to finally see the thought process behind the workings of the team.
    HP: Flying Thundurus is truly the brilliant tech though, as I’ve been trying to fit a flying type onto the team (usually in place of Landorus) specifically for the match-ups that you mentioned for it, while ignoring that I already had one.
    Great team, and thank you for the article.

  10. LMGRaden says:

    Love the team… I might have to try this strategy out for myself, as it seems really solid

  11. Braverius says:

    Thanks for putting this together, and congrats on your finish, glad to see you off to a good start this year after a pretty rough worlds run. 
    Should be awfully interesting to see what people who are using the usual Kangaskhan setups will do to counteract Swampert, as I’m not sure there’s much out there as a one or two-mon patch that’s going to help vs this and also keep it consistent vs the other threats it has. I don’t think Swampert should be looked at as a temporary “neat tech” as much as it should be looked at as a legitimately viable thing you should start preparing for (or playing with, if you’re keen on it). Not sure it ever got the respect it deserved in the Western metagame, but with this being posted and with Bowman’s run in the NB Inv, I think it’ll finally cause a shift as soon as NA Fall regs. Nothing dumps on Kang / Lando / Heatran harder right now.

  12. Lysandre says:

    Good stuff, after watching a certain match of yours, I felt compelled to make this

  13. SuperPower999 says:

    Really cool report!

    Btw is avalanche on M-swampert better than ice punch? avalanche has -4 priority so speed doesn’t matter, it is bulky so can take most hits and then hit back with a 120 base power move on stuff like M-salamence after it uses hyper voice or landorus after a rock slide or E-quake or anything?

  14. Hibiki says:

    Really cool report!

    Btw is avalanche on M-swampert better than ice punch? avalanche has -4 priority so speed doesn’t matter, it is bulky so can take most hits and then hit back with a 120 base power move on stuff like M-salamence after it uses hyper voice or landorus after a rock slide or E-quake or anything?

    Loses the main purpose of hitting Amoonguss and the added power isn’t worth risking taking a Double Edge to the face from Mence, which kills you if you’re not at/close to full health.

  15. Loses the main purpose of hitting Amoonguss and the added power isn’t worth risking taking a Double Edge to the face from Mence, which kills you if you’re not at/close to full health.

    Oh ok, thanks for the reply! wanted to know if the move was viable over ice punch or not. :)

  16. Flameohotman says:

    Really good article, thanks for sharing!

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