Published on July 10th, 2015 | by R Inanimate


Following a Mix of Naive Ideals: A 2015 Season Report

This is R Inanimate, and today I’m writing about a team I’ve been using for the past few months. Unlike most of the other teams people are sharing around this time, this team did not have a particularly strong finish at any Regional event. While it did not get the big Regional finish I was looking for, it made up for it in the form of numerous minor successes. These range from things like reaching the top of the PS Ladder on an alt (~1730 rating, within 60 battles), to winning a couple Premier Challenges and Nugget Bridge live tournaments, to top cutting the 4th Nugget Bridge Major, and winning all my matches during the North American Regions Tournament held a couple months back. With the exception of 40 CP that was obtained from a Premier Challenge win using a Mega Metagross team in early January, all my CP has come from using this team or an older incarnation of it. As a result, this report will not directly reminisce upon any of my past tournament battles and instead will focus on the team itself.

Team History

As with most of my teams, I really don’t do much in terms of discussion with other players when building a team. I usually just use an idea I find interesting, or get some inspiration from something someone else uses, and put a lot of thought into refining it into a solid team. For this team, as strange as it sounds, I started off with my Mega Metagross team. For reference, it was:


Metagross / Togekiss / Breloom / Hydreigion / Landorus-T / Rotom-W

I often found that Hydreigon’s middling speed stat was a problem as it often made it unable to cover the weaknesses that Metagross had, dispite Hydreigon and Metagross having some strong synergize in theory. This led me to try to thing of different Pokemon to use in Hydreigon’s stead…


One of the Pokemon I found surprisingly effective was Infernape. Infernape with Life Orb was able to pick up OHKOs on Heatran, Aegislash, and Kangaskhan, three things that can be hard on Metagross to fend off, its high speed and KO potential allowed it to become an immediate threat to opponent teams. While Infernape provided some stronger offense, its defense left something to be desired for this team. I eventually just discontinued working on this team. But this led me to try to find a way to keep Infernape and Metagross as an offensive core, and build around that.


For people who ask my why I never tried to use Togekiss Excadrill again in 2015…I tried, it just didn’t work out that well. The Salamence on this team was a special Salamence, and I often found myself bringing both Metagross and Salamence to games… and mega evolving Metagross. This team was pretty short lived, but got me thinking about Mega Salamence instead. At some point I changed one of my Salamence’s moves to Double-Edge, making it a mixed set, and that is when the ball really started to get rolling.


I would consider this the starting point for this team, as it was the first team draft with Mega Salamence that I used at actual events. I kept my Life Orb Infernap and mixed Salamence from the previous team and built around that. I ended up putting in Gothitelle, since I thought that Shadow Tag and Helping Hand would be strong supportive tools for Salamence. Bisharp replaced Metagross, while the Rotom-W and Togekiss stayed from the previous team. Togekiss’ role did change to being a Scarfed Togekiss though.

This team was pretty fun to use, but I ended up getting a bit ahead of myself with this one. Bulky Electric-types, Milotic, Gengar, and worst of all, Sylveon, gave this team a ton on problems but practice matches always ended up with me somehow getting away with the win. I managed to get 2nd place at a Premier Challenge in the BC area with this team, going 5-0 in Swiss and only dropping games at the end in the finals, and was 2-0 in the Major with the team going into Winter Regionals. The team got exposed for its flaws pretty hard at Portland, as I went 4-4, barely getting any points at 64th place. The team had a lot of poor matchups that really required me to put in extra work to outplay my opponents and pull off my wins. While it is fun for me to try to outsmart my opponents every time to earn my victories, it does mean that I have to be playing constantly at the top of my game just to keep myself at level. A bad idea for Regionals when I was feeling fatigued from the drive down to Portland and just a bit under the weather at the time.

After Regionals, I knew I needed to change my team. In showing a few friends the team beforehand, they all told me the same thing: they didn’t really know what Gothitelle was doing on the team, and that it was a bit out of place. As such, Gothitelle was first to be cut, as I did agree with that sentiment.


This was the team I used in the Feburary International Challenge that occurred shortly after the Portland Regional. I gave Clefairy a try over Gothitelle, and used the tournament as a way to test its effectiveness as a support for Salamence. The Zapdos I used here was a Choice Specs variant, which I also wanted to try out. The results were a bit dissapointing for me, as I went 19-11, not even a 2:1 win ratio. I was able to get a lot of information from the battles I played, though. Clefairy worked fairly well, but it relies heavily on the rest of the team to pick up the offensive role, something I wasn’t always able to provide with how the team was built. Zapdos was a poor fit in practice. It has decent typing, and superior stats over a Rotom-Wash performing the same role… but having half my team Rock and Ice weak was an extreme liability. Also, Zapdos’s matchup against Heatran being weaker than Rotom-W’s made my issues against it a noticeable problem.

I played the February International Challenge on a 2nd cart. I transferred the team over, and tried it again for an additional 30 battles, but I replaced the Specs Zapdos with a Specs Rotom-Wash. I pretty much ended up with the same win/loss record, at 20-10 instead of 19-11 but over 60 rating points higher. I felt a lot better with this record though, as the opponents were a lot tougher and the team itself was playing better than it had with Zapdos. But a lot of glaring holes in the team still existed. I’m not sure whether I should be sad for my team that my win rate against Sylveon teams was about 50/50, or sad for Slyveon that its win rate against me was ONLY 50/50 given just how weak my team was to it.

After the International Challenge, I gave a bit of thought to how I could patch up some of the heavy weaknesses that the team had, which finally leads us to:

The Team:


I replaced my Togekiss on the team with a Kangaskhan. I was a bit worried that the team would lose its identity a bit with a situation where I would always bring Clefairy and Kangaskhan instead of using the Salamence that was the original focus of the team, but Kangaskhan was incorporated nicely into the team, and shares the spotlight for being the team’s Mega somewhat evenly with my Salamence. A few slight modifications were made for my team, which brings it to the form that it has been as since around the start of April.

Nicknames for this report were the nicknames I had during the Regions Tourney, and the Seattle Regionals. As I was on Team West Coast, the nickname theme is of characters from the Seihou Project, or the Western Project, series of shooter games.

Infernape (M) @ Life Orb ***Gates
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 108 Atk / 188 SpA / 212 Spe -> 68 Atk / 188 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Fake Out
– Overheat
– Close Combat
– Feint

Mixed Infernape. Fake Out Support. Infernape is an interesting Pokemon, to say the least. It can provide a lot of immediate offensive pressure with its speed and powerful STAB moves, but its Talonflame-esque lack of durability means one misstep and it’s lights-out. Sporting a faster Fake Out than Kangaskhan can often allow me to dictate flow of the battle right from the start, even if I often opt to just go in swinging with my other moves. The main selling point to Infernape lies in its speed and KO potentials. The original EV spread of 108 Atk / 188 SpA / 212 Spe allowed Infernape to easily pick up KOs against Heatran, Kangaskhan, Amoonguss, and Aegislash while still having enough to move before Garchomp. Specifically, this Infernape was guaranteed to OHKO 252 HP Aegislash with Overheat, and had a 7/8 chance to OHKO 252 HP Mega kangaskhan and a 3/4 chance to OHKO 252 HP Heatran.

Over time, I shifted 40 EVs from Attack into Speed, maxing it out. The reason for this was that I wanted my Infernape to outspeed Liepard and regular Lopunny, thus giving Infernape the faster Fake Out. Also, since Terrakions rarely respects the fact that Infernape ties it in Base Speed, I felt that being able to have a 50/50 chance to land a Close Combat on Terrakion before they can move was helpful. Especially on turns where I intend to sacrifice Infernape for a free switch in.

There are many options for Infernape’s last move, including Protect, Encore, Stone Edge, Gunk Shot, Quick Guard, Mach Punch, Feint, Heat Wave, and Hidden Power Ice. I originally had Protect when using Infernape with Mega Metagross, but then switched over to Feint for this team. Infernape used to be on a team where it was more important to try to preserve it so it could get the OHKOs it was intended for, making Protect more vital. But with this team I could more often afford having Infernape go down, so the extra offensive pressure I could apply with Feint became became more important. Punishing opponents for obvious Protects, or finishing off targets at a sliver of HP can allow me to keep up the offensive momentum that the team relies on.

Salamence (M) @ Salamencite ***Erich
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Hyper Voice
– Draco Meteor
– Double-Edge
– Protect

Mixed Mega Salamence, my primary mega. This is a Pokemon that I tried for fun originally. The moveset and EV spread probably looks like I messed up somewhere, noting that at some point this Salamence had Earthquake over Draco Meteor, thus more Physical moves than Special moves dispite an EV spread of 252 SpAtk / 252 Speed, but believe me, it’s intentional. I’ve had a number of people ask me what my Mixed Mega Salamence EV spread was. It always seems to surprise them when I just tell them “It’s 252/252”.

When Mega Salamence was initially announced, one concern people had with trying to handle Mega Salamence was the unpredictability that comes with its movesets. It could be Physical, it could be Special. It could try to set up with Dragon Dance, or it could be a mixed set. In some rare occasions it might not even be Mega at all. But in practice, things sort of led to Dragon Dance Mega Salamence sets being the most popular set for it outside of Japan. Also, lot of the time you can have a good idea of what the Salamence is trying to do once you see one non-Protect move from it. A lot of the potential threat of unpredictability was lost.

By running a Mixed Mega Salamence, I can bring back some of that lost unpredictability. People may try to Will-o-Wisp and Intimidate my Salamence to negate it as a physical powerhouse only to be screamed at instead for guessing wrong. On the other hand, trainers who think that they are safe because Hyper Voice deals about 40% to their Pokemon can get a very rude awakening when they see Salamence go in for the kill with a Double-Edge. While using a Mixed Mega Salamence has an extra layer of surprise on it, it doesn’t need to rely on surprise to be successful against opponents. Having both Hyper Voice and Double-Edge makes it extremely easy for Salamence to attack relentlessly, and drive right through opposing teams if given a slight bit of momentum. It’s a pretty entertaining set to run, and I know a number of other players have adapted a similar Mixed moveset for their own Salamence, so give it a try.

Bisharp (F) @ Focus Sash ***Muse
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Sucker Punch
– Iron Head
– Assurance
– Protect

Sashed Bisharp. Intimidate Deterrent. Standard Bisharp fare, or at least it was until Bisharp got pulled back a year and had to retake 2014, for assuring reasons. The Life Orb on the team is held by Infernape, so naturally the Focus Sash falls to Bisharp. The insurance that Focus Sash provides allows me to play Bisharp a bit more aggressively than I’d normally be able to, which can allow me to sieze momentum in battles. Bisharp is slower than most of the Pokemon on my team so I found Assurance to be a better fit than Knock Off. While Knock Off is still a solid move, I was just a little tired of hitting things and activating Sitrus Berries, simultaneously healing the opponent and weakening my own Knock Off.

These days, there are a lot more Pokemon that aim to outspeed Bisharp, which makes life tough for our metallic hero. I’d say that Bisharp has two, maybe three, solid roles for the team and has become a bit difficult to use aside from those roles. Roles being:

1. It works well as a way to deter Intimidate users and can punish them hard when they feed Bisharp a +1 boost.
2. Bisharp is effective at harassing Trick Room setters, often being able to do a heavy amount of damage to them, if not just flat out KO them before they have a chance to set up anything
3. Strong priority, which helps on a few occasions like facing against Rain.

As such, Bisharp is my least used Pokemon on this team, but in a similar way to how it was my least used Pokemon on my 2013 team, it forces opponents to react to it when they see one on Team Preview.

Clefairy (F) @ Eviolite ***Hirano
Ability: Friend Guard
EVs: 156 HP / 252 Def / 100 SpD
Bold Nature
– Icy Wind
– Protect
– Helping Hand
– Follow Me

Friend Guard Clefairy. Redirection Support. A shoutout to Crow, for being one of the first few players who had tried to use a Clefairy at an event, and to CT MikotoMisaka and Mancuso for reaching T4 and finals, respectively, acting as a proof of concept of Clefairy’s effectiveness. It was a Pokemon that I had considered using in the past, but didn’t really explore much until the successes it had Winter Regionals mentioned. This Clefairy has a simple EV spread which allows it to either survive Aegislash’s Flash Cannon or Life Orb Bisharp’s Iron Head when Clefairy is at full HP due to Eviolite. It’s 4 moves are pretty straightforward as far as being a Supportive Pokemin goes. Follow Me for redirection support, Helping Hand to increase power, Protect to keep itself on the field longer, and Icy Wind as a way of speed control that my team woefully lacks. But let’s face it, that stuff isn’t why Clefairy is here. Let’s talk about Friend Guard.

Friend Guard reduces the damage that Clefairy’s ally takes down to 75%. Another way to look at it is that it improves the durability of Clefairy’s ally by 1.33x. A Sitrus Berry, often considered one of the best items in VGC, improves a Pokemon’s durability by 1.25x, and only as long as the berry actually activates. Having Clefairy on the field is sort of like giving a slightly more effective Sitrus Berry to your ally, provided Clefairy stays on the field. Mega Kangaskhan with Sitrus Berry? Mega Salamence with Sitrus Berry? Think about those for a moment. Yeah, Friend Guard is a pretty amazing thing.

The boost can often turn 2HKOs into 3HKOs, leading to a number of situations where I can just Protect with Clefairy, and even if my opponent doubles into my other Pokemon, it will survive. Then I can just redirect attacks away and further extend the staying power of my attacking Pokemon. The only drawback is that Friend Guard is tied to Clefairy, and Clefairy will have to rely on its partner 99% of the time in order to get any damaging done towards the opposing team. What a friend.

Rotom-Wash @ Choice Scarf ***VIVIT
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 44 HP / 252 SpA / 212 Spe
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Hydro Pump
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Rain Dance

Scarf Rotom-W. Surprise Utility. If there was one Pokemon that could really catch opponents by surprise, it would be this one. It was originally a Specs Rotom-W, but I changed it to a Scarfed one in order to help my matchup against Pokemon like Greninja. The EV spread puts Rotom-W at 146 Speed, allowing it to outspeed Scarf Base 80s, Mega Sceptile, and most importantly; Adamant Scarf Landorus-T. It can punish people for making lazy, luck-fishing plays like trying to deal with Rotom-W by flinching it with Rock Slides, and is a relatively solid Pokemon to clean up in late-game situations. While the lack of HP EVs does make this Rotom rather frail, it’s typing still makes it relatively easy to switch in on resisted attacks.

Rotom-W’s moveset is mostly self-explainatory, so let’s just talk about the move that is interesting. Rain Dance. Rain Dance is here as a specific tech to Charizard Y, much like placing Rain Dance onto a Choice Scarf Politoed. I added it on as Rotom-W’s 4th move as I found that the team would quickly fall against teams using both Charizard Y and Heatran that just overpower my team with Sun boosted Fire moves. By having Rain Dance, I could stifle the opponent’s offensive presence which could open up an opportunity to deal some damage to my opponent, or set up in the case of Kangaskhan.

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite ***Milia
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 132 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 116 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Return
– Sucker Punch
– Power-Up Punch
– Protect

Protect Kangaskhan. Backup Mega. No surprises at all that when I added a Kangaskhan onto the team, that it would be one that has Protect and Power-up Punch to go along with Clefairy. A lot of Pokemon that Mega Salamence tends to struggle with are Pokemon that can be dealt with by the use of Mega Kangaskhan. Pokemon like Sylveon, and Bisharp are often in danger of being swiftly taken out by Mega Kangaskhan’s attacks, while Pokemon like Rotom-W, Cresselia, and Suicune will often lack in offensive strength and gives Kangaskhan opportunities to strengthen itself with Power-up Punches. It’s EVs allow Kangaskhan to hit 135 Speed after going Mega, thus outspeed Breloom. Attack was maximized, and the remainder was added into HP for some non-specific boost to its durability. Retrospectively, it apparently will survive a +2 Flash Cannon from Aegislash, guaranteed. That’s cool.


Is anyone surprised that my team ends up being a high offense team held together by a Redirection Pokemon? The Pokemon may be completely different to what I successfully used in past years, but the concepts that the team runs by are definitely in line with past years. Let’s look at a few key features of the team:

Mixed Offense

The Infernape and Salamence on my team run both physical and special attacks and are able to hit decently hard on both sides. As such the team effectively has 3 Special Attackers and 4 Physical Attackers. This makes the team more flexible when dealing with things like Intimidate or Assault Vests that are used weaken one type of offense. Also, for Infernape and Salamence, it means that cutting Special Attack by using Overheat/Draco Meteor doesn’t stop them from keeping up their offensive presence. They’re also both Naive nature, hence the report title.


As always, redirection is a big part of keeping my team alive. Clefairy’s role on the team is to try to buy enough time for me to put myself into a sweeping situation. It’s presence makes it a lot easier to stall my way through Tailwind or Trick Room, and often times it’s good for me as long as I can get it to sit around for a couple of turns. Redirection isn’t always about preventing damage however. Being able to take a Thunder Wave or Swagger for the team is extremely helpful in the effort of trying to remove status users. Clefairy also stops dumb gimmicks like Guard Split, Psych Up strategies, Heal Pulse, Simple Beam, etc.

Dual Mega

In 2015, a lot of teams have gone back to using a single Mega Pokemon. There’s a lot more variety in non-megas that can be used to create a strong team. But, for this team, I’ve decided to stick with a dual Mega strategy, using both Mega Salamence and Mega Kangaskhan. The two are able to complement each other well on the team, covering a wide variety of matchups effectively. Salamence acts as a sort of “fast mode” for the team. It attacks endlessly with double Flying moves, and is a complete terror for Fighting-types and Amoonguss, that may be used against Kangaskhan, to play against. Opponents who use more bulky teams, that are able to deal with Salamence’s onslaught may find themselves facing a Kangaskhan instead. With Power-up Punch and Clefairy support, teams that try to go defensive against me will instead find themselves facing a +2 Kangaskhan without enough firepower to break through Redirection/Friend Guard. Pokemon like Rotom-W, Cresselia, Suicune, Milotic, and bulky Thundurus, who are often a good match against Salamence will struggle at stopping Kangaskhan from setting up and rolling over their teams at +2.

Lack of Luck

If you look at the movesets, there are only two moves on the team with any secondary effect (that isn’t 100% chance to activate). There’s also only a small handful of moves that aren’t 100% accurate. As such, the team doesn’t generate very many luck factors, positive or negative, for itself. This means that the team can focus more on playing the game, and not “playing” the game. While it wasn’t an active decision to make the team like this, it certainly helps in making the battles I play with it a lot cleaner. Forcing me to rely on solid decision making, and a bit less on weighing odds.

High Speed

3 of my Pokemon have 170+ speed stats. The ones that don’t have Priority moves, or are Clefairy, who doesn’t really attack. The team uses that initial advantage in speed to try to go on the attack as soon as possible instead of utilizing speed control tactics in order to gain an advantage. As stated earlier, Clefairy’s presence on the team also acts as a way to disrupt the opponent’s ability to control Speed in the game or to take advantage of it.

Sample Lead Combinations

Here are a few examples in terms of Lead combinations that I used with my team:


Infernape/Clefairy + Kangaskhan

This trio is used to try to set up a simple Kangaskhan sweep. Clefairy and Kangaskhan have been proven on teams to be a deadly combo against those unprepaired, as teams without a strong amount of spread moves or Intimidate can find themselves quickly overwhelmed by a +2 or +4 Kangaskhan.

More often though, I have a lot of situations where I can lead Infernape and Kangaskhan. Infernape can threaten Fake Out, and also be a threat with its STAB move KO potential, which leaves a number of opportunities for Kangaskhan to get off a Power-up Punch. If I’m worried about helmets, or swinging into Protect, as I often am… Infernape is usually the victim of Power-up Punch boosting action. Once Kangaskhan is at +2, it isn’t too difficult to switch out or try to sacrifice Infernape in order to bring in Clefairy to support the sweep.


Infernape + Salamence

This is a lead set up that often feels the most conservative on my team. I drop the opponent’s Attack, I have Fake Out pressure, and I have some strong immediate offense that isn’t hindered by the opponent’s Intimidate. Rotom-W and Clefairy also have a pretty easy time switching in for either of my leads.


Clefairy + Salamence

Redirect + Spread move set up. Clefairy covers for Salamence while it screams relentlessly at the opponent. The duo gives me a decent amount of control over the opponent, such that I can either try to go for KOs, or try to leave things at low HP to clean up after Clefairy is taken out.


Infernape/Salamence + Bisharp

This is sort of a go-to lead in order to handle Trick Room set ups. Very few Trick Room users will be able to handle taking an Overheat/Hyper Voice followed up by an Assurance, allowing my team to have the ability to stop Trick Room from ever going up, and putting me in a big advantage in a battle.


No team is without their fair share of threats. But, a good team should be one that is aware of its own weaknesses, and can prepare in order to overcome any adversary. Keeping the list as single Pokemon threats, divided into categories, I try to look out for the following:


Bulky Electrics

My team has no Electric resistances. Bulky Electric-types can stay around on the field for a while against most of my team and deal out consistent damage or safely perform supportive roles. Kangaskhan does match up strongly against them though.


Strong Spread Moves

Clefairy can only act as a damage buffer for so long against the likes of Sylveon, Mega Gardevoir and Charizard-Y, who have hard hitting spread moves. As such it is important for me to be able to handle these Pokemon quickly, to minimize the amount of damage I’ll be taking. Otherwise I’ll lose out on the damage trade, fast.



It’s a bit difficult to describe, but Ghost-types often exist in such a way that trying to deal with them can be a bit awkward for my team.



A special shoutout to Mawile, as it is one mega that has a strong matchup against both my Salamence and my Kangaskhan, along with having the ability to overpower and OHKO Clefairy in a single hit. Unless I manage to Intimidate Mawile, it has the ability to OHKO 5/6 of my Pokemon

At an End of Naive Ideals

While the team has gotten a large number of small scale victories, it fell flat at the two Regional events where I used it. I have a bad tendency to believe in the strength of a single team a lot longer than I should.  Going into US Nationals, I continued with using the same team. The following changes were made to my team in preparation for the biggest event of the season, in chronological order:

Infernape: Naive -> Hasty Nature, EV Spread changed to 4 HP / 60 Atk / 188 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Clefairy: Bold -> Calm Nature, EV Spread changed to 156 HP / 220 Def / 132 SpD

When playing using my team before US Nationals, Pokemon such as Timid LO Thundurus, LO Heatran, Mega Gardevoir and offensive Mega Gengar were seeing a decent amount of usage. For Infernape, switching to a Hasty Nature allowed it to survive attacks like Modest 252 Mega Gardevoir Hyper Voice, LO Thundurus Thunderbolt, or Mega Gengar Sludge Bomb when it is at full HP. Clefairy’s EV spread was changed to allow it to take LO Heatran Flash Cannon, or Mega Gengar Sludge Bomb, at the expense of being unable to survive Mega Metagross Iron Head — a shift in matchups to something I felt more comfortable with for my team.

Rotom-W: Speed Stat – 149
Mega Kangaskhan: Speed Stat – 140

A slight amount of speed creeping. Rotom-W’s speed was increased in order to put myself ahead of kingofmars’ Landorus-T, which I knew was Jolly and a bit faster than 146. 149 also put Rotom-W ahead of Mega Aerodactyl or Mega Alakazam, however unlikely those would be to show up. Mega Kangaskhan’s speed hit 140 to be ahead of Smeargle.

Bisharp: Item changed to Safety Goggles, EV spread changed to 100 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 148 Spe

This was the last change I made, and the biggest one. My Bisharp no longer had a Focus Sash. Instead it had Goggles in order to improve the team’s match up against Amoonguss reliant teams such as the Gardevoir Amoonguss archtype and the Japan Sand teams. The EV spread takes out a sizable amount of speed from Bisharp in order to improve its durability. There is no reason for Bisharp to remain at 122 Speed stat, as any Pokemon around that speed area will ensure to creep themselves past that number, and having 122 just to tie other Bisharps is irrelevant. By reducing Bisharp down to 109 Speed, it provided enough durability for Bisharp to take a hit in various situations including: 252 Mega Salamence Flamethrower, 252+ Mega Gardevoir spread Hyper Voice, -1 252+ Excadrill LO Earthquake, and -1 252 Tyranitar Low Kick. Goggles on Bisharp was a bit of a secret tech for the team, as it was very easy for me to hide what item Bisharp had. In practice, the number of times I had Bisharp go from full HP to zero, was no more than 5 times in over 100 battles, and I had a lot of situations where I could bluff having a Focus Sash and pressure my opponent out of a position where they had a win all but locked up.

Unfortunately for me, my team once again fell a bit short of the mark. After a strong 5-0 start to Day 1, I ended the day going 6-3, missing Day 2 and subsequently eliminating me from contention for a World’s invite. While the number of invites expanded by 2.5x times this year, it seems that so did the competition level of high end players. Thus my performance throughout the season was inadequate. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit dissapointed that I’ll be sitting out as a spectator this time for 2015 Worlds, but it would be truly naive for me to believe that the impossible request of an invite to Worlds from the NA region every year would be an easy task. This marks the end of my 2015 VGC Season. Good luck to those competing in Boston. See you guys in 2016 (or Fall 2015).

About the Author

R Inanimate is a long time participant in official Pokemon Tournaments, first attending the 2005 Battle in Seattle Tournament. Known for using teams that are a bit off from the standard, and not using RNG'd Pokemon. Avid Battle Frontier fan. Worlds 2013 competitor, known for running Togekiss and Mold Breaker Excadrill.

20 Responses to Following a Mix of Naive Ideals: A 2015 Season Report

  1. Just finished reading this. It was a great read Randy. It showed a lot of variation with choosing the team and I liked that. Although I kinda wish the team ended with a successful Mega Metagross in the current meta ahah.

  2. Spencer says:

    I just want to say that I absolutely LOVE this team. Infernape is one of my favourite pokemon and I’ve toyed with the idea of using it in a team, it’s cool to see it used with success.

    Overall great read.

  3. JHufself says:

    As always it’s a pleasure to read your articles Randy.
    It’s a pretty interesting experience to just be running one team from start of the format to finishing the season, an experience I can sympathize with now that I’ve gone ahead and done that. Interestingly enough I myself seem to be taking after your teambuilding tendencies and thought processes quite a bit even though I have a different playstyle. It looks like I’ll be sitting in the same boat you are for this season. 
    Here’s to some good luck next season, me and you both!
    Also, a bit off-topic, but did you ever find out who the mysterious Fire Emblem Swiftie was?

  4. Sleepy12 says:

    R. Man you never fail at bringing some of the most creative teams that work so well with each other.From the Blastoise team series to now “Infernape and Friends” (is what I refer to it as).You never cease to amaze me and that why some of your teams works as a template for mines so thank you for being awesome

  5. Smith says:

    Cool team that seems very Randy to me. Sorry that this year wasn’t your year. My only question: why Scrappy over Inner Focus on your Kangaskhan? I guess it doesn’t matter too much either way, but since you don’t have Fake Out, and you don’t have your own ghost to Power-Up Punch, I would think that having the advantage against other fake outs would be more helpful than being able to hit a ghost type with a return. Or is this just a classic example of you using whichever Pokemon you have in your box?
    Never stop writing reports, Randy. Nobody thinks about the game quite how you do, I think.

  6. R Inanimate says:

    I think I usually just referred to my team as a ClefKangaMence team. Based on the double mega.

    As always it’s a pleasure to read your articles Randy.
    It’s a pretty interesting experience to just be running one team from start of the format to finishing the season, an experience I can sympathize with now that I’ve gone ahead and done that. Interestingly enough I myself seem to be taking after your teambuilding tendencies and thought processes quite a bit even though I have a different playstyle. It looks like I’ll be sitting in the same boat you are for this season. 
    Here’s to some good luck next season, me and you both!
    Also, a bit off-topic, but did you ever find out who the mysterious Fire Emblem Swiftie was?

    Nope, I never found out who it is. It will remain a mystery, much like the elusive Peekatyou on Battle Spot. I don’t think ended up street passing you this year for FE:A, so I didn’t get my yearly Jon Hu+++ Streetpass team to go into my guestbook to go with jon Hu+ and Jon Hu++. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick one up against next year in FE:F.

  7. PokeDad says:

    I actually played against this team round one in an NB live tournamnet. Randy 4-0’d me before i even knew the game had started. This is a great team.

  8. P3DS says:

    OMG… I was testing out infernape/clef/mence right at the beginning of the VGC 15 format, with thundy, exca and cune as back up, and it was good, but my playstyle is usually orientated perish-y, so I’m glad to see someone else do well with it 🙂

  9. ArtsAndScrafts says:

    Wow, this makes me want to use an Infernape in the future…
    Great read. Good luck preparing for VGC 2016.

  10. R Inanimate says:

    Cool team that seems very Randy to me. Sorry that this year wasn’t your year. My only question: why Scrappy over Inner Focus on your Kangaskhan? I guess it doesn’t matter too much either way, but since you don’t have Fake Out, and you don’t have your own ghost to Power-Up Punch, I would think that having the advantage against other fake outs would be more helpful than being able to hit a ghost type with a return. Or is this just a classic example of you using whichever Pokemon you have in your box?

    One of the biggest assets to using Inner Focus would be to Fake Out something even if someone decides to be cheeky and Fake Out your Kangaskhan with their’s (or if they just have faster Fake Out like Infernape or Weavile). Since this Kangaskhan doesn’t have Fake Out, I didn’t see much of a point to run Inner Focus.
    Also, while I never actually pulled it off in any battles… a Scrappy Kangaskhan + Clefairy will eventually be able to KO a Jellicent or a Sableye. Inner Focus Kanga is instantly written off as dead-weight against support Ghosts.

  11. It was an honor to play yoou at nationals! Your team has so many cool options that you showcased in our battle like assurance bisharp and scarf rotom. I was very impressed with the team overall and how well you played it. Sorry you couldnt make it to worlds, you really deserved it!

  12. Interstellar says:

    I love your for using infernape! I’ve been trying for a while to make it work but blaziken keeps popping up.

  13. Crawdaunt says:

    Great read Randy! I’ve been really looking forward to this write-up. In my post-Spring Regionals testing I thought I’d try it out and it definitely felt Randy-like to me. I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to use the dual mega effectively, and went back to our Seattle team as time ran short. I’m always impressed by not only your teams, but how you manage to play them. A Randy team, to me, is one that people can’t just pick up and see success with. It’s one that’s been built out of months of experience, and when you figure it out, it works and you don’t really get why other than “Follow Me is good I guess?”. Good luck next year! I know you’ll do well.
    Who knows, this team may still get a shot at a big win in the VGC 2015 format with Regionals in the fall. That is… unless someone is inspired to play this at Worlds ;)

  14. Dreykopff says:

    Entertaining read as usual. Sad that you ended up in the middle of nowhere this year, but everyone has their off-year at some point, from what I can tell… I very much expect you to get back on (Battle Subway) track next year!

    Never was able to deny that you’re one of my greater influences in this game, and the lecture of this article…in a way, even proves it. I never caught you on stream all season, we didn’t talk much either and consequentially I had no clue at all how you were trying to break the format this time. And then it just so happened that we used some very similar specific slots in our otherwise fairly different teams. As if you’re my close in an alternative universe…or region rather, haha. Clefmence (although I did the DD thing like most others at that time as well) and the same specific Clefairy moveset pre-Nats, and then Scarf Rotom and the same “disappointing” mixed Salamence EV spread for the endgame. All independently from each other. And in addition to that…If I hadn’t gotten the Scarf Rotom idea in the night before I left for Italy, I’d have brought a “Japan sand” team with Togekiss over Amoonguss there. I think you should have looked into that archetype more if you haven’t at all, with or without Togekiss. It reminds me a lot of both our 2013 teams with how it plays. Sounds weird with how they barely share any slots with one another, but that’s how I feel about it.

  15. Scott says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Randy. Sorry the season ended a little early for you this year, but I always enjoy reading how you approached a season. Hope next year goes a little better, the Worlds field will feel a little bit wrong this year without you.

    Hope you enjoy Worlds as a spectator more than I did, but hopefully it’s as good of motivation for you as it was for me.

  16. DrDimentio says:

    I would know this is a Randy report even if your name wasn’t mentioned anywhere! You have a distinct style of both teambuilding and writing. The Infernape + Kangaskhan combination makes a lot of sense, I just wish it was faster than Terrakion, as I hate speed ties… especially with frail Pokemon. It’s a shame you missed Worlds this year, hope you make it next year.

  17. HBaileyVGC says:

    your report is amazing i love how you showed your team progressing to what it finally came to be. In my opinion this the best report I have read on here because it sticks out to me cause every clefairy I have seen runs moonblast not icy wind and the infernape can do work.

  18. R Inanimate says:

    I feel like something my teams have in common throughout the years is that it involves high offense, Follow Me, and some sort of terrible defensive flaw that I somehow play around and make work. In 2013, my team has 4 different triple weaknesses (Fire, Ground, Fighting, Ice). In 2014 the team was reliant on a Smeargle as a Follow Me user. In 2015 I’m using a team with zero Fairy resists.
    I would have liked to say that having zero Fairy resists worked out for me, but one way or another through some amount of questionable playing and questionable luck, I lost 3 for 3 against teams with Sylveon at Nationals (thought I did defeat a team with Mega Gardevoir). Whoops?
    I think that game I had R7 G1 where raindanceking went for the all-in play of using Fake Out on my Infernape, in a mirror match, as I went for Fake Out on his Sylveon and won the speed tie, is going to bother me a while.

  19. miahruh says:

    I use infernape on battlespot and has achieved a lot of success, my rating is 1851 and 3rd in the UK. Truly the mvp and glue of the team. Infernape and gardevoir is such a good core but seeing it used with kang/sala is interesting. Nice team and report.

  20. Monuda85 says:

    By reading this report, it definitely has made me realize how much efforts and dedication it takes in order to reach where you are right now. I think your well-constructed team-building process contains both unique point of view and useful insights that greenhorns like me can learn a lot from. I really like how you fully utilize Follow Me in various ways as well as being confident and proud of Friend Guard Ability by comparing it to the Sitrus Berry. Enjoy your time in Boston! 

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