Published on September 9th, 2014 | by R Inanimate


Welcome to the Dark Side of the Moon: My Final VGC ’14 Report

This is R Inanimate. It hasn’t been very long, has it? Just last month was the US Nationals, where I was able to put in just enough of a performance to achieve a 16th Place finish, earning my invitation to the World Championships. That tournament has come and gone. In addition, the final tournament of the 3rd season of the Nugget Bridge Circuit occurred between the time of US Nationals and Worlds. This report covers my participation in both the third annual Nugget Bridge Invitational, and the 2014 Video Game World Championships for Pokemon.

From playing my Smeargle Blastoise team in the June International Challenge, I actually found that my team felt very weak to Choice Scarf Politoed Rain teams, which had been gaining in popularity after the success they had during the Japan Cup. For Nationals I didn’t really expect to run into it much, and had a makeshift tech to try to make sure the matchup wasn’t a complete autoloss. I was correct in the sense that I never actually ran into the R Rain Beat Down, but incorrect in the sense that three of the eight Top Cut participants ran the team or a variation of it. Since the team archetype went as far as winning US Nationals, I felt that I needed to make myself have a more solid answer to Rain. A large overhaul would be needed.

I started my team overhaul by… not starting. I instead took a break from playing Pokemon, and completed my Reverse Lunatic mode Fire Emblem 12 run. I did continue to theorize about the options I may have needed to consider in order to fix my team during that time, but I spent zero time practicing on Showdown or breeding. About a week before the Invitational, I drafted up my team changes on Showdown and did some play testing, usually about five to ten battles a day. I found that most of my changes worked as I wanted them to, although they did leave me open to different problems. I planned to run the team in the Invitational as a bit of a test to see if this was something I felt was ready for Worlds, or if I needed to look a bit more into other options.

The Team (Invitational Version)

Since I’m an enthusiast for watching shows in “moonspeak”, and have recently been playing a bunch of Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem under Lunatic, and Reverse Lunatic Modes… for my final team of the season, why not nickname based off of the moon? Pokemon are listed in order of addition to the Team.

Blastoise (M) @ Blastoisinite ***ShootTheMoon
Ability: Torrent -> Mega Launcher
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpAtk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature
– Water Spout
– Aura Sphere
– Ice Beam
– Protect

R Inanimate:+0, Pauline:+26, Michele:+26, Ben:+26

Primary Mega. Same Post-Seattle Regionals Blastoise that I’ve been running. Blastoise has been a key player on my team since around February. While some things have changed since then, the overall concept of what I wanted Blastoise to do has not changed at all. Exploit the raw damage potential it has in Water Spout, and also prey on the many Fighting- and Ice-type weaknesses present on opposing teams. About 86% of my CP this season was brought to me by this one team, and a good deal of my NB Circuit points as well. What gave Blastoise its niche in the metagame wasn’t likely to change at all going into Worlds, so I saw no reason not to let Blastoise play on the highest level stage.

Smeargle (F) @ Focus Sash ***SilentSelene
Ability: Moody
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Helping Hand
– Dark Void
– Follow Me
– Spiky Shield

Bonus: 2000000 History 58/191

Redirection and Void Support. Everyone’s favourite dog, back to plunge the world into darkness one last time. For people who are familiar with my playing style, Dark Void isn’t the primary reason for my usage of Smeargle. Follow Me is. In order to try to make up for the fact that it has zero offense presence on my team, Smeargle provides an impresive amount of redirection and disruption support for me to utilize. It is my most used Pokemon on my team, forces my opponents to react to it on Team Preview, and ultimately decide the outcome of my battles based on how well I utilize it in my battles.

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again: Moody is more likely to cause me to steal games than it is to ever directly cost me one. This is due to the fact that if I ever get a negative stat change, I can always stick to using Follow Me and just give Smeargle an early exit, as I often normally do.

There are two changes since the last team I reported. First, I replaced Encore for Helping Hand. With my team set up, there are a lot of things that can be boosted by Helping Hand to change a missed KO into a clean KO. One example would be Blastoise using Aura Sphere onto a Mega Kangaskhan.

The second is that I altered Smeargle’s EVs to 4 HP / 252 Defense / 252 Speed. This allows Smeargle to survive Jolly Mega Kangaskhan’s Power-Up Punch. I felt that Smeargle was likely to just get downed in two hits to most things, so with this, there was a possibility that I could surprise opponents who think they can just pick up a free +2 Attack and KO my Smeargle. There are a few situations where this sort of thing may backfire on me, but overall, it gives me another potential edge for my Smeargle when faced against Mega Kangaskhan. Also, if I get a Defense boost from Moody, Adamant Kangaskhan’s Return will fail to KO Smeargle. This is definitely useful.

Talonflame (F) @ Life Orb ***Kaguya
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 44 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Def / 4 SpD / 188 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Flare Blitz
– Tailwind
– Protect

How’s that? With this, your spell of eternal night shall be broken, and the dawn shall come!

Priority Offense. The first new member added to the team was a Talonflame. The EVs put it at 170 Speed to be faster than Garchomp, allowing me to Flare Blitz before being downed by Rock Slide. Attack was then maximized, then the small remainder went into bulk, keeping max HP at 159 to reduce some Life Orb recoil. Nothing revolutionary.

Why do I have a Talonflame all of a sudden on my team? The simple answer is: It makes life miserable for Scarf Politoed Rain Teams with Ludicolo. Outside of this, it kind of plays a similar role to Scizor. In situations where I sacrifice Smeargle to get off a Water Spout against the opponent, this can often put both of my opponent’s Pokemon in Brave Bird KO range. This allows me to apply immense pressure on my opponent. The tricky part about managing Talonflame’s usage is that it is quite ephemeral, as just about any action it pulls will likely leave it vulnerable to being knocked out as a result. Provided that the opponent gets an opportunity to move and land something on my bird.

Talonflame fit pretty nicely onto my team, but sometimes it ended up in a situation where I needed to do multiple things at once with it. I sometimes regret that I didn’t practice as much as I could have in order to better play using Talonflame. It’s a Pokemon that really requires the player to make every action count, and sometimes I didn’t let it do that.

Tyranitar (M) @ Choice Scarf ***Armstrong
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 4 HP / 36 Atk / 212 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
– Rock Slide
– Ice Beam
– Fire Blast
– Crunch

One small step for mon, one giant leap for monkind.

Scarf Special Attacker. Scarf Tyranitar kind of plays a number of small roles on the team, ranging from outspeeding and donking Garchomp with Ice Beam to acting as a Special attack sponge for the team and cancelling out weathers. I actually found Scarf Tyranitar to be somewhat difficult to use properly on my team. A big issue with it was that Sand would break my own Smeargle’s Focus Sash, severely reducing its effectiveness in redirecting hits. Also, if Tyranitar wasn’t hitting anything for Super Effective damage, its damage output was sorely lacking. Likewise, KOing something with its weak non-STAB Special moves could also leave me in a poor situation. Rock Slide spamming was decent when it could do it, but the opportunity to just sit back and throw the rocks actually didn’t come up as much as I would have liked it to.

Going into the NB:I, Tyranitar was the Pokemon I was least confident in. Playing in the NB:I, I think it was pretty close to being my MVP. Funny how things go. And yet, I wasn’t surprised in the least with regards to this turn of events as this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me, or to me using Scarftar.

Hydreigon (F) @ Choice Specs ***Moonside
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 12 HP / 52 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 204 Spe
Modest Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Dark Pulse
– Fire Blast
– Hyper Beam

Welcome to Moonside. Wecomel to Soonmide. Moonwel ot Cosidme.

Choice Specs Attacker. Choice Specs Hydreigon has been gaining a fair amount of popularity in the last few months. This spot was originally going to be a Choice Specs Rotom-W, but at some point I realized that Choice Specs Hydreigon plays the role better for this team. The EV spread gives Hydreigon 144 Speed and makes it able to survive Jolly Garchomp’s Dragon Claw. 144 Speed allows Hydreigon to outspeed Timid Blastoise, should I ever run into this mirror, and also puts my own Hydreigon a good amount ahead of other fellow Choice Specs Hydreigon, should I ever run into that mirror.

Not too much to say about its moveset, as the first three moves are pretty standard issue. Fire Blast can OHKO on Careful Mawile, while Flamethrower could not. I had Hyper Beam to try to use against Azumarill, but honestly that specific situation has never shown up for me to use it. During testing, Hydreigon did a decent amount of work. During the NB:I, it was hard for Hydreigon to do much of anything against my opponents, as Noivern and Mega Lucario made life very difficult for Hydreigon.

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite ***Lunatic+
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Fake Out
– Return
– Sucker Punch
– Power-Up Punch

Lunatic+ is essentially the same as regular Lunatic, but enemies may possess terrifying Skills, which are unique to Lunatic+.” – Serenes Forest Description about L+

Secondary Mega. Sorry, this team is no longer a @smearglebutcher certified Smeargle team, now that Mega Kangaskhan is a factor. The quick answer to why I added Kangaskhan was that I know that a core of Talonflame, Hydreigon and Kangaskhan is pretty powerful, and that having both Kangaskhan and Smeargle for Team Preview can cause even more headaches for my opponents, as they now have the dreaded Khan Artist staring them down.

More realistically, I could choose either Mega Venusaur or Mega Kangaskhan for my 6th member, and I chose Kangaskhan as otherwise my team would have been almost filled to the brim with Special Attackers, thus making Assault Vest Pokemon sort of a concern. Kangaskhan helps in bringing a bit of balance back to my team in terms of Physical and Special attackers. While I knew that coming into the high-skill, high stakes tourneys at the tail end of the 2014 season that Mega Kangaskhan would be heavily countered, I don’t regret the call to jump onto the Mega Kangaskhan train while so many others made their exit.

The moveset is super boring Jolly standard.


I literally ended up just keeping Blastoise and Smeargle, tore out the remaining members of my team, and replaced it largely with the Goodstuffs portion of a “R’s Rain Beat Down” team with some various minor changes to EVs. Can’t go wrong with double the “R”, right?

The team is largely in the middle to high Speed range. My slowest Pokemon on the team is Smeargle at 139 Speed. While Trick Room could potentially be devastating to such a team, this team has a fairly large number of tools to help it function under an opponent’s Trick Room, or to simply prevent it from ever getting activated. The team is just loaded with heavy hitters, as the only supportive Pokemon on my team is Smeargle. Where people tend to see a defensive shift from teams as we approach Worlds, I ended up going the opposite direction.

Common Lead Strategies


Blastoise + Smeargle

The Standard Lead. If I don’t see anything too immediately threatening, this is my bread and butter. Double Protect, then Follow Me and Water Spout. Throw in a few Dark Voids, or a Helping Hand boost, and you have a really devastating combo. As this duo often has turns where I spend both actions using Protect, this is also my best combination to try to provide time to roll Moody Dice.


Kangaskhan + Smeargle

The Khan Artist. Sometimes the best play is the simple play. Sometimes you just need to shut your mind off, and play one of the most hated strategies in the game.


Talonflame + Smeargle

Rain Countering/Sacrifical Tailwind Lead. This set up was often my go-to lead against Rain teams. The idea here being that a Helping Hand Boost to Brave Bird actually puts Politoed, Ludicolo, and Kingdra in danger of being flat out OHKO’d Brave Bird. If they lead something like Politoed and Ludicolo, it is pretty safe to Double up Protects Turn 1 to avoid Fake Out, then proceed to drop a HH Brave Bird into Politoed as very few people will be gutsy enough to leave Ludicolo in from the start. If this occurs successfully, I can almost always win the match from there with little trouble. Alternatively, this set is used to simply sacrifice Talonflame for a Tailwind, and bring out my Mega while Smeargle does some Dark Void suppression.

Helping Hand

Here’s a few calculations for Helping Hand boosted attacks to consider:

HH Mega Blastoise Water Spout (100% HP, Multitarget)

  • 7/8 chance OHKO 252 HP Mega Mawile
  • 11/16 chance OHKO on 252 HP Tyranitar in Sand

HH Mega Blastoise Aura Sphere

  • OHKOs 252 HP Mega Kangaskhan
  • OHKOs 252 HP Scrafty
  • OHKOs 252 HP Ferrothorn
  • about 60-70% to 252 HP Assault Vest Lapras

HH Talonflame Brave Bird

  • OHKOs 252 HP Politoed
  • OHKOs 4HP Kingdra
  • OHKOs Hydreigon that are EV’d to survive Garchomp Dragon Claws
  • OHKOs Charizard-Y that are EV’d to survive Garchomp Rock Slides
  • 7/16 chance OHKO on 4 HP Garchomp

HH Mega Kangaskhan Return

  • OHKOs 4 HP Garchomp
  • OHKOs 4 HP Mega Kangaskhan (15/16 chance OHKO if EV’d to survive Adamant M Kanga Hammer Arm)

HH Mega Kangaskhan Power-Up Punch

  • OHKOs 4 HP Lucario
  • OHKOs 252 HP Tyranitar
  • High chance to OHKO 4 HP Mega Tyranitar




Playing against a Pokemon that has Speed superiority over my entire team and has Rock Slide is just asking for a lot of trouble. What puts the icing on the cake for why Aerodactyl is the #1 threat to my team is the vast variety of supportive options it gets. Tailwind can counteract my attempts to get ahead of it with my own Tailwind, Sky Drop can completely ignore my Follow Me support from Smeargle, and Wide Guard and Taunt aren’t exactly the most pleasant things for me to play against either. It is possible to play around Aerodactyl and try to deal with it, but if it gets paired up with something like Mega Kangaskhan, things can go south real fast for my team without some luck or some ridiculous plays.


Bulky Fighting-Types

Well, two thirds of my team are weak to Fighting. Naturally this means that I have to be careful when handling Pokemon such as Scrafty or Conkeldurr, who can heal back huge amounts of HP by slamming my team with Drain Punches.


Multiple Fairy-Types

Fairies are mean. I can usually handle one without much problem, but teams with multiple Fairy options can be a real threat to my team.

Nugget Bridge Invitational

The nice thing about the Invitational was that all the Battle Videos were savable which are all on the Nugget Bridge YouTube channel courtesy of Eiganjo. This saves me 11 battles worth of written play-by-plays, so instead I’ll just give some thoughts on my actions on specific turns, and a breif overview of my matches. You can view the videos by clicking on the game numbers.

Round of 32 vs joej m

Much like playing in the upcoming World Championships, there are no easy opponents in the Invitational. My first opponent was joej m.


joej m’s team itself didn’t look like it had anything out of the ordinary on it. Going into the battle, one of my concerns would be his Noivern, as it is faster than Scarf Tyranitar, and can set up Tailwinds. It also provides him with some scouting of my items by Frisk.

Game 1

I didn’t really see any reason not to go with my bread and butter strategy to test the waters for my opening game of the Invitational. joej leads with Garchomp and Kangaskhan, which isn’t anything I haven’t seen before. I end up being put in a hole quickly in this game though, as Blastoise flinches on the second turn, preventing it from getting some much needed damage in against joej’s Pokemon. Despite my best efforts to try to change things around, joej m was able to preserve his lead with some conservative plays and take Game 1. I sort of put myself in a bit of an awkward position when I set up the sand that KO’d my own 7HP Smeargle, but that was kind of the situation I got left with when Blastoise took the early flinch. joej m takes Game 1.

Game 2

Game 1 didn’t go quite as planned, so I decided to change my leads up a bit this time, leading Talonflame and Blastoise. joej switches things up as well to bring Noivern and Kangaskhan. Sparks fly right off the bat, as I put a gamble on hyperoffense, betting that Noivern would take the time to Tailwind to open the match. Noivern indeed does use Tailwind, and this results in my trading my Talonflame for joej’s Kangaskhan. A worthwhile trade.

Smeargle helped in stalling through Tailwind, harassing joej with Dark Void threats and redirection. It goes down eventually to a double targetting of Rock Slide and Draco Meteor, which fortunately doesn’t flinch Blastoise again so I can do another KO trade. This time, my Smeargle for his Garchomp.

In the closing turns on the game, joej decides that using Spore on my Tyranitar was more important than going after my Blastoise, which led to an opportunity to finish off Amoonguss, and clean up the Noivern who was at -6 SpA, tying the series at 1-1.

Game 3

My set up for Game 2 worked out a fair bit better than in Game 1. I spent some time thinking if I should change it up for Game 3, but stuck with my lead from Gam 2, even though I knew that joej would change things up. Indeed, joej m does, as he opens our final battle with Garchomp and Noivern.

The first turn is crucial. There are a lot of possibilities of moves for both sides, and depending on what we each choose, it turn the tide of the battle right from the start. I had a bit of a feeling that joej m would not try to use Tailwind with his Noivern to lead this game, as I burned him pretty hard for doing that last game. I eventually decided on Protecting with Blastoise and setting up a Tailwind, hoping for the best.

The best was what I got, as joej Protects with Garchomp, and my Blastoise Protects to block an oncoming Super Fang from Noivern, leaving my Talonflame free to set up Tailwind. I manage to pull up a sizable lead, as I take out joej m’s Garchomp and get some good damage in on his Mega Kangaskhan. I think I get a bit ahead of myself at one point where I chose to sacrifice my Blastoise over sacrificing my Smeargle. There was a point in the battle where I ended up successfully getting a consecutive Spiky Shield with Smeargle to block a Draco Meteor, but in the end, I don’t think it would have mattered too much, provided that if I didn’t get that, that I would have instead hit my Rock Slide on his Kangaskhan switch in. In a tense three-game set, I manage to squeak by with the victory.

Round of 16 vs emforbes

My next opponent in the Majors was emforbes, who was coming off of a win against [CT] Cybertron. After my first match with joej m, I felt a bit less tense going into my second match for the day.


emforbes’s team has a few interesting choices, such as the Rotom mower, Lucario, Gyarados, and Gengar. I sort of assumed from looking at it that Lucario was going to be the Mega, and that Gengar and Gyarados have potential to try to disrupt my Smeargle’s supporting options.

Game 1

Although I say that emforbes has a number of things that can disrupt Smeargle, I mean that more in a “Dark Void prevention” sort of way. As such, there wasn’t too much of a reason for me not to start this off with Smeargle and Blastoise. Game 1 was largely in my favour. I pretty much get some free damage in on Turn 1 as Follow Me redirects a Shadow Ball, and his Lucario uses Protect. I later get a surprise KO on his Mega Lucario with a Scarf Fire Blast from Tyranitar, which hadsa 37% chance of occuring, factoring in the accuracy and the 7/16 damage roll chance. I kind of felt that my play in the back half of the game after I got up 3-2 was a little sloppy, but I had enough of a lead that I was able to pull through for a win.

Game 2

Game 2 once again had me looking quite dominant throughout the battle, but in the end the tables turned extremely quickly. Looking at where I ended up at in the battle, I thought that I had lost as his Talonflame could outspeed and OHKO either of my Pokemon. I made a play assuming that he’d go for my Talonflame, and used Water Spout. However, this ends up being a massive goof as Talonflame goes for my Blastoise, but it ends up surviving with 3 HP, only to use… one of the saddest Water Spouts you’ll ever see. Whoops. The series is tied up at 1-1.

Game 3

During this match, I switched up a bit and led with Blastoise and Talonflame. I pulled a sacrificial Tailwind, then got Smeargle out and went to town. A full sleep on Gyarados occurred, followed by the turn afterwards where emforbes seemed like he predicted me to switch out Smeargle and Waterfall’d it instead of using Taunt. This led to Gyarados getting put back to sleep. The match was pretty much over from there. I was pretty worried about Garchomp getting any Rock Slide flinches, but fortunately Blastoise stood tall and downed it with Ice Beam.

Quarterfinals vs PrettyLittleLiar

For the Top 8 match, to determine who would receive prizes in the tourney, my opponent was PrettyLittleLiar. I believe this is the first time we’ve battled each other in a tournament setting, so I was pretty interested to see how this match would turn out.


This team looks terrifying to me for various reasons. Sableye can harass my team with status effects, and his remaining team members are all Pokemon with both a strong mix of durability and offensive power.

Game 1

I thought bringing my basic lead would be a good idea. It was not. Even if I didn’t get flinched on T2 by Rock Slide (again), my Lead match up was just way too far out for me to recover from. By the end of Turn 3, I’m down 2-4. Since I didn’t want to reveal my Tyranitar’s Scarf, I forfeit. Information I got from this was that the Garchomp likely does not have Protect, as it used Substitute and Rock Slide, and that his Kangaskhan was Jolly.

Game 2

As mentioned, with the hard loss from Game 1, I had to change things in a big way if I wanted to stay in this. I led Talonflame and Kangaskhan this time, while PrettyLittleLiar goes for Garchomp and Sableye. I start this match off badly, committing hard on going after Sableye only for it to switch to Tyranitar as Garchomp goes for the Rock Slide. I manage to bring things back a bit by countering back with a Scarf Ice Beam KO on his Garchomp, but ultimately this match came down to me needing some luck. Sableye goes for a Confuse Ray on Hydreigon, but my Hydreigon would have none of that, crushing Sableye under a Meteor before being downed by Ice Beam.

In the final turns of the game, I end up winning a Speed Tie, allowing me to get a Sucker Punch off on the opposing Kangaskhan before it could do the same to me. I tie the series.

Game 3

I lead Kangaskhan and Tyranitar for Game 3, against Kangaskhan and Sableye. The first turn ends up being a bit tough for me, but I end up deciding on Switching out my Kangaskhan for Talonflame, and throwing a Rock Slide. Talonflame blocks a Will-o-Wisp, and my Tyranitar ends up taking a Power-Up Punch.

Did you know that Hasty 4 HP Tyranitar can get OHKO’d by Power-Up Punch? I didn’t. So once again, I end up being dropped down to 3-4 by the first turn of the game. Fortunately, this did let me bring back my own Kangaskhan, which now threatened Fake Out against his. This match was full of things to learn, as his Kangaskhan swaps for Garchomp to take a Fake Out… except that there was no Rough Skin damage. There’s a bit of a sickening feeling of fear that sets in when you realize you’ve been facing a Sand Veil Bright Powder Garchomp, in the sand, for the entire series.

However, in the end, I was very fortunate in my match. Garchomp did not dodge a single attack, and I had a turn where I once again win a Speed tie against PrettyLittleLiar’s Kangaskhan to KO it before it could do the same to mine. These factors were able to tip the scales enough in my favour for me to close out the match with the win.

Semifinals vs Samuel996

With every round prior having me win by a hair’s width either by crazy plays and/or  luck factors, I’ve managed to reach the Semifinals, pocketing at least a nice 125$US for my efforts. My next opponent, partly to my surprise, was Samuel996, who had an impressive breakout run in the 3rd Nugget Bridge Majors.


Samuel’s team had a number of things that made it looks similar to joej m’s team that I faced earlier in the day. One big difference was that Sam was packing an Azumarill on his team, which is one of the Pokemon I’m most worried about facing against.

Game 1

Much like with my first match in every other set in the tourney, I led Smeargle and Blastoise. Things in Game 1 were actually going according to plan at first. I traded Smeargle for an opportunity to place both Sam’s leads in KO range of Talonflame’s Brave Bird. Then on Turn 3 I made a play that ends up costing me fatally, as I decided to cover his Noivern with Brave Bird instead of Kangaskhan, expecting it to Sucker Punch to get an attack in before the Brave Bird. Instead, I swung into a Protect and traded Talonflame for Kangaskhan poorly. Sam was easily able to clean up my Blastoise and Specs Hydreigon, as I had little to no hope to survive through two turns of Tailwind.

Hindsight has it that if I took a bit more effort to try to stall out the Tailwind, and played a little less aggressively, I might have made it out of the battle alive. But I don’t feel that what I chose to do was a complete misplay, given the situation. Samuel takes the first game.

Game 2

For Game 2, worried about the potential for Azumarill, I switched Blastoise for Kangaskhan, and left my remaining Pokemon the same. Samuel leads off with Garchomp and Kangaskhan this time.

I had an opportunity to lead with a Helping Hand and Return to take out his Kangaskhan on the opening turn, but did not have the confidence that he wouldn’t try to Fake Out my Kangaskhan, so I instead went for the more neutral play of Return and Dark Void. The game is decided pretty early when I find out the hard way that Jolly Kangaskhan’s Power-Up Punch is about a 50/50 on breaking a 4HP Garchomp’s Substitute. So instead of breaking the Sub and having a situation where I can threaten to finish Garchomp with a Sucker Punch, it stays behind a Substitute and is able to easily handle my Kangaskhan. Smeargle did get double Evade Boosts in this battle, but managed to dodge zero attacks. My back half of Talonflame and Hydreigon cannot do much against the Azumarill that Samuel has in the back, and I am eliminated from the Invitational.

Feeling satisfied with my results from the Nugget Bridge Invitational, it left no question for me that this would be the team that I would want to bring to Worlds. So without further ado…

The Team (Worlds Version)

Most of my team remained unchanged for worlds. Except one…


As you can see, I subbed out my Scarf Tyranitar for a Goodra. Armstrong’s Lunar Landing was put into question, but he went MIA before I could confirm. So I replaced him with a Goodra. More seriously, after the Invitational, I looked into other options for replacing Tyranitar. I really, really didn’t like the fact that I’d break my own Focus Sash with Sand while using one, so I needed to find something to fill the role. As for the other five team members, the only change I made was that I replaced Hyper Beam on Hydreigon with Focus Blast. Anyways, on to my new team member:

Goodra (F) @ Choice Scarf ***HaiteiRaoyue
Ability: Gooey
EVs: 140 HP / 52 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
Modest Nature
– Draco Meteor
– Fire Blast
– Ice Beam
– Thunderbolt

海底撈月 – ‘to scoop up the reflected moon from the seabed.‘”

Let me tell you a silly story regarding Goodra. Going into the Salem, OR Regionals, US National Champion, Alex Ogloza, tech’d on a Goodra onto his team because he knew that I was playing at the event, and heard that I was running a Rain Team. We never fought. At Worlds, I decided to use a Goodra, because I needed an answer for rain, since Alex Ogloza won US Nationals with a Rain team and there was a chance he’d still use one at Worlds. We never fought there either.

Goodra has been something I’ve tried using on my team in the past. Back then, I was trying out an Assault Vest set, and honestly wasn’t impressed with its performance on the team. This Scarfed version turned out to be a lot more fitting for my play style, and managed to cover my Scarf Tyranitar’s role on the team very well, without breaking my own Smeargle’s Focus Sash as mentioned earlier. The loss of weather changing is made up by Goodra simply walling common beneficiaries to Rain and Sun. Goodra was sort of my surprise set for Worlds. I think just about everyone who found out that it was scarfed was quite surprised about it.

Admittedly, There were a number of things I wanted Goodra to be able to do, but with the EVs I have to play around with, I couldn’t do everything I wanted to. The Ideal goals I had were:

  • 135 Speed to Outspeed Jolly Aerodactyl, and Scarf Politoed
  • EV to survive Draco Meteor from Modest Scarf Salamence
  • EV to survive Jolly Mega Kangaskhan’s Return
  • EV to OHKO 4 HP Mega Lucario with Fire Blast

Trying to hit 135 speed required a Timid Nature while maintaining a respectable amount of offense strength took way too much out of Goodra’s durability to be worth it. So I opted to go for 130 Speed, just to outspeed Weavile (hello Ashton). This allowed me to go Modest and freed up some EVs to go into other places. In then end, I focused to ensure that I couldn’t get donked by the faster Scarfed Salamence I may run into, clocked my Special Attack up to 154 for an extra stat point, and threw the rest into Defense. The result is that Goodra has a 7/8 chance to OHKO 4HP Mega Lucario and LO Bisharps, and has ~95% chance to survive Jolly Kangaskhan’s Return. With regards to some other physical moves, Goodra has ~50% to survive Jolly Garchomp’s Dragon Claw, and will always be able to take a CB Brave Bird from Talonflame.

Goodra didn’t do outstanding for me, but it didn’t disappoint me either. I sort of felt like the Goodra was a little bit experimental so I’m glad it worked out for me. If I didn’t bother trying to outspeed Weavile, I’d fix up the EVs to: 140 HP / 68 Def / 100 SpA / 4 SpD / 196 Spd, which guarantees that 4 HP Lucario gets OHKO’d, and that Jolly Mega Kangaskhan has about a 2% chance to OHKO with Return.


Replacing Scarf Tyranitar with Scarf Goodra changed very little in how my team functioned. Goodra simply did Tyranitar’s role, but marginally better. As such, the threats to my team remain unchanged, but in some cases I could at least feel like my team synergized better.

World Championships

One of the troubles for playing in the Worlds Tournament is calming yourself to the right frame of mind for playing some of the best players on the planet. More so when you were unable to sleep at all the night before, and decided not to eat a thing during the entire Swiss round. I feel the pressure the most while waiting during the player’s meeting, and barely feel the pressure at all once the battles actually begin. But even if I don’t feel it, I can tell its effects when looking back at my matches. A scary thing about feeling nervous is the times when you don’t even realize that you are.

Round 1: Markus Liu (Henrique)

My opponent to open the Worlds Tournament was Markus Liu. Before battling, Markus seemed sort of nervous and lacking confidence, he was expecting that he probably lose against me. I reassured him that he shouldn’t sell himself short. This is Pokemon, and anything can happen. Who would have guessed that he’d end up making the deep run, and reaching all the way to the Top 4?

In any case…


Hey, look, it’s my good old friend from Spring Regionals, Machamp. Needless to say, the Azumarill and Machamp were my biggest worries on Markus’s team. Venusaur’s presence also makes it tough for me to justify bringing my Blastoise. One thing to note here was that his team was definitely on the slow side, so Smeargle could give him a ton of trouble if he wasn’t careful. Still, if it was a Scarfed Machamp, I can be in some serious trouble, myself.

Game 1

To open the first match of the day, I go with Talonflame and Smeargle, with Kangaskhan and Hydreigon in the back. I was hoping to scare away Machamp, should he lead with it, but Markus opens with Mawile and Rotom-H.

My luck was less than stellar in this game. I have a strong position to just fire away with Dark Voids against Markus’s leads, but my opening attack ends up being thrown into a Protect, and misses against Rotom-H as it fires a Thunderbolt at my switched in Hydreigon. Mawile retreats for Azumarill, and my Draco Meteor misses against the Rotom-H. But I manage to drop both of Markus’s Pokemon into sleep this time. With the Sleep suppression against Markus’s team, I’m free to to bring in my Kangaskhan and start building up with Power-Up Punches in order to try to bowl over his Pokemon. I also end up with a fair amount of luck with Moody, providing Smeargle with a hefty amount of Evade buffs. If I recall correctly, I manage to get to +6. By Turn 6, I have a +1 Kangaskhan, and a full HP +6 Evade Smeargle, so I’m feeling pretty confident. I KO Mawile with Return, as Azumarill wakes up and hits Smeargle with a Play Rough. Machamp is then sent out.

My fortune with Moody proves to be but a ruse though, as Smeargle gets downed by a Aqua Jet through all the evade buffs, and Machamp shows that it is indeed a Scarf Machamp and downs my Kangaskhan with a Close Combat. Hydreigon and Talonflame are unable to deal with Markus’s Azumarill and Machamp so Markus takes the first game.

Game 2

For game 2, I decided not to change my leads, but brought Goodra instead of Hydreigon in the back, Markus goes with Hydreigon and Machamp to start off. I felt like I had a pretty big advantage with the lead match ups for this game. This match ends really quickly. Without hesitation, I expect Machamp to retreat to avoid being taken out by Talonflame, so I target Hydreigon with a Brave Bird and use Dark Void.

Machamp doesn’t retreat.

Next thing I know, I’m already down 2-4 as my leads are downed by a Rock Slide and a Dark Pulse, and I know that this battle is over. Calling my non-attack on Machamp was a pretty gutsy play, and it payed off big for Markus as he takes the series 2-0. Good Games, Markus.

With this, I take a first round loss, my first in my VGC career (2nd if you count losing the first game after having a R1 Bye).

Round 2: Hironomi Seino

Well, with a first round loss, most expectations for me to try to make a run at the Top Cut were killed on the spot. For this round, my opponent is Hironomi Seino. This would be my first, and still only, Japanese player that I’ve played against during the Worlds Tournament.


It’s a bit difficult to describe what I thought about the team. Dispite not battling any Japanese players since the June IC, the team looked like something I was expecting to face against from a Japanese player. I’m not sure why.

Game 1

My opponent’s team has very little in the form of resistances against Blastoise, so I felt that I was free to bring Smeargle and Blastoise to this match with my two Dragons in the back. Seino led with Zapdos and Talonflame. The game opens big for me, as I use Follow Me and land a Water Spout on both of Seino’s Pokemon. Zapdos moved before my Blastoise did, but it got hit by a critical hit Water Spout and was KO’d leading me to believe that it was potentially holding a Choice Scarf. I send out my Goodra while Seino brings out Garchomp and Mawile. Goodra Ice Beams into a Protect while Mawile and Blastoise trade attacks. I take out Garchomp before it can move, then spend the rest of the battle to finish off his Mawile.

Game 2

For Game 2, I reversed my leads, this time going for my Double Dragons. Seino leads with Garchomp and Talonflame this time. He Protects his Garchomp from an Ice Beam and sets up Tailwind as my Hydreigon drops his Talonflame down to about 15% HP. Next Turn, Talonflame KOs itself on my Hydreigon, and Garchomp KOs my Goodra with a Dragon Claw. Dark Pulse drops Garchomp down to about 30%. I send out Smeargle while Seino brings out Mawile. I make the correct asumption that Seino would try to avoid me trying to put his team to sleep, and go for a Spiky Shield with Smeargle, blocking a Rock Slide and Iron Head directed towards it. This left Hydreigon open to take down Garchomp.

Zapdos is sent out. At the end of my last turn, Smeargle got an evade boost. I’m actually not in the best of situations at this point in the match, and recognize that my only way to win is the go for the Dark Void, and hope that one of the attacks miss. Zapdos fires off a Thunderbolt to take my Smeargle down to 1HP, and Mawile slams down with Iron Head against a wall as Smeargle avoids the attack to drop both of Seino’s Pokemon into the void. The match is over at this point.

Round 3: Omari Travis (BadIntent)

A rematch of US Nationals Day 2 Swiss. I was only narrowly able to grab a victory against Omari in July, so I was a bit nervous about this match up going into this match.


I recognized that his team had some similar parts to what he had during Nationals, but some key points that stood out was that he had Kangaskhan now, and also a Florges. Despite the team having zero resistances to Water, I somehow didn’t feel that comfortable in bringing Blastoise to this match up, so instead I used Kangaskhan. Looking back, it is sort of hard to say whether this was the right call or not.

Game 1

For Game 1, I decide to start with Talonflame and Kangaskhan, with Smeargle and Goodra in the back. I’m confronted by a mirror match from the start as Omari goes for his own Talonflame and Kangaskhan. Not entirely sure who he’d plan to use Fake Out on, I end up just going for a Brave Bird and Return onto his Kangaskhan. A Fake Out and Brave Bird land on my Talonflame and I’m down 3-4 from the start. I note that he didn’t actually Mega Evolve his Kangaskhan on the first turn, leading me to believe that it has Inner Focus as an ability.

I send in my Smeargle and Spiky Shield blocking his Kangaskhan’s Double Edge, while I go after his Talonflame with my Kangaskhan. Garchomp is sent out. Garchomp sets up a Substitute, while Kangaskhan attacks my Smeargle. I finish off Omari’s Kangaskhan to go up 3-2, and Conkeldurr is sent out.

My notes for this match actually aren’t that good, rather they are non-existant after Turn 3, probably because I was more focused on playing my game. As such, I’m not entirely sure why I decided to go for a Helping Hand Return on Conkeldurr, as I pay for it greatly by receiving a double target from the revealed Mega Garchomp’s Dragon Claw and Conkeldurr’s Mach Punch. I’m left with my Scarf Goodra and Smeargle. There was a bit of a silly situation where I know that I’ve pretty much lost this, but Smeargle just went insane with Evade, Speed and Accuracy boosts, and was dodging things left and right. But I think this ended when a minimum Sleep from Garchomp led to it being able to attack and finish off my Goodra, leaving my Smeargle alone in the battle. Omari takes Game 1.

Game 2

For Game 2, I decided not to bring Smeargle, the only game in the tourney that I do so in fact. I lead with Goodra and Kangaskhan as Omari once again goes for Talonflame and Kangaskhan. A reversal of roles compared to Game 1, as this time I’m the one to double target and down Talonflame as he Mega Evolves his Kangaskhan and goes for a Double-Edge on my Kangaskhan. Garchomp is sent out. Our Kangaskhans attempt to Sucker Punch each other, with mine winning the Speed tie and staying alive. Goodra lands a Draco Meteor for about 60% on Garchomp as it sets up a Sub.

Next turn, Omari switches out his Kangaskhan for Conkeldurr, seemingly to avoid playing Sucker Punch chicken against my Kangaskhan. This just gives me an opportunity to double up on Garchomp, breaking its Substitute and downing it with another Draco Meteor. With me being up 4-2, I’m able to clean up simply by staying on the hard offensive, as Talonflame was easily able to KO both of Omari’s Pokemon at that point in the game. I tie the series.

Game 3

I try to give Smeargle another shot for this game, and I lead with straight up Khan Artist. However, Omari’s leads were ready for this, as he sends Conkeldurr and Kangaskhan. We open the match by trading Fake Outs on Kangaskhan’s allies, once again, with his not Mega Evolving. On turn 2, I wasn’t sure if a Return and Fake Out would have been enough to KO his Conkeldurr, and I wasn’t sure if a Helping Hand Return would KO his Mega Kangaskhan due to him having some amount of bulk in it. I was also sort of worried about a potential play he had where he could just use Double-Edge to KO my Smeargle and use Drain Punch with Conkeldurr, in order to take out my Kangaskhan.

I end up going for a Helping Hand and Return on Conkeldurr. My Kangaskhan takes a Mach Punch down to low HP, and my Smeargle is taken out with Double-Edge. Next turn, I send out Goodra, while Omari brings out Talonflame. I get caught up thinking of whether I would have been able to survive a Brave Bird if I switched out my Kangaskhan, and ended up leaving it in to get knocked out. Goodra takes out the Talonflame, then gets hit by a Double-Edge leaving it at 13HP. Zapdos is sent out, and the battle is over. I get to see one last surprise in Omari’s team as I trigger Zapdos’s Kee Berry with my Talonflame before it is lights out for me.

At the time, I was wondering whether there was anything I could do differently to try to change how Game 3 went, with what I chose, but after having some time to sit on it I would definitely end up needing some luck on damage rolls, critical hits, or inhumane predictive skills to pull myself out from that starting position.

Good Games, Omari. Definitely the most unique team that I got to face in the tourney.

Round 4: Gavin Michaels (kingofmars)

Speaking of rematches… why not one more with Gavin for the road? With us being 1-2, this match was a lot less stressful than it could have been, and turned out to be one of the most entertaining series I had in the tournament.


No real surprises here, partly due to the fact that Gavin was on stage and displayed a good deal of what his team does there. Unfortunately for me, Gavin is more difficult to play against when people actually know what his team is doing. The only reason I knew he had a Mega Gengar was because he told me that it was a Mega before our match. Thanks.

On the otherhand, he has a good idea what most of my Pokemon are running, so this leads to a series full of Turn 1 life-or-death rock-paper-scissors matches, and sick mind games.

Game 1

Talonflame is going to be pretty important for me in this battle, as it is vital to handle Gavin’s Assault Vest Ludicolo. For this game, I lead with Blastoise and Talonflame, while Gavin goes with Lucario and Tyranitar. I go all in on the first turn with a Brave Bird and a Water Spout, which catches Gavin flat footed as he goes for a Follow Me with his Lucario and a Dragon Dance with Mega Tyranitar. Lucario goes down and Mega Tyranitar loses over half its HP. Salamence is sent out.

Although I mention Talonflame being important, I sacrifice it for a Tailwind, then bring out Smeargle for Dark Void suppression. While Gavin did have Ludicolo on his team, Goodra and Mega Blastoise were able to whittle it down. 5HKO? No problem. I take Game 1.

Game 2

Game 2, I go for Smeargle and Blastoise. Gavin leads Lucario and Salamence. The tables turn on the prediction game as Gavin doesn’t fall for me going hard offense twice. I go for an Aura Sphere on Lucario, but he doubles up on my Blastoise. The only reason I didn’t go down 3-4 right there was due to Salamence missing its attack. Next turn, I use Follow Me, trading Smeargle for his Salamence. I send out my Goodra, while Tyranitar is sent out. Tyranitar Protects as Lucario is taken down by my Goodra. Ludicolo is sent in and I’m actually now in a bit of trouble. I know that Gavin will spend the time to Dragon Dance and Fake Out for the next turn, so I am fairly safe to switch out Goodra for Talonflame and Protect Blastoise.

Now, the issue is that I need Talonflame to do two things simultaneously. My only hope here is that Rock Slide misses against it. I switch out my Blastoise for Goodra to preserve it for the turn, and decide to use Tailwind first. Tyranitar goes for the Rock Slide, and it MISSES… against Goodra! I lose Talonflame as a result, and it is good game. Maybe I should have done the YOLO strategy in the other direction, and stuck in with Blastoise and Brave’d into Ludicolo. The series is tied.

Game 3

Ludicolo has been causing me some significant issues, so this time I decide that bringing Kangaskhan would be the better option. I go Khan Artist lead against Lucario and Salamence once again. I open the battle by having to sacrifice Smeargle, getting off a Power-Pp Punch in return against Lucario to put me at +1.

I send out Talonflame next. Lucario Protects to block Brave Bird, as Salamence Dragon Pulses my Kangaskhan for about 40% before being taken out by +1 Return. Tyranitar is then sent out. I call Gavin’s Protect with Tyranitar, and simply KO Lucario with Power-up Punch and set up a Tailwind, not before Lucario is able to land an Extreme Speed onto my Kangaskhan, putting it in the red.

Ludicolo is sent out and I feel that he is forced to go for the Fake Out on my Kangaskhan. However, I also don’t want to risk Talonflame in case I’m wrong. I go for a switch to Goodra, and use Protect. A Fake Out and a Rock Slide are fired off at my team, dropping Goodra to about half HP.

Now this is where this match gets tense. I take out Gavin’s Ludicolo with a Brave Bird and drop a Draco Meteor onto Tyranitar for about 25%. Tyranitar Dragon Dances. There is one more turn of Tailwind left, and I’m worried that the Tyranitar will go for an attack, so I instead keep Goodra in, while Protecting with Talonflame. And… Tyranitar Dances. Next Turn, I need to put Tailwind back up, I was pretty sure that he was going to just dance again, but somehow convinced myself not to switch, and… Tyranitar Dances.

I’m now staring down a +3/+3 Mega Tyranitar, at about half HP. I really don’t know whether this match is already over, of if I still have a chance. The sandstorm has ended, so at least Goodra can do a bit more damage with its attacks, although it is at -6. My game plan was to Protect with Talonflame, sacrifice Goodra, then Power-up Punch my own Talonflame under the threat of Fake Out, and just hope I could do enough damage in the end. However, things did not get to that point. The follow comment during the battle describes what happened next:

“Oh? My Goodra’s still faster? Well, this would be pretty sad if it cri-woooahhh!”

Goodra outsped, and Goodra landed the critical. Gavin pretty much fell out of his chair, and we were both just sitting there at a loss of words for about a minute at how Game 3 ended. In a sense, it was likely a point in the tournament that I was happy that I already had zero chance at reaching top cut, as it allowed me to just enjoy ridiculous moments like these. My matches with Gavin always seem to come down to some sort of crazy prediction game, and this set at Worlds was no different. Thanks for the games this season, Gavin. I’m sure there will be more battles to come in the future.

For the record, he would have called my attempt to Power-Up Punch myself if Game 3 got to that point.

Round 5: Michael Lanzano (JiveTime)

For the 5th round, I faced Michael Lanzano. We’ve played a few matches here and there against each other on simulator, and played a match in the second NPA. I’ve probably sat beside him a few times during US Nationals, but this would be the first time playing him in the actual VGC circuit for me.


Michael’s team was recognizable to me as being Sejun’s National Rain team. Which was something I was pretty loosely familiar with, in terms of what to expect.

Game 1

As it is a rain team, I go with my rain combat set up of Talonflame and Smeargle, with Kangaskhan and Goodra in the back. Michael leads with his Rain duo, Politoed and Ludicolo. I correctly predict that Ludicolo would Fake Out my Talonflame for the first turn, and had my Smeargle use Dark Void. However, things don’t quite go as plan as his Ludicolo dodges the attack. On the next turn, I take opportunity to Helping Hand Brave Bird to KO his Politoed as his Ludicolo retreats for Garchomp.

For my next turn, looking back at it, I made a big mistake. I decide to Protect Talonflame and sacrifice my Smeargle, where as I could have instead easily set up a sacrificial Tailwind for Smeargle and Kangaskhan. Instead, I give up my Smeargle, then on the following turn I send in Goodra and Ice Beam into Garchomp’s Protect, and lose my advantage in the game. I’m left with a Talonflame and Kangaskhan in the rain, and am unable to attempt a comeback. I find that the Garchomp is holding a Life Orb though.

Game 2

Since Michael’s Garchomp does not have a Lum Berry, I recognize that his entire team is vulnerable to a simple Tailwind + Dark Void Strategy. I stick with my team formation for this game, while Michael switches up his leads from Rain to Double Dragon. I get a Tailwind up on the first turn, while Hydreigon Dark Pulses my Talonflame, and Garchomp misses against Talonflame with Rock Slide, I think. Next turn I down Hydreigon with a Helping Hand boosted Brave Bird, KOing myself with recoil, as Garchomp hits Smeargle. Michael’s Mawile and my Kangaskhan are sent out. The next turn is burned with a double Protect from Michael’s side.

I’ve got Kangaskhan and Smeargle out with a turn left of Tailwind, so I go for the Dark Void and Power-Up Punch. However, things go bad for due to an accuracy drop that Smeargle received on Turn 1. I proceed to miss both targets with Dark Void, which leaves both of my Pokemon heavily damaged. As Smeargle also got a boost in Speed from Moody, I was allowed to try again, but I end up once again missing both, and the game is over. You have to live with the consequences of your choices, and this is one of the few times where choosing Moody was detrimental.

Round 6: Tony Nguyen (competny)

Now at a 2-3 record, I actually do have a bit of determination to try to win my last match. For pride, I wanted to avoid finishing with a losing record. My final opponent for Worlds 2014 was Tony Nguyen from Australia.


Tony’s team looks sort of similar, species wise, to Seino’s team earlier in the day. But I think at this point I wasn’t thinking too hard into this.

Game 1

Tony’s team actually seemed like it had a bit of trouble against my Scarf Goodra. As such, I took a gamble that he didn’t know about the Choice Scarf, and led with my Goodra and Smeargle. My gamble worked out as Tony led with Talonflame and Garchomp, and fired a CB Brave Bird at my Goodra only for it to take it on the chin, then outspeed and OHKO his Garchomp, as his Talonflame took a snooze. Mawile is sent out, but it too just gets shoved to sleep, as I pretty much shut Tony down completely this game with Smeargle as Goodra slowly took down all of Mawile’s allies. This game was over in a flash.

Game 2

For the 2nd game, I switched back to my standard Blastoise Smeargle. Tony leads Garchomp and Talonflame once again. I double my Protects to scout his moves, getting a boost to Smeargle’s Defense in the process. I then use Follow Me taking a Brave Bird, surviving with 40HP, while Garchomp misses a Rock Slide against Smeargle. Blastoise gets off the Water Spout, taking out Talonflame and doing about two thirds to Garchomp. Zapdos is then sent out.

I make the prediction that Tony will go for a Rock Slide again, expecting it to finish off my Smeargle, where as I am confident I’ll be able to survive. This move pays off as Zapdos targets into my Blastoise’s Protect, and Smeargle is able to hang on to put both Pokemon to sleep. From there, the match is essentially over.


In the end, I finished with a 3-3 record, at 33rd place. While I was hoping to improve on my finish this year by achieving a positive record, I’m not too disappointed about my season’s end. The tournament and the event were a lot of fun, and it’s always a pleasure being able to play Pokemon against fellow players of the highest caliber. Looking back at my matches when writing reports always reminds me that as far as I am right now, I’ve still got a lot to learn when it comes to playing the game.

When I first decided to run Smeargle on my team with Blastoise, one of the things I wondered was what people’s reactions to such a decision would be. The other thing I set out to do was show that despite all the inconsistencies and luck based moves revolving around Smeargle, that it was something that can perform consistently. In the end, I feel like I somehow ended up becoming one of the few respected Smeargle players for the season, with me showing some consistently high finishing results throughout the season and often going on stream and winning without hammering down on the Dark Void button all the time. Then again, maybe if I wanted to prove the point that Smeargle is “cheap and unfriendly to newbies”, maybe I shouldn’t have played to show that “Smeargle isn’t only about Dark Void” when displayed on stream?

Alas, a new season will soon be upon us. RIP Smeargle. RIP Darkness jokes. The VGC scene has been growing steadily, so let’s hope things will become even better as we move on. Thank you guys for reading my reports, see you guys next season.

Article image created by feathers for Nugget Bridge. View more of her artwork on her tumblr.

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.

22 Responses to Welcome to the Dark Side of the Moon: My Final VGC ’14 Report

  1. PKMN12345 says:

    Urm is this a SIMPLE request?

  2. R Inanimate says:

    Some Post Article Thoughts/Comments regarding Worlds:
    -any foreign text in the article is just flavour text. They pretty much just say “Moon Sign: Silent Selene” and “Hai Tei Rao Yue”, which are what the two Pokemon are named after anyways
    -since NPA will still have me using my 2014 signature team a lot of the time, my team doesn’t get to retire just yet. This will still be the last 2014 meta report from me, but it seems that Smeargle and Darkness jokes shall persist for just a bit longer
    -The Battle Background for Worlds battles is quite pretty
    -24 hour gaming is open for 24 hours this time. 24 hour gaming after party was one of the best Pokemon event experiences I’ve had in a long time.
    -save people from the pandas, just look at what happened to poor BlitznBurst
    -Symphony was great, the song after at the Encore was especially so. I’m interested to see what other songs they may add to their repertoire in the future. (Battle Frontier related themes, please?)
    -Double Blastoise Multi Battle team combo is very strong.
    -Kittens on the move. I repeat, kittens on the move.
    -Line up earlier for registration to ensure I get to go to the Worlds Retail store next year
    -Such authentic Chinese cuisine in Chinatown in DC
    -got a cold after the trip. Lack of sleep and having an especially poor diet over the trip probably contributed
    -Pachirisu celebrates becoming World Champion by… playing Hide and Seek. Fortunately it was returned to Sejun safely.

    -I got to play about 3 games with a Multi-battle team I set up with my brother involving “Dogs and Cats”. It’s one of those teams that you show to people, then never want to play it again. It’s really not how Multi-Battles should be played.

    VoidCats isn’t that deadly normally because the trade off for priority Void is that you are severely restricted on what damaging attacks you can use on the team. In multi-battles, your ally is not part of the Assist selection pool, so they can do whatever they want. Thus making the offense disadvantage a lot lower. You pretty much need to go out of your way to run specific counters on your team in order to get around this strategy, either that or pray that Liepard misses with Wide Lens Dark Void, or that you get enough minimum turn sleeps. As you can see in the vid, +2 Sun Incinerate does about half of a TTar’s HP. And that’s just Incinerate, not Heat Wave.

    As such, I would like to ask to have a ban on Assist as an added rule for Multi-Battle side events please. You can make a convincing arguement on why regular Smeargle’s Dark Void is perfectly fair game in VGC, but Priority Assist -> Priority Dark Void, when your ally can have regular Pokemon is way too big of an advantage.
    -I don’t do shout outs

  3. Cipher says:

    I love Smeargle and Choice Scarf Tyranitar and I love you for using them.  Especially with that unconventional anti-Kangaskhan spread on Smeargle.  Ditto on Blastoise.  
    Cool report; cool team.

  4. LB1993 says:

    I really love reading at your reports, we started in the same period from very similar teams, then our last results are pretty differents, but I like reading about the evolution of yours! 🙂 Congratulations !

  5. Spurrific says:

    Good job on yet another excellent report. The first NB livestream I watched was this year’s Seattle Regional and I remember watching you on at least two of the matches they streamed so I have enjoyed following your Blastoise-Smeargle duo this year. Congrats on your having a second Worlds-qualifying season!

    My favorite part of this report was Hyper Beam on Hydreigon to take out Azumarill, interesting choice…

  6. Maffs says:

    Amazing final report, thank you! Very nice read you have a lot of potential for next year

  7. P3DS says:

    :o Choice scarf goodra… I used to use that at the start of the season. It worked pretty darn good for me, and I’m glad to see you took it to some pretty big heights. Always a pleasure to read your team reports

  8. Arti says:

    Nice report, and I must say that is some amazing article art.

  9. Simon says:

    Dogs in the kitchen… right or left?

  10. MrTiago says:

    Great report man, i start play this year, i read your reports and i learn too much with you, i hope one you continue to make good job :)

  11. feathers says:

    Nice report, and I must say that is some amazing article art.

    : 3

  12. CatGonk says:

    Fantastic report. Love that you stuck to your guns with Smeargle + Blastoise season; really does show important practice and familiarity are :)

    Did you find that you missed not having 252 SpA EVs on Hydreigon to OHKO 4HP Jolly Mega Kang?

  13. Dark51 says:
    “Lunatic+ is essentially the same as regular Lunatic, but enemies may possess terrifying Skills, which are unique to Lunatic+.” – Serenes Forest Description about L+

    Confirming this takes an insane amount of skill and an ungodly amount of time.

  14. BlitznBurst says:

    -save people from the pandas, just look at what happened to poor BlitznBurst

    ;_; rip my soul

  15. Zigsta says:

    Your reports are always fun to read. And of course, YOLO.

  16. R Inanimate says:

    As with a lot of random specific techs that I add on a team, I some how end up never running into situations relevant to them. The number of times I fired Hyper Beam is: zero. The number of times my Smeargle got PuP’d after I changed it was like… 3 times in the first day of testing it on showdown and then never again, no I don’t think that many people were even aware that I changed my EV spread for it. And the slight drop in SpA in my Hydreigon never effected my match up with Kangaskhan… because I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually had my Hydreigon even try to use Draco Meteor on Kangaskhan.

    Dogs in the kitchen… right or left?

    Pass right. Then BLEND.

  17. Sam says:

    Love the Earthbound reference to Moonside, Mother is my favorite game series outside of Pokemon. Congrats on the success with the team, great report as always!

  18. Green says:

    Reading stories like these just makes me want to battle again 🙂 Great read and love your team selection, I always liked teams that are (slightly) different then the ‘usual setups’

  19. Evan Falco says:

    Great article and what a fantastic team. I definitely laughed about the Goodra thing. I totally brought Rain to Worlds too.

    The mind games are real – too bad the pairings weren’t. See you in a couple months for doughnuts.

  20. Adib says:

    Loved the report as always, Randy. It’s fascinating how you reuse the same concepts/duo throughout an entire season, but always find new ways of keeping it fresh enough for the meta as it develops  (i.e. the Smeargle spread). The Goodra and special Scarftar made me smile too.
    Ugh, Voidcats. Fighting that thing External was really bizarre in that it’s technically supposed to be frustrating, but it’s a multi-battle so people actually laugh at the RNG instead of raging at it. I’ll just say this: provided you can somehow take care of the Houndoom, Insomnia Megahorn Ariados wrecks Voidcats. Strong multi-battle meta call right there. Ariados will become the next Pachirisu one day and win Worlds. Calling it.

  21. Scott says:

    Thanks for doing the write-up, Randy, and also for defending the hono(u)r of Blastoise all season. I’m glad at least a couple people used it to some success!

  22. DrDimentio says:

    Very nice report as usual – in particular I liked the consistent nickname theme. Seeing Hyper Beam on Specs Hydreigon, in addition to some other Hyper Beam users in VGC’14 (Ray’s Wigglytuff, and a Solar Power Heliolisk at AU Nationals), has convinced me that it’s somewhat viable as a filler move, mainly for surprise KOs. Never would’ve considered it before this year.

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