Published on September 5th, 2015 | by mewmart11
Cup Your Ears! Hyper Voice Incoming: Top 32 at the Singapore National Championships
Greetings from the warm island of Singapore!
My name is Martin Tan and my nickname for most occasions is mewmart. I’ve been playing Pokemon competitively from Gen 4. However I first started out with Singles format (which is largely based on Smogon rules). One fine day I was introduced to the VGC format by a friend and I’ve been hooked ever since. With the revamp to breeding and training mechanics in Pokemon X and Y, I was motivated to kick-start my VGC journey!
Compared to the previous year, the VGC ’15 format certainly allows for more creativity. It had some similarities to the VGC ’13 format, with the genies and musketeers being metagame defining Pokemon. The re-introduction of move tutors in ORAS opened up more team-building options. I was very excited to embark on this season’s format and immediately started building my team based on my favourite mega, Mega Salamence. I told myself that, for this season, I’m not going to use Mega Kangaskhan, as I really dislike it. :X
That aside, Mega Salamence is certainly a powerhouse in its own right within the current metagame. However, it has yet to establish much of a foothold in Singapore’s metagame, which is still dominated by Mega Kangaskhan.
Sylveon was another one of my favourites from Gen 6, even before taking into consideration its powerful and devastating Hyper Voice. I just think it’s cute. Thus, I decided to include these two in my team.
Of course, team-building involves a lot of experimentation, testing, and tuning of spreads and moves. I’ve tested many variants throughout the season and this core has evolved slowly into the one that I used for Nationals. I’m very happy with the team that I used in the 1st ever Singapore VGC National Championships so, without further ado, let’s get to the detailed team breakdown!
As mentioned earlier, I really liked Mega Salamence and Sylveon and wanted to make a team that could make these 2 work together seamlessly. Drawing ideas from the fantasy core (Fairy, Steel, Dragon) that became popular in VGC ’14, I decided to find a Steel type that would do well in the current metagame. I’ve tried Heatran as the Fire/Steel typing acts as a deterrent and excellent check to opposing Sylveon, but its middling Speed was not to my liking and playstyle. Instead, I opted for Aegislash, which can act as a check not only to Sylveon, but to bulky Cresselia, and opposing Aegislash as well!
I also wanted a hard counter to Mega Kangaskhan, which was popular in Singapore and was my most hated Mega. I didn’t have to look too hard, as Terrakion was an easy choice and Rock Slide flinch shenanigans was something that I couldn’t pass up.
The speed control options that I considered were Tailwind and Thunder Wave. I opted for Thunder Wave in the end as it was more permanent and could not be stalled out. Prankster Thundurus was hence the natural choice to provide this. Barring certain fast Pokemon that were immune to the move, the majority of the metagame can be slowed down by it. However, I know that just relying on Thunder Wave is a risky choice and this would be something that I would have to remedy when building future teams.
Lastly, I wanted to add Ludicolo to improve my matchup against bulky water types while exerting Fake Out pressure so that Sylveon can shout to her heart’s content with Hyper Voice. I had positive results with Ludicolo in testing and even got the chance to make use of Ludicolo to improve my matchup against Rain.
Finalized Team for Nationals
Sylveon @ Choice Specs
EVs: 92 HP/ 116 Def/ 252 SpA/48 Speed
– Hyper Voice
– Shadow Ball
– Hyper Beam
The main engine for this team, I really liked the damage output provided by this fairy’s loud Hyper Voice. Credit is due to Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng (Cybertron), as I took the EV spread from his Sylveon analysis.
However, I have to admit that surviving Jolly Return from Mega Kangaskhan is no longer a relevant benchmark. Still, this EV spread provides maximum damage output with respectable bulk. I’m quite happy with it and decided to stick with it. 48 Speed is mainly to outspeed other rival Sylveon which might not have speed investment.
Hyper Beam is a clutch move that can sometimes catch opponents off guard with its Choice Specs boosted damage. It can even OHKO Assault Vest Landorus-Therian (see the Swiss Round 4 Game 3 video). Whenever I needed to KO a Pokemon quickly, Sylveon is there to do it in superb fashion.
Salamence @ Salemencite
EVs: 4 HP/ 252 Atk/ 252 Speed
– Hyper Voice
– Double Edge
Oh, magnificent Salamence, your croissant wings are…just weird. Nevertheless it’s still my favourite mega despite its weird design. I switched to Naïve nature as the metagame evolved over time. I figured that, in Singapore’s fast paced metagame, I wouldn’t have many opportunities to set up a Dragon Dance. I maxed Attack and Speed to maximize the damage output from Double-Edge and didn’t feel the need to increasing bulk at the expense of getting outsped or missing a KO.
During playtesting, I experimented with Fire Blast to handle Steel types like Aegislash (while getting around its Wide Guard) and Earthquake to hit Heatran. Since my EVs were not invested in Special Attack, however, the damage output of Fire Blast was not to my liking at all, dealing less than 50% damage to most 252 HP invested Steel types. As such, I decided to stick with Earthquake.
Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 108 HP/ 252 SpA/ 148 Speed
– Ice Beam
– Giga Drain
– Fake Out
Ludicolo’s primary role was to exert Fake Out pressure and allow Sylveon to shout to her heart’s content. It was also helpful for breaking potential Focus Sashes. It also improved my Rain matchup and was solid against bulky water types such as Suicune. During testing, I typically led Ludicolo/Sylveon or Ludicolo/Terrakion but, during Nationals, it saw very little action. Still, it certainly served its function whenever I needed it.
The EV spread is taken from rapha’s (rapha) article No Substitute for Rain in the Northwest: 9th Place Oregon Regional Report. The Speed investment allows it to outspeed Choice Scarf Landorus-Therian under rain or Tailwind and I agreed with his philosophy of maxing out Special Attack to nab important KOs whenever I needed them.
Terrakion @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP/ 252 Atk/ 252 Speed
– Close Combat
– Rock Slide
– Quick Guard
Standard Terrakion spread. Nothing much to mention about the EVs. Terrakion was primarily there to handle Flying types such as Thundurus or Mega Charizard Y. It also dealt with my most hated mega, Mega Kangaskhan. Fishing for Rock Slide flinches was also a viable strategy when the going got tough, but I tried my best to play in such a way that I didn’t need to rely on it as a win condition.
Quick Guard saved me so many times, allowing me to negate most Fake Out users that typically targeted Sylveon. This allowed me to launch Hyper Voices early in the game, dealing massive damage as quickly as possible before Sylveon went down.
Focus Sash allowed me to negate the consequences of losing a speed tie against opposing Terrakion. Most opponents expected Lum Berry, allowing me to catch them offguard and do more damage as Terrakion survives an otherwise OHKO attack.
Thundurus-I @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 236 HP/116 Def/128 SpD/28 Speed
– Thunder Wave
– Hidden Power [Ice]
I heavily relied on Prankster Thunder Wave as it was my only means of speed control on this team. Paralysis is, in my opinion, the most reliable means of speed control. Whenever I needed speed control, it was there to do its job. Taunt is there to stop all the Sporing, Dark Voids, and other status inducing strategies. It also helps against Aegislash, prevent it from using King Shield or Wide Guard, and often forcing it to switch out. This helps me to gain momentum in certain situations as well.
Hidden Power [Ice] is mainly there to do damage against Landorus-Therian and Salamence.
The EV spread is from Shaping the Metagross: A 2015 European VGC Regionals Runner Up Report by Kelly (KellsterCartier). The bulk is important for it to have an impact during its time on the battlefield. For example, it could tank a 252 Atk Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge with Sitrus Berry recovery, which attests to its significant bulk. I chose a Calm nature in order to better absorb Ice Beams, Thunderbolts, and the like.
Aegislash @ Life Orb
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 248 HP/252 SpA/8 SpD
IVs: 2 Spe
– King’s Shield
– Wide Guard
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
Aegislash completes the fantasy core with its Steel typing. The reason I chose a simple spread for its EVs is to maximize damage output and nab those important KOs. The idea of Life Orb Aegislash came from Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng (Cybertron).
Wide Guard is there to negate Rock Slide flinch machines like Landorus-Therian and Terrakion, as well as and other spread moves. Shadow Ball is there to counter Cresselia and deal massive damage to neutral targets.
Flash Cannon was mainly used to hit opposing Sylveon. Regardless of them surviving it or not, Aegislash’s partner can follow up and finish off the Sylveon if needed. Only my Sylveon can scream, not others!
The 2 IVs in Speed allowed me to underspeed opposing 0 Speed Aegislash in Trick Room while still retaining considerable speed under Trick Room. In reality, Aegislash was my own answer for Trick Room match ups.
Common Leads and Strategies
Since this team relies quite a bit on spread moves, my main strategy was to get myself into a position that would allow me to immediately exert offensive pressure with powerful spread moves from Sylveon or Salamence.
Such a lead would be ideal against Mega Kangaskhan leads, especially if I expect a Turn 1 Fake Out. I can choose to Quick Guard to negate the Fake Out and immediately chunk my opponent with Hyper Voice. I could even launch a surprise Hyper Beam attack on Kangaskhan’s partner. Should I make a hard read and Close Combat immediately on the 1st turn against Mega Kangaskhan, it can be rewarding over the long run. But such a move is typically risky, as I feel that most Terrakion users have slowly switched over to Focus Sash recently and my opponent may choose to Fake Out Terrakion to break the Sash and set up for a KO on a subsequent turn.
In situations where I need to exercise speed control, I would use this pair as my lead. Terrakion was there to negate the Fake Outs/Prankster moves and I could immediately start to paralyze opposing Pokemon using my own Thundurus.
I would only use this lead when I expect my opponent to lead with Landorus-Therian so that I can drop its Attack and reduce its offensive pressure. I can subsequently tank the Rock Slide onslaught and launch Hyper Voices with Sylveon. I usually Protect or switch out the Salamence to recycle the Intimidate. Most non-Assault Vest Landorus take a solid chunk from Choice Specs boosted Hyper Voice. Since Salamence is a mixed variant, it can also stay in and launch its own Hyper Voice as well. Such a strategy can potentially punish Amoongus switch-ins when the opponent brings it in to tank a predicted Hyper Voice from Sylveon.
Threats and Weaknesses
Japan Sand Teams
My team struggles a lot against Japanese sand teams as the fast Rock Slides and Earthquakes from these 2 Pokemon hit really hard and I have no way to speed control them effectively. Aegislash can Wide Guard to negate their spread moves, but I only have Ludicolo and Terrakion to apply offensive pressure on these two. More often than not, opponents can play around Wide Guard and my threats and preserve these two for a late-game win condition.
My friend Hugo Ng (hugo0379), whom I befriended during Round 4 Swiss in Singapore VGC Nationals Championships, suggested Rain Dance on Thundurus-I to win the weather war and allow Ludicolo to hard counter Japanese sand. I would definitely consider this should I revisit this team again.
Heatran and Mega Charizard Y
My only solution to Heatran is Terrakion’s Close Combat and Salamence’s Earthquake. In general, my team lacked Fire resists and, as a result, they can chunk quite a bit of my team. Fire types also threaten my Sylveon and, without her, my team’s offensive capability suffers. Ludicolo can be a decent solution but, more than often, it’s deadweight beyond handling the one Fire type. It was also difficult to use if my opponent also carried Salamence, forcing me to Paralyze it with Thundurus first.
Similarly, Mega Charizard Y can cause issues to my team should I opt not to bring Terrakion in the back as a check. Often, I find myself chunked by its Heat Waves, while I only have Thundurus and Terrakion to threaten it. Having a Rain mode on this team via Thundurus’s Prankster Rain Dance can be another option to mitigate this.
The first ever Pokémon Video Game National Championships in Singapore took place over the weekend of June 27th and 28th, 2015. It was hosted by the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (SCOGA) at ITE Central in Ang Mo Kio for the Campus Game Fest. This was my last sanctioned tournament after a season consisting of small local Premier Challenges and the Regionals in Singapore at Anchorvale Community Centre. I was really excited to be part of a historic moment in Pokémon VGC history. I’ve met really great people outside of those from The Mirage Island, including new friends from Hong Kong (hugo0739), Thailand, and Malaysia (the KL Raikous). Below is a recording of my match against Hugo, as he was my opponent for Swiss Round 4. I eventually won the set through sheer brute force coupled with some unintended hax on both ends.
Game 1: Lose
I certainly misplayed a lot in this first game, as I just blindly clicked Hidden Power Ice and did not make the optimal plays. In general, I was too predictable in my reads. Hugo’s Milotic was causing me a lot of issues and you can see that Sylveon’s Choice Specs attacks did negligible damage to it.
The lucky paralysis on Venusaur was key and Turn 1’s damage trade wasn’t really significant. I tried to gain some momentum by dropping Landorus-Therian’s attack but the Sludge Bomb from Venusaur dealt so much free damage to my Salamence as a consequence.
Eventually Mega Venusaur went down, but the Heatran simply ate up the Hidden Power as if it was nothing.
Scald eventually took down my Mega and I was only left with Terrakion. A smart switch by him to Landorus-Therian made Terrakion’s Close Combat do minimal damage as I tried to make a hard read by double-targeting. The unfortunate burn on Terrakion took it down.
Sylveon against Heatran certainly wasn’t a favourable match-up and I knew all was lost. But by knowing that Milotic isn’t the Assault Vest variant, I knew I needed to take it down quick and hard in the next game. Recover was a big threat as well as, the longer it stayed on the field, the more problems it would cause.
Game 2: Win
I needed to regain momentum after the loss. Hence I led with more offensive pressure in mind. My objective was to take down Milotic as soon as possible before it could wreak havoc on my team. The unfortunate poison from Venusaur was really annoying.
Again, he led with Milotic/Venusaur and immediately attempted to get rid of the Ludicolo from Turn 1. I immediately double targeted the Milotic slot in an attempt to take it out as soon as possible. However, it proved too bulky, even with a max Special Attack Giga Drain from Ludicolo, and was able to just Recover and Recover.
Ludicolo went down soon after and I sent out Salamence as Venusaur became my prime target. I gave Milotic a Competitive boost in the process, but he surprisingly chose to forfeit the boosts by switching to Landorus-Therian in order to Intimidate my Salamence. I suppose he predicted that I would Thunderbolt the Milotic slot, which I did, but I also mega-evolved and revealed Hyper Voice.
I spammed Hyper Voice to get rid of Venusaur and did a lot of damage to Landorus-Therian on the side. Still, the Hidden Power Ice DID NOT MANAGE TO KO the Landorus and it survived with 1 HP left. I was shocked!
Left with Terrakion and Thundurus against his team, he switched out Landorus-Therian for Heatran and I finally got rid of the Milotic. I was also able to paralyze his Heatran as well. I proceeded to fish for flinches and finish off his Landorus, which at this point I was certain was carrying Assault Vest.
Heatran tried to stall behind a Substitute, but Hugo did not give up until he targeted Terrakion with Flash Cannon, revealing my Focus Sash as a result. Definitely a close shave as I took this set.
I decided to go hyper offensive again for this game, it’s go big or go home.
Same leads from him (Milotic/Venusaur) as I led with Sylveon/Thundurus. I Thunderbolt into the Milotic slot and activated the Sitrus Berry while Milotic fired an Ice Beam back ONLY TO FREEZE MY THUNDURUS. Really unlucky there. Venusaur, after mega-evolving, proceeded to Sludge Bomb Thundurus, activating my own Sitrus Berry.
Guess what did Sylveon did? Hint: Look at the featured art! Milotic was down and out in an instant. Hugo was definitely caught off guard. I was sure he didn’t expect that play. It was really risky though on my end.
He sent out Landorus-Therian and I decided that Thundurus’ time was up. I let it get knocked out, but end up thawing out and whiffing the Thunder Wave on his Landorus-Therian. On hindsight, I should have picked my target properly and just paralyzed the Venusaur slot for additional speed control for the off chance that I did thaw. Surprisingly, Hugo chose not to target Sylveon with Sludge Bomb and targeted Thunderus instead, probably wary of Hidden Power Ice and recognizing that Sylveon had to recharge anyway.
I sent out Salamence, mega-evolved, and revealed that I was the mixed variant by using Double-Edge. He told me that the critical hit mattered, though that might be because he thought I was more invested in Special Attack.
- 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Salamence Double-Edge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Mega Venusaur: 182-216 (97.3 – 115.5%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO
- 4 Atk Aerilate Mega Salamence Double-Edge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Mega Venusaur: 152-182 (81.2 – 97.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Venusaur was OHKOed and Sylveon proceeded to fire another deadly Hyper Beam which OHKOed the Landorus-Therian as well.
Hugo, left with Hydreigon against the world, forfeited.
Certainly this season wasn’t very good for me. I did not Top Cut any of the tournaments this season in Singapore but, overall, I felt that it was largely due to my predictable play style. I would definitely seek to improve in the next season for sure.
In Singapore’s inaugural Nationals Championships, I finished in a respectable 28th place out of 118 Masters with a 4-3 record. To me, it’s a small yet significant milestone as a VGC competitor. I’ve learned a lot from the online content posted by many top players on Nugget Bridge and I’m more than grateful for the willingness of the community to help each other improve by sharing knowledge and bouncing ideas off one another.
During the Singapore Nationals, I managed to make friends with players from Thailand, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. The social aspect of the game is certainly something I hold dear and that is why I’m passionate about Pokemon 🙂 This article is dedicated to you guys!
Here are some pictures from the Nationals that I took with my new friends:
Thanks to Wilson Chong, one of the PTOs that I’ve met during Malaysia’s inaugural Premier Challenge at Kuala Lumpur. He’s a great guy and I certainly hope to be able to help out with future events that he organizes!
My Swiss Round 4 opponent, Hugo Ng during Nationals! Thanks for the great game, hope to see you again in Hong Kong! Credit to his friend Juliet Kong for making the art for this article.
Glad to part of Singapore’s VGC history. Posing a picture with Wei Wen Ang.
My Round 5 opponent Jirawiwat Thitasiri and Round 6 Opponent Noppasorn Tangkasem, as well as his Thailand compatriot Chaiyawat Traiwichcha! Welcome to Singapore and hope to see you guys again! Ji, your Kecleon rocks but please no more Shadow Sneak!!!!
- Credit to Juliet Kong for the featured article art
- Shoutout to Wee Zi Yun, Rayne Tay Zhi Sheng for being my practice partner for the majority of the season
- Thank you very much to Mirage Island for accepting me as part of the group and community, even though my skills are still quite below par at the moment. I hope to be able to give back and help with event organizing as well in Singapore.
With this, I conclude my report. I finished the season with 165 CPs, which I felt was pretty okay judging from my mediocre experience with the VGC format. I really enjoyed myself playing VGC for the past 2 years and I hope to come back stronger next season. Please also feel free to provide any feedback you may have pertaining to this team and how I can improve it further! See you guys soon and good luck to the Singaporeans who have qualified for the Worlds Championships in Boston (Thanks Theodora Hui for the Worlds 2015 Pikachu plush!). Take care and thanks for reading everyone.