Published on September 25th, 2012 | by MangoSol


It’s Too Bright in Here… No, It’s Just MangoSol: Worlds 11th Place Team Analysis

Hello people of Nugget Bridge! I am the one they call MangoSol (Manoj Sunny) from Illinois. This was my first VGC ever, and I am extremely pleased with how far this team went. Not only was this my first VGC, but this is also my first team analysis, so please bear with my lackluster skills in analyzing the team I’ve spent half a year developing!

This team placed 4th at Madison Regionals, 3rd at US Nationals, and 11th at worlds. Yes, I used the SAME team for all competitions (with the exception of a single move change on Hitmontop a week before Worlds). Some people might call me stupid, some people might call me genius, and some people might just call me lazy. But with the results I’ve had, I’d like to think all of the above are true. I made this team mainly to win top 4 at Regionals. Winning top 4 at Nationals was unimaginable, so once I placed at Regionals I thought that I didn’t need to spend any time on building another team for an inevitable loss at Nationals. Yes, I am a pessimistic person; the glass is broken. Oddly, the tournament I placed best in was the one I prepared least for. Resting is as vital as preparing. If you use the same team for months on end people will know your team down to the EV spreads, and you’ll grow bored of it, so I found it counter-productive to spend too much time on the Pokémon Online server.

Now, enough about the team’s history. Time to actually write something that you won’t skim through. This team is not solely my brainchild: Nightblade7000 and I are the creators of this team. On the way to Worlds, I received more specific EV spreads from other great players like Zach and Human that were tailored to the Worlds metagame, but this team was initially tested and played by both Nightblade7000 and myself with only slight deviations in the team — Nightblade actually also placed 4th in the Philadelphia regionals with a team extremely similar to this! Talk about a coincidence (the power of ORLF was with us).  Since both of us were working on this team we were able to patch holes in the team twice as fast and twice as efficiently — even this analysis was written with a lot of help from him!

But anyways, the goal of this team is to Paralyze everything and keep my Pokémon’s Speed higher than my opponents’ while building up damage and landing Gem-boosted attacks for the KO. With multiple Pokémon paralyzed, a slight disadvantage will quickly snowball into a loss if they lose tempo by being fully paralyzed.  It also sets Sand for Garchomp, activating his rage-inducing ability Sand Veil, and Tyranitar., who receives a Special Defense boost in the sand. I built this team with the idea that Tyranitar and Cresselia were the core; they both covered each other’s weaknesses splendidly, and had excellent synergy. Tyranitar (nor the rest of the team) didn’t have to worry about Speed because Cresselia was spreading Paralysis, and Tyranitar and Hitmontop together took care of Trick Room. Rain teams weren’t too big of a threat because I had Zapdos to make fish-sticks out of Politoed and company and Tyranitar in the back to switch in to gain weather control. Sun teams weren’t encountered at all, but if they were, Tyranitar would weather control while Garchomp and Scizor hit the Grass- and Fire-types supereffectively. Hail… I think I’ve faced a whopping 2 Hail teams while training, so I disregarded hail altogether.

The Team at a Glance


(In the Worlds video it shows that I am using shiny Pokémon, while in the Nationals I’m not. They are all the same Pokémon but with slightly different EV spreads. The team and strategy stayed the same. I hate shiny Pokémon, but Biosci RNG’d most of my team shiny for worlds… X_X Thanks anyway man, you rock!)

Team Sol

Velocity (Hitmontop) (M) @ Fight Gem
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 220 HP / 252 Atk / 36 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
– Close Combat
– Sucker Punch
– Stone Edge
– Fake Out

Hitmontop has been a staple on most teams and for good reason. This guy has been here from the beginning, always providing great team support and was an instant favorite. My Hitmontop originally had Wide Guard over Stone Edge, but for the Worlds metagame I realized that, with all those Thundurus that were sure to be about, I needed a better way to hit them hard. Adding Stone Edge also helped this team against Volcarona and especially the “TopMoth” combination, which this team dreaded facing until I added Stone Edge to take advantage of Volcarona’s 4x weakness to Rock-type attacks.

Wide Guard is an awesome move, though, don’t get me wrong! It actually saved me in a game against Luke S. (theamericandream38) in round 5  of Madison Regionals. It was his Excadrill versus my Hitmontop (25% health) and Tyranitar (45% health). I knew an Earthquake would lose me the game, but I also knew if I blew Wide Guard too early I would only have a 50% chance of repeating my Wide Guard next turn. I predicted he would scout my Top for Wide Guard and Protect, so I used Close Combat to bluff a lack of Wide Guard. He Earthquaked the next turn while I Wide Guarded and Low Kicked with Tyranitar for the KO. That was without a doubt my most memorable battle and maneuver at Regionals, but later at Nationals I didn’t use it a single time. The original intent was to beat Rain teams that pack a lot of Surfers or cover Zapdos from pesky Rock Slides that flinch you at the worst possible times. I didn’t encounter a single rain team in the National’s and World’s metagames, however, so I was content with my switch to Stone Edge. Stone Edge, indeed, has shaky accuracy and high risk, but I don’t see why you’re playing Pokémon competitively in the first place if you can’t take a risk! I never missed Stone Edge once (amazing, huh), and it scored a couple of KO’s on weakened Thundurus at Worlds.

Fake Out was a vital move to have as it allowed me to either disrupt my opponents strategy by not allowing one of their Pokémon to move for a turn, or allow myself to set up, for example getting a free Swords Dance off on garchomp. There were a couple options for the last slot, but in the end I chose Sucker Punch to hit latios  (who gave this team problems)  and hit weakened Pokémon for a KO or to get some damage off before it was KO’d by a faster Pokémon. I wanted some priority in my team other than Scizor.

Thorn (Garchomp) (M) @ BrightPowder
Trait: Sand Veil
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
– Dragon Claw
– Earthquake
– Protect
– Swords Dance

Garchomp. Possibly the most rage inducing Pokémon in the VGC metagame. You’re just about to win the game. You have your Metagross ready to KO your opponent’s Garchomp which has 4 HP left with your speedy Bullet Punch. You pick up the pen, ready to sign the slip indicating you won. And then you miss. This guy is the devil. With Sand Veil giving him a whopping 20% Evasion in the ever-present Sand, you only have an 80% chance of hitting. Add an amazing typing, huge BST, and killer looks and we have one of the greatest Pokémon Nintendo has ever made.

Now, some of you might see Brightpowder and discredit my skills altogether. You might think to yourself, “He probably won by hax only,” and, “He must be a noob to rely on something as gimmicky as Brightpowder to win.” First off, you really can’t complain about anything like that because it’s perfectly within the rules to use whatever items you please (for the most part), and at the end of a day a win is a win no matter how it is achieved. But before you start sending me hate messages (if you haven’t already) hear me through. As stated before, Garchomp has Sand Veil giving it a 25% boost to Evasion and dropping 100% accurate attacks to 80% accuracy. With Brightpowder, Garchomp can now only be hit 72% of the time in the Sand. That’s huge. According to ryuzaki, all Pokémon players know that 90% isn’t a lot. Now, imagine that every move you throw at Garchomp has the accuracy of Hurricane outside of Rain, give or take 2%. But wait, there’s more! Add on the fact that your opponent is most likely Paralyzed (courtesy of Cresselia), and now they only have a 54% chance of landing a hit! And that’s assuming they’re using 100% accurate moves (say hello to 46% Meteor Mashes)! This scenario was VERY common in most battles.

No matter how I looked at it, there was no way NOT to put Brightpowder on this guy for this team. Yache Berry was out of the question. When I tested it the Berry never came in handy. Instead, I would just switch Garchomp to something like Tyranitar or Scizor to take the hit and it would go unused. This team relied on careful switching as its main means of defense. The same applied for Haban Berry. I outsped and ko’d most Dragons like Hydreigon and Salamence after they had taken slight damage (like from Sandstorm or Fake Out). I actually detest the use of any berries that soften super effective moves. I was usually cautious of the two possibly holding Choice Scarf as that would pull a surprise ko on Garchomp. But like I said earlier, Cresselia usually did a good job of paralyzing everything and lowering everyone’s speed. The only reason I’d have Haban would be to beat Timid Latios with Substitute. I found during my testing that a lot of Latios carried Substitute and would Sub in Cresselia’s face, rendering both Thunder Wave and Icy Wind useless, as it takes two Icy Winds to break Latios’ Sub. Other than Latios, Garchomp took care of other Dragons with relative ease.

Now for the EVs. It’s quite simple and straight forward: max Attack and max Speed. Jolly to outrun other Dragons and Garchomp. Others opted for a bulkier set, but given my team’s need for a fast sweeper, I went with Jolly. It also outran Adamant Terrakion (another threat to the team) and KO’d. I gave Garchomp max Attack because you always want to hit as hard as possible. With Swords Dance to boost your Attack, it would give a higher Attack boost if all the Attack EVs were there.

The attacks are pretty straight forward. Dragon Claw and Earthquake are Garchomp’s STAB options and hit hard, and Protect is a VGC necessity. And then there’s Swords Dance. It’s what makes this Garchomp special. The goal of Swords Dance is to switch into Pokémon like Tyranitar and Chandelure to scare them into switching. While they switch I would pull off a Swords Dance and sweep the rest of the team. It’s a simple strategy, but one that proved to be very effective in multiple battles. All in all, this guy was the star player of this team. It was almost always the last man standing and it often pulled off a win by a mere 2 hp. The sad truth is that luck plays a large part in Pokémon. Harness your luck and you’ll be able to go a long way. If you’re feeling that kind of luck and would like to role-play the devil’s advocate, give this set a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a Nationals video of round 7 at Nationals where garchomp COMPLETELY turns the tables on a loss. Don’t ask why it’s in Spanish…


Havoc (Tyranitar) (M) @ Dark Gem
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 244 HP / 244 Atk / 20 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
– Crunch
– Rock Slide
– Protect
– Low Kick

Tyranitar is one of those Pokémon you fall in love with because of all the things it can do. Not only does it have an ability that can change the weather to disrupt weather teams, but it also helps give Garchomp an even higher boost in Evasion… and that’s without it even having to do anything but be on the field! While he does have a HUGE amount of common weaknesses, his defenses are amazing, especially because of the 50% boost to Special Defense that Sandstorm gives. The EVs are pretty simple. They maximize Health and Attack while also giving it a little Speed to outrun any other slow Tyranitar. The move choices were also very standard to give the Tyranitar the most coverage possible.

Now you may be wondering, “Dark Gem? Why are you running Dark Gem?” Now there is a simple reason for that. In testing, I found out that this team didn’t handle Trick Room teams too well without A) Taunt or B) Trick Room on any of my Pokémon. With Dark Gem I could get the OHKO on most Pokémon who set up trick room (barring Cresselia of course), while Faking Out their Fake Out user with Hitmontop so Tyranitar could get the Crunch off. Chople Berry to me just seemed like an ineffective item seeing as I planned on constantly switching Pokémon to cover each other’s weaknesses rather than getting hit and activating the Berry since Fighting Gem Close Combat from Hitmontop OHKO’s through the Berry anyway.

Rock Slide was there to hit Flying-type Pokémon like Zapdos and Thundurus and certain Bug-type Pokémon like Volcarona, as well giving me a very nice chance for the infamous ParaFlinch combo if Cresselia had already paralyzed one of their Pokémon. Low Kick was the best 3rd move on Tyranitar because it gave great coverage, allowing my Tyranitar to OHKO enemy Tyranitar (barring chople or sash) and Terrakion (50% of the time on non-bulky sets) and deal great damage to Hydreigon among other things that it would not have been able to hit as hard any other way. Protect was there because Tyranitar was a slow mon and sometimes I would need to avoid damage when a threat was on a field while my partner Pokémon either KO’dthe threat or slowed it down.

Lacerate (Scizor) (M) @ Flying Gem
Trait: Technician
EVs: 148 HP / 252 Atk / 108 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
– Bug Bite
– Bullet Punch
– Protect
– Acrobatics

Good ‘ol Scizor. With one of the best dual typings in the game, this guy is truly a monster. This guy completes the defensive/offensive core that people hate to face, consisting of Tyranitar, Scizor, and Garchomp. This guy is at the top of the VGC threatlist, so having a counter to him was vital. On the flip side, if you didn’t have a Steel-type on your team you would have a major problem countering all the Dragons firing off boosted Draco Meteors.

The EVs were to max out Attack while also giving up a little bulk for the ability to oustpeed most common Hitmontops/Metagross and get off the Acrobatics/Bug Bite before they could attack me (as nobody likes to take a Fighting Gem Close Combat, and getting off that first Bullet Punch may be key to winning the match). Scizor also has one of the strongest priorities in the game, Bullet Punch, as not only is it 60 base power with his ability, but it hits many common Pokémon unresisted/super effectively. Many people dropped this set in lieu of a set with Lum Berry + Acrobatics or Swords Dance instead of Acrobatics, but I still love this set and consider it extremely strong and versatile and a threat to any team who faces it. I was considering running Swagger on Cresselia and running Lum, but that would be a major change to the team as a whole and since it worked so well this far, why change it? My team did have a weakness to terrakion and tyranitar, so it was nice to have this guy keep checks on them with a priority STAB Bullet Punch to deal with Terrakion and scarf Tyranitar even though it was slower.

Cassini (Cresselia) (F) @ Chesto Berry
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 240 HP / 240 Def / 28 SAtk
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
– Rest
– Psychic
– Icy Wind
– Thunder Wave

Chesto-Resto Cress. This name strikes fear and rage into the hearts of VGC players all over the globe. Why you may ask? It’s because this girl can spend the beginning half of the game paralyzing your whole team or slowing it with Icy Wind, and then, right when you knock it to 2 HP, it uses Rest, gains back ALL its HP, cures itself of any status conditions, and wakes itself up.

Cress was my Speed control Pokémon, allowing me to take the advantage in games where I would have been KO’d myself if I didn’t move first. Yes, you might have asked, “Why would you run both Thunder Wave and Icy Wind on the same set?” In theory it may seem like a bad decision, but in practice it turned out very well. The surprise of having Icy Wind and Thunder Wave on the same set often times paid off when they brought in Garchomp expecting an easy time. Though Icy Wind did only slight damage, it quickly built up and KO’d weakened Pokémon and hit Pokémon like Salamence or Garchomp for massive damage since it is 4x super effective. Most people dropped Icy Wind in favor of the brute power of Ice Beam since you already had Thunder Wave for Speed control, but I preferred both, if only for the reason that Icy Wind could slow down enemy Garchomp and allow for my Garchomp to outspeed and KO without taking any damage. Psychic was there to help me deal with the pesky Hitmontops with Intimidate that pseudo Sand teams always hate to face as most Sand sweepers are physical attackers (Garchomp, Tyranitar, Scizor). It also dealt a nice amount of damage which put certain Pokémon in KO range of my other attackers.

This Pokémon without a doubt was the key to almost all of my victories. It was a staple on most teams, and if you couldn’t counter this beast, the game was already over.

Chidori (Zapdos) @ Sitrus Berry
Trait: Pressure
EVs: 8 HP / 112 Def / 148 SAtk / 108 SDef / 132 Spd
Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk)
– Thunderbolt
– Heat Wave
– Detect
– Hidden Power [Ice]

While Zapdos was the least used Pokémon on my team, I still loved it.  With this EV spread (Thanks Jhud!!!), Zapdos could tank a Latios Dragon Gem Draco Meteor and then heal back up 25% with Sitrus Berry (so it wouldn’t immediately be KO’d by Sandstorm afterwards), as well as being able to tank Rock Slides as well. The Speed EVs were to outspeed neutral base 80’s like Mamoswine and Chandelure, and I put the rest into Special Attack to be able to do some damage. The reason this guy needed to be on the team was, if you hadn’t noticed yet, I DIDN’T HAVE ANY FIRE MOVES! Pokémon like Scizor, Escavalier, and Ferrothorn were a problem for this team, and Zapdos was a great answer, resisting all their stabs, and hitting them back with a 4x super effective move.

Next, I choose Hidden Power Ice since Zapdos couldn’t hit Garchomp hard with Heat Wave (thanks to a resistance, and the spread move power drop) and you never want to face another Garchomp for too long, ESPECIALLY if you set up Sand for it. I did not end up using HP Ice much in the tournaments, but I felt it was a safer bet than Tailwind because my Cresselia usually took care of the Speed problem. There were a lot of other options for Zapdos’ last move, but when it was all said and done, HP Ice seemed to be the best bet for this team. Detect over Protect was chosen for the obvious reason of Imprison users (Just in case :P).


Let me start off with saying all Pokémon had synergy with each other in some way (ie: Hitmontop would have great synergy with every Pokémon due to Intimidate support and Fake Out) . For this report I will just highlight the pairs that had the best synergy and success in my 2012 run.

Hitmontop + Cresselia

This was my most common lead during my VGC 2012 run. The goal was to Fake Out a threat to Cresselia while Cresselia paralyzed the threat to my team. Leading with a Special attacker was also important as many other opponents led with Hitmontop, and I didn’t want to get my other physical sweepers at -1 from Intimidate. On that same note, Cresselia served to kill opposing Hitmontop leads with Psychic. By paralyzing, say, a Metagross that had Zen Headbutt, I would be able to land a Fighting Gem Close Combat before being KO’d by metagross to leave a dent on Metagross and allow me to KO it with Tyranitar or Garchomp later on. Metagross was a threat to this team, and it was a common lead on other teams to suppress my Hitmontop’s Intimidate. Topcress proved invaluable in mitigating that threat.

Hitmontop + Garchomp

The idea behind this is similar to TopMoth, where Volcarona would Quiver Dance while Himontop Fake Outs a threat. In my take on TopMoth, I have Garchomp use Swords Dance while I Fake Out the threat to Garchomp. On occasion, I would sacrifice Garchomp’s HP in order to pull a Swords Dance off. For example, if I know my opponent would either switch the first turn, protect, or attack Garchomp with a move that wouldn’t KO Garchomp, I would Swords Dance in an attempt to sweep the rest of the team. In order to play this gambit I needed to speed control faster threats with Cresselia, or Fake Out them with Hitmontop in order to KO them with the +2.

Cresselia + Garchomp

This was another pair of Pokémon that I felt very comfortable having on the field at the same time. This pair had amazing synergy and bulk together, and I was never disappointed when I used them. With the ability Levitate, Cresselia became the perfect partner for Garchomp, not being hit by Garchomp’s STAB boosted Earthquakes. On the other end, Cresselia could help Garchomp, who has a 2x weakness to Dragon and a 4x weakness to Ice, survive the attacks of faster Pokémon by slowing them down with Thunder Wave or Icy Wind while Garchomp Protects. The next turn, Garchomp could attack first and hopefully KO the Pokémon. Whenever people faced this combo, they never really knew which Pokémon to attack because on one end you can potentially have a +2 Attack garchomp with BRIGHTPOWDER and Sand up and on the other hand, a Cresselia paralyzing and slowing down your whole team. That really messed with my opponents’ heads and gave me a mind advantage that really helped me in a lot of my games. Keep in mind it’s a lot harder playing your opponent face to face than over the internet. Anxiety can easily cloud your vision and cause you to blunder and lose.

Garchomp + Zapdos

The infamous ZapChomp combo. While this set had been seen much more in previous years, it was still a strong combo, first made evident by the DISQUAKE combo (Zapdos is immune to Garchomp’s spread move Earthquake, and Garchomp is immune to Zapdos’ spread move Discharge). One reason people believe this combo has diminished in popularity is its glaring weakness to Ice-type attacks. With Zapdos being extremely bulky though, he was able to take a couple Ice Beams/Blizzards before going down, and was able to hit opposing Water-type Pokémon, many of whom carry Ice Beam, super effectively. I also had the option of switching in Tyranitar to disrupt Hail, and Scizor ABSOLUTELY walled Abomasnow (barring the almost never seen Hidden Power Fire). While my set lacked Discharge (I didn’t like the fact that I would hurt myself if I had anybody other than Garchomp on the field so I dropped it for the more powerful Thunderbolt), it still carried Earthquake, and Steel-types that walled Garchomp’s Dragon-type attacks, were usually able to be OHKO’d with a combination of Earthquake and Heat Wave. Overall if these two were ever on the field at the same time, I was never uneasy because of it and was in fact confident of my ability to win the battle.

Tyranitar + Garchomp

One of my favorite leads. Tyranitar (known best by it’s ability Sand Stream) would be able to set up permanent Sand from Turn 1, activating Garchomp’s ability Sand Veil. So from the start all 100% accurate moves are only hitting Garchomp 72% of the time, allowing it a much easier time to set up Swords Dance. With Dark Gem, I could defeat Cresselia, who normally walls Garchomp, because a +2 Dragon Claw and a Dark Gem Crunch OHKO’d even Sitrus Cresselia from full health! Tyranitar could also deal with Latios while Garchomp Protects, eliminating yet another counter for Garchomp. In return, Garchomp could hit Metagross (a hard Tyranitar counter) super effectively (even OHKOing it at +2) with Earthquake. I don’t know, but I just loved this lead so much because it allowed me to utilize Garchomp to it’s full potential right from the get-go! Not only did it serve as a great lead, this pair was very effective late game to pick off weakened opponents. Their attacks went hand-in-hand with each other and took out multiple threats to the team with ease and prediction.

Zapdos + Tyranitar

Instead of explaining how well these two work as a team, I’ll just show you a battle where they dominated (and Garchomp saved the day by a hair)…

The video ends on a forfeit, but Garchomp survived the Iron Head with just a few HP remaining to secure the win next turn.

Final Thoughts

I felt that this team had a solid core, which was able to check just about everything. No team is impervious, but I felt that this team could counter most, if not all, of the metagame with a lot of thinking and predicting, which in turn led to a lot of outplaying. This team is indeed very standard. With the exception of a couple moves, these are the Pokémon that come to people’s minds when they build a team and decide on threats. A mistake I made before going to worlds was testing out a bunch of other teams that other people used because my team was too standard. While putting “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat for hours on end, I tried laddering with different teams. It was to no avail. I couldn’t use any other team besides my own. My team was too ingrained into me, and I wouldn’t be able to adapt to a new team in the short time between Nationals and Worlds. So what’s the moral behind all of that junk I just said? Use something you are comfortable with. The team is only as good as the trainer. At the end of the day, all that mattered was that you did the best with no regrets and had fun, so why not use what you like and are comfortable with? That doesn’t mean using a Chansey with Double Team and Serene Grace Rock Slide spam, but try mixing up your team with your favorite Pokémon. Some of the best players in the world did just that.

Now, a MASSIVE shout-out to all the people that made this run possible. Biggest thanks to my twin Nightblade7000 for building and testing this team with me! Testing wasn’t the only thing you helped me with. You gave me moral support to keep playing whenever I lost my mojo and lost all resolve to win. Without your pep talks and positive behavior to counteract my negative one, I probably wouldn’t have even placed at Regionals! ORLF <4! Now, to my Midwest homies Jhud and Zach for also testing and team building with me! You guys really made me feel like part of the community at Nationals, and I will always remember those good times. Keep throwing sick parties! A big thanks to Furaigon for RNGing my team for Regionals and Nationals. It only took you 3 months. On the flip side, a bigger thanks to Biosci for RNGing my worlds team in just a couple hours! Thanks to everyone at Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with (you know who you are). In just a couple days I already felt like I’ve known you guys for years (I’ll get you your chocolate cake one day, Kamz).  I’d like to also thank the entire Pokémon community for being something I’m proud of being in. The level of dedication and sportsmanship showed by so many competitors is truly amazing, and I feel honored to have played with so many great players and shake hands with them. Thanks to the ever thoughtful Pokémon Company for hosting these events in such a fluid and pragmatic manner. Thanks to Nugget Bridge for asking me to make a team analysis which allows me to show my ideas with the world. And now a final thanks to you, The Reader, for taking the time to peruse through my ideas and hopefully test them. I’m glad to be able to share my experiences with you guys. It’s been a good run.

Article image created by Aaron Marcus Cunanan for Nugget Bridge.

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