Published on December 2nd, 2013 | by kingofmars


Ludimoth Was Here, Topmoth is a Loser: 2013 Masters US National Champion Report

For those of you who don’t know, I’m kingofmars. I managed to win US Nationals. I started my VGC career in 2011 in the newly created Seniors division, where I placed top 4 at the NorCal Regional, losing to Unreality, which I then followed up with a top 16 finish at US Nationals, losing to Mosquito. After failing to qualify in Worlds LCQ and being motivated to make better teams for the next year, I managed to do very similar to my 2011 performance despite my best efforts in 2012, top 4ing Regionals and then losing round 1 of Nationals. However, my story in 2012 didn’t end at the LCQ for Worlds, as I made it through and then secured a 2nd seed after 6 rounds of swiss, losing top 8 to eventual winner, Dim.

After the decent success I had in 2012, the Masters division has been rough on me, with some less than spectacular luck coupled with some poorly thought out decisions leading to some less than spectacular results to say the least, bubbling both California Regionals and bombing Massachusetts after going on tilt due to an organizer error. One thing that really struck me from after Massachusetts was that I really wasn’t playing as well as I could be, making a lot of basic mistakes that I knew needed to be improved on for Nationals. Despite the poor result at Massachusetts, I still believed that the idea that I used when building my team, which was a heavy focus on offensive synergy to keep pressure on the opponent and momentum in my favor. After way too much time being spent practicing with the new team I made, I felt decently comfortable for Nationals, thinking that I could probably break my streak of missing cut if it went to a top 32, and I could see what happens from there. Since I did slightly better than squeaking into top cut, I was forced by Rushan and Scott to write a team report reflecting my choices before and during Nationals.

As a bit of a disclaimer, this team was meant to work off of my own personal playstyle, which is significantly more reactionary than any others that I’ve seen. While most people prefer being in the driver’s seat and having their opponent react to them due to their team archtype. I personally dislike building teams that are built around a certain core strategy, simply because of how hard it is to play with the team after the main focus becomes unusable due to team matchup. This team was designed to be able to beat almost any given matchup, assuming that I play correctly and not get too unlucky during the match. For this given purpose, I thought the team was a huge success, regardless of it lacking some more conventional aspects of team building like speed control or majorly bulky Pokemon.

The Team


I thought the best way to have a more reactionary team be successful was to have fantastic synergy among all of the Pokemon, since that would vastly improve my odds of being able to have a winning matchup against any other given team. I also found that for a team that isn’t setting up win conditions for itself, it needed to be extremely aggressive, otherwise it’ll just get walked over. Since my goal with the team was based off of strong offensive synergy, I started in the obvious place and chose Amoonguss as my team’s first Pokemon. Amoonguss is a Pokemon I’ve always enjoyed using in 5th gen, and even though it isn’t as insanely popular as it was in 2011, it’s still a very viable option. It also has the distinction of being the most annoying Pokemon in the game, utilizing its bulk and Spore to make life miserable for the opponent when played right. Its access to Rage Powder let opponents vent their frustrations to the giant mushroom. I think that when playing an offensive team, it’s important to know your own limitations, and that’s why deciding on Amoonguss as the support Pokemon as the first step in teambuilding was so important.

With my major support Pokemon decided, I ran through a long list of Pokemon that would benefit from Amoonguss’ support while also helping out each other. I forget how, but I somehow came across Bisharp and Volcarona as the next two Pokemon I added to the team. While Bisharp is a very cool Pokemon, I found that it was extremely easy for almost any team to play around and didn’t apply as much pressure as I needed it to on the team. Due to this and really, really not wanting to lose to Divecats at Nationals, I ended up eventually ditching Bisharp for Metagross, which worked out extremely well due to Metagross’ being a more well-rounded Pokemon. It provided my team with some much needed bulk, as well as gaining some very interesting offensive options for the team in the form of Psychic Gem Zen Headbutt, turning some conventional losing matchups into more neutral, or even beneficial ones. For example, while this team had a very difficult time dealing with Quiver Dance Volcarona, Metagross’ ability to immediately OHKO it was much appreciated, as well as being able to deal very respectable damage to opposing Gyarados, which also was an annoying problem to deal with for this team. While Volcarona underperformed for me at Nationals, it showed its true strength at Worlds, and that was in changing how the team is played. Quiver Dance Volcarona was the most effective way I had to gain momentum for myself and put my opponent on the defensive. When not setting up a Quiver Dance, Volcarona was successful in always putting pressure on, with the threat of its powerful attacks being almost as effective as the attacks themselves.

With the first half of my team decided, I ended up using a Pokemon that I had less than great success with. After doing pretty horribly in Massachusetts with Landorus-I, I decided to give him a second chance, which turned out to be a pretty solid decision. Landorus is a pretty hit or miss pokemon in matchups, it will either OHKO you and make you bow down to it, or do nothing and die immediately. However, I liked the play of putting it on my team because the main counter to it, Cresselia,  leaves me in a great position to set up Quiver Dance or do some serious damage with Volarona if selected. After adding Landorus-I to the team, I realized that Tyranitar covered all of Landorus’ weaknesses: not most of them, all of them. My mind was effectively blown at this point, but I had trouble thinking of a way I could add Tyranitar to the team while keeping the offensive momentum the team had going for it. Tyranitar is a fine pokemon and all, it just tends to move last, and I want to knock out other things before they knock me out, it’s a very complex strategy. With that decided, I figured that Choice Scarf was the most logical item for Tyranitar, since it could outspeed and OHKO threats to Landorus-I, while Landorus outsped and OHKO’d all of Tyranitars threats. Or it would, if all of those threats didn’t have priority. Can’t win them all. As an interesting sidenote, if it was legal, I might have run Scarf Landorus-T and Landorus-I on the same team due to helping against Sand teams more and not being able to be paralyzed by Thunder Wave.

At this point of the teambuilding, I realized that I needed some Fake Out support for my team, as well as some additional bulk, since something on this team needed to not faint immediately besides Amoonguss. While I could have used something along the lines of bulky Hitmontop, I elected to use bulky Sitrus Ludicolo instead for a couple of reasons. Reason 1) it beats Rain hard, I’ve had a fear of really good Rain teams for a long time with almost any team, and since Ludicolo is arguably the best Rain counter in the game, along with Amoonguss, it suited my needs. Of course when including this as a factor I ended up losing to the one team with Politoed I faced in all of Nationals, go figure. Reason 2) the typing/coverage: Giga Drain/Ice Beam/Scald do meaningful damage to most offensive threats in the game, which is what I was shooting for. Additionally, I felt a lot more comfortable facing all of the rotom forms when using Ludicolo, since I could always survive their attacks and hit back with a super effective attacks, which of course meant that I lost 50% of the time to teams that brought a Rotom form against me at Nationals, go figure. Ludicolo also is able to deal out Scalds on turns where there’s nothing better to do, and the 30% chance of a burn is significant enough to make it very worthwhile.

After testing the team enough on Pokemon Showdown to ensure that everyone else knew the team, I felt as comfortable as I could be with the team going into Nationals


Denial (Landorus) (M) @ Life Orb
Trait: Sheer Force
EVs: 72 HP / 204 SAtk / 92 SDef / 140 Spd
IVs: 2 Atk / 30 Def
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
– Protect
– Earth Power
– Psychic
– Hidden Power [Ice]

Landorus is easily the star of the show with this team, and was my most frequently selected Pokemon at Nationals for a very good reason. Landorus-I does insane damage to everything with a Life Orb-, Sheer Force-, and STAB-boosted Earth Power, giving it the strongest consistent Special Attack in the game, rocking 100% accuracy as well as not lowering stats or inflicting damage on itself. When looking at Landorus’ rather sparse special movepool, Psychic stuck out like a sore thumb for having solid neutral coverage with Earth Power, as well as OHKOing Conkeldurr and Breloom, which is always very nice to have. While I did test HP Flying for a while, HP Ice was by far the best move on the last slot for Landorus, because it easily OHKOs the inferior Landorus form, providing it isn’t holding a Yache Berry or a Focus Sash. The EVs let Landorus hit a speed stat of 139, which allows it to outspeed neutral nature max Speed Rotom forms and Kingdra outside of Rain. While hitting 141 speed to outrun Excadrill outside of Sand was tempting, being able to do so was never important during testing for whatever reason, so I decided against it. The investment in HP and Special Defense let Landorus survive a whole bunch of neat stuff, including Tornadus’ Flight Gem Acrobatics 16/16 times, Cybertron’s Thundurus’ HP Ice 15/16 times, Ray’s Cresselia’s Ice Beam 11/16 times, and as I learned at Worlds, 0 SpA Gastrodon’s Ice Beam 16/16 times.


Anger (Amoonguss) (M) @ Chesto Berry
Trait: Regenerator
EVs: 236 HP / 84 Def / 4 SAtk / 84 SDef / 100 Spd
Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk)
– Rage Powder
– Spore
– Giga Drain
– Protect

Amoonguss’ role on the team is pretty simple, use Rage Powder and Spore so the Pokemon with actual offensive stats can win the game. Even though Rage Powder and Spore is pretty much the only things that Amoonguss does, it’s still an insanely valuable member of the team just for that. Spore is an insanely good move, and even when the opponent gets a first turn wake up, you aren’t losing anything by going for it. While I’m prepared for multiple first turn wake ups in the worst case scenario, every time I get a 2nd or max turn sleep, I’m able to fully use it to my advantage, whether its allowing my team to switch more easily (which is huge), or to get more health on Amoonguss through the magical properties of Regenerator. The moveset is around as standard as standard gets on Amoonguss, and while there are some cool moves I could run over Protect, Protect simply gives me too many options on this team to give up. The EVs let Amoonguss hit the benchmark moves it needs to survive, those being Latios’ Psychic and Metagross’ Zen Headbutt. Despite the former not being as common anymore, it’s still good to be able to survive the attack, and if nothing else it boosts the general special bulk. The Speed investment is probably the most interesting part about the set, and was highlighted in my game against Enosh in the finals of Nationals. I hit 61 speed with this set, which is enough to let me outspeed Adamant Rhyperior and 4 Speed Gastrodon, as well as most Pokemon that have a Trick Room mode, like Quiet 0 IV Jellicent or Brave 0 IV Tyranitar. Fortunately, I still underspeed Eruption Heatran, assuming it doesn’t have Iron Ball or is actually a Torkoal, giving me a huge edge against almost any Trick Room based team. I debated the item on Amoonguss a lot, between Chesto berry and Mental Herb. While Mental Herb allowed me to laugh at Taunt and quell my irrational fear of Taunt/Dragon Dance Gyarados, Chesto Berry was overall more useful due to the hordes of Breloom and opposing Amoonguss’ in Trick Room that I had to face.


Bargaining (Ludicolo) (F) @ Sitrus Berry
Trait: Swift Swim
EVs: 188 HP / 4 Def / 108 SAtk / 140 SDef / 68 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
– Fake Out
– Scald
– Ice Beam
– Giga Drain

I already explained why I ran Ludicolo in the team building section, so I won’t go over it again. However I will note that while I didn’t notice the benefits of Ludicolo at nationals, the benefits of it were obvious at Worlds, with Ludicolo giving me a huge edge in my games against Alberto, Zog, and Yuki that Hitmontop would not have been able to provide. This EV spread is really, really old, circa November 2011. It still does the job though, it has a lot of special bulk for surviving Dragon Gem-boosted Draco Meteors a majority of the time. I honestly forget what the rest of the specialized EVs do, since I kind of just grabbed the nearest Ludicolo set I could find and used it. I’m sure there’s a reason though. Probably. Fake Out is by far Ludicolo’s most important move, giving this team a huge boost in momentum, as well as making switching a lot easier, which is something that this team really really needs. The three attacking moves are all for coverage, with each being useful. While Protect over one of the attacking moves was tempting, I decided against it mainly because Ludicolo generally isn’t a Pokemon that I need at a consistent high hp stat, it’s more of an insurance mechanism than anything. Sitrus Berry is what makes Ludicolo actually useful, complementing its bulk extremely well.


QD3.14Moth (Volcarona) (F) @ Lum Berry
Trait: Flame Body
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
– Protect
– Quiver Dance
– Heat Wave
– Bug Buzz

Volcarona’s importance to the team is that it can apply pressure like no other pokemon on my team. The threat of having a Volcarona with a Quiver Dance boost forces the opponent to respect it. In addition, the Bug/Fire coverage was perfect for the team in order not to auto-lose against Cresselia and most Steel types, which is a pretty big chunk of games. The EVs are simple because I didn’t feel a need to overcomplicate them. When testing a bulkier set, I found I just didn’t have enough power or speed to make Volcarona as large of a threat as I wanted it to be, so I went with the safe, boring option of 252/252. The moveset is pretty self-explanatory at that point, since really no other 4th move did anything near the importance of the pressure a Quiver Dance boost brings. While various Gems are useful in certain spots, I ultimately went with Lum Berry in order to get a Quiver Dance off against Pokemon like Breloom and Thundurus, who like to use their status moves on Volcarona hoping it doesn’t have Lum Berry.


Depression (Tyranitar) (F) @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
– Low Kick
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
– Crunch

Scarftar makes the team work. Without it, I’m almost completely destroyed by Thundurus. The reason that this Scarftar covers Thundurus so well is because Stone Edge is a really really good move on it, when it hits, that is. Stone Edge did a lot of work for me at Nationals, winning me a couple of games by actually hitting 5/6 times. However it did the opposite at worlds, hitting 2/7 times, can’t win them all. The rest of the moves are your standard moves on Tyranitar, and for a good reason. Each of them has reliability along with solid coverage that really helps out the moveset. While Superpower over Low Kick in order to take care of Excadrill is an interesting idea, I preferred the consistency of Low Kick, in that the opponent couldn’t take advantage of my dropped Attack and Defense stats. Tyranitar is also useful in changing the weather in my favor, provided I get it in safely.


Acceptance (Metagross) @ Psychic Gem
Trait: Clear Body
EVs: 220 HP / 164 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SDef / 52 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
– Meteor Mash
– Bullet Punch
– Protect
– Zen Headbutt

Metagross is an insanely strong Pokemon, due to it having many arms, and its good all-around stats made it favorable over any other Steel-type. Once again, these EVs are old and circa November 2011, where I believe it was run on a Shuca Berry Metagross set to be 3hko’d by Garchomp’s Earthquake. Regardless, it still works as a really well-balanced spread, letting me survive every unboosted Heat Wave in the game, and then responding back with a Psychic Gem Zen Headbutt for the KO on said Heat Wave-user, unless said Heat Wave-user is Heatran, in which case I’m going to have a bad time. Psychic Gem Zen Headbutt increases the diversity by so much in the range of things Metagross can OHKO that it’s a very worthwhile investment, especially when compared to the other lackluster options Metagross has for item choice when there’s no Japanese Swagger on the team. Bullet Punch lets Metagross finish its plate and actually knock out the opposing Pokemon that it’s damaged, as well as preventing me from hilariously losing to divecats, which is always nice.

Team Synergy

The major pro of the team is that every single combination of Pokemon is completely viable, letting me adjust easily depending on the matchup.



Ludicolo/Amoonguss is one of the best lead combinations this team has, because Spore and Fake Out are really, really good. Since both of them are also extremely good against Rain teams, together they make an extremely good lead vs any hardcore Rain team, who would have thought? It’s important to note that while still a good lead, against partial Rain teams it might not be the best idea to lead Ludicolo/Amoonguss because of the possibility that your opponent leads something of the non-Rain variety. However, the majority of these trouble Pokemon have to Protect turn 1, so even in the worst case scenario, Faking Out + switching is still a solid option, the only trouble is with what to do afterwards. This is also my best lead for playing against almost all Trick Room based teams, since this crushes any sort of Trick Room mode. The only reason I wouldn’t lead this against a Trick Room team is if their out-of-Trick Room options scared me enough into not using it. For instance, I would lead this against Cybertron’s, Ryosuke’s, or Ray’s Worlds’ teams, since I think I can handle their out of Trick Room options perfectly fine with this lead or with appropriate switches. However, I would not lead this against Sejun’s Worlds’ team, since Tornadus/Magmar is one of those leads I mentioned earlier that LudiShroom can’t do much about. As a general rule, if I feel like the opponent can’t effectively punish me for leading Ludi/Shroom, I almost certainly will use it.



As the title of the article suggests, this is a really good lead for a couple of reasons. The first being that partnering something with Ludicolo really helps the partner Pokemon shine if it’s put into a solid enough spot, giving Volcarona the best opportunity possible to set up Quiver Dances and get some work in. I generally go for this lead when the opponent doesn’t have too many options against Volcarona, which is the obvious time to do so. However, I also use LudiMoth against more aggressive teams, since they generally can do very little to stop Volcarona’s rampage once it gets going. While this is extremely viable in a lot of cases, the one flaw that it has is that while Volcarona sweeps are cool and all, I really need Ludicolo to put in just a little bit of extra damage in order to actually get the KOs I need. Unfortunately, Ludicolo is vulnerable to being flinched by Rock Slide, which my opponents tend to like to use when I have Volcarona out. While I didn’t have a problem with this at Nationals, this issue did come up at Worlds, kind of neutralizing the effectiveness of my lead. Unfortunately, this lead is probably the most solid matchup I have against a Thundurus/Landorus-T Lead, which leads to the problem I stated above. Even with the problem of being vulnerable to flinches, the lead still did an insane amount of work for me, and with Tyranitar in back works nicely as a lead against Rain teams that aren’t super hardcore Rain mode with like 3 different Water-types.



The entire point of this lead is to spike an important Flying-type without Protect for the opponent without losing resources. This lead is something that I generally only used in best-of-one play, since the play becomes more obvious with repetition. The lead was still insanely effective however, as getting a quick KO with Stone Edge on an important Pokemon puts games comfortably in my favor. In addition, Ludicolo/Tyranitar also made a decent counter to semi-Rain teams for reasons that should be pretty obvious, Rain teams like having Thundurus, I don’t like them having Thundurus, and Tyranitar takes care of that job nicely. Weather control is also insanely helpful, but this lead isn’t really designed for that, since a simple switch in to Politoed, or even leading Politoed, gets rid of this advantage.



These two pokemon complement each other insanely well, and work pretty decently as a lead against things that aren’t named Cresselia. Tyranitar can deal with pretty much everything that can threaten Landorus, and Landorus can threaten pretty much everything that can deal with Tyranitar. While this lead is really cool, it has an essential flaw in that most of the counters to Tyranitar carry Mach Punch, which messes up this entire strategy. However, when I’m not in a position to be heavily punished, this lead works exceptionally well.



The only reason I’m really even mentioning this lead is that it consists of my most effective way to deal with TopMoth, by forcing the opponent to put themselves into a position where I have an advantage in boosts over them. While this lead can be used for other purposes, this is really the best way to use it, and having this option really saves the team from having major problems against such a common threat.

Swiss Rounds

After using the team in around 250 games (number may or may not be made up), I felt as ready as I could be for Nationals, knowing that I would have to finish in the top 4 in order to get an invite to Worlds. I think that knowing that I had to either get top 4 or bust really motivated me to keep striving to do well in the event, raising the stakes on yourself forces you to play better than you otherwise would.

Round 1 against Adam Dunsworth (Final Record: 5-4)

Bring: Ludicolo/Metagross/Tyranitar/Landorus

When I see the guy, I see that he’s wearing what appears to be a local league shirt that could have been made 10 years ago, if not for the name on it, Torterra. I say good luck to him as I look at his team. When I see the first two, my first thought is that I probably got an easy round 1 opponent and was prepared to go into Wi-Fi tournament badstuffs mode. Then I saw the rest of his team, which isn’t exactly badstuffs material. Being extremely confused, I decide to bring Ludicolo/Metagross in front due to it being an extremely safe, neutral lead. The reason I brought Tyranitar and Landorus was more of a fear of not being able to use Volcarona or Amoonguss well than for their own particular strengths in this match. In retrospect, I could have gotten away with using Amoonguss instead of Landorus, but hindsight’s 20/20.

Turn 1: Ludicolo/Metagross vs Samurott/Tornadus

I’m kinda surprised that he actually brought Samurott, but I shrug it off and decide that the Tornadus is by far the bigger threat to my team, so I go for the Fake Out + Zen Headbutt on it. In retrospect this was a misplay, but I really didn’t know what a player who seems to know what they’re doing, but still uses Samurott, was capable of. He protects Tornadus and uses Surf, doing approximately zero damage to Ludicolo and putting Metagross at a little over half health, I outspeed it, the Samurott reveals its Life Orb.

Turn 2: While saying that the turn didn’t go well for me is a bit of an understatement, I look at his options and decide that hes going to either Acrobatics Ludicolo, putting me in a position to knock it out with Metagross, or he could switch to use it later. I decide to play it somewhat safe, not really feeling like losing Ludicolo quite yet, so I switch it into Tyranitar as the Tornadus U-turns it, doing a little less than half and switching into Rotom-W. I then go for the Psychic Gem Zen Headbutt on the Samurott, which survives in high red and goes for the Grass Knot on Tyranitar, knocking it out.

Turn 3: Ludicolo/Metagross vs Rotom-W/Samurott

I’m thinking that he didn’t Grass Knot to predict a switch, but instead he Grass Knotted because he thought that would actually do some damage to Ludicolo, which it really wouldn’t have. Sometimes plays that don’t entirely make sense work out however, so I just have to try to deal with it. In any case, I have a grass type vs two water types, and I can probably finish either of them off with Metagross, so I feel alright about my position still. I’m worried about taking any more damage with Metagross however, since it’s instrumental in letting me beat his Tornadus, so I go for the safe option of protecting and Giga Draining his Rotom-W. His Samurott Protects as well, and he Thunderbolts Ludicolo, getting a critical hit, losing me almost all of my health, and more importantly my Sitrus Berry. Giga Drain hits his Rotom, which is knocked down to around 50% health after Sitrus, restoring me to 75%. His own Samurott is knocked out by Sand damage this turn, so I’m really unsure as to why he Protected.

Turn 4: He sends in Landorus-T, and I know really my only chance to win the game at this point is to hope that I can survive an Earthquake and Thunderbolt, which I’m unable to do due to the critical hit the previous turn, and lose the game from there.

Record: 0-1

I spend the next 20 minutes recovering from the round 1 loss, which is a pretty terrifying way to start out a tournament that you really need to get top 4 in. I go over what I could have done differently and prepared myself for my round 2 opponent.

Round 2 vs Joshua Cody (Future 1-4 drop I believe)

Bring: Ludicolo/Amoonguss/Metagross/Landorus

By far the most eye catching thing about the team was the Shuckle + Chansey combo, which I seriously did not want to deal with after losing a game already, so I lead Ludicolo/Amoonguss, which is further justified by him not being able to touch it at all. In back I bring Metagross and Landorus primarily for their power, since I did not want to just sit back and let Chansey run all over me without trying to do some damage to it.

While I normally would do a turn-by-turn analysis, the game was kind of a boring stomp fest after I put the Chansey and Shuckle to sleep and eventually knock them out, so the game goes by kind of quickly as I win 4-0.

Round 3 vs Jacob Hartenburger (Final: 6-3)

Bring: Ludicolo/Amoonguss/Volcarona/Metagross

It’s Hailroom alright, which is probably one of my team’s best matchups, and I’m feeling kind of lucky that I played a team like this, since really, how many Hailroom teams could there possibly be at Nationals? I bring Ludicolo/Amoonguss with Volcarona/Metagross in back and win in a pretty dominant fashion. After the game, I make sure to talk to Jacob and give him a peptalk, partly for my resistance and partly because he seemed like a solid enough guy when I was playing him. Either the peptalk was successful or everyone was really Hailroom weak (which would explain other things that happened at Nationals), but he took it to heart and ended up finishing at a respectable 6-3.

Round 4 vs Duy Ha (Final: 5-4)

Bring: Ludicolo/Tyranitar/Landorus/Metagross

I wasn’t expecting to play someone I knew so soon, but I was feeling up to it, if only to redeem myself for my loss against Duy earlier in the season. We’re moved to the stream table, and as I told him good luck, he told me not to make this game like the last one, since it made him look bad. In team preview, I really want to try to get an early game spike against either his Rotom-H or his Zapdos, since Landorus and Metagross clean up easily from there, and the best lead to do that with is Ludicolo/Tyranitar, since in the worst case scenario I can just Fake Out and switch. I bring Landorus and Metagross in the back because they deal with the rest of his team very solidly.

Turn 1: Ludicolo/Tyranitar vs Terrakion/Zapdos

This is a really good spot for me, and I decide not to go for any fancy predictions and just go for the solid move in Fake Outing Terrakion and Stone Edging Zapdos. I’m rewarded for my strong grasp of the fundamentals and get a quick knock out on Zapdos as Terrakion protects.

Turn 2: Ludicolo/Tyranitar vs Terrakion/Conkeldurr

Well, that turn went well. I really don’t want to risk a switch at this point, mainly because Tyranitar has already done its job, and I really don’t feel like getting spiked or critical hit. I decide to just Stone Edge and Scald the Terrakion, just in case it has Focus Sash. Stone Edge hits Terrakion, getting a rather useless critical hit for a whopping 25% damage as Close Combat easily takes out Tyranitar, and due to the defense drop, I’m able to KO Terrakion rather easily in return. In response, Duy’s Conkeldurr Drain Punches Ludicolo, as I live with 32 hp and recover with Sitrus Berry. I note that Conkeldurr runs Leftovers.

Turn 3: Ludicolo/Landorus vs Conkeldurr/Rotom-H

Looking at Duy’s outs, they almost all consist of getting an Overheat off on Landorus with Rotom-H to knock it out, so as long as I can avoid that situation I’ll most likely be fine. Trying to bait the Overheat, I Protect and Scald the Rotom, as Duy Protects his Rotom and Ice Punches my Landorus, making the turn a complete wash.

Turn 4: I’m still trying to bait the Rotom into Overheating the Landorus, which is probably dumb, but I’m in a pretty solid spot regardless. I think about double targeting the Rotom-H but decide against it just due to the risk of him going for the double Protect or Mach Punch on Ludicolo. I Scald Rotom and switch into Metagross as Duy does go for the double Protect attempt, but it fails, with Scald doing 75% and Ice Punch doing barely anything to Metagross, giving me the win at this point. I eventually get Landorus in and KO Rotom with Psychic and KO Conkeldurr with the Psychic Gem-boosted Zen Headbutt.

Round 5 vs Ross (Final: 6-3)

After beating duy, I feel a lot more comfortable about my spot, since not only had I beaten an accomplished player, but I was also 3-1, which most people were at that point, so I had escaped the immediate danger zone. I didn’t know my opponent but soon found out that she went on Nugget Bridge.

Bring: Ludicolo/Tyranitar/Landorus/Amoonguss

I’m playing a Rain team, so I know I’ll bring Ludicolo and Amoonguss. The one problem is that her Togekiss is scaring me, so I do something a little weird here and decide to lead Ludicolo/Tyranitar to try to spike a KO early on. I also decide to bring Landorus out of fear of Scizor, and because Volcarona has a pretty abysmal matchup against the rest of her team.

Turn 1: Politoed/Kingdra vs Ludicolo/Tyranitar

Alright so I totally guessed wrong about what she would lead, but since I have Fake Out I can just keep myself safe as I get Amoonguss in, so my move is looking pretty obvious right now. As I bring Amoonguss in she double Protects and I’m in a considerably better looking spot.

Turn 2: Politoed/Kingdra vs Ludicolo/Amoonguss

I’m guessing that there’s a fairly significant chance that her Kingdra is running a Lum Berry / Substitute stuff, so I really don’t want to take a gamble on Sporing it for nothing while I can annoy Politoed at the very least, so I Giga Drain Kingdra to ensure that if she does use Substitute, she gets no reward, as I Spore Politoed. She ends up using Substitute on Kingdra and Ice Beaming Amoonguss for around 35% as I put Politoed to sleep.

Turn 3: Politoed/Kingdra vs Ludicolo/Amoonguss

I’m feeling a bit ambitious here and decide that she is probably going to Protect Kingdra in order to get a “free turn”, so in order to punish her, I decided to try to go for a double Giga Drain on Politoed, since when Politoed is gone it’s pretty much gg. While she does end up protecting Kingdra, she does manage to switch Politoed out into Togekiss which eats the two Giga Drains for breakfast.

Turn 4: Kingdra/Togekiss vs Ludicolo/Amoonguss

Her options as I see them are: Follow Me/Substitute and Air Slash and Substitute, regardless of which path she takes, it’s going to be worth it to Giga Drain to try to break Kingdra’s Substitute and pray to various deities that I don’t get flinched by Air Slash. She ends up going for the latter option and I am rewarded with successfully getting a spore off onto Togekiss, proving once again that Spore is a broken move and that VGC needs sleep clause.

Turn 5: Kingdra/Togekiss vs Ludicolo/Amoonguss

Alright I’m fairly sure that she’s tired of me messing with her Substitutes at this point, so she’s probably inclined to go for an offensive route. At this point with two of her Pokemon already asleep, I figure its fine if Amoonguss takes the hit as opposed to either of my other Pokemon, and there’s a chance that she might decide to just attack Ludicolo anyways, so I decide to double attack her Kingdra with Giga Drain. Somehow I manage to be right again as she Draco Meteors my Ludicolo, activating my Sitrus Berry as I knock out her Kingdra with two Giga Drains.

Turn 6: Togekiss/Scizor vs Ludicolo/Amoonguss

At this point Scizor has replaced Kingdra as the primary threat on her team, and I figure that I need to put some pressure on it with Landorus and allow Amoonguss to heal up with Regenerator so it can effectively Rage Powder away Bullet Punches in the future. I scald her Scizor, which Protects, and switch into Landorus as Togekiss sleeps, which is fine with me.

Turn 7: Togekiss/Scizor vs Ludicolo/Landorus

I figure I might as well Scald the Scizor in case she decides not to Follow Me and back it up with a Hidden Power Ice, guaranteeing I at least do some solid damage to Togekiss. However to my surprise she doesn’t Follow Me, as scald does 60% to Scizor and burns it as she reveals her Togekiss is Choice Scarfed with an Air Slash flinch onto Landorus. Ludicolo manages to survive the incoming Bug Bite due to the burn.

Turn 8: Togekiss/Scizor vs Ludicolo/Landorus
With her Togekiss revealing itself to be Choice Scarfed and Scizor being burned, I feel a lot better about the situation and figure that I’m a commanding favorite to win the game at this point. I decide to just Scald the Togekiss for damage assuming I survive the Bullet Punch and Earth Power for the potential KO. She does the obvious move as Ludicolo survives her Steel Gem Bullet Punch with 7 hp as Landorus flinches again from Air Slash, surviving with 27 hp.

Turn 9: Ludicolo/Landorus vs Togekiss/Scizor
At this point I figure I’ll just let Ludicolo faint and preserve Landorus for a better situation, as I Protect and Scald Scizor on the very very off chance she doesn’t Bullet Punch. Of course she doesn’t pull any punches and knocks out Ludicolo as I Protect myself against the incoming Air Slash.

Turn 10: Amoonguss/Landorus vs Scizor/Togekiss

While I could Rage Powder and Hidden Power Ice the Togekiss, I decide that I have significantly better options by switching out Landorus to Tyranitar to take the Air Slash. I Protect Amoonguss from the Bug Bite as Air Slash does pitiful damage. Her Scizor finally faints from burn damage and I feel really good about my situation.

Turn 11: Amoonguss/Tyranitar vs Politoed/Togekiss
There’s no reason for me to stray from the obvious move here, just Rage Powder and Rock Slide to prevent flinching shenanigans. Air Slash KOs Amoonguss as I KO togekiss. Next turn I finish her Politoed off with a Rock Slide and Earth Power for a 2-0 win.

Round 6 vs Darkeness (Final: 6-3)

I see the name Keegan on my opponents list and it doesn’t quite strike me as to who it is until I sit down at the table. “You’re Darkeness right?” “Yeah, you’re kingofkongs right? Are you using the same team that you’ve been using on Showdown?” “Yeah, are you?” “Yeah.” For those of you unaware, Darkeness and I probably both use our actual teams on Showdown far too much, leading to fun situations like this where everyone is in the know about what the other one has in their arsenal.

Bring: Landorus/Tyranitar/Amoonguss/???

Turn 1: Bisharp/Latios vs Landorus/Tyranitar

This is definitely an above average spot for me, considering that I can Earth Power Bisharp and Crunch Latios while risking nothing. It’s a super obvious play, but it’s one that I probably should go for, since if it works I win big. Unfortuantely, Darkeness easily sees through it, possibly because I’ve done the exact same thing in at least one of our games on Showdown. He ends up switching Latios to Conkeldurr and protecting Bisharp as Crunch does a little under half health to Conkeldurr.

Turn 2: Bisharp/Conkeldurr vs Landorus/Tyranitar

I realize that Darkeness had to have some sort of plan besides “switch in the Pokemon who is hard countered by the other Pokemon on the field.” I realize that this plan probably involves Mach Punching and Sucker Punching, so I opt to Protect and send in Amoonguss to save me from the scary priority punches. I turn out to be right and get myself into a really good situation.

Turn 3: Bisharp/Conkeldurr vs Landorus/Amoonguss
So at this point I have two options in my eyes: go for the safe Rage Powder + attacking move and risk being exploited by an obvious switch to Latios, or risk him gong for the Mach Punch and Sucker Punch back-to-back and go for the Spore on the incoming switch. I decide that him going for the Mach Punch and Sucker Punch on Landorus just isn’t likely considering that I’ve shown myself to be willing to go for the safe moves, and that the same exact move failed the previous turn. My read manages to be right, as he switches Bisharp to Latios as I Psychic the Conkeldurr, which surprisingly fails to protect and Spore the incoming Latios, giving me a huge advantage in the game.

Turn 4: Volcarona/Latios vs Landorus/Amoonguss

It’s pretty evident what I need to do here, that being get tyranitar in ASAP. I decide to protect Landorus and switch in Tyranitar for Amoonguss, which in retrospect could have been improved by switching Landorus out on the chance that he opts for the Quiver Dance, but hindsight and all of that. Fortunately I’m not punished, as his Volcarona protects as I get Tyranitar in safely.

Turn 5: Volcarona/Latios vs Landorus/Tyranitar

I decide that I really want to keep Landorus alive and healthy for as long as I can manage to do so, and that it would be pretty unlikely for him to go for a Quiver Dance in the face of two {okemon that can do significant damage to it. Additionally he can really only choose to KO one on a later turn, putting me in a good spot regardless of what he chooses to do. I Crunch latios and OHKO it as he goes for the Bug Buzz on Tyranitar. I retaliate with an Earth Power, which does big damage.

Turn 6: Volcarona/Bisharp vs Landorus/Tyranitar

At this point I have this thing in the bag as I go for the Crunch on Volcarona and Earth Power on Bisharp, he Sucker Punches Landorus hoping for a critical hit, but fails to get it as I pull off a 4-0 win.

Round 7 vs Fishy (Final: 6-3)

This game is the only one at Nationals that I think I played truly poorly in, I go for an extremely unnecessarily risky play, which had been working out for me in previous games, and get punished due to me not knowing what Fishy’s Gastrodon spread was. However, I manage to get bailed out and win easily after that due to a critical hit. I’m not sure if I could have won after that, since it would depend on whether my last Pokemon was Tyranitar or Metagross, which wasn’t revealed at that point. Instead of forcing the readers to live through my bad play, I’ll just say good game Fishy, Pokemon happens sometimes.

Round 8 vs lucariojr (Final: 6-3)

While I don’t recognize my opponent by name, I most certainly recognize him by face, as we congratulate each other on making it this far and play with each other’s plushes. It’s at this point that Jwittz comes up to us and lucariojr forces my Throh and Sandile to do unspeakable things, which he even has the audacity to put in his Nationals video. I’m now filled with new found anger and desire to win, to make Luke pay for what he did.


Bring: Amoonguss/Tyranitar/Landorus/Metagross

Randy Kwa called; he wants 5/6ths of his team back. Fortunately, this is a matchup which I prepared a lot for before Nationals, so I feel reasonably comfortable in what to do and end up going with old faithful for leads, Amoonguss/Tyranitar, which gives me options against pretty much any lead he can come up with.

Turn 1: Togekiss/Latios vs Tyranitar/Amoonguss

This is probably in the upper echelon of lead matchups I could have hoped for, as I recognize his Togekiss as his biggest threat to my team and attempt to take it out with a Stone Edge and cover my tracks with a Spore. He Protects Latios as Stone Edge knocks Togekiss down to very low red, which he recovers back with Sitrus. He then Air Slashes Amoonguss, preventing the Spore from going off.

Turn 2: Togekiss/Latios vs Tyranitar/Amoonguss

Togekiss is such an important pokemon for allowing his Excadrill to function, especially with my use of Landorus, I figure he’s going to keep it safe. As for my Amoonguss, it has a Latios staring it down that isn’t afraid of Crunch anymore, so it’s probably best for me to get out of there. I end up switching Amoonguss to Metagross as he switches Togekiss to Excadrill, with Stone Edge taking 75% of Latios’ health and Psyshock taking 2% of Metagross’ health in response.

Turn 3: Latios/Excadrill vs Tyranitar/Metagross

I decide that the odds of him pulling out the old Ground Gem Earthquake double KO are too likely to risk allowing him to do so for free. However, I’m wary of letting him get a Substitute up for free, so I go for the happy middle and decide to protect Metagross and Stone Edge the Excadrill. He ends up Protecting Latios and setting up a Substitute, so I end up in the bizarre position of having using a 4x resistant move on a Pokemon be my best move.

Turn 4: Latios/Excadrill vs Tyranitar/Metagross

If I was paranoid before about the Ground Gem Earthquake, I’m terrified of it now. However, I realize that Luke is probably going to cover my switch with a Draco Meteor, so I need to do something in order to prevent it. I decide that letting Metagross faint in order to get a Bullet Punch off is my best bet. He ends up actually switching Latios into Togekiss as Bullet Punch KOs it, as Excadrill retaliates with the Ground Gem Earthquake, knocking out my Metagross easily.

Turn 5: Latios/Excadrill vs Tyranitar/Landorus

Now that the Ground Gem is out of the way, I feel significantly more comfortable about my position. Since Excadrill is so frail anyways, I decide that Rock Slide is probably enough to take out Excadrill’s Substitute at this point, allowing Earth Power to KO. Tyranitar survives an Earthquake, as Rock Slide successfully takes out Excadrill’s Substitute and causes Latios to faint, which Landorus follows up with an Earth Power, easily taking out Excadrill.

Turn 6: Tyranitar vs Tyranitar/Landorus

We say our GGs as he ends up running, giving me a 3-1 record and ensuring me a slot in top cut.

Round 9 vs Zach Jens (Final: 8-1, Top 32)

I’m so excited at this point of being in top cut after losing round 1 that I’m ambivalent to how this game turns out, though a win would obviously be nice.


Bring: Ludicolo/Amoonguss/Landorus/Metagross

2012 called; it wants its everything back. I decide to opt for my standard leads against Rain teams, bringing Landorus along for the ride to beat Scizor. I end up making a pretty crucial mistake though in not bringing Tyranitar, since there’s really no excuse for not bringing Tyranitar against a Rain team, regardless of how old it is.

Turn 1: Politoed/Ludicolo vs Ludicolo/Amoonguss

I decide to play this safe, and go for the Fake Out on Politoed and Spore on Ludicolo. While most normal players would just double Protect in Zach’s spot, I figure that if he’s using 2012 rain, while he’s at it he might as well use Absorb Bulb Ludicolo. He switches in Scizor and Fakes Out Ludicolo as I put his Ludicolo to sleep, putting me in a solid spot.

Turn 2: Scizor/Ludicolo vs Ludicolo/Amoonguss

I figure that Rage Powder and Scald on Scizor is probably my safest move here, unless he’s really using a 2012 Rain team and has Acrobatics, but what are the odds of that? They’re high, really really high, which I find out by taking an Acrobatics in the face, with Scald doing 70%

Turn 3: Scizor/Ludicolo vs Ludicolo/Metagross

I’m still not in the worst of spots, if his Ludicolo still decides to sleep then I’m actually in a winning spot, as I go for the safe Scald and Zen Headbutt. He Protects and decides he’s a light sleeper as he gets an attack off on Metagross, getting rid of half of its hp before being KO’d by a gem Zen Headbutt.

Turn 4: Scizor/Kingdra vs Ludicolo/Metagross

While that sucked, I still really need to get rid of his Scizor in order to pull off a win with Ludicolo. If his Kingdra doesn’t have an offensive item I survive the Muddy Water anyway, so I decide to once again play it somewhat safe and go for the Scald on Scizor and Zen Headbutt. He reaveals to have Hydro Pump on his Kingdra, which takes out Metagross as Scald does little to the incoming Politoed switch in.

Turn 5: Landorus/Ludicolo vs Politoed/Kingdra

At this point I pretty much just accept my fate of losing this round, noting just how bad I played it. Also, I let a Rain team ripped from November 2011 go 8-1 at Nationals, so lots of bad thoughts about this round as I prepare for my 3rd Nationals top cut. As I whip up a bracket of what the top 32 looks like, I notice that I’m in by far the easiest quadrant, with established players like Stephen, JRank, Shiloh, Honchkro13, R Inanimate, Bisty, Demitri, Cybertron, Fish, Scott, Reesee, Crow, Ryuzaki, Jio, Cypher, Ben7000, and Human all notably being in other areas of the bracket. Meanwhile the most established player in my bracket was Flames Star player Jean-Olaf. My first round opponent is Rick Guerra, who got to this point by getting 2nd at Florida, which is the equivalent to doing slightly better than Beartic and slightly worse than Grotle.

Top Cut

Top 32 vs Rick Guerra (7-2)

Bring: Amoongus/Tyranitar/Landorus/Metagross

His team doesn’t look too bad, I probably just gave him a bad rap because he did well in *snicker* Florida. Leading with Amoonguss is a pretty clear decision, as it does well against 4/6 of his team. Tyranitar covers the other two, so pretty easy decision. Landorus is pretty much necessary for combating Excadrill, and Metagross helps out a lot with everything else on the team that isn’t named Excadrill, so I feel pretty comfortable about the team matchup

Turn 1: Latios/Hitmontop vs Amoonguss/Tyranitar

I really don’t want to take a Psyshock to the face considering I need Amoonguss at decent HP. I decide to just switch to Metagross for safety and go for the Crunch on Latios just in case he doesn’t Fake Out Tyranitar for whatever reason. He ends up Faking Out Tyranitar and switching to Excadrill. No idea if he made an insanely good read or ended up pushing random buttons, but I’m afraid at this point of my streak of losing round 1 in top cut continuing.

Turn 2: Excadrill/Hitmontop vs Metagross/Tyranitar
To me, it’s pretty clear that he’s going to go for the Earthquake and switch Hitmontop into one of his Ground immunities, and I really want to get rid of the Ground Gem in case he has it and decide to just sack Metagross. He ends up switching Hitmontop into Thundurus as I switch in Landorus for Tyranitar as he goes for the STEEL GEM IRON HEAD onto Landorus, doing a big chunk of HP, as Zen Headbutt brings Thundurus down to 25%. This was probably the most confusing turn of Pokemon ever for me.

Turn 3: Excadrill/Thundurus vs Metagross/Landorus

At this point I decide to officially stop giving Rick any sort of respect and just decide to power through. I’m also in a massive state of confusion and end up going for a really weird move. He switches Thundurus into Hitmontop as he Protects Excadrill as I protect Landorus. I end up bullet punching his Hitmontop, revealing it has Eject Button and switches into Latios.

Turn 4: Excadrill/Latios vs Landorus/Metagross

At this point I’m not even sure if his Excadrill even has Earthquake, but I might as well just be safe and Protect Metagross. He switches Excadrill into Thundurus as I switch Landorus into Tyranitar, as he Grass Knots Tyranitar, doing under half health.

Turn 5: Thundurus/Latios vs Metagross/Tyranitar

Continuing operation give Rick absolutely no respect, I Bullet Punch his Thundurus to try to get it out of the way and just Crunch his Latios. Giving no respect pays off, because Rick keeps both Pokemon in and I get a double KO, with him retaliating with inflicting paralysis onto my Metagross.

Turn 6: Excadrill/Hitmontop vs Metagross/Tyranitar

I cannot believe that actually worked. I figure hes finally going to use Protect and to keep myself safe I’ll protect with Metagross and just let Tyranitar faint. I get fully paralyzed which doesn’t even matter as he goes for the IRON HEAD onto Tyranitar, knocking it out.

Turn 7: Metagross/Amoonguss vs Excadrill/Hitmontop

I’m just going to spore the Excadrill and get rid of Hitmontop so I can just win the game and not have to pay attention to the man using STEEL GEM IRON HEAD EXCADRILL anymore. I do this as he goes for the Helping Hand Iron Head onto Amoonguss, as I put myself into a position where he cannot possibly come back as I win game 1 3-0.

Game 2:

Leading with Scarftar put me in a pretty dangerous situation, so I’m going to tone it back and lead Landorus and Metagross, ensuring that I cover all of his options, especially if his Excadrill doesn’t have Earthquake. Amoonguss is still a necessity though, so I bring it in back along with Tyranitar in case I need to bring it against Latios and Thundurus.

Turn 1: Thundurus/Amoonguss vs Landorus/Metagross

I decide to go for the obvious play here, which is something I’ll be doing a lot here from now on against Rick, since I think I can get away with it. The obvious move in this case is to switch Landorus to Tyranitar and go for the Zen Headbutt on Amoonguss, which does not work by any stretch of the imagination as he reveals Electric Gem on Thundurus and knocks Metagross down to 50 hp while Amoonguss Protects.

Turn 2: Thundurus/Amoonguss vs Tyranitar/Metagross

Well, that turn didn’t go well. I don’t think there’s much of a reason for him to Rage Powder at this point, so I go for the Stone Edge on  Thundurus to attempt to knock it out and Zen Headbutt on Amoonguss for follow up. Rick proceeds to switch in Excadrill as Stone Edge does little. Zen Headbutt misses for the first time in the tournament, as his Amoonguss is able to get a spore off onto Tyranitar.

Turn 3: Excadrill/Amoonguss vs Tyranitar/Metagross

At this point Metagross is so much more clearly the bigger threat to his team than Tyranitar that I’m pretty confident that he’s not going to go for the STEEL GEM IRON HEAD, so Landorus is a safe switch in. I also don’t want to be put into an awkward position where I have to Protect Landorus and switch the following turn, which is easily exploitable, so I decide to double switch as Rick goes for the Earthquake and the switch to Thundurus.

Turn 4: Thundurus/Excadrill vs Landorus/Amoonguss
Not going to be playing off book at all this game, I’m going to go for the simple but effective move of Rage Powder and Earth Power, and he can proceed how he wants. He decides that he wants to not lose apparently and switches in Hitmontop into an Earth Power as Thundurus does big damage to Amoonguss with Hidden Power. Amoonguss proceeds to faint to Sand damage.

Turn 5: Landorus/Metagross vs Thundurus/Hitmontop

I think that Rick’s options are pretty well laid out here, and I also think that simply double Protecting saves me from almost all of Rick’s options. I turn out to be correct in my judgement as he goes for the Fake Out on Landorus and Thunderbolt on Metagross.

Turn 6: Landorus/Metagross vs Thundurus/Hitmontop

I would really prefer for Metagross to stay alive, and judging from the damage on Amoonguss, the Hidden Power was most likely Flying. I switch Metagross into Tyranitar as he switches Hitmontop into Landorus, as HP Flying does 50% to Landorus while my HP Ice does considerably more to his Thundurus, causing it to faint.

Turn 7: Amoonguss/Hitmontop vs Landorus/Tyranitar

I completely forget that he revealed Feint last game and go for the supposed safe move of Protecting Landorus and switching in Metagross, but Rick punishes me with a feint and Spore on Landorus, putting me in a pretty bad position.

Turn 8: Amoonguss/Hitmontop vs Landorus/Metagross

I know that Rick isn’t going to risk me targeting one of his Pokemon over another and will try to keep himself safe, and since I really need Landorus to wake up, I’m free to just Protect metagross. Metagross successfully blocks close combat and Spore as Landorus burns the guaranteed turn of sleep.

Turn 9: Amoonguss/Hitmontop vs Landorus/Metagross

I know that Metagross is going to be considerably more useful here in terms of getting Landorus to wake up, so I decide to switch in and sacrifice Tyranitar into the Close Combat and Spore, however Landorus ends up waking up that turn and knocking out Amoonguss, making the sacrifice all for nothing. However, Hitmontop does faint to sand this turn.

Turn 10: Excadrill vs Landorus/Metagross
At this point I’ve come to the realization that I’m going to lose unless I get a double Protect off against his Excadrill’s iron head, which I fail to do, as I lose game 2 0-1.

Game 3

I decide that there is no way that I’m going out in the first round of cut three years in a row, especially not to someone using Iron Head Excadrill. I buckle down and realize that the reason that Excadrill has been such a problem for me is because I’ve been bringing Tyranitar, so I decide to just lead Ludicolo/Metagross with Landorus and Amoonguss in back and hope it all works out.

Turn 1: Ludicolo/Metagross vs Thundurus/Amoonguss

I know that his Amoonguss is almost always going to Protect here, so I might as well get rid of the Thundurus and put myself in a massive advantage by Fake Outing and Zen Headbutting the Thundurus. However, the Thundurus switches to Excadrill as Amoonguss Protects, and I manage to get a KO on the one threat he had against my team with a Psychic Gem Zen Headbutt critical hit.
At this point he goes for swagger spam hoping for magic to strike, but it doesn’t work as I manage to win pretty easily after that amazing turn 1. When I reveal that I didn’t bring Tyranitar, Rick concedes the game and admits that he probably loses even without the crit at that point.

After finally getting past the hurdle of the first round of top cut, I’m ready to go the distance in the tournament, as I hear that my opponent Ashby is using Lajo’s sun team. As someone who goes on Showdown way too much, I am all too familiar with this matchup.

Top 16 vs Ashby (9-1)


After playing so many matches against this team I go with my standard team against it, Ludicolo/Volcarona/Tyranitar/Landorus, which gives me plenty of options against his Heatran while also addressing the very serious issue of the Trick Room portion of his team.

Game 1

Turn 1: Ninetales/Thundurus vs Ludicolo/Volcarona

So the first thing I notice is that he just lead two Pokemon weak to Rock against me and I have Tyranitar in back, so I’m always going to be switching here. I also want to be getting as much damage on his Ninetales as possible so I know a Rock Slide will manage to actually KO it, so I go for a Scald on Ninetales and a switch to Tyranitar. Ashby goes for a Thunder Wave on Ludicolo and the Fire Gem Overheat onto Tyranitar, which does 60% with a critical hit. Ow. Scald does 70% of Ninetales health.

Turn 2: Ninetales/Thundurus vs Ludicolo/Tyranitar

I decide that there is almost no chance of him keeping his Ninetales in, so I just go for the double target on his Thundurus. I’m correct in that he switches Ninetales to Scrafty, as Stone Edge hits Thundurus and does half due to him holding… Charti Berry, huh. Thunderbolt brings Tyranitar down to a small bit of health as Ludicolo is fully paralyzed, preventing the big damage from happening.

Turn 3: Scrafty/Thundurus vs Ludicolo/Tyranitar

I need to keep Tyranitar alive in order to win in this matchup, so I switch it out into Landorus for safe keeping and attempt to Ice Beam the Thundurus for the knock out. Luckily for me Ashby fails to punish my switch in, Fake Outing the Landorus and Thunderbolting the Ludicolo. Unfortunately for me though, Ludicolo is fully paralyzed yet again, putting me into an awkward spot.

Turn 4: Scrafty/Thundurus vs Ludicolo/Landorus

My move is pretty clear here, try to knock out the Thundurus without letting Landorus faint. He switches out Scrafty into Ninetales as I Protect against Thundurus’ Hidden Power onto Landorus. However, Ludicolo is fully paralyzed yet again, keeping it from doing its job.

Turn 5: Ninetales/Thundurus vs Ludicolo/Landorus

If my spot the previous turn was awkward, this is horrific. I decide that I need to keep Landorus alive, but I also need Tyranitar alive, so I go for the only option possible and switch in Volcarona and hope to god I can get the knock out on Thundurus. Thundurus reveals Hidden Power Ice, which it uses on the Volcarona switch in as Ninetales surprisingly goes for an Overheat on Ludicolo, failing to punish my Volcarona switch in.

Turn 6: Ninetales/Thundurus vs Tyranitar/Volcarona

I decide that now is the time to punish Ashby for not letting me knock out his Thundurus earlier, and go for the Rock Slide and Quiver Dance to put myself into a dominant position. Rock Slide knocks out both targets and I’m now in a very nice position.

Turn 7: Scrafty/Cresselia vs Tyranitar/Volcarona

Shockingly, he didn’t end up bringing Heatran, which is a huge mistake on his part. In any case, the spot I’m in now lets me win extremely easily, as his Scrafty does not have Stone Edge.

Game 2:

I don’t think that there’s any reason for me to change what I did in terms of what I bring, so I go with the same thing again.

Turn 1: Cresselia/Amoonguss vs Ludicolo/Volcarona

I really don’t want to have to deal with Cresselia setting up Trick Room, so I go for the Fake Out on it and the Heat Wave, mistakenly believing that he would just Protect Amoonguss so that in case I went for the Bug Buzz he wouldn’t be in an insanely bad spot. I turn out to be wrong though as he switches in Heatran, giving himself a Flash Fire boost.

Turn 2: Cresselia/Heatran vs Ludicolo/Volcarona

I don’t think that there’s any real reason for me to not just go for the Bug Buzz on Cresselia and Scald on Heatran, because just getting in damage at this point is so important for me. Bug Buzz knocks Cressselia into red, as it recovers with its Sitrus Berry. Heatran fires off a Heat Wave which Volcarona avoids, as Scald puts Heatran into yellow. Cresselia sets up Trick Room as Heatran reveals its item to be Leftovers.

Turn 3: Cresselia/Heatran vs Ludicolo/Volcarona

I know that his Heatran is almost always going to Protect here, and now that my Volcarona has been given new life due to the avoid, I can afford to keep it in and have it be alive after Trick Room is over, so I decide to switch Ludicolo into Tyranitar and Quiver Dance. The play ends up working somewhat, as Heatran does Protect, however Cresselia switches into Amoonguss. Amoonguss reveals its item to be Black Sludge.

Turn 4: Amoonguss/Heatran vs Tyranitar/Volcarona

Now I have the decision of whether to let Tyranitar or Ludicolo get hit by a Spore. I decide that Tyranitar is the better target, since I really want to have the Fake Out option to abuse on a following turn. Tyranitar is Spored as Heatran sets up a Substitute and Amoonguss faints from a Heat Wave.

Turn 5: Heatran/Scrafty vs Volcarona/Tyranitar

I know he’s going to double target me, so I just protect Volcarona and keep Tyranitar in, since it’s doubtful that Ludicolo can survive a Heat Wave at this point. I turn out to be correct and burn a turn of Trick Room.

Turn 6: Heatran/Scrafty vs Volcarona/Tyranitar

I let Tyranitar faint to a Drain Punch, since it won’t be doing much while asleep in any case, and thanks to the +1 boost I survive the Heat Wave with a quarter of my health remaining on Volcarona. Bug Buzz leaves Scrafty in a similar health situation.

Turn 7: Heatran/Scrafy vs Landorus/Volcarona

This turn I just played badly, not really much of an excuse here. While I could have just protected Volcarona and broken Heatran’s Substitute with Earth Power, I rush the Quiver Dance sweep and end up being punished by Scrafty blocking the Bug Buzz as Volcarona faints to the Heat Wave.

Turn 8: Heatran/Scrafty vs Landorus/Volcarona

I end up choking it up at the end of this game, playing really poorly and end up losing 3-0.

Game 3:

I know that the reason I lost game 2 wasn’t because of failure in my team, but because I just played it poorly. I once again saw no reason to deviate from what I brought in games 1 and 2.

Turn 1: Ludicolo/Volcarona vs Thundurus/Ninetales

I’m under the impression that Ashby will read my switch in to Tyranitar quite easily, so I try to get a bit tricky with a Fake Out on Ninetales and a Quiver Dance. Ashby reads this well though and ends up Taunting the Volcarona, making it a wasted turn.

Turn 2: Ludicolo/Volcarona vs Thundurus/Ninetales

At this point I figure I should just switch in Tyranitar and take what comes at me, repeating the turn 1 of game 1. Ashby does very similar moves as well, Thunderbolting Ludicolo and Overheating the Tyranitar switch in as Scald brings Ninetales down into red health.

Turn 3: Ludicolo/Tyranitar vs Thundurus/Ninetales

Now that my Ludicolo isn’t paralyzed, I decide that now is the time to extract my revenge for the paralysis in game 1, as I Rock Slide and Ice Beam the Thundurus. Ashby Thunder Waves Tyranitar and switches Ninetales into Cresselia, as I am finally not fully paralyzed and manage to knock out his Thundurus.

Turn 4: Scrafty/Cresselia vs Ludicolo/Tyranitar

I’m completely shocked that once again he didn’t bring Heatran. I figure that I should preserve Tyranitar’s health in case he tries to Trick Room, since he had so graciously paralyzed me in case he does so. I Scald Cresselia more for the burn than anyting else, which I fail to get. However, Scrafty’s Drain Punch on Volcarona does get a burn on it, putting him in a difficult position.

Turn 5: Scrafty/Cresselia vs Ludicolo/Volcarona

At this point I figure I might as well just start doing as much damage as possible and get into top 8 already. I Scald the Scrafty doing little, but I manage to knock out Cresselia with Bug Buzz and sweep with Landorus from there.

The realization sinks into me that I’m one win away from my Worlds invite and a trip to Vancouver, and the person standing in my way was Alex Valente. I get very little sleep that night, waking up at around 6 just due to the stress of the situation.

Top 8 vs Alex Valente (9-2):

I’m going to be honest, I did not play this set well at all, but neither did Alex really. I’m going to save the readers the embarrassment of the poor play here and just say that I ended up winning because my back Pokemon in both games beat his back Pokemon. Regardless of how it happened though, I was in the top 4 and knew that anything after this would be icing on the cake.

Top 4 vs R_Inanimate (10-2):

Before the game I joke that I don’t need to scout Randy because I already know what he’s using. While it was true that I ended up guessing the Pokemon correctly, I had no clue about the sets he was running, which almost cost me.


This is a matchup that I prepared specifically for before Nationals, so I had a pretty good idea about what to bring here. I decide on bringing Amoonguss/Tyranitar/Landorus/Metagross for identical reasons as my game against lucariojr.

Turn 1: Togekiss/Latios vs Tyranitar/Amoonguss

Man deja vu, same position as the previous game. I didn’t see any real reason to change my move from before however, since damage is damage and Latios can’t knock me out. As I click my moves I remember that Latios could in fact knock me out if it was running Life Orb. This realization starts to sink in for me more and more as I notice my HP bar going down down down… and stopping at 6 HP. I ended up getting a minimum damage roll, allowing Amoonguss to put his Breloom switch in to sleep as well as doing a solid 40% damage chunk to it with Stone Edge. Sand knocks out Amoonguss.

Turn 2: Latios/Breloom vs Tyranitar/Metagross

I count my blessings and go for the damage option, seeing no reason for an alternative. Latios Protects the Stone Edge as Meteor Mash knocks out Breloom, giving me an Attack boost.

Turn 3: Latios/Excadrill vs Tyranitar/Metagross

I’m in the know enough to realize that a Ground Gem Earthquake is incoming, especially once Excadrill reveals it’s using Mold Breaker. I really need to get rid of the Ground Gem though, so I leave Tyranitar in to faint as I Protect Metagross. To my surprise instead of switching, his Latios actually goes for the Helping Hand on Excadrill’s Earthquake as Stone Edge misses for me for the first time in the tournament, which doesn’t actually end up mattering, as he knocks out his Latios and my Tyranitar, revealing that he is not using Ground Gem, so his is most likely a Focus Sash variant.

Turn 4: Excadrill/Togekiss vs Metagross/Landorus

The common theme of there being no reason to do anything besides inflict damage comes up again, as I double target the Togekiss, easily knocking it out as Excadrill uses Earthquake, leaving Metagross in low yellow HP.

Turn 5: Excadrill vs Metagross/Landorus

I go for the Bullet Punch and Earth Power on Excadrill as Rock Slide fails to flinch, and end up taking game 1.

Game 2:

I realize I got pretty lucky in order to survive Psyshock with Amoonguss, and decide to be more careful in my approach. However, I fail to see a need to shake up my leads.

Turn 1: Breloom/Latios vs Tyranitar/Amoonguss

While this isn’t a good lead matchup by any stretch of the imagination, this is actually one of my better lead matchups possible against this lead, since my team is notoriously weak to it. I decide that there’s no way that Randy is going to risk a Mach Punch when I can so easily Rage Powder, so I go for the ballsy move of sporing Breloom as I Crunch Tyranitar. The play works out decently as Breloom spores Tyranitar and I spore it in return, as Latios protects itself.

Turn 2: Breloom/Latios vs Tyranitar/Amoonguss

I really don’t want Amoonguss to faint just yet, and considering I doubt he can do much in return, I decide that switching to Metagross is my safest bet. Randy switches Breloom into Bisharp as Psyshock does more damage to Latios than to Metagross.

Turn 3: Bisharp/Latios vs Tyranitar/Metagross

I know that if I can get rid of his Latios, I’m in a pretty dominant position in the game, since Landorus can stop all of his offensive threats at that point. So I just decide to Meteor Mash the Latios and see what happens from there. Latios Draco Meteors Metagross in a last ditch effort for damage, which isn’t surprising by any means, as Bisharp reveals Swords Dance. Meteor Mash does manage to knock out his Latios however, giving me a numbers advantage even if his Bisharp is terrifying at this point.

Turn 4: Bisharp/Tyranitar vs Tyranitar/Metagross

While I know that the Bisharp most likely has Dark Gem, I really don’t want to lose to a surprise Focus Sash, so I just Crunch the Bisharp having nothing better to do while I Protect Metagross from incoming danger. Randy’s Tyranitar reveals itself to be Scarfed, using Fire Punch before my Tyranitar could move. Bisharp annihilates my Tyranitar with whatever coverage move it has.

Turn 5: Bisharp/Tyranitar vs Landorus/Metagross

My battle strategy is pretty clear at this point, get Amoonguss in there with Landorus and try to outmaneuver. The first step to this plan is trimming the fat, as I let Metagross faint from a Fire Punch as I Protect myself from a Sucker Punch.

Turn 6: Bisharp/Tyranitar vs Landorus/Amoonguss

I’m in a spot where I can either force one 50/50 prediction scenario, or I can go with a 2nd one, since I’m pretty sure of what Randy’s play will be if he Protects Bisharp this turn. I end up going with the safe Rage Powder and Earth Power on Bisharp, not wanting to risk Randy making a hero play.

Turn 7: Bisharp/Tyranitar vs Landorus/Amoonguss

I have a feeling that after Protecting his Bisharp once, he’s going to Protect it again via a switch to Breloom, just a gut feeling. I end up acting on this gut feeling and turn out to be correct, as Bisharp switches into Breloom and Fire Punch is blocked, letting me Earth Power his Tyranitar worry-free, as I easily win from there.

Finals vs Human

At this point, I decide to take a look at what Enosh is using in preparation for my finals match. To my surprise, Enosh ended up going with the not gimmicky at all dedicated hailroom team…. yeah. I know my matchup looks super good on paper, but as I talk to various people, it turns out that Enosh had told them all that he thinks he had a great matchup against me. No idea why he thinks that, but he apparently did. After being told that apparently it wasn’t good for Pokemon’s public image to have koksux as a trainer message on screen, I go out looking for trainer cards to play with on screen. After MSankey gets rejected, I end up going with EnFuego in order to properly represent Ludicolo. The match can be found on YouTube:


  • Biosci for getting me my Pokemon
  • Stone Edge for hitting
  • My parents for sending me across the country to play Pokemon
  • The Kaspszaks for letting me stay with them
  • Peeps for correctly calling Nationals results before swiss began
  • Everyone who rooted for me in the finals (this is a lot of people)


  • Jealous former winners stealing my prizes
  • Listening to Enosh talk about how lucky I got in finals for like a week
  • Being called a hacker in YouTube comments
  • Having everyone insult my team after I won with it
  • Everyone asking me why Enosh Megahorned his own Abomasnow in all of my interviews

It’s been a great season, hopefully I can repeat this performance next year.

About the Author

Gavin has been playing VGC since 2011, with notable finishes including Top 8 at Worlds 2012 and 1st at 2013 US Nationals. He also keeps track of everyone's championship points in a format that isn't horrible to navigate. He will be attending the University of Southern California in the fall.

22 Responses to Ludimoth Was Here, Topmoth is a Loser: 2013 Masters US National Champion Report

  1. tlyee61 says:

    you listed duy’s team as having 5 pokemon. I don’t know if you didn’t know his 6th or not, but I just wanted to point it out

  2. Roz says:

    Way to mess up my username hehe =P
    Grats on winning! Your team was very interesting and it was great to see you play in the finals!

  3. araluen7 says:

    you listed duy’s team as having 5 pokemon. I don’t know if you didn’t know his 6th or not, but I just wanted to point it out

    He mentions it in the turn by turn as being Terrakion.

    Actually was a really good read though, and interesting to see how you came to all your team decisions.

  4. CrimsonBlastoise says:

    This was a very interesting report

  5. PrettyLittleLiar says:

    ctrl+f “EnFuego”

    I think you underplayed the amount of day-saving that occurred by me giving you my game cart. Ludicolo always stomp nobs (like Nosh) when used in concurrence with the trainer name “EnFuego”

  6. BlitznBurst says:

    I am now compelled to change my profile pic.

  7. Smith says:

    A nationals report! And just in time!
    Seriously, good team and good report, I know I definitely dissed this team in Under the Bridge #1 but I feel the need to again declare (a) kom is a better mons player than me (B) even if I dont understand the team and even if I would never use it it is obviously a good team and he won a really really difficult nationals with it. Landorus-I is kewl

  8. shinryu says:

    So about…half a year late? :P
    Still a good read though.

  9. TheGr8 says:

    I remember taking that picture with you Gavin during top cut with the plushes on our heads! :D Nice article man!

  10. PBB says:


  11. Koke says:

    “Metagross is an insanely strong pokemon, due to it having many arms”
    I couldn’t agree more. 

  12. pball0010 says:
    “I go for the Stone Edge on Metagross”
    And you give Enosh a hard time (pretty sure you meant Thundurus, but it still confused me for a sec)
    Also, I did not know Glying was a type. I guess at the very least it’s a type-o… *ba-dum tiss!*
  13. BadIntent says:

    Hey man, steel gem Iron Head is good. It’s way better than Meteor Miss! I like that you pointed out how reactionary this team has to be played. Not that it isn’t obvious, but I glanced at it a few times in the past and wondered how it was able to do as well without an aggressive offensive strategy of its own. This team is like the super-anti metagame teams I liked to make in 2010. Stay true to your play style if it works.

  14. Jayhonas says:

    Really enjoyed the article! Your style of writing is also nice to read, I look forward to reading more of your articles KoM.

  15. Technoz says:

    Great read Gavin, really cool to see that this team made it to the top!

  16. Bopper says:

    So Gavin, I get that you won and all, but what are your thoughts on pikachu, hm?

  17. kingofmars says:

    “Swag” – pikachuman275

  18. seasicknesss says:

    Koksux is da winner mon

    Props for using superior lando. Did you use the same exact team for worlds?

  19. kingofmars says:

    I used the exact same team for worlds yeah, I was gone for a while so didnt feel comfortable with anything else

  20. National Champion Enfuego.

  21. Lajo says:

    Nice report, and some cocky comments made it pretty enjoyable for me to read.
    I really like your thought process, although it was confusing sometimes, like your infamous Ttar-Lando lead, which has quite some flaws like Scrafty, Suicune and such.

    Of course I was interested in your match against Ashby the most, and seeing that he brought the “losing” Lead from game1 again in game3 couldn´t confuse me more.
    Well, thanks to our sparrings I added Stone Edge on Scrafty shortly after my Nationals in Bochum, but Ashby refused to use it, and somehow I´m glad you let him pay for it, haha.
    So Kudos and thanks for revealing some weaknesses of my team and making me the better sun player, I´m sure you will do well next year as well-how you do analyse your opponent shows it- and we´ll meet at worlds 😉

  22. Ezrael says:

    Are you sure about your evs on amoonguss? 100 speed evs bring it up to 63 speed not 61

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