Published on November 5th, 2012 | by Braverius


Ticket to the Gun Show: 2013 Ft. Wayne Masters Champion Team Analysis

This is that awkward moment where I don’t know how to start an article, so I’ll begin this by introducing myself. I’m Zach, the guy who won the Fort Wayne Regional this year. I’m from Wisconsin, am a regular at VGC events in the Midwest, attend Nationals yearly, and was fortunate enough to go to Worlds this past year. I’ve done pretty well over my last four events, with the more prominent successes being winning back to back Regionals and placing 7th at US Nationals. But this article isn’t about that. This is about the team that won the Fort Wayne Regional this year and the strategy that was used to get it there.

For the first time ever, I felt like I had a good chance simply because of my team’s stability and my familiarity with it, along with improving my battling skills. This felt less flukey than my other two strong finishes did because of that. Needless to say, I used a lot of things from the team that won the Madison Regional… A lot meaning everything except Jellicent and Mamoswine going METAL.

Now, on the note of Jellicent, that was probably the most interesting Pokémon I’ve ever used at an event. The un-EV’d Mamoswine at Madison was interesting but unintentional. This, however, was totally intentional, and an all-or-nothing type of Pokémon. I loved it. It just took care of so many things that I needed to take care of.

Well, here’s the team.

The Team

Amoonguss (F) @ Chesto Berry
Trait: Effect Spore
EVs: 252 HP / 84 Def / 172 SDef (0 speed IVs)
Sassy Nature (+SDef, -Spd)
– Giga Drain
– Rage Powder
– Spore
– Rest

EV Spread: HP and Defense allowed it to survive a max Attack Metagross Zen Headbutt, and the SpDef let it work well in rain. There’s way too many calcs to explain and it’s hard anyways because Giga Drain screws with the calcs. It was stable enough, though.

Amoonguss is awful most of the time. Let’s just get that out of the way. But, as dumb as this sounds, it gives you such a mind game advantage. Whether you use it or not, your opponent has to check it, and that lures them into bringing something with a Psychic-, Flying-, Fire-, or Ice-type move. What beats Psychic-, Flying-, Fire-, and Ice-types? TYRANITAR. And that alone is enough of a reason to use Amoonguss synergy-wise. In addition, it lured away Bullet Punches and Close Combats from Tyranitar and Giga Drains and Thunderbolts from Jellicent. It also made Trick Room and Rain teams sad because of its ungodly slowness and ability to make anytime naptime. The Resto Chesto idea came from user Crow when he suggested making the Chesto Berry useful (I originally had it solely to counter things that would try to sleep me), and it made sense: when everyone’s napping, might as well join them, eh? It gave an opportunity for Amoonguss to heal up for free, and that’s pretty scary considering how hard it is to take down.

Jellicent (F) @ Leftovers
Trait: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 HP / 128 Def / 4 SAtk / 104 SDef / 20 Spd
Calm Nature (+SDef, -Atk)
– Scald
– Recover
– Will-O-Wisp
– Substitute

EV spread: 252 HP adds universal bulk. 128 Defense allowed it to survive 2 max Atk Zen Headbutts from Metagross 100% of the time and also take an Adamant max Atk Crunch from Tyranitar, while 104 Special Defense allowed it to take an Electric Gem Thunderbolt from a bulky Thundurus, a Thunderbolt from Ray’s specs Rotom, and survive any 2 attacks from Kingdra. This thing could take a LOT of hits. The Speed was designed to outspeed 4EV Speed Tyranitar, which I saw a lot of in practice, and the Special Attack was there as a dump option since I had 4 EVs left over.

This Jellicent was the Juggernaut of the team. It was extremely efficient in the long run, as even if it got critical hit, it could still shake off the damage and bounce back. Its main purpose was to provide switch synergy and make maneuvers easier for my other Pokémon, but it also provided an unbreakable wall against certain Pokémon like Hitmontop, Terrakion, and Latios that I already had issues with. It had a niche on this team and provided a lot more stable coverage than Zapdos. I did have issues with Will-o-Wisp missing a bit, but the bulk made up for that, since I could take more than one hit the vast majority of the time. Also, it annoyed people… which was both a good and bad thing. It’d get some people off of their game, but it also could create some hostility, which wasn’t the idea. It didn’t happen frequently at Fort Wayne, but I definitely did not pick a good regional to risk getting someone worked up considering the vintage weapon show next door… Either way, Jellicent did an unbelievable job at covering some of the biggest threats in the metagame, and I would consider it a top-10 Pokémon at this point.

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

EV Spread: Needed max Speed to outspeed things like Terrakion, Latios, etc. and give a speed tie with other Scarf Tyranitar, and the max Attack ensured KOs on versions of bulky Chandelure that I hated to my grave. Not too much thought put into this, but not too much is needed, honestly.

What, was I supposed to go to a 2012 event without Scarftar? Nonsense. I used it for every single event, no matter what the team was, simply because it nuked some of the most obnoxious threats in the metagame (Latios, Ferrothorn, Thundurus, Volcarona). I knew how to use it, and the familiarity factor made it really hard to beat, since opponents did not always know the best way to play it. The surprise factor was actually rarely the culprit for people; the overall effectiveness of a fast Rock Slider that could OHKO Latios and Chandelure and ruin Ferrothorn and Volcarona was the real threat.

Volcarona (F) @ Charti Berry
Trait: Flame Body
EVs: 44 Def / 212 SAtk / 252 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
– Heat Wave
– Quiver Dance
– Bug Buzz
– Protect

EV Spread: Allowed Volc to take Max Attack Adamant Tyranitar Rock Slide with Charti. Needed 152 Speed to at least tie with Zapdos. The rest was dumped into Special Attack, as it could then take out offensive Cresselia after a Fake Out.

Again, this is one of those Pokémon I could not do without. I didn’t use Volcarona at Nationals or Worlds LCQ, and I didn’t do as well. As soon as I went back to it, BAM, winning. Yeah maybe it was because it was a weaker event, but I had generally more success with it anyways. It worked extremely well with Hitmontop, and if the opponent didn’t lead with a sufficient check to it (Salamence, bulky Rotom-W, Heatran, and Gyarados were your best bets) it started to dance, and let’s just say you don’t want it to dance. The free +1 speed, special attack, AND special defense is extremely good, and with an Intimidate to aid your weak defenses and Wide Guard to stop the hurtful spread moves like Heat Wave, Earthquake, and especially Rock Slide that Volcarona was not OK with, you could set up a singles-style sweep. And I hate singles. Never have played it. But this was apparently reminiscent of that to some players. It could take on almost any Pokémon in the game and outspeed them at that. Not only did it have great potency, it took care of some of the most common obnoxious threats with ease: Cresselia and Metagross. The only way to use those two to beat Volcarona was to explode — also blocked by Wide Guard! — so let’s just say the odds of losing to that combo were minimal.

Hitmontop (M) @ Fight Gem
Trait: Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
– Fake Out
– Sucker Punch
– Close Combat
– Wide Guard

EV Spread: The first thing you’re thinking: WHY SO GENERIC? WHY SO 8 MONTHS AGO? WHY NO DEFENSE? Why? Because defense is nearly useless on Hitmontop, unless you want it to sit there and try to Wide Guard twice in a row and flip coins all day. And no, it doesn’t switch out and back in. It resists so few things that it’s not even worth noting as a synergetic switch. It can come in late and do work offensively, but it has almost no defensive prowess. Also, the Speed not only caught people off guard, but flat out won battles because of it thanks to being faster than threats like bulky Gliscor, CB Metagross, and max speed Scizor. Give me one thing that bulk on Hitmontop will actually do for you, and I’ll show you why it doesn’t work that way. Hitmontop receives minimal benefit to being bulky relative to the benefit it has from being faster and stronger.

This was more or less my “prove a point” Pokémon, and even while proving a point wasn’t its job, it made a statement. People have been using Hitmontop wrong all year. I’ve seen things like Stone Edge, Rock Slide, Helping Hand, and *cringes* even QUICK GUARD on it. Seriously? What are those moves even doing? Certainly not KOing or even 2HKOing anything, or providing good support. And people are using these moves on a slow Hitmontop. News flash: you’re not going to get off attacks if you can’t outspeed things. And you’re not going to do damage if you don’t have anything invested in Attack, especially on a Pokémon like Hitmontop with only decent base Attack. Only on a pretty dedicated Trick Room team does Hitmontop with bulk and no Speed make sense. I won 3 battles that I wouldn’t have otherwise because of a decisive turn where Hitmontop was faster than the opponent’s mid-range Speed Pokémon. It definitely not only did a fantastic job working with Volcarona and taking out problematic Pokémon, but it also, hopefully, sent a message that the bulky, useless Hitmontop are not good outside of Trick Room and are only decent inside of it. (P.S. Try Hariyama for TR, it’s severely underrated.) If you’re going to run Hitmontop, it needs at least 133  Attack so that it KOs bulky Chople Tyranitar, and with those 140 EVs in attack, you cannot guarantee survival against a Cresselia Psychic OR Psyshock nor a Metagross Zen Headbutt. If you have to pick your poison between getting the attack off first and leaving the battle in your own hands or getting hit first and letting the RNG do its work first, I’ll always take the former.

Metagross @ Lum Berry
Trait: Clear Body
EVs: 220 HP / 184 Atk / 84 SDef / 20 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
– Bullet Punch
– Earthquake
– Ice Punch
– Protect

EV Spread: Allowed Metagross to take almost any Earthquake. Also let it take a Modest spread Heat Wave from 252 Special Attack Chandelure or a Water Gem Hydro Pump from Max SpAtk Modest Rotom-W. The Attack ensured a 3HKO with Bullet Punch on all Tyranitar and an OHKO on a fast Garchomp with Ice Punch.

“Zach, where is Mamoswine?” you might ask. Well, he’s right here! What, you see a Metagross? Nah, that’s just Mamoswine gone metal.

This Metagross is pretty much the same concept as Mamoswine, except more consistent overall and weaker to Excadrill. It allowed me a defensive maneuver against Dragon-types and also mostly took away the ridiculous problems with Swagger, as I could switch it into an obvious Swagger and get myself a free +2 from lazy players who decided to use it without being conscious of what was in the back and sweep them out of the match (article on this nonsense coming soon). It only happened once all day, but you can rest assured I had an internal “Squee!” of joy when it did. Ice Punch was fantastic for hitting most things a bit harder than Zen Headbutt and not missing. Finally, the priority and Earthquake completed Mamoswine’s transformation into a Steel-type Pokémon.

Again, I think this was another ‘prove a point’ type of Pokémon, but not as much, since I do like Zen Headbutt on Metagross. However, I have always felt that Meteor Mash has awful coverage that can be defensively schemed around by a good player too easily, and it doesn’t OHKO anything that threatens Metagross itself. This means your opponent is encouraged to switch into one of the half of the metagame that resists Meteor Mash. Zen Headbutt would have been the move of choice over Bullet Punch if this was a Trick Room team, but unfortunately I could not fit Trick Room onto this.

Common Leads

This isn’t singles, so I’m not even going to worry about this section. Everything and anything on your team should be able to be a lead. I would have to say Hitmontop/Volcarona was probably the most common lead, but it wasn’t used even half the time. You have to be ready to lead anything.

Threats to the Team

Chandelure was a HUGE problem for me. I only had 1 Pokémon that even wanted anything to do with it, and not only that, it ruined Volcarona’s day pretty quickly. Jellicent and Hitmontop could poke it, as could Metagross, but they were not at all fond of it. I faced one in Swiss on a Sand team (which I also had pretty huge problems with) and got pubstomped, only to have to face the guy again in Top 8. I managed to weasel my way around his team by knowing how people liked to play with that type of team, but man Chandelure is not fun to play against with this team.

Landorus was another Pokémon that this team did not want to face. It was also on the guy’s team who was using Chandelure in Sand. The only thing that wanted to get near it was Jellicent, and even then, Earth Power could still do a LOT of damage, especially if it managed a Special Defense drop. It was a hard counter to Tyranitar, Hitmontop, and Amoonguss, and did well against Volcarona and Metagross, especially if it had Ground Gem.

Surfing Pokémon were unusually hard for me to beat in Swiss. I could do okay in best 2 of 3, but with just one battle, it was hard to gauge what to do about Rain leads like Kingdra/Politoed or Ludicolo/Politoed. While I did have Wide Guard if I survived and could typically OHKO Ludicolo, it was not that awesome to have to guess.

Rock Slide flinches, especially on turn 1, were pivotal in some battles for me. While I never really got upset when it happened because it was a risk I took regardless, faster Pokémon that Rock Slided and flinched Volcarona were a threat regardless. I did have Wide Guard on Hitmontop to stop this, but typically on turn 1 I would Fake Out the bigger threat next to the fast Rock Slider and let Charti Berry protect Volcarona.


There’s not much else to say about the team. It was something I got really comfortable with and really felt I had a chance in nearly every battle no matter the circumstance. It clearly wasn’t perfect, especially considering I used Amoonguss which I felt was not optimal at all, but it worked for what I needed it to work for. Feel free to use the spreads and sets, or even the team itself, I just encourage you to not mess with what I’ve done too much, since with well over 8 months of combined practice, this was what I came to. Amoonguss and Metagross are the only two Pokémon that could be replaced sufficiently, and sometimes I feel that Fire Gem Overheat Volcarona would be better over Quiver, but most of the time I’m okay with what I have. Feel free to toy with it a little, but don’t change up the concept, or you’ll notice a downtrend in performance.

Still, warts and all this team carried me to another Regional Championship, doubling the amount of VGC swag I’ve received under these rules:

I was very tired, so no smiles, but it should be noted that the Victini hat is very comfortable. More of this please!

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

About the Author

started playing competitive Pokemon in April 2011. Since then he has been fortunate enough to compete in numerous official live events, qualifying for Worlds in 2013 and winning four Regionals along the way.

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