Published on March 26th, 2015 | by MajorBowman49
I Woke Up Like This! A Missouri Regionals 9-0 Team Report
Hi there! As my Twitter bio says, I am Jake Muller, MajorBowman, and sarcastic, and that’s all you really need to know about me. This is my second full season playing VGC, and while I had top cut and won a few Premier Challenges, I had never top cut a regional at the time. With that in mind, I traveled to St. Charles (not St. Louis!) to play in the 2015 Missouri Winter Regional Championships. I managed to get through all nine Swiss rounds without dropping a game, finishing 9-0 and earning the first seed for top cut. I was defeated in top 16 by eventual Finalist Zach Droegkamp (Braverius), but that set and the previous nine games in Swiss were a great experience and a whole lot of fun. I’ve received a lot of requests for my spreads and such, so in this report I’ll go through the entire team and talk about each member, then run through my battles in Missouri. I will also include a word from Caleb Ryor (BlitznBurst), who created the art for this report (Thanks Caleb!) and also took a slightly altered version of the team to Virginia Regionals.
Before we get started, I’d just like to point out that, while some very similar teams had success in other parts of the world, this is a team that I built on my own with some input from close friends. Rapha and KellsterCartier both had very similar teams that led to great results at their respective tournaments. Andrew Burley (Andykins) asked me for the team the morning of the tournament, decided to change one of Terrakion’s attacks, and ended up finishing Top 4. Zach and I had done some practice matches the week before Missouri, and he ended up using my core with a few adjustments that obviously worked out quite well. Without further ado, here’s the team!
Metagross @ Metagrossite
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 44 HP / 164 Atk / 44 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Iron Head
– Zen Headbutt
Deployed in 10/12 battles, accounted for 13/42 knockouts
As soon as I saw all of the new Mega Evolutions that were released with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, I knew that Metagross was the first one I wanted to try out as soon as the format switched. It has two fantastic abilities in Clear Body (before it Mega Evolves) and Tough Claws (after it Mega Evolves). Starting off with Clear Body meant that Metagross could safely be led into a potential Intimidate from Landorus-Therian and avoid the -1 Attack drop while it Mega Evolves that turn. I also took full advantage of Clear Body by switching non-mega Metagross into Icy Winds and other stat-dropping moves. There was an instance at a Premier Challenge when I was facing off against a Gothitelle with Charm, so I left Metagross in non-mega form until Trick Room ended so my opponent’s Charms were useless. Since early January, I had been testing teams with Metagross and trying to work out a spread and moveset that I liked. This is the eventual Metagross that I fell in love with.
I originally used Meteor Mash as a Steel STAB move, but after missing one too many times I switched to Iron Head. Having a STAB move that was guaranteed to not miss was a great security blanket if I just needed some reliable damage. Mega Metagross’ high base 110 Speed meant that I had a lot of opportunities to flinch my opponent as well, which could help gain momentum early on or bail me out of tough spots late in the game. I honestly don’t think people should even consider Meteor Mash anymore since its base power got nerfed from 100 to 90. It is literally the same argument as Waterfall versus Aqua Tail, and we all know how many Aqua Tail Gyarados have seen decent success. Well, I guess it won Canadian Nationals in 2012…but that’s not important.
Zen Headbutt is the obligatory Psychic STAB, and really the only option in this category. The 90% accuracy was a pain at times, but I felt that Zen Headbutt was reliable enough to do its job. Often times, I would follow up a Zen Headbutt with a 100% accurate Iron Head on the next turn even if Zen Headbutt did more damage, since Iron Head was sometimes enough to finish off an opponent’s Pokemon. For example, Iron Head fails to 2HKO Ludicolo since it is resisted, but Zen Headbutt + Iron Head will knock it out. If I landed the first Zen Headbutt, I would use Iron Head to finish it off 99% of the time so there was no chance I would miss. I know some people have chosen not to use Zen Headbutt in favor of other coverage moves in the past, but I think the neutral coverage Zen Headbutt provides, plus the super effective coverage against common Fighting and Poison types, was enough to warrant its use.
I chose to use Protect since Metagross could quickly become the biggest target on the field. It exerts a lot of offensive pressure with its high Attack and Speed stats, so opponents tend to want to eliminate it quickly. It also holds the designation as the team’s Mega Pokemon, which is often labeled as a team’s biggest threat and often attracts attention for that reason. Protect gave me the chance to shield Metagross from any attacks for a turn while its partner could eliminate another threat.
Substitute is the crux of this set, and easily the most talked about part of this team. I was unimpressed by the other moves Metagross could run, and decided very early on that Substitute would be my fourth move. Metagross can force a lot of Protects or switches, which are perfect times to get behind a Substitute. It is a prime target for status moves like Thunder Wave or Will-o-Wisp, which are both blocked by Sub as well. There are a lot of common Pokemon that have a hard time damaging Metagross to begin with, so trying to take down a Metagross behind a Substitute proved to be a real challenge for some opponents. You might notice that Metagross is also weak to Sucker Punch, which is certainly a move common enough to take into consideration. Sucker Punch will fail on the turn Substitute is used, and will just break the Substitute on the next turn, essentially meaning that Metagross just takes 25% damage from the Sucker Punch as opposed to the 70-80% it might do otherwise. Another thing I liked about Substitute is that it made Metagross an even larger target. Often times, opponents would try to target Metagross with both of their Pokemon. This meant that Metagross’ partner was safe for the turn, and also that I could potentially use Protect with Metagross that turn to burn both of my opponent’s attacks. As Evan put it on the Missouri stream, Metagross had the potential to use Follow Me behind that Substitute just by being so threatening.
Since a lot of people have asked why I used Substitute over a third attack, I’ll quickly run through the other options for that last moveslot. Ice Punch is the move most commonly chosen, almost solely for Landorus-Therian. While having the option to OHKO Landorus (even at -1) is nice, most Landorus hold a Choiced Scarf and have the option to Earthquake you for big damage or just U-Turn away before the Ice Punch can connect. I was disappointed by the other coverage and had multiple Ice-type moves elsewhere on the team, so I didn’t see the need to run Ice Punch. In fact, I found myself thinking “I wish I could use Substitute here” more often than I actually used Ice Punch. I think Ice Punch might be a better option on teams that utilize Tailwind since that gives Metagross the chance to attack and knock out Scarf Landorus before it can move. Bullet Punch is an intriguing move that can also be used to dodge Sucker Punches and finish off weakened opponents. While the priority of Bullet Punch is a great option, I much preferred the utility of Substitute. Hammer Arm is actually the first attack I would have used over Substitute due to its ability to hit Bisharp, Heatran, and Kangaskhan for huge damage. However, I had two Fighting moves elsewhere on the team and, again, did not see the need for the coverage. I guess Earthquake is an interesting option to hit Steel types that give Metagross a hard time, but its power is very underwhelming. Bulky Heatran can be EV’d to survive it even without a Shuca Berry, and it doesn’t have a chance to 2HKO Shield-forme Aegislash. Blade-forme Aegislash even has a chance to survive!
Since I had decided on using Substitute, I wanted an EV spread that would optimize its use. The first thing I did was max out speed to take advantage of Metagross’ incredible base 110 Speed. The ability to outspeed and OHKO a lot of common threats in the base 108 and below tier was too good to pass up. The 44 EV’s in HP gives Metagross an HP stat of 161, which meant that Metagross could set up 4 Substitutes and be left with 1 HP. For future reference, this is accomplished by having an HP stat that equals 4n + 1, where n is any positive whole number. The extra Defense EV’s accomplish a couple extra goals. The second hit from 252 Adamant Mega Kangaskhan’s Sucker Punch does no more than 25% (or 40 HP points) to Metagross, which means that Metagross can always set up a Substitute and survive a Sucker Punch twice in front of Kangaskhan. Since Iron Head (usually) 2HKO’s Kangaskhan, it gave me a unique way to improve the Kangaskhan matchup. Sucker Punch from Bisharp that don’t carry a boosting item does a maximum of 74.5% (or 120 HP points) to Metagross, so I will always survive the Sucker Punch after one Substitute has been broken. Bisharp was a large threat to my team, so this calc was pretty important. I dumped the remaining EV’s in Attack, with the 4 in Special Defense for optimization, and did not notice the slight drop in power from 252 EV’s at all. Metagross was still able to OHKO pretty much all Gengar, Sylveon, and Hariyama, and most Togekiss, Amoonguss, and Conkeldurr, just to name a few. All but the bulkiest Pokemon that took neutral damage from both Iron Head and Zen Headbutt were still 2HKO’d, and Metagross’ very high damage output is reflected in the fact that it accounted for a sizable portion of the team’s KO’s.
All in all, I am very happy with the way Metagross performed and do not regret using it in the slightest. I’m incredibly happy it got a Mega Evolution in OR/AS, and can’t wait to use it even more. I told myself that if I top cut a regional this Winter I would buy this shiny and beautiful and perfect Japan-exclusive Mega Metagross plush on ebay since the Metagross I was using was also shiny and beautiful and perfect, so the plush is now in the mail 🙂
Hydreigon @ Choice Specs
EVs: 60 HP / 180 Def / 132 SpA / 4 SpD / 132 Spe
– Draco Meteor
– Dark Pulse
– Earth Power
Deployed in 10/12 battles, accounted for 14/42 knockouts
The only Pokemon on the team to knock out more Pokemon than Metagross, Hydreigon served as a powerhouse for the team and had almost perfect defensive synergy with Metagross. With the exception of Fighting, every type that is super effective against one of Hydreigon or Metagross is resisted by the other, which meant switching between the two was pretty easy. Hydreigon threatened an OHKO against a lot of the Pokemon that Metagross really couldn’t touch, like Aegislash, Heatran, and Ferrothorn. Hydreigon also made the Rotom match-up much better, as most Rotom can’t touch Hydreigon while Draco Meteor OHKOs less bulky variants. I decided to use Choice Specs since I could viably use 4 attacking moves to get maximum coverage out of Hydreigon. Choice Specs Hydreigon is also one of the hardest-hitting Pokemon in the game, and Draco Meteor can get a lot of quick OHKOs that Hydreigon holding other items miss.
Draco Meteor is an obvious choice on Choice Specs Hydreigon. If an opposing Pokemon doesn’t resist Draco Meteor, it is either getting OHKOd or taking a huge chunk of damage. It also OHKOs every other Dragon type without a second thought, with the exception of some Assault Vest Goodra or Dragons holding random Haban Berries.
Dark Pulse is the other STAB move and also deals a ton of damage to neutral targets. It was mandatory for taking on Aegislash, which this team otherwise had some trouble with. While I couldn’t rely on Dark Pulse to always OHKO Aegislash, there were plenty of opportunities for this team to chip Aegislash enough to make Dark Pulse an easy knockout.
Earth Power was a great way to dispatch Heatran, a prime threat to Metagross. It also OHKOs 252 HP / 4 Special Defense Mega Mawile, which, while uncommon, is enough of a threat to warrant coverage. I didn’t use Earth Power a whole lot, but it made me pretty comfortable to have a way to immediately wipe Heatran and Mawile off the map before they could do much damage.
Since I couldn’t fit a Fire-type Pokemon on this team, I desperately wanted a Fire-type coverage move somewhere. Flamethrower served this purpose, providing invaluable coverage. It easily OHKOs 4x weak Pokemon like Ferrothorn and Scizor, which pretty heavily threatened Metagross. With the same base power as Earth Power, it also OHKOs Mawile; having the option to lock into two different moves and still threaten Mawile was quite valuable. Fire Blast is worth considering in this slot for more power, but I valued the 100% accuracy of Flamethrower and didn’t really notice any notable OHKOs or 2HKO’s that Flamethrower misses.
The EV spread is much slower and bulkier than the typical Hydreigon. I didn’t feel the need to use max Speed or Special Attack, and wanted to see how bulky I could get while still maintaining a respectable amount of Speed and Special Attack. I looked into creating a spread that accomplished the following goals: OHKO 252/4 Mega Mawile without needing to use Fire Blast, outspeed positive nature base 70’s like Breloom and Bisharp, and survive Superpower from 252 Adamant Landorus-T. Coincidentally, 132 EV’s was what I needed for both the Speed and Special Attack benchmarks, and I messed around with the remaining EV’s in HP and Defense to find the spread that survived Superpower with the highest HP stat to help with overall bulk. A lot of common Hidden Power Ices, such as those from bulky Thundurus and Zapdos, fail to 2HKO Hydreigon, so the bulk was certainly appreciated. I realize that a lot of Mega Mawile run a little bit more bulk than just 252 HP / 4 Special Defense, but I’ll just say that I never missed an OHKO on a Mawile with this spread in either practice or the tournament itself.
I know a lot of players think that Hydreigon isn’t as good of a Pokemon this season as it was towards the end of 2014, probably due to the prevalence of Fairy-types like Sylveon and Clefable, but Hydreigon was the unsung hero of this team. It scored the most knockouts and was a great presence for the team, both offensively and defensively.
Landorus-Therian @ Choice Band
EVs: 164 HP / 60 Atk / 4 Def / 28 SpD / 252 Spe
– Rock Slide
Deployed in 7/12 battles, accounted for 2/42 knockouts
Landorus-Therian is quite the strong Pokemon. Sure it might be on every other team and super unoriginal and blah blah blah, but there is a reason: it’s just that good. I personally don’t like Choice Scarf as an item for Landorus, as it wastes a lot of its potential, but it certainly is a viable option (as I would learn in my Top 16 match). I had originally used a Careful Choice Band set, but didn’t see the need for that much bulk and wasn’t happy with the speed drop I had to take. I ended up switching to a Jolly Choice Band set after a couple Premier Challenges and I really enjoyed it.
The moves are all self-explanatory, really. Earthquake is a great move in doubles that has a lot of power backed by Landorus’ huge base 145 Attack. To quote Baz Anderson, “Rock Slide is a lovely move.” It completes the nigh-unresisted Rock/Ground coverage set and deals a lot of damage to a lot of Pokemon. U-Turn can get Landorus out of trouble and still deal some decent damage with the Choice Band. Superpower is great coverage that OHKOs Bisharp, Kangaskhan, and Terrakion without a second thought.
The EV spread is adapted from a bulky Choice Scarf set that Braverius had previously posted on his blog. Andykins actually made the adjusted Band spread and gave it to me after using it himself to some good success. The HP and Special Defense ensure that Landorus survives Hidden Power Ice from neutral nature Zapdos and Thundurus, while the HP alone allows Landorus to survive +1 Sucker Punch from Life Orb Bisharp. Max Speed was used to outrun neutral nature base 101’s and below, including Kangaskhan, Charizard, and Thundurus-Therian. The remaining EVs were dumped into attack, but still allow Landorus to OHKO Kangaskhan, Terrakion, and Heatran with one (or both) of Earthquake or Superpower. 252 HP / 4 Defense Mega Mawile has a 75% chance to be OHKOd by Earthquake even with the spread damage reduction. The combination of bulk, speed, and power that Jolly Choice Band Landorus-Therian brought to the team was invaluable. The KO count may seem low, but Landorus was very good at supporting the team with Intimidate and providing valuable chip damage that allowed other teammates to finish off opponents.
Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 212 HP / 104 Def / 4 SpA / 76 SpD / 108 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
– Thunder Wave
– Hidden Power [Ice]
Deployed in 10/12 battles, accounted for 5/42 knockouts
Thundurus is the second half of the popular double-genie combination. This Thundurus is also pretty standard while having a few features that set itself apart, most notably the Timid Nature and Speed investment. Again, Thundurus is just so good at its job that it’s very hard to not use. Prankster Thunder Waves and Taunts support the team to an unmatched level while still being fast and powerful enough to deal significant damage. The problem I have with other Prankster users like Liepard and Whimsicott is that they can often seem like dead weight, as their attack stats leave much to be desired. Thundurus has a respectable base 125 Special Attack and can still OHKO some frailer Pokemon like Talonflame with just the 4 EV’s.
Thunder Wave is my favorite method of Speed Control, as it can’t be stalled out or reset by switching like Tailwind or Icy Wind, respectively. While it doesn’t affect Ground or Electric types and can be circumvented with Lum Berry, it is still an incredibly useful move and my go-to whenever Thundurus had a free turn. It also kept in line with this team’s theme of turning the odds in my favor, as Paralysis + Flinching Move has a 47.5% or 40% chance to prevent a Pokemon from attacking, depending on if the flinch chance is 30% or 20%.
Taunt is a move a lot of people drop for something like Swagger or Protect, but I value Taunt way too much to not use it. It can shut down a lot of team archetypes, like Trick Room, or gimmicks, like Minimize. It also helped prevent my opponent from spreading around status moves because only I should be able to paralyze entire teams!
Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Ice allowed Thundurus to theaten a lot of Pokemon offensively and kept it from being dead weight if there was nothing else to paralyze or Taunt, or if it got Taunted itself.
The EV spread is what sets this Thundurus apart. The HP and Defense investment allows it to survive 252 Adamant Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge with the Sitrus Berry. Landorus Rock Slide is also a 3HKO, sometimes without even needing the Sitrus Berry. The Speed investment allows Thundurus to outspeed non-Choice Scarf Jolly Landorus by 2 points. I would have just outsped it by 1, but I thought some people might have Pokemon EV’d to that benchmark and decided to creep them. The rest of the EV’s were just dumped into Special Defense for extra bulk. While most people opt for a Calm Nature, I decided that I was fine with sacrificing the bulk for a little more speed. I was still able to survive Ice Beams from random bulky Water types like Ludicolo, Milotic, Gastrodon, and company. Even some STAB Ice Beams, like that from Greninja, don’t OHKO Thundurus (Life Orb Greninja does OHKO, however), so I felt comfortable with this change.
Thundurus was a great team player that I brought to a vast majority of my battles due to its great ability to support the team and set up knockouts.
Terrakion @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Close Combat
– Rock Slide
– Quick Guard
Deployed in 8/12 battles, accounted for 6/42 knockouts
Terrakion is the best non-mega Pokemon in the format. It has the ability to outspeed and OHKO a lot of prime threats, including but not limited to: Kangaskhan, Charizard, Heatran, Hydreigon, and Bisharp. The best part is that it does all of this with just its two STAB moves, which, after the obligatory Protect, leaves another moveslot wide open. I chose to use Quick Guard for a few reasons. Terrakion is faster than the vast majority of Fake Out users and can waste the opponent’s turn if they try to use Fake Out. Since Quick Guard was buffed to block Gale Wings and Prankster-boosted attacks, it can prevent Thundurus, Sableye, and Meowstic from spreading annoying status moves, as well as make Talonflame’s Brave Bird useless. Finally, Quick Guard was a great way to deter true priority attacks like Bullet Punch and (especially) Sucker Punch. (If you haven’t caught onto the “Protect the Metagross” theme of this team yet, catch on now.) Andrew decided to use Substitute instead of Quick Guard on his Terrakion. I do think Substitute is a great move, but I don’t like how it synergizes with the Focus Sash and think Sub is probably better on Lum Berry Terrakion. It does have some interesting best of 3 applications, though, in which you can reveal the Focus Sash game 1 and whip out Substitute game 2, or vice versa. Speaking of which, I chose to use Focus Sash instead of Lum Berry since I had multiple ways to block statuses in Quick Guard and Thundurus’ Taunt. I also noticed that a lot of players chose to avoid using Thunder Wave or Will-o-Wisp on Terrakion since Lum Berry is such a common item. The Focus Sash let Terrakion take a big hit from something that could OHKO it and survive to get one more attack off. It also helped out a lot in the mirror, especially if the opposing Terrakion had a different item. Terrakion was such a solid team player, as he performed very well in matches while forcing players to potentially leave some Pokemon behind at team preview.
Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 156 HP / 52 Def / 156 SpA / 4 SpD / 140 Spe
– Giga Drain
– Ice Beam
– Fake Out
Brought to 3/12 battles, accounted for 2/42 knockouts
Ludicolo was a Pokemon I used this season before the format switched to the 2015 rules. I think it was very good towards the end of 2014, but its value has since dropped. However, it still has a few good matchups that I think made it worth using. I was actually quite terrified of Rain with this team, specifically Mega Swampert rain. I had played Mega Swampert multiple times on Showdown and really had no way to beat it other than relying on Terrakion’s Focus Sash or banking on Hydreigon surviving a Helping Hand Ice Punch. Ludicolo also does very well against Mega Camerupt + Gastrodon teams, with the ability to OHKO both Pokemon while taking little damage. Finally, the dancing pineapple beats almost all of the bulky water-types, such as Suicune and Milotic, so I didn’t feel forced to bring Thundurus against those Pokemon. As you can probably tell, Ludicolo was mostly just used to patch up some less-than-optimal matchups. Both of the knockouts it scored actually came from the same battle. The other time I brought Ludicolo during Swiss I never actually revealed it, and you all saw how great Ludicolo did during Game 3 of Top 16… (It sat there and did nothing.) I don’t regret using Ludicolo, but would consider other options in this slot since Pokemon like Mega Swampert and Mega Camerupt really aren’t that common.
A Word From the Artist
Hey guys, Caleb Ryor (BlitznBurst) here to quickly talk about the version of this team that I piloted to a Top 64 finish in Virginia with a record of 6-3, losing to such notable players as Cameron Swan (Drizzleboy) and Danny Hemchand (Jabberwocky). Because I went to Virginia Regionals, one advantage I had was being able to see the results of Day 1 of St. Louis Regionals with VGC taking place only on Sunday at Virginia. Not only hearing about the team, but being able to see the team on stream made me fall in love with it and with all of Jake, Andrew, and Zach doing well with it, I knew it would be foolish for me not to give it a try the night before. I had plenty of experience with the Terrakion / Thundurus / Metagross core in my own testing, but in the environment of a rain team. Something just didn’t seem right about my team in testing and I initially thought it was because Metagross was just an inferior mega, so I had every intention to go ahead and just run Kangaskhan with rain. Having seen the success of Metagross meant that my practice with it was not at all in vain, so I ditched what I was working on in favor of this new team, joining the Metagross squad.
Now the interesting part about the team itself to me was that Zach did not agree with the use of Ludicolo as the last slot for the team. I was playing around with sets but overall stayed with what Jake had except for using Swagger over Taunt on Thundurus and a Timid Life Orb Hydreigon. I had intended to go with the Ludicolo version as I felt more comfortable with it, but late that night before regionals, Blake Hopper (Bopper) sent me this set and almost immediately convinced me to use it:
Gyarados-Mega @ Gyaradosite
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 60 HP / 204 Atk / 20 Def / 4 SpD / 220 Spe
– Dragon Dance
I have always been a fan of double mega teams, sporting one myself for almost the entirety of last season. The thing about Mega Gyarados though is that it totally walls opposing Mega Metagross unless they have Hammer Arm. The spread is simply just a bulky Adamant attacker as I wanted a bit more power, not thinking outspeeding Scarf Landorus-T would be too crucial (it would have been nice…). Being able to deal with Rotom forms with Earthquake in testing was very useful, and I never felt the need to go for the STAB Crunch. The build felt perfect for the team, with two Flying types to avoid Earthquake and the ability to apply early double Intimidate pressure with Landorus-T. The annoying thing about the event itself, however, was that I never faced a single Mega Metagross and I lost every match to which I brought Gyarados. Do I regret using it, however? Not in the slightest. I felt like it was a great option for the metagame and it covered a lot of the team’s weaknesses, I just didn’t end up needing to use it too often, and when I did use it I lost to players simply playing better and/or being prepared for Mega Gyarados. It’s always important to give a Pokemon change a chance and, even if one member of a team didn’t seem to do much for you at an event, keep practicing with it to find its real potential on the team.
Since we can’t save battle videos from Regionals (ugh), my memories are going to be a little hazy. I’ll try to remember how each battle played out to the best of my ability, but no promises.
Round 1 vs Derrick Rogers
It was pretty cool to see another Mega Metagross/Terrakion/Hydreigon core this early on, but my memories of this battle are probably the most unclear of them all. I do remember that on turn 1, his Mega Metagross OHKOd my Thundurus with a Critical Hit Ice Punch. I was pretty confident that I would otherwise survive that move, but it wasn’t a big deal since I was still able to paralyze the Metagross before the Ice Punch. Metagross and Hydreigon pretty much cleaned up at that point, with Metagross taking out the Terrakion and Sylveon while Hydreigon KO’d the Metagross and Milotic.
Round 2 vs Neal Fiebiger
This is the match where Ludicolo did the most work. I know for a fact that it knocked out the Garchomp with an Ice Beam and Suicune with a couple Giga Drains. Thundurus paralyzed his Weavile and Metagross, allowing Terrakion to outrun and deal significant damage to both. I had a second Mega Metagross mirror match in a row, and I ended up dominating this one as well.
Round 3 vs Kevin Fisher (Uncle Taint)
I knew Kevin had some great success in the past, so this battle was going to be fun. Turn 1 was…interesting to say the least. I paralyzed his Gengar right off the bat, and it was immediately fully paralyzed. However, his Suicune froze Thundurus with an Ice Beam. Thundurus stayed frozen for the next 4 or 5 turns, when it finally thawed out to finish off the Suicune with a Thunderbolt. During that time, I believe Metagross knocked out his Gengar. Other stuff happened, and eventually we both were down to two Pokemon remaining: my just-over-50% health Thundurus with Sitrus Berry intact and full health Hydreigon not yet locked into a move against his full health Taunted Thundurus and full health Mawile. I thought he might Sucker Punch the Thundurus for some damage before Mawile went down, so I just doubled into the Mawile with Thunder Wave and Flamethrower. He ended up not using Sucker Punch, so Thundurus’ turn was wasted while Hydreigon OHKOd Mawile and Kevin’s Thundurus knocked mine out with a Thunderbolt. Next turn, his Thundurus used Hidden Power Ice on my Hydreigon, taking it down to 1 less than half HP, while my Flamethrower did around 60% and activated his Sitrus Berry. I knew at this point that I needed Kevin’s Hidden Power to hit a low roll and my Flamethrower to hit a high roll if I was to win. His Hidden Power went off, and Hydreigon hung on with 5 HP. Hydreigon used Flamethrower, and I was able to score the knockout and win the game. A great battle came down to an incredibly intense last turn, and I was pretty energized going into Round 4.
Round 4 vs Jonathan McMillan (MrEobo)
As an honorary member of the Michigan Crew, I’ve become pretty good friends with Jon over the course of this season. If you remember from my last team report, I played him during the last round of Fort Wayne Regionals this fall. That match was a hilarious luck-fest that I was able to barely edge out, so we were both looking forward to the rematch and hoped for a more clean battle. I knew the team Jon was using and had practiced against it a good bit, so I knew that my key to victory was taking out the Rhydon. Doing so meant I could freely paralyze his Greninja, which could otherwise do a whole lot of damage. He didn’t lead with Rhydon but had a sneaking suspicion that he brought it, so I was wary about using Electric-type moves until I knew. He ended up switching the Rhydon in early on, so I was able to knock it out with a Hidden Power Ice + Draco Meteor combo. From there, I was able to slow down the rest of his team and take the win.
Round 5 vs Stephen Morioka (Stephen)
While we were on our lunch break, I got a message from my friend Tommy Cooleen (Tman), who had been following the pairings online. He simply said, “You got Stephen,” and I knew I would be in for a tough match. His team seemed to revolve around protecting his Mega Blastoise so it could launch powerful Water Spouts, with the additional option of setting up some Dragon Dances with his Tyranitar. Terrakion put in a lot of work during this battle as it had the ability to OHKO the Tyranitar, even at -1 from Intimidate. The turn-by-turn details are somewhat fuzzy, but I do remember Hydreigon’s Flamethrower nailing an Amoonguss switch-in for some great damage. He was able to put Hydreigon to sleep eventually, but I believe Hydreigon was able to wake up on the second turn to finish off his Hitmontop. Eventually, I was able to get Metagross on the field with no threat from Tyranitar, so it was able to fire off some Zen Headbutts to seal up the match.
Round 6 vs Tiffany Stanley (Shiloh)
Before I sat down for my match, I was approached by one of the TPCi employees and told that we would be streamed. I was so excited to be on the official Pokemon stream! GamerGraphy uploaded the matches from the Swiss rounds to their YouTube channel, so you can watch my match here. In case the auto-jump feature doesn’t work, my battle against Tiffany starts at 10:51.
I went straight for the Substitute on turn 1 since I figured that her Metagross would target my Thundurus and Milotic would either protect itself from the threat of a Thunderbolt or try to Icy Wind. I was right about the Icy Wind, so Metagross got a free Substitute while Thundurus some pretty good damage against the Milotic. I thought that would probably put it into Zen Headbutt range, and I got the nice KO the next turn while I paralyzed the opposing Metagross and got a lucky full paralysis. When Terrakion came in, I didn’t think she would let her Heatran take the free Close Combat, which is why I went straight for the double target into her Metagross. Luckily, my gambit paid off, and I even got the flinch with Iron Head (see: 47.5% chance for her Metagross to attack that turn). Another turn I’ll talk about is when I protected Terrakion and attacked the Greninja with Iron Head. I wasn’t sure what moves her Greninja was carrying, and knew that she had the option to attack Terrakion with a potential Water-type move or attack Metagross with Dark Pulse. I figured that either way, protecting Terrakion and attacking with Metagross would guarantee some good damage on Greninja. I could have used Zen Headbutt to avoid doing not very effective damage should it use a Water-type attack, but didn’t want to risk attacking into a Dark-type Greninja with a Psychic-type move should she choose to use Dark Pulse. Luckily, she went straight for the Low Kick onto Terrakion, and Iron Head was able to pick up the OHKO with the Critical Hit. Iron Head actually has a 12.5% chance to OHKO 4 HP Greninja without a Critical Hit, so there was a chance that it didn’t matter. This is the aforementioned match where I brought Ludicolo in the back but ended up not revealing it.
Round 7 vs Andrew Burley ([Candy]Andykins)
Look familiar? Unfortunately, I got paired up with Andrew in Round 7. After making a couple jokes about intentional draws in honor of our friend Keegan’s (Darkeness) undefeated* run in Missouri last year, we decided that even though we could have feasibly forced a draw if we brought the same 4 Pokemon and just didn’t attack at all, that wouldn’t guarantee both of us making cut.
At team preview, I realized that I didn’t think Metagross was a great choice for the mirror and figured he would expect to see it, so I decided to leave it behind. When he led with Ludicolo and Metagross to my Thundurus and Terrakion, I figured the best way to guarantee a Thunder Wave on Metagross was to use Quick Guard with Terrakion, even though he knew I was running it and could have easily used Scald or Ice Beam. He did try to use Fake Out on Thundurus, so Thundurus was able to paralyze Metagross, which proceeded to be fully paralyzed for what seemed like the entire battle. I got pretty lucky over the course of this match, with his Metagross failing to get a single attack off and my Thundurus winning a pretty crucial speed tie. I was able to win the match without much of a fight, but that was certainly no fault of Andrew’s. He went on to qualify for Top Cut anyway, which was a great relief.
Round 8 vs Andrew Hovis (Andrew Hovis)
At 7-0 with two rounds to go, I was somewhat confident that I had a place booked in cut. However, I wanted to win this one pretty badly to guarantee my spot in case all of my opponents had gone on to lose every single battle. My opponent’s team was a bit different but I really liked it. He revealed Ice Punch on his Kangaskhan pretty early on, so I felt comfortable just going for attacks with Metagross since most Kangaskhan drop Sucker Punch when they use Ice Punch. I think this battle was straightforward for the most part. I was able to attack through some Dynamic Punch confusions without much issue, and I think I got to whip out Quick Guard again to block Scizor’s Bullet Punches. There was one turn when his Machamp survived a Zen Headbutt from Metagross. My opponent then told me that he was EV’d to survive that attack, which surprised me since I didn’t think Mega Metagross was common enough to warrant dedicating EV’s to surviving its attacks. Andrew is pretty new to the scene and was worried he may still miss cut if he lost Round 9, but I assured him that since his first loss came so late in the tournament, he would have very good tiebreakers and would still have a very good chance to cut if he went 7-2.
Round 9 vs Ken Wright (DoctorKen2K)
Well, I had done it! At this point, I was the only 8-0 left in the tournament and had guaranteed a place in top cut. I probably should have played this match carefully to not reveal much information in case I played Ken in cut, but I got greedy and really wanted that 9-0. On turn 1 his Kangaskhan did not mega evolve, which was obviously pretty surprising, and he used Fake Out into a protecting Terrakion while Hydreigon missed the KO on Slowking with Dark Pulse. He was able to set up Trick Room, and I thought at this point that he probably had Mawile in the back, which would explain not mega evolving Kangaskhan (I later learned that his Kangaskhan carried a Lum Berry). He proceeded to set up Safeguard with Slowking the next turn while his Kangaskhan missed a Hammer Arm on my Terrakion, so my Terrakion’s Close Combat knocked out Kangaskhan and gave Ken a free switch into Mawile. I don’t remember what I did with Hydreigon, but I think I switched it out to preserve it and have the chance to knock out Mawile with Flamethrower. The next turn, he Swaggered his Mega Mawile to increase its attack power, and Mawile became a pretty scary threat. The next few turns are kind of a blur, but I do know that I was able to stall out Trick Room without taking too much damage from his Mawile. Weavile came in late in the game but was unable to turn it around. I had completed the legendary ***Flawless run through Swiss and couldn’t have been more excited to see how I fared in top cut.
Top 16 vs Zach Droegkamp (Braverius)
Of all the people in Top 16, Zach was probably the one I wanted to battle the least. I had been practicing with him for a couple weeks before the tournament and knew he ended up picking a team very similar to mine. His choice of Jellicent over Ludicolo gave him a slight advantage in the mirror match, but I was confident that I could work around it. Our match was chosen to be streamed, and Pokemon uploaded the set on their YouTube channel. You can watch it here. The actual battle starts at 7:35, but there is some good discussion in the lead-in that is worth listening to at some point.
I actually didn’t know what item Zach was running on Landorus, but I figured it was the bulky Choice Scarf set he had been using earlier this season. I knew from practice that -1 Rock Slide + Hidden Power Ice got the KO on Landorus, so I went straight for that play. Unfortunately, this turn could not have gone much worse. His Landorus was, in fact, Choice Scarfed, and proceeded to flinch both of my Pokemon with Rock Slide while Jellicent burned Terrakion with Scald. I was kinda reeling at this point, trying to reach for a win condition that I wasn’t really sure I could find. Thundurus was flinched once again the next turn while I tried to use Hidden Power, which kinda sealed my fate for the game. I was able to knock out his Landorus with a Draco Meteor and was actually fishing for a critical hit the next turn so I could knock out his Thundurus. I did get the critical hit, but on the Jellicent switch instead of the Thundurus. Obviously I was happy with the lucky break, but I really needed that Thundurus gone if I wanted a chance. I got some questions as to why I used Dark Pulse on his Thundurus instead of at the very end. At that point, my only win condition was for Landorus to survive the Iron Head from Metagross and knock it out with an Earthquake, so I just attacked into Thundurus. I knew my damage calculations well enough to know that Landorus really didn’t have a chance to survive the Iron Head, but on the off chance I was wrong, that was my only way out.
It was his turn to lead with Thundurus and Terrakion while leaving Metagross on the bench. This is when all of my practice battles against Zach might have been a bit detrimental, as I’m sure Zach knew my first idea would be to Taunt + Substitute. On turn 2, I thought he wouldn’t let me get the free KO on Terrakion, but he made a great read and left it vulnerable. Luckily, I was able to survive the Thunderbolt with 1 HP, which would prove to be essential. On the next turn, I went for the Thunderbolt on his Terrakion in case he was running Sash (I didn’t know that item either), and was happy to see his Jellicent switch in. Unfortunately, Cursed Body disabled Thunderbolt on that same turn. In a stroke of unfortunate timing, Zach offered the fist bump right at that moment as a way of saying “good play,” but if you were watching on stream, it looked like Zach was gloating in the fact that his luck from game 1 hadn’t quite run out yet. He immediately realized what had happened and looked pretty mortified, but I knew what he meant and he both laughed about it. Not surprisingly, Thundurus flinched to another Rock Slide while I tried to Hidden Power, and Jellicent healed back up to full health while I brought Hydreigon in. I was FINALLY able to get that Hidden Power off against Landorus and finished it off with a Dark Pulse. Jellicent got another Scald burn, this time on Thundurus, but I honestly didn’t mind that burn since I got a free switch into Metagross. On this turn, I was pretty confident he wouldn’t let Terrakion get knocked out right away and knew that Dark Pulse does not OHKO Jellicent, so I just went straight for the double target into Jellicent and was able to knock it out. When he brought Thundurus in, Zach said “You know what I have to do.” I laughed and said “Bring it on,” and I was fortunately able to attack through the Swagger and knock out his Terrakion. I will say that I 100% would have switched Hydreigon out that turn, but after I selected Metagross’ attack the system just confirmed my moves. I wasn’t given the option to attack or switch out with Hydreigon, it just auto-chose Struggle. I’m not sure if this was some kind of glitch or if that’s how it works when a choice-locked Pokemon has its move disabled, but in another circumstance this really could have put me in a bad position. Luckily, I broke through Swagger again to knock out the Thundurus (plus I still had an unrevealed Landorus in the back), so it wasn’t a big deal.
If I could go back and redo any battle of my Pokemon career, it would easily, 100%, without a doubt be this one. I really should not have brought Ludicolo to this battle. I think my reasoning was “I’ll just try to Fake Out and blow something up on Turn 1.” Unfortunately, he brought two Pokemon with Protect and was able to foil that plan off the bat. I just made really bad plays this game, quite frankly. I reached for predictions that just didn’t make sense and was thrown around like a rag doll as a result. On Turn 2, I was so scared to switch my Hydreigon into Metagross because I thought Zach would read into that and Dark Pulse the slot. I also thought there may have been a slight chance my Hydreigon was faster, but I really had no reason to think that considering how deliberately slow mine was. On the next turn, I actually will defend my Giga Drain into the Hydreigon, and here’s why. I don’t think Zach knew my Terrakion was Sashed, so he played that turn as if Terrakion wouldn’t have the chance to Close Combat the Hydreigon. Had he known my Terrakion’s item, I think there was a large chance that he would have switched Jellicent in for Hydreigon, which is the play I was fishing for. However, that was another outrageous prediction that I really had no business making. I should have just gone for the safe Close Combat + Scald into Metagross to knock it out. A couple turns later I won the Metagross speed tie, which was huge. I really needed to win that tie to have any kind of chance to win, and I even got the lucky critical hit on Landorus as it switched in. Landorus was now in Iron Head range, and I had a tough decision to make. Zach’s most obvious play was to Earthquake + Dark Pulse the Metagross, and if I protected Terrakion I could have eliminated Landorus with Iron Head. However, I would have been left with 1 HP Terrakion vs full health Jellicent and ~50% Hydreigon and would have needed a million Rock Slide flinches to win, as well as avoiding any Cursed Body shenanigans. Instead, I thought Zach might read into that play and U-Turn + Dark Pulse the Metagross to knock it out while getting Jellicent in for free. Again, this was another pretty wild read, but there was such a small chance that I won either way that I wasn’t too beat up about that one. Overall, I just think I played this battle very poorly, probably due to a combination of exhaustion and a loss of focus. All the credit to Zach though, he saw his openings and capitalized on all of my mistakes. I really don’t think I could have asked for a greater lesson from my first regional top cut set.
So my run came to a close here at Top 16. I was pretty discouraged after that first game, really just the first turn, but I was happy that I was able to come back strong and take a pretty convincing game 2. I would love to forget that game 3 happened, but this set was a great learning experience. After getting to know Zach before and during the tournament and practicing with him a bit more between Missouri and Florida regionals, I have so much respect for him and was glad to see him make it to the finals. Contrary to popular belief, however, Zach has not won more regionals than I’ve played!
- Going 9-0 in Swiss #IWokeUpLikeThis
- Finally making Top Cut at a Regional
- Getting to see all of my friends again
- Playing on stream was super fun
- Getting bushwhacked in Top 16
- Getting stranded at the airport for 6 hours while the Michigan Crew LIED TO ME
- It was so cold and my Florida-born body was not ready
- Getting paired with multiple friends during the tournament
- “Thundurus flinched and couldn’t move!”
- Bendable, posable RNJesus giveth and bendable, posable RNJesus taketh away
- Catching a nasty flu virus the week after the tournament
- A forgettable follow-up performance at Florida Regionals
For your daily dose of rapier wit, follow me on twitter at @jakesaysstuff. Thanks for reading!