Published on November 27th, 2014 | by MajorBowman14
The X Factor: A 2015 Fall Regional Team Report
I was fortunate enough to make it out to two Autumn Regionals this season. Both times, I finished at X-2, one win shy of qualifying for the Top Cut. While a 7-2 finish in the most talent-heavy portion of the country and a 6-2 finish at a tournament filled with big names from out of the region look good on paper, I can’t help but think I could and should have done better at both. In this report, I’ll talk about the team I used in Philadelphia and Fort Wayne and go through all of my battles at those events.
At a Glance
Just looking at the team, I can’t help but smile. Some of these Pokemon, like Ludicolo and Aegislash, are personal favorites. I don’t even mean competitively, I just like the concept and design of these Pokemon. The team was incredibly fun to use, and I wish I’d built something like it sooner in the format. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it to a couple Alpha Series Premier Challenges so I can give it another shot at glory.
The Team In-Depth
Charizard @ Charizardite X
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 68 Def / 12 SpD / 172 Spe
– Dragon Claw
– Flare Blitz
– Dragon Dance
- Nickname: Ike
- Deployed in Philadelphia: 9/9
- KOs in Philadelphia: 7
- Deployed in Fort Wayne: 8/8
- KOs in Fort Wayne: 11
Considering the most common mega Pokemon at the time were Mawile, Charizard Y, and Kangaskhan, I was looking for a mega of my own that could stand its ground against all three. Charizard X OHKOs Mawile without a Dragon Dance boost, OHKOs Kangaskhan at +1 with Flare Blitz, and takes laughable damage from Charizard Y. Charizard X has the potential for huge damage output if it gets set up, but can be a threat even without a Dragon Dance boost. I went with a bulkier spread to make setting up a bit easier. The HP and Defense EV’s allow it to survive a Jolly Life Orb Garchomp Dragon Claw and OHKO back with its own Dragon Claw. Most Rotom-Wash Hydro Pumps fail to 2HKO as well. Being able to safely Dragon Dance in front of these fairly common Pokemon made Charizard’s life a lot easier. It’s especially funny to see people switch in Rotom-Heat, which all but hard counters Charizard Y, and watch them flail when they realize Rotom-Heat is pure setup bait for Charizard X. As you can see, I brought Charizard to all of my battles at each regional. It also scored far and away the most knockouts of any of my team members. Charizard X is such a powerhouse, and I am very happy I chose to use it.
While this wasn’t meant to be a team that bluffed Charizard Y (I had two water types…why would I use sun with two water types…), Charizard Y with Mega Lucario had just been used by Jeudy Azzarelli to take 2nd place at Worlds, and the fact that I also carried Lucario probably flipped the Charizard Y switch in some people’s heads. Charizard Y is also much more popular in general, and most of the time it’s a safe assumption. I was able to capitalize on this fact pretty well, as most of my opponents would say something like “oh, I didn’t expect that” when I revealed the Charizardite X. I honestly nicknamed it Ike because I just liked the name, but a friend told me that Ike is apparently the name of the “Hero of the Blue Flame” from the Fire Emblem series, which I haven’t touched. This worked out nicely, considering Charizard has blue flames spewing from his mouth upon mega evolution.
Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 252 HP / 84 Def / 148 SpA / 4 SpD / 20 Spe
– Fake Out
– Giga Drain
– Ice Beam
Philadelphia: 5/9 KOs in Philadelphia: 6
Deployed in Fort Wayne: 6/8
KOs in Fort Wayne: 7
This is the Ludicolo Blake Hopper took through the LCQ into Worlds. Ludicolo has such a great matchup against a large portion of the metagame, especially teams with a rain component. If you can clear the field of strong physical attackers, Ludicolo can often clean up at the end. The EVs are built to make Jolly Garchomp Dragon Claw a 3HKO while OHKOing back with Ice Beam. The remaining EVs were dumped into speed to creep slower Ludicolo variants. I thought about adding a little more speed, but I valued the defense and special attack benchmarks too much to drop those stats at all. Ludicolo + Charizard was a very common lead for me, since more often than not I could Fake Out the bigger threat to Charizard and start Dragon Dancing right off the bat. Ludicolo also does very well against some of Charizard’s checks, such as faster Dragons. The general bulk and diverse type coverage Ludicolo brought to the team were invaluable. I brought Ludicolo to the majority of my battles, typically only leaving him out when I saw a team full of physical attackers. Flying-types in general scared Ludicolo away. However, there were times when I faced Talonflame or Mega Pinsir and still brought Ludicolo since I was confident that my other three Pokemon could handle them easily. The nickname was inspired by United States Nationals, where the crowd would always start doing Ludicolo’s dance when it was on stream. “Quiero bailar” is Spanish for “I want to dance,” so I saw it as a fitting name for the pineapple with fancy feet. A clone of QuieroBailar made its way to Top 8 in Fort Wayne under Andrew Burley’s control, so I like to think that I made Top 8 in spirit.
Salamence @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
– Draco Meteor
– Fire Blast
– Stone Edge
– Dragon Pulse
- Nickname: Brutalanda
- Deployed in Philadelphia: 5/9
- KOs in Philadelphia: 2
- Deployed in Fort Wayne: 5/8
- KOs in Fort Wayne: 1
Choice Scarf Salamence, though very straightforward, was an important addition to this team. With the exception of Goodra and random Haban Berries, it picks off the Dragon-types that give Charizard trouble, such as Garchomp and Hydreigon. I really hate playing the speed tie game, so I just opted to go with 252/252 Timid. I probably could have optimized the spread a little bit, but I wanted to give myself the best possible chance of outspeeding and KOing opposing Salamence and Hydreigon. In hindsight, a slower, bulkier spread like Simon Yip’s US Nationals Salamence would have worked just fine, but I don’t regret my decision. The moveset is pretty standard as well. I think Rock Slide on Scarf Salamence is a bad choice, considering it’s way too weak to deal considerable damage and is mostly only good for fishing for flinches. The only real reason to use a rock type move on Salamence is to hit Charizard Y, but Rock Slide can’t even OHKO it, so I didn’t think it’s worth a move slot. While it looks like Salamence’s KO count is really low, that’s because it isn’t meant to be a powerhouse that knocks out Pokemon left and right. Timid Scarf Salamence is really good at taking chunks out of semi-bulky Pokemon for the rest of the team to finish off. It was often switched in and out to utilize Intimidate, and occasionally was saved for an endgame when there was a Pokemon at low health it could finish off. For example, the only time Salamence knocked out a Pokemon at Fort Wayne was in Round 8 when it knocked out a Charizard Y late in the game, but it was brought frequently throughout the tournament and was key in a few wins. The nickname is just the German translation of Salamence. I really like a lot of the foreign Pokemon names (in particular: Scrafty’s German name, Irokex), so if I can’t think of a better nickname that’s usually my default choice.
Aegislash @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 236 SpA / 20 Spe
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– King’s Shield
Deployed in Philadelphia: 7/9
KOs in Philadelphia: 9
Deployed in Fort Wayne: 4/8
KOs in Fort Wayne: 2
I’ve been playing Sub + Leftovers Aegislash since a little before Nationals and I really, really like it. I know a lot of people have switched to other sets like Life Orb or Wide Guard + Weakness Policy, but the somewhat defensive nature of this set really meshes well with my playstyle. Aegislash creates really good endgames if it can get behind a substitute against key threats like Mawile or Kangaskhan, while stacking up well against a lot of common archetypes such as Gothitelle + Mawile in Trick Room. The speed EVs are there just to creep other Aegislash and slow Tyranitar, with the leftovers in HP and special attack. My usage of Aegislash dipped from Philadelphia to Fort Wayne, and its KO count dropped severely. I don’t really have an explanation other than less favorable matchups at the latter regional. Aegislash was definitely my MVP in Philadelphia, and my two losses came when I severely misplayed with it. In Fort Wayne, however, it was much less important in determining the outcome of my matches. The nickname is just another German translation that I admire.
Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 76 SpA / 164 SpD / 12 Spe
– Hydro Pump
- Nickname: Sterling
- Deployed in Philadelphia: 5/9
- KOs in Philadelphia: 3
- Deployed in Fort Wayne: 4/8
- KOs in Fort Wayne: 4
Rotom was a bit of a wild card, honestly. It felt a bit like dead weight in some matchups but really shined in others. It helped disable some physical threats like Mawile, Kangaskhan, and Tyranitar with Will-O-Wisp, and also gave me a solid answer to Talonflame, which could otherwise be pretty troublesome. After using Rotom-Heat and Rotom-Wash back and forth this whole format (I’m pretty sure one of the two has been on every team I’ve ever taken to a live event), I preferred Rotom-Wash in general since its secondary STAB move, Hydro Pump, could be spammed, unlike the oven’s Overheat. Rotom-Wash also helped the rain matchup somewhat, while Rotom-Heat was pretty much helpless against rain. I think Rotom-Wash fit well enough on the team that I’m not wishing I had used something else, but there may have been a better choice out there somewhere. I’m not surprised by the low usage, as Rotom was never meant to be an integral part of the team. It was mostly around to help out during certain matchups, and that’s certainly what it did. The nickname is just kinda something I thought up. Appliances can be silver, and sterling is a type of silver I guess?
Lucario @ Focus Sash
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Close Combat
– Extreme Speed / Stone Edge
– Bullet Punch
- Nickname: Sun Tzu
- Deployed in Philadelphia: 5/9
- KOs in Philadelphia: 5
- Deployed in Fort Wayne: 5/8
- KOs in Fort Wayne: 4
Part 2 of the potential Charizard Y / Mega Lucario bluff. It served as the “glue” Pokemon, if you will. Lucario was the last Pokemon added to the team, since I was having a lot of trouble with Tyranitar. Even though Charizard X isn’t double weak to Rock Slide like its Y-version counterpart, it still doesn’t appreciate taking Rock Slides. Non-Life Orb Garchomp fails to 2HKO, but Tyranitar can do a lot of damage. Wide Guard was certainly an option, but I’m just not comfortable playing that mind game on a regular basis and opted to just knock out Rock Slide users instead. Lucario was great for that role since Inner Focus prevents it from flinching from Rock Slides. Close Combat is such a powerful move, easily knocking out Pokemon such as Scrafty, Tyranitar, and Hydreigon. The Jolly nature let me outspeed Hydreigon reliably, since Modest is almost always the nature of choice on the three-headed dragon. It also gave me a chance to outrun opposing Kangaskhan before they mega evolved. I would often lead with Lucario if I saw a Kangaskhan at team preview, since most people target Lucario with Fake Out assuming it will mega evolve and lose Inner Focus. I give up my Focus Sash in the process, but OHKOing Kangaskhan before it can rip through my team was usually worth it. Bullet Punch was great for picking off Gardevoir and Aerodactyl, which can be pretty annoying if left unchecked. I ran Extreme Speed in Philadelphia, but I only used it once on the day and I felt it was unnecessary. I switched it to Stone Edge for Fort Wayne since it made my Charizard Y and Zapdos matchups easier in theory, but I never used Stone Edge at Fort Wayne either so that slot seemed like a waste of space. Follow Me, Feint, and Quick Guard are all cool techs that could possibly have helped me out. Follow Me specifically could have eased setting up with Charizard, but there wasn’t really a point in either tournament when I thought “I really need Follow Me right now.” All in all, Lucario was a great asset when I needed Tyranitar to faint quickly, and helped put dents in some other threats to my team. Its usage to KO ratio reflects his role on the team. I typically brought Lucario to target a specific Pokemon, and it averaged one knockout per match. My tactical use of Lucario prompted the nickname “Sun Tzu” after the author of the ancient book The Art of War.
I put this team together one night while I was on Pokemon Showdown with some friends (Andykins, Darkeness, AdamHoffer, Seaco), and I won one of the VGC room tournaments with it. Obviously that isn’t exactly a measure of prestige, but it was enough for me to feel confident in the team’s ability. I decided to not play any battles on the Showdown ladder since that almost always leads to me losing confidence in myself and the team. I limited myself to matches with friends, focusing on best-of-three sets in preparation for top cut. The first game of best-of-threes function somewhat like Swiss rounds too, so I definitely felt prepared for the Fall Regional season.
2015 Philadelphia Regionals
Result: 7-2, 30th place, 30 CP
Formatting note: The first two Pokemon listed were the leads, the next two were brought in the back, and the two in parentheses were not brought to the battle.
Round 1 vs Christopher Kennedy
My pre-tournament nerves were running high, so I was pretty relieved to see this team, complete with a Level 42 Scizor. That’s not to say that a team composed of these lesser-used Pokemon can’t be successful, but combined with my opponent saying he was relatively new to VGC, I wasn’t really fearing much. Charizard-X had a good matchup here, so I tried to get it set up early. Dragalge’s Dragon Tail was a bit troublesome since it reset the stat boosts, but I was able to burn most of his team to rack up chip damage and eventually was able to checkmate him with Aegislash when I took out his Greninja.
W 4-0 (Record: 1-0)
Round 2 vs Jalen Parente
Teams like this are exactly why I put Lucario on my team. Hoping he’d lead with Kangaskhan, I led Salamence and Lucario to bait a Fake Out and get an Intimidate off. He led with Meowstic and Kangaskhan, and I knew that Kangaskhan was going down this turn unless he switched it out or Charmed Lucario. I switched Aegislash into Salamence’s slot, while Meowstic and Kangaskhan both ended up using Fake Out. Thanks to Inner Focus, I knocked out Kangaskhan immediately. Aegislash was key in taking out Meowstic, hiding behind a substitute to shield itself from status moves. Ferrothorn was easily dispatched by Salamence, which then proceeded to spam Fire Blast on Tyranitar since I didn’t want to take the risk of switching something into a +2 Tyranitar (Aegislash’s Flash Cannon activated a Weakness Policy). Salamence connected on all 4 Fire Blasts it used this match, and ended up burning Tyranitar on the 4th. It was an easy cleanup from there.
W 3-0 (Record: 2-0)
Round 3 vs Greg Johnson
My opponent’s name sounded familiar to me, but I didn’t remember why. I was a bit leery looking at his team, as Zapdos and Conkeldurr could give me a bit of trouble. I led with Ludicolo and Aegislash against his Conkeldurr and Zapdos. The way I played Aegislash during this battle was unfortunately my undoing. Turn 1, I used Fake Out on Zapdos and Substitute with Aegislash, only to have the substitute broken by Payback from Conkeldurr. I didn’t think he’d attack Aegislash again for fear of a King’s Shield, so I used Substitute again while he paralyzed Ludicolo and broke the substitute with a second Payback. I don’t remember a whole lot about this battle, only that at some point I knocked out his Zapdos and Tyranitar with a few Ice Beams and Close Combat, respectively. At that point, I knew I had a chance to win if his last pokemon was something other than Mawile, but Mawile was sent out and I knew I was done for.
L 0-2 (Record: 2-1)
Round 4 vs Colin Schonewolf
This battle was pretty intense from what I can remember. I Bullet Punched Aerodactyl down to its Focus Sash while he set up Tailwind, and I switched Aegislash into Salamence’s slot to take an Ice Punch. After I finished off Aerodactyl with another Bullet Punch, we tried maneuvering around each other until it was my Charizard and Lucario against his Machamp and Aegislash in Blade Form. I really needed Aegislash gone, but I was pretty confident he’d King’s Shield so I doubled into Machamp and knocked it out while Aegislash did, in fact, protect itself. After this turn, he just had Kangaskhan and Aegislash to beat my Charizard, Lucario, and Aegislash. I knew that I could win if I preserved my own Aegislash while knocking out his. Eventually, I was able to Shadow Ball and KO his Aegislash while his Kangaskhan knocked out my Charizard with a Return. Being in Blade Form, I decided to King’s Shield before using Substitute on the off chance that he carried Crunch (he hadn’t revealed Sucker Punch yet either). When the King’s Shield animation started, my opponent looked visibly disappointed and I was pretty confident I had sealed up the game when I saw “Kangaskhan used Crunch!” There was no point in stalling out Sucker Punch with Substitute so I just went straight for a Flash Cannon, which ended up knocking it out from around 70% with a critical hit. That critical hit really didn’t matter, as his Crunch was nowhere close to 2HKOing Aegislash. This was definitely one of my best battles of my Fall Regionals.
W 1-0 (Record 3-1)
Round 5 vs Julius Solomon
Seeing the lead matchup, I thought I was in a pretty good position. Since Charizard-Y doesn’t really threaten Hydreigon, I thought he’d Fake Out and Draco Meteor the Salamence slot and decided to switch Aegislash in. He did burn his Fake Out on that slot but ended up targeting my mega-evolved Charizard X with Draco Meteor for a quick OHKO. This kind of threw me for a loop, as I knew a really good win condition against this team was setting up Charizard, provided he didn’t bring Azumarill (he didn’t). I still had a fighting chance if I could get his Hydreigon and Charizard out of the way, since Aegislash walls Mienshao and Gardevoir pretty easily. Lucario also handles these two well, outspeeding and OHKOing them both. My opponent’s Mienshao gave me a lot more trouble than I anticipated, and I had a chance to KO it with Aegislash but instead decided to double into Gardevoir. In hindsight, I really should have taken out that Mienshao since Gardevoir really doesn’t trouble me too much. Mienshao proceeded to take out my only ways to pressure Charizard and Hydreigon with High Jump Kick and Stone Edge, combined with a timely Heat Wave burn on Salamence. I really could and should have played this battle smarter, and my lack of forethought led me to my second loss.
L 0-2 (Record 3-2)
Round 6 vs Julia Bernhard
Julia is a friend and training partner, so I knew that her team had a couple tricks that could give me some trouble. The most key information was that her Sableye held a Lagging Tail and knew Trick, and that her Garchomp was running Substitute instead of Protect. I had a hunch she wouldn’t bring her Venusaur since it has a poor matchup against Charizard and Aegislash, so I took Rotom along to help out with Talonflame and try to burn Gyarados. Knowing she’d probably lead with Sableye, I led Charizard and Aegislash to bait a Trick onto the Aegislash slot. I also knew that Sableye in general can do almost nothing to Charizard X, so it would be easy to start setting up. She did lead Sableye, along with her Mega Gyarados. We both Dragon Danced on Turn 1, while I switched in Salamence to make Sableye swap its Lagging Tail for a Choice Scarf. I was completely fine with Salamence taking the Lagging Tail, since its speed wasn’t too important in this matchup. Garchomp doesn’t OHKO it, Gyarados would be increasing its speed with Dragon Dance anyway, and Talonflame has priority with Gale Wings. The first few turns were just us trying to get in position to knock out the opposing mega evolution and sweep from there. I was able to chunk her Gyarados with a couple Dragon Pulses while we both did some switching around in our non-mega slot. At one point, it was Charizard and Rotom against Gyarados (with no attack boosts) and Talonflame. My bigger priority at that point was burning Gyarados as opposed to knocking out Talonflame, and I was able to tank an Earthquake and land a Will-O-Wisp. From there, Charizard took a Brave Bird and KO’d Gyarados while Rotom knocked out Talonflame. I was able to finish off the battle from there, as Charizard had a speed boost and could freely OHKO the Protect-less Garchomp. I was happy to have won the battle, but it was unfortunate to knock a friend out of the tournament. I encouraged her and told her to win out with me, and we both got ready for round 7.
W 2-0 (Record 4-2)
Round 7 vs William Gu
A Charizard X mirror! Seeing this team (and assuming his Charizard was the Y form…I fell into my own trap), I knew that my own Charizard had a field day. It didn’t even need a boost to beat most of this team, so I kept it in the back to play it safe. Ludicolo and Aegislash were my leads of choice, and they matched up well against my opponent’s Mr. Mime and Snorlax. I did my default play of Fake Out + Substitute, and targeted his Snorlax, since it could potentially do a lot of damage to Ludicolo. Mr. Mime set up a Light Screen, so I essentially got a free Substitute. The next turn, I targeted Snorlax with Scald and Flash Cannon, again ignoring Mr. Mime since its very low damage output wasn’t threatening me at all. I ended up scoring a Burn and a Critical Hit through his Light Screen with that Scald, which was a nice little bonus. Mr. Mime used Icy Wind and Snorlax used Power-Up Punch on Ludicolo, and based on the relatively low amount of damage it took from Scald + Flash Cannon I decided it had Assault Vest. I kept chipping away at Snorlax, eventually knocking it out, while he failed to do meaningful damage to either of my Pokemon. He replaced his fallen Snorlax with Gardevoir, which I promptly burned on the first try with Scald. Aegislash was still hiding behind its Substitute from Turn 1, which I was able to preserve with a couple timely King’s Shields that blocked double targets. Eventually I KO’d his Gardevoir and Mr. Mime with Aegislash, and his Charizard was on the field against my Ludicolo and Aegislash, which hadn’t left the battle at all. I had won the battle at this point, as even the best Charizard X can’t win a 1 v 4.
W 3-0 (Record 5-2)
Round 8 vs Anthony Rossano
This team looked a bit scary. He had the Raichu + Azumarill combo that Baz Anderson used to win the Nugget Bridge Invitational, and Raichu and Weavile both have the power to disrupt teams very well. They can create a bunch of free turns for Pokemon to set up or deal heavy damage. I knew Rotom would be important in this matchup, but I had to play carefully around Raichu to avoid giving it any Lightningrod Boosts. On Turn 1, I expected the Fake Out from Weavile onto Rotom, but didn’t want to Protect in case Raichu came in next turn for the Encore. He did Fake Out Rotom, while mega evolving his Pinsir and using Return on Charizard. Charizard tanked the Return like a pro and was able to KO Pinsir with Flare Blitz. I could tell my opponent was counting on that Return OHKOing the assumed Charizard Y, and even told me afterwards that it usually knocks out Charizard Y in one blow. I forget how the turns played out exactly after that, but he ended up flinching Rotom again the next turn with Fling + King’s Rock and (I think) set up a Belly Drum with Azumarill. I was eventually able to burn the Azumarill (again, leery of trying to Thunderbolt it in case Raichu switched in), which put Azumarill in range to be knocked out by Giga Drain after a couple turns of burn damage. Raichu ended up being very easy to manage, especially since Rotom was feeling particularly cooperative this round and didn’t miss a Hydro Pump.
W 3-0 (Record 6-2)
Round 9 vs Benjamin Sorohan
I don’t remember a whole lot about this battle. My notes were pretty scarce, and I actually wrote down Talonflame twice so I’m not sure what his sixth Pokemon was. From what I do remember, this was another match in which Lucario proved its worth, outrunning and dealing significant damage to Blastoise before it could get off a powerful Water Spout and making Tyranitar much easier to beat. This was the second Raichu I faced in a row, yet both times I brought my Electric type since it had too good of a matchup to pass up. My opponent switched Tyranitar into a Hydro Pump to activate his Weakness Policy, and I would have knocked it out with another on the next turn but it missed. Rotom barely survived a Rock Slide, and I believe I brought Lucario in the next turn. Rotom was in Thunderbolt range from Raichu, and I was pretty confident he’d Protect Tyranitar so I used Protect with my own Rotom and Close Combat on Raichu. Thankfully my bold play paid off as he did exactly what I predicted. The next turn I was able to KO Tyranitar and freely Thunderbolt the Blastoise for the win.
W 3-0 (Record 7-2)
I had managed to claw my way up to an X-2 finish after a poor start, and I was pretty happy with the way I finished. Since we had a top 16 cut, there were a few X-2’s that made it, but I knew my resistance would be too bad for me to make the cut. Nevertheless, I hovered around the pairings and waited for standings to be released. I didn’t make top 16, but I did manage to have a high enough resistance to make top 32, a threshold some X-2’s failed to reach. All in all, Top 32 is a solid result in Philadelphia considering the talent in the region, but I can’t help feeling I could have gone farther.
2015 Fort Wayne Regionals
Result: 6-2, 27th place, 30 CP
I was able to play in the Premier Challenge the night before despite the 64-person cutoff, but used a team that I wasn’t familiar with and played pretty poorly, finishing 3-3. Top 16 got CP, but I was somewhere in the 20’s so it was a (Rotom) wash. I’m not going to even bother talking about it since the battles were mediocre and I don’t know enough about the team to explain it in detail. Onto the main event!
Round 1 vs Sean Ring
I had seen this guy around at the Premier Challenge, but didn’t know anything about his team. He told me he was using something different so it didn’t matter anyway. He had a very interesting Scrafty set, using a Life Orb with Fake Out, Drain Punch, Crunch, and Smack Down. I imagine he used Smack Down alongside Garchomp (and maybe Tyranitar) to make Earthquake more potent. He ended up not bringing Garchomp, however, so I didn’t see it in action. He put Charizard to sleep early, which proved troublesome later in the match. We both switched around a little bit, and I tried to burn Tyranitar once but Will-O-Wisp missed the mark. His Tyranitar ended up having a special bias so it wasn’t a huge deal, but the chip damage would have been nice for sure. The next turn I read the Talonflame switch in on Tyranitar’s slot, attempting to block another Will-O-Wisp, so I used Thunderbolt instead and got the KO on the bird. Venusaur’s Sleep Powder gave me a lot of trouble, and there were a couple times I really needed a first-turn wake up to stay in a good position. Lucario was able to wake up quickly and get rid of Tyranitar, which would have knocked out Aegislash that turn with another Dark Pulse. Venusaur knocked out Lucario with a Giga Drain, and it came down to my Shield Form Aegislash with 32 HP and Charizard at full health with a guaranteed sleep turn remaining. Venusaur used Giga Drain on Aegislash and critical hit it for the KO while Charizard slept. I didn’t think this critical hit was a big deal at the time since Aegislash was at such low health. Charizard slept for another turn while Venusaur Sludge Bombed it down to ~45%. Thankfully I woke up the next turn, but Flare Blitz wasn’t enough to KO as Venusaur knocked out Charizard with another Sludge Bomb. Discouraged that I had lost my first round, I decided to look up the damage calculation for Venusaur’s Giga Drain against an Aegislash, remembering that I had 32 HP at the time.
252+ SpA Mega Venusaur Giga Drain vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Aegislash-Shield: 24-29 (14.3 – 17.3%) — possible 9HKO after Leftovers recovery
(24, 24, 24, 25, 25, 26, 26, 26, 27, 27, 27, 27, 27, 28, 28, 29)
So yeah, that Critical Hit definitely mattered. Even against Venusaur with maximum Special Attack investment (which is probably not what my opponent used), Aegislash should have survived the Giga Drain to fire off a Shadow Ball. That chunk of damage would have been enough to make Charizard’s Flare Blitz a KO, so unfortunately I had been robbed of a win. Since the tournament organizers thought it would be a good idea to run a Top 8 cut instead of Top 16, I knew that I had to win my next 7 matches if I wanted to make the cut. I was under a lot of pressure, but determined to do my best.
L 0-1 (Record 0-1)
Round 2 vs Shayne Kelly
This was another matchup where Charizard could do some work if it could get set up. Knowing his Miltank would probably be carrying Thunder Wave, I decided to target it with Fake Out and start Dragon Dancing right away. Charizard was unable to KO Miltank the next turn, so Charizard was paralyzed while Rotom revealed a Thunder Wave of its own and paralyzed Ludicolo. The next few turns consisted of me praying to not be fully paralyzed and trying to knock out Miltank, which kept healing its HP back with Milk Drink. Eventually I was able to knock out Miltank after a couple turns of breaking through paralysis, and Ludicolo got some good chip damage onto Rotom. My opponent’s Garchomp came in and dropped a Rock Slide, which prevented Charizard from attacking but couldn’t phase Ludicolo. Garchomp was eliminated by an Ice Beam, and when I saw that Greninja was my opponent’s 4th Pokemon I was confident in my win. Ludicolo really shined in this battle, showing off it’s great ability to shrug off special attacks and give some pretty common Pokemon a lot of problems. While Charizard knocked out Miltank, Ludicolo got the other 3 KO’s in this battle.
W 2-0 (Record 1-1)
Round 3 vs Thomas Spoor
Yay! Another impending Charizard sweep! I went with my standard setup lead with Ludicolo and Charizard, and went straight for the Fake Out on Amoonguss (since I obviously can’t Fake Out a Sableye). Sableye went for a Confuse Ray on Charizard, and I thought I’d be in for another luck-fest since that’s where Sableye excels. Ludicolo was confused the next turn, while Charizard attacked through confusion to KO Amoonguss with a Flare Blitz. Between the recoil and the Rocky Helmet damage, I was barely above 50% after the attack and knew I’d have to be careful if Talonflame was brought out. Ludicolo got some chip damage off on Sableye, and Dragonite entered the battlefield. Dragonite went straight for a Dragon Dance of his own while I broke its Multiscale with Scald (not wanting to activate a Weakness Policy and fishing for a burn). I was able to finish off Sableye that turn with a Dragon Claw as well. The next turn, Charizard snapped out of confusion to KO Dragonite with Dragon Claw. Mega Manectric didn’t have a hope against Ludicolo and Charizard, and I easily cleaned up the next turn. This was the cleanest Charizard sweep I had ever experienced, and it felt pretty good. Neither of my Pokemon hit themselves in confusion at all, and neither Pokemon ever left the field.
W 4-0 (Record 2-1)
Round 4 vs Matthew Peroutka
This team had a few Pokemon that could be annoying, namely Raichu and Azumarill. I debated trying to get cute with my leads and go with Rotom and Ludicolo to pressure the Azumarill, but decided to go with the default Ludicolo/Charizard again. I was very happy to see the Rotom-Heat and Garchomp on the field, as this was a perfect opportunity to set up. I targeted the Garchomp with Fake Out while it Protected, then watched as his Choice Scarfed Rotom-Heat fired off a Discharge that paralyzed both my Ludicolo and Charizard. Charizard was able to Dragon Dance, but the speed drop from paralysis really hurt. The situation wouldn’t have been all that bad if I could still get some good damage off (both of his Pokemon could have been OHKOd at this point), but I spent the next two turns seeing the words “Charizard was fully paralyzed!” and “Ludicolo was fully paralyzed!” I didn’t want to make any switches and let him get free damage off or risk another Discharge paralysis. But I didn’t make any progress, and my opponent was able to knock out both of my leads without much cost, and I was left with Salamence (locked into Dragon Pulse) and Rotom against a Venusaur and Azumarill. My opponent made smart plays, protecting Azumarill and dealing huge damage to Rotom with Energy Ball when I tried to Thunderbolt the bunny. Once Rotom was gone, I had no way to deal damage to Azumarill and I was doomed.
For the second consecutive tournament, I had been eliminated with 4 rounds remaining. However, my two losses here in Fort Wayne hurt a lot more. I lost in Philadelphia when I made poor decisions, while I lost in Fort Wayne because I got unlucky while making the right plays. I’m sure I could have played those matches a little differently to give myself a better chance, but at this point I couldn’t help but feel a little bit cheated. I got pretty frustrated and decided to leave the hall and take a walk around the convention center to clear my head. I still had the chance to finish at a respectable 6-2 for another Top 32 finish and 30 more CP, so that became my new goal.
L 2-0 (Record 2-2)
Round 5 vs Jacob Short
I saw another Sableye and was somewhat annoyed, honestly. I had played 4 straight matches where I had to worry about staying asleep, hitting myself in confusion, or being fully paralyzed, and I just wanted to play a clean match. I went with my best anti-Kangaskhan lead and brought Aegislash and Charizard in the back. I don’t remember the exact details of the match, but I know that my opponent double targeted Lucario with Fake Out and Overheat, so I traded my Lucario for his Kangaskhan (a trade I’d take any day). I don’t remember what I did with the Salamence slot, but I’m pretty sure I switched it out into Aegislash. Gardevoir and Charizard came in the next turn, and I set up a Dragon Dance. Aegislash OHKO’d his Scarfed Gardevoir after Rotom failed to knock it out with a -2 Overheat, and from there it was an easy cleanup.
W 3-0 (Record 3-2)
Round 6 vs Brendan Hudson
Before the round started there was a longer wait than usual, and I talked to my opponent for a bit. He was a really nice guy from the area competing in his second tournament, the first being Nationals. I was looking forward to the battle, as battling against someone friendly is a lot of fun regardless of the outcome. Charizard did very well against a lot of his team, and Rotom helped to patch up a couple holes. I don’t remember how the battle went exactly, but I remember a couple key turns. At one point, I had Rotom on the field against Gyarados at mid-range health and a Talonflame, and my opponent had already revealed the non-mega Manectric. I really wanted to knock out the Gyarados but decided to burn it just in case the the Manectric switched in. I ended up making the right call as Talonflame U-Turned into Manectric, Gyarados attacked Rotom’s partner, and Rotom’s Will-O-Wisp connected. This made Gyarados much easier to handle, and I could turn my focus to eliminating its partners. Another huge turn was when Ludicolo at ~30% HP was up against Manectric and -2 Special Attack Goodra (which had previously used Draco Meteor). Manectric attacked Ludicolo’s partner while Goodra used Sludge Bomb on Ludicolo, which survived with 4 HP to finish off Manectric with a Giga Drain. At this point, I had essentially cleared the field for Charizard to come in and clean up without needing a Dragon Dance.
W 2-0 (Record 4-2)
Round 7 vs Abraham Morales
This team was very similar to the standard rain teams that had been running around, so I wagered that Politoed would be Choice Scarfed with Rain Dance. I also bet that he would lead with Politoed and Ludicolo, so I lead Charizard and Lucario to bait the Rain Dance on Politoed, since my opponent’s assumption would be that I lead Charizard Y to disrupt the rain. I immediately switched Charizard out for my own Ludicolo, while my opponent Faked Out Lucario and used a pointless Rain Dance. Confident that his Politoed was choice locked and would need to switch out, and that his Ludicolo wasn’t running Protect, I was free to Fake Out and Close Combat the Ludicolo while his Politoed switched. I was able to get Ludicolo down to very low health while Zapdos switched in. I finished Ludicolo off with a Bullet Punch while the rain enabled Ludicolo to move before Zapdos and get off a nice Ice Beam. Politoed was brought in the next turn, and Ludicolo finished off Zapdos while Politoed KO’d Lucario with Hydro Pump. I brought in Charizard, and knew that once I knocked out Politoed I could checkmate Kangaskhan in what is definitely my favorite endgame of all time: Subsitute Aegislash vs Crunch-less Mega Kangaskhan. I doubled into Politoed with Giga Drain and Dragon Claw. I had sealed the win at that point, as I was able to Substitute with Aegislash to limit Sucker Punch’s damage. Flash Cannon is a solid 3HKO (sometimes 2HKO) on Kangaskhan, so it was just a matter of making sure I could survive a Critical Hit from Sucker Punch’s second strike before I attacked to guarantee the win.
W 1-0 (Record 5-2)
Round 8 vs Jonathan McMillan (MrEobo)
Jon is a friend of mine, and we were both ready to finish off the day with a fun match. This ended up being the single most hilarious game of Pokemon I’ve ever witnessed, much less participated in. I’ll just let you watch it for yourself.
Something in me knew his Hydreigon wasn’t going to be choiced, but I went ahead and tried to flinch it. I really should have targeted the Zapdos since the incoming Thunder Wave was pretty obvious. When Charizard was fully paralyzed while trying to Protect the next turn, I knew I would have to dodge a Draco Meteor, attack through paralysis with Ludicolo, AND freeze his Hydreigon with an Ice Beam to have a shot at winning the match…and they all happened. We were both cracking up at this point, though his laughter might have been more in the “laugh so you don’t cry” vein. A Flare Blitz left Zapdos in the red, but a Dragon Claw was able to finish it off after he Roosted the next turn. I’m convinced that either Flare Blitz was a low damage roll or Dragon Claw was a high damage roll since I really wasn’t expecting Dragon Claw to KO from that range. Luckily, Hydreigon didn’t unfreeze and Ludicolo was able to knock it out with a second Ice Beam. Jon sent out his Charizard and Mamoswine, and I knew that if I could knock out Mamoswine I could KO Charizard with a Stone Edge from either Lucario or Salamence. After a couple turns of paralysis and flinching, Flare Blitz connected and knocked out the Mamoswine. After Salamence’s Stone Edge didn’t miss, Jon said “but wait, I’m bulky!” in an attempt to inspire his Charizard to live another day. Charizard didn’t believe in itself hard enough, as it was knocked out and I sealed up my final win.
W 2-0 (Record 6-2)
So my terrible habit of losing early and winning out at Regionals continued, as I logged another X-2/Top 32 finish. I was definitely happy I was able to wipe out my frustration and anger from earlier rounds, but I can’t say I was satisfied with my performance. I had hoped to cut at least one of the two fall regionals I attended and fell one win short at both. I did learn more about myself as a player, which will definitely help me in the future. I showed myself that I’m capable of putting together a string of consecutive wins, I just need to figure out how to do so earlier in the tournament. Breaking through the early-round nerves is going to be my focus in the future.
I made a couple changes to the team for the remainder of the season, specifically a couple Premier Challenges I knew I’d be able to play in before the format switch. I switched to using Simon’s bulky Modest Choice Scarf Salamence but with a slight adjustment in moving the Special Defense EV’s into Special Attack (EV’s: 212 HP / 20 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 156 Spe). I thought the extra bulk would be really helpful since a lot of times I kept Salamence in for consecutive turns, as opposed to using Draco Meteor once and switching out immediately. Since Salamence was my only Intimidate user, I figured keeping it around longer could only be good, and I didn’t really notice the small drop in power.
I didn’t think Rotom was pulling its weight, so I swapped it out for Zapdos. Since the Zapdos I had was Calm, I used Collin’s Worlds spread (Calm Nature, EVs: 220 HP / 144 Def / 32 SpA / 76 SpD / 36 Spe). I used the same attacks Collin did (Thunderbolt, Thunder Wave, Hidden Power Ice, Roost), but didn’t think Safety Goggles were necessary, given the huge drop in usage Amoonguss has seen. I originally used a Rocky Helmet, but then switched to Sitrus Berry at the suggestion of Andykins. Sitrus Berry was really clutch on Zapdos, as a lot of Pokemon had trouble breaking through Sitrus Berry + Roost. Zapdos helped out a lot of matchups, as Thunder Wave can be an incredibly useful move. This team is relatively slow overall, and the speed control and general bulk Zapdos provided were crucial.
I finally tested Follow Me on Lucario on top of Stone Edge, and it was very effective. It was able to pull attacks away from Charizard as it Dragon Danced or Aegislash as it set up a Substitute. My favorite way to use Follow Me was to pull Sucker Punches away from a partner and watch them fail. Often times, the Focus Sash allowed Lucario to use Follow Me one turn and survive to get off one final attack later in the battle.
I also switched up the EVs on Charizard. Hydreigon could be a little bit of a problem if I had the wrong Pokemon on the field since it can OHKO a large portion of my team. I decided to up Charizard’s speed to make sure it always outspeeds Hydreigon with 252 EV’s and a neutral nature, the most common spread by far. I originally had some fancy Jolly spread with lots of cool numbers, but when I shared the spread with fellow Charizard X afficionado Pyromaniac720, he pointed out that I was wasting some stat points. The final spread ended up coming out to 252 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 244 Spe, which is much more boring than the Jolly spread, but also more efficient.
I played in a Nugget Bridge Circuit Live Tournament and made it to the finals, so I was happy with the changes I made and the way I was playing. I took the team to a Premier Challenge in Alpharetta, Georgia, the next weekend and was able to come away with a first place finish and 40 more CP, putting me at 100 CP in the season so far. Considering my grand total for last season was 52, I’m pretty happy with the way this Fall has gone. Hopefully I can ride this momentum into a successful Winter.
- Julien Porto – thanks for going out of your way to pick me up at the Philadelphia airport and for letting all of us stay in your hotel room. Hopefully we showed you a good enough time to convince you to stick with it!
- Meghan Swyryn – thanks for letting me stay with you on Sunday night in Philadelphia. It was great seeing you again and I’m really really sorry if I woke you up at 4:30 on Monday morning.
- Andrew Burley – thanks to you and your family for pretty much being my lifeline for Fort Wayne. There’s no way I could have made it there without you, and hopefully we can do it again next year. And congrats for cutting both events I guess… #QuieroBailar
There are way too many people to thank individually, but it was really great to see everyone again. The people in the community make traveling to these events worthwhile, whether you finish X-0 or 0-X. Well maybe not 0-X, but you get the picture. Follow me on Twitter at @jakesaysstuff for your daily recommended allowance of sarcasm. 4 out of 5 dentists recommend following me on twitter, and the 5th is stupid. Go check out my blog, Bowman’s Corner. I originally posted this report in 3 parts there, and will be updating it regularly in the future. I always tweet out a link when I publish a new post, so you should definitely follow me on Twitter.
Thanks for reading! If you managed to make it all the way through this whole post, you deserve a cookie. Go get yourself a cookie.
14 Responses to The X Factor: A 2015 Fall Regional Team Report
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Great report, Jake! It was cool gettin to chill with you in Alpharetta! Hopefully at your next regional you won’t have to deal with crit Giga Drains and things of the like so you can make cut!
I remember facing your team in the recent Live Tournament and it’s great to see the amount of effort you put into it all (honestly it’s so strong I’m surprised you didn’t top cut at a Regional!). Good to see that you’re looking forward to next season though and I’m sure you’ll be more fortunate this time around
I read, like, half of it and it seem cool enough. JK cool report Jake. #parahax
Really glad I got to meet/hang out with with you as well, and thanks for taking those action shots during the final. I needed a new Facebook profile picture
Thanks! Our battle was definitely one of my best in that tournament, hope we get the chance to play again. I’d love to see this team cut a regional but it doesn’t look like I’ll get another chance
Nice report, love the Char-X and the great warstory! 😀
yea i mean, like, this team was whatever….
Jk buddy its sad that both of us finished 6-2 at ft wayne and didnt make cut….
this team was awesome and i loved hanging out with you and Andy during ft wayne. It was a blast!
Hopefully see you at future events!
Thanks! I definitely remember battling you, but I’m totally blanking on the details of the battle. I might have blocked it out if it was as bad as you said lol
<3 come to more east coast events
We’ll both make it big this winter, I just KNOW it
You forgot to write about your secret pre-tournament napping regiment!
Well I guess the cat’s out of the bag…
Snuggling with Kyurem is the key to success and happiness
I love this team. I want to go back and try out a Char-X team again. Oh, and again, sorry for all the para-hax 😛
Great report. Really enjoyed playing a friendly best of 3 set against this team, especially as a fellow Mega Charizard X aficionado. Good luck this winter!
Hey Jake, this is Daniel, we played in the finals in Alpharetta in November, its great to see you making it around to all these tournaments and you definitely deserve those CP!! hope to play against you again soon with my new team that i put some more time into! keep it up!
Warrrrrrrr Eagle! Heyyy! (I talked to you on Showdown not to long ago and felt like coming back just to say this)