Published on September 10th, 2015 | by OnlineTuba25
Y oh Y… No, It’s X: A 19th Place UK Nationals Report
Hello, Nugget Bridge! I’m James Tarbuck, and I finished 19th at the 2015 UK National Championships. I started playing competitively in 2014, but I didn’t know too much about the game and went 4-4 with a fun Self-Destruct Snorlax team. Since then, I’ve gone to two other tournaments, and I feel like I’m starting to really grasp a good sense of the game.
Throughout the season, I played around with quite a few different teams before making a final choice. I like to teambuild around my Mega Evolution, so at the start of the season I used Mega Tyranitar heavily, paring it with Amoonguss, Gastrodon, Braviary, Bisharp, and Terrakion. This team had a painful lack of Fire-type attacks, so I ended up switching Terrakion out for Blaziken to retain Fighting-type coverage. However, I didn’t enjoy playing with the team, so I started looking for something else.
The night before UK Regionals, I came up with the above team, which would eventually become my Nationals team. I tested it quickly on Battle Spot and went 4-1, so I decided to bring it to the tournament. I ended up finishing 3-5, but in my opinion most of my losses were due to my play rather than the team.
Tweaks were necessary, so I thought about how the team worked. I loved the combo of Mega Charizard X and Hitmontop, especially because of the sun bluff. I also liked Gastrodon and Thundurus, but Bisharp felt too frail and Tyranitar often went unused. As such, I replaced them with Scizor and Gardevoir.
I love the combo of Charizard X and Hitmontop as they work so well together and I think when people see my team preview they think Charizard Y . I was also happy with Gastrodon and Thundurus, but I thought Bisharp was too frail and I didn’t really use Tyranitar enough. I really wanted a bulky Steel type which led me to Scizor and wanted a Fairy type so I chose Gardevoir.
Charizard @ Charizardite X
Adamant | Tough Claws
100 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 244 Spe
– Dragon Dance
– Dragon Claw
– Flare Blitz
The surprise factor of Charizard X is perhaps its biggest asset, but it is a very powerful Pokémon in its own right. After a Dragon Dance, it picks up numerous OHKOs while being quite tough to take down. Its moveset is fairly standard; the combination of Fire- and Dragon-type STABs hits everything in the game for neutral damage (except Heatran), so Charizard is never hurting for coverage. Charizard was great against the Mega Metagross and Hydreigon lead that was popular earlier in the season, threatening knockouts on both Pokémon. This was definitely my favorite Pokémon on the team.
The EV spread is tailored to allow Charizard to withstand its most common counters. It can take a Landorus-Therian’s Earthquake, a Heatran’s Earth Power, or a Garchomp’s Dragon Claw. On the offensive side, the moderate Attack investment gave it OHKO potential on Pokémon such as Sylveon, Garchomp, and Mega Mawile. The Speed EVs allow it to outrun Modest Hydreigon.
Hitmontop @ Sitrus Berry
Adamant | Intimidate
252 HP / 204 Atk / 44 Def / 4 SpD / 4 Spe
– Quick Guard
– Wide Guard
– Close Combat
Before you ask: yes, there is no Fake Out. I had two main reasons for this decision: firstly, Hitmontop’s Fake Out is slow, so opposing Fake Outers could often nullify it. Secondly, almost all of my opponents simply assumed that I had the move. I discovered during my testing that many players would simply Protect against a Hitmontop/Charizard lead, giving me a free turn to either set up a Dragon Dance or go for a KO with Feint. Feint could also pick off Pokémon at very low health without the risk of Protect. Quick Guard dealt with Prankster users, slower Fake Outs, and other priority moves. Wide Guard protected Charizard from the ubiquitous Earthquake and Rock Slide, and Close Combat helped against Mega Kangaskhan.
I mostly EV’d Hitmontop to stay on the field as long as possible, but I did invest enough in Attack to knock out Mega Kangaskhan and Heatran with Close Combat most of the time. Hitting hard wasn’t really its job; Hitmontop was there to make sure the rest of the team could keep attacking. It was a great support Pokémon that could always do something useful.
Gastrodon @ Expert Belt
Bold | Storm Drain
252 HP / 28 Def / 108 SpA / 116 SpD / 4 Spe
– Ice Beam
– Earth Power
Gastrodon served several purposes for my team: it helped deal with Trick Room teams, rain teams, and redirected Water-type attacks away from Charizard with Storm Drain. I decided to use a standard moveset; I toyed around with Icy Wind since I didn’t have that much Speed control, but Ice Beam ended up being far more useful against Landorus-Therian and Thundurus. I EV’d Gastrodon to withstand Jolly Mega Kangaskhan’s Double-Edge—Hitmontop’s Intimidate could help against other sets. On the special side, it could eat a Choice Specs Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor and fire back with an Ice Beam.
Thundurus @ Life Orb
Bold | Prankster
228 HP / 4 Def / 100 SpA / 4 SpD / 172 Spe
– Thunder Wave
– Hidden Power Ice
Thundurus is a really good Pokémon, and this one is no different. What’s interesting, though, is the set. Everyone knows how annoying (and useful) Thunder Wave and Swagger can be; I opted to drop Taunt on this set to provide additional disruption. Life Orb is a decidedly non-standard choice, but I was easily convinced by its power. With just a few Special Attack EVs, this Thundurus picks up KOs on Mega Charizard Y and Landorus-Therian, two huge threats to this team. Additionally, this item choice freed up my Sitrus Berry for Hitmontop. While this set isn’t a good fit for every team, it really helped patch up some holes here, and I don’t regret my choice.
Scizor @ Lum Berry
Adamant | Technician
204 HP / 220 Atk / 28 Def / 12 SpD / 44 Spe
– Bullet Punch
– Swords Dance
– Bug Bite
Scizor’s an interesting bulky Steel-type. I went with a 2013-esque Swords Dance set, which gave it some serious sweeping power. Bug Bite hit hard and could steal opposing berries; I missed Knock Off at times, but it wasn’t that important. Lum Berry could open up opportunities for Scizor to set up, as it’d often be on the receiving end of Will-O-Wisp or Spore.
I probably could have invested 252 HP, 252 Attack and 4 Speed, but I felt the need to tweak the EV spread a bit. I probably added more Speed EVs than I needed, but luckily it ended up being irrelevant.
Gardevoir @ Choice Scarf
Modest | Trace
152 HP / 4 Def / 108 SpA / 28 SpD / 216 Spe
– Dazzling Gleam
– Shadow Ball
– Energy Ball
Although I only brought Gardevoir once at UK Nationals, it was still a valuable addition to the team. It brought some much-needed coverage and the team’s only spread move in Dazzling Gleam. Gardevoir was especially useful against Mega Salamence, Gengar, and Terrakion, knocking out all three in a single hit.
This was my most common lead, and it gave me a turn one Dragon Dance in most games. It had a good matchup against Mega Kangaskhan, Sylveon, sand teams, and the genies (thanks to Quick Guard and Wide Guard). Once Charizard got its boosts, it could really start putting out good damage.
Typically, this lead would provide too little damage to be effective; however, Thundurus’s Life Orb combined with Wide Guard made it quite threatening against many Pokémon. I brought this lead if it was too risky to lead with Charizard.
Even though UK Nationals could have been a better experience, the games that I did play were fun and really challenged me. I was very happy with my overall performance, my team, and the entire experience. I’m looking forward to the 2016 season and its new joys and challenges. Thanks to all the players and staff!