- Team Building Process
- Individual Analysis
- Leads and Combinations
- v.s. Fini-Gross (Match-up rank:◎)
- v.s. Lele-Gross (Match-up rank: 〇)
- v.s. Koko-Gross (Match-up rank: 〇)
- v.s. Big-K (Match-up rank:◎)
- v.s. Gardevoir-Incineroar teams (Match-up rank:△)
- v.s. Rain (Match-up rank: ×)
- v.s. CHALK (Match-up rank:◎)
- v.s. Charizard teams (No Snorlax) (Match-up rank: 〇)
- v.s. Charizard teams (with Snorlax) (Match-up rank:◎)
- v.s. Blaziken-Bisharp (Match-up rank:◎)
- v.s. Goth-Mawile (Match-up rank: ×)
- v.s. Mence teams (Match-up rank:◎)
- In Conclusion
Team Building Process
It took me approximately a month and a half for me to polish this team. As I kept changing the slots, the team appears to be different than what I built initially.
This is how it initially looked like. I wanted a team that was strong against Fini-Gross, which was the top-tier core during that time and my team building process began when I thought about trapping the opposing Metagross with Gothitelle’s Shadow Tag and endlessly decrasing Metagross’s attack by cycling Incineroar’s Intimidate. Although the team was strong against Metagross, the team was very fragile to the extent that it was weak against the surrounding mons of the team and the fact that I was guaranteed to lose without setting up TR. There were times when the Snorlax slot became Audino (Thought a hard TR team would’ve been stronger with two TR setters) (It was bad)
The team became something like this, an orthodox Mega-Manectric team. The team has two win conditions of setting up TR with Goth while allowing the prime attacker to hit hard or lowering down the opposing mon’s statuses with Manectric while setting up Belly Drum with Snorlax. The team appeared to be strong but the team was disbanded because I couldn’t use Manectric effectively. Considering the Mega-Manectric and Celesteela slot to be questionable, I tested out various mons and…
would be suitable. However, Xurkitree cannot make safe-switch ins because it still gets more than half of its HP decreased from Koko’s Gigavolt Havoc and its other disadvatange was how it doesn’t resist Knock Off and can receive significant damage from it. Although it was svery satisfying to start attacking after setting up Tail Glow, I eventually had to search for another slot because I felt that Tail Glow was hard to set up and even if I did, Xurkitree died quite easily due to its moderate defences and speed.
Firstly, I needed something that can switch into Koko’s moves so a Ground-type was necessary. Next, I needed something is strong against Fini since the team struggled facing it.
Its Life Orb boosted Sludge Bomb has a high chance of OHKOing Fini if it had max Sp.Atk with a beneficial nature, it’s also able to OHKO any Metagross with Earth power and most importantly it can resist both Koko’s main means of offence, thus it was the perfect mon for the final slot.
Afterwards the team was built like this:
Now, as the team is composed of mons with mid-tier speed, it would be difficult for them to function under TR. If I lower Nidoking’s speed it would allow Fini to attack it when TR is not up and if I increase it speed, Nidoking would be questionable as a TR attacker. The only slow mon within the team is Incineroar but this mon function more efficiently as a supporter rather than an attacker. Moreover, the only mon that negates Ground moves for this team is Mence and I was concerned of how the team is weak to Earthquake spams. Due to this, I replaced Gothitelle to Cresselia because it can negate Ground moves and its capability of using Icy Wind, a move that intensifies the pressure from mid-speed mons.
The above six were chosen. However, I started to become concerned about Nidoking’s defences when I tested the team. The concerning aspects in regards of Nidoking’s bulk were:
• 252 Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Ice Punch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Nidoking: 150-178 (96.1 – 114.1%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO
• 252 SpA Gengar-Mega Helping Hand Shadow Ball vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Nidoking: 157-186 (100.6 – 119.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
Obivously it would be ideal if I was able to play around without receiving any damage, but that sort of playstyle is impossible and a mon like Nidoking which can get easily OHKO’d is unstable because you’re forced to play conservatively. (Most importantly, it would be meaningless if it dies without attacking).
Considering its bulk, I changed the Nidoking slot to Nidoqueen and thus the team was established. I sometimes feel the lack of firepower since I replaced it with Nidoqueen but I can cover for the decreased firepower through chip damage fired by other mons alongside with making better plays.
Salamence-Mega @ Salamencite
EVs: 84 HP / 68 Atk / 4 Def / 252 SpD / 100 Spe
– Dragon Dance
• Outspeeds max speed Mega-Kangaskhan and Charizard if neutral natured (152)
Many Salamanece users are fond with the tailwind set to allow Mence to speed control but I’ve chosen the Dragon Dance + Roost set which significantly increases Mence’s individual strength.
The reason for this decision is that:
• Kartana can use Tailwind
In regards of its EV spreads, I aimed to significantly increase its special defence. The reason being that its physical bulk can be supported through Intimidate and if it’s specially bulky the number of opponents to set up against will increase too. In regards of its speed, I invested enough EVs to outspeed max speed neutral natured base 100’s but this was resulted from initially wanting to outspeed max speed Kommo-o (150) and outspeeding neutral-natured max speed Gardevoir and Mega-Blaziken (152) for extra coverage. The rest of its EVs were invested towards Attack and gave the remaining 4 towards its defence. Many could be concerned with the lack of firepower from minmum physicial attack investment but Return’s firepower was quite high with a power stat of 120 boosted by its ability, so I wasn’t concerned at all.
Kartana was able to activate Tailwind and forcefully eliminate opposing mons with Grassium Z. I gave it a Grassium Z despite overlapping with Fini’s Waterium Z because:
If I just wanted to pick up an OHKO against Fini or Mimikyu, giving it a Life Orb could’ve been an option since it can increase the power from Sacred Sword. However, I was concerned about how Life Orb decreases its HP every time it attacks and moreover Nidoqueen had the Life Orb thus I settled with Grassium Z.
For the EVs, I invested enough to outspeed max speed Nihilego and invested the rest towards special defence to enhance its bulk. Due to this, Kartana has a very high chance of surviving Pelipper’s Hurricane and able to aggressively switch into Nihilego or Fini’s attack.
The fact that it has no attack invested, prevents it from OHKO’ing Fini with Leaf Blade or Mega-Tyranitar with Sacred Sword but it wasn’t much of a problem because once the other mons deal chip damage to them, it would put them in a KO range.
In regards of its movesets, Fake Out was very useful when supporting Mence, stalling out Tailwind or TR turns and doubling up to mons without Protect. Due to its low speed, it will almost move last everytime it uses U-turn but because of how Incineroar often moves last, it can switch out into whatever is in the back and move after scouting the opponent’s movement, allowing me to be in an advantageous position. Snarl is used to assist Mence to set up DD, punishing opponents from switching into their special attackers or forcing them to switch out. It’s also useful to stall out TR turns since it decreases the opponent’s firepower. Flareblitz is used to hit hard against steel types such as Ferrothorn and Mega-Metagross but also to activate its berry,
Its typing synergy is astounding because it can frequently switch out and into things and spread Intimidates and Fake Out. It’s undeniably a flawless pokemon.
In terms of attack, it especially functioned well under the sun. If Incineroar was under harsh sunlight, it can OHKO paper defence mons such as Koko thus it can take advantage of the opposing Zard-Y’s Drought. The special defence investment allows it to survive Koko’s Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) in Electric Terrain (and in range of activating Wiki Berry).
As a side note, if a mon with a nature that hinders special attack consumed Wiki Berry, it will get confused. I wanted opposing Scizors to munch on it but I never faced once.
The moveset is pretty much an orthodox Haze Fini. Protect is to prevent it from being KO’d by threats, Moonblast to check Dragon types such as Kommo-o, Muddy Water to hit hard against Landorus and Incineroar and Haze to shut down Eeevee teams and Belly Drum from Snorlax and Azumarill. This team was very weak to Eevee teams and Snorlax’s thus Haze was extremely beneficial.
Waterium Z was given to OHKO opposing Incineroar or Lando-T and to reduce the chances of losing from Muddy Water misses but its utility was very high.
In regards of its spreads, its speed allows it to outspeed base speed 100’s after an Icy Wind, 252 EVs were invested towards HP and the rest were given towards its special attack (Instead of just investing 252 EVs towards HP, its overall bulk will slightly increase if it was 244HP 4 Defence and 4 Special Defence). Because I invested this much bulk Fini has a very high chance of surviving a Timid Mega-Gengar’s Sludge Bomb. Although I had to decrease it special attack, I wasn’t too concerned about it since Fini’s main play style is to slowly deal damage to the opponents.
I chose Psychock to check Nihilego and Calm Mind Fini but it yielded a lot of prssure because I invested a lot of special attack. Helping Hand is there to cover Nidoqueen’s somewhat lacking firepower, to forcefully annihilate the opponent with Kartana’s Grassium Z or Fini’s Waterium Z and to boost Mega-Mence’s Return. In regards of Ally Switch, it’s relatively easy to read so I don’t often use it other than the beginning phase of the match. I will use if I think that I would lose if played normally. Icy Wind is there for speed control and its role is to allow my mid-speed teammates to attack before the opponents do and to check the opponent’s Tailwind.
Its EV spread is invested to check Nihilego, which is a huge threat to the team. Instead of giving it 196 EVs towards HP, having 188 for HP and 4 for special defence would increase its bulk but to counter the movement of “Super Fang or Nature’s Madness + whatever deals more than 50% to Cresselia”, I gave it 196 EVs so that it is enough to activate the berry.
The moveset is hyper offensive. Protect, which is self-explanatory and at times I would first protect Nidoqueen while speed controlling with either Cresselia or Kartana, allowing Nidoqueen to attack before the opponents in the following turn. Sludge Bomb is to hit the Tapu’s. As specially defensive mons such as Fini or Mega-Garde can survive Sludge Bomb, I would defeat these mons by doubling up with whatever is next to Nidoqueen or boost the damage output from Cresselia’s Helping Hand. Ice Beam allows it to hit hard against Landorus, Mence and Zapdos. When using against opponents that aren’t x4 weak to Ice, I sometimes feel the lack of firepower from this move due to Ice Beam not being STAB. At last, Earth Power is there to damage Metagross and Heatran. It can also hit hard against the currently popular Incineroar, displaying its force within the current meta.
The EV’s are invested mostly towards special attack and speed. Believing that I won’t face max speed Bulu, I adjusted its speed to be able to outspeed max speed Modest Fini, but having a small amount of defensive investment doesn’t significantly affect some damage calcs thus an orthodox spread of 252 special attack and speed is fine too. (Nidoqueen can still survive Mega-Metagross’s Ice Punch without any EVs towards bulk).
I often get asked “Why not Nidoking?” and to answer that, I would like to first highlight its defences. Nidoking cannot survive Jolly Mega-Gross’s Ice Punch or Timid Mega-Gengar’s Helping Hand boosted Shadow Ball (I’d rather choose Nidoqueen than giving Nidoking enough EVs to survive those attacks)
Nidoking is superior in regards of firepower. It can almost OHKO opposing Fini or bulky Metagross but if fired by Nidoqueen, they will survive (bulky Metagross’s survival will depend on the damage roll). But I thought that I can cover this flaw in firepower through the help of its teammates and ultimately compromised with Nidoqueen.
Leads and Combinations
The following list are just examples, and there could be better ones (if there is please let me know).
The advantageousness of teamatch-ups are ranked by:
△50/50 (Slightly disadvantageous) ×disadvantageous
v.s. Fini-Gross (Match-up rank:◎)
v.s. Lele-Gross (Match-up rank: 〇)
v.s. Koko-Gross (Match-up rank: 〇)
v.s. Big-K (Match-up rank:◎)
v.s. Gardevoir-Incineroar teams (Match-up rank:△)
v.s. Rain (Match-up rank: ×)
v.s. CHALK (Match-up rank:◎)
v.s. Charizard teams (No Snorlax) (Match-up rank: 〇)
v.s. Charizard teams (with Snorlax) (Match-up rank:◎)
v.s. Blaziken-Bisharp (Match-up rank:◎)
v.s. Goth-Mawile (Match-up rank: ×)
v.s. Mence teams (Match-up rank:◎)
I may have won the tournament because of the team and the plays I made, but perhaps because I managed to avoid facing bad matchups.
Despite the tournament being my first ever nationals, I was able to win more than I expected and I’m very glad that I was able to win the entire tournament. It was definitely worth spending numerous amount of time towards teambuilding and practice. I only had 3 moves with shaky accuracy (with 2 being 95%), I guess another factor which lead to my victory was how I decreased the risks of my moves missing. I faced very strong players from swiss, feeling extremely nervous during every match (honestly was about to throw up) but I was able to enhance my full strength without making any misplays.
I was really happy seeing how numerous people were rooting for me, including those from my pokemon club and my followers too. Thank you very much!
Also, shoutouts to those who helped me out with practice matches! It honestly boosted my confidence before nats!
I would expect worlds to be much more difficult, but I will do my best to win worlds too!
カ・エール/Ka・El Follow @hirosipoke
フォルテ/Forte Follow @forteVGC