Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Stockpile Snorlax and Friends! A 1873 rated BSD Team Analysis

Hi guys! It's been a while since I made a proper team report. Well more like a team analysis this time around. I haven't really felt like making team reports for a while as, lets be honest, I would be ruining somebody's day by spreading around Lilligant Torkoal teams! If you have a moment please check out my twitter: https://twitter.com/Necrocat219. You can find more quality memes like this team report right there!

I took a little break from VGC to take the time to theory-craft and ladder on the Battle Spot Doubles ladder. Dominated by a combination of hard rain teams, CHALK variants and new team archetypes thanks to new additions in Pokemon Sun and Moon, I took this as a fun team-building challenge! I managed to accumulate a rating of 1873, currently the joint highest non-Japanese player (I'm from the UK by the way, not Australia. Long story!)

If you want to hop on the Battle Spot Doubles ladder straight away, here is the QR code:


Or if you want to hop on PS! instead, here is the pastebin: https://pastebin.com/Qzbep353

I still recommend that you read the rest of my team analysis, because I will explain to you particular team-building and move choices, and my play-style to optimize the team. Enoy!

Team Analysis

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Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def / 92 SpD / 12 Spe
Careful Nature
- Return
- Belly Drum
- Stockpile
- Recycle

When I first began team-building for BSD, I started doing so around the most popular Mega Pokemon. I didn't find much success doing this, as none of them seem to break-open the meta. So I decided to reverse my thinking and start with Snorlax, the powerhouse of VGC17. Snorlax has an incredibly positive matchup versus hard Rain teams, and with Intimidate, Misty Terrain and Friend Guard support, it is near impossible to OHKO it, often burning opposing Z moves or eating Landorus Superpowers as it sets up.

I chose Belly Drum as my core set up move for 2 reasons: I wanted to build my team around a Snorlax sweep, and the move wipes away all Intimidate uses on the Pokemon, which Curse cannot do. I have only got 4 attack investment as at maximum attack, Snorlax is at least 2HKOing everything in the game.

Return is my STAB of choice, I felt the additional damage from Double Edge was not worth the recoil damage.

Recycle allows Snorlax to sustain it's field presence, and constantly pressures your opponent into attacking it to avoid restoring already consumed berries for free. This makes it more likely that your attacks won't go into a Protect.

Stockpile is the move that sets this whole team apart and makes it so successful. The aim of the team is for Snorlax to get 2-3 Stockpile stacks up, restore it's health and the Figy Berry, Belly Drum up and sweep. This is also a far safer method of set up to just clicking Belly Drum, as there is no risk of losing the Figy Berry through opponents having Haze or Whirlwind. Pokemon such as Bisharp and Landorus may also carry Knock Off, so using Stockpile can make the most of this situation.

For opposing teams ill-prepared for Snorlax, their only answer is to often blow their Z move and all offence into that slot, giving it's partner free rein to support Snorlax, remove opposing threats or set up themselves.

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Hitmontop @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 84 Atk / 4 Def / 156 SpD / 12 Spe
Careful Nature
- Fake Out
- Close Combat
- Wide Guard / Feint
- Detect

Next up Hitmontop is the most natural fit into this team, providing both Fake Out support and Intimidate support. It is also the Z-move user of the team: as I originally intended to use Snorlax to counter rain teams, Z - Close Combat made sense for removing the extremely common Ferrothorn.

It is important to preserve Hitmontop, so I chose a very defensive spread and gave it Detect, allowing me to stall for turns for Snorlax to set up. Wide Guard was the last move added, and is extremely useful for blocking powerful -ate boosted Hyper Voice (from Guardevoir and Salamence), Rock Slide, Earthquake and Heat Wave. Feint is also a good choice to ensure Snorlax connects attacks after drumming.

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Manectric-Mega @ Manectite
Ability: Lightning Rod
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 4 SpA / 196 SpD / 60 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Volt Switch
- Snarl
- Flame Burst / Odor Sleuth
- Protect

Manectric is my Mega of choice, and although it is extremely uncommon it suits it's role as a defensive pivot very well. It's abilities are perfect for the team, with Lightning Rod before mega evolving providing really strong support for Tapu Fini and Intimidate further supporting the Snorlax.

The EV spread has a focus on improving Manectric's low bulk. The speed stat hits a total of 179, which speed creeps max speed Kartana, Metagross and Raichu.

Volt Switch allows Manectric to act as a pivot, recycling Intimidate and resetting the terrain, whilst offering chip damage, which is very useful when Belly Drum is not an option. Snarl buffers the special bulk of the team.

A fire type attack was chosen as this team has a significant weakness to Kartana. I chose Flame Burst instead of Flamethrower, a move with 70 BP instead of 90 BP, as it deals effect damage to the partner Pokemon of the target equal to 1/16th of it's HP. The biggest benefit of this is it damages the Pokemon through Protect. As the most common held item on Kartana is Focus Sash, this will break the sash, punishing attempts to use Protect.

Odor Sleuth is a good alternative to a fire type attack if you are comfortable with the Kartana match-up. Snorlax and Hitmontop currently have no way of hitting Ghost Type Pokemon, such as Aegislash, so this offers a way to removing it's immunity.

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Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 164 SpA / 76 SpD / 12 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Muddy Water
- Calm Mind
- Protect

Tapu Fini is the Tapu of choice for the team, mainly because it prevents status conditions such as Sleep and Burn, which really hamper Snorlax. I decided on a Calm Mind set and purely relying on Snorlax to sweep can be quite detrimental if the opponent knocks it out, providing an alternate win condition. Tapu Fini plus Manetric as an alternate lead works well, especially if the opponent has sufficient Snorlax counters to prevent you setting up. The EV spread is simple but effective.

Snorlax and Tapu Fini will be joining you for most games. The terrain of this Tapu is severely underrated.

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Clefairy @ Eviolite
Ability: Friend Guard
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 236 Def / 36 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Incinerate
- Heal Pulse
- Follow Me
- Protect

Clefairy provides the team with invaluable Follow Me and Friend Guard Support. Whilst not boasting much offence, follow me is the bread and butter support for many set up teams, and it is no different here. Leading with Clefairy and Snorlax often allows for gimmick-free set up, at the cost of playing 3 vs 4.

Both Protect and Heal Pulse punish opponents for choosing the wrong target: If you protect and they focus their attacks into Clefairy to remove friend guard, it gives Snorlax a free turn to set up. If you use Heal Pulse, Snorlax will usually be restored back to full health, preventing the opponent from chipping it down and KOing at around 60% health.

The last move on Clefairy usually ends up being filler, so I chose Incinerate, a TM from Generation 6,  as it provides multiple utilities: It is a 60 BP spread fire type attack that destroys berries help by the opposing Pokemon. Firstly, with the increased popularity of pinch berries, this move has before far more useful. Furthermore, the move is a 2HKO on Focus Sash Kartana, adding another check on the team against that problematic Pokemon. Lastly, it also stops Clefairy struggling when Taunted.

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Mimikyu @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Disguise
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Shadow Claw
- Destiny Bond
- Taunt
- Trick Room

Mimikyu is by far the least used member of the team, however is still critical to the team. As the only form of speed control on the team, Trick Room allows me to use an alternative play-style for the team, drumming up and sweeping with Snorlax.

Using max speed allows me to use both Neverending Nightmare and Z-Destiny Bond before most Pokemon. Z-Destiny Bond provides further follow me support for the team, and can threaten a knockout on it's own. It should be noted that after Destiny Bond is used, it will remain active until Mimikyu uses it's next move, and so can force a safe Trick Room to go up.

Z-Shadow Claw isn't often used, but can be useful versus opposing Tapu Lele that often carry Taunt, or that lead with M-Metagross.

Having a fast Taunt user on the team provides more answers against gimmicks to stop Snorlax setting up. taunting Haze, Whirlwind, and opposing Taunts can be game-breaking.

Notes of importance

With the above detailed analysis of the team, you should now have a general idea of how to play the team. However, there are some extremely important points that we need to go over:

Ghost Type Pokemon

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By far, the most glaring problem with the team is the lack of attacks for Snorlax to hit ghost type Pokemon, most notably Aegislash. The partners of the team often have the ability to KO Aegislash before they faint, but there are situations where you have to sacrifice them to keep Snorlax alive.

Sleuth Odour and Foresight are options to hit it, but take up valuable move-slots. Instead, I decided I would beat every Aegislash in a PP stall war: Aegislash usually carry the 3 Moves Flash Cannon, Shadow Ball and Kings Shield, all with 16 PP each. The most common 4th move is Wide Guard, a move with also with 16 PP, totalling 64 PP

Snorlax has access to Belly Drum and Recycle, both 16 PP, plus Return and Stockpile, both with 32 PP, giving you a total of 96 PP. This means you can out-stall most Aegislash. The main exceptions to this are ones that carry the moves Sacred Sword, ignoring your defence boost, Toxic, a guaranteed win condition when Misty Terrain wears off, and Shadow Sneak, carrying a total PP of 48. There may be some instances that you can use ''My Time'' to beat Shadow Sneak Aegislash.

Most times, I have found that my opponents have not maximised their move PP anyway, so often you will not have to wait that long. I've won 8 out of 8 games I have played out like this.

Clear Smog and Haze

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Clear Smog and Haze can both limit the options Snorlax has. Thankfully if Snorlax uses Stockpile first instead does not use Belly Drum, this bypasses being forced to eat your berry. If the opponent chooses to remove your defence boosts, they also reset your attack boosts, allowing for a neutral STAB Return, which even with no investment, still hits hard.


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Bisharp is the hardest single Pokmon for this team to deal with. With access to Knock off to threaten Snorlax and Iron Head to KO Clefairy, it gives the team a tough time. Both Pokemon that deal super effective damage to Bisharp trigger it's Defiant ability with Intimidate. It is possible to beat Bisharp, especially with Z-Close Combat to hit it though protect, but it is tough.

Flinches and Critical Hits

Therian FormeThumbnail for version as of 19:17, 9 January 2015Mega Swampert

I've made some horrible faces when my Snorlax has been one shot by a turn 1 Superpower from Landorus. It's not particularly fun. However, in using a strategy that relies in stalling out time, and boosting it's defences, they are inevitable. Wide guard largely mitigates the use of Rock Slide, but Iron Head and Waterfall are still quite common moves that sets Snorlax back a turn.

It must be noted that once the biggest offensive threats have been removed, such as Super Power Landorus, critical hits are far less likely to end your game. I was tempted to add Muddy Water accuracy drops to this segment, however Snorlax can afford to miss multiple times when it has fully set up.


Alright, that is mostly the gist of the team! I hope you have fun stalling out players on the Battle Spot Ladder using Aegislash :) see you later, weather it be on Twitter, at the London International Championships or the Pokemon World Championships 2018!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Oozing out the Pressure Cooker! - A Top 4 Dutch Open Team Report


Welcome back everyone, it's Daniel Oztekin here, and this time on a different platform! Sadly since Nugget Bridge got hacked, my blog posts from the past year got wiped out. However I have taken the time to copy over the reports that meant the most to me, my  Liverpool Top 8 Finish, using Ditto and Sneasel and Yveltal, Rai-choose you!, my Top 16 UK Nationals report. 

If you enjoy my report, you might want to check me out and follow me on twitter here!

London to Leiden! A Summary of my weekend road trip.

Last Saturday I set off from London to Leiden to take part in the Dutch Open, a special even that counts as a regional slot towards qualifying for the Pokemon World Championship, along with MSK who was driving his son to the event and compete himself, staying up for 48 hours! It was quite a mental and very fun road trip, and was a bit scary as it was the first time I travelled abroad for Championship Points.

The journey was pretty dark and gloomy as we set off at 9pm Friday, and arrived at 8am Saturday. It started snowing halfway through our journey, so we were pretty freaked that we might get stuck in Belgium! By the time we travelled back the snow had melted though. Leiden was a very pretty city with cute dainty houses, and with everything being covered with a thin layer of snow made it very beautiful.

Upon arriving, I scouted out the field a little. Quite a few players turned up from the UK, to note my good friend Rafik who placed Top 4 with me and Jamie Miller who built the team. Vanlilluxe is one hell of a good Pokemon, so watch for it increase in usage in the future.

Prior to the event, I consistently placed high on the Battle Spot and Pokemon Showdown ladders, peaking at 1870 on Battle Spot and 1760 on Pokemon Showdown. In the end we played 6 rounds of swiss, with me finishing 5-1 and finishing 2nd in swiss with a solid resistance. I had a mostly solid run in swiss, with some really good luck in the last round not even giving my opponent a chance to play. Thankfully, I would have still cut with my resistance. In the end, I won my Top 8 match in an intense Rain vs Sun match, to be knocked out by my good friend 000aj in Top 4.

The organisers did an amazing job at the event. It ran really smoothly and was finished around 5pm! I really enjoyed myself and would love to attend next year.

Team Building

Unfortunately, the London International was a little bit of a disaster: I was really ill during day 1 of swiss, so performed terribly, not even obtaining any Championship Points. However during the second day I felt much better and I placed second in a 178 player Mid Season Showdown, restoring my confidence in the team I built and myself. Although frustrated at the main event, we all have to accept we will have our bad days and move on. If you're interested, I used a team of Kartana/Talonflame/Marowak/Krookodile/Tapu Lele/Milotic.

Following this, I avoided playing for a little while, before taking a shine to the play-styles Tobias and Wolfe had in London with Tapu Bulu and how their team's somewhat revolved around it defensively. From this, I started building a defensive team, based around Tapu Bulu. I decided a weather setter was a necessity and chose Torkoal due to it's sheer firepower and the synergy it has with Grassy Terrain support. As Torkoal is the 2nd slowest Pokemon in the game I chose Porygon2 as my trick room setter as it is by far the best Trick Room setter this format and acts as glue for many teams. Whilst I hadn't solidified my trick room mode, I added Lilligant to give my team a fast mode to prevent my opponents from Auto-piloting versus my trick room mode, force rigid leads from opponents and often win on team preview. I also consider ground types to be extremely powerful this format, so chose Mudsdale as it is extremely bulky, slow and hits really hard with Heavy Slam and High Horsepower, working well inside Grassy Terrain. Finally, my team had some problems will toxic-stall teams, and a lot of the things that wall this team could be broken down with Toxic, so I chose Tentacruel as my final Pokemon, as hits Toxic all the time, can't be poisoned, and gives my team a second leftovers.

The Team in detail

A note about my EV spreads: I didn't use defensive benchmarks in my team building. Instead, I tried to make my team as defensively efficient as I could with the EVs. I also made very small tweaks when playing on PS with Pokemon such as Porygon2 until they lived what I wanted, resulting in these spreads.

Tapu Bulu @ Kebia Berry
Ability: Grassy Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 76 Atk / 60 Def / 92 SpD / 36 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Horn Leech
- Substitute
- Leech Seed
- Protect

This is simply the move set that Wolfe used, with my own personal tweaks. The moveset allows Bulu to survive a long time and chip at opponents, whilst self healing. Tapu Bulu hits a HP stat of 176; I optimised most Pokemon on my team to have a HP stat divisible by 16, to optimise leftovers and grassy terrain recovery. I bumped up the attack EVs to 76 to reach the point that the Attack stat jumps 2 points, added speed creep and took the EVs out of Special Defence as I saw more use in them elsewhere. I didn't change the Defence stat because I didn't know what it did!

Wolfe used Lum berry Tapu Bulu, which I wasn't very keen on, and I considered leftovers and a few items that the rest of my team really needed. I ended up settling on Kebia Berry which is so so good! It comes into play most games, with many Pokemon choosing to opt for Poison Jab as their third move. One of my favourite leads is Porygon2 and Tapu Bulu into Tapu Koko and Garchomp, which would usually be a bad lead, but is completely reversed with the Kebia Berry.

Torkoal @ Firium Z
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 252 SpA / 12 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Eruption
- Heat Wave
- Nature Power
- Protect

Torkoal is the only Pokemon on my team that comes to 100% of games. In Trick Room the damage output of eruption really is terrifying. Eruption + Heat Wave together provide torkoal with reliable spread damage, allowing it plus the partner to constantly pick up KOs and punish switches. Firium Z Eruption allows Torkoal to blast off a 200 Base power Inferno Overdrive, which in the sun is insane, and allows you to work around Wide Guard. Finally, Grassy Terrain turns Nature Power into Energy Ball, which was my choice instead of Solar Beam. Despite it's lower base power, having a reliable option versus other weather teams was really important: I don't want to get stuck mid-charge! Nature Power also effectively gives Torkoal STAB moves of the other terrains. On a side note, Grassy Terrain halving Earthquake damage is very useful for preserving Torkoal.

Torkoal's EVs are pretty simple, 244 HP hits a HP stat of 176, divisible by 16 for grassy terrain. I maxed out Special Attack with 252 SpA EVs and placed the rest into Special Defence. I chose to run Relaxed Nature as not doing so with a base defence of 140 is criminally inefficient. The extra bulk results in increased Eruption damage in long games, so is definitely worth it.

Porygon2 @ Eviolite
Ability: Download
Level: 50
Happiness: 0
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Ice Beam
- Frustration
- Recover
- Trick Room

Porygon2 is the most solid Pokemon this format, in my opinion. It's a really good glue for teams and doesn't even need to be used on hard trick room teams to be effective. Up until now most Torkoal teams have focused on Oranguru as the Trick Room setter, and to be frank Porygon2 is better.

My move set and stat distribution is a little unusual. I ran as much defensive investment possible as getting Trick Room off was a priority for my team. The defence investment doesn't achieve anything in particular, but is a result of testing and tweaking my EV spread after grinding out battles on Pokemon Showdown. The HP stat hits 192, a number divisible by 16.

Up until the week before travelling to Leiden, I was running Tri-Attack. I had faced a few Return Porygon2 on Battle Spot, believing it to be a gimmick to take advantage of attack boosts from download, before taking a better look at it's stat distribution: A Base 102 move off an Attack stat of 100 and a Base 80 move off a Special Attack stat of 125 have the same effective damage output.

As a result, I wanted to run a mixed Porygon2 set with Ice Beam and Frustration. This meant whatever attack boost I gained would always be useful. However, it must be noted there are drawbacks to doing this. Using a Physical STAB move makes you more prone to Intimidate and Will-O-Wisp, weakening the Arcanine matchup, and you might miss the 20% chance to inflict status on the opponent.

Lilligant @ Wide Lens
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
EVs: 116 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 132 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sleep Powder
- After You
- Leaf Storm
- Protect

Lilligant brings me back memories of VGC2016: Simply being on the team will force your opponent to bring Pokemon to the match that can deal with it. And just to note, Lilligant isn't there to be pretty and do nothing, it's is terrifying to play against without the correct tools. First up, I opted to run Wide Lense to have access to 83% accuracy Sleep Powder and 99% Accurate Leaf Storm. 75% Accuracy is just awful, and made the Torkoal + Lilligant lead a lot more consistent, with one of the best moves usually being Sleep Powder + Eruption. After you is self explanatory, having a fast eruption can be crazy good, but in most situations may not be the best option. Honestly I click Sleep Powder more than any other move.

The EVs are simple but effective. 132 Speed EVs hit a speed of 127, allowing Lilligant to out-speed Scarf Garchomp in the Sun. I maxed the Special Attack stat to make Leaf Storm hit as hard as possible. Lilligant in combination with Tapu Bulu can be terrifying when it is viable to run. The rest of the EVs were invested into bulk. As a result Lilligant has enough bulk to make most attacks on it a 2HKO e.g. Garchomp's Poison Jab and Kartana's Smart Strike.

Honestly, with Lilligant on the team you could just lead Porygon2 + X and very likely have a great match up, as opponents may have hard countered your Lilligant mode. On top of that, This team is pretty great for best of 3 matches as you can choose either mode each game, often making games far more difficult for your opponent than yourself.

Mudsdale @ Leftovers
Ability: Stamina
Level: 50
EVs: 132 HP / 124 Atk / 252 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- High Horsepower
- Heavy Slam
- Rest / Toxic
- Protect

I believe that Ground is the best offensive type in VGC2017. Everything is grounded to make use of terrains and ground types like Landorus have always been prominent every year. High Horsepower gives you a powerful move that isn't nerfed by Grassy Terrain, and Heavy Slam is extremely useful with the Tapus running around, still hits most targets for a neutral 120 BP.

Rest isn't necessary on the set, but Torkoal was my only answer to Celesteela on the team, and as I didn't want to bother making any major changes to the team I decided I would timer-stall Celesteela teams I faced in Leiden that KOd my Torkoal by knocking out all Pokemon except Celesteela and stalling 2 vs 1 with Mudsdale and Porygon2 until time and sudden death. This strategy won't work on Battle Spot or Pokemon Showdown. Rest can easily be replaced by Toxic, or Rototiller if you are a man enough.

Leftovers + Protect Mudsdale is really amazing, and increases it's long term use greatly. The constant healing each turn from Leftovers and Grassy Terrain plus Stamina boosts allows him to soak up hits and last way longer than it should. Mudsdale walls and provides quite a threat to many teams, so protect it carefully.

The EV spread is actually really sloppy, sadly. I chose to max Special Defence and put pretty good numbers in Attack and HP and leave it at that, which is pretty dire. As a result, High Horsepower would deal 90% to Muk, which was really dumb. It's a good idea to revise my spread a bit, as it isn't optimised. The HP stat hits a number of 192 HP, which is optimal for Leftovers and Grassy Terrain Recovery.

Tentacruel @ Black Sludge
Ability: Liquid Ooze
Level: 50
EVs: 164 HP / 252 Def / 20 SpA / 4 SpD / 68 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Toxic
- Scald / Knock Off
- Sludge Bomb
- Protect

For the final slot of my team I wanted a Pokemon that could use Toxic and couldn't be poisoned to out-stall opposing stall teams. A Poison type Pokemon would be optimal, as it could hit 100% accurate toxic and hold the Black Sludge, giving my team an additional Leftovers. Water/Poison is a really good defensive typing, so I was originally going to use Toxapex as it also gets access to Regenerator, but it's offensive stats are low and supportive move pool isn't great, so I chose Tentacruel. Sludge Bomb allows it to one-shot opposing Tapu Bulu and heavily damage the other Tapu's, and Scald gives it dual stab. Scald should be replaced by knock off when PokeBank is released because it is far better, knocking off leftovers, eviolite, thick club, etc.

An important note: Tentacruel is often required in matches versus Goodra or Arcanine due to how much they wall the team.

The ability Liquid Ooze is a very cool ability that will damage Pokemon that Leech Seed it, most notably Celesteela. This helps out-stall these teams, reducing their options to damage Tentacruel. It also damages Pokemon that Horn Leech or Giga Drain it. Clear Body is an alternative if you want to focus on an offencive Tentacruel.

The EV spread is simple. I first invested 68 Speed EVs to hit a speed stat of 129 to outspeed Pelipper, as it can be very useful in the matchup. Then I maxed out the Defence stat and hit a HP stat of 176 to optimise Black Sludge and Grassy Terrain recovery. finally I added 4 to Special Defence and the rest to Special Attack.

Cores of the team, Lead combination & Theory

Leading either Tapu Bulu or Mudsdale are both very viable choices. I personally really enjoy leading with Tapu Bulu to cancel out the Terrain of any opposing Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele. Be wary that sometimes Trick Room isn't always the best move: if the opponent carries taunt double attacking turn 1 may be best, especially with Porygon2's Download Boost. When Trick Room is up it is very likely Porygon2 has taken a battering: Make sure to take care not to lose Porygon2 in Trick Room, and recover when the opponent is attempting to outmanoeuvre your Trick Room.

Getting Torkoal in on the early turns of Trick Rooms is very good, but should be done carefully. Luckily the massive defence stat on it allows it to switch into Physical attacks with relative ease. Even if Torkoal takes large amounts of damage, access to Heat Wave and Z Inferno Overdrive give it access to high damage output moves. Mudsdale provides a safer option to switch in that actually benefits from taking hits.

If the opponent has a team that seems particularily threatening to Porygon2 or Tapu Bulu I will often lead with Mudsdale instead. This is usually if I am afraid of a Z fighting move, which is a way players counter Porygon2. In that case, switching Tapu Bulu in on the Z move is a good way to get around it. If the opponent is commiting to prevent your trick room, it might be an idea to switch to Lilligant Torkoal instead.

You can choose to lead with Tentacruel instead if needed. Against more stall-orientated teams with toxic on their movesets or Pokemon that wall the team I bring Tentacruel to ensure I win the match up. The intention here is that Grassy Terrain extends the length of the game, allowing toxic counters with Tentacruel to rack up.

I chose to Bring Torkoal Lilligant to about 1/4 of games I played, simply because the Trick Room mode of the team is far more solid. However, in a best of 3 set or versus a Lilligant Torkoal weak team, it can be very effective. The above 4 are brought the majority of the time if I choose to play this way. Sleep Powder + X move gives you more flexibility in manoeuvring into a winning position. Pokemon that commonly answer this lead such as Arcanine and Muk are hit hard by Mudsdale, or if the opponent is trying to win the weather war you can easily switch in Porygon2 and hit the switch in with a Sleep Powder or Leaf Storm. You can also opt to bring Tapu Bulu in the back to buff Leaf Storm's Power, but this is highly situational.


I've had a ton of fun building this team from scratch, and after a lot of frustration it felt really good to get something consistent going! It has earned me 80 Championship Points so far, but with no major events until March for me I will be attending Mid Season Showdowns and Premier Challenges to rack up some CP with this team and variants. I also have a pretty amazing and wacky team in the works right now I'm really excited about... but regionals are in March, so you'll have to wait until then to see it! See you!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

You Used Ditto and Sneasel?! A Liverpool Regionals Top 8 Team Report


Hello all, Daniel Oztekin here! Today is 14th November 2016; the VGC 2016 format is wrapping up with the last European regional coming up this weekend and twitter is rife with Pokémon Sun and Moon leaks. Instead of writing up a report on my success at the Liverpool Regional during the weekend 5th and 6th November, I have been spending far more attention absorbing information from the Sun & Moon data-mine, preparing team ideas for the European International Challenge. It's difficult to motivate myself to write up a report that at this point is completely useless to everyone, but I thought it would be a fun read, considering my wacky choices:

A Prologue Before going further, I haven't really wrote much up in terms of blogs since my UK Nationals Team Report. Instead, I've been spending too much time sh**posting on my twitter account. If you enjoy Pokémon and don't mind all the weeb trash and pictures I post of Felix, feel free to check out my twitter account at www.twitter.com/Necrocat219. Most the time, I post Pokemon-related stuff though, and I like to keep up to date with the meta, so it could be useful to you!

Since UK Nationals, I attended The Pokémon World Championship and had the time of my life. My team if you're interested was Groudon / Xerneas / Kangaskhan / Whimsicott / Cresselia / Scrafty, with Scrafty unfortunately being dead weight for the whole tournament. Despite finishing with a result of 5-3 and getting knocked out in round 7, just being in America for my first time was incredible, especially San Francisco, one of the most gorgeous (and money guzzling) cities in the world. Meeting so many American & international players that I had spoken to online, and the amazing times I had with team UK out there, and just going around the city, seeing the sights and walking along the coast from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman's Wharf, made the most amazing experience.

Team building Process (Scroll down to team summary if you find this stuff boring)

Going into Liverpool, in all honesty I really wanted to enjoy myself. I wasn't going to pay a €35.00 entry fee and accommodation costs just to possibly get knocked out using boring stuff, so I started experimenting and looking into cool options I had that would let me auto-pilot on the day.

Kangaskhan and Whimsicott became my favourite lead of the format after months of Giovanni Costa trying to convince me to use it with how consistent of a lead it was. Whilst I did use Kyogre in Liverpool, Groudon is my love of the format. Groudon is a terrifying to face in trick room and gravity, and can be just as scary in tailwind, so had to be the next member. And so I had my first 3 team members...

With the mindset I had going into this tournament, I did want to find something pretty cool to use, and Miahruh introduced me to Ditto! He altered his Battle Spot team for the post-worlds meta-game (You can find his pre-worlds team report here) by replacing Salamence on his team with Assault Vest Ditto. This was mainly to assist versus the Wolfe team, as it could copy Raichu and it's lighningrod, Rayquaza and Kyogre, tank hits effectively and provide bulky fake out support, whilst being useful in other matchups: Miah preferred Assault Vest, this was largely because Ditto wasn't necessary for his XernDon matchups. Most times, he would bring his Bronzong mode to that team.

Instead of Assault Vest, back in May I had concluded that Life Orb would be the best item on Ditto (Inspired by Jamie Miller) based on the fact that you can control a Geomancy Xerneas, Primal Groudon or Mega Pokemon holding a Life Orb. The damage output they have is crazy! You could Copy Primal Groudon and one shot any Groudon in return, no matter their bulk, thanks to the Life Orb bulk. Fire off Life Orb Boosted Eruptions/Water Spouts. Copy Xerneas and deal ~60-70% with Moonblast back, which in combination of Kangaskhan's -1 Double Edge dealing ~40-60% would always knock it out. Actually knock out opposing Kangaskhan with Dazzling gleam. Coming off Modest 68 SpA Dazzling gleam, this had a 75% chance to knock out 4HP Kangaskhan. Copy Mega Kangaskhan and Mega Salamence, dealing immense damage. Copy Raichu and Hitmontop, stealing their Lighting Rod and Intimidate for your own use. And the list goes on.

Each game I would always attempt to copy Groudon or Xeneas with priority over anything else, but my item choice meant I could copy almost anything. During the day I copied: Groudon, Xerneas, Kangaskhan, Salamence, Mega Gengar, Talonflame, Jumpluff, Scrafty, Cresselia, Weavile, my own Groudon and Hitmontop.

A note on how I played with Ditto: Positioning Ditto in front of Xerneas/Groudon can be extremely awkward, thanks to a 50:50 of the leads sent out. Each set, I would lead Whimsicott and Kangaskhan game 1, following this up with a Kangaskhan and Whimsicott lead game 2. This would usually get around players trying to outguess me, without me having to waste time thinking about it. A note on other items I considered:

 Assault Vest: Greatly increases Ditto's bulk but limits ability to copy support Pokemon and use of Protect.

Choice Scarf: Even more limiting than Assault Vest. Ability to win every speed tie is nice, but makes Ditto completely useless versus Trick Room.

Red Card: Personally I find this item a bit gimmicky, and makes controlling the flow of the game difficult, and limits you to mainly copying Xerneas.

Quick Claw: Is generally a sub-par item, and is accepting you will have to go for speed ties.

Focus Sash: Was good early meta during Timid Groudon's rein, but not so much anymore.

Next up, I had to improve my match up versus non-Xerneas teams with my restricted choice. And the Pokemon of choice which I am very familiar is: Having used Tailwind Yveltal to compete in UK Nationals, it gave me a restricted Pokemon that favoured my Dual Primal and RayOgre matchups that had a lot of supportive moves at it's hand, as well as a good damage output. I decided to stray for the norm and build a fast, extremely bulky set with no offence, with a focus on Tailwind and Snarl support. Foul Play gave me a respectable damage choice, especially as I wasn't running any intimidate users, and made this guy a real pain for non-Xerneas players do deal with.

From here, I was actually pretty comfortable playing with just the 5 Pokemon on my team. I fiddled around with and finalised all 5 Pokemon on my team before choosing my 6th. My game plan was always to either lead Kangaskhan + Whimsicott or Kangaskhan + Yveltal, with Groudon and Ditto in the back, and I think that I succeeded in making this team work reasonable here. My team wasn't exactly the most solid, but if worst came to worst, I could always risk the speed tie or swagger the opponent. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that, but using Swagger + the Ditto speed tie often gives me a 73% chance to win the game, so in using my frankly lazy game plan, I could still come out on top.

So I played around with stuff and decided it needed some memes: Weeks before Regionals, I faced Lee Provost who was using an unusually bulky Assault Vest Weavile that could live a -1 Power Up Punch from Kangaskhan, and that made me think, hey I can do some fun stuff with this. And so I removed all of my Weaviles attack, decided to slap Foul Play on for damage output next to Yveltal, and ran Snarl/Icy Wind/Fake out to make my team crazy-bulky on the Special Defence side, and grant me an extra form of speed control, whilst scaring Bronzong and Cresselia away from team preview (Everyone on seeing it on preview had no idea what it was for). And then I made a revelation: What if I replace Assault Vest Weavile with Eviolite Sneasel? I checked my calcs, and unfortunately Sneasel had a little less bulk that Weavile. However, Sneasel has access to Inner Focus, making it a random tech choice that probably would never be (and definitely still isn't) viable. And whilst I should have really took more time to weigh my choice, using a meme like Sneasel was way too tempting and so finalised my team.

Team members

Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50 EVs: 28 HP / 180 Atk / 44 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Fake Out
- Power-Up Punch
- Double-Edge
- Sucker Punch

My own spread for the season. It lives Low Kick from Jolly Kangaskhan 90% of the time, which I was happy with. I also optimised the attack stat in line with Parental Bond, Power Up Punch, and Intimidate. Other than that, nothing special. I kept this spread since April, and as I was so familiar with it never updated since.

Whimsicott @ Focus Sash Ability:
Prankster Level: 50 EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature IVs: 0 Atk
- Safeguard
- Swagger
- Tailwind
- Moonblast

The mostly standard set, the Whimsicott I brought to worlds had Encore which was very handy. However in many cases, Whimsicott would be able to emit the same pressure on team preview anyway, so I replaced it with Swagger in order to use SafeSwag. Safe Swag was VERY important to this team's success. With Kangaskhan and Whimsicott out with Ditto in the back, I needed to make sure that I had control of the game, and always be the one with board control. Turning Kangaskhan into a single target nuke forced opponents to either get swept by my Kangaskhan, or knock it out, giving my Ditto a free switch in to copy their Xerneas or Groudon. It also gave me a decent game-plan versus trick room teams when I failed to bring Yveltal and Sneasel: As the opponent was setting up Trick Room, this could give me free reign to set up Safeguard, and start swagging up in trick room, resulting in punishing the opponent with a very boosted Kang.

 I could also Swagger their Groudon in Trick Room and switch my Ditto in as they knocked out my Pokemon, giving me a 73% chance to win the game. Tailwind was necessary in the speed control war. As Xerneas sets up Geomancy, I set up Tailwind, and win on speed control. Letting Xerneas set up is very risk free due to Ditto being in the back.

Against Xerneas and Smeargle leads, Kangaskhan and Whimsicott is a pretty much guaranteed win, especially as a Power up Punch from Kangaskhan one turn can be followed up by Moonblast the next turn, making Follow Me useless versus my lead (With exception of Evasion Moody Boosts)
Moonblast was a reliable for of damage output. Very important for chipping opposing Groudon and Pokemon in KO range of my own Groudon's Precipice Blades. I also one shot 3 Salamence on the Day, thanks to the Xerneas on their side of the field boosting it with Fairy Aura.

Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
Level: 50 EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly Nature
- Precipice Blades
- Fire Punch
- Rock Slide
- Protect

In order to capitalise on the nature of my team, I felt that Jolly Groudon was necessary. Moonblast chip + Precipice Blades would take out most Groudon builds. Fire Punch is necessary and Rock Slide grants coverage (mainly versus Salamence & Talonflame). At times that I did not want to risk speed ties, I could Swagger up my own Groudon and proceed to sweep, even outside of tailwind thanks to it's Jolly Nature.

Ditto @ Life Orb
Ability: Imposter
Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Transform

Fun fact: I didn't realise until the day, but I didn't have the correct Hidden Power on my Ditto! On the day I quickly looked around for and traded a Hidden Power Ice Ditto from my friends at the venue. Unfortunately as a result, the happiness of the Ditto was rock bottom, and despite feeding it some friendship berries and giving it a massage, I tested a copied return and it was around base 60 Return. Woops. Luckily, I scouted for Double Edge and Return Kangaskhan and it never came into play. Minimum speed is optimal to transform after an opponent intimidates Ditto. I maxed bulk for when Ditto didn't have a target to copy, which actually did come into play on the day, allowing me to transform into my own Groudon!

Yveltal @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Dark Aura
Level: 50 EVs: 180 HP / 84 Def / 4 SpA / 52 SpD / 188 Spe
Timid Nature IVs: 0 Atk
- Snarl
- Foul Play
- Tailwind
- Protect

A very supportive set, with this Yveltal my goal was to focus on Snarl + Tailwind support, in effect to replace Whimsicott in the Dual Primal and RayOgre match-ups. I hit 157 speed which out-speeds the Primals and Non-Mega Kangaskhan, and just decided to balance the Defences exactly 50:50, perfectly optimising the calcs. I didn't need to use any offensive investment, as I could rely on Foul Play to chunk opponents, with Snarl doing decent chip damage to put opponents in Precipice Blades KO range.

Sneasel @ Eviolite
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50 EVs: 236 HP / 20 Def / 4 SpA / 100 SpD / 148 Spe Timid Nature
 - Fake Out
- Foul Play
- Icy Wind
- Snarl

252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 236 HP / 20 Def Eviolite Sneasel: 135-159 (84.3 - 99.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

 -1 76+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (144 BP) vs. 236 HP / 100 SpD Eviolite Sneasel in Heavy Rain: 87-103 (54.3 - 64.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

 -2 76+ SpA Primal Kyogre Water Spout (139 BP) vs. 236 HP / 100 SpD Eviolite Sneasel in Heavy Rain: 64-76 (40 - 47.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

Here's the bulky Sneasel I ran. the aim was to speed creep the Wolfe's Raichu by 1 point (Hitting 169 speed), live non-Life Orb Dragon Ascent and then shove the rest of the EV's into Special Defence to live Kyogre's attacks. As I would be leading Yveltal + Sneasel, I would be getting off many snarls, enabling it to easily eat up attacks.

The above calcs are examples showing Sneasel's Snarl's with minimum damage rolls, but it would be partnered with Yveltal which has a stronger snarl. It was very fun, and although it only came to 3 games in the end as the majority of opponents were using Xerneas, I won all 3 games I brought it to.


Hope you enjoyed my fun little team! It was so much fun to play at the last Regional of the season, and I'm glad that I finished it off with this team. In honesty, it was a really lazy team, where once I learnt how to use ditto I basically spammed the Kangaskhan/Whimsicott/Groudon/Ditto lead. But still, I'm now entering the next season with 122 out of 500 Championship Points, ready to take on the world in the European International Challenge. Also shoutouts to Jamie Boyt to completely overshadowing me by winning the regional with Cottonee, his team report can be found here!