Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Yveltal, Rai-Choose you! 14th Place UK Nationals 2016 Report & Season Report

I originally posted this blog on Nugget Bridge 16th May 2016, however it was lost following the hack, so I have reposted it here.

Achievements made with the team:
  • Top 16 UK National Championships 14th May 2016
  • Top 2 Mid Season Showdown Nottingham 30th April 2016
  • Peaked at 1916 on Battle Spot - 6th Place in the World Rankings
Hello all! My name is Daniel Oztekin and I have actually been playing VGC a surprisingly long time, with my first event being the Birmingham National Championships in 2011! However I did not start playing Pokemon to a competitive level until VGC 2014 and the games X and Y were announced, where breeding and soft resetting for legendary Pokemon was made far simpler and less time consuming.

Follow me on Twitter!

My journey throughout VGC 2016
To understand my mindset going into the new format, imagine how Shaun Martin felt after he placed second at Collinsville regionals through many favourable moody boosts: There was a large amount of criticism of the team choices and moves that he made which often pushed into insults and derision that he did not deserve. This is exactly what happened to me in VGC 2015 when I placed 2nd at regionals with a semi-functional team that could only defeat strong players through the luck the team could provide me. Whilst I did not deserve my placing, the criticism on social media was a bit painful and it made me determined to earn future results through my own hard work.

Post worlds, I met a player named Will Tansley known as StarKO on Nugget Bridge at the local PCs - who has since won Dublin regionals and placed 3rd at UK Nationals. We started talking quite a bit and started practising together, when the VGC 2016 format was announced. As soon as the format was announced Will got straight to testing Xerneas/Groudon cores and was nice enough to let me test the teams he constructed and ladder with him. I am so thankful to him as all the discussions and testing of various moves on the team, that would be known as the Big 6 in future, improved me so much as a player and gave me a head start in the format, earning me 4th Place at Wakefield Regionals. This would not have been possible without him and I would have remained a scrub if I had not met him, so I'm glad all his hard work has paid off with him now earning a paid trip to worlds.

Construction of the team
Fast forward to Sutton Coldfield Regionals 9th April 2016: I had earned my day 1 invite completely off using the Big 6 or variants with Clefairy and Amoongus. This was the last major regional in the UK and so the next tournament I had to prepare for was UK Nationals, and it was time to come up with 'the play' as people like to call it. Whilst I can't really say 100% that it was, running Yveltal in a tournament full of Dual Primal and Ray Ogre teams, with an absence of Xerneas Groudon would certainly give me an upper hand:

DISCLAIMER: If full paras, flinches and confusion trigger you, stop reading now. It's Pokemon. You have been warned!

Yveltal was the start of it all. What inspired me to pick it up was watching Koryo's team in action. His core of Yveltal/Kyogre/Manetric gave dual primal teams a big problem. I took note of some of his move-set choices and EV spreads and started testing a physical Yveltal set. I did try the popular special variant with Snarl/Dark Pulse/Foul Play/Protect but the damage output felt underwhelming. Sucker Punch was a very appealing move to use that in combination with Mawile was very scary to face and allowed me to operate in the opponent's Tailwind and Trick Room. I also used Knock Off which gave me a reliable stab move that could also one-shot Bronzong and Cresselia which are both very popular.

Next up I wanted to test the core Koryo created. I tested out Snarl/Volt Switch Manetric for a while switching between the 3rd filler move, and tested it with a standard bulky Kyogre. In case you haven't noticed a problem with my choice of restricted Pokemon, they share a crippling weakness to Electric type attacks. Manetric provided the team with very valuable lightning rod support, whilst also spreading intimidate and acting as a pivot with Volt Switch. Being able to choose when to mega evolve meant Yveltal could fire off full power Foul Plays and the intimidate which was very nice, however compared to Kangaskhan, Salamence and Mawile it felt underwhelming in damage output and bulk as a mega, so I looked for other options.

The only other lightning rod user I saw being viable was Raichu, the electric Liepard. A very annoying Pokemon, Raichu provides the team with Fake Out and Nuzzle support that can cripple opposing teams. in testing I felt that I didn't have a problem with opposing Kyogre as I had Yveltal already dealing 80% to them with Sucker Punch, so I replaced Volt Tackle with Swagger. This gave Yveltal the power to one-shot Groudon and Kyogre and the two became one of my favourite leads. I actually posted this combo on twitter after I placed 6th on battle spot, so it affected how UK players lead and played against my team.

The next two choices took 2 weeks to create, and were born from my many scribbles beside me as I produced sets of accounts at works (very interesting job) and were a result of me theorising how to have a positive match-up versus Groudon Xerneas teams whilst still being useful in other games. Eventually I came to a conclusion that using Crobat with Haze replacing Quick Guard and Mawile was my best answer, with Kyogre in the back. I produced a flow chart on paper for how to beat big 6 for myself and mapped the optimal moves I could make, attempting to eliminate as many 50/50 scenarios as I could. Which lead to my next choice:

I wanted a team member that could replace Yveltal as the 4th Pokemon against Groudon Xerneas teams, that was a flying or levitating Pokemon that could provide both intimidate and a decent damage output. As a result I tested choice scarf Salamence which was garbage. It provided my team a Pokemon that was an acceptable switch into Mawile for when they lead Groudon, and provided double intimidate to neuter it's attack. It took me a few extra days of theory to replace it.

The final member of the team I finalised was Landorus, a Pokemon that has fallen out of favour this format. When I realised that Landorus slipped into that slot perfectly, it was a relief to finally remove Salamence from my team. It could replace Yveltal in the back versus Groudon Xerneas teams as a switch in for Mawile, providing me with an additional immunity to ground type moves that also neuters the opponent's attack stat. It is also excellent in the dual primal match up, being one speed point faster than the Primals, and could blanket them with Earthquake and Rock Slide. I also gave it U-Turn to act as a pivot for my team.

Team Details

Kyogre-Primal @ Blue Orb
Ability: Primordial Sea
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 124 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 52 Spe
Modest Nature
- Water Spout
- Origin Pulse
- Ice Beam
- Protect
When I run my dual primal team I have been using variants of the 252HP/180Def/76SpA spread that has been pretty popular. I've also been testing variants of PokeAlex' spreads which opt to reduce HP for Special Attack but they didn't feel right for this team. Up to this point I have also been using both Water Spout/Scald/Ice beam and Origin Pulse/Thunder/Ice Beam sets and am a big fan of both. In order to improve the synergy with Raichu, I chose to run the set without Thunder. I ran this until Joseph Richardson convinced me this was garbage and I should run Origin Pulse over Scald, and that is how I arrived at this set.

I chose my speed EVs based on Wolfe's video on speed creeping. Now I was going to run 28 Speed EVs at Nationals, however after this video was released I started getting outsped by far more Western players on Battle Spot and when I found the cause of this, I bumped this up to 52 speed EVs so to water spout before those that watched his video. As a result I was faster than every Kyogre I faced at Nationals except for one Timid Kyogre.

Yveltal @ Black Glasses
Ability: Dark Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Sucker Punch
- Foul Play
- Tailwind
- Knock Off

Sucker Punch is mandatory on Yveltal. It combines with Mawile granting me the ability to remove most Pokemon with a double sucker punch and chunks into opponents hard. Foul Play was the next choice I made as it granted me a reliable source of damage even when intimidated. As Salamence is very popular right now it's difficult to have a full attack Yveltal, so Foul Play gave me an out to this. Paired with Swagger Raichu it also granted me a way to eliminate the Primals and other Pokemon before they could take any action. Players have asked me if I have trouble juggling this with my two intimidate users; however I have both Sucker Punch and Knock Off as other forms of damage, so with these additional options I don't usually find this a problem. Tailwind grants me a way to establish speed control over the opponent without bringing Crobat to the game, and punishes unnecessary protects and switches. Knock off is the final, less common choice that gives me a ways to delete Cresselia and Bronzong before they set up trick room. It also just deals really high damage and grants utility vs anything that isn't a Primal or Mega: For example Ferrothorn, which would seem like a threat to me team, takes 60-70% damage from knock off, and I can remove Life Orbs and Choice Band's from slower Pokemon before they attack.

Running protect-less Yveltal was something that I was keeping on the low in the run up to and including at Nationals as it can heavily affect how one plays versus my team. Wherever possible, I would avoid using all 4 moves versus any one player even if it cost me the game, as it would prevent them from scouting me effectively. As a result no one found this fact out. I also found that I could easily switch Yveltal into my Kyogre, Landorus and Mawile depending on the threat I faced as they have good synergy. Same goes for Kyogre.

The EV spread is simple because I have already eliminated any complicated spreads I made through benchmarking. Maximum possible attack is necessary. I chose to run a Jolly nature over Adamant because out-speeding the Primals is too important. Choosing the speed stat of 158 (which out-speeds my Jolly Landorus) requires 196 EVs. However this under-speeds Rayquaza and Kyurem-W, sitting at a speed stat of 161. At this point I decided I should just run 252/252 as I masewell just speed tie with other Yveltal/Xerneas than keep fiddling with spreads.

I have been asked many times why I run Black Glasses over Life Orb, which ensures that Yveltal can pick up a few additional KOs, mainly Foul Play on Jolly Rayquaza and +2 Attack Kyogre. I never have had a problem versus Ray Ogre and I prefer to play in a way that generates a slow advantage through careful manoeuvring of my team through switching and pinning the opponent with sucker punch threats and recycling intimidate rather than to instantly going for game.

Mawile-Mega @ Mawilite
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 108 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Sucker Punch
- Rock Slide
- Iron Head
- Protect
Ray Rizzo's Mawile time travelled to the future to help me from VGC 2014. Whilst I didn't use a careful nature like he did, as I wanted to still pick up kills with double Sucker Punch, I did invest heavily in my Special Defence stat and invested enough Speed to hit a stat of 84: Enough outspeed Jolly Kangaskhan in Tailwind and to under-speed the Primals in Trick Room. Here's a quote he made 2 years ago:

''I felt that maxing its Attack really didn't accomplish much. It's one of the perfect examples in Pokémon of diminishing returns. It has such an obnoxious Attack stat with Huge Power, investing in it to the maximum is likely to be just a waste of EVs. It's going to OHKO frail Pokémon and stuff weak to Fairy no matter how much Attack you have, and it's still going to 2HKO everything else that doesn't resist it no matter how much Attack you have. On the other hand, its SpDef is so bad, even weak STAB attacks deal a ton of damage to it.''
And a slight contradiction as a result of that is my lack of Play Rough! I found that the only useful thing that it provided over Iron head was a solid damage output on Kyogre. I chose to run Rock slide as it provided better coverage for my team, a means to deal spread damage to my opponent and the potential to flinch under tailwind or in trick room. This additional disruption can dismantle opponent's game plans before they even begin. It also gave me a means to knock out Talonflame on Groudon Xerneas teams with it, which cannot kill Mawile after intimidate, or two intimidates in the sun.

In reality I faced no talonflame during the tournament. The stronger players had replaced Talonflame with Thundurus on their teams. As a result I'm actually unsure if Rock slide was optimal. Going forward I might consider Knock Off over Rock Slide to help prevent trick room going up.

Crobat @ Lum Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
Level: 50
EVs: 52 HP / 228 Def / 228 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Taunt
- Tailwind
- Haze
- Super Fang

There seems to be a passive rule in this format: If you do not have Crobat or Thundurus on your team, you will lose to Big 6. I chose to run Crobat over Thundurus as I felt it would provide me with a far more reliable check to the team and that Thundurus would clash with Raichu. The move set is mostly simple, I felt that taunt was too important to remove as it is needed to disable Smeargle. Tailwind and Haze guarantee that my opponent cannot set Geomancy up. I chose not to run maximum speed as I felt I would not take it into games where the opponent also had Crobat and made it a bit bulkier, and chose to out-speed Weavile by 2 points.

Landorus-Therian @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- U-turn
- Knock Off
With Landorus there were two important benchmarks it needed to meet: Hyper Voice from Mega-Salamence needs to be a 3HKO and it needs to survive a +2 Dazzling Gleam from Xerneas. As a result I chose to run Assault Vest over Choice Band and Life Orb. However Life Orb is probably the most optimal choice and Landorus can be EVd to still survive 3 Hyper Voices by greatly reducing it's attack stat. However rather than make this change I realised was possible a few days before Nationals I decided to stick with what I had practised with.

Earthquake and Rock Slide are standard and provide consistent damage output and disruption. U-Turn let Landorus act as a pivot, assisting in providing safe switches into Yveltal and Kyogre and providing me with momentum. As Kyogre is far bulkier than any other Pokemon on my team it also made it very efficient to timer stall my opponents by preserving Kyogre, so U turn chunks an extra 45 seconds off the clock. Knock Off was added to deal extra single target damage with Dark Aura.

Raichu @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Lightning Rod
Level: 50
EVs: 116 HP / 140 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Fake Out
- Swagger
- Feint
- Nuzzle

The final Pokemon of the team, and the namesake of this article: Raichu. During initial testing Yveltal and Kyogre I quickly found that any attempt to remove Manetric from the team resulted in an overbearing weakness to Thundurus and any other electric types in existence. Thundurus dramatically spiked in usage between the Sutton Coldfield regional and UK Nationals so was useful in most games. I can safely say that on a Yveltal/Kyogre team Lightning Rod is required, and the only viable users are Manetric and Raichu.

Firstly, I want to shout out to Baz Anderson for inspiration of the use of Safety Goggles and the namesake of this article. My Raichu initially used Focus sash, but in reality I rarely used it. Now Physical Yveltal has a weakness to redirection, mainly in the forms of Amoongus as Kyogre can't effectively damage it (As opposed to Togekiss and Clefairy, which I can use Water Spout against). The standard Dual Primal team can lead Salamence/Amoongus or Kyogre/Amoongus versus my team and cripple it. However after drawing some inspiration from listening to his report I replaced it with Safety Goggles which has seen very little use this season but decidedly solves this weakness. I faced 2 Amoongus in the tournament and both opponents were crippled by this tech and couldn't adapt for game 2.

The presence of Raichu effectively renders any team with Thundurus to a 5 man team, or forces them to bring it in the back and eliminate Raichu first. I faced a total of 6 Thundurus and 1 Manetric in the tournament.

Fake Out allows Yveltal and Kyogre to fire off a powerful attack whilst ignoring the larger threat. Often opponents will not use protect in fear of the Feint or Encore that Raichu often carries. If I can manoeuvre and safely predict an opponent's unsafe Protect, Feint is a win condition. I used Encore on it for a while but experienced and skilled players know to switch out to avoid it, so it seemed useless. I felt Feint was far better in a best of 3 environment too.

Nuzzle was so so good. Being able to spread paralysis without the fear of taunt gets around Thundurus entirely, and grants my team a second form of speed control. As a result of Raichu and this one move the Salamence/Thundy lead which should give my team problem becomes futile. It also nastily allows my two Rock Slide users to out-speed for a chance to flinch the opponent.

Finally we have Swagger which unfortunately makes me full of guilt and dread when I remember player's reaction to this move. In place of Volt Tackle which most players use I chose to grant my Yveltal the ability to one shot the majority of Pokemon it outspeeds. To justify it:

+2 Black Glasses Dark Aura Yveltal Foul Play vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Primal Groudon: 237-279 (114.4 - 134.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 Black Glasses Dark Aura Yveltal Foul Play vs. 252 HP / 136 Def Primal Kyogre: 207-244 (100 - 117.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 Black Glasses Dark Aura Yveltal Foul Play vs. 252 HP / 180 Def Primal Kyogre: 196-232 (94.6 - 112%) -- 68.8% chance to OHKO

At this moment of time players are opting to run speed creep on Kyogre over defence, which really increases the chance that foul play will kill. A life orb can be run on Yveltal to guarantee that any Kyogre will die to Foul Play.

Swagger also makes Raichu useful when all it would be doing is sitting there. If ignored as a support, it can Swagger opposing Special Attackers to decrease their chances of attacking. Stacking this with paralysis and flinches can further eliminate any chance they have of winning.
The Immobalisation Table

In case you receive any nasty language, I have put together a table of probabilities to recite to your opponent for your ease of use:

ParaFusion - 63% Chance to be immobalised

ParaFlinch - 48% Chance to be immobalised

ParaFusionFlinch - 74% Chance to be immobalised

Overall I had an amazing weekend and it was amazing to see my efforts this whole season pay off. Following Nationals, this has placed me on 676 Championship Points, and I continue to try a variety of teams and to understand 'The Play' For worlds as I will be attending day 1. Do I think that Yveltal/Kyogre is the play? To be frank, no. I think my team is a lot of fun and has mostly favourable match-ups at this current time this format thanks to Yveltal being strong versus Dual Primal. However this weekend I was defeated by both Xerneas Groudon teams I faced, despite thinking that I had fully prepared for them. I believe that as Xerneas Groudon based teams make a resurgence in the run up to worlds my team will become less and less viable.

If you managed to read all the way here, thanks for getting all the way through this wall of text! I hope you enjoyed  And here is the pastebin:

I want to say thank you StarKO and Miahruh for helping my team theory and testing throughout this season, been a big help!

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