I’m Nicholas Ong, and I placed 2nd (whether or not this position was deserved is up for debate, actually not really :^) ) at the first VGC17 event in Singapore, the Singapore Open 2016, with what could possibly be called the worst team in VGC history second only to Yveltal-Groudon, and maybe bulky Xerneas teams. Speaks volumes about teambuilding in Singapore, doesn’t it? But I’ll get to that later.
*record scratch* *freeze frame* Wait. Hold up. I didn’t build this team! We have to go back. Back to the first two weeks of VGC17 on Pokemon Showdown. A certain team was dominating the ladder and no one could stop it, save the top 2 teams. Actually, you know what? They could, but everyone’s a lazy prick. Anyway, this team peaked around 3rd on the ladder and hovered around top 10 for a bit until incompetent Zarel updated PS! and caused loads of issues with Z-moves which were already bugged to begin with (Z-EQ not allowing you to choose your target, etc.). Extreme Evoboost would just not be registered at all. As in, you could select and lock it in, but your timer would continue to tick, and if you didn’t choose anything else you would lose to timer. This went on even until a week after bloody Singapore Open! Imagine that mess!
Loads of people played the team, knew what it does, knew what beats it, but guess what? It still somehow got to the top of ladder. Why? People just didn’t care, and they’re not wrong for not caring. It’s only a ladder. When you lose to a gimmick like this you’re probably not going to see it again for like the next 30 or so matches, you only lose at worst 50-80 points, and if you’re a good player you can just easily climb back up to where you belong.
But when you bring this mentality to real-life VGC events, to tournaments that use Swiss followed by single elimination to determine the top players, this is when teams like these will punish you for your absolutely bonkers ineptitude in ensuring that your win percentage against any player is as high as possible, especially in a tournament that is expected to be as big as this, the first tournament of the format. It’s both hilarious and sad at the same time that this team got as far as the finals of a 84-man tournament in Singapore. I knew that the Asia-Pacific mentality would be to gamble, gamble, gamble, and that APAC teambuilding in general is terrible and lazy, so if I brought this team I would achieve at least a positive result. But deep down, a quarter of me hoped that I wouldn’t get to the semi-finals. Of course the other ¾ of me loves to win, but by beating so many what even I would consider top-level Singaporeans, it really says a lot about the approach to teambuilding and the game as a whole we have here.
A certain someone said on Twitter that no matter what you win, if you’re in APAC, your accomplishments will be discredited and you’ll always be seen as an inferior player just because your accomplishments come from said region. You know what? This isn’t something to whine about, because it’s true, and something that every other region save South Africa has the right to do. This might seem a little disingenuous coming from someone who has, historically, only ever had real-life results with what are considered cheesier teams, but look at the entirety of APAC’s Top Cut history in big events. Well, yeah, maybe a Kecleon here, a Granbull there, but other regions have their fair share of memes, and these mons might actually fill good niches. But then you see the thought process behind these teams in reports and interviews and the non-objective approach to the game that APAC (yes that includes you Australia you guys are probably the worst culprits of them all) has taken, and it really makes you sick, and you’ll realise why we’re considered the biggest jokes in VGC.
The only reason the few APAC players that can perform well at an international level do so is because their excellent, world-class playing carries them though their awful teambuilding. The only exceptions to this that I’ve personally seen thus far are Melvin Keh and Reuven Tan. We DO have the players that can excel at the highest level of VGC, in fact, I believe that APAC’s playing, our manoeuvring with what we have on the field, is the best in the world. But our approach to the game, the way we conceptualise it, is holding us back terribly and stranding us in the dumpsters of high-level play.
Anyway, here’s the team in a copy-paste friendly format, with details after:
Eevee @ Eevium Z Ability: Adaptability Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 52 Def / 204 Spe Careful Nature - Baton Pass - Helping Hand - Protect - Last Resort Arcanine @ Life Orb Ability: Intimidate Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD Modest Nature IVs: 0 Atk - Heat Wave - Protect - Burn Up - Snarl Krookodile @ Darkinium Z Ability: Intimidate Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD Adamant Nature - Protect - Assurance - Earthquake - Rock Slide Tapu Lele @ Psychic Seed Ability: Psychic Surge Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA Modest Nature IVs: 0 Atk - Dazzling Gleam - Psych Up - Psychic - Thunderbolt Smeargle @ Focus Sash Ability: Moody Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe Jolly Nature - Wide Guard - Spiky Shield - Follow Me - Fake Out Celesteela @ Leftovers Ability: Beast Boost Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 60 Def / 196 SpD Impish Nature - Wide Guard - Heavy Slam - Leech Seed - Protect
Eevee’s 204 Speed EVs hit 101 Speed, which outspeeds 252 Speed+ Aerodactyl after an Extreme Evoboost. Celesteela’s 252/60/196 Impish spread balances defences at 144 and 146 respectively to ensure a +Atk boost on Download Porygon2. The others are just basic spreads that I didn’t bother calc-ing for (wow!!! talk about irony!!!!!) because 1) it was too early in the meta, 2) 252/252/4 spreads fit Evoboost boosts, and 3) Krookodile needs to be slower than Lele to pull off a boosted Assurance.
There are many ways to beat this joke of a team:
- Proper trading
- Screens (not Aurora Veil, Ninetales does nothing) (in fact, I once encountered a team that had both Snarl Arcanine and Screens Fini which choked the living hell out of this team via literal damage control)
- Haze / Clear Smog (actually the latter is pretty bad)
- Having both spread and single target moves as a lead, and then single targeting Smeargle on the second turn whilst Whirlwinding/Roaring Eevee on the second turn
And there are probably many more ways to beat Evoboost teams. You HAVE to prepare for it, much like you HAVE to prepare for Minimize, for Celesteela stall, for what’s big in the current meta. By not doing so you are just begging for untimely losses and bubbles.
Like I said, APAC as a region has MASSIVE potential due to having some of the world’s best players, but we’re held back by our awful, gambling, non-objective mentality towards the game. The stakes are even higher this year, with increased prize pools and actual good money at stake. Do not allow yourself to falter to a team that you knew would appear, that you have the knowledge to beat, but because of your laziness were not prepared for. You can find my other ramblings at http://nicholascookie.tumblr.com/pokerambles, and you can yell at me at @nicholas_cookie on Twitter if you ever want to for some reason.