Perseverance does pay off – A Malaysian Regional’s Champion Report

June 6th, 2017 | Posted by Justin Lok in Team Reports

Justin Lok, back again with another team report, after I placed Top 4 in the most recent Malaysia Open, and Champion in the Malaysian Regionals.

The team has not changed much since my previous endeavour in Melbourne, but the minor changes seem to have been enough to push my performance beyond what I’m used to. I’ll be giving insight into the team (some of it repeated from my previous report so please bear with me ><), and taking you through my journey in the Malaysian Regionals (to the best of my memory)

The Team

(For those of you who have read my previous report, here’s the tl;dr – dropped Tapu Lele for Drifblim, tweaked my Arcanine and Garchomp slightly)


Snorlax @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 252 Def / 60 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Belly Drum
– Return
– Recycle
– High Horsepower

There’s no way around it, the bulk on this thing is obnoxious and I love it. I found that Snorlax can function outside of Trick Room as a standalone attacker with an auto heal when it drops below 50% health. It also helps against opposing Trick Room match ups, especially since my new mode (Tailwind) incentivises Trick Room.


Porygon2 @ Eviolite
Ability: Download
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 92 Def / 28 SpA / 140 SpD
Sassy Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Return
– Ice Beam
– Recover
– Trick Room

Relative to Snorlax, I find myself bringing Porygon2 less and less. The bulk is good and Trick Room is a good option, but more often than not, I find myself forgoing the speed control option entirely and attacking. It’s nice to have the flexibility though.


Garchomp @ Groundium Z
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Poison Jab
– Rock Slide
– Protect

Changed Fire Fang to Rock Slide which really helps put pressure on my opponent when Tailwind is up. Nothing much else to say.


Tapu Fini @ Choice Specs
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Hydro Pump
– Muddy Water
– Scald

In Fini we trust.

All the attacks listed are good in their own right depending on the situation, bearing in mind that I probably will be locking myself into that move for the rest of the game.

Moonblast – When I need reliable fairy damage on a single target.
Scald – When I need reliable water damage to KO a target.
Hydro Pump – Originally used to punish Gigaliths, I’ve grown to love the other KOs that it can offer. This move is good for maximising damage when I’m sure Tapu Fini is not long for the world. The accuracy really has to be considered when pressing this option, but when it hits, the damage is sooooooooo gooooood.
Muddy Water – When I’m unsure what else to press or am in a situation where Tapu Fini can just sit and spam attacks. The spread attack is really nice (able to catch switch-ins independent of prediction) and any accuracy drops are just a bonus.

It’s often taken for granted, but Misty Terrain really helps out this team since it relies on bulk, and random status effects such as poison, burn and freeze can hinder the offensive capabilities of the team. Some players are even using Toxic, which cuts away at the bulk of the team immensely.

Tapu Fini also robs its Tapu siblings of Terrain, which reduces their potential damage. Lastly, in a situation where I have to face a Hariyama, Misty Terrain stops Flame Orb from activating,  which helps my Normal Pokemon survive an otherwise fatal Guts-boosted Close Combat.


Arcanine @ Firium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 76 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge
– Protect
– Extreme Speed

My original use of Electrium felt niche so I swapped it for the STAB Inferno Overdrive instead. One of the top dogs (me so funny) in the format, I don’t feel as much of an affinity to Arcanine as other players do, but it does pull its weight by checking the likes of Celesteela and Kartana which would otherwise cause problems for my other team members. I tweaked the EVs to be able to take a Life Orb Thunderbolt from Timid Tapu Koko in Electric Terrain, a spread  that comes courtesy of Chelsea Tan who wrote a report on this site as well.


Drifblim @ Misty Seed
Ability: Unburden
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Shadow Ball
– Thief
– Swagger
– Tailwind

The replacement for Scarf Lele, this balloon has opened new doors for how the rest of my team can operate. Usually paired with the Fini, it is able to trade well with other Tapus who have invested in Special Attack. I don’t believe in putting bulk into Drifblim, its huge natural HP stat, the Misty Seed SpD boost, and Tapu Fini removing Psychic and Electric Terrain from Lele and Koko leads is usually enough to sponge a hit. As a result, what I have is a Pokemon that can offer a fast mode while keeping in line with the general strategy of trading hits with the opponent.

Shadow Ball –  My only attack. STAB, nice for damage on anything except Normal and Dark types.
Thief – This move was originally Haze. but after fighting Derrick Li in a Premier Challenge, I decided Thief would have better utility. The original use was to steal berries from opposing Snorlax (which my team had trouble wearing down) so as to make all damage stick, but it has extended to making opposing Porygon2 more vulnerable by taking away Eviolite. Stealing an item deactivates Unburden again, so I bear that in mind.
Swagger – Inspiration from seeing Reuven use this on Garchomp under Misty Terrain, I decided to splash this in as a complement to enhance the killing power of the dragon under Tailwind. Melvin (Mr Worldwide) pointed out that my own Snorlax and Porygon2 could make use of this move as well, which gave me options to make my bulky mons more of a threat. As a side benefit, it enables Snorlax to be an offensive threat without having to Belly Drum, which conserves its berry.
Tailwind – Offers an alternative mode to my team, which makes it more difficult for my opponent to decide on their strategy. It becomes especially strong if my opponent does not have Tailwind.

Combinations

Snorlax + Porygon 2 – The original “braindead” lead of the team, it has gotten more difficult to justify this lead with the introduction of the alternative. That said, it’s still pretty good and I have the flexibility to decide on whether to set up or just go for immediate damage. Generally, as long as there is no opposing Fighting type, this lead has the potential to just sit on my opponent.

Drifblim + Tapu Fini – Misty Terrain helps Drifblim get up Tailwind relatively easily, and enables Swagger boosting plays. Specs Fini can inflict considerable amounts of damage if left unchecked, which becomes even more potent when Tailwind doubles its speed.

These are not the be all end all leads, it really depends on my opponents’ team.

Malaysia Regionals

Swiss Rounds

Round 1 – Muhd Nasserudden

He had a Twinkle Tackle Tapu Koko and an Assault Vest on his Garchomp, which survived a Moonblast from Fini.

Although he tried for the Trick Room sweep, Hydro Pump instantly cleared the Gigalith and my Snorlax was happy to play in Trick Room. He adjusted in game 2, but had difficulty breaking Tapu Fini, which did a lot of damage and enabled an easy clean up for the rest of the team.

Win – 1-0

Round 2 – Yoko Taguma

Sigh, a fellow Singaporean player.

In Game 1, stealing the berry from the opposing Snorlax helped ensure that I was able to whittle it down and win a war of attrition. Game 2, I switched it up and went for the Driblim/Fini lead, swaggering Garchomp when Fini went down and clearing the field with boosted Tectonic Rage and Earthquakes.

Win – 2-0

Round 3 – Khairil Haizan

Game 1 – I embarrassing allowed Charjarbug to eat my Snorlax’s berry while I went for the Belly Drum + Trick Room. Thankfully, Snorlax’s bulk made sure that I was able to survive long enough to trade KOs. I made sure to focus down Charjarbug’s partner since it itself did not pose much of a threat. (He had Wild Charge on it XD)

Game 2 – His Mandibuzz spammed Snarl to reduce Fini’s and Porygon2’s (my leads) damage output… Or so he thought. Got a +1 Attack boost from Download and Porygon2 went to town with Return. Since the Mandibuzz was not much of a threat (even with Foul Play), I focused on taking down its partners and switching between Fini and Drifblim to maintain offensive pressure.

Win – 3-0

Round 4 – Aiman Ishak

In Game 1, I was able to win with the attrition combination of Porygon2 and Snorlax. In Game 2, I switched it up to the Tailwind mode and was punished by his Trick Room mode with Rockium Gigalith. Game 3, I made the call to use the Tailwind mode once again. He got rid of Drifblim and punished me with a Discharge + Garchomp combo once my Tailwind petered out.

Lose – 3-1

Round 5 – Kevin Ngim

Game 1 – Seeing the Porygon2 and Tapu Koko lead, I felt inclined to Hydro Pump the Tapu Koko slot and was rewarded with a Gigalith KO. His Trick Room backfired on him as I not only did not Tailwind but stole his Eviolite. Tapu Fini proceeded to Hydro Pump his team to pieces (no misses at all lol).

Game 2 was a beautiful game for me, with me having a +6 Snorlax at full health primed to sweep. This was not to be however, as a disconnection occurred and the judge ruled that we had to restart the round. The Game 2 which was counted was a loss, as I discovered that I couldn’t take out his Celesteela with Flare Blitz (his Beast Boost gave Def boosts), and he proceeded to Leech Seed and beat down my Snorlax. He was feeling pretty confident about Celesteela, which he brought into Game 3. Revealing Firium on Arcanine, I was able to take the castle in a single hit and push forward with momentum from there.

Win – 4-1

Round 6 – Matthew Hui

Another Singaporean and a close friend. His Palossand team is featured on this website, and we both knew the ins and outs of each other’s team, making this a game with perfect knowledge. His team is extremely versatile, his Palossand laughs at my Snorlax so my favourite wall was useless…. I was prepared to accept the loss.

He took Game 1, blowing up my Tapu Fini with Breakneck Blitz and subsequently dismantling my team with Trick Room, Hyper Beam and a flaming tortoise.

Game 2 was decided in a turn where Smeargle used Follow Me to redirect attacks from Garchomp and Drifblim. Because Drifblim stole the Sash from Smeargle, it became slower than Garchomp. The result was that Earthquake knocked out Smeargle and allowed Shadow Ball to go into the +6 Defense Palossand, knocking it out.

Game 3, He set up Trick Room (anticipating my Tailwind as he later told me) which allowed Tapu Fini an opportunity to pick up the KO on Smeargle. (I wanted to cut off the source of Palossand’s Defense boosts) I proceeded to switch in Porygon2 and Swagger it to boost Return’s damage. I wanted to leave Palossand for last since my Ice Beam would proc his Weakness Policy so I focused down his Tapu Koko. Despite the terrain, he was unable to KO my Porygon2 (since he invests in bulk) and the end game was a Tectonic Rage into the non-boosted sandcastle.

I didn’t like winning this round as I felt his team should have beaten me, and also, having to fight a friend really sucks.

Win – 5-1

Round 7 – Melvin Keh

Mr Worldwide – another Singaporean sigh. What’s more, he’s a formidable opponent and I have a very poor record against him.

His Tapu Lele, packing the Choice Specs, was able to inflict significant damage to my team in Game 1 – I was not expecting that since I had the Terrain under my control. I managed to pull off a very strong sweep with Swagger-ed Garchomp Earthquake under Tailwind in Game 2.

Game 3, I went for the Fini + Drifblim again. He did not bring Tapu Lele this time, opting instead for Porygon2 to control the speed. Hydro Pump did not miss, and with an Ice Beam freezing his Xurkitree, I was able to take Game 3.

Despite the hax in Game 3, Melvin was able to advance to Top Cut, so I don’t feel so bad about the freeze.

Win – 6-1

Top Cut – Quarter Finals vs Edward Cheung

Right off the bat, I’m facing off against a strong opponent, who is pretty well known from Hong Kong and has his own Youtube channel. Watching his Swiss match which was featured on stream and discussing with Melvin Keh, we concluded that Edward would trend towards a safer playstyle and that the Fini + Drifblim lead would be the best.

The dreaded lead from Edward would be the Tapu Koko and Porygon2 – Tapu Koko could easily Volt Switch out and bring in Gigalith, with Porygon 2 setting up Trick Room and making Tailwind work against me. At the same time, Tapu Koko could just as easily nuke my Tapu Fini and then I would have difficulty with Gigalith under Trick Room.

The plan for the Drifblim + Tapu Fini lead if I were to face such a scenario would be to bait out the Gigavolt Havoc by switching Fini out to Garchomp.

Game 1 – The scenario played out exactly as above – I led Tapu Fini + Drifblim into his Tapu Koko and Porygon 2. At the last minute though, I decided “screw the plan” (apologies, Melvin ><) and let my Tapu Fini stay in. I pressed Hydro Pump into the Tapu Koko slot, hoping to catch Gigalith on the switch. The thought process was that if Tapu Fini fainted, I could potentially switch in Garchomp or Snorlax and swagger them.

Boy, did that work. He Gigavolt Havoc-ed into Drifblim (I almost had a heart attack, thinking my Fini was doomed) which survived, my Hydro Pump connected and knocked out the Koko and his Porygon 2 Ice Beam-ed into my Tapu Fini. Edward called the Garchomp switch in. Had I followed the game plan, I would have been in a terrible position. From there, I ignored Porygon2, and focused down his other team members, taking Game 1

Game 2 was rather demoralising. He set up his Curse Gigalith under Trick Room and proceeded to Rock Slide flinch my Snorlax and Tapu Fini to death, as well as flinch my Porygon2 when I tried to to reverse Trick Room for my Garchomp to threaten the Gigalith. In the end, it boiled down to a 50/50 situation – would his Porygon 2 Trick Room or KO my Garchomp with Ice Beam? I could reverse the Trick Room on my own Porygon 2, but if he didn’t, then Gigalith won the game for him. I made the wrong call and didn’t reverse Trick Room while he set it up, bringing it to a Game 3.

Game 3 ended boiling down to Porygon 2 VS Porygon 2 (how exciting amirite?).

Our Porygon2 movesets differ in only one move (the similar ones are Trick Room, Recover and Ice Beam.) Edward’s Porygon 2 had Thunderbolt (16 PP) whilst mine had Return (32 PP), so I definitely had the potential to PP stall him out. When he ran out of Recover PP, all I needed to do was land a single hit and win. And if all else failed he would Struggle first.

The judge enforced timer had come down to 10 minutes when the Porygon 2 mirror match began, so Edward had to stall out for that amount of time while ensuring his Porygon 2 had full HP to match mine, then he would win based on team HP (my team had Drifblim and Snorlax, both have huge HP stats). So that’s what he did, forgetting about the My Time as a factor.

By the time he realised he would lose via My Time (the judges confirmed that the player who ran out of My Time would lose, and that it takes precedence over the judge enforced timer), he only had about 30 seconds left, while I had about 3 minutes.

Game, set, match.

WIN

Top Cut – Semi Finals vs Dicky Wijaya

Just seeing his team already gives me the shivers. Pheromosa alone has the potential to handle 4 out of 6 members in my team. My only strong answer to the roach is Arcanine, which does not enjoy fighting Rain. On top of that, I have to worry about the surge offense lead as well. Trick Room would be really good if I could set it up, but with so many ways for him to stop it (Pheromosa, Hydro Vortex + Brine, Raichu Fake Out), I decided Tapu Fini and Drifblim would be the way to go.

Game 1 – He goes for the double duck lead and we both set up Tailwind. He proceeds to reveal the Encore (from Golduck into Drifblim) and Flings a Razor Fang to flinch my team. Although surprising, it just results in a dead turn and I’m able to switch out Drifblim for Snorlax. From there, I was able to grind down his team with Snorlax, giving me the first match.

Crucial information – his Tapu Koko revealed the Thunder (thankfully, into a Drifblim switch in) and his Pheromosa item was revealed to be Life Orb, which is good for me (Sash means I cannot trade effectively, and I no longer no need to worry about Z moves flying into Snorlax or Tapu Fini). The Fling on the Pelipper further dissuaded me from bothering with Trick Room – He had too many ways to stop it.

Game 2 – Same leads for me, Dicky switches it up with Tapu Koko and Pelipper. Sensing an incoming Thunder, I switch in Garchomp. He does go for the Thunder, and we both set up Tailwind.

At this point, I am worried about the Ice Beam from Pelipper and maybe a Twinkle Tackle from Tapu Koko but since I’m faster, I opt for Swagger and Rock Slide. I wanted to take out the Pelipper since it does not have the Sash. He switches out Tapu Koko for Golduck and his Pelipper Protects. It does not have Ice Beam (Brine, Tailwind, Fling, Protect).

His Tapu Koko also does not have Twinkle Tackle, so I am able to force him down to his last 2, Golduck and Pheromosa. I did misplay near the end of the game; since his Pelipper was down, a Protect (Garchomp) + Tailwind (Drifblim) would have sealed the game, but I instead chose to go for an attack which did not knock out the Golduck. Regardless, I still had Snorlax and Tapu Fini at the back and rain had run out. I would be able to trade KOs with Dicky and come out on top.

WIN

Top Cut – Finals vs Jirawiwat Thitasiri

I would have preferred if Martin Teo had advanced to the Finals; Jirawiwat is a formidable player, having made it into Day 2 of Worlds last year.

I was able to gleam some information from his match with Martin Teo. (There was a break between the Semi Finals and Finals, so I expected Jira to watch the VODs and pick up some information on my team as well.) Notably, his Xurkitree seems to be a bulky variant, relying on a Z move, Gigavolt Havoc, to pick up a Beast Boost and sweep from there. His Arcanine is also scarfed, which means I probably have to worry about Close Combat and Wild Charge.

Game 1 – I settle for Drifblim and Tapu Fini, Jira going for Porygon 2 and Arcanine (anticipating a Trick Room mode). Hydro Pump misses his Arcanine slot (Tapu Fini coming in) and I steal Porygon 2’s Eviolite. I bring in Snorlax (swapping out Tapu Fini since Hydro Pump was not going to accomplish much and I wanted to preserve it for Arcanine later on) and try to boost it with Swagger, but his Tapu Fini reveals Haze. I bring down his Tapu Fini.

Quite crucially for me, Tapu Fini outspeeds his Xurkitree, landing Muddy Water and bringing it down to about 50%. Snorlax takes a Gigavolt Havoc (unboosted) at about 60% from his Xurkitree and lives. Even then, the follow up Return from Snorlax still did not KO the Ultra Beast while his Porygon 2 Trick Room-ed. In this situation, I sandwiched his Xurkitree in speed – under Trick Room, Snorlax moves first and without Trick Room, Tapu Fini outspeeds.

Things were a bit shaky, Porygon 2 could have maybe taken a KO on my Tapu Fini, if not for an attack miss (2 accuracy drops from Muddy Water) and I would have been forced to bring in Garchomp under Trick Room. Tapu Fini does live and pulls off a double KO, making my life much easier. Jira is left with a lone Xurkitree at critical HP and forfeits.

Game 2 – Jira brings Muk, which I easily knock out with a Tectonic Rage. Things are looking good, until Snorlax dies to a +1 Gigavolt Havoc crit (I was confident I could survive). On hindsight, I should have called the Xurkitree Protect under Trick Room, doubled down into Porygon2 and stopped him from reversing it.

The thought process that stopped me from doing that was that Snorlax can fail to OHKO the Porygon2 since I have no attack investment, and if his Xurkitree didn’t Protect it could pick up a KO on my Tapu Fini, since the Ultra Beast underspeeds. Trick Room would then be reversed and +2 Xurkitree Gigavolt Havoc would win him the game.

I do regret my safe play. Instead, I lament the crit and move on to Game 3.

Game 3 – I bring the same leads once again, Jira brings Arcanine and Tapu Fini. We trade Arcanine and Drifblim, as I lock myself into Muddy Water. I then choose to bring in Snorlax and he sends out Porygon 2. I take a risk later on with a Garchomp Tectonic Rage into his Porygon2, banking on a follow up Muddy Water to hit (which does). Garchomp does go down to a Moonblast, which leaves us with our final 2: our respective Tapu Finis, Xurkitree and Snorlax.

My own Tapu Fini is at -1 accuracy, but not only do I hit both Jira’s Pokemon, I land a critical hit on his Tapu Fini, which knocks it out before it can land a hit on my Snorlax. He Gigavolt Havocs my Fini, getting a +1 Special Attack and my Return fails to KO his Xurkitree. +1 Thunderbolt fails to proc my Figy Berry and with no paralysis, Snorlax proceeds to Return for the win. A very close game.

WIN

Final Thoughts

I honestly did not expect to go as far as I did for the Malaysian Regionals, As shown in my previous report, I’ve been working on this team for a very long time, even bringing the exact same 6 to the Malaysian Open 2 weeks prior to Regionals.

The flexibility of Tailwind/Trick Room does give my opponents pause when deciding how to deal with my team. My prolonged use of this team has allowed me to be very decisive as well, on which strategy I want to go for and the members I need for the match-ups.

Luck is definitely a factor, as shown in my Finals match with Jira and throughout the Swiss rounds, Tapu Fini was kind enough to grace me with accurate attacks.

I see this as the high point of my season with my performances only dropping off from here, so I’ll be content with securing a Day 1 Worlds invite. At the end of the day, I play Pokemon to have fun and I achieved that in the Malaysia Regionals (shout-out to my friends that travelled with me, thanks for all the support and help), regardless of the result.

TLDR; See picture below

Thanks for reading!

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