Hi everyone! This is Ryan Chiam, and today I’m writing a season review/report on the teams that I have used throughout the entire VGC’15 season. I did not really have any notable finishes at major events like Regionals and our very first Nationals. Life just decided to catch up on me and as a result, VGC’15 was not really a good season for me. Nevertheless, let us begin.
- Team Achievements:
- 6th at Pokemon Asia Cup Singapore LCQ
- 2nd at Asia Cup (MY Qualifiers)
It was very early in the season and I figured it would be easier to just use a combination of the top 10 Pokemon, based on the usage statistics of Battle Spot Doubles. Standard picks give consistency even though they can get boring. The team is derived from Mega Kangaskhan along with Talonflame and Landorus-T to form a core as suggested by COACH Matthew Hui. Talonflame takes care of Fighting types and Landorus-T provides much needed Intimidate support.
Main Strategy: Set up Tailwind with Suicune to enable a sweep with Sylveon and Kangaskhan. Calm Mind Suicune and Mega Kangaskhan packing Power-Up Punch also proved useful in games where I couldn’t just overwhelm my opponent with raw power. Ferrothorn with Thunder Wave was there to improve my rain matchup.
Thus, this team utilized speed control, bulk and set-up moves to help me nab my wins.
Weakness: Trick Room.
All in all, I am quite satisfied with this team and was quite comfortable with it. However, as the season progressed I felt that I needed a new team.
More information on the team can be found on a previous blog post I’ve written at https://naughtyboyvgc.wordpress.com/
- Team Achievements:
- 3rd at Omega Series Premier Challenge 1 (SG)
Next, I went on to try Mega Charizard-Y as I got bored with Kangaskhan. I wanted to use Support Cresselia in Sun and chose Life Orb Venusaur as my sun abuser. Swampert was picked as a counter for Landorus-T over Suicune for its better versatility in sun. Weavile+Terrakion possess the infamous Beat Up-Justified combo if I wished to go down that route.
Charizard @ Charizardite Y
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 44 SpA / 20 SpD / 188 Spe
– Heat Wave
– Solar Beam
(The spread is taken from Level 51’s Charizard Y)
- Survives Jolly Garchomp and Mamoswine unboosted Rock Slide 100% of the time
- Survives Modest Choice Specs Hydreigon Draco Meteor 100% of the time
- Survives Modest Thundurus-I Thunderbolt 100% of the time
- Outruns Adamant Landorus-T by one Speed point
I figured bulky Charizard Y was the way to go as it could take hits and still dish out damage before fainting the next turn. I did not EV it to survive Landorus-T’s rock slide as the EV investment is too heavy and I still wanted Charizard to deal damage. Besides, there was still a 30% flinch chance even if it did survive.
Venusaur @ Life Orb
EVs: 188 HP / 252 SpA / 68 Spe
– Sludge Bomb
– Energy Ball
– Hidden Power [Ice]
This spread allows me to outspeed scarf Landorus-T in sun. The rest is placed into HP.
Using LO Venusaur gave me an immediate fast mode that can dish out damage and kill off unsuspecting Landorus-T and Salamence with HP Ice. I initially tried out Mega Venusaur in this slot but it was too hard to optimize a set able to function in both mega form to beat rain and non-mega form to abuse sun. Thus, staying as normal LO Venusaur was much better to ensure better damage output as a sun abuser.
Swampert @ Expert Belt
EVs: 252 HP / 76 Def / 68 SpA / 100 SpD / 12 Spe
– Wide Guard
– Ice Beam
– Earth Power
This spread was given by NinjaSyao from Nugget Bridge and is able to survive a Fake Out + Return from Adamant Kangaskhan, Choice Specs Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor and only gets 3HKO by LO Bisharp’s Sucker Punch. The special attack investment allows it to OHKO basic Landorus-T and Mega Salamence sets while getting 2HKOs with SE attacks on even really bulky targets like Calm 252/164 Rotom-Heat (without Sitrus Berry).
Previously I had Suicune in this slot, but found it not really pulling its weight due to it not being able to deal with Heatran in sun. Swampert did a better job as it had Earth Power and better synergy with Charizard because of Wide Guard. However, I did miss Tailwind support.
Cresselia @ Rocky Helmet
EVs: 220 HP / 172 Def / 4 SpA / 112 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Thunder Wave
– Sunny Day
EV spread is taken from Level 51’s Premier Challenge report
Cresselia was my main form of speed control with Thunder Wave and was the glue that held my team together, even providing Sunny Day. Moonlight+Sunny Day gave Cresselia a form of reliable recovery, and Rocky Helmet punished physical attackers. In addition, Sunny Day dealt with rain teams in general. Venusaur couldn’t really deal with rain teams filled with Ice Beams so I figured having Sunny Day+Thunder Wave would help in that regard. Psyshock was just for STAB and to deal chip damage.
Terrakion @ Focus Sash/Lum Berry
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Close Combat
– Rock Slide
– Quick Guard/Roar
Terrakion was good at doing its job: dealing with opposing Charizards, Bisharps, Kangaskhans and Talonflame. Bisharp threatened my Cresselia and having Terrakion in my team was reassuring. It also worked well in sun due to the water weakness being reduced.
Previously I ran Focus Sash due to having Lum Berry on Scizor. After making a change to that slot, Weavile needed the Focus Sash so I went to Lum Berry instead. Frankly, I much prefer having Focus Sash on Terrakion.
Quick Guard was used to guard against Fake Outs and priority moves. I later tried out Roar to in an attempt to punish Trick Room setters.
Scizor @ Lum Berry
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
– Bullet Punch
– Bug Bite
– Knock Off
Scizor was added as filler for my 6th slot. Scizor took care of Ludicolo in rain and hard countered opposing Cresselia which was good. It is also worthy to note that it played a part in destroying opposing Terrakion, and having a form of priority is always good.
Other than that, I did not think Scizor was pulling its weight and the 6th slot needed to be explored further.
Weavile @ Focus Sash
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Beat Up
– Icicle Crash
– Low Kick
– Fake Out
Weavile provided immediate offensive pressure in the form of Fake Out when paired with Charizard or Terrakion as my leads. Beat Up also gives me another option if Terrakion outspeeds most of my opponent’s team.
Weavile definitely synergised with my team better since it also performed Scizor’s role of dealing with Terrakions by using Low Kick, and was able to use Icicle Crash on Thundurus.
Conclusion of Team 2
Weakness: Trick Room and Prankster Thundurus screwed badly with my team.
Main Strategy: I have two modes as highlighted earlier:
- Lead Terrakion and Weavile to abuse Beat Up + firing off powerful Rock Slides. This mode, although sounding good on paper, is somewhat dependent on luck. I have ended up with losses due to my Rock Slides missing at crucial moments. However, if everything goes well, this mode can sweep unprepared teams.
- Use Cresselia’s Thunder Wave to manipulate speed control and swing the odds in my favour. As long as Charizard is able to outspeed the opposing team, it is able to kill some stuff.
I do not really like this team a lot as it is dependent on luck to a certain extent: relying on Terrakion’s Rock Slides and Charizard’s 90% accuracy Heat Wave and Overheat. I faced a lot of misses at crucial moments.
The usage of Thunder Wave gives permanent status but I think Tailwind may be more suitable for Charizard’s highly offensive playstyle. Thunder Wave as speed control takes a while to set up and a bulkier sweeper may be more suitable for this defensive method of speed control.
The usage of Wide Guard did not have good results. It feel it is a better strategy to get rid of the Rock Slide user or avoid putting Charizard against it altogether. Relying on prediction to counter Rock Slide users through the usage of Wide Guard is risky in the early game.
All in all, this team taught me that luck can mess you up at crucial moments if you allow it to, and that speed control is very important. Without Thunder Wave from Cresselia, this team does not perform to its fullest potential. Also, I realized this team is less bulky than Team 1 which is not to my liking.
- Team Achievements:
- 29th Position at Pokemon VG National Championship [Asia]
After freeing myself a little from the cold reality of life, I realized I only had roughly 2-3 weeks to our VERY FIRST EVER NATIONALS IN ASIA!!! This was my final fight for my dreams this season and I immediately consulted Matthew for advice. With his help and inspiration from James Baek after watching his matches at the US Spring Regionals, I decided to go back to Mega Kangaskhan with a core of Friend Guard Clefairy and Calm Mind Cresselia.
Moonlight Rocky Helmet Cresselia with Calm Mind and Power-Up Punch Kangaskhan along with Friend Guard Clefairy and Follow Me support sounded really good on paper. After watching James Baek use this main core to great success, especially when using Calm Mind Cresselia to win games through the timer, I decided to give this core a try.
Cresselia has good synergy with Kangaskhan, dealing with fighting types like Terrakion. Kangaskhan has Power-Up Punch which can also deal with Bisharp which is Cresselia’s no. 1 threat. This core can really sweep teams if played correctly, the most crucial Pokemon being Clefairy as using its support recklessly will not guarantee a successful setup for your team.
However, I realised Steel and Ghost types threaten this core so I knew I needed a Fire type to deal with it. These threats include Aegislash, Gengar, Ferrothorn and Escavalier.
These are the fire types that I playtested. Arcanine has superior utility in Intimidate+Will-o-Wisp+Snarl but lacks power. Darmanitian is a highly offensive Pokemon and can sweep unprepared teams but lacks the utility. Heatran has very good typing and has power but lacks the ability to support my team. I felt the most comfortable with Safety Googles Rotom-H as it has utility in Will-O-Wisp and respectable firepower at the same time.
At this point of time, I knew my team needed speed control and Taunt to prevent set ups. I knew I also needed Intimidate to make life easier for Cresselia and Kangaskhan. Thus, I opted for the double genies to round off my team.
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 156 Spe
– Sucker Punch
– Power-Up Punch
I decided to go back to the bulky Kangaskhan from Team 1, whose survivability I really like. However, I sometimes wish that I have the speed to outspeed opposing Hydreigons. The EV spread allows me to outspeed Smeargle by 1 point and the rest is placed into bulk. Attack is maximised to deal as much damage as possible.
The moveset is pretty standard except for Protect. I opted for Protect to mainly avoid Fake Out speed ties and to increase Kangaskhan’s survivability. I don’t feel the need for Fake Out as Clefairy is the one helping me set up with Follow Me. If I had opted for Fake Out, the team must be more offensive-oriented, with the ability to smash things without relying on setting up so the Fake Out wouldn’t be wasted. However, this current team is rather defensive during the early game. It relies on setting up and sweeping late game which makes Protect a more logical choice.
Most games were won by Kangaskhan setting up and this mega definitely proved its worth this season.
Clefairy @ Eviolite
Ability: Friend Guard
EVs: 244 HP / 212 Def / 52 SpD
– Follow Me
– Encore / Thunder Wave / Helping Hand
The EV spread ensures Clefairy survives Life Orb Bisharp Iron Head and Aegislash Flash Cannon.
Moonblast was added to not be Taunt bait and it surprisingly deals quite a bit of damage! Protect is extremely important as it allows Clefairy to stay longer on the field to abuse Friend Guard. The last moveslot was a dilemma for me as I tried out all 3 of these moves, and eventually settled on Encore during Nationals to punish Trick Roomers. However, I feel Helping Hand would have been a better option.
Friend Guard is a really amazing ability as it messes up your opponent’s damage calculations. Playing defensively with Clefairy is the best way with Friend Guard, it allows for extra bulk throughout the team, and I was able to switch in Clefairy to catch opponents off guard and be able to survive hits.
Thundurus @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 240 HP / 120 Def / 4 SpA / 76 SpD / 68 Spe
IVs: 30 HP / 30 Atk / 30 Def
– Thunder Wave
– Hidden Power [Ice]
Thundurus, my favourite speed control Pokemon. I always like having a way to slow down and cripple an opponent’s team with burn or paralysis because it allows this team to set up a whole lot more easily. Thundurus can cripple a team and allow Cresselia or Kangaskhan to set up, quick and easy.
The EV spread allows it to survive a Stone Edge from Adamant 252 Attack Landorus, and turns Rock Slide into a 3HKO after Sitrus recovery. 68 Speed is used to always outspeed all non-Scarf Smeargle. I prefer bulky Thundurus so it can stay on the field as long as possible to annoy the opponent.
More importantly, Thundurus also helps in my Mega Salamence and opposing Landorus-T matchups with HP Ice. The threat that I am especially concerned with is Salamence since I only have HP Ice and Moonblast to really deal with it if Cresselia is not able to set up.
Taunt is essential to prevent set ups, counter opposing Amoonguss and hopefully shut down Trick Room.
Cresselia @ Rocky Helmet
EVs: 252 HP / 104 Def / 4 SpA / 148 Spe
– Icy Wind
– Calm Mind
Cresselia is my primary win condition by stalling out the timer, Moonlight+Rocky Helmet wears down physical attackers and Calm Mind walls special attackers before dishing damage back to them.
I tend to lead with Cresselia in the early game. Overall, the goal is to set up a few Calm Minds and start chipping away at your opponent’s team so Kangaskhan can come in and sweep or pick up a few knock-outs, which can lead to a win on the timer. Calm Mind Cresselia even after 2 boosts isn’t going to do a lot of damage, but the point of Cresselia is to take hits and dish out heavier damage.
The EV spread was given by NinjaSyao from NuggetBridge and survives LO Bisharp Knock Off while turning Adamant Kangaskhan Double-Edge into a 3HKO with Friend Guard support (which means I can outheal with Moonlight). It is also able to OHKO Terrakion at +2 with Psychic. The speed EVs allow it to speed creep Bisharp by 2 points. I did not invest in any Sp Def at all as I already have Calm Mind to boost it.
The moveset is pretty standard for Calm Mind Cresselia except for the choice of Icy Wind over Ice Beam. Initially, I was using Ice Beam but I realized Thunder Wave is my only form of speed control and most of the time I am always moving later than my opponent as most of my Pokemon are not very fast. Hence, Icy Wind is more useful as another form of speed control, especially in the scenario where I do not choose Thundurus during a match.
Unfortunately, I’m not as good as James Baek in using Calm Mind Cresselia and Cresselia was very disappointing for me during the best of 3 Swiss Nationals except in 1 or 2 matches.
Landorus-Therian @ Assault Vest
EVs: 20 HP / 156 Atk / 92 Def / 4 SpD / 236 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Knock Off
Cresselia is able to boost Special Defense through Calm Mind but is vulnerable to very strong physical type attacks, which is why I like Intimidate from Landorus-T to slow down physical attackers and wear them down with Rocky Helmet on Cresselia.
The EV spread survives +1 LO Bisharp’s Sucker Punch and ensures an OHKO on Terrakion with Superpower. The Speed EVs allow it to outspeed Adamant Excadrill. I chose Assault Vest to give it more special bulk and improve my Charizard and HP Ice matchups. The reason why I did not run Choice Scarf is I do not like to be locked into a single move. However, I feel this Landorus-T set isn’t optimized enough for my team, and it might be better if my Landorus-T has more speed.
Rotom-Heat @ Safety Goggles
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 76 SpA / 4 SpD / 132 Spe
Rotom-H’s role is to beat Steel types and provide Will-O-Wisp support to neuter physical attackers so that Cresselia has an easier time setting up Calm Minds. Safety Goggles is essential to beat Spore which threatens my team.
The EV spread is taken from ThunderPunch’s report on the Nugget Bridge forums.
Lando-T’s Rock Slide is a 3HKO and Stone Edge is a 2HKO. It also outspeeds Adamant Bisharp to burn or KO it before it can Knock Off, and OHKOs 4HP Talonflame.
In retrospect, I feel that this EV spread is definitely not very optimized as I already have Friend Guard to help me with the bulk. More Sp Atk investment could have been better.
Singapore Nationals 2015
And the day arrived. I was extremely nervous as this was my final fight for my dreams and I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare and get used to my team. With butterflies in my stomach, Round 1 began.
Round 1: Nicholas Ng [SG]
I don’t remember much from this because I didn’t save this game. I remember he led Hitmontop and Suicune with Excadrill and Gardevoir at the back. The game began with me setting up Cresselia, but I was not able to deal enough damage and my opponent was able to focus on my other Pokemon instead, leaving a +2 or +3 Cresselia at the end not being able to pull out the win for me. 0-1
I led Kangaskhan and Clefairy against his Heatran and Suicune. Turn 1 was horrible for me as I Power-Up Punched into Protect from Suicune and Heatran fired off a free Heat Wave. A better turn 1 would have been to PUP my own Clefairy if I feared Protect from my opponent. Suicune was able to set up Tailwind and things went downhill from there, with me constantly attacking (e.g. Sucker Punch) into my opponent’s Protect. Tornadus then came out to set up another Tailwind and finish off my Kangaskhan with Foul Play. I made the mistake of attacking Suicune with Thunderbolt instead of using Thunder Wave to slow Tornadus down. With Kangaskhan gone, things got worse as my Cresselia couldn’t handle both Suicune and Mega Gardevoir without setting up. 0-2
Reflection: Cresselia was not able to deal a lot of damage to my opponent’s team but I still relied on it to win the games for me. I should have used it to deal chip damage instead and made better use of Icy Wind. Thundurus would have been a better lead and is a very crucial Pokemon for crippling my opponent but I failed to capitalize on that. All in all, my team lost to his methods of speed control and I identified the wrong win condition.
Round 2: Sora [KL Raikous]
I knew I wanted to use Kangaskhan as my main win condition this time. I led Kangaskhan and Thundurus against his Cresselia and Zapdos. Turn 1 was quite good as Taunt on Cresselia revealed Mental Herb and HP Ice from Zapdos failed to kill my bulky Thundurus, as I went for the Power-Up Punch onto Zapdos. Zapdos managed to set up TW next turn but fainted to my Kangaskhan and my Thundurus haxed Cresselia with Thunder Wave. Opponent sent in his own Kangaskhan but I switched out Thundurus for Clefairy and Protected my Kangaskhan. With a +2 Kangaskhan supported by Friend Guard and Follow Me, I was able to secure my win. His Icy Wind spam Cresselia did little as I was still able to have control over the turn order through Thunder Wave. 1-0
Things were not as smooth this time he decided to set up Trick Room on turn 1 by leading his Kangaskhan and Cresselia against my Kangaskhan, which Protected against his Fake Out while I switched out Thundurus for Cresselia. He switched out his Cresselia for Amoonguss while I switched out my Kangaskhan for Clefairy to take the incoming Low Kick, as I wanted to preserve my Kangaskhan for the late game. I decided to sacrifice my Clefairy by using Follow Me to take the Spore and Double-Edge while setting up Calm Mind on my Cresselia.
With luck on my side, the next turn was the most crucial one as he went for Giga Drain onto Clefairy to kill it off instead of going for Spore on Cresselia. Next turn, I sent in my Thundurus to Taunt the Amoonguss while my Cresselia continued to deal chip damage to my opponent and set up Calm Minds whenever possible. The game continued as I made correct calls on my opponent’s switch-ins and eventually ended up with my +3 Cresselia against his own Cresselia. With the timer indicating that the round was about to end, he forfeited and I won the set. 2-0
Reflection: My team definitely struggles against Trick Room especially when the Trick Room setter carries Mental Herb. Leading with Encore Clefairy may have been a better choice to lock Cresselia into a support move. I was lucky this time round that I was able to survive the Trick Room turns through luck, prediction and a combination of Follow Me from Clefairy and Taunt on Thundurus. Cresselia was also an asset in Game 2 by setting up and dealing chip damage whenever possible.
Round 3: Mai Tangkasem [Thailand]
Ah. Japan sand team with Aerodactyl on it. I immediately led Landorus-T and Thundurus against his Rotom-W and Tyranitar. The lead matchup was quite good as I managed to get Tyranitar to -1 attack, forcing it to switch out for Amoonguss while I switched my Landorus-T out for Clefairy to take the possible Hydro Pump (which turned out to be HP Ice). Thundurus provided a lot of pressure with Taunt + Thunder Wave as my opponent switched his team around to regain momentum. Landorus-T’s Intimidate was also useful in helping Thundurus to survive longer to continue disrupting my opponent.
The most crucial turn was when sandstorm subsided with a -1 Excadrill and a paralysed Amoonguss next to it. Amoonguss got fully paralysed and I outsped Excadrill to land a Power-Up Punch, getting my Kangaskhan to +2. Kangaskhan continued to pick off my opponent’s Pokemon one by one with the help of Thundurus, eventually ending with my +2 Kangaskhan at yellow health against yellow health Excadrill in sand. Sucker Punch picked up the kill for me and I won the first game. 1-0
I knew Thundurus’ ability to disrupt the early game would definitely nab me another win. Thus, I led Thundurus and Kangaskhan against his Aerodactyl and Aegislash. Immediately, I saw an opportunity to use Alex Ogloza’s infamous #PunchTheGhost strategy as I knew a Taunted Aegislash wouldn’t stay in against Kangaskhan. I went for the Taunt onto Aegislash and Protected my Kangaskhan as he set up Tailwind with Aerodactyl and Shadow Balled my Thundurus, activating its Sitrus Berry. Next turn, he really switched out his Aegislash for Excadrill while I switched out Thundurus into Landorus-T, getting Aerodactyl to -1 attack. Aerodactyl went for the Rock Slide and I was praying for no flinches. No flinches and operation #punchtheghost succeeded, allowing me to get a kill through Power-Up Punch scoring a critical hit!
The game went on with Rock Slide missing at times, which was very important to me as I avoided chip damage and was able to pick off Pokemon with my +2 Kangaskhan. I was also lucky in that I correctly landed Sucker Punch onto Aegislash, getting the kill and leaving me against a full health, paralysed Mega Aerodactyl at the end of the game. Thankfully, Sucker Punch sealed the deal for me, since Kangaskhan was already at red health. Easily the game of the day, #punchtheghost! 2-0
Reflection: The 4 Pokemon that I selected in sand team matchups definitely proved their worth to me today as they excelled in their roles. Thundurus as disruptor and chip damage dealer early game, Clefairy with Friend Guard to allow my team to take Rock Slides better, Landorus-T for Intimidate and Kangaskhan setting up thanks to the support from the other 3 members. My opponent’s team was highly offensive and if not for luck helping me (Rock Slide misses and sandstorm subsiding at the correct moment) I would have had a more difficult time gaining control of the board, especially in game 2.
Round 4: Wilson [SG]
He led with Gengar and Gastrodon while I started off with Cresselia and Landorus-T. He counter led me so I switched out Landorus-T for Clefairy. I made the correct call by picking off Gengar early as it threatened my Kangaskhan, and began setting up Calm Mind to wall Gastrodon. Fortunately, Scald burns did not happen and I managed to get Gastrodon into the yellow with chip damage, paving the way for Kangaskhan to set up and kill Gastrodon. Icy Wind from Cresselia kept the opposing Landorus-T and Kangaskhan in check, which definitely helped my +2 Kangaskhan to win the game. 1-0
My opponent managed to figure me out and capitalized on the fact that I needed to get rid of Gengar ASAP to set up my win condition. He outpredicted me as he protected Gengar on the turns when I focused fire on Gengar. Things started to go wrong during these turns when I lost Cresselia early game to Scald burns and chip damage from Gastrodon. Things went further downhill as Scald burns further plagued my team. I managed to get a +1 Kangaskhan up but couldn’t win the game since it was staring down the opposing Kangaskhan and Landorus-T at this point. 1-1
Unfortunately, the previous loss due to hax affected me and I could not predict what his Gengar would do again. Things started to go wrong when he read me correctly and switched out his Gengar for Scarf Landorus-T to take the Thunder Wave. Scarf Landorus-T then started to have a good time flinching my team with Rock Slides while I made the wrong decision to attempt to set up with Calm Mind Cresselia to take on Sylveon and Landorus-T. I eventually lost this game and I was disappointed with myself for allowing hax to get into my head which led me to make irrational decisions. 1-2
Reflection: Gengar and Gastrodon are definitely threats to my team. I realized I have no solutions to Gastrodon in particular as I do not have any Pokemon that can OHKO it. After watching my replays, I feel I should have been more observant about my opponent’s playstyle so as to improve my prediction. The mispredictions on Gengar early game cost me dearly in both losses. Most importantly, I should not have let hax cloud my judgement and lead to me make irrational decisions. The replay showed me that there was still an out that would allow me to win the game if a Rock Slide missed. Figuring out a way to win even though the chances are not high is better than what I ended up doing, mashing random buttons towards my last few turns. For example, a better decision would have been to slow down Landorus-T with Icy Wind instead of attempting to set up Calm Mind with Cresselia.
Round 5: xShinji [KL Raikous]
My opponent led with Liepard and Kangaskhan against my Rotom-H and Landorus-T. I switched out Landorus-T for Clefairy to recycle Intimidate. Clefairy put in a lot of work as it scored an early unexpected OHKO on Liepard. The opponent also brought out Breloom but it couldn’t do much against my Safety Googles Rotom-H and Clefairy, being very clutch, woke up after the first turn of sleep and severely damaged Breloom into the red. Rotom-H picked off Breloom and only the opposing Zapdos and Kangaskhan were left for me to contend with. Mid-game, my Landorus-T triggered Weakness Policy on Zapdos by using Rock Slide but I got lucky with a flinch. The Rock Slide flinch was crucial as I was able to deal another turn of Rock Slide damage before fainting to a +2 HP ice from Zapdos. Tailwind was then set up which I managed to stall out. In the end, I made the correct calls on opposing Protects as my Kangaskhan outsped and picked off Kangaskhan followed by Zapdos. 1-0
My opponent led with Liepard and Zapdos while I led with Kangaskhan and Clefairy. Friend Guard from Clefairy put in a lot of work here as my Kangaskhan was able to shrug off damage from Foul Play and Thunderbolt to set up by PUPing Liepard. I was hoping to lock Zapdos into a support move with Encore but Zapdos used Thunderbolt instead. Fortunately, Zapdos switched out the next turn to Heatran and I was able to rack up free damage on it. Wanting to decrease my Kangaskhan’s attack, my opponent switched out his Liepard into Salamence but it ate a Moonblast coming in which dealt ~70% damage. With some prediction and switching, I was able to slowly pick off his Heatran with my +2 Kangaskhan and his weakened Salamence with my Rotom-H’s Thunderbolt. Later Liepard also went down to Clefairy and he forfeited with only Zapdos left against my 4 Pokemon.
Reflection: Finally a game where I can put Rotom-H to work, dealing with opposing Spores and walling Zapdos and Salamence to a certain extent. Clefairy was definitely the MVP here with Friend Guard, Follow Me and the ability to hit multiple opposing Pokemon super effectively with Moonblast.
Round 6: Mark Duffield
My opponent led Thundurus and Terrakion against my Thundurus and Kangaskhan. Seeing that I could take at least a Close Combat after I switched out my Thundurus for Clefairy, I went for the Power-Up Punch onto his Thundurus. I made the correct call by protecting my Kangaskhan, anticipating the double target, while my Clefairy Moonblasted Terrakion into the yellow. Clefairy managed to put in work this game as it served as a good distraction and dealt good chip damage together with Cresselia. Kangaskhan and my Thundurus then sealed late game against his Politoed and weakened Ludicolo with Thunder Wave, Return and Thunderbolt. 1-0
My opponent led Thundurus and Ludicolo against my Thundurus and Kangaskhan. Thundurus could not afford to stay in against a potential Taunt and Ludicolo’s Ice Beam. Thus, I pulled a double switch to set up Cresselia as soon as possible with the help of Clefairy. As the game progressed, my Cresselia managed to get to +2 with Calm Minds as my Clefairy fulfilled its support role and fainted. I sent out Kangaskhan and the game-changing turn was when I made the correct call by killing off Aegislash with Sucker Punch. With Aegislash gone, the combination of Cresselia and Kangaskhan closed out the game for me. 2-0
Reflection: Clefairy and Cresselia put in a lot of work this time round. If I managed to kill off Aegislash, then Cresselia would be able to wall and slowly whittle his team down with Calm Mind + Moonlight, which was exactly what played out in game 2. Speed control through Thunder Wave is also definitely crucial when facing off against a Rain team.
Round 7: Chaiyawat Traiwichcha [Thailand]
Against a Charizard Y team, I immediately led with my Charizard counters, Landorus-T and Rotom-H against his double genies lead of Thundurus and Landorus. Rotom-H was easily the MVP of this game when it got a Will-o-Wisp onto Landorus-T early in the game and dealt enough damage to Thundurus and Charizard Y to allow me to finish the game off with Kangaskhan and Landorus-T. Unfortunately, the opposing scarf Landorus-T managed to reveal that my Rotom-H has Safety Goggles with Knock Off during the last few turns of this game. 1-0
This game was very poor as I made a terrible mistake on turn 1. I led Rotom-H and Landorus-T against his Breloom and Landorus-T. I stayed in with Rotom-H, thinking that I could get a Will-o-Wisp on his Landorus again since I was immune to Breloom’s Spore. With this foolish line of thinking, I paid the price when his Landorus-T knocked off my Rotom-H’s Safety Goggles which enabled Breloom to Spore me. Things continued going wrong early game as Breloom was able to Spore freely, and he maintained control of the board by out-predicting me. I lost Rotom-H early on and the game progressed until I was left with a +2 Kangaskhan against his healthy Cresselia and full health Charizard Y. I managed to make the correct call and killed off his Cresselia while he protected with his Charizard Y. However, a +2 Sucker Punch was not enough to OHKO his Charizard Y at full health and I lost this game. 1-1
The last game was easily the most disappointing of the day, as I made many irrational decisions due to me being mentally worn out after a full day of best of 3 swiss. My opponent managed to maintain board control again as I fell victim to Breloom’s Spores early in the game. I eventually lost this game as my prediction skills lost their touch from mid-game onwards. 1-2
4-3, #29 out of 113
Conclusion of Team 3
Team weakness: Highly offensive teams with good speed control tactics give my team a hard time. Teams that are able to disrupt my team’s set-up in early game through speed control, status abuse and killing off my set-up mons also make my life difficult.
- Set up with Calm Mind Cresselia supported by Friend Guard Clefairy to possibly stall out the timer, healing back the damage taken and slowly picking off my opponent’s team. Main idea is to deal more damage than is received.
- Use Cresselia and the rest of my team to disrupt, cripple and deal chip damage to set up Kangaskhan to clean up late game
This team mostly relied on Kangaskhan to set up and win games for me. This strategy of setting up with the help of Clefairy is able to sweep unprepared teams if the correct disruption is done early game. However, I feel that my team still lacks immediate offensive pressure and I feel that is something I can further improve on. As my team focuses more on bulk and set-up, I was not able to pick off threats easily if my Kangaskhan went down.
All in all, I feel that I still need more practice with this team and this team can be further optimized to be better.
Firstly, I would like to thank all my friends from The Mirage Island (TMI) community for supporting me and practising with me throughout the season whenever I needed it. Huge shoutout to Matthew Hui and Ryan Loh in particular as they played huge roles in giving me very helpful advice and pep talks, and are the reason behind me always striving to improve as a player. Special thanks to NinjaSyao from nuggetbridge forums for discussing team ideas with me, providing me with constructive feedback and sparring with me throughout this whole VGC’15 season! I would also like to thank the tournament organisers and supporting staff as it was due to their hard work and commitment that allowed us to have official Premier Challenges, Regionals and even Nationals to happen for the very first time in Asia this year! Overall, VGC’15 would have been a good year for me if not for life taking over and putting a temporary stop to my dream. Onward to VGC’16 and this is Ryan Chiam signing off!