Hi everyone, I’m Ryan Loh. I’m better known as ‘opkil’ on Nugget Bridge and Pokémon Showdown’s VGC Room. I’m also one of the founding members of the Singaporean Pokémon community, and an active player of the current VGC format.
So, Malaysia just held their first Premiere Challenge in Kuala Lumpur, and when we heard about it, the Singapore group decided to organise an expedition to play with the Malaysians, and also mingle with their community. The tournament was 68 Masters, with another 4 Seniors and 1 Junior playing in the whole tourney. This meant that it was a 7-Swiss Round tournament with a Top 8 play off.
That being said, the last time I had seriously competed in a proper tournament like this, was WAY back in VGC 2011. I haven’t exactly been playing much/well since then!
But I digress. Here’s the team, “Boost/Die V1”.
Tanya the Talonflame @ Sharp Beak (M) (I only just realised I named a Male Talonflame ‘Tanya’. HAHAHA)
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Speed
– Flare Blitz
– Brave Bird
– Quick Guard
I remember first seeing Talonflame in ’14. It has a base 80 Attack stat. How threatening could it possibly be, even with a priority-giving ability? Oh, how wrong I was. Firing off Priority Brave Birds became a thing in VGC 2014, and I’m confident that Talon is just going to stick to whatever meta it’s in thanks to that.
That being said, Talonflame is absolutely fantastic, and I played him totally wrong when this team first came into fruition in playtesting. I would play him as a Suicide Lead over and over again, until it came up when Ryan Chiam, one of my closest playtesting buddies, mentioned that I was being too reckless with the Fire Bird. That was when I switched up the playstyle of the team and managed to keep him around welllll into the final iteration.
Now, about the choice of Jolly, I ran it so as to ensure that I would always win the speed war against Adamant Talonflame. This allows me to net the 2HKO on Adamant Talonflames. I would have put Life Orb on Talonflame over Sharp Beak, but what I ended up with was a bird that seemed hellbent on dying when I needed it most.
Tailwind and Quick Guard provide utility to Talon. Tailwind provides much needed speed control for my main sweepers, Landorus and Kangaskhan, and Quick Guard helps give me free turns from people who don’t expect the Quick Guard.
Quick Guard however, tends to be a double edged sword, a traitor to the one who mispredicts. If I mispredict a Fake Out, and they go for a Return, for example, Talonflame ends up dead.
Amoonguss a.k.a. Campbell @ Rocky Helmet (M)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Sp.Def
– Giga Drain
– Rage Powder
Amoonguss has always been good. Ever since its inception in Black and White, Amoonguss has always managed to find a spot on Trick Room Teams or teams that were in need of a bulky redirector that didn’t just sit there. Amoonguss provides much needed support for a team that focuses on boosting up Landorus and Kangaskhan.
I think I can sum it up in following sentence: Spore, Rage Powder good.
Kangaskhan a.k.a Maggie @ Kangaskhanite (F)
Ability: Scrappy -> Parental Bond
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 Sp.Def / 156 Speed
– Fake Out
– Sucker Punch
– Power-up Punch
Kanga. Oh Kanga, I love thee. Funny story of how my buddy Ryan Chiam and I finally settled on this optimised build. We were running 100 HP/252 Atk/148 speed to reach 139 Speed when Mega’d, until Ry Chiam pointed out.
Him:”Eh Ry, I just realised 156 Speed outspeeds positive natured Smeargle after Mega.”
Me: “Wait what.”
Him: “Look! 139 speed ties, 140 outspeeds.”
Now, see: The local meta back home has a bit of Smeargle. Not an overpoweringly huge amount of Smeargle, but after what happened at previous Singaporean tournaments where we have had trouble with Smeargles, Ry C and I decided to err on the side of caution and reached the current Spread that we’re using. I don’t think either of us actually fought any in Malaysia though.
Due to this, the EVs are optimised to allow for M-Kanga to reach 140 Speed, outspeeding Positive Max Speed Smeargles (assuming Sash) and anything from Modest Rotom-A and below. This also means she outspeeds Bisharps even if they ran Jolly. The bulk EVs are to give her max Bulk, to live Mach Punches from Conkel, and just…generally live stuff.
She also survives a neutral Superpower from Landy-Therian.
As for move set, Fake Out and Return are the standard powerhouses, and PuP and Sucker are mainstays from VGC 14.
Now, the question I get most often here is why I chose to go for the boosting set over the ‘Goodstuffs’ set in ’15 with Drain Punch/Low Kick and Double Edge over Return, and here’s what I think–Kanga in this team serves as a mid-late game sweeper and not as late-game clean up which is what the Low Kick/D-Edge set does for the teams that use that, and if Amoonguss is around, this almost always pushes my opponents into a checkmate position by boosting up.
Landorus a.k.a Lionel @ Focus Sash (M)
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Speed
– Swords Dance
– Rock Slide
Part 2 to the Amoonguss pairing. I took inspiration from R Inanimate’s Mold-Breaker Toge-Drill combo from ’13, and I took it to a logical conclusion (or at least logical for me :P) with a Sash Setup Landy.
Why no protect?
I decided not to run Protect because I found that I needed the 4th move for coverage. Landorus isn’t exactly the fastest creature out there in VGC 15, but a max speed Adamant one does reach a respectable 143 Speed, which outspeeds a vast majority of bulkier Pokémon in the tier. This allows Landy to serve as a Early-Mid game sweeper, especially if I manage to get Tailwind off. Superpower at +2 smashes Kanga (incidentally, so does +1). Focus Sash does allow him to capitalise that 143 speed and set up on its own.
Bisharp a.k.a DWN-009 @ Life Orb (F)
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Speed
– Sucker Punch
– Iron Head
– Knock Off
Standard Bisharp, albeit with Life Orb. Knocks out Aegislash clean with Knock Off with a 60% Chance, though if Aegis has Sacred Sword, be prepared for a bad time. The EVs are a plain 252 252 to make full use of its speed tier to knock out Sylveon and most other fairies.
…And well, it’s Bisharp. I’m not sure what else I can say that hasn’t already been analysed by someone else. ^^;
Rotom-Wash a.k.a Broteus @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Sp.Atk
– Hydro Pump
Rotom-Wash rounds up the pseudo defensive core I had with Amoonguss+Landy, and is a general all-around tank.
Standard Rotom-W set threatens opposing Landorus-Therian, and also just….generally good.
SO YA, THAT’S TEAM BOOST OR DIE. 😀
So, Team Singapore reaches the game shop at 1 pm in KL, and take note that we all flew out on a 8 am flight. We’re all honestly tired from travel, but we tank on anyway.
I had a small freak out right before Round 1, but I tend to do that with any sufficiently big tournament. That being said, I told myself in the loo, to the mirror.
“Come on Ry, we’ve traveled allllll the way to KL. Let’s show them what we’ve got!”
Round 1: Afandi [MY] (BTLG-WWWW-WWX5-EJRH)
- What they brought: Gardevoir-Rotom H lead, Cress, Lapras
- What I brought: MKanga-Amoongus lead, Landy and Bisharp.
Well great. A decently standard-ish team on Round 1. I was honestly freaked out as all hell, but we exchanged introductions. Then the Team Preview showed up, and I was frozen for 5 seconds, thinking to myself, “welp I’m screwed”.
I calmed down and I noticed something. NO FAKE OUT. And when an opponent has no discernible fake out on their team, that means my Kanga can usually run amok. So I led with Amoonguss and Kangaskhan.
Afandi decided to lead with Gardevoir and Rotom-H, and I was thinking that I brought the worst lead ever. Rotom-H would have been able to burn my Kanga, and I would be down one sweeper. The interesting part to this matchup was that his Cress had Magic Coat. I was honestly not expecting that, and when I saw Magic Coat, I theorised that maybe the local meta in Malaysia had a huge Smeargle presence.
I manage to slowly chip his team down to his Lapras, and there was a nerve-wrecking moment when I had my Sash’d Landorus-Therian up against a Lapras. I was feeling pretty safe unless…the RNG decided to freeze me. Thank Arceus and Mew that it didn’t!
Afterthoughts: I won the first swiss round, and I got my Moxie back. Woo!
Round 2: Sunny [MY] (M99W-WWWW-WWX5-EJVZ)
- What they brought: M-Kanga and Thundurus lead, Latios and Bisharp
- What I brought: Amoonguss-MKanga lead, Landorus and Talonflame
A Latios in his 6. That’s going to be interesting.
I was honestly at a loss of how to start, so I decided to play safe with Amoonguss-Kanga. Which was honestly quite foolish, on hindsight. I forgot what Thundurus-Incarnate would just do in the face of an Amoonguss-Taunt. The game was a tug of war, until a turn where Sunny decides to Sky-Drop my Landorus-Therian (to lock it down for the turn), and then forget that Latios is faster than his own Thundurus. He aimed Psychic into the Landorus-Therian slot, and that turn gave me a safe switch-in for my Kangaskhan.
The game was an honest-to-goodness tug of war for board advantage, and I managed to recover from an even 2-2 with a misplay from his end. He aimed Drain Punch from his Kangaskhan to my own, and that allowed my Kangaskhan to Sucker Punch for the win.
Afterthoughts: Damn that was one intense battle. I think that was pretty lucky of me for the opponent, Sunny, to play his order of moves wrong. That honestly changed the game and swung it back to my side.
By this point of the tournament, I’m feeling good. The last VGC Tourney I was at, I went Flawless 4-0, until scrubbing Rounds 5 and 6, and getting kicked out of Top Cut. Bubbled down to Position 9 or 10. Damn, was I pissed that day. So, I was determined not to make the same mistake this time. Considering I was chewed out by my training buddy for missing out on Top Cut that time, I was determined to go the distance.
Round 3: Low Wai Yin [SG] (9GNG-WWWW-WWX5-EKWT)
- What they brought: Bisharp-Kanga Lead, Talonflame, Rotom-W
- What I brought: Talonflame-Kanga Lead, Amoonguss and Landorus.
Welp. Since my hiatus between 2012-2013, I haven’t battled Wai in an actual tournament match. I saw her name matched to mine, and I was all “welp”
So we sat down, and tried to go all srsbsns mode, until we broke out laughing.
“We can’t do this serious stuff can we?”
No Wai, We totally can’t. Until the battle starts.
Now, Wai and I go back a long way, but we recently had an argument regarding Kanga EVs. It got KINDA heated, but her stance eventually became ‘Bulky is the way to go’.
I personally was on the side of ‘halve the Speed and bulk, depending on what threats’, so I naturally knew/suspected that Wai would keep on keeping on with her 252 HP Kanga.
I’m unsure of what else to contribute to this battle, but I beat Wai for the first time in a competition since 2011.
Afterthoughts: I BEAT WAI. OMG I BEAT WAI.
Okay in all seriousness, I was feeling pretty damn good by now. 3-0 in 7 Swiss means I can make or break with Rounds 4 and 5. So, LET’S GO. COME ON TOURNEY, WHAT’S NEXT-
Round 4: Justin Lok [SG] (3G5G-WWWW-WWX5-EKJB)
- What they brought: Gyarados-Breloom lead, Terrakion, Sylveon
- What I brought: Kanga-Amoonguss lead, Landorus and Rotom-W
Welp. Goddammit not another one of my closest friends. Justin Lok and I go way back from 2012 or so, and we’ve been bosom buddies ever since. He’s very well known player of gimmicky sets (I have yet to forgive him for Modest Scizor, a joke set he prepared just for casual multis), and damn if he didn’t know how to make use of them.
He used a Special based Gyarados.
From turn 1, I was at a Board State Disadvantage because of the Intimidate, and suspected he didn’t have Spore on Breloom. He goes for the Bullet Seed turn 1 on Kanga while I went with PuP. Gyara then paralyses my Kanga with T-Wave. I spore the Gyara, and start Giga-Draining the Gyara with Amoonguss. He eventually kills my Para’d Kanga with Breloom’s Bullet Seed.
I brought out Landy, thinking, “hey, I can make regain some board momentum!” He -MACH PUNCHES THE LANDORUS TO BREAK MY SASH, and goes for an ICE BEAM on my Landorus, which I thankfully Rage’d away. The Ice Beam FREEZES my Amoonguss, and I just looked him in the eye.
Me: “what. the. hell, mate.”
Him: “Would Have KO’d.”
He smiles. It’s battles like these that remind me of why I play this game, and Justin’s effective use of Special/Utility Gyara was one of those battles. In the end, it was down to Amoonguss vs Sylveon, and after Sporing it, I just kept Giga-Draining for the win.
Afterthoughts: Okay, so that battle with Justin got me worked up and sweaty. What could be next, right…?
Round 5: Ryan Chiam [SG] (WRMG-WWWW-WWX5-EKL7)
- What they brought: Ferrothorn-Kanga Lead, Landorus Therian and Talonflame
- What I brought: Amoonguss-Kanga Lead, Landorus-Therian and Talonflame
At this point, Ry Chiam and I were just two jokers at the top table(Table 1) and we were just two buddies having fun. We’ve trained together, despaired together, and also he was the guy who came up with that last minute Kanga spread. At this point, our Kangas were literally the same EVs, with the only exception being his Kanga had Double Edge.
Me:”You and me. Better give me a good one.”
Ry:”You too. Or else I’ll make you wear a MLopunny hat.”
So team preview is underway, and we take our time just choosing a good lead, as if we were just having a practice match. And for the first two turns, we essentially mirrored each other’s moves.Turns out, great minds think alike, and we essentially go for the same approximate 4. It was a Kanga-Ferro lead vs my own Kanga-Amoonguss lead, and we both switch into Landorus on the first turn. It was really quite a sight to behold, watching us making plays and counter-plays. I felt that this match was a culmination of the hard practice we put in. I think what changed the battle most was that his Landorus got the full 5 Turns of sleep from my Amoonguss’s spore. If that Landorus had woken up any earlier, he would have gotten the lead in momentum, and I would have easily lost.
He had also forgotten allllll about Quick Guard. >_>
Well played, Ry C!
Afterthoughts: Ry Chiam played extraordinarily well in this match, but he forgot that I carry Quick Guard. Dammit Ry. This game actually went to time, and the Tourney Organiser had to watch our match for the last few turns. We went for about 17 Turns, and damn if it wasn’t a good back and forth. <3
Round 6: Eugene Tan [SG] (VPFG-WWWW-WWX5-EKMY)
- What they brought: Virizion-MLopunny Lead, Cresselia and Heatran
- What I brought: Amoonguss-Kanga Lead, Landorus-Therian and Talonflame
At this point, Eugene and I were the two flawless at swiss. Eugene has been one of the top players in Singapore, and a close personal friend. He didn’t do too well in the Local Premier Challenges, but DAMN he was on FIRE today for the KL one.
“Gimme a good one.”
We hugged it out, and then we went to team preview.
My first reaction? The HELL was this team?! Eug only said that he intended for a revival of his 2013, but honestly? I could not make head or tails about his team. I decided to play safe and go for a safe lead. I personally hate playing against Lopunny, because that thing is just so effin’ annoying, and also an oddly-sexualised bunny. That just made me feel weird.
I really can’t contribute much to my commentary to this battle, because I felt like Eugene locked me down totally. The interesting part was the Skill Swap Cresselia. I was so used to playtesting that I assumed Cress was just going to be anything BUT skill swap. (also BTW EUG’S TEAM REPORT CAN BE FOUND HERE)
Afterthoughts: Eug and I hugged it out, and I told him how glad I was for him to get back in the game in such a big way. I was actually a bit teary after this, cuz damn it was really well played on his end, and I promise I’ll see you again in the top cut. YOU BETTER GIVE ME AN EVEN BETTER MATCH MATE.
Round 7: Amir Rafie [SG] (RYGW-WWWW-WWX5-EL47)
- What they brought: Amoonguss-Sylveon Lead, Kangaskhan and Terrakion
- What I brought: Talonflame-Landorus Lead, Kanga and Amoonguss
Amir, one of the junior members that has been with Team Robo from the start. I’m close-ish personal friends with him, but I don’t really train with him all that much as opposed to the rest.
We sat across each other, and we were all.
“So. Uh. You need this to top cut?”
“I could throw the match y’know.”
“Like hell you are, Ry.”
Damn right, Ami. I’ll never throw a match like that 😛
So Team Preview gets started, and I look at him, then at his team, then at my team.
“You’re using the same team idea as me?”
“Nah, I just like what Amoonguss does for my team.”
I nodded, and went for my Landy-Talon lead, considering that’s the best I have for opposing Amoonguss (Pathetic, I know). He leads with Sylvy-Amoonguss, and I’m a BIT worried here. I go for the turn 1 Brave Bird, hoping to kill the Amoonguss. Here is where he chokes- he SPORES THE TALONFLAME which I had considered as Dead Weight from that point on, and instead, leaves Landorus awake. I manage to pull off a Swords Dance, then Earthquake with Landorus, which knocks out both Sylveon and Amoonguss before either could do anything. This gave me an effective 4-2 lead, and I essentially cheesed my way through by repeatedly intimidating his Kangaskhan and Terrakion.
Afterthoughts: I was honestly a bit shocked he went for the Turn 1 Spore on TALONFLAME. Because if he Spored my Landy, the outcome of the match would have been a lot different.
And YAY, CONFIRMED TOP CUT!
So the Group breaked for Dinner, and we came back to me being matched up against Akil…
Top 8 Play Off: Akil [MY]
- What they brought :Abomasnow-Greninja Lead, Gyarados, Hitmontop
- What I brought: Amoonguss-Kanga Lead, Landorus-Therian and Rotom-W
Game 1: PGCW-WWWW-WWX5-EL5Q
Aqil was a player I didn’t know until the day of the tourney, but just a shout out to the MY Community, y’all are just awesome people. They spectated our match, and they were just enjoying the battle as much as I was.
First thoughts upon seeing the team preview? “The -hell- is going on, lol”
I was expecting Blizzard spam from the Obama, but I was all…what is GOING ONNNNN
So I decide to go with Amoonguss and Kanga to scout his team, because that seemed generally SAFE.
Oh how -effing- wrong I was, lol. I can’t even comment on this battle, but it was bloody fun.
Also, he DOUBLE FREEZES MY AMOONGUSS AND ROTOM-W on turn 3.
…Honestly, just generally a good set of games, and I think I recovered as well as I possibly could from Game 1.
Game 2 (I don’t have Battle 2, unfortunately.)
Game 2 was essentially TechHitmontop screwing my Kanga over. xD
Afterthoughts: So, a Top 8 Finish, and the first time I top cut since my hiatus. It was a good tournament, and when I left the game shop for the hotel, I couldn’t help but to tear up a bit because it was a truly fun experience.
To the Malaysian Pokémon Community, thank you for your warm welcome to your home turf, and I hope that this is just the first of future trips.
Again, I extend invitations to any of y’all to visit Singapore when you can.
And guys, that’s how I (Swords) Danced to the Top Cut.
Cheers, and good night. :>