Hi everyone, I’m Bryan Wong, or you may know me as my in-game/”every social media i use” name TheCoffeeBun. Recently, I finished 2nd at the Singapore Midseason Showdown 2017 held at the Pokemon Cafe. Since I finally did well with a team that I worked hard on, I felt like sharing my own views on how I teambuild with the rest of the community. As such, here is my team report!
Originally I built around Life Orb Nihilego. This was quite a while back when Nihilego wasn’t an option many people considered, and when the format was filled with Pokemon such as Garchomp, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, Arcanine and Gyarados, which couldn’t take an attack from Life Orb-boosted Nihilego. As such, the team began as:
The idea behind the team was simple, set up Tailwind with Talonflame and sweep with Nihilego. However, with the 2017 meta ever changing, it wasn’t long before it shifted again, this time to this team’s detriment. Kartana usage surged, and Scarf Garchomp was pushed into the limelight by Aaron Zheng’s Road to Ranked series. With my team basically crippled by Kartana and Scarf Chomp, I decided it was time to put Nihilego away, or so I thought.
One ordinary day in my bunk at Sungei Gedong Camp, an idea suddenly struck, which is where my team report begins.
Nihilego @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Power Gem
– Hidden Power [Ice]
- 252+ SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Lele: 150-176 (102.7 – 120.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 210-248 (143.8 – 169.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Ninetales-Alola: 168-198 (112.7 – 132.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ SpA Nihilego Psyshock vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Nihilego: 176-208 (95.1 – 112.4%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Nihilego Hidden Power Ice vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 168-200 (91.8 – 109.2%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Arcanine: 176-210 (89.3 – 106.5%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kartana: 87-102 (64.4 – 75.5%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Scarf Nihilego is the team’s centre. The problem with Nihilego is that almost everything that threatened it, in one way or another, was outspeeding it at that point in the meta. Tapu Lele and Garchomp everywhere were wearing scarves, and Kartana was the cherry on top. Putting a Scarf on Nihilego allows it to outspeed many of these metagame-dominant Pokemon and hit them for OHKOs, especially with Feint support from Hariyama. Examples include Tapu Koko, Ninetales, and Scarf Tapu Lele. It also gets the jump on speedy Pokemon like Aerodactyl and Pheromosa, catching opponents off by having them lead fast Pokemon only to realise I outspeed when it’s too late.
Power Gem did a fair bit of damage to Arcanine, and it also allowed me to hit the odd Salazzle that I came across on Pokemon Showdown. The last move, Psyshock, was specifically selected as a means to hit opposing Nihilego, and was a move I ended up not using for the entire tournament. Many people who saw this team complimented the Scarf Nihilego idea, something I’m thankful for.
Hariyama @ Flame Orb
EVs: 28 HP / 252 Atk / 108 Def / 116 SpD / 4 Spe
– Fake Out
– Knock Off
– Close Combat
- 252+ Atk Guts Hariyama Close Combat vs. 244 HP / 92 Def Eviolite Porygon2: 210-248 (109.9 – 129.8%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ Atk Guts Hariyama Close Combat vs. 228 HP / 52 Def Gigalith: 246-290 (130.1 – 153.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252+ Atk Guts Hariyama Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Muk-Alola: 202-238 (95.2 – 112.2%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
- 252+ Atk Guts Hariyama Close Combat vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Garchomp: 166-196 (90.7 – 107.1%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO
- 252+ Atk Guts Hariyama Fake Out vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 41-49 (28 – 33.5%)
- 252+ Atk Guts Hariyama Feint vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 31-37 (21.2 – 25.3%)
Being the main support Pokemon, Hariyama’s ability to break Sashes with Fake Out or Feint is extremely valuable to all of its partners. It’s also my main answer to Porygon2, Snorlax, Kartana and Gigalith, being able to OHKO them with a Guts-boosted Close Combat. In fact, a boosted Close Combat hits way harder than most people expect. Knock Off was hardly used, but was mainly for knocking off Berries and giving me a reasonably strong attack with no stat drawbacks. Fake Out does what it normally does, and Feint saved me multiple times, being able to finish off faster Pokemon within range, and assisting Nihilego with KOs on Pokemon like Ninetales.
Nothing much else to mention, the EVs were taken from the damage calculator and have worked out well so far. The only change I would make would be to remove Knock Off for Poison Jab, a move I did not consider till I saw Wolfe Glick’s Oceania Internationals team. Poison Jab would’ve given me an additional way to hit the Tapus.
Tapu Koko @ Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dazzling Gleam
– Volt Switch
- 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kartana in Electric Terrain: 143-169 (105.9 – 125.1%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 180 HP / 148+ SpD Celesteela in Electric Terrain: 190-226 (97.4 – 115.8%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO
My secondary attacker, it really is just a standard Tapu Koko set. It was my main and only real answer to Celesteela, a Pokemon which thankfully I did not come across much in the MSS, only having to face one. Thunderbolt was also one of the few answers I had to Kartana, allowing me to pick up KOs on Sash variants with Hariyama’s Feint. Dazzling Gleam provided me additional chip on Garchomp if I was unsure whether I wanted to risk the 56% OHKO chance Nihilego had on uninvested Chomps. Coupled with Life Orb and max speed, Dazzling Gleam hit opposing Tapu Koko for a good amount of damage as well. Volt Switch gave me many chances to re-position myself, and put Salamence in for Intimidate support. Once again, nothing much else to mention.
Kartana @ Grassium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Smart Strike
– Leaf Blade
– Sacred Sword
Another secondary attacker, and my main answer to Garchomp. Bloom Doom allowed me to OHKO Garchomp, Gigalith, Tapu Fini, Tapu Lele, and basically almost everything that does not resist other than stuff with incredible bulk (Snorlax). The idea with Kartana was to pick up a KO with Bloom Doom, and from there maintain KO pressure with +1 Leaf Blades. Kartana was also my main switch in to Earthquake, as it could take it well and dish back good damage to Garchomp. And yet again, there isn’t much to say about Kartana.
Salamence @ Dragonium Z
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Dragon Pulse
– Draco Meteor
- 252 SpA Salamence Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 164 SpD Arcanine: 147-174 (74.6 – 88.3%)
- 252 SpA Salamence Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Muk-Alola: 147-174 (69.3 – 82%)
- 252 SpA Salamence Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Assault Vest Mudsdale: 112-133 (54.1 – 64.2%)
The one that stands out, Salamence was used mainly to hit what I like to call “special” Pokemon. This group mainly consisted of Muk, Mudsdale, and Arcanine, things that you don’t really come across all that often (at the time). Devastating Drake does a ton to these Pokemon, bypassing Muk’s Gluttony after chip, and hitting Arcanine for incredible amounts of damage, something which proved key in my semifinals match. Flamethrower was a hard counter to Kartana, but relying solely on Salamence for Kartana wasn’t really the best strategy as Kartana still outsped it. Salamence was also my TR counter alongside Hariyama, and it worked especially well against Mimikyu.
Krookodile @ Groundium Z
EVs: 28 HP / 252 Atk / 36 Def / 12 SpD / 180 Spe
– Fire Fang
- -1 252 Atk Kartana Leaf Blade vs. 28 HP / 36 Def Krookodile: 152-180 (87.3 – 103.4%) — 25% chance to OHKO
The last minute addition, this particular team slot was the one I was most willing to change, and many Pokemon were considered for this slot including Alakazam, Pheromosa, and after this MSS, Whimsicott. I eventually settled on Krookodile as I needed a way around bulky Tapu Lele which could take Sludge Bombs, and a way to hit Electric and Fire types. I also wanted another Intimidate option with physical attackers as dominant as they are this format.
Groundium Z was the item of choice as a good chunk of the meta doesn’t fare well against Tectonic Rage. Crunch was used as an alternative STAB move since my entire team doesn’t really want to take friendly fire from Earthquake. Fire Fang checks Kartana, and the EVs were specifically meant to try to allow Krookodile to survive a Leaf Blade from -1 Kartana.
I can truthfully say, I hardly had a bad matchup when I used this team. This was mainly due to Scarf Nihilego being able to deal with half of the meta-dominant Pokemon, and its main partners being fast enough to clean up at the back. I think one point many of my opponents would agree on is how damaging the speed of this team can be, as it was fast enough to not allow my opponents to position themselves. Sometimes one or two right predictions are all this team needs to get going, and most of the time, it can be very hard for the opponent to come back.
The speed, ironically, is also the weakness of the team, as once the team is outsped, it can be very hard for me to come back as the entire team isn’t particularly bulky. This was the main factor that caused me so many problems in my last match of Swiss and the finals match. Losing speed wars is also the reason why I run hard anti-Trick Room methods, as I cannot allow Trick Room to be set up at all. Raichu, Double Duck, Hail Sandslash, Jolly Scarf Garchomp and Timid Scarf Lele are the biggest problems for this team. Normally, I instantly lose if I face Double Duck, and most likely lose against Raichu as well. I truthfully admit that I have not won a single match against either lead matchup. However, I used this team betting on the fact that most of these teams would not appear.
Also, the lack of Protect on the team forces you to ensure that you are always making the right calls. It is, as my good friend Martin called it, a high risk high reward team, and one mess up can really hurt. It’s not a fully autopilot team, and as its user, I daresay it is a really difficult team to handle, but can be very powerful done right.
The finals made me realise that without proper speed control, I was done for. Also, the Celesteela matchup was becoming increasingly difficult, as such, I made a few changes to the team which I would ultimately bring to Melbourne Internationals.
Arcanine @ Electrium Z
EVs: 20 HP / 252 Atk / 72 SpD / 164 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Extreme Speed
– Wild Charge
- 252+ Atk Arcanine Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 50 Def Tapu Fini: 168-198 (94.9 – 111.8%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
Replacing Salamence as the anti-TR Pokemon was Arcanine. Arcanine became my main answer to Celesteela, and also gave me an option to hit Tapu Fini with Gigavolt Havoc. It served as my Intimidate user, and more importantly, a switch in option to Kartana and opposing Arcanine. It ended up being very crucial to the team, but losing Salamence meant one less option to hit Muk and Mudsdale, which I then had to compensate for by trying to conserve Hariyama and Kartana more. Credits to Martin for the EVs, who in turn got the idea from the legendary Park Sejun.
Whimsicott @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Fake Tears
Probably the most important addition to the team was Whimsicott. After my finals match with Melvin, I realised Whimsicott would actually be extremely useful to my team as the main attackers were mostly special. Fake Tears assisted Tapu Koko in picking up a lot more knockouts than it did before. Tailwind also gave me speed control, which would prove helpful against the surge in Drifblim usage between the Malaysia MSS and Melbourne Internationals. Moonblast was especially useful for breaking sashes on Kartana, and gave me another option to hit Garchomp. It also saved me in one of my matches in the Malaysia MSS when it picked up a much-needed KO on a 40% HP Tapu Koko. Taunt was the most debatable of the 4 move choices, as I really wanted Sunny Day to deal with weather teams. I ended up picking Taunt right before registering for Melbourne Internationals, once again betting on the rarity of weather teams, and thankfully, Taunt was the right decision.
Now on to the Singapore MSS matches! As we were using Live Competition, I couldn’t remember what happened in most of my Swiss matches, so I will go over what I can remember in quick detail, then move on to more detailed descriptions of my top 4 and final matches as there are recordings of them.
Singapore MSS @ The Pokemon Cafe
Swiss R1: Dylan Tan (WW)
Quite coincidentally, I played a BO3 set against Dylan the day before the MSS, which did not go as well as I hoped. Dylan’s Aerodactyl + Garchomp leads gave me quite a bit of trouble as I couldn’t let Aerodactyl set up Tailwind. Turn 1 of Game 1 saw him protecting Garchomp instead, however, allowing me to pick up the much needed KO on Aerodactyl, and with a team advantage over him without Aerodactyl and Tailwind, I managed to pull off a win. Game 2 saw him getting a freeze with Ninetales on Turn 1, followed by a quick thaw on my end on the very same turn, and without Tailwind he once again could not stop Nihilego from getting attacks off onto his Pokemon, which did not enjoy taking super effective hits. Great game played by him however, and he gave me a ton of trouble with Aerodactyl. (1-0)
Swiss R2: Nelson Lim (LWW)
Truthfully speaking, I had no clue what I was doing half of Game 1. Did not play well against Nelson at all and lost quickly. Game 2 saw a better turn of events as I managed to surprise him with my movesets, particularly with Roar on Salamence, not allowing him to set up Trick Room with Porygon2. Game 3 I once again had no idea what I was doing, but managed to get lucky with a critical hit at the end that sealed the game up in my favour, at this point however I wasn’t feeling very happy with my plays. (2-0)
Swiss R3: Lim Xiwen (WW)
A matchup I was looking forward to, Xiwen is someone I consider to be a rival and a good friend, having lost to her twice in previous tournaments leading up to Singapore MSS. I recognised this team from the last time we fought in a Top 8 match at a Premier Challenge, which I lost. However after that match I studied her playstyle and as such, going into this match, I knew I had an overwhelming team advantage.
I also knew Xiwen plays a late game Trick Room style, baiting her opponents into lead their TR counters at the sight of P2. She then proceeds to take said counters out, sacrifice her Garchomp, and go TR mode from there. Her Tapu Fini-Garchomp leads did not allow me to get my burn on Hariyama. I started the match forgetting what her Garchomp’s item was so I just went for the 56% HP Ice roll, and sure enough it did what it was supposed to do. I also conserved my Hariyama instead of leading it and thus it allowed me to take out her P2 at the right moment. It was still an exciting set overall though, and Xiwen once again never fails to give me a run for my money. (3-0)
Swiss R4: Martin Tan (WLW)
Another opponent I always looked forward to fighting. I always tell people Martin is my teacher for Pokemon, as he was the one who taught me the basic skills of competitive Pokemon, such as the art of prediction. Game 1 wasn’t all that bad for me as Martin didn’t know the item on my Nihilego, allowing me to pick up a quick KO on his Tapu Lele. The game still ended with me getting a decisive critical hit though. Game 2 saw him fight back, and once again the game came down to a decisive critical hit this time from his end which ended the game for me. Game 3 saw more of a clean game, where both sides had the advantage at some point. It came down to me calling a right prediction at the end, and thus I won the match. (4-0)
Swiss R5: Yoko Taguma (WW)
The first, and thankfully, only, Celesteela that I had to face. Once again, I had the overall team advantage, and thankfully, the Celesteela’s Beast Boost was in Attack, which meant my Tapu Koko could be conserved for the late game instead of having to pick up a quick KO on Celesteela before it boosted its SpDef. Despite having the team advantage however, Yoko proved to be a really difficult opponent. I won Game 1 with the usual element of surprise on my Nihilego, and the set ended when she unfortunately missed an important Muddy Water on my Nihilego in Game 2, and when I got a critical hit which, while I felt it didn’t matter at that point, definitely killed any chances of her getting back into the game. A fearsome opponent as always, really great games! (5-0)
Swiss R6: Melvin Keh (LWL)
Upsettingly, I had an incredibly big team disadvantage this time. With no way to stop Tailwind from Whimsicott, I could only sit and watch as the top player in Oceania went through my team with his attacks. Game 2 had a humorous turn of events when it came down to my Kartana vs his Arcanine, I took the match slip and circled “Win” for Melvin, while Melvin told me “You crit, you win”, and sure enough, the crit came! Game 3 went by fast, and as a whole the entire set took only about 10 minutes to finish. Not a very emotionally-involved set however, as Melvin and I were joking throughout the set. (5-1)
So I got into Top 8, and while I was extremely happy, I knew I couldn’t stop now. I hadn’t gotten past the Top 8 mark since the start of my career, and I knew that I had to get past that mark this time round.
Top 8 match: Lim Xiwen (WLW)
Of course, right after the PC where I lost to Xiwen in the Top 8, history repeats itself. Knowing that she had no means to outspeed my Nihilego and Tapu Koko outside of Trick Room, I went into the match knowing I had the team advantage. Game 1 went smoothly as I used Kartana to take out the Garchomp and left P2 to Hariyama, picking up a quick win. Game 2 saw the reverse effect happen, knowing that I had Game 1 in the bag, I played a lot more recklessly, and went for bold predictions that didn’t work out, ending Game 2 in Xiwen’s favour as quickly as Game 1 did for me. Game 3 saw a slower but much more intense game, and it came down to me getting a correct prediction, allowing me to seal up what was an incredible set overall. Thanks Xiwen!
Now we’ve reached the point where I can finally go into my games in great detail, as there are recordings of the games up on Youtube!
Top 4 match: Martin Tan (LWW)
Recognising that Martin now knew my team inside out, I prepared for a really difficult match ahead. Let’s break it down.
Truthfully, knowing I had finally gotten past Top 8 clouded my judgement for Game 1. I had no idea what I was doing half the time, and Martin took the game in dominant fashion. I led with Nihilego/Hariyama while he led Arcanine/Kartana. Made a safe play of Faking Out Kartana and going for Power Gem onto Arcanine, and Martin made the clever switch into Garchomp.
So at this point I knew I had to get rid of Kartana, if not my team would suffer. I switched in Salamence hoping for Tectonic Rage to go into Nihilego and Leaf Blade into Hariyama, and Salamence Intimidate would help Hariyama survive the hit. But once I clicked my moves I realised Martin could just Tectonic Rage into Hariyama, and follow up with an attack from Kartana to finish it off, and as this sequence of moves unfolded, I just watched while feeling very dumb. Tried to come back from here but with Snorlax surviving a double target later on in the game, I knew I couldn’t win as I didn’t have the means to take out Snorlax.
If anyone knows anything about Singapore’s military training, there’s a very famous quote our commanders like to use, “you better wake up your <insert adjective of choice here> idea”. That’s what I told myself going into Game 2. Martin led with Tapu Lele/Arcanine while I go Hariyama/Nihilego. At this point I had to make a decision on whether to switch Nihilego out into Salamence or Sludge Bomb the Tapu Lele, as Martin’s obvious switch from Tapu Lele into Kartana would mean bad board positioning for Turn 2. Acknowledging the fact that Arcanine couldn’t touch me, I went for the double target into Tapu Lele, knowing that if Kartana were to switch in, I could at least bring it down to its sash. Thankfully, Tapu Lele stayed in, allowing me to pick up a much needed KO on one of his biggest threats to my team.
He then sent in Snorlax. Knowing that Snorlax cannot Protect, I went straight for the double target once again, even if Kartana were to switch in, I could once again bring it down to sash. Surprisingly enough, the last Pokemon turned out to be Garchomp, and as Martin switched Garchomp in, I knew the game was over as Close Combat connected. With Snorlax and Arcanine remaining, all I had to do was to double switch and go from there. Martin must’ve realised that as well, as he forfeited.
Game 3 saw Martin leading Kartana/Tapu Fini as I go Nihilego/Hariyama once again. Knowing the Smart Strike was coming my way, I switched Kartana in to take it while I flinched Tapu Fini. Recognising that I couldn’t lose Hariyama yet in case the Snorlax was at the back, I switched it out for Salamence to intimidate Kartana. I also predicted that Martin wouldn’t allow me to Bloom Doom Tapu Fini, so I went for the Sacred Sword onto Kartana. Martin double switched, and the turn once again was very neutral.
Betting that my Protect/Dragon Pulse on Garchomp play was obvious, I took a risk and switched Nihilego in, going for the Dragon Pulse onto Arcanine to put it within Power Gem range. Sure enough, Garchomp protected, and I call the turn right as Martin’s Arcanine failed to do much damage to my Nihilego. The next turn, I knew I needed Garchomp gone, and as Arcanine wasn’t doing anything, I decided to just go for the HP Ice play, even if Garchomp was to switch out, it didn’t matter as much. I also predicted Arcanine to switch into Kartana to take another Dragon Pulse, predicting as such, I went for the Flamethrower play. Martin made the mistake of staying in with Garchomp, from what he told me after the match, he didn’t think I would go for the obvious HP Ice play. The turn worked out in my favour, with Garchomp going down. Martin then brought in Tapu Fini.
Now that I knew Snorlax wasn’t in the back, I double switched feeling fine about losing either Kartana or Hariyama. Martin went for the KO onto Salamence, which brought Kartana down instead. Losing Kartana here didn’t impact me so much as I knew I had Nihilego in the back. Sending in Nihilego, I tried to go for the KO onto Arcanine and flinch Tapu Fini, the turn ended on neutral terms as Martin switched in Kartana to take the Fake Out.
Needing to get rid of Kartana ASAP, I switched Nihilego out for Salamence banking on Smart Strike into Nihilego and Flare Blitz into Hariyama. Martin made the scenario better by switching out Arcanine into Tapu Fini, and with Leaf Blade failing to get the KO onto Hariyama, I took out Kartana with a Close Combat.
As we reached the deciding turn of the match, both me and Martin made misplays. I predicted Extreme Speed into Hariyama and Moonblast into Salamence, leaving Tapu Fini and Arcanine to 2 v 1 Nihilego, and I wasn’t confident of Devastating Drake KOing Arcanine under Misty Terrain. Switching Nihilego in to take the Extreme Speed, I went for D-Drake and thankfully, it took out the Arcanine, and I called the turn right as Martin fired off Moonblast into Salamence.
What I did however was gave Martin a chance to come back in the game. If he had caught Nihilego on the switch in and went for Muddy Water, knocking it out, I would’ve lost as Hariyama and Salamence couldn’t take out Tapu Fini. Considering that I would’ve gone for D-Drake onto Arcanine either way, I should’ve stayed in with Hariyama and went for Feint on Arcanine, even if I lost Hariyama to ESpeed, I still would’ve gone for D-Drake onto Arcanine, and the deciding factor was whether I could take out Arcanine or not.
Recognising that I nearly lost the game due to my error, I felt pretty upset at my plays even though I won the set. As it came down to the final turn of Hariyama and Nihilego against Tapu Fini, I was still unsure if Tapu Fini could take a Sludge Bomb as I hadn’t identified the Choice Specs even to this point, so to guarantee my win, I Faked Out Tapu Fini and took out my own Hariyama for a Beast Boost, sealing up the best game I had throughout the tournament.
Finals: Melvin Keh (WLL)
Recognising the team disadvantage once again, and knowing that I didn’t have many options, I just had to depend on the RNG and hope to put up a good show for the final.
So I lead Kartana/Nihilego here, and he leads Whimsicott and Xurkitree. Predicting Xurkitree to Protect and Whimsicott to set up Tailwind, I go for the Bloom Doom on Xurkitree to at least deal a bit of damage. Yes I wasn’t thinking clearly here, why waste my Z move on a Protect right? Thankfully it somehow works out as Whimsicott Protects, not Xurkitree, allowing me to pick up a quick KO. Melvin sends in Arcanine here, and I go for the double target KO onto the Whimsicott, recognising that I cannot prevent Tailwind from going up. I do so while Arcanine takes out Kartana, and thus it comes down to Tapu Lele and Arcanine vs Nihilego and Tapu Koko.
I realise that since I have the Electric Terrain, Nihilego can take one Psychic from Tapu Lele, and I need to time it perfectly. Predicting Psychic to go into Nihilego, I bring Krookodile in, and focus my attacks on Arcanine as I cannot take out the Psychic Seed-boosted Tapu Lele in one attack. Melvin reads my switch and Flare Blitzes Krookodile, getting a critical hit for the knockout, surprisingly though, Psychic doesn’t knock out Tapu Koko as I expect it to, allowing me to take out Arcanine, which leaves Tapu Lele against Tapu Koko and Nihilego. While I can’t say it was a complete victory, Melvin forfeits here recognising that I had a good chance to win at this point.
With our leads being Arcanine/Whimsicott and Kartana/Hariyama, I need to predict whether:
Melvin protects Whimsicott and Flare Blitzes Kartana, or
he switches in Tapu Lele and Tailwinds, which means I have to Smart Strike/Bloom Doom Tapu Lele instead.
Calling the A option, Melvin outsmarts me by going for the B option instead, meaning a bad turn for me. From here, I need to take out Tapu Lele, so I try to get Bloom Doom onto it, but Melvin smartly switches in Arcanine, and being at -2 means Tapu Lele survives Bloom Doom. Melvin also takes out Hariyama with Psychic.
With Krookodile in the back, I know my only chance to win is to bait him into Psychic-ing my Krookodile switch in, as such I go with Nihilego. At this point I wasn’t thinking clearly as I switch in Krookodile but protect Kartana, which meant a dead turn for me, but at least I call the Psychic right. Seeing no way out, I go for the double Protect with Kartana and I pull it off, and with Krookodile going down as Tailwind ends, I am able to bring in Nihilego to outspeed Melvin’s Pokemon.
The next turn is a neutral turn, which comes down to Nihilego surviving a Z move from Xurkitree. As both Tapu Lele and Xurkitree are at yellow, I go for the obvious Power Gem/Smart Strike play, Melvin protects Xurkitree, and I take out Tapu Lele. As Melvin sends in Whimsicott, I know I can safely take out either Xurkitree or Arcanine. Power Gem-ing into that slot, I take out the Xurkitree as Kartana takes out Whimsicott. Problem is now, Melvin once again has Tailwind up, which means a fast Arcanine vs Nihilego at red health and Kartana.
The only way out at this point is to get a critical hit through Kartana, but I fail to get it, and Melvin takes Game 2.
Game 3 sees the leads of Tapu Lele/Whimsicott vs Kartana/Hariyama. Predicting the Protect Tailwind play from Melvin, I go straight for the Whimsicott. Melvin however reads me perfectly and switches in Arcanine, and Tapu Lele gets a knockout onto Hariyama. I then send out Nihilego.
I go for Power Gem onto Arcanine and Leaf Blade into Tapu Lele predicting a switch out, but once again Melvin doesn’t switch out, and while I take out Arcanine, I lose Nihilego in the process.
Now it’s Tapu Lele/Whimsicott vs Kartana/Krookodile. I predict him to not protect Tapu Lele this time and go for the Bloom Doom, Melvin reads me perfectly again and goes for the Protect and Tailwind play as I Fire Fang Whimsicott. Now I have to call who he is going to target with his attacks, predicting Moonblast into Krookodile, I Protect Krookodile and go for the Tapu Lele. He brings Kartana’s health down with Endeavor but Moonblasts into Krookodile, allowing me to take out the Tapu Lele.
Being left with Kartana and Krookodile under two more turns of Tailwind, I recognise that the game is over and all Melvin has to do is Endeavor Krookodile and Dazzling Gleam with Xurkitree. Realising the only way I can win at this point is a Double Protect on Kartana and Triple Protect on Krookodile, I go for it. However, Melvin goes for the Gigavolt Havoc onto Kartana and protects Whimsicott, which means that had I used Earthquake instead, I might’ve had a chance to win. However it works out in Melvin’s favour as in the end, Earthquake fails to knockout Xurkitree, and I lose the match.
Overall, it was a great experience. Yes, I lost in the end, but it felt great to finally be in the finals. The week afterwards was the Malaysia MSS, and while I did look forward to doing well there, I sadly ended 3-3, facing Martin and Yoko again, who ran counters to deal with the unfavourable situations I put them in during the Singapore MSS. My final loss in that MSS was to Corey and his Double Duck team, which you may recall me saying absolutely sweeps me. While I didn’t do too well in Malaysia, I’m glad that some people actually used my team as a reference for their own teambuilding, something which I am pretty grateful for. Looking forward, after my poor performance in Melbourne, I’m going to give my season one last push with the upcoming Malaysia Opens, after which if I don’t do well, I might try to focus on other ways to get the SEA name out there.
- Martin Tan, for giving me the best game I played!
- Xiwen Lim, the best rival (:
- Harrold Khoo, for being the test subject for my teams and consistently having to put up with the multiple replays that I send him, about 5 a day
- Melvin, for indirectly giving me the idea for the final core member of my team that eventually went to Melbourne (Whimsicott), and making sure both of the sets we had were hilarious and enjoyable
- Ben and gang, for coming back after you guys left to watch me play in the finals
- Everyone who encouraged me in the MSS finals despite me feeling that it was basically over due to the matchup
- All my opponents for the incredible games we played
- Matthew Hui for helping me set this report up!