Hi everyone, my name is Derrick Li (RaineKeeper), and I am from Singapore. I began playing VGC in 2014, which was officially my first season attending sanctioned Pokémon Video Game (VGC) events. While my performance at Nats was not the best, I truly believe that this was the fault of my own poor playing rather than that of the team itself. I feel that the strategies and gimmicks that I employed are definitely worth reading about, and hope this will help people out there.
One month before the event, I was totally out of ideas on the type of team I wanted to build for the most prestigious event of the year. To make it worse, my bad performances in the recent Singapore and Malaysia Regionals events had made me lose all my confidence in playing Pokémon. Fortunately, I have a very supportive significant other, as well as a good buddy in Estephan (Pephan) who kept on cheering and motivating me.
As I began my team building process, the first thing that came to mind was to look at usage statistics in Singapore and Malaysia. No surprises here, the top Megas used were Mega Kangaskhan and Mega Charizard Y.
In order to counter that, I knew that Terrakion or Landorous-T would definitely be a MUST in my team. However, as I am not an experienced player, predicting switches is a big issue for me. I cannot afford to Close Combat or Superpower into a non-effective target, giving myself stat drops while locked into Choice Scarf (in Landorus’ case). As a result I added Gothitelle into the team since it allows me to trap both of the opponent’s Pokémon. The first turn I could simply double protect with my Gothitelle and Terrakion to burn the Mega Kangaskhan Fake Out and Close Combat it for a OHKO on turn 2. Even though there are some Mega Kangaskhan out there that do not carry Fake out, the chances are they will go for Protect on turn 1 to avoid Close Combat and attack with its partner. Hence, I get an easy OHKO on Mega Kangaskhan before it starts destroying my entire team.
Not only that, since my Terrakion is a Focus Sash variant, after KOing the opposing Mega, I can go for another Helping Hand boosted Close Combat onto another target before Terrakion goes down, doing a massive amount of damage as long as they do not resist Fighting. This definitely creates a lot of pressure on my opponent as he has little or no way to stop me from OHKO-ing his Mega Kangaskhan and doing 80% to another Pokémon.
After choosing these 2 Pokémon to start the team building process, I knew that I had to take advantage of Gothitelle’s amazing Shadow Tag ability. The next thing that caught my attention was that the usage rate of Heatran was very high. Hence, I definitely needed a bulky water type to handle it. I browsed through the Pokedex but nothing really convinced me as Charizard Y often carries Solar Beam and Drought makes water moves almost useless. I needed to make sure I had a check for that as well. During this period of time, I happened to also be watching the Massachusetts Regional. Wolfe’s idea of using Politoed to trap and eliminate the opposing Heatran as well as abuse Perish Song caught my attention. I realised that since I have Gothitelle’s Shadow Tag to lock in the opponent’s Pokémon, they have no way to play the weather war with me. In addition, by locking the weather into Rain, Charizard Y and Heatran are rendered pretty much useless and I could take my time to KO all their partners since Heat Wave, Overheat and Earth Power do almost nothing to both my Politoed and Gothitelle due to their decent bulk.
I immediately took this trio and combined them with other common Pokémon to test on Showdown, and the teams that I faced containing Mega Kangaskhan and Charizard Y all experienced a hard time playing against this core. This raised my confidence level and I strongly believed that this strategy had unlimited potential. “Trap, OHKO, Weather Dominance”
With a Rain setter in my team now, the next obvious move was to put in a Swift Swim user to take advantage of the Rain, and these are the candidates I considered:
After some testing, Kingdra did not suit me at all. I do not like the fact that Kingdra has to go with Politoed in order to function optimally.
Kabutops was good during testing, however I found out that if I use Kabutops in my team, then Gastrodon proved to be a huge issue as I have no way to hit it super effectively and it could just run through my team with Earth Power while walling me with Storm Drain.
After ruling out Kingdra and Kabutops, Ludicolo was my last option. Fortunately I played Ludicolo at the end of last season and I did not need time to adapt to playing with it. Unsurprisingly, Ludicolo fit my team perfectly and the switching synergy was amazing. I could switch Ludicolo into Earthquakes aimed at Terrakion, as well as all the water/grass type moves which are super effective against Terrakion and Politoed. Terrakion could even Quick Guard to protect Ludicolo from Talonflame (though I did not end up using Quick Guard).
With 4 slots of my team taken up, I knew that I now needed to select a speed control strategy (the rain duo does not count as a form of speed control since Ludicolo is the only one getting the boost). I recalled seeing a Hammer Arm Mega Metagross on (Nicholas Ong’s) team which got 2nd place in the Singapore Regional. It was strong while not too common in VGC. Not only that, Mega Metagross also handles Mega Venusaur and Sylveon well (which are big threats to my team). Hence, I began testing it by putting Trick Room onto Gothitelle.
The results were decent, with a win rate of around 70%. However, I realized that only having one method of speed control hurt. Once the opponents know your speed control user and method, they will definitely find the right Pokémon for the matchup (if I only have Trick Room, they will definitely bring Amoonguss or some other slow Pokémon to counter it). The speed control strategy that I love the most is the one that Ryosuke Kosuge (Gebebo) used in VGC 2013. The “Trick Room – Thunder Wave” strategy. Knowing that, I immediately added the most infamous Thunder Wave user, and I had the basic skeleton of my team.
With this lineup, I began my alpha test on Showdown to check for any significant weaknesses. It did not take me long to realized that although Thundurus is good at paralysing all my opponent’s Pokémon, it is just too fragile without the Sitrus Berry (which is already on my Politoed). Not only that, having no Fire-type Pokémon or moves on the team is a big issue when facing Aegislash. Aegislash could switch out of Shadow Tag, had super effective moves on 3/6 of my Pokémon, and walled the other 3 due to its amazing special defense.
To solve this issue, I replaced Thundurus with Heat Wave Zapdos, keeping the Thunder Wave option on. Heat Wave not only allows me to get KOs on Aegislash, but also allows me to OHKO the Bisharp safely with Helping Hand from Gothitelle. Roost is there to allow my Zapdos to stay on the field for a longer period of time. Thunder Wave was later changed to Tailwind as I feel that since my team is a rain team, most of my counters are electric type which cannot be paralysed.
With this team, I began climbing on the Showdown ladder till I reached the 1600 mark, then took the team to Battle Spot Doubles for the beta test. The team worked alright, but there were some problems that worried me.
Firstly, by having no Intimidate user, playing against hyper offensive teams can be very risky.
Secondly, this team is not aggressive enough, with only Terrakion and Mega Metagross as main attackers.
Thirdly, Gastrodon is still a big issue for the team as there were some Gastrodon which I faced in BS Doubles that carry Rindo Berry and Mirror Coat. However this is very subjective.
I have tested both Landorus-T and Blaziken in the Terrakion slot since I needed a Pokemon to OHKO Mega Kangaskhan once trapped.
Landorus-T is definitely one of the best Pokemon in the game in my opinion, but by having a speed stat of 91, it is very difficult to function without having a Choice Scarf. I tried to replace Terrakion with Landorus-T, but the issue is, it cannot Protect on the first turn to burn the Mega Kangaskhan’s Fake Out. If I do not use Choice Scarf, Mega Kangaskhan potentially outspeeds it. As much as I love this little tiger, I decided that it is time to let him go.
Blaziken is quite a big surprise to me in this meta. With the ability “Speed Boost”, I could outspeed Landorus-T by turn 2 and HP Ice it for a OHKO (since it cannot switch out, the beauty of Shadow Tag!), outspeed Mega Kangaskhan and OHKO with Superpower, as well as OHKO common threats like Amoonguss, Aegislash and Bisharp. But this made my Talonflame matchup even worse. Not only that, Togekiss/Talonflame + Mega Kangaskhan leads would destroy my team (Metagross, Ludicolo, Blaziken). Hence, I decided to stick with Terrakion instead.
So these are the thoughts that I went through during the team building process! Thank you for your patience, and let’s move on to the EV spread of the team.
Gothitelle @ Leftovers
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 244 HP / 116 Def / 148 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Trick Room
– Helping Hand
Sassy works with Trick Room, but Gothitelle is not totally useless if I decide to go for Tailwind instead since it will hit 152 speed which ties with max speed Adamant Kangaskhan.
- 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge: 153-181 (86.9 – 102.8%) — 6.6% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Hydreigon Dark Pulse: 162-192 (92 – 109%) — 50% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Voice: 81-96 (46 – 54.5%) — 5.5% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
- 252+ SpA Pixie Plate Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Beam: 144-171 (81.8 – 97.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Beam: 156-185 (88.6 – 105.1%) — 31.3% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Sylveon Shadow Ball: 68-80 (38.6 – 45.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO
Politoed @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 148 Def / 28 SpA / 76 SpD / 12 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Perish Song
I invested 12 Speed EVs to speed creep other Politoeds running 4 Speed. This speed number also allows me to outspeed everything up to and including Serperior under Tailwind.
For my support moves, I chose Encore to help against Aegislash, since they like to King’s Shield after attacking. Encore also helps against opponents that try to stall my TR turns out with Protect, since I can Encore them on the last turn of TR and can freely set it up again. Perish Song is for bulky non-offensive Pokémon like Cresselia, Gastrodon, and Chansey. With Perish Song, I can aim for 2 KOs on my opponent and send in Politoed for Perish Song to seal up the game. If the opponent leads with non-aggressive Pokémon like Suicune + Cresselia, I will immediately lock them in and go for Perish Song.
- +1 Scald vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Heatran in Rain: 186-218 (111.3 – 130.5%) — guaranteed OHKO (with Helping Hand)
- +1 Scald vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Heatran in Rain: 186-218 (93.9 – 110.1%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO
- +1 Scald vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Aegislash-Blade in Rain: 163-193 (97.6 – 115.5%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO
- +1 Scald vs. 168 HP / 0 SpD Mega Charizard Y in Rain: 174-206 (100 – 118.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
- Scald vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Talonflame in Rain: 176-210 (114.2 – 136.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
- Scald vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Aegislash-Shield in Rain: 46-55 (27.5 – 32.9%) — guaranteed 4HKO
- Scald vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Aegislash-Blade in Rain: 109-130 (65.2 – 77.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge: 157-187 (80.1 – 95.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Hydreigon Draco Meteor: 165-195 (84.1 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Voice: 102-120 (52 – 61.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
- 252+ SpA Pixie Plate Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Beam: 180-213 (91.8 – 108.6%) — 50% chance to OHKO
- 252 SpA Thundurus-T Thunderbolt: 156-186 (79.5 – 94.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Thundurus-T Thunderbolt: 168-200 (85.7 – 102%) — 12.5% chance to OHKO
Ludicolo @ Assault Vest
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 132 HP / 116 Def / 116 SpA / 4 SpD / 140 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Fake Out
– Giga Drain
– Ice Beam
Ludicolo’s speed is fairly standard for a rain sweeper, outspeeding Scarf Adamant Landorus-T under rain or Tailwind. Importantly, this also puts Ludicolo ahead of Mega Gengar and other base 130 speed mons. Due to the rising popularity of Mega Gengar Encore + Disable combo with Whimsicott, I think it is safer to outspeed it just in case I faced one.
- 0+ SpA Ludicolo Scald vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-T in Rain: 168-198 (102.4 – 120.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 0+ SpA Ludicolo Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Landorus-T: 164-196 (100 – 119.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 116+ SpA Ludicolo Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Salamence: 172-204 (100.5 – 119.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 252 Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Return: 146-173 (84.8 – 100.5%) — 1.6% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Voice: 73-87 (42.4 – 50.5%) — 1.2% chance to 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Beam: 163-193 (94.7 – 112.2%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Pixilate Sylveon Hyper Beam: 142-168 (82.5 – 97.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Metagross @ Metagrossite
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Atk / 4 Def / 76 SpD / 36 Spe
– Zen Headbutt
– Bullet Punch
– Hammer Arm
The speed investment allows Metagross to outspeed max speed Modest Heatran and Jolly Breloom, along with uninvested Kangaskhan. Also important to note is that Hammer Arm’s speed drop can often put me in a good position under Trick Room: at -1 Metagross will underspeed uninvested Modest Heatran, and in a pinch I can delay mega evolving until the turn after I use Hammer Arm, which would allow me to underspeed 0 IV Quiet Heatran for that one turn.
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Helping Hand Hammer Arm vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Heatran: 238-282 (120.2 – 142.4%) — guaranteed OHKO (TR Heatran)
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Hammer Arm vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Heatran: 160-190 (96.3 – 114.4%) — 81.3% chance to OHKO (Speedy Heatran)
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Helping Hand Hammer Arm vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 250-296 (117.9 – 139.6%) — guaranteed OHKO (TR Kang)
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Hammer Arm vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 170-200 (93.9 – 110.4%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO (Speedy Kang)
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Helping Hand Bullet Punch vs. 244 HP / 108 Def Sylveon: 186-222 (92.5 – 110.4%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO (This 244/108 Sylveon Survives 252+ Atk Mega Kangaskhan Return)
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Helping Hand Bullet Punch vs. 244 HP / 44 Def Sylveon: 204-240 (101.4 – 119.4%) — guaranteed OHKO (This 244/44 Sylveon Survives 252 Atk Mega Kangaskhan Return)
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Bullet Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Greninja: 70-84 (47.2 – 56.7%) — 84.8% chance to 2HKO (If it changes the typing to others without Resistance)
- 156+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Metagross Helping Hand Zen Headbutt vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Landorus-T: 166-196 (100.6 – 118.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
- 156+ Atk Metagross Helping Hand Hammer Arm vs. 248 HP / 0 Def Scrafty: 160-190 (93.5 – 111.1%) — 62.5% chance to OHKO
- +1 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Sucker Punch: 154-184 (83.2 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Life Orb Bisharp Sucker Punch: 133-159 (71.8 – 85.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Life Orb Talonflame Flare Blitz: 151-182 (81.6 – 98.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Landorus-T Earthquake: 144-170 (77.8 – 91.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ Atk Scrafty Knock Off: 78-92 (42.1 – 49.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO (When faced with Goth + Scrafty combo, avoid mega evolving to prevent Tickle or Charm. The Scrafty Knock Off is still 3HKO)
- 252 SpA Life Orb Gengar Shadow Ball: 151-182 (81.6 – 98.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Heatran Flamethrower: 146-174 (78.9 – 94%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Heatran Earth Power: 127-151 (68.6 – 81.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Heatran Heat Wave: 151-179 (81.6 – 96.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO (Multiple Target)
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Greninja Dark Pulse: 143-172 (77.2 – 92.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Zapdos @ Safety Goggles
EVs: 228 HP / 36 Def / 124 SpA / 84 SpD / 36 Spe
– Heat Wave
[Editor’s Note: 228 HP / 124 Def / 12 SpA / 84 SpD / 36 Spe with a Modest nature hits the same numbers with 24 spare EVs]
The speed investment outspeeds Adamant Bisharp and Jolly Tyranitar, which allows me to scout for Scarf in the latter’s case based on the order of ability activation.
- 252+ Atk Parental Bond Mega Kangaskhan Double-Edge: 164-195 (84.5 – 100.5%) — 0.4% chance to OHKO
- 252+ Atk Landorus-T Rock Slide: 76-90 (39.1 – 46.3%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- 252+ SpA Aegislash-Blade Shadow Ball: 84-99 (42.8 – 50.5%) — 1.2% chance to 2HKO
- 252 SpA Choice Scarf Politoed Ice Beam: 80-96 (41.2 – 49.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO
- 148+ SpA Ludicolo Ice Beam: 80-96 (41.2 – 49.4%) — guaranteed 3HKO
Terrakion @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
– Close Combat
– Rock Slide
– Double Kick / Earthquake
This is just a vanilla Terrakion that you can find anywhere. The only point that I want to stress on is the usage of Double Kick. With Helping Hand from Gothitelle, Double Kick can OHKO opposing Terrakion. This avoids the issue of turn 2 speed ties. However, it ended up not being used much in testing, so I decided to go with Earthquake to ease the Aegislash matchup somewhat.
The first gimmick is the main strategy of the team, lock in my opponent’s main threat from the start and OHKO it.
If the opponent leads with Kangaskhan
I will lead with
Turn 1 double Protect, turn 2 Close Combat OHKO Mega Kangaskhan.
[Editor’s note: This is a very effective combination because most Mega Kangaskhans do not run Protect, allowing Terrakion to pick up the OHKO after the Fake Out turn. Gothitelle also carries Helping Hand which negates any opposing Intimidate triggers which would otherwise make Terrakion’s Close Combat a 2HKO on Kangaskhan.]
If opponent leads with Landorus-T
I will lead with
Turn 1, Fake Out Landorous-T and set up Trick Room to prevent him from U-Turning out. Turn 2, Ice Beam for the OHKO.
If the opponent leads Kangaskhan + Cresselia
I will lead with
My Metagross can survive +1 Sucker Punch from 252+ Atk Mega Kangaskhan and OHKO back with Hammer Arm.
If opponent switches in Heatran the following turn, I can switch the Gothitelle out for Politoed, change the weather to rain and make its fire moves useless, or just switch in Politoed to replace Metagross. After Hammer Arm, my Metagross should underspeed Heatran and therefore outspeed Heatran under Trick Room (4 Spe, Modest).
Before I end the report, I just want to place further emphasis on the ability Shadow Tag. This is definitely one of the best abilities in the game. Shadow Tag is like the offensive version of Skill Swap. Skill Swap allows you to take away an opposing Pokémon’s ability to reduce their damage output, or swap an ability to your partner to allow it to survive longer. Shadow Tag on the other hand, is very aggressive. You have to make sure that your game plan is carried out before the Shadow Tag user is knocked out. Your opponent is likely to double into your Shadow Tag user to get rid of it from the very beginning. This can actually work in your favour as you can Protect accordingly, make safe switches and get ready to KO them on the following turn since they cannot switch out! Not only that, with Shadow Tag, you are disrupting your opponent’s plans, his switching synergy, and have total control over the weather.
So this finally marks the end of my report, I sincerely thank you for spending time to read this long and boring report. I would like to thank the all the people in the Pokémon Community for their contribution. Especially Soon and Tan Zong Ying for holding all the sanctioned Pokémon events in Singapore, I had a fantastic time! See you guys at the 2016 World Championships! I will definitely make my way there!
Last but not least, a special thanks to Matthew Hui for helping me edit this report and Shawn Tang for bringing (a variant of) this team to the 2015 World Championships!