Hey everyone, Chelsea Tan (@komalavgc) here. Recently, I finished Top 4 at the second Singapore Midseason Showdown. Since it is probably the last tournament I will be playing in for a while, I wanted to write a report to share my thoughts on the team I used.
After finishing with a 5-4 record at Melbourne Internationals, I was quite disheartened at my performance and wanted to stop playing VGC for a while, since Melbourne was my only chance at qualifying for worlds. However, after seeing Togedemaru, my favourite Pokemon, cut a few events overseas, and receiving persistent trash talks deriding Togedemaru from my boyfriend Chien, I was spurred to build a team around it, and try to cut an event with it to spite him.
I’ve been using the ‘AFK’ core of Arcanine, Tapu Fini and Kartana for most of the season and felt most comfortable with it, making it an ideal starting point. Afterwards, I added Porygon2 and Gigalith to the team, drawing inspiration from a team which won the Korean Spring League.
ChienX87 (Togedemaru) @ Air Balloon
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 252 Spe
– Fake Out
– Zing Zap
– Spiky Shield
- -1 252+ Atk Kartana Sacred Sword vs. 244 HP / 12 Def Togedemaru: 136-162 (79.5 – 94.7%) –guaranteed 2HKO
Togedemaru is the bane of my boyfriend’s existence, which is exactly why I decided to name it after him.. I have to admit it that its utility feels rather limited, and is only relevant in matches where its Fake Out pressure provides an overwhelming advantage, or when Lightningrod is absolutely essential to disrupt my opponent’s offensive momentum.
In the games I played while testing, I often found Encore an indispensable asset in sealing up games, allowing me to lock down and disrupt opponents who opt to leave Togedemaru on the field, instead focusing on its partners. I thus chose to run a more defensive set, instead of opting for maximum Attack and Speed, since Zing Zap wasn’t netting any crucial knock-outs for this team.I contemplated both Air Balloon and Focus Sash for its item, but settled on the former, so Togedemaru could switch in freely into Earthquakes, which were thrown my way often since my team had no Ground resists. I also thought of using Blackglasses as a joke, but that I think I’ll save for the future…
Tapu Finish (Tapu Fini) @ Choice Specs
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 204 HP / 252 SpA / 52 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Dazzling Gleam
I’ve traditionally prefered running Choice Specs on Tapu Fini over more defensive boosting sets, as its damage output in situations where I’m unable to set up is simply too poor. I ran Scald instead of Hydro Pump for my single target water-type move, as I wanted a move with 100% accuracy. The speed investment I have allows me to outspeed most bulky Tapu Finis and the rest of the EVs are dumped into Special Attack and HP.
Chien Sucks (Arcanine) @ Firium Z
EVs: 76 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 164 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge
– Extreme Speed
- 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 76 HP / 12 SpD Arcanine in Electric Terrain: 144-172 (82.2 – 98.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 76 HP / 12 SpD Arcanine in Psychic Terrain: 150-177 (85.7 – 101.1%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
- -1 252+ Atk Thick Club Marowak-Alola Bonemerang (2 hits) vs. 76 HP / 4 Def Arcanine: 144-172 (82.2 – 98.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
I ripped my Arcanine’s spread from Trainertower early in the season, and never felt the need to change it thus far. There’s not much to be said about it; I think the defensive benchmarks listed above speak for themselves. The Speed EVs allow Arcanine to outspeed neutral speed Xurkitree and Gyarados, which I can hit hard with my STAB moves and Wild Charge respectively.
Editor’s note: In case you were wondering, Chelsea was not consciously aware of the irony in her nickname ‘Chien sucks’ being used on Arcanine. (‘Chien’ means ‘dog’ in French)
Fruit Ninja (Kartana) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 20 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 212 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Razor Leaf
- 252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Dazzling Gleam vs. 20 HP / 100 SpD Kartana: 49-58 (35.7 – 42.3%) — guaranteed 3HKO
I had used Focus Sash Kartana for the entire season thus far, but after the Melbourne International Championship, found that it struggled too much against Tapu Koko and various Choice Scarf users. Inspired by Rob Akershoek’s Sheffield Regionals team, I decided to try Choice Scarf Kartana this time. My Kartana’s EV spread is thus unabashedly similar to his, though I invested more EVs in Speed to outspeed Modest Scarf Nihilego by 1 point, which I knew was a thing locally. The Choice Scarf caught many opponents off guard during the MSS, and was an enjoyable and effective asset to wield, even in a best-of-three setting.
Quack (Porygon2) @ Eviolite
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 92 Def / 28 SpA / 140 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Trick Room
– Ice Beam
- 28 SpA Porygon2 Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 168-200 (91.8 – 109.2%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
- +1 4 Atk Porygon2 Return vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 93-109 (63.6 – 74.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Golduck Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. 244 HP / 140+ SpD Eviolite Porygon2 in Rain: 115-136 (60.2 – 71.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Pelipper Scald vs. 244 HP / 140+ SpD Eviolite Porygon2 in Rain: 51-60 (26.7 – 31.4%) — guaranteed 4HKO
- 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 244 HP / 140+ SpD Eviolite Porygon2 in Psychic Terrain: 72-85 (37.6 – 44.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO
Porygon2’s spread came from a team Isaac had shared with me earlier in the season. He couldn’t remember the specific benchmarks it hit, though I eventually tracked it down on Trainertower, and found it geared towards maximised odds against both Pelipper/Golduck leads and Garchomp.
As for my offensive options, Ice Beam felt absolutely necessary on this team to hit opposing Garchomps and Kartanas, and I opted for Return on the filler slot to hit opposing Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini for good damage off their lower physical defences. Return’s a great move which really bolstered Porygon2’s offensive pressure, making it a threat even in scenarios where Download gave an Attack boost.
Jennamite (Gigalith) @ Rockium Z
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 244 HP / 252 Atk / 12 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
– Rock Slide
– Stone Edge
Gigalith’s set too came straight from one of Isaac’s older Showdown team exports, which unfortunately for me caused me to end up running a suboptimal build. The completely arbitrary 244HP and 12 Special Defence EVs are from Showdown’s default ‘Bulky Attacker’ EV spread, and were mistakenly run over 252HP, due to laziness on the parts of both Isaac and myself… I don’t think it ever mattered during the tournament, however.
I ran Rockium Z for a strong, accurate Rock-type option which could bypass Wide Guard, and to deal good damage to bulky mons like Tapu Fini, Muk and Snorlax, which could create issues of the rest of my team under specific circumstances. Earthquake was chosen to round off Gigalith’s coverage, hitting most of the format’s Rock resists for neutral or super-effective damage.
Round 1 Yoko Taguma (WW)
I wasn’t very excited to face Yoko in my first round, as she is my neighbour and a strong player. Fortunately, her team’s primary offensive option of Surge Offense could be easily neutered by Togedemaru’s Lightning Rod, which severely restricted her options. Gastrodon was the only cause for concern on her team, but in both games I was able to prioritise taking it out early, which allowed me to take both games in the set.
Round 2 Dennis Sia (WW)
Dennis was running a sand team, and offered a matchup I did not like, as his speedy Aerodactyl and core of Gigalith and Stoutland gave his team the potential to overrun mine both in and out of Trick Room. I decided to lead with Togedemaru and Tapu Fini for Round 1 to pressure his main setup options with Fake Out. Unfortunately I don’t remember what happened afterwards, other than that the momentum snowballed in my favour, allowing me to take the set 2-0.
Round 3 Su Gi Chandran (WW)
Su Gi was also running an AFK team, with Mandibuzz for support. This was quite a problem for my team, as Mandibuzz could easily deny Porygon2 the option of Trick Room with Taunt, and potentially swing the mirror matchup in her favour with Tailwind.
Anticipating the obvious lead of Tapu Fini and Mandibuzz the first game, I led Togedemaru and Kartana, hoping to pressure her into switching in her Arcanine, so that I could easily switch into my own Tapu Fini to get rid of Arcanine, paving the way for Kartana. This plan worked and I was able to take Game 1.
I figured that she would not lead mandibuzz in game 2 to adjust to my Togedemaru/Kartana lead, so I led Porygon2 and was able to set up Trick Room easily, sealing the set with a Gigalith sweep.
Round 4 Martin Tan (LWL)
Martin was running a team based on Nick Navarre’s Melbourne team, which I dreaded facing because of its obnoxious bulk and ability to heal up with 50% berries. Though working towards a Gigalith sweep seemed tempting at first glance, I knew his Gigalith had Curse and could potentially stop mine in its tracks. His Kartana also had Substitute, which was annoying since my only reliable option to take out Kartana in one hit was slower than it.
In Game 1 I led with Arcanine and Kartana hoping to pressure a quick knock-out on Tapu Koko, which played out well, but an unfortunate Rock Slide miss eventually costed me the game. I can’t exactly remember what happened in Game 2, except a point of time when I had Tapu Fini and Togedemaru on the field against Gigalith and Kartana. Predicting he will go for the Substitute with Kartana, I encored it with Togedemaru and went straight for the attack with Tapu Fini. It paid off, and I was able to lock down Kartana and take out Gigalith that turn, sealing the game for me.. Martin only had Arcanine in the back, which could not touch my Tapu Fini. He forfeited here, knowing that I had my own Arcanine in the back to take on his Kartana. Can’t remember what happened in Game 3, except that I got an unlucky Rock Slide flinch which might have cost me the game.
Round 5 Harrold Khoo (LL)
Expecting Harrold to lead with Tapu Lele and Drifblim, I led with Tapu Fini and Porygon2 in Game 1. However, he opted for Tapu Koko and Garchomp instead. Not realising that his Tapu Koko was holding a Choice Specs, I predicted a Taunt onto Porygon2 and opted for offense instead. That would eventually cost me the game, as the damage it unnecessarily sustained caused Porygon2 to faint before it could set up Trick Room for Gigalith.
In Game 2, I expected him to switch his leads up to better deter a Trick Room set-up, so I led with Togedemaru and Tapu Fini, to cover a potential Tapu Lele with Taunt or Arcanine with Roar. He ended up leading with Tapu Koko and Garchomp again. I targeted Garchomp with Fake Out, thinking I had Tapu Koko locked down with Togedemaru. Unfortunately, he revealed Discharge on Tapu Koko, which was able to take out my Tapu Fini with a crucial Critical Hit. From here things only went downhill.
Round 6 Quous Tee (WW)
Identifying Quous’ Aerodactyl as the biggest threat to my team, I led with Arcanine and Kartana to nab a surprise knock-out with Extremespeed and an attack from Kartana. Fortunately Quous didn’t expect the Choice Scarf on Kartana, and I was able to overwhelm him with offense since he failed to set-up Tailwind.
I figured that he would lead with Arcanine in game 2 to deter this, so instead I led with Tapu Fini and Porygon2 to deal super-effective damage and set up Trick Room, paving the way for a Gigalith sweep. .
4-2 (8th seed)
Top 8 Ryan Chiam (LWW)
For game 1, I anticipated Ryan to lead with Aerodactyl, so I led with Arcanine and Kartana to take it out quickly, like I had in my match against Quous. Unfortunately, he instead brought his Choice Band Arcanine and Choice Specs Tapu Fini, neither of which my leads could take out. I switched Kartana out into Tapu Fini to take the Flare Blitz, while leaving Arcanine in to sacrifice it, and bring in Togedemaru to threaten with Fake Out next turn. I hoped to take out his Arcanine with Tapu Fini’s Muddy Water, paving the way for my Scarf Kartana to sweep. Unfortunately, Muddy Water missed Arcanine, dashing my hopes of a comeback.
For game 2, I decided to go with my Trick Room mode, seeing that he did not lead with Aerodactyl in the first game. I lead with Porygon2 and Kartana, hoping to bait him into knocking out Kartana with his Arcanine whilst still getting off super-effective damage onto his Tapu Fini, and at the same time setting up Trick Room with Porygon2, allowing me to sweep with Gigalith. The plan worked out and I took Game 2.
For game 3, I expected him to lead with Arcanine and Aerodactyl to prevent Porygon2 from setting up, so I led with Tapu Fini and Arcanine to Intimidate the physical attackers, and deal some super-effective damage with Fini. He led as expected, and I switched out Arcanine for Togedemaru to absorb the baited Wild Charge from his Arcanine, allowing me to take it out with Muddy Water, though unfortunately, the Muddy Water failed to connect with Aerodactyl. He brought in Tapu Lele in place of Arcanine, to prevent Togedemaru from using Fake Out.
At this point, I brain-farted and forgot that Aerodactyl would be unaffected by Psychic Terrain, and thus could have been flinched by Fake Out. Instead I used Zing Zap on Aerodactyl to break its Focus Sash, hoping to double into it with Muddy Water, though unfortunately Tapu Fini ended up on the receiving end of yet another unfortunate Rock Slide flinch. Knowing that he will go for Tailwind next turn, I switched out Tapu Fini for Arcanine, knowing it would take a Psychic from Tapu Lele, while going for Zing Zap onto Tapu Lele, not granting the knock-out on Aerodactyl and effectively burning whatever sweeper Ryan had in the back a turn of Tailwind..
The next turn, I went for Zing Zap onto Tapu Lele while going for Protect with Arcanine, hoping to bring Tapu Lele into Extremespeed knock-out range, which I could switch in Tapu Fini to exploit the security Ryan probably felt with Psychic Terrain up. It paid off, though I would lose Arcanine to Aerodactyl’s Rock Slide, leaving me left with Kartana and Togedemaru against Ryan’s Aerodactyl and Tapu Fini. I wasn’t sure if my Scarf Kartana would outspeed his Tapu Fini under Tailwind, and wasn’t aware of Sky Drop’s incapacitating effect, so I went for Fake Out onto Tapu Fini, leaving Kartana open to be picked up into the air by Aerodactyl. I lost Kartana without even making a move the next turn, thanks to Tailwind expiring the turn Kartana was picked up, and Tapu Fini taking it out the following turn, which I had not expected, and nearly gave me a heart attack! Fortunately Tapu Fini and Aerodactyl were weakened enough for me to close up the game with Togedemaru’s Zing Zap at this point, and thanks to the little rodent, I was able to move on to the Top 4!
Top 4 Martin Tan (LL)
So I had to face Martin again…… At this point I was exhausted after my top 8 match, and had already achieved my goal of making top cut with Togedemaru, so I didn’t put much thought into my Top 4 match, leading to a poor showing. (I’m sorry Martin :P) Not much to say about the game except that Martin played to his outs, and secured 2 wins in a matchup that was decidedly in his favour.
It was great playing VGC again after a while, and felt even better to top cut with Togedemaru. Even though Chien still trash talks Togedemaru, I’m glad my run helped dissuade him to some extent. This MSS will probably be the last tournament I will play in this season as I want to take a break from VGC and school is starting. To all VGC players, good luck in all your future tournaments, and your roads towards Worlds qualification!
- My boyfriend, Chien for giving me the inspiration to use Togedemaru and putting up with my nonsense everyday
- Isaac for the help acquainting me with the fundamentals of the Porygon2/Gigalith core and editing my report
- Yoko for travelling together with me to events
- Wai Yin, Alan, Justin, Matthew, Ryan Chiam, for the dinner session after Day 1
- The tournament organizers for organizing the MSS
- My opponents for the fun games
Till next time!