Tuesday, 7 February 2017

February VGC Report : Part 1

Hi guys I am back this time with another new month’s VGC report, so far this season has been a blast for me, after testing out a lot of teams and variants in all sorts of different teams that I built and tested, I felt quite satisfied from the regret of last season when I didn’t even build one double primal team throughout the entire season, in such a short metagame. However this time testing loads earlier I feel quite satisfied already, with the excitement about this season settling down a bit I wanted to stick to my original style and wanted to do a team that I will play and ladder with the entire February:

Trying out a New Team:
So after I was done patching up my work for the last month’s report, I knew that the few upcoming months would be quite stressful from the studied I have to do, so this time I decided to have different teambuilding goals, the first idea that I got of the ‘purely my style’ team was a full team of pokemons that were not a part of the metagame. Following is what I came up with:
The combination I started out with the combination of flygon with dragon dance to setup alongside togedemaru’s support to take out a lot of pokemons with its move coverages. On the side I had another surprisingly strange togedemaru variant with sturdy and poisonium z especially to make my matchup ideal with the koko chomp lead. Scarf silvally was somewhat good with speed but really bad with the choice lock it could outspeed things like garchomp, kartana and gyarados easily and get kos back on them before they even attack. Moreover the main abuser of this moveset was the explosion tactics, I would feel so tempted whenever this thing was on the field to launch a big explosion which did work out in some cases. Then came my coverage F/W/G core out of which ofcourse turtonator is terrible but I chose it to handle the late game 1v1s against physical attackers. The combination of trevenant and primarina together as a core was what worked the most on this team, and flygon with setup was really nice too, however with such a demanding thing of the no-meta team I felt like scraping this team and never looking back to it (of course it had influence on the main team to come)

The Second Attempt:
Moving on I start thinking of what could I use? Xurkitree was the biggest UB when the meta started but gradually no one ended up using it at all, xurkitree was gonna be the star that I would want to make shine in this team of mine. First thing that comes to mind was clefairy to pair it up with a scarfed xurkitree. Clefairy took on numerous things like defensive support, redirection support, and the all worthy and big trick room counter. Clefairy was made to survive a golduck’s strongest z move in rain with the addition of living general things like kartana’s smart strike. Xurkitree worked well with scarf and all the speed it got but failed in its choice locks where I had to lose the boost or just get ko’d without dishing out much damage.
Up next what I come up with is a marowak counter and an offensive ground type counter, to which I ended up concluding in the form of an offensive politoed and oh boy did it work out really well! Biggest and most satisfying accomplishments of this politoed were that it ko’d arcanines with its z-move after a snarl. This ended up being one of those oh just threw it on and it works really well. Minior was added cuz it gets somewhat setup and worked similarly to politoed, it had great importance in many games where it got a setup in its defense form and even if its shell was broken took over and completely dominated some games I would actually really recommend you guys trying it out.
Upnext is krookodile, krookodile fit in this team extremely well and then supported it further too, using groudinium z it could take out a lot of important pokemons that my first four couldn’t handle that easily. Snarl I added because I realized that I add a lack of counters to tapu lele so I often dedicated playing with krookodile to get around its strategies. Torkoal is the weirdest decision however fills the rest of the roles that my team needed to accomplish, something 1 v 1 against a kartana would have been nice, torkoal works on the same theory of turtonator only if a whole lot better than it. Also later on the weird combination of torkoal’s eruption and clefairy was workable if my opponents mainly had single attackers and if torkoal threatened a number of their pokemons, also this combination can play around those gigalith leads whereas I would keep up my weather and then go for a surprising after you + solar beam to do loads to the gigalith.
The good things about this team were that it worked well, however lacks the synergy and dynamism between its members, I could use this team effectively however when my opponents lead and adjusted really well there were a few opportunities for me to come back in the game, in most games I won by getting a lot of kos early on so that I had more advantage in positioning. This team was very good, however wasn’t as good to play very flexibly, from this team I concluded that it was hyper offensively which aspect I quite liked but the synergy lacked.

The Third Attempt:
This time I felt like getting my resources correctly, first thing I did was go to the gbl and check out what mons were in usage to my surprise my enemy and an old friend arcanine was on number on followed by the all terrible chomp and koko combination. Following there were thirty of the most used pokemons. And then started to build around what I had learned from the previous rejected teams to be considered as a final attempt to build up a new one and better, following were the things I wanted in this team:
1)      Hyper offensive + Support
2)      Surprise offense (helped me tons in the xurkitree team with elements of politoed and scarf, and even before with togedemaru, primarina and flygon)
3)      Flexibility and Cores.
Moving into the teambuilding I had a glance at the top 30 ones used, I saw a lot of pokemons that can be brought down by ground and rock type moves, so I started to build around something somewhat surprising as well as something good there, and came to mind a much useful and old friend of mine, the mudsdale, it had good ground coverage, steel coverage and rock coverage, coverage of all sorts which could do a lot of things in this metagame, after failing for what counters grass, ice and water types, I came up to using torkoal, but rejected it at first after thinking for alternatives, but then ended up putting it on. Since ihave tried out torcoal however without lilligant, I was tempted to use it with lilligant this time, after the addition of lilligant I needed t core around with a fire water and grass type on, ended p taking in the previous combination of torkoal and politoed both of which weathers could help out lilligant and were getting on an offensive side.
Tapu koko came to be the helper of politoed here, with the soak combination I could see it working well also the fairium z provided some important kos in this metagame which this team surely needed, the weird swagger provided the surprising offense combination I was thinking about from the start of this team with mudsdale, the concept being inspired from things like early meta own tempo self swagger mudsdales as well as the recent found combination of tapu fini and muk, and my combination completely does oppose that one so I was quite confident with this decision. The last pokemon was ideally on the offensive end was supposed to be a fighting and dark coverage user to cover up mons like oranguru, snorlax, p-z and p2 however I ended up putting on a mimikyu to make the team defensive and give it trick room which could be extremely useful for my mudsdale and torkoal as well as adding taunt generally counters things like oranguru, snorlax, porygon 2 and porygon z, further with more physically offensive coverage. Following is the first team that was on the paper, Now it was the time to test!
Oh boy! This was one of the most satisfying teams to use that I have built in quite some time, with the recent months most teams giving me trouble building them, this was had all the criteria I needed, it was hyper offensive, surprising, had supportive elements to stabilize the team whenever in trouble or to adjust and the dynamism between its members was surprisingly as good in actual environment of the game as it looked down on the paper. I loved it quite much and was confident it I from the point of view of laddering. Especially in the first day of testing it out on ps I jumped from the 1200s to the 1400s in just an hour of practicing with most loses coming in really close to a win, the team was winning me games quickly and I was quite generally comfortable using it as well. All six members took part in the games and I felt it was the team I should use throughout the month.

The Team:


Mudsdale @ Assault Vest 
Ability: Own Tempo 
Level: 50 
EVs: 116 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 132 Spe 
Adamant Nature 
- High Horsepower 
- Heavy Slam 
- Rock Slide 
- Earthquake 

First up is the starting point of the team, however I would say not the star of my team as all the members were somewhat working well as partners with each other but mudsdale surely was exactly what I wanted to have on this team of mine, seeing a lot of top pokemons including nihilego, marowak, arcanine, tapu koko, gigalith, torkoal and tapu lele as well as the some raichu around were going to be easily countered by the attacks of a mudsdale. Mudsdale also provided the side coverage of the often under-appreciated move rock slide, as coverage was required it could beat some of the things like talonflame, pelliper and gyarados too, however these were uncommon alongside the ones mentioned above it was worth keeping over other coverage moves like close combat or payback. In the end I kept earthquake to when I wanted to use things like more spread moves on a team especially against the cases of redirection supports. Earthquake also provided a 100% accurate ground stab move on the team.
Its role proved more to be of a offensive sweeper in different ways, it can either tank attacks and then go for the powerful attacks of its own, in other cases it was acting as a trick room sweeper. Mudsdale is quiet a simple pokemon however is an extremely important pokemon in this current metagame as an individual. Some cons of mudsdale were its strange speed tier I would a lot of the times wish it to outspeed pokemons like muk too, however there as like tapu fini which are usually slow and bulky but still do outspeed and can damage mudsdale for loads of damage.
After noticing how amazing was mudsdale’s utility, especially against pokemons like muk which can use knock off or the poison jabs to completely disrupt my game plans, I decided to pump up its ev spread, this was why I gave my mudsdale a speed investment which made it outspeed a 4 speed invested muk which I thought was just very amazing for a mudsdale that can outspeed and OHKO that pokemon most of the times.


Torkoal @ Charcoal 
Ability: Drought 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 212 SpA / 44 SpD 
Quiet Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe 
- Eruption 
- Heat Wave 
- Solar Beam 
- Protect 

I was really thinking about how to keep mudsdale long enough on the field, the first threats that came to mind were pokemons like kartana, tapu fini and water types like the double ducks, ninetales and vanilluxe were the next common threats, to sum up the threats they were common in ice, water and grass types, there was only one true pokemon to the rescue and it was torkoal that could easily counter a lot o those pokemons really well. Torkoal was quite a multipurpose pokemon in some games, whether it was brought to disrupt or was just a big sweeper right from the start.
Its role actually happened to become something more than a usual torkoal that happens to throw off powerful fire type attacks. Sometimes it was a support to serve for lilligant’s speed as you will learn about that aspect down below, in other times it acted as a usual torkoal and however that functions. And then in the third of its roles it came in as a damaging option for the late games, where most of my opponent have low health pokemons and I can use torkoal effectively to take them out. Especially it can take 1v1 situations against pokemons like celesteela and kartana. Its ev spread allowed it to take a hydro pump from a choice specs tapu fini in sun.
For alternative options when torkoal functioned as a late game damage dealer was that I keep it with sitrus berry and with the move flamethrower because every attack from a slower and frailer pokemon against individual like celesteela and kartana was important, however the charcoal option and heat wave also did helped me loads in the late game and I really don’t remember any games which I terribly lost because of this very variant, so having this option on it wasn’t bad at all though.


Lilligant @ Focus Sash 
Ability: Chlorophyll 
Level: 50 
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Leaf Storm 
- Hidden Power [Fire] 
- After You 
- Protect 

Since both of my first pokemon were quite slow though, I wanted to pair up with some fast options around them the obvious things were a trick room setter, but knowing my style I felt that trick room was quite a passive setting for offense, making things easier I felt like going with the tempt to use a lilligant + torkoal combination on this team of mine lilligant could also be quite an offensive mon with some disruptive support, however this set did originally opt for the hidden power fire which makes it work out great against pokemons like kartana too! It could also get loads onto pheromosa which even my fast politoed could not be able to outspeed.
Lilligant and surprisingly to acted as a sweeper in more than many games, it could, as I said and may I repeat OHKO’ed pokemons and threats like kartana which wasn’t that big of a surprise, but more than that it was able to beat up others like tapu fini and tapu koko even in one leaf storm, the times it missed were surely pretty unsatisfying and sad.


Politoed @ Choice Scarf 
Ability: Drizzle  
Level: 50 
EVs: 4 HP / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Scald 
- Hydro Pump 
- Ice Beam 
- Haze 

Upnext was the other tempted to bring back the combination of politoed and torkoal on this team of mine. The thing about this combination is that they can work effectively together as sweepers, politoed also as an offensive sweeper so as torkoal have their different ways to be used in the metagame, if politoed or torkoal was a supportive pokemon their weather and usage would have clashed with each other quite much, that is the reasoning that they work well with each other with these two variants. On y last team trying out politoed was quite effective and fun however its few weak points were not being bulky enough to take hits before launching more than one or two offensive hits and with neither my lilligant or torkoal carrying ice attacks in the first place I would have loved it to go for a choice scarf to outspeed and ko most garchomps, also it will allow my politoed to go before the snarl users in this format (arcanine) and launch powerful hits to get kos on them.
Haze is the most uncommon move you have seen on a politoed however it is the one with most reasoning here, as you’d expect the fourth filler slot to be, I had a perish song here which would help me counter late game situations like sweeper and it did got the best opportunity to prove itself against a set up tapu fini and snorlax (too bad I never brought mimikyu) I did use perish song and I failed as I didn’t thought of it much. The reason haze is the always better move here is: there is a lot of offensive sweeping in this format, setters like tapu fini and snorlax as mentioned above as well as others like eeveemancy teams and dangerous defensive ub boosts are surely very scary, perish song could not even work for this team too, as I really don’t have any bulky pokemons too to stall in the late game, shutting down a few turns of setup was a whole lot more helpful in these situations than perish song or any other move.
Haze surprisingly was also able to counter the one standard pallosand team that was running around in the metagame at the time I made this decision which made my matchup pretty decent against those teams.


Tapu Koko @ Fairium Z 
Ability: Electric Surge 
Level: 50 
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Thunderbolt 
- Dazzling Gleam 
- Swagger 
- Protect 

With the pokemons mentioned above I had a core and a promising way to support the worthy and all important mudsdale in the current metagame. Now came the idea of using something to abuse the own tempo, as planned for an ability for mudsdale, the most desirable option was a tapu pokemon, bulu would have done good in this specific team however would have failed to provide and dynamism useful coverage, therefore I came to use a tapu koko. This is probably why my tapu koko does carry that swagger of all moves. One way to abuse it was the mudsdale and the other in those luck based situations as I did remember once getting a gyarados to + 3 and then getting it to hit itself in confusion which ended up getting me to win the game. I used fairium z as my item choice in combination with the modest nature as I didn’t wanted any tapu koko, dazzling gleam mirror fights as well as I wanted to ohko things like krookodile and garchomp before they get a chance to attack me, it did ended up working really well as a source of z-move especially against the purposes it was chosen for, modest nature is something I consider more useful in this metagame as timid doesn’t really matter over much other than things like timid gengar to timid tapu koko, it does outspeed all other mons in this metagame.


Mimikyu @ Ghostium Z 
Ability: Disguise 
Level: 50 
EVs: 164 HP / 84 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
- Shadow Sneak 
- Play Rough 
- Trick Room 
- Taunt 

Up last is somewhat that magically fulfils all the last slot needs for this team, when I looked back to my mons to counter list there were normal types like porygon 2, porygon z and snorlax as well as oranguru, all of them had status move aspects and can be countered effectively with a faster taunt, on the types list I wanted to counter there were left ghost and psychic types, and I also wanted a pokemon that could take hits for some pokemons as well as provide me trick room as a secondary option for mudsdale and torkoal, all the problems could be handled really well by mimikyu and so it did, one of the most satisfying things were switching it in a z-move for 0 damage.
Shadow sneak also has got reasoning. I did saw a lot of the times when I wished to have shadow sneak, further upon checking I found out that the time I was using this very team most people were using focus sash pheromosa and kartana also the ever sashed peliper gave me trouble. The offensive ob that I needed from mimikyu mainly was ohko’ing tapu lele with a z move, which it does accomplish with a attack investment of 84 with the move shadow sneak. The rest I did tossed into bulk which to my surprise does make it survive a muk’s gunk shot even which isn’t that common but surely something to look upon especially it was helpful to cover up for those first test games where I felt the need for having a bulkier set, this set explains and solves both issues really well. Mimikyu was also able to cover the less used options in the metagame like gengar and goodra as well as whimsicott well.

Combinations to talk:

 Mudsdale + Tapu Koko:
Mudsdale is a ground type whereas tapu koko is an electric + fairy type if we look back on the most meta of this metagame, the tapu koko + garchomp which I have tried before and the most which works on it is the ground + electric coverage. Also if we look on the used trends of the swagger tapu fini + muk combination, you can also see the reflection of this combination in mine and more importantly is anti- the fini  muk combination, in other forms the mudsdale + tapu koko combination with the coverage it can carry covers a really big part of this metagame on its very own.

 Lilligant + Torkoal:
Lilligant + torkoal combination is somewhat becoming less limited in this metagame as more people atleast would have one combination to counter, however generally it wont lose its importance with the strong grass type + fire type offensive presence on field it will be active for quite some time. Lilligant + torkoal is quite a different type of a threatening lead that is why people do consider and plan atleast one counter to those teams and leads that carry this combination of pokemons, for the teams that are unprepared it can quickly run through a lot of teams

Lilligant + Politoed + Torkoal:
This core does come in great use especially against the combination of garchomp + tapu koko, what I would do is lead lilligant + torkoal and politoed in the back, turn one I protect torkoal due to the fear of a z move from garchomp on the torkoal slot as well as a protect from the tapu koko if neither happens I get the ko on koko, next turn switch in politoed and take out the chomp with a ice beam, if koko protects I can still use the speed boost next turn as I didn’t switch in politoed and protected torkoal, if garchomp even goes for torkoal with a z-move through protect it does not OHKO it and torkoal can often effectively serve as a late game damage dealer, whereas losing politoed to the z-move would be very bad. This is quite my usual play of going around those leads. Furthermore politoed switched in numerous times against an arcanine that was looking to target down my lilligant.
For now I did pretty much considered this a complete team however I knew that there were going to be tournaments which may or who knows may not influence this metagame a whole lot, so I could really adjust to them accordingly as well. Before any big metagame happens I was planning to keep this team and laddering with it, it got me to near 1600’s on ps in the next few days too.

Updating my team:
So soon after testing and making those important adjustments and making the calcs for the metagame, it worked well in the first however there was a sudden downfall of this team on the ladder as I started having the issues like one with the previous team, following were the pokemons that I adjusted accordingly and future changes on this team that I had in mind:

Mimikyu:

Mimikyu @ Ghostium Z 
Ability: Disguise 
Level: 50 
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
IVs: 0 Spe 
- Shadow Claw 
- Play Rough 
- Trick Room 
- Taunt

I changed shadow sneak on the basis of hypothesis as it would potentially prove better than things like shadow claw, however it made its actually good job worse than what I wanted it too. Shadow claw was then proved to be a much useful move as it also allowed me to hit tapu lele more accurately, if tapu lele protected in the turn of the z-move, I would lose all good offensive potential agaist it and shadow sneak could not even work. The other problems shadow sneak caused was that it made certain plays of mine more and more confusing, such as going for a shadow sneak on things like kartana, pheromosa and peliper with other pokemons that could handle these situations a lot better than mimikyu’s assistance, also the z-move power was terrible with shadow sneak as it couldn’t once even take out a +1 mudsdale on the quarter of its health when it was my only chance to win, which made me reverse the decision.

Torkoal:

Torkoal @ Sitrus Berry 
Ability: Drought 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 212 SpA / 44 SpD 
Quiet Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe 
- Eruption 
- Flamethrower 
- Solar Beam 
- Protect

As time passed I noticed that torkoal was becoming more passive on the offensive roles as most people did had a counter or two to it, and the offensive job I needed from it from the start was only to be fulfilled by moves like eruption too, also the shaky accuracy of moves like heat wave had me challenged, therefore using the earlier hypothesized flamethrower + sitrus berry set came in handy, especially after noticing some game losses where that extra bit of health could be essential, this could also prove better against 1v1 against a celesteela

Lilligant:

Lilligant @ Focus Sash 
Ability: Chlorophyll 
Level: 50 
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Leaf Storm 
- Hidden Power [Fire] 
- After You 
- Teeter Dance

Lilligant was almost never using its protect slot, I was quite hesitant to put sleep powder to avoid those terrible plays that I would then make and I know I would, with pokemons like mudsdale that have confusion immunity, teeter dance could be the next ideal thing when lilligant couldn’t  much better offensively.

Politoed future thoughts:
Mostly I did plan this for a potential rebuild of this team and most likely when the big events pass by which may swirl up the metagame, politoed proved to be very much helpful against some of the most popular pokemons in this format, however it often lacked enough defensive support around it in some games losing politoed in the early game made it difficult and made me nervous on how I could make a comeback in a match. I would love to also centralize a future version of this team around politoed more as it does cover a lot of the meta options nicely and with a surprise.

Metagame of early February:

Snorlax picks up popularity:
Aa big number of different snorlax teams started coming up with snorlax having usually the belly drum as a first, these modern snorlax are usually supported well by the idea of the curse + recycle sets that really make them somewhat of a tapu fini on the physical spectrum of the format, however gaining 50% back every turn is something surely to look upon at, high horsepower does support a snrolax quite much in this metagame where this type of coverage is desirable, the stab attack is usually return however some people who seek the danger of status to be used against it like toxic and burns, also do opt for facade which makes it into a really big threat as u try to counter them.
Arcanine to the top!
Arcanine, atleast to my surprise was a pokemon that was toping the ladder, not in one specific region but all of them combined, with recent rise in increase of Kartana + Arcanine + Tapu Fini cores and with arcanine being viable and synergetic with pokemons like nihilego and usually partnered with some other intimidaters option too is something that makes this pokemon very much viable and useful on a wide variety of teams.

Mandibuzz + Tapu Fini:
The combination of annoyance in my experience was he early metagame combination of mandibuzz + tapu fini leads, something that forms a sturdy wall against quite some teams. Mandibuzz usually carrying the item of fairy seed boosting its special defense with tapu fini holding the wonders of leftovers + protect + calm mind combination with the assistance of mandibuzz’s tailwind becomes a very big threat for opponents, some mandibuzz have taken to using snarl + foul play combinations which can hamper both physical and specially offensive tactics, even more annoying is when mandibuzz carries with itself, the move roost, which if you have no answer too, you surely will pay.

Pallosand & Friends:
Well known players took to a strategy with weakness policy pallosand may be with amnesia by pairing it up with a water shuriken smeargle, and formed a very solid team around it, usually and from what I have seen the combination consists of pokemons like porygon-z, celesteela and gigalith, especially with sand could help out mainly celesteela stalls and aids the pallosand’s shore up recovery are sure to be annoying.

Conclusion:

So guys this was it for this month’s report and its first part, the reason I am doing this so early is to share all the fun experiences I had in this month, to discuss some changes and to further share my team and experiences with it, Hope you guys liked reading and going through this post and it was worth your time. Bye for now!

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