Thursday, 30 March 2017

March VGC Report Part 2

Hi guys today I am back with another post, this time I will be taking through the rest of my experience regarding VGC in this time, lets get into it:

Teambuilding Post Internationals:
Shoma Honami’s team variant won the Melbourne internationals and it gave rise to more things like drifblim + tapu lele combination that happens to be very popular in this format. I didn’t felt like I had a good starting point but starting out on a new team I had a few things in my mind. Tapu koko + Raichu, Mismagius + Snorlax as a variation of that mimilax leads, another combination and pokemon I tried out was porygon z I was amazed by its raw offensive potential and what its offense held, originally I was using weavile to help for setup alongside porygon z, also to use throat chop, to stop snarl users.
Originally some tests made me think that having multiple combinations as well as an offensive style of team was working really well! I did notice some clear flaws, hariyama wasn’t a good matchup I did have trick room on mismagius but it backfired more than it was useful, I was also having some bulk issues, especially noticed that tapu koko was going down much earlier than I wanted it to, this lead me into thinking, If like my mudsdale I make my snorlax fast it would improve my muk matchup a whole lot, having the idea of an assault vest, or electric seed tapu koko was very much looking promising, furthermore adding efficient bulk to mismagius as a support as well as replacing weavile seemed good, in the option of a pokemon like hariyama and my team having bulk problems granbull seemed ideal however I was hesitant to use it on a team on how underwhelming it is on paper.
This was the time I needed to give this team a serious consideration and make it into a much solid one, my most matches were very much less mentally straining and fast which I also liked about this team. After the addition of granbull and adding bulk investments, the team surely became more of a defensive one. Granbull’s niche was surprisingly working very well, I really liked the natural bulk in my spread. The team overall didn’t end up working out, it was at this point that I threw together some more pokemons and got to try out something I haven’t this team is the following
Porygon-Z @ Normalium Z 
Ability: Adaptability 
Level: 50 
EVs: 116 HP / 12 Def / 156 SpA / 12 SpD / 212 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Hyper Beam 
- Ice Beam 
- Protect 
- Conversion
Granbull @ Aguav Berry 
Ability: Intimidate 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD 
Brave Nature 
IVs: 0 Spe 
- Play Rough 
- Rock Slide 
- Flamethrower 
- Protect
Tapu Koko @ Assault Vest 
Ability: Electric Surge 
Level: 50 
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 28 SpA / 132 SpD / 100 Spe 
Timid Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Thunderbolt 
- Dazzling Gleam 
- Volt Switch 
- Nature's Madness
Raichu-Alola @ Aloraichium Z 
Ability: Surge Surfer 
Level: 50 
EVs: 140 Def / 212 SpA / 156 Spe 
Modest Nature 
- Fake Out 
- Thunderbolt 
- Psychic  
- Growl
Mismagius @ Ghostium Z 
Ability: Levitate 
Level: 50 
EVs: 76 HP / 4 Def / 236 SpA / 4 SpD / 188 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Shadow Ball 
- Destiny Bond 
- Trick Room 
- Will-O-Wisp
Snorlax @ Figy Berry 
Ability: Gluttony 
Level: 50 
EVs: 244 HP / 132 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 124 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
- Facade 
- High Horsepower 
- Belly Drum 
- Recycle

Araquanid + Porygon 2:
I build a more of a random team with pokemons from here or there and got to test out arquanid + porygon 2 combination, it was just lovely! Especially pairing it up with something like a tapu bulu and giving araquanid the tem leftovers with the move substitute made this combination work really well and being a line between the offensive and the defensive, I also got to retry grassium z tapu bulu and felt like it had the same or even a situationally better advantage than other berry variants like I used last month, importance of substitute was something I hadn’t explored into and really liked it. Protect porygon 2 was also a highlight and proved better than expectations.
Note: I tried to use the combination of salazzle’s poison gas + venoshock or hex from partner, but since n partner seemed efficient I dropped on that idea. It was one of the first competitive ideas that came to me when I saw this pokemon, but never got to be in use and this also wasn’t the time too.

AFK Core Build:
Trying out something like a all meta araquanid + porygon 2 core lead me to the realization and surprised me that how hadn’t I tried out the afk core teams yet!? So that was the next stop, without delay I build the team around a very fast and offensive concept as I knew I would like; I went with the triple choice items on my team knowing that I would require a whole lot of switching I had to plan on a pivotal switch, the role was then seemingly best to be fit by a goodra, these four covered up a whole lot of the metagame, I needed more flexibility in this team after thinking about adding a faster tailind mode with something like garchomp + mandibuzz or even drifblim as tempted and ideas like aerodactyl that seemed promising I ended up decided on gigalith which would give me the weather stability especially against any ninetales or tokoal and will also cover me up for a lot of trick room matchups as it naturally does I chose to use curse on this set as I thought it could make this pokemon a better counter to muk in addition to the z-stone. To round out the team I added something more defensive, a protect porygon 2, especially seeing that my team could be bad against pheromosa and realizing portect’s importance in that regard as testing from the previous team, I saw it as a move that completely turns around games in one turn as your opponents often tend to waste their turns by double attacking into porygon 2 with all confidence. Following is the team:

The Team:
Arcanine @ Choice Band 
Ability: Intimidate 
Level: 50 
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
- Flare Blitz 
- Wild Charge 
- Close Combat 
- Extreme Speed
Tapu Fini @ Choice Specs 
Ability: Misty Surge 
Level: 50 
EVs: 156 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 92 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Moonblast 
- Scald 
- Muddy Water 
- Ice Beam
Kartana @ Choice Scarf 
Ability: Beast Boost 
Level: 50 
EVs: 84 HP / 204 Atk / 4 Def / 68 SpD / 148 Spe 
Adamant Nature 
- Leaf Blade 
- Smart Strike 
- Sacred Sword 
- Night Slash
Goodra @ Assault Vest 
Ability: Sap Sipper 
Level: 50 
EVs: 188 HP / 164 Def / 156 SpA 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Dragon Pulse 
- Thunderbolt 
- Flamethrower 
- Sludge Bomb
Gigalith @ Rockium Z 
Ability: Sand Stream 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD 
Brave Nature 
IVs: 0 Spe 
- Rock Slide 
- Earthquake 
- Protect 
- Curse
Porygon2 @ Eviolite 
Ability: Download 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 188 SpD 
Sassy Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe 
- Recover 
- Ice Beam 
- Trick Room 
- Thunderbolt

So since this was a more of a serious build actually worked very well I would like to present an analyses of this team.
First up is the arcanine, I have just loved arcanine for more than one roles in this format, its synergy with so many pokemons makes is so much popular in this format, for the sake of my offensive style I gave a chance to a more offensive variant of an arcanine, this arcanine carries choice band which sets it apart from the usual choices of item slots like life orb or firium z and others include mago or aguav, basically offensive pinch berries. Apart from providing a whole lot of offensive raw power with this item, this item choice really breaks specified calculations, by that I mean taking the example of a gyarados which is built to survive wild charge from life orb arcanine, choice band provides the extra bit of damage for this pokemon and breaks the bulk calculations, especially deceives a lot of people on their damage infliction and gives great advantage to the person using the offensive team by adding to their momentum, choice band seems a common choice but not most people really expect it, that is why it is very good for this type of a team. Overall I wasn’t much troubled by the choice lock on this pokemon. Another important job choice band performs is ko’ing pheromosa especially before it gets a chance to move. Everyone does use adamant arcanine but I chose the jolly the nature to outspeed those tapu lele
Moving further into our main core upnext is tapu fini, another pokemon that I overall liked a lot but never really got to use a whole lot, the main reason was the fact that I liked its bulk and offense but really couldn’t put myself into situations for good setup and then sweeping, an item providing immediate offense would be very good, therefore I chose to go choice specs, moreover getting good inspiration from Sejun Park’s team who also built a very good offensive team around this core, specs was the way. Overall when forming opinion I must say that choice lock was something that didn’t bother me with this team though. Overall what choice specs gave me over setup was a relatively high offensive potential which was able to deal more damage and allowed me to get unexpected os on pokemons like garchomp as well as hariyama as well as on arcanine with scald, muddy water also did a significant amount of damage putting things in ko range from relatively weather attackers on this tea. For the last slot on this team I really didn’t had any bright ideas but as the team later developed I added a few mons like goodra as well as a setup gigalith which I felt like it might as well somewhere be a possible good situation to provide them with recovery, that is why I ended up going with heal pulse. The ev spread maximizes offensive output as well as allows this pokemon to outspeed ev as well as low speed invested arcanines to get kos on them before they start to spam disruption on the field.
The third pokemon of choice is ofcourse non other than kartana, my experience with kartana in the past has been much bittersweet though. I often needed it to be just that tiny bit faster as well as that more presence on the field. Especially when considering a offensive afk core with not much bulk, the thought of tapu koko is very worrying that is why the choice of scarfed kartana did made a lot of sense, also as an answer to other things like tapu lele and etc, kartana’s extra bit of speed can provide great utility for the first two pokemons. On the opinion of usage of scarfed kartana, no matter how good was the speed and faster offense, I did in some games needed to switch out, one of the main things about kartana in this current format is that it is responsible for a lot of coverage and relies on its ability to switch between moves, however good enough switching potential and the help from partners was enough to make it out of difficult situations.
Goodra is simply my choice for one big reason. When I decided that I had an overall offensive core of afk was to be use, I really didn’t like it from the point of view that it would lack the dynamism of bulk and I really needed a good and bulky pokemon for this slot, further providing more and more coverage would be very good just in case any member of the afk core faints. These answers lied in one pokemon, goodra! Goodra is a pokemon I have been trying to put to use however it really doesn’t often on work out for me as my team choice for it isn’t correct, this time with the team being bulky goodra can provide the role of utility offense really well. Other really good things goodra can do in this format is due to its sap sipper ability which allows it to further perform further jobs such as countering the lilligant + torkoal lead as well as makes its matchup against  celesteela and kartana a whole lot better, providing more and more coverage was further amazing for this team. Goodra’s pure dragon type ability allows it to take oup the weaknesses of the afk core really well upon switch ins.
I was really confused on the last two slots of this team, mainly because the afk core has so many and just so many variations I had the opportunity to go from a mandibuzz to a drifblim or a tapu koko or a ninetales variation, they just never stop, garchomp was another seemingly good choice on these core’s teams. I chose gigalith because my pokemon were seemingly fast, on the thought of countering the beast of trick room I really needed something and a very obvious answer to that question happens to be a gigalith, furthermore I didn’t have a z-move user on my team, gigalith could take up for those movslots. This format also packed many threatening and disruptive flying types like drifblim, mandibuzz and talonflame and the core of arcanine + gyarados could also prove troublesome for me gigalith countered all of them. the set I chose for gialith might be questionable seeing that on my afk core I really didn’t have any obvious answers to muk, that is why I decided to give it curse set which could make its matchup against a muk much better. Earthquake was a tech further used for pokemons like nihilego, tapu koko and magnezone. Magnet rise magnezone gave me trouble in a game, but on the other end I realized that I could have handled it by using arcanine anyways.
Last but not the least is a very standard porygon 2 with a twist. I was testing out the gigalith slot and felt like it really needed a good partner and more cover around it. I asked here and there and porygon 2 was the best option. Porygon 2 also provided a partial trick room mode or could help a lot in reversing it, further getting access to recovery this makes porygon 2 more useful. The trick on this porygon 2 is the move protect. I though long about this moveslot. After thinking I decided that protect was good for pokemons especially liked pheromosa, or pokemons with fightinium z furthermore porygon 2 is the pokemon that often falls prey to big double targets, using a protect on the turn of such moves in the porygon 2 slot, the move completely changes the way of the match and makes it much useful for you. Usually porygon 2 run two offensive moves for whatever the coverage on the team may call for, porygon 2 wasn’t the debate of keeping coverage on this team. All I could have need was ice beam to beat garchomp better, the other offensive moveslot wasn’t needed that is why protect was quite useful moveslot here. I went for the ability analytic due to move users of foul play, mainly I realized that I didn’t needed my trick room mode unless gigalith was my key to win, that is why analytic would be a tiny bit more useful in those matchups and will provide more accurate damage output. The main reason also lied behind my major fails on RNG in my past team, for this team I didn’t want to rely on it as much as possible. The spread is a something made to counter double ducks, and was placed on the fact that it again top cut the internationals so it might rise in usage somewhere.

Balele Team:

Drifblim @ Psychic Seed 
Ability: Unburden 
Level: 50 
Shiny: Yes 
EVs: 4 HP / 132 Def / 100 SpA / 124 SpD / 148 Spe 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Shadow Ball 
- Tailwind 
- Will-O-Wisp 
- Thunder Wave
Tapu Lele @ Wiki Berry 
Ability: Psychic Surge 
Level: 50 
EVs: 236 HP / 212 Def / 60 SpA 
Modest Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Psychic 
- Dazzling Gleam 
- Calm Mind 
- Protect
Krookodile @ Groundium Z 
Ability: Intimidate 
Level: 50 
EVs: 68 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 180 Spe 
Jolly Nature 
- Earthquake 
- Fire Fang 
- Taunt 
- Protect
Machamp @ Fightinium Z 
Ability: No Guard 
Level: 50 
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def 
Brave Nature 
IVs: 0 Spe 
- Dynamic Punch 
- Stone Edge 
- Wide Guard 
- Protect
Salazzle @ Focus Sash 
Ability: Oblivious 
Level: 50 
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe 
Timid Nature 
- Flamethrower 
- Fake Out 
- Encore 
- Sludge Bomb
Tapu Koko @ Assault Vest 
Ability: Electric Surge 
Level: 50 
Shiny: Yes 
EVs: 236 HP / 12 Def / 28 SpA / 132 SpD / 100 Spe 
Timid Nature 
IVs: 0 Atk 
- Thunderbolt 
- Dazzling Gleam 
- Volt Switch 
- Nature's Madness

From the start of this archetype it was interesting me a whole lot, but building a proper team around it quite tough for me also my experience playing with shoma honami’s team was quite terrible to say at the least, I would always mess up laying that team and will never be able to win with it, that was when I started to test things out my most common ideas were using thunder wave drifblim to counter mirror matchups as well as have tapu lele with protect to stop double targets. I tested some other pokemons and a ground type seemed ideal so I added krookodile to complete a core on my team. From that point on added in the duo of tapu koko + salazzle which were the exact fit in this team for coverage and a hyper offensive combination further favored me much. Adding in machamp was something a bit of a niche over a more common choice like hariyama, following is a somewhat brief explanation of these pokemons, most of the explanation is not generally about the pokemons but my though process on why are they what they are on this specific team:
Drifblim is not my style which was something I sure did learn, a lot of people starting strongly considering the threat of drifblim on their teambuilds and most of the teams I faced had strong counters to it, especially the niche of a thunder tapu koko got me twice so I built a modified spread to live that and then further make it be able to live golduck’s z-move so that it could spread t-wave to hinder that combination. My drifblim had the ability to outspeed a usual speed invested tapu fini on it as well as ofcourse outspeed pheromosa under a tailwind, the special attack investment, I still believe allows it to 2hko tapu lele as well as a drifblim.
Tapu lele was much better for me in this form especially because it could be able to do things other than fit on the side of drifblim, this set allowed it to dodge those threatening double target attacks as well as allowed it to live strong attacks like kartana’s smart strike, following it up with a wiki berry could greatly help it, and more than its potential looks on paper. Other job of tapu lele was surely to switch into those hariyama + porygon 2 lead as a strong disruptor for that fake out and can also act as a late game wall against relatively weaker special attackers. I tried to keep it minimal in speed to under speed fini that might be fishing to outspeed those slightly invested lele for mirrors, especially as drifblim was on the side to provide the speed control of thunder wave + tailwind, I hypothetically had no trouble against tapu lele mirrors.
Krookodile was supposed to be a dugtrio but didn’t came to be the final choice as it was to frail, in thought of forming a core around balele lead, I felt like that krookodile will be very good fr me to be able to shuffle around those two, krookodile had a lot of answers to their threat, especially through its typing it was great, especially being able to counter muk and electric types was a big achievement for this pokemon, its ability of intimidate further really helped my first two pokemons to further buff up their defenses.
Before this combination I was reading a report about salazzle + tapu koko and I was really excited to test its potential, when I was seeing what mons could I need to counter next on this team, kartana was a big threat also water types like araquanid and tapu fini were not handled well enough by my first three, in this case tapu koko + salazzle seemed a great fit into this team. Salazzle seemed very amazing and useful with all of its moves, whereas when I tried life orb tapu kokoi didn’t felt like it was good enough as it seemed very frail and I always regret taking the life orb chip damage, assault vest spread did best on this team especially.
Last came in machamp as a set of poekmons I could not counter with my first five pokemons was specifically fighting types and even more dangerously that porygon 2 and snorlax, I needed a strong fighting type, hariyama seemed good however I didn’t use it because I felt like having moves with less consequences was somewhat even more better than having a pokemon with fake out support, especially on a tapu lele team I would hesitate to use 2 fake out users, having a strong stone edge alongside a strong fighting move was good for pokemons like marowak, arcanine as well as araquanid.

Metagame of March:
Up at a point in this month I felt no need to specifically right this section in this month’s report, however seeing a few trends rising here and there the need for this became more desirable:

New Members Added:
Drifblim:
Drifblim I feel like has been one of the biggest changes in this metagame so far, starting from null, 2 its usage starting rising from the team of Shoma Honami who used it alongside a tapu lele, by carrying the seed items raise its defensive stats and then allow its unburden ability to activate making it the naturally speediest thing on the field whereas from that point on it can help support the team. It can carry a whole set of moves like tailwind, will-o-wisp and shadow ball which are the most common and then can use moves like disable, destiny bond, acrobatics , manual weather or haze to further support its partners. It is most likely and most commonly seen as a lead partner with tapu lele (most popular) or tapu fini.

Buzzwole;
Up at this point people only saw it as a side ultra beast that maybe got a little bit of usage here and there, a team that had buzzwole did make it into the top 8 of the Australia internationals, from that point and onwards people really have started using more buzzwole than they used to, evidence shows that it now includes the top 30 most used pokemons in the metagame on battle spot. By the end of the month it was again not very relevant to consider as the metagame.

New Electricity On The Field:
As pokemons like buzzwole rose in usage so did a few other parts of this metagame that weren’t considered to be much at all, pokemons like magnezone and togedemaru winning two regionals in this month, did leave an impact on this game and so did rose their usage, togedemaru is usually seen in teams that carry gyarados and as a supportive tactic whereas magnezone is used as a offensive powerhouse and is usually seen mostly on Shoma Honami’s team.

Shifting Trends:
Downfall of Metagame Members:
Pokemons like marowak and tapu bulu have seen a very significant decline in usage. Tapu bulu got driven out f the top 30 whereas marowak came close to being driven out, both these pokemons still have some viability in this format, however the main reason for their decline include that they can’t fit well alongside some of the strongest metagame options in this format, that is why usually get ignored while teambuilding. However by the end of the month marowak got significance in its usage, this was most likely due to its strong matchup against drifblim + tapu lele usually paired up with trick room teams.

Gigalith rises in usage:
As we saw some pokemons start to get less usage some others and particularly gigalith saw a significant rise in usage, the reason for this seemed that it now gets access to the move curse which gives it the ability to counter muk as well on certain defensive teams, other than that its disruptive weather and the ability to counter arcanine + gyarados cores as well as handling trick room is countable when talking about its viability.

Arcanine on top! :
Another thing that we saw rising in this month was the arcanine coming back on the top of the ladder, arcanine can go well with almost every pokemon and every team. Something new about the trend in the usage of arcanine was the addition in the usage of mixed arcanines, as in arcanines that were a mix of offensive and defensive or supportive variants as well as the addition of things like the usage of assault vest arcanine.

Conclusion:

So guys this was it for this month’s VGC report, hopefully you liked it, I overall really liked this month because there were quite some significant metagame changes as well as some amazing tournaments happening, especially a favorite finally winning a regionals was quite fun to watch! Hopefully you liked this post and enjoyed going through it. Bye for now!

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