Friday, 19 May 2017

May VGC Report : Part 1

Hey guys today I am back and will share another month’s VGC experience of mine, these types of posts have been very good of a diary for me to keep for everyone’s display to what VGC 17 went like, I believe a lot of time has been passed in this format, without further ado lets get into this post:

Teambuilding in May:
The month of may didn’t start very well for me, between the last few days of the past moth I was trying out Link’s Internationals winning team with a small modification of using a timid nature lilligant to outspeed others’ which came handy against people who were also using the same team. Then as the month started I started to look into new ideas for a new team after looking through the dex and finding pokemons like vaporeon and scizor, I wasn’t motivated enough to build around them as a desirable idea of belly drum hariyama didn’t work extremely well. Then I happened to realize that I still hadn’t used a metagross into a team of mine and started building around it.
 Metagross was something I planned to use with the idea of a dragon steel and fairy core, where the core of garchomp + Vikavolt seemed good with it, the idea of using Tapu Koko seemed way more flexible to use with this pokemon, I took inspiration from the idea of using a weakness policy metagross with a bulldoze partner, assault vest garchomp was also a variant I was interested in using and from all the things it could cover for what metagross was weak to longetivity was required in theory from this slot, then I added talonflame which surprisingly had answers to a lot of tricky matchups, trevenant seemed a good call to keep for the late game of snorlax, porygon 2 and celesteela as well and rounded out the team with a politoed to evade from arcanine’s intimidate as well as provide weather support. Following is the detailed analysis of the team:

The Team:

Metagross @ Weakness Policy  
Ability: Clear Body  
Level: 50  
EVs: 92 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 156 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- Meteor Mash  
- Zen Headbutt  
- Bullet Punch  
- Protect

As you know the team starts out with metagross, more or less not star of the team, but it can dominate against the correct matchups, when I generally think about metagross as an overall pokemon I don’t think of it as doing a whole lot, probably the reason why I never chose to use it on any team before, however it can beat pokemons like hariyama, mimikyu, nihilego and tapu lele very easily, a few pokemons of the metagame that a person like me finds trouble to counter immediately. I didn’t really work much on the spread, nor do I know much calcs however, it does happen to survive atleast one flare blitz from an opposing arcanine. The weakness policy boost it gains turns around a lot of games and is an amazing strategy to go out for from the start of a lot of games.
The speed stat that I allowed for this metagross spread allows it to outspeed most tapu lele and normally invested tapu fini that tend to go for outspeeding an eevee to land a muddy water before they move, this also allows me to move before eevee if I ever get the opportunity to get to move before it. I chose to use bullet punch over other moves as priority helped a lot against tricky pokemons like ninetales and frailer tapu lele under the terrain of my favor.

Garchomp @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Rough Skin  
Level: 50  
EVs: 28 HP / 172 Atk / 4 Def / 52 SpD / 252 Spe  
Jolly Nature  
- Earthquake  
- Bulldoze  
- Rock Slide  
- Flamethrower

Garchomp was my pokemon of choice when I decided to use the bulldoze + wp strategy with my team, even though bulldoze does a somewhat significant amount metagross however it isn’t that damaging to my own strategy, bulldoze seems to be an interesting move on this garchomp, it also helps me in other situations where I need to get a pokemon to -1 to set up an easy win con or whenever i net to set an safety net. Talking about other interesting moves on my garchomp flamethrower is also quite a noticeable one there, it allows me to evade any unfortunate freeze situations from porygon 2, also as I believe gets more damage onto a kartana, more accurate damage, this choice reminds me of people when people ran more accurate fire type moves in the past season. Rock slide was something I never thought that I’ll keep however it ended up being somewhat significantly useful in my matches as the dynamism of rock and ground moves was working well as somewhat of a pin.
 The spread was copied from a recent team that won regionals, it seemed very much amazing, it once even survived a tapu koko’s twinkle tackle, really what more could I ask there! I think it’s a 3hko from most common tapu lele, overall I really liked this spread on the bulk was just enough, I knew that the assault vest was the correct option from the start of the teambuilding as what roles I required were needing more longevity of garchomp on the field.

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

Tapu koko and vikavolt’s choice needs to be solved first. I chose tapu koko as I overall liked it very much, it was fast, basically the roles required from this mon were that I needed something that could made a core with garchomp and metagross, vikavolt, was slow which wasn’t my style to begin with, it didn’t gave me terrain, vikavolt was weak to arcanine and even garchomp with assault vest was somewhat more threatened by arcanine, tapu koko got a better situational advantage on that. Tapu koko gave me a solid lead option with garchomp and all the advantages mentioned above, especially as lilligant teams are somewhat of a rise in usage, electric terrain could really end up helping there to avoid sleep powder trouble.
Farium z koko was something that I started using in February and I never realized that I was this big of a fan of this variant of the pokemon until I made up this team even. Overall I really like it for the utility that it provides to you that you can ohko most opposing garchomp, hariyama as well as tapu koko in one hit, for the tapu koko decision I happened to give it timid nature to possible outspeed the oppositions whenever it was needed. Most of this tapu koko is very standard, however the choice of thunder came after I made politoed a solid part of the team, as it covered up my big complaint from a tapu koko that it always lacks in doing enough damage output to oppositions.

Upnext is talonflame, a pokemon I thought was very niche, however presented to me in its performance as a very solid pokemon that requires a bit of a different method to lay effectively. I don’t know much of where this pokemon mostly comes from and never have I ever seen a metagross core team with a talonflame, mostly I was looking to cover up tricky matchups as well as something that could allow me to be safe from ground attacks, talonflame came in as a solid fit, when I talk about tricky matchups I am mainly thinking at this point about teams reliant on mimikyu for trick room and my theory was to go for a double taunt strategy, something I used in a previous team of mine, however I realized its z-move can do really well in trick room as well, which made me comfortable to drop that idea, other and more real tricky matchups are drifblim, golduck and lilligant modes, talonflame can really take over those, playing around double ducks is quite a mind game, however it was ok for most of the games there.
I never used much other of its moveslots after the z-move or the brave bird as it mostly went down to their attacks anyways, flare blitz can be a solid second option for a kartana, protect can help preserve talonflame when numbers are needed to be up on my side for future switches, tailwind I never used much at all, however theoretically it can give me a really good advantage against teams that don’t happen to rely to big types of speed control. The spread maximizes the attack stat and then gives enough speed to outspeed a normal kartana from where I invested the rest into bulk for whatever that was worth.

Trevenant @ Sitrus Berry  
Ability: Harvest  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Atk / 148 SpD  
Adamant Nature  
- Wood Hammer  
- Phantom Force  
- Toxic  
- Leech Seed

Trevenant was a choice that I was very proud of that I actually made this choice, I was looking on that usual, mon to counter list that I have on my teambuilding list and pokemons like snorlax, p2, pz and gastrodon, snorlax and porygon 2 were big late game stallers and I doubted my matchup against celesteela’s stalls, p-z z-moves are threatening for me most of the times, trevenant in theory and then in practice seems a very great answer to all of these pokemons and I really am in love with how it plays out against them, I really loved how I made the transition from m previous mistake to this mode on my somewhat more balanced team to chose and keep a late game staller of my own, it could always or if not mostly win in those situations,
The moveset is just my favorite and functions very well for what my trevenant is usually being used for. Wood hammer is there for a lot of damage against pokemons like gastrodon and tapu fini which I felt like my answers were weak to, toxic is strong against p2 and snorlax late games whereas leech seed further helps against these two and gives me a advantage against celesteela and I will be the only one who uses that leech seed on the opposition, phantom force is quite an interesting move choice and came as an edit, I was using shadow claw which was bad and felt like I needed something with protect on this mon of mine. Phantom force, if situations applied, gives me one extra turn of no damage, a leech seed stall, a toxic stall and a chance to harvest for free, also it provides more damage, all these things when combined make trevenant an amazing pokemon.
Now time for the ev spread. I was using basic 252/252/4 in the beginning but soon felt that it was an easy loss against lele and pelliper this investment allows me to live a psychic from a more offense invested lo lele or a 44+ invested choice specs tapu lele, also it give me survival from most pelliper hurricanes. Choice of sitrus berry over pinch berries was proving to be beneficial in the late game. Overall looking at this pokemon I think it is definitely my favorite from the six and I really liked how its theory turned out exactly as supposed to be in battle and how fun was it to play against pokemons that are usually hard to take down.

Last but surely not the least, politoed came in as somewhat of a glue to this team of mine. What needed to be an answer to arcanine pivots as I had first identified in the first test match I played with this team, politoed’s drizzle ability came in handy for a lot of other aspects of this team, this gave metagross and trevenant protection from scary fire types as well as a disruption in the way of ninetales to set up an annoying aurora veil. Politoed has to be one of those last members of the team that you put on add way more flexibility to the team than you think. Scald is ofcourse for arcanine and covers a significant portion of this metagame and ice beam is for garchomp and the rarer, tapu bulu. Encore is an amazing choice for so many status move locks like calm mind, fake out, substitute etc, its so useful theoretically that it doesn’t stand a chance of being a choice discussion perish song, especially on a more balanced team like this one.
The spread that I have allows it to take max attack, adamant garchomp’s tectonic rages at full health, the rest was dumped into the special attack. At first I was using Wolfey’s London spread, but it was very much inefficient and outdated for the current meta, then I switched to a wacan berry set which made it was more durable than it usually happens to be on itself, especially surviving one hit from a wild charge arcanine and a tapu koko attack provides big utility for this pokemon. Politoed also completes the fire/water/grass core in addition to the dragon/fairy/steel core that I started to build the team around with.

Weaknesses of the team:
·         Often having problems with the bulk and switch in issues with talonflame, tapu koko and even politoed sometimes. Switching in a talonflame for a eq immunity into a garchomp’s rock slide is a considerable damage, especially with talonflame where its danger of the gale wings effect breaking. Often thought I needed another ground immunity sometimes.
·         Speed issue on politoed as its encore is almost useless due to its lower speed. Also the somewhat passive approach made it ineffective to launch big attacks at the correct times and it often got knocked out before moving.
·         Some matchups were still shaky, especially the ones focused more around talonflame, firstly, the double ducks happened to be more of a mind game, and the lillykoal teams with tapu lele caused huge trouble for me, I needed somewhat more reliable answers. Politoed was there to handle arcanine and my relatively safe lead of koko + toed into afk matcups was challenged by a snarl using arcanine, followed up with a pinch berry.
·         Early game P2 was terrible especially as I mainly had late game staller counters to it.

The Update:


Kommo-o @ Fightinium Z  
Ability: Overcoat  
Level: 50  
Shiny: Yes  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
Modest Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Focus Blast  
- Clanging Scales  
- Protect  
- Flamethrower

Pelipper @ Focus Sash  
Ability: Drizzle  
Level: 50  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Scald  
- Ice Beam  
- Tailwind  
- Protect

Updates happen to have somewhat of a fun story behind them, in ps chat I was randomly putting in lillykoal answers to someone’s discussion to help them out and pointed out kommo-o and also said it can be good if efficiently utilized in the format, I knew that speed was a big issue on politoed, so I decided to add kommo-o and pelliper to solidfy and update my team.
Pelliper was the first addition, I was testing around the tw slot as I did have it on talonflame as used knock off, then when I added kommo-o it became a bit more standard, pelliper was really effective and more effective than politoed as it could always survive atleast one attack had that ground immunity I needed to switch into garchomps with as well as had that combination of attacks that beat the usual garchomp + arcanine duo present on teams, I was having somewhat trouble against, with all this the addition of tailwind gives it an amazing upper hand in those situations and is a bit safer to play with, it can also guarantee a tw setup when facing off big surprise scarfers against tapu koko. It also had more speed and offense than politoed, overall was a much better pokemon to use in replacement as well as providing me with the rain setup which politoed was mainly supporting its other partners with. I choose to keep ice beam instead of hurricane as it wasn’t much helpful at all anyways against matchups and ice beam covered garchomp very well.
As I explained above I was having defense issues on the team I was looking for a pokemon that can soak up a lot of attacks, also early game pokemons that I had to play passively against wth trevenant alone, like porygon 2 and gigalith I had no other answers to, snorlax with belly drum was a big issue, in all these circumstances, kommo-o rose to be a very good choice here, it also gave me a better sun matchup being a dragon type with the overcoat ability. It gave me resistances to fire, water and grass, and a lot more too and could be a backup tactic against pokemons like garchomp, arcanine, kartana, celesteela whereas directly tackles pokemons like porygon 2 as well as gigalith. Kommo-o’s approach to battle was more offensive which happens to suite my style. It was also looking really good against what I call the super squad, pretty much the new big 6 of the metagame, koko, afk with the p2 and gialith core, it is, take out the tapus and let kommo-o do the work!
Making this update was a kind of a ‘OMG I’m proud of myself’ and it doesn’t happen often, it really made me way more confident about the team in general without having to risk facing shaky mindgame based matchups, which I wasn’t confident with at all, the games were also a lot less stress free after this update and I enjoyed playing with this team more, other than waiting for a new shift or regionals to pass by for me to build a new team. Usually when I tend to decide making an update on a team I feel like it’ll just fall apart, it was quite a seemingly big achievement to update the team with the personal comfortability of surprise that I like to keep and mainTtaining its balance.

The Meme Team:
So I settled onto building another team, this one was something that I had build in the past, but never got to use it much, the idea started from a meme team but then developed into more of a surprise based, balanced team, without further discussion, lets get into the team:

Teambuilding Process:
I was looking for a big meme factor and then came to the mind the idea of using a special gyarados. Supported it alongside scarfed garchomp and then with an arcaninee, from there came a dhelmise and rounded out the team with porygonz and then goodra, later I replaced goodra with ninetales and then porygon z with a tapu lele.

The Team:

Gyarados @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Intimidate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA  
Modest Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Scald  
- Ice Beam  
- Flamethrower  
- Thunderbolt

First of all I’ll start explaining gyarados, what seems like one of the most stupid looking pokemon options to use competitively, special gyarados cn do good in the name of surprise, it can fire off attacks like flamethrower against the all popular kartanas or ice beams against the all popular garchomps to OHKO them with surprise, furthermore, it can also ohko scary looking gyarados’ mirrors, more to it is that this variant makes it an amazing rain counter which is rising in usage much nowadays as well as it can fool opponents by wasting them turns trying to intimidate or burn gyarados which is overall ineffective, scald can also score important burns in games. This is probably the most stupid looking variant to think about, but its surprise factor becomes much real in battles, I’ve had battles where it has picked up two and even more knock out’s on my opponents’ team due to the surprise that it brings. Since this wasn’t a bg or very serious team, the ev spread for gyarados here and for most pokemons on this team are kept kind of standard 252/252/4.

Garchomp @ Choice Scarf 
Ability: Rough Skin  
Level: 50  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Earthquake  
- Aerial Ace  
- Rock Slide  
- Flamethrower

Up next is garchomp, which was chosen over how weak is gyarados to tapu koko, scarf chomp is also something that can do big with the surprise factor of the scarf and can pick up big games on the basis of this item choice singlehandedly just by ohko’ing tapu koko, ofcourse this does miss out on the groundinium z offensive pressure, but scarf was good enough to satisfy me, rock slide is good for hax when it is needed, whereas other moves like aerial ace and flamethrower are interesting, I chose aerial ace to counter pheromosa and buzzwole whereas flamethrower had the same theory mentioned above.

Arcanine @ Life Orb  
Ability: Intimidate  
Level: 50  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Flare Blitz  
- Helping Hand  
- Close Combat  
- Extreme Speed

I don’t remember much reason for why arcanine us put onto this slot other than knowing that it turned out somewhat very well, by this time you would realize that this team isn’t about the standard stuff, which calls for arcanine’s moveset being weird to support the team and fit into it the fullest, starting off with its item choice, this was originally a cb arcanine but after noticing that I lost some matches particularly due to not being able to switch between moves, I opted instead to go for using a life orb and then noticed wild charge neverpicked up much usage, that is why I then put helping hand on that slot to help it increase the damage output of its partners. Flare blitz is standard whereas extreme speed was helpful and then close combat gave me a better fighting chance against opposing snorlax and porygon2. A note here is that I used an adamant arcanine whereas I usually use a jolly one before, the reason is that most and almost all tapu lele don’t run max speed nowadays at all.

Dhelmise @ Grassium Z  
Ability: Steelworker  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD  
Brave Nature  
IVs: 0 Spe  
- Power Whip  
- Phantom Force  
- Toxic  
- Protect

Dhlemise completes an FWG core onto this team which wasn’t needed for a big reason, but just in the name of synergy I gave it a try, I knew I did need some solid answers to trick room and dhelmise would be able to help me there, the z-move of dhelmise going from power whip was extremely strong as I once remember it ohko’ing a lo tapu lele from a single counter of lo damage under a burn which was very much impressive for me, the previous set had shadow claw and anchor shot, but then I replaced them with phantom force which helps me to stall turns of trick room and tailwind as well as allows me to do more damage, toxic was put on this team as I felt like that a lot of times I would end up in a staller situation where I would have to score flinches with rock slide or stall with other chip damage, if I am able to toxic my opponents under that then I can happen to win with the chip damage, anchor shot in comparison was much useless, dhelmise’ s typing like the previous team’s trevenant gives me a staller advantage against snorlax celesteela.

Tapu Lele @ Wiki Berry  
Ability: Psychic Surge  
Level: 50  
EVs: 252 HP / 188 Def / 44 SpA / 4 SpD / 20 Spe  
Modest Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Psychic  
- Moonblast  
- Calm Mind  
- Protect

As I told tapu lele was once a porygon z with trick room, the trick room was there is the previous team and the new one had conversion, the idea was to have something to get as much damage off as possible onto its opponents, but then porygon z was something I played terribly, I realized in a lot of matches I was cycling intimidates and setting up an aurora veil, but really didn’t have anything to take advantage of it, I was having trouble against porygon and tapu lele, so I added on the team a calm mind tapu lele, which is my favorite, this lele added a whole new dimension to my team and also gave me access to terrain control.

Ninetales-Alola @ Focus Sash  
Ability: Snow Warning  
Level: 50  
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  
Timid Nature  
IVs: 0 Atk  
- Blizzard  
- Freeze-Dry  
- Roar  
- Aurora Veil

I put ninetales on the team for the theory that once helped my pz alot, I have seen quite some z-conversion ice with blizzard pz which I wanted to use, this didn’t work well, but ninetales I realized was a much solid member of my team. Most of it is standard apart from the roar, if the intimidate cycling or tapu lele setup or the dhelmise wasn’t much enough to counter trick room, roar was there, roar could also help with matchups like eeveemancy teams and increasing use of snorlax belly drum and psych up mimikyu teams. I hated the hail procks my opponents’ pinch berry but the time was good when it broke a potential sash.

Metagame of May:
Ok this section is back now again, lets get into it:

AFKPEG(Arcanine, Kartana, Fini, Porygon2, Electric Pokemon, Gigalith) (Virginia Regionals)
AFK finally happened to develop into a full archetype this month, in Virginia regionals we saw a huge inflow of the cores of afkpeg, which is the big core of arcanine, tapu fini and Kartana paired up with the core of gigalith and porygon 2 + an electric type pokemon like tapu koko or togedemaru, funnily enough I was thinking about using the tapu koko, p2 and gigalith with afk as it combined two solid cores together very well, and then they were getting a whole lot of use. 

Celesteela, Tapu Koko, Arcanine, Garchomp, Snorlax + Ninetales/Tapu Fini. (Toronto Regionals)
No acronyms yet but, this is the core that seemed to dominate the Toronto regionals and ended up ultimately winning the whole tournament even, this would be the new solid core alongside the afkpeg core that was discussed above there.

Talking other Trends:
Physical Gastrodon:
A team we saw at Toronto regionals featured on stream a physical gastrodon that used the moves, curse recover, earthquake and waterfall, even though it may seem niche but thinking more into it, it happens to have the upper hand in the late game versus snorlax and celesteela on this team, I feel like this could be quite considerable for the metagame, especially after that new core has developed into the game.
Nails’ Virginia Winning Team:
                Nails’ Virginia regionals winning team was probably the most interesting one this season, featuring a bunch of pokemons that are considered quite the ‘B’ or lower tiers of the metagame like, tapu bulu, and salamence, nails also kept into his team a snorlax with thick fat and wild charge, overall it was in my opinion a very interesting team, especially one to have won a big regionals event and the first team to win regionals in NA with a tapu bulu on it.
Double Ducks in Action:
Tman finally revealed his double ducks team, which had consistent runs on the entire season’s international events, this came in with a rise in the general double ducks usage as well as a team that people would need to include counters into their teams for.

Conclusion:
So guys this was it for this month’s VGC report, hopefully you guys really liked going through this post and learned something new from this post, Bye for now!

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