A Murder of Murkrows: 2014 Australian Pokémon VGC Nationals Top 16 Report

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Hello, my name is Liam Paternott. I’ve been playing Pokémon since I can first remember but I only started playing competitively when X and Y were released. As a result I’m new to the VGC community and I didn’t really expect to do very well in nationals. Outside of online competitions my only prior experience with VGC was the Melbourne Regionals where I lost to the regionals runner-up and now Australian Champion Dayne in round 4 (I managed to beat him once in our three battles). After realizing that I defeated three skilled players and took the Melbourne runner-up to three games I was spurred on to try my luck at Nationals. Little did I know that I would be making it to the top 16.

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Team Summary

My team is based around Murkrow and the speed control it gives its teammates. The idea is that Murkrow sets its teammates up with Tailwind and then proceeds to pester the enemy and put its allies in optimal positions. I’ll go into more details in the next section.

murkrowgarchomprotom-heatmawile-megaroserade tyranitar

Team Analysis

 

murkrow
Murkrow
@ Eviolite
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 188 SpDef
Careful Nature

  • Quash
  • Feather Dance
  • Tailwind
  • Taunt

Murkrow isn’t exactly threatening. Even amongst Prankster users it seems kind of subpar with its base 60 HP and 42 defences. However, it is the only Prankster Pokémon with access to the surprisingly useful Quash. Combine that with other nifty moves like Taunt, Thunder Wave, Foul Play, Feather Dance, Tailwind and Roost and you have a pretty decent Pokémon.

Quash is the main reason to use a Murkrow and it’s a great move that offers instantaneous speed control. This is fantastic against anything that values its speed and it really annoyed a lot of people. Feather Dance let me shut down physical attackers. Tailwind basically guaranteed that my team would go first for a few turns and Taunt prevented other Prankster users from doing much, as well as limiting Pokémon that inflict status conditions like Amoonguss and Rotom forms. Murkrow lacks any attacking moves or sustaining moves like Protect or Roost mainly because I couldn’t find room for them. I never really minded when Murkrow fainted because it let two of my other Pokémon exploit whatever Murkrow had done to the enemy and as a result I didn’t use Roost or Protect.

The EV spread allows it to survive a Choice Banded Brave Bird from Talonflame. The rest goes into Special Defence because Feather Dance handles physical attackers. The Eviolite actually makes Murkrow quite bulky so it managed to stick around for a few turns in most of my battles. Murkrow was brought into all of my battles as my lead because it tied the entire team together nicely and I felt that there was always something for Murkrow to do regardless of the enemy team.

 

garchomp

Garchomp @ Lum Berry
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature

  • Earthquake
  • Dragon Claw
  • Rock Slide
  • Protect

The standard Garchomp you’ve been seeing all year. I chose the Lum Berry to help out against Dark Void Smeargles and not being burned is always nice. Murkrow and Garchomp work very well together. Not only can Garchomp spam Earthquake next to Murkrow but Garchomp really appreciates being able to out speed Mega Manectric, Greninja, other Garchomps and Scarf users especially if the enemy doesn’t see it coming.

For some reason my Garchomp was incredibly lucky throughout the day. It dodged numerous attacks, scored a few flinches and landed some useful critical hits. In one match it avoided two consecutive Power Whips from a Ferrothorn and proceeded to flinch it the turn after. Everything else about this guy is self-explanatory.

 

rotom-heat

Rotom-Heat @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 180 SpAtk / 4 SpDef / 60 Spe
Modest Nature

  • Thunderbolt
  • Overheat
  • Will-O-Wisp
  • Protect

I knew I wanted to use a Rotom form once I picked Garchomp so that it could freely use Earthquake next to another ally. Because I already had two Fairy and Ice type weaknesses in my team the obvious choice was Rotom-Heat. The move selection is very standard and needs no explanation. The speed Evs let it out run max speed neutral nature Tyranitars while the defence EVs guarantee that it can survive a Return from Adamant nature Kangaskhan. I tested out Safety Googles on Rotom but found them mostly useless because Murkrow could Taunt Amoonguss and Venusaur before they did anything so I ran with a Sitrus Berry for extra bulk.

 

mawile-mega

Mawile @ Mawilite
Ability: Intimidate -> Huge Power
EVs: 252 HP / 60 Atk / 4 Def / 140 SpDef / 52 Spe

  • Play Rough
  • Iron Head
  • Sucker Punch
  • Protect

Mega Mawile did a few important things for my team. I wanted Intimidate support for an extra way to deal with physical attackers. I always liked Steel types on my teams because of how many resistances they had and they’re extremely solid counters to Fairy and Ice types. I’m also a big fan of the new Fairy type and I needed a good Mega Evolution. Mawile was exactly what I was looking for.

140 Special Defence EVs keep Mega Mawile from being knocked out by Modest Life Orb Fire Blasts from Tyranitars, Timid Life Orb Fire Blasts from Salamences and Choice Scarfed Fire Blasts from Salamences. The 52 Speed EVs let Mawile out speed neutral nature max Speed base 100s like Mega Kangaskhan and Salamence. Mawile is probably the teammate that most benefits from Murkrow’s support. The speed control makes it incredibly dangerous as it can rapidly take out the enemy’s team and because it’s a common target of Will-O-Wisps it can often waste an enemy’s turn by having Murkrow Taunt the Will-O-Wisp user while Mawile mauls its foe. Taunt in combination with Sucker Punch also puts my opponent in a very tough spot and it saves me from having to predict what they’re going to do.

When seeing the enemy team I would generally decide if I could handle their counters to Mega Mawile. If I could, then I would keep Mawile at the back and put my counters to their counters up front. When it was safe to let out Mega Mawile I would basically have it clean up because of how solidly it counters so many Pokémon.

 

roserade

Roserade @ Choice Specs
Ability: Technician
EVs 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpAtk
Modest Nature

  • Giga Drain
  • Sludge Bomb
  • Hidden Power (Fire)
  • Dazzling Gleam

Roserade is an unusual Pokémon that gets overshadowed by Venusaur and Amoonguss. There’s a good reason for this as both Venusaur and Amoonguss are bulkier and one has access to Spore, but I felt that the more offensively minded Roserade would better fit my team. Hidden Power Fire in combination with Technician basically gives Roserade access to Flamethrower. It’s also one of the few non Fairy types with Dazzling Gleam which is immensely useful and catches a lot of people off guard.

Because I really wanted Hidden Power Fire to deal with Steel types (it can OHKO non specially defensive Mega Mawiles) I couldn’t guarantee perfect Special Attack and Speed IVs but I could get perfect defences, so out of laziness I went max HP and Special Attack and slapped on a Choice Specs to compensate. I used Giga Drain rather than the more reliable Magical Leaf to improve my bulk. Feather Dance from Murkrow really helps out with Roserade’s poor physical defence and Tailwind makes up for Roserade’s zero Speed EVs. Roserade’s bulkiness even surprised me when it survived an Overheat from a Mega Manetric and proceeded to regain most of its health with a Giga Drain in one battle.

 

tyranitar

Tyranitar @ Life Orb
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpAtk / 252 Spe
Modest Nature

  • Rock Slide
  • Fire Blast
  • Ice Beam
  • Protect

Tyranitar finished off my team nicely. It has a wide variety of moves, decent bulk and speed and it handles Rotom-Heat which was starting to become an issue. Rock Slide adds another way for me to deal with Talonflames and Charizards. Fire Blast gets rid of Steel and Ice types that were starting to be a pain and Ice Beam quickly eliminates Dragons. The speed EVs let it tie with other Tyranitars and to maximize the Tailwind boost. I was really lucky that I got a max IV Larvitar within half an hour after hearing about people spending hours trying to get one. I was initially concerned about having three Fairy weaknesses in my team but Rotom-Heat, Mawile and Roserade deal with the common fairies well enough for it to not be an issue. Tyranitar was really just there to handle a few threats and it didn’t get used too often, but it was always nice to have and it definitely saved me in a few games.

War Story

Unfortunately I didn’t take notes of any of my battles and my battle videos couldn’t be saved to my knowledge, so I can’t give a comprehensive retelling of my day but I’ll tell you what I remember.

The day started with a two hour wait in the freezing Melbourne CBD. Not the best way to start any day, especially not the Pokémon Nationals, but I soldiered on and finally made it into the venue. About an hour later the battles finally started. I remember getting pretty lucky in the first round when my opponent mistakenly attacked my Murkrow with Aqua Jet rather than Play Rough and thanks to that early head start I took out the win. I lost my next battle and was immediately concerned that I wouldn’t be making top cut after losing so early.

Thankfully I only lost one game in the following seven rounds of Swiss and barely made it into top cut at 31st. Like I said, I didn’t take any notes or recordings of my battles but one thing I do remember is versing two Nidokings and one Nidoqueen during Swiss. I hadn’t encountered either during online competitions or when practicing but thankfully they didn’t give me too much trouble. There was also one battle where it was my Rotom and Mega Mawile against a Haxorus. I knew my only hope was to have my Mawile survive and then hit it with Play Rough. It of course used Earthquake and knocked out my Rotom but my Mawile hung on with around 15 HP! I took out the win after almost having a heart attack with Play Rough. I also purchased one of the two remaining adorable Vaporeon plush toys at the Pokémon shop they had set up in the venue. That alone would have made my day.

When top cut started it was announced that I would be playing on the big screen against Nicholas Vella who finished second after Swiss. I was incredibly nervous and I played a little more safely than I usually did. I remember he started off with a Chandelure and a Mienshao and set up Trick Room on the first turn. I can also remember that Quash and Mega Mawile were useful. In the end I won the battle and I moved onto the top 16.

Here I versed Nathan Farrugia. This battle I do actually have on my 3DS but I can’t save it. I led with Murkrow and Rotom-Heat and he started with Mienshao and Rotom-Wash. On the first turn he knocked off my Eviolite and defeated my Rotom. I went downhill from there and it ended with his Talonflame and Mega Mawile defeating my Roserade and Mega Mawile. I feel as though if I had used Tyranitar instead of Roserade I would have had a better chance but Nathan played very well and deserved the win. By this point it was around 9:30pm and I was exhausted. I didn’t stay around for the finals because I was just too tired.

Conclusion

Overall the day was fantastic. I met a bunch of awesome people, played some of the best matches of Pokémon I ever have and I got a Vaporeon plush and a shiny Mamoswine out of it. I plan on changing up my team for next year and taking on Regionals and Nationals again. I’ll think of a different weird Pokémon to build a team around for 2015. Thanks to all the staff and organisers who made the day what it was and congratulations to Dayne for becoming the National Champion, he really deserves the title. Hopefully I’ll see you all at Nationals or Regionals next year.

Written by Liam

About Guest Author

2 comments

  1. Looks a lot like this team… nuggetbridge.com/forums/topic/3345-a-murder-of-crows/
    Good job.

  2. Ah, it’s awesome to read up on this team. It was surprising to see a team with both Murkrow and Roserade – very rarely used VGC Pokémon – make it to such a high position that day. Excellent work, it was great to see something unusual up on the big screen.

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