Hey Everyone! My name is Bailey, although I’m often referred to as BargensVGC on Nugget Bridge and Twitter or PokemonBattlesAus on Showdown. I recently competed in a number of Pokémon tournaments, including the May and June Junior International Challenges, placing 1st and 2nd respectively in Australia, as well as the National Championships in Melbourne. I also got the opportunity to travel to Washington DC to compete in the World Championships Last Chance Qualifier in which I got extremely close to being the first Australian VGC player to make it through. Many of my battles from Nationals and the LCQ do not have too many details because they weren’t challenges as many were inexperienced; so bear with me here!
This was the original team used in the International Challenge but has been tweaked since then to suit the metagame of Nationals and the LCQ. I tried to make this team a little more fun to use because I was often losing interest in just clicking Return and Dragon Claw over and over again.
The Team Now!
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
EVs: 252 Spd / 252 Atk / 4 HP
- Sucker Punch
- Fake Out
- Power-Up Punch
Pretty much normal Kangaskhan but I used it as more of a Support Pokémon with Fake Out rather than an offensive attack as everyone expects. EV spread is self-explanatory, speed tie other Kangaskhan and these are the most common moves. My play style with Kangaskhan was to leave it in the back if another Kangaskhan is present so I can come in for Fake Out support.
Aegislash @ Weakness Policy
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 SAtk / 252 HP / 4 Atk
- King’s Shield
- Shadow Ball
- Flash Cannon
- Shadow Sneak
Weakness Policy Aegislash is not a common Pokémon, which works in my favour. As seen above I originally had a substitute set which was used for the International Challenge but I absolutely hate getting “Sucker Locked” by Kangaskhan. For those who don’t know, Sucker Locking is spamming Sucker Punch so you cannot attack. Now this set loved ch from Kangaskhan; If I’m targeting said Kangaskhan it takes a +2 Flash Cannon from 150 SAtk. No more needs to be said here.
EV Spread is fairly boring: max out the HP and SAtk. I was going to use a more a defensive set however I cannot KO 4 HP Kangaskhan without 252 SAtk, which is the whole point of this set. Shadow Sneak was for priority although with 4 Atk EVs it didn’t do too much damage, although it does help with Sash Garchomp and, in Boomguy’s case, Sturdy Carbink.
The reason I chose this set over the ever-so-common SubAegi set was because most Sucker Punch Pokémon such as Kangaskhan and Bisharp would predict the substitute, which allowed me to Protect with another Pokémon and get off a free Flash Cannon or Shadow Ball. It also helped with Spore Amoonguss as my opponents would predict the Substitute and again, not want to waste a turn.
Talonflame @ Choice Band
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spd / 4 HP
- Brave Bird
- Flare Blitz
Normal Choice Band Talonflame. Contemplated adding more bulk to take Rotom Thunderbolts but I felt like it was unnecessary as after a Brave Bird Talonflame would be at the point where it was gonna faint anyways, and the ability to speed tie other Talonflame was a bonus. The last slot for Talonflame was one of the moves that changed based on where I was competing. I used Fly for Nationals as Kangaskhan would be able to take a Brave Bird and KO my Talonflame with Return. Fly allowed me to attack a Pokémon I cannot OHKO with another Pokémon to the point where it would Faint to Fly, and many of these Pokémon would lose an attack in the process. I didn’t really use this move too much but it did act as sort of a Protect. Going into LCQ I expected a lot of teams which consisted of Smeargle and Perish Trap, so I came prepared with Taunt instead. I also didn’t feel like Kangaskhan would be as big of a threat as Mega Lucario is growing in usage and counters to Kangaskhan will be running rampant.
Conkeldurr @ Assault Vest
EVs: 252 HP / 180 SDef / 76 Atk
IVs: 0 Spd
- Mach Punch
- Drain Punch
- Poison Jab
Without a doubt the MVP of the team. Before I get into this, let me show you a few Damage Calcs.
252+ SpA Choice Specs Gardevoir Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 180 SpD Assault Vest Conkeldurr: 372-438 (89.8 – 105.7%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO
72+ Atk Conkeldurr Poison Jab vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gardevoir: 254-300 (91.3 – 107.9%) — 50% chance to OHKO
72+ Atk Conkeldurr Drain Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 132-156 (72.9 – 86.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO
72+ Atk Conkeldurr Mach Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Kangaskhan: 72-86 (39.7 – 47.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO
Conkeldurr is extremely bulky on both sides, being able to take nearly every hit in the metagame, except Banded Brave Bird. Conkeldurr I decided to run more Special Defensive as 105/95 Defences are already amazing and any more Defence would be wasted in my opinion. I felt that with a 140 Base Attack Stat, which is higher than Garchomp, having Max Attack would be a bad idea as without the bulk and a pitiful 45 Base Speed I would be getting KO’d too easily and have less of a chance to heal HP with Drain Punch. I opted for Brave Nature over Adamant and 0 Spd IVs so that I under speed Aegislash and can OHKO it in Blade Form with Payback.
Most moves are self-explanatory: Drain Punch for constant recovery, Mach Punch for priority, Payback for Ghost types and Poison Jab to help with Gardevoir and Azumarill. I forwent Rock Slide, which is probably a more common move on Conkeldurr, as it faints to Brave Bird anyway, Charizard-Y isn’t anywhere near as common and I’m too slow to flinch anything but Amoonguss and Ferrothorn.
Conkeldurr has 3 amazing abilities, and all are useful. I opted for Guts as Iron Fist and Sheer Force, whilst increasing damage, didn’t allow me to better deal with hax and Guts made the opponent think “Oh, no Flame Orb, must not be Guts” and burn it with Rotom or Sableye.
Rotom-W @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 100 Def / 32 SAtk / 100 SDef / 24 Spd
- Hydro Pump
- Thunder Wave(Will-O-Wisp at Nationals)
Rotom-W was a Pokémon I had a lot of experience with and fitted the team nicely. It is the only Pokémon still remaining in my team from my first proper competitive team. The item is self-explanatory as it is the most common item on Rotom-W, although I am contemplating Safety Goggles as Amoonguss and Azumarill/Tyranitar have become much more common in the metagame and I currently struggle to deal with that problem.
For the EV spread I opted for 24 Speed for those too lazy to train after using 2 Carbos. The Calm 100 SDef EV Rotom-W set allows me to survive special attacks such as Draco Meteor, and the Def EVs were because I was too lazy to train in Def after using 10 Irons, but it survives Ray Rizzo’s Ferrothorn’s Power Whip, so I didn’t feel like I needed to change it too much.
All of my moves are self-explanatory except for Thunder Wave which I opted for over Will-O-Wisp as I hated the accuracy and most common physical threats I usually burn, being Kangaskhan and Garchomp, my team was able to KO anyways. Thunder Wave also helped lower the speed of Kangaskhan so I could Drain Punch with Conkeldurr, giving my team much more momentum.
Hydreigon @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 156 Spd / 252 SAtk / 100 HP
- Draco Meteor
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Focus Blast
Hydreigon’s usage has shot up recently because of its ability to directly OHKO two of the metagame’s bulkiest and biggest threats: Kangaskhan and Rotom-W. I’ve been using Hydreigon since before it was cool, and I mean back when 252/252 Timid Charizard-Y was common. I stumbled upon Hydreigon when I found that my ScarfMence wasn’t doing too much damage with Draco Meteor and it was often being walled because of the awful coverage it gained from Draco + Fire Type Move.
Scarfed Hydreigon has two niches that Salamence does not have: Great Special Attack and the element of surprise. The difference in power between Salamence and Hydreigon is drastically different and if you are currently running ScarfMence and losing Intimidate doesn’t bother you then try Hydreigon, you won’t regret it.
Now, onto my set. The EV Spread I personally created as I had two goals in mind: outspeed Timid Mega Manectric and survive Jolly Garchomp Dragon Claw in case Draco Meteor decides it wants to land on another planet. My first goal was achieved with 156 Speed EVs and the rest were thrown into HP with me begging it would take Dragon Claw, which it does. Most of the moves are self-explanatory except for Focus Miss, or Miss Blast, or Miss Miss, whatever it’s called these days. Focus Blast was run because there was one Pokémon running which my team struggled with: Tyranitar. Focus Blast doesn’t even OHKO Specially Defensive sets which means that Draco Meteor might as well be Splash. Focus Blast also does 88% to Kangaskhan so whatever extra damage I can get the better. I opted for Fire Blast over Flamethrower also because Amoonguss can Spore my whole team and the damage bonus allowed me to almost OHKO physically defensive variants.
Garchomp @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 204 Atk/ 252 Spd / 12 HP / 4 Def / 36 SDef
- Dragon Claw
- Rock Slide
Garchomp was used for Nationals but soon after was replaced with Conkeldurr as I found myself not using it as much. Rocky Helmet was used to counter Kangaskhan better and I felt like many Rotoms would rather just attack than waste a turn with a Lum Berry.
My team: Aegislash, Kangaskhan, Hydreigon and Rotom-W
Opponent’s team: Liepard, Carbink, Gengar and Hydreigon
Pretty quick game here going 3-0, only losing my Hydreigon to a Play Rough from Liepard! The rest of his team just kinda fainted to Flash Cannon and Shadow Ball Aegislash.
My team: Kangaskhan, Hydreigon, Talonflame and Aegislash
Opponent’s team: Garchomp, Something OHKO’d by Return, Haxorus, Jolteon
First turn I brought the game to 4-2 by hitting Garchomp with a Draco and KOing the other Pokémon with Return. Jolteon and Haxorus were brought out. I didn’t know what to expect here so I switched Hydreigon into Rotom-W and attempt to Return the Haxorus, however Jolteon used Thunder Wave and I ended up fully paralysed as Haxorus Dragon Dances. I wasn’t really afraid of too much at this point as I knew Rotom could take a +1 Mold Breaker Earthquake, although Jolteon’s Helping Hand and Haxorus’ Outrage were enough to OHKO Kangakhan, but I did manage to burn Haxorus. I brought in Hydreigon and downed the Haxorus followed by Hydro Pump and another Draco taking out the Jolteon in the next turn.
Sadly, my notes for this round consisted of “GG NO RE” and nothing else was written, and I can’t remember who this person was although I did win this battle convincingly if I can’t remember it.
My team: Kangaskhan, Hydreigon, Aegislash and Talonflame
Opponent’s team: Garchomp (Mega), Tyranitar, Toxicroak and Gengar
The first turn of this game I targeted the Mega Garchomp with a Draco Meteor and Fake Out Tyranitar to get it to the point where I could Power-Up Punch for the KO. I missed Draco and Hydreigon fainted to a Dragon Rush, which amusingly is less accurate than Draco Meteor.
I bring in Aegislash and Power-Up Punched Tyranitar for the KO and Shadow Ball Garchomp for damage as Garchomp went for another Dragon Rush onto Kangaskhan, bringing it to roughly 30% HP.
Gengar came in and I Sucker Punch it, predicting him to be inexperienced and just click the attack button. I pulled the KO but Kangaskhan and Aegislash faint to Earthquake. So it came down to Garchomp and Toxicroak, which he told me was sashed, against my Talonflame which was Banded. I Brave Birded the Garchomp as Toxicroak Protect.
At this point I knew he wasn’t an experienced player so I acted sad and said out loud “Oh, you win, all you gotta do is Sucker Punch,” and he fell for my trick! All he had to do was Poison Jab and the Recoil + Poison Jab would have KO’d! But Talonflame has higher speed in the +1 Priority bracket so Sucker Punch is useless and I managed to KO Toxicroak next turn.
Round 5 vs. Brent Tonisson
My team: Kangaskhan, Talonflame, Aegislash, Rotom-W
Opponent’s team: Amoonguss, Hydreigon, Rotom-H, Kangaskhan
Now, I’m going 100% on memory for this one, as I remember this battle as if it was yesterday. He lead Amoonguss and Hydreigon against my Kangaskhan and Talonflame. I predict the Amoonguss Protect so I Faked Out and Brave Birded Hydreigon and instantly pulled a KO.
He brought in Kangaskhan and I predict the Fake Out + Spore onto Talonflame so I switch it into Aegislash. I predict correctly and Fake Out hit Aegislash although Spore went into my Kangaskhan, but not after getting 25% damage with a Power-Up Punch on his own Kangaskhan.
I went for Substitute with my Aegislash not wanting to be Spored or Sucker Punched and I attempt to Sucker Punch their Kanga with mine at +2, although I took a nasty critical hit Return and get KO’d that turn. I bring in my Talonflame and he didn’t Protect his Amoonguss, thinking I will make similar play to turn 1, although I predict this and get the KO. I went for Substitute again with Aegislash hoping that I don’t get Sucker Punched but this was terrible play on my part as I should have known he needed to KO my Talonflame.
It comes down to my Rotom-W and Subbed Aegislash against a Kangaskhan at 75% health and a Rotom-H. At this point I thought that he would see Aegislash as a bigger threat than Rotom and Overheat + Sucker Punch, so I Protected Rotom-W as a safe play and Substituted again to bring Rotom-H to -2.
The next turn I was pretty happy with where I was, I go for the Substitute play again predicting a similar turn and I target Rotom-H with a Hydro Pump, which ends up hitting Protect.
In hindsight burning Kanga would have been a better option as I can Flash Cannon for the KO after burn damage and stall out Rotom-H. So Rotom-W takes Return 2 turns in a row and from there I’m Sucker Punch locked and timer stalled until I lose the game.
My team: Kangaskhan, Garchomp, Talonflame, Aegislash
Opponent’s team: Sableye, Mienshao, Venusaur (Mega), Gengar
This was an interesting game as first turn I switched Kangaskhan into Aegislash on a High Jump Kick and Talonflame in on a Will-O-Wisp. He then switched Mienshao into Gengar and Gengar fainted to Shadow Ball and surprisingly Sableye fainted to Banded Brave Bird. Mienshao came in and I switched in Garchomp so that Mienshao fainted to Rocky Helmet + Rough Skin after using Fake Out. Aegislash got up a Substitute and I attacked Venusaur for the win.
Round 7 vs. Angus
My team: Rotom-W, Hydreigon, Kangaskhan and Aegislash
Opponent’s team: Mawile, Garchomp, Scrafty and Rotom-W
I don’t remember too much from the start of this battle except for the fact that I burned Garchomp first turn and Mawile the second turn. He switches out Mawile for Scrafty and I burned that too, revealing a Lum Berry.
Fearing a Drain Punch, I switched out Hydreigon and Protected my Rotom as it was at a range where burn + Play Rough would KO, and I was burn stalling. In my switch into Aegislash he revealed the Ice Punch which does 10%, but pulls a freeze. Aegislash is frozen for roughly the next 5-6 turns and somewhere along the line I KO’d Rotom-W and Garchomp fainted to burn + Hydro Pump. It eventually came down to Frozen Aegislash Vs something along the lines of Burnt Mawile and Burnt Scrafty, but I was unable to thaw out and lost to 2 Crunches.
So I finished with 5-2 losing only to Brent and Angus who were the eventual 1st and 2nd at the tournament. I had a ridiculously high resistance in which I was the highest 5-2 seed placing 9th in a top cut of 8. It’s unfortunate that I had such a difficult run with unfortunate hax but there’s nothing I can do about it; so I decided to try Last Chance Qualifiers in Washington.
Last Chance Qualifiers
For those who don’t know Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQ) is where a maximum of 256 Seniors battle it out in best of 3 single elimination until four remain and they all instantly receive invites to compete at Worlds. However, to avoid giving me more credit than I deserve I will admit that there was only roughly 80 seniors.
Round 1 vs. Bye (80 Competitors)
Very hard game.
Round 2 (64 Competitors)
Opponent’s team: Kangaskhan, Venusaur, Talonflame, Salamence, Tyranitar, Aegislash
I haven’t written too many notes here but I will start by saying this was an extremely good player although I managed to win this in 2 games. All these were BO3 and I don’t have notes on what I used in specific games but I did outplay this person quite a bit.
Round 3 (32 Competitors)
Opponents Team: Liepard, Hydreigon, Gyarados, Manectric, Lucario, Aegislash
The next person I had was a close friend of the person I had the round before and wanted his revenge. The first game I won convincingly as Draco Meteor OHKO’d Mega Manectric and Talonflame destroyed Aegislash. The second game I should have lost but Conkeldurr got a critical Poison Jab, which didn’t matter too much as I think -1 Conkeldurr could have 1v1’d a Poisoned Gyarados. I won this in straight sets but he was definitely a good player and this win didn’t come easy.
Round 4 (16 Competitors)
Opponent’s team: Weavile, Barbaracle, Malamar, More Random Pokémon
This guy had a really weird team and I have no idea how he made it this far with Shell Smash Barbaracle, Weavile and Malamar. He left his Malamar in on a Talonflame U-Turn and his Weavile in on a Mach Punch. Enough said here to be honest.
Round 5 (8 Competitors)
This battle was very close, with his team having practically every threat to my team in Azumarill, Amoonguss and Aerodactyl. He won first game convincingly after he didn’t switch out his Talonflame against a Kangaskhan 1st turn which could have used Fake Out and KO’d with Rotom-W.
The second game Rotom-W paralysed all of their Pokémon and they were slow enough to Drain Punch away health. The third game however came down to my Rotom-W (75%, No Sitrus) Vs Azumarill and Amoonguss (10% health). I Thunderbolted Amoonguss for the KO and I was pretty sure I had this win and would be competing in worlds. Sadly, Azumarill got a critical hit with Play Rough, bringing Rotom down to 3 HP, where Aqua Jet KO’d.
I believe the first thing that can be concluded is that the hax gods hate me and without hax I would have almost guaranteed myself an invite, however that’s not the case and I’ll have to see how I fare in Masters next year with my experience from Worlds. And hey, I won a Side Event and got a Secret Rare card, so it’s not like I’ve lost everything right?
Written by Bargens