Hi there guys! My name is Jimmy Chen (I go by the name of aeonoscence or aeon in most games) and I’m a Sydneysider. I’m originally a Smogon OU player, but having transitioned to some VGC ’14 earlier this year I have been playing more VGC and exploring the wide and rapidly changing metagame that VGC has to offer. My first competitive VGC tourney came as a result of a Smogon meetup in Sydney, and from then I’ve been hooked into VGC. Sydney Regionals was a great turnout with 180+ Masters competitors from all over the country, and being my 4th ever (and FIRST legitimate) competitive tournament you can imagine the nerves I had!
Before I begin my report, I’d like to give a huge shoutout to the Sydney Sevipers crew and the mob from GGTH, you guys all helped me get to where I am at the moment, and it was through you guys, your helpful words, the defeats you handed me and your kind hearts that I did well here, so from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU! This is gonna be long… brace yourselves! xD
Now, onto my team. Everyone’s had a play around with a few teams, and this was no different to me. Over the course of three months of VGC I’ve tested out and currently am testing around ten teams. Nugget Bridge, Battle Spot Special and Pokemon Showdown reading/practise gave me quite a large insight to how the VGC metagame was evolving and where it was moving towards. I think that knowledge is very important, and part of this means playing with players all around the world. It’s also fascinating to see how each region has their own Pokémon of choice – the US players loved their Drapions, the Japanese clung to their Choice Scarf Sky Drop Dragonites – it was a very insightful few months. Ultimately, I settled with 4 core Pokémon that I believe had the ability to cover most of the Australian (and global) metagame, but there were two empty slots. The team that I used here in Regionals was a team that undertook a week of testing and calculation before I decided that it would be my best bet.
Manectric @ Manectite
Ability: Lightning Rod / Intimidate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spd
- Hidden Power Ice
The standard Manectric set, seen everywhere. Great coverage, a decent 135 Special Attack stat complimented with 135 in Speed guarantees outspeeding most everything. It’s one of my core Pokémon because of how much it can cover, its abilities are amazing in doubles and its durability is above average – Manectric has not been OHKO’d by a single unboosted move!
Talonflame @ Choice Band
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 124 HP / 252 Atk / 132 Spd
- Brave Bird
- Flare Blitz
Guaranteed to outspeed Adamant Talonflame at level 50 by 1 speed point, Talonflame is the ultimate glass cannon. It can OHKO other Talonflames and most everything that doesn’t resist it. Although the viability of Jolly Band seems lessened because of the Choice lock, ultimately the extra damage you’re pumping out to things can make a big difference. The first three moves are core on any Talonflame, and Roost is handy to survive a Rock Slide. However, one of the more intriguing aspects of the VGC meta is that many of the things that Talonflame used to tear apart, like Amoonguss, are going physically defensive. As well as that, the increased threats of Rock Slide from the likes of Tyranitar and Garchomp means that my Talonflame got less game time than normal. Talonflame is core in my team as it filled a role as a big hitting priority user – something very handy to have against stuff like Sucker Punch and Focus Sash.
Rotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 116 HP / 252 Def / 76 SpA / 44 SpD / 20 Spe
- Hydro Pump
One of the more intriguing Pokémon in my team. Truth is, I’ve played around with a Bold, Calm, Timid and Modest Rotom-W before as I was trying to find the “perfect” Rotom. I settled on Rotom-W over Rotom-H because of my susceptibility to Rotom-H. As I didn’t have a Rock Slider on my team, I was forced to run Rotom-W. Rotom-W is one of the best Pokémon in the game: its typings and resistances paired with Levitate means it falls only to hard hitting moves or grass moves. The EVs I invested into Rotom are rather peculiar – I did not aim for Rotom to survive Charizard Y Solarbeams or Ferrothorn Power Whips. I recall basing my damage calculations on more standard hard hitting threats such as Salamence Draco Meteor, Garchomp’s moves, Mega Mawile Play Rough and the like. My EV spread also allowed me to proc the Sitrus Berry upon getting hit – most of the standard moves do a little over 50% to get that Sitrus Berry to heal me back to around 70% HP so I can do stuff. Rotom-W was a Pokémon I played in nearly all my battles because it could add an element of attack and phase at the same time. I was planning to run Specs on my Rotom, but that idea didn’t take off.
Lucario @ Life Orb
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spd
- Poison Jab
- Extreme Speed
- Close Combat
- Blaze Kick
Lucario causes pandemonium to opposition players. There’s simply too many options for Lucario to be certain about what you’re up against. I ran a physical Lucario because most people were expecting a special Lucario. Inner Focus with Close Combat (CC) decked any over-confident Mega Kangaskhan, and the priority with Extreme Speed gave me a solid lead with Talonflame for breaking down Scarfed, Sashed or fast Pokemon (Hydreigon, DV Smeargle and Greninja respectively, amongst other things.) I did not run Protect partially because I was considering running Assault Vest on Lucario (that idea went out the window FAST) and partially because I needed all 4 moveslots to cover Pokémon I had problems against. Poison Jab was selected over Naïve Flash Cannon and Bullet Punch because there was more chance of hitting hax and because it did more damage to the specially defensive Gardevoir and Florges that I was likely to face.
Now, cue the two filler Pokémon!
Zapdos @ Leftovers
EVs: 224 HP / 164 Def / 36 SpA / 84 SpD
- Light Screen
- Hidden Power Ice
I picked Zapdos purely for novelty reasons, as I figured what the hell, let’s run a legendary bird. As I underwent testing on it, I realised one thing: Zapdos is one of the bulkiest things in the VGC metagame. Some slight Defense and Special Defense investment ensured that I could take most common big-hitting moves to the face without losing more than 60% of HP, while the 224HP was designed to tank the Final Gambit Staraptor should my opponent want to get rid of it early. Hidden Power Ice meant that I had a secondary Dragon killer – although I think Hidden Power Fire might have been more viable. Light Screen was thrown in there for lack of a better move: the only other option was Toxic, but I don’t think it would have affected my gameplay too much. In fact, Light Screen came in handy many times, allowing my Lucario to survive an Overheat with 3HP from a Rotom-W and so on. The one thing that I could improve on it is that shoddy 10IV in speed – back to soft resetting!
Golduck @ Focus Sash
Ability: Cloud Nine
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 104 SpA / 44 SpD
- Aqua Jet
- Ice Beam
The ultimate gimmick. A blue duck in the mix of hard hitting and hard walling Pokemon in VGC. Golduck came after I had a brilliant idea on countering sun teams by using Prankster Klefki with Rain Dance. I took it a step further and looked into Cloud Nine options: Lickilicky, Altaria and Golduck. Lickilicky was just presence on the field, it did nothing useful if it was burnt and it was a giant balloon fodder anyway. Altaria was a decent choice, but the frequent Rock Slides discouraged its use. Therefore, we have the humble duck at your service. Surprisingly, Golduck could take many hits to the face with the defensive EV spread on it. The Focus Sash was purely for a second chance if I mispredicted a Thunderbolt. Having tested the duck on Smogon, I thought it was a good idea but I only used it twice in Regionals – both times I lost games.
This is how my journey in Sydney Regionals went. I have the memory of a goldfish so forgive me if I don’t remember your names and some teams.
Round 1 vs Red (IGN)
It shocks me that I can’t remember this guy’s team. I do know, however, that it was just a standard match, we traded hits but I ended up winning without losing a single Pokémon in both games.
Round 2 vs Chris
Result: 2-1 (W – L – W)
Reuniclus / Mawile / Chandelure / Hydreigon / Garchomp / Rotom-Wash
One of the closest matches I have EVER played in my life. Chris is a decent player and his teams are unique and calculated so it took some prediction to win. In the first game, he didn’t pick Reuniclus but I thought it was just a Trick Room special basher, so I thought nothing about it. However, his Reuniclus set was more utility and that cost me the second round. Both of us made the correct predictions and sometimes over predictions, but ultimately the last turn prediction in the third game was crucial, and I got it right.
Round 3 vs Chris
Gliscor / Florges / Rotom-Wash / Blastoise
This was an unlucky break for the other Chris – unfortunately my team completely countered his team. Like me, he was running an anti-meta team – I have never seen a Gliscor before but HP Ice made short work of it. Playing him took some time – first game he tried stalling me out with Florges and second game it was Gliscor’s turn. Luckily, I was able to out-damage him on both occasions. Personally, I don’t think stall teams are the way to go in VGC – the game is too fast paced to consider setting up more than twice, or stalling for recovery.
Round 4 vs Jacky
Result: 2-1 (W – L – W)
Aerodactyl / Gardevoir / Amoonguss / Garchomp / Mawile
Considering he made his team “on the train this morning” he did very well to get to Round 4. I can’t remember many specifics about his team either; I just beat him. It was a good game, we traded hax but I came up victorious. His team was very solid though.
Round 5 vs Mckenzie
Result: 2-1 (L – W – W)
Gengar / Gothitelle / Politoed / Kingdra / Scrafty
I’ll be perfectly honest: as soon as you see this team, your heart sinks. The Perish-Trap team is undoubtedly one of the strongest (and most hated) teams in the current VGC metagame, and for good reason. In all three rounds, I was faced with the Perish-Trap combo. In the first game, I honestly didn’t know what to do, and ended up losing decisively. However, my opponent seemed a bit careless when it came to taking care of specific Pokémon, so a couple of outpredictions in the second and third games ensured that I was no longer facing a Perish-Trap team, but a lone tanky Gothitelle and a burnt Scrafty. One thing I learnt about this game was how to beat Perish-Trap decisively, and this was possible because of the strong priority in my team. This was the hardest game in the tournament for me personally, and it makes me all the more happier and wiser having faced Mckenzie. (I later learnt that Shadow Tag doesn’t affect Ghost types. Looks like you don’t even need to beat it at all – just run some Ghosts! 🙂
Semi Finals vs Wade
Scolipede / Charizard / Garchomp / Scrafty / Barbaracle / Furfrou
We were both so happy to make it to top 4 that we didn’t mind whether we were going to win or not but yet we played so seriously! One of the flaws in my playstyle is that I don’t respect some picks – as is evident in this match. I paid no respect to the Scolipede, expecting it to set up and I’ll just kill it later with priority, but Rock Slide took out my Talonflame, leaving me at Scolipede’s mercy. Ultimately a critical Hydro Pump won me the match. Very close!
Finals vs Lionel
Kangaskhan / Rotom-Heat / Amoonguss / Salamence / Bisharp / Azumarill
I read what his version about how the match-up turned out so I feel like I have to tell my side of the story now haha. I can make no excuse – I played extremely poorly in the finals; I personally think I was so overwhelmed as to even being in the finals that I did not perform. In that game, Lionel did say he made many mistakes but I made far more than he did, and so it cost me both games and the free travel. Having said that, losing to his team made me realise the flaws in my team and where I need to go from there, so for that I thank Lionel for using a super-effective Wake-Up Slap on me. ^_^
First game was riddled with mistakes on both parts – In retrospect I could have lived slightly longer if I used Light Screen instead of Thunderbolt but ah well.
Second game went like this:
Amoonguss used Spore. Zzz. Amoonguss used Spore. Zzz. Amoonguss used Spore. Zzz.
I applaud and thank you for making it this far. Hopefully you guys got some new ideas from what I did and ran, and I’ll be most happy to answer any questions that you guys have. The day was not only a day of victory and success, but also for me to learn some lessons and where I went wrong. Personally, I must work on taking more care of my Pokémon (Talonflame suffered too much abuse) as well as respecting other Pokémon picks (as exemplified by my last two games.)
Overall, very happy to have been part of the Sydney VGC Regionals of 2014. Thanks, and see you (hopefully) at Nationals! <3