Marching to the Beat of my Own Drum: A 2015 Australian Pokémon VGC Nationals 1st Seed Swiss Report

natsheader_nicholas

Hi, my name is Nicholas Bingham, also known as the guy in the Scraggy costume at Nats and as SpiritBomber on Nuggetbridge. I’m a year 12 student and a founding member of the Pokémon group known as the Ludicolo Patrol seen dancing on almost every Pokémon video in Australia. I started playing Pokémon competitively last year finishing in the top cut of Nationals as the 19th seed losing first round of top cut.

Team Building Process

It started with a disappointing 6-2 finish at Melbourne regionals bubbling out around the 20 mark. My team at the time consisted of Kangaskhan, Clefable, Rotom-W, Aegislash, Heatran and Landorus. The aim was to get Kangaskhan to +2 and sweep the opponent. This didn’t work as well as I’d like due to opposing Landorus-T, Char Y and Heatran getting off powerful spread damage which left Kangaskhan weakened enough that it fainted next turn. Also, the never-ending threats of Breloom and Amoonguss could easily spore my Clefable slot allowing other Pokémon to KO my Kangaskhan. I came to the conclusion of having another Pokémon being able to boost leaving the opponent with more threats to deal with and switching to Amoonguss to handle opposing Kangaskhan, as well as Wide Guard on Aegislash to counter spread damage.

The Team’s Core

The aim was simple: get something to boost its Attack stat with Amoonguss support and win the game. Azumarill handled many hard matchups that Kang could not such as Mega Salamence and the ever so popular sand team, and the matchups Azumarill couldn’t handle, Kangaskhan’s raw power could muscle through opponents. I tested it on battle spot and it was able to pick up 15 wins in a row from 1500 so I was sure the team would function well at Nationals.

The Team

azumarill
Azumarill @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Huge Power
Level: 50
EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 36 SDef / 4 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Aqua Jet
– Play Rough
– Belly Drum
– Protect

The MVP of this team. Azumarill can deal so much damage at +6 after Belly Drum that it can instantly win games. Play Rough dealt with the Mega Salamence and sand matchups very well, and when paired with Amoonguss it was my favourite lead of the tournament. Credit to Lionel Pryce for the spread in his 2014 Azumarill; it got me my best performance to date!

amoonguss
Amoonguss @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 188 HP / 156 Def / 164 SpD
Sassy Nature
– Spore
– Rage Powder
– Giga Drain
– Protect

Amoonguss is in my opinion the best redirection in VGC. It gains access to Rage Powder, can restore HP using Giga Drain and can put opposing Pokémon to sleep with Spore, allowing Kangaskhan or Azumarill to switch in, boost up and win. The addition of Amoonguss also helps against the Trick Room matchup, with its slow base speed of 30 accompanied with a sassy nature allowed a big advantage against Trick Room. A very important thing when playing with Amoonguss is to always play as if the opposing Pokémon will get a one turn sleep to minimize bad plays due to luck factors. The spread is not my own but I believe it to be the best for Amoonguss as it needs to have as much Special Defence investment as possible to survive against the ever so popular Heatran and Mega Charizard Y.

kangaskhan-mega
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Return
– Power-Up Punch
– Sucker Punch
– Fake out

A very standard Kangaskhan spread and it is very effective. Adamant was to maximise damage when Intimidated and to pick up crucial KOs with Return (as opposed to using Double-Edge where I felt the recoil would have cost me games). I had debated over using Protect due to opponents Double Protecting against a Fake Out but the utility of Fake Out is too strong to not pass up, especially when you are almost guaranteed that there will not be Protect on a Landorus-T.

landorus-therian
Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
Intimidate | Adamant
60 HP / 204 Atk / 92 Def / 4 SpD / 148 Spe
– Superpower
– Rock Slide
– Knock Off
– Earthquake

Any Landorus-T that survives a +1 Sucker Punch from a Life Orb Bisharp is a good Landorus-T. The aim of this spread was to counter Bisharp with the Defence investment and KO it back with Superpower. I chose Knock Off over U-Turn to get rid of troublesome Rocky Helmets that can damage my team, as well as Choice Scarves that can cause a lot of trouble.

rotom-heat
Rotom-Heat @ Safety Goggles
Levitate | Modest
252 HP / 52 Def / 60 SpA / 4 SpD / 140 Spe
– Will-O-Wisp
– Overheat
– Thunder Wave
– Thunderbolt

Rotom-H was the second most valuable Pokémon on this team. The Safety Goggles allowed for many safe switch-ins into Spore from Breloom and Amoonguss. It outspeeds Adamant Bisharp and KOs with Overheat. I put a considerable amount of bulk into Defence to take Rock Slides as well as possible. The most important thing about this Rotom-H is that it carries both Thunder Wave and Will-O-Wisp. I never revealed both to one opponent to make my team have tricks that nobody knew.

aegislash
Aegislash @ Life Orb
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpA
Quiet Nature
– Shadow Ball
– Flash Cannon
– Wide Guard
– King’s Shield

A basic Aegislash spread. Wide Guard helped against Landorus-T and with the Life Orb was able to do a lot of damage to opposing Pokémon.

Day 1: Swiss Matches

Round 1- Mathew Lynch

regigigasvolcaronawhimsicottmarowakeelektrossjellicent

Looking at this team I immediately expected some kind of getting rid of slow start on regigigas to get a strong Pokémon on his side.

Game 1

He leads Jellicent/Whimsicott and I lead Amoonguss/Kangaskhan. I power up punch and rage powder getting kang to +2 which sweeps through his whole team.

Win 1-0

Game 2
I lead Rotom-H/Amoonguss and he leads Elektross/Jellicent. A Thunderbolt surprises him and KOs his Jellicent and I manoeuvre from there to get Kang to finish him off.

Win 2-0

Round 2- Mathew Hamilton

tyranitaraegislashexcadrillrotom-mowsalamence-megamilotic

This was one of the hardest sets I had to play all tournament. Rotom-M threatened my Amoonguss’ Rage Powder support and Milotic is a big counter to Landorus-T.

Game 1

He leads Tyranitar/Excadrill as I lead Amoongus/Azumarill. This game consisted of being flinched by two faster Rock Slides with him revealing he had choice scarf on Tyranitar. The Mega Salamence was able to finish off the Kangaskhan I had in the back.

Loss 0-1

Game 2

I lead Kangaskhan/Amoonguss as he leads Rotom-M/Salamence. I predict a Protect on the Salamence, and switch out Amoonguss while Power-Up Punching the Rotom-M. Rotom-M attempts to use Volt Switch on the Landorus-T that switched in, giving me the position to win the game.

Win 1-1

Game 3

I lead Kangaskhan/Amoonguss and she leads Rotom-M/Tyranitar. We traded KOs until it was a Milotic who was paralyzed and on yellow health and I had to switch in my Landorus-T giving it the Competitive +2 Special Attack boost. I Earthquaked the Milotic taking it down to 1HP and as he jumps up to celebrate he gets fully paralyzed! Obviously I win from there.

Win 2-1

Round 3-James Robertson

conkeldurrrotom-washheatranlandorus-therianclefablekangaskhan-mega

Annoyed that I had to play a friend this round with a very similar boosting strategy.

Game 1

I lead Azumarril/Amoonguss as he leads Kangaskhan/Clefable. I call the Fake Out onto the Azumarril and Spore his Clefable after it used Follow Me. I then Belly Drum to secure the win.

Win 1-0

Game 2

We both lead Kangaskhan and our respective redirection. We trade KOs until it’s his Conkeldurr and Heatran against my Azumarril and Landorus-T. He predicts an Earthquake and goes for the Wide Guard on Conkeldurr as I pick up the KO with superpower and play rough to secure the win.

Win 2-0

Round 4- Luke Hey

bisharprotom-mowheatranmiloticthundurusgallade-mega

As we greeted each other he was dumfounded how he was still undefeated! This gave me some confidence for our match.

Game 1

He leads Gallade/Rotom-M into my Kangaskhan/Amoonguss. I Rage Powder away his close combat into my Amoonguss and pick up the KO with Return. I am able to KO his Rotom-M with my Rotom-H to seal up the game.

Win 1-0

Game 2
He leads with the same leads as so do I. This time I Protect Amoonguss, predict a Psycho Cut and Return the Gallade. This pays off and Kangaskhan Power-Up Punches and wins the set.

Win 2-0

Round 5- Timothy Walsh

kangaskhan-megaclefablebisharpzapdosterrakionblaziken

Being 4-0 I started to get really nervous as I had to play Timothy Walsh, a really top quality VGC player who I had seen at the business end of tournaments before and on PokeAustralia’s Facebook page.

Game 1

He leads Blaziken/Clefable as I lead Azumarill/Amoonguss. His Blaziken is unable to pick up the KO with a Life Orb Flamethrower onto Amoonguss and I set up a Belly Drum. He switches in his Kangaskhan as I play rough his clefable revealing it to be unaware. I double Protect so that I am able to KO his Clefable with a Play Rough next turn. I then switch into my Kangaskhan to Fake Out his team as Amoonguss faints to his Kangaskhan next hit. Azumarill picking up all 4 KOs MVP!

Win 1-0

Game 2

He leads Zapdos/Terrakion as I bring the same lead as game 1. I call the Tailwind/Rock Slide play and Aqua Jet/Giga Drain the Terrakion for the KO. Next turn I set up the Belly Drum and sweep with Azumarill.

Win 2-0

Round 6 Theron-Ho

thunduruskangaskhan-megasylveonterrakionbisharpgengar

I was startled to have to face a player from Singapore in the Australian Nationals. His team looked pretty standard, or so I thought……..

Game 1

gengar-mega
He leads Gengar/Terrakion as I lead Amoonguss/Rotom-W. I am startled as his Gengar Mega Evolves trapping me in.
Unable to escape I fall to the overwhelming power of Rock Slide and Sludge Bomb as he quickly beats me in a 4-0 win.

Loss 0-1

Game 2

I lead Kangaskhan/Amoonguss as he leads Thundurus/Gengar. I Fake Out the Thundurus and Spore the Gengar making the prediction that it didn’t carry Taunt due to being a Mega. I predict a double switch and Spore the Gengar slot putting his incoming Terrakion to sleep. This game went back and forwards ending up with a full health Amoonguss against his sleeping Gengar. He gets the one turn sleep but I still am able to KO him with two giga drains from low health giving me the win.

Win 1-1

Game 3

The end of this game nearly gave me a heart attack. He doesn’t bring Gengar this game and instead leads with Kangaskhan/Thundurus against my Rotom-H and Kangaskhan. I target the Kang with a Return as he Fakes Out my Rotom-H and Thunder Waves my Kangaskhan. I use Thunderbolt to take his Thundurus to near Sitrus as I am able to get the Sucker Punch off to finish off his Kangaskhan. This would be the last one would get off for a long time….He switches in Terrakion and he goes for the Rock Slide as I am fully paralysed with Kangaskhan and finish off his Thundurus with an Hverheat. The next turn my Rotom-H goes down to a Rock Slide and Knock Off as my Kang gets fully paralysed again. I switch in Azumarill, who takes a Rock Slide and a Knock Off as I get flinches on both Azumarill and Kangaskhan. Next turn I am able to Power-Up Punch the Bisharp picking up the KO at the cost of my Azumarill. I switch into Landorus-T, and then it gets weird. I click Rock Slide flinching him for 3 turns in a row as the same thing happens to my Kangaskhan with paralysis. He is able to get another Rock Slide critting my Landorus-T but missing my Kang keeping it alive. I then finally get off an attack with Kangaskhan as Sucker Punch gives me the game.

GG Theron I never want to have a game 3 like that again.

Win 2-1

Round 7- Saamid Zikra

heatranzapdoslandorus-therianbreloomcresseliakangaskhan-mega

I thought I was in trouble as I saw the Cresselia as it can do a lot of damage to my team.

Game 1

He leads Breloom/Cresselia as I lead Rotom-H/Kangaskhan. I go straight for the Return on the Breloom picking up the KO as I Will-O-Wisp to get some chip damage on the Cresselia. He switches in Landorus-T as I switch out Kangaskhan into Aegislash. I Wide Guard as he Calm Minds with his Cresselia. This allows me to pick up the KO on Landorus-T with two overheats. He switches in Kangaskhan as I switch my own Landorus-T in for Rotom-H to Intimidate his Kangaskhan. He is able to KO my Landorus-T with and Ice Beam but is unable to beat my Aegislash.

Win 1-0

Game 2

I lead Azumarill/Amoonguss as he leads Breloom/Heatran. I navigate around the bad match up by switching into Rotom-H to take the Spore from Breloom and Protecting with my Amoonguss. He then switches out his Breloom for Cresselia as I switch in Kangaskhan for Amoonguss take a Heat Wave and paralyse the Heatran. I predict him to go for Trick Room with his Cresselia and double target with a Return and Overheat. This pays off giving me the advantage to win with Kangaskhan.

Win 2-0

Round 8- Alexander Poole

amoongusskangaskhan-megaswampertheatrancresseliathundurus

This team was very interesting, and it got even more interesting as the games went on.

Game 1

He leads Swampert/Thundurus as I lead Kangaskhan/Rotom-H. I couldn’t do much expect Fake Out the Thundurus and Will-O-Wisp the Swampert. The Fake Out does over 50% as he reveals himself to be an offensive Thundurus with the damage. To my surprise his Swampert is physical and goes for Waterfall onto Rotom-H, who doesn’t take much due to the burn. I Sucker Punch the Thundurus to KO it and keep chipping away at his Swampert. Noticing he can’t win he concedes.

Win 1-0

Game 2

This was an extremely close game he leads with Heatran and Kangaskhan and we switch a lot to get into the right position. I was extremely happy to have a full health Aegislash against a full health Amoonguss at the end of the game. I Shadow Ball the Amoonguss taking it to yellow as he reveals the FOUL PLAY and OHKOs my Aegislash giving him game 2! I just sat there not believing that had just happened!

Loss 1-1

Game 3

I don’t remember this game much but I do remember getting Kangaskhan to +4 and sweeping him with Sucker Punches.

Win 2-1

Round 9- Phil Nguyen

breloomkangaskhan-megasuicunerotom-heatsylveonlandorus-therian

One more game and I had pulled off the impossible the 9-0. I had to play my good friend Phil. I was really considering losing on purpose to allow Phil to not bubble again this season, but I wanted a 9-0 on my résumé.

Game 1

He leads Breloom/Rotom-H as I lead Kangaskhan/Landorus-T. I return and KO the Breloom while picking up some damage with Rock Slide. I am forced to switch Kang into Aegislash as he switches his Kangaskhan in. We both KO one for one until it is an Aegislash against a Kangaskhan and he concedes.

Win 2-0

Game 2 (The best move in the game)

I win this game in the worst way possible: Rock Slide. Landorus-T flinches his Pokémon at least 4 times giving me the breathing space I needed to sweep with Kangaskhan.

Swiss Summary

I was ecstatic people were congratulating me and I was so proud when I saw the results.
I went home and celebrated preparing for a top cut match with Lionel Pryce, whose success last year with Azumarill inspired this team.

vgc_masters
Special thanks to everyone who made my day so special I will never forget it.

Day 2: Top Cut

Top Cut Round 16- Lionel Pryce

kangaskhan-megaamoongusssuicunezapdosheatranlandorus-therian

I sat down with one of my favourite Pokémon players and began the best pre-game banter I have ever had.

Game 1

I lead Rotom-H/Landorus-T as he leads Kangaskhan/Zapdos. He sets up Tailwind and switches out Kangaskhan into Heatran. Luckily, expecting this, I Thunderbolted and Rock Slid the Kang slot doing a lot of damage to his Heatran. Landorus-T was able to do a lot of damage this game, while a crit Scald burn onto my Kangaskhan from his Suicune was able to get him into the lead. Luckily I was brave enough to keep my Aegislash in Blade Forme, which left it as a 1 on 1 with Kang and Aegislash and he forfeits.

Games 2 and 3 (basically the same game)

Both games he leads with Suicune and Zapdos and I lead with Landorus and Kangaskhan. I make the mistake of thinking that a Return and a Rock Slide will KO his Zapdos not once, but twice, letting him set up Tailwind and sweep me with his Life Orb Heatran and Kangaskhan.

Thanks to everyone who was at Nats this year! It was a great experience and I hope to play more games and get even better.

Written by SpiritBomber

About Stacey

Owner of this website, and control freak. Stacey formats PokeAus articles, and deals with back-end maintenance. Her aim this year is to collect data and write up usage stat articles for both the TCG and VGC community to enjoy.

2 comments

  1. Just in case anyone is wondering why he has 4 Atk EVs on Aegislash, they were from last year when he was running Sacred Sword 😛
    I guess he forgot to mention that.

  2. A few corrections regarding our game:
    – It was a Suicune switch in, not Heatran. I wouldn’t have switched Heatran into a Superpower. That’s why the Thunderbolt was so important.
    – Fairly sure the crit Scald burn on your Kang was in game 2, and you led Rotom-H / Landorus that game. The damage didn’t matter since 1.5x of zero is still zero, but the burn certainly did.
    – My Zapdos has a lot of physical bulk and is a 3HKO from practically any Rock Slide in the format.

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