Hi there, I’m Alister (I often go by the alias “Vlade” or “Vivalavlade” in the gaming world) from Perth, Western Australia. I have played competitive Pokémon since 4th gen mostly on online battle simulators. The friends I mainly play Pokémon with, Trav and Pete, and I, were content with only playing 6v6 singles until we heard that there was going to be an official Nintendo VGC regional event in Perth with a 1st place prize being a trip to the National championships in Melbourne. Since then the only format I have played is VGC and while I wasn’t fond of the format at first it certainly grew on me and now I enjoy it as much, if not more than 6v6 singles.
I dabbled with several teams, reading article after article to see what kinds of teams/Pokémon are doing well in tournaments. Being half Japanese, I have always been interested in the Japanese metagame of games I have played competitively. The players are always so intelligent, and have a fresh and interesting perspective on things compared to players here. Pokémon was no different, and in fact the catalyst for the creation of the team I brought to regionals was a report from a Japanese player where he won what I believe was a WiFi qualifier with Mega Aerodactyl and Hippowdown. When I saw this, I knew that I just had to try it out and fell in love with this duo instantly. I have always been a fan of teams that are slightly unconventional or different to your standard winning teams without being gimmicky; thus this duo was the starting point of my team. I continuously grinded matches on Showdown, learning from losing and switching things up until I found a team that I consistently won with.
In-Depth Team Analysis
So without further adieu, here is the team that got me to the finals of the tournament:
Aerodactyl @ Aerodactylite
Ability: Rock Head (Mega-evolves into Tough Claws)
EVs: 220 HP / 52 Att / 4 Def / 4 Spdef / 228 Spe
- Rock Slide
- Sky Drop
This guy is the star of the show. Probably the most underrated Mega-Pokémon in VGC. Very few times I ran into it on Showdown, and I only know of one other person who used it at the Perth regional championships. I pick him every game regardless. EV’d to outspeed Jolly Talonflame, STAB Rock Slide with the chance to cause flinching is alone a scary thought. It will also always survive a non-Choice Specs max Special Attack Thunderbolt from Rotom in Sandstorm and can Roost off the damage afterwards. Sky Drop is also an incredible move to have in doubles – it hits Amoonguss and Mienshao for super effective damage and basically just removes a Pokémon from play for a whole turn which is huge.
Aerodactyl is not a sweeper. He is a utility Pokémon that continuously deals moderate spread damage scaring the opponent with the possibility of a flinch, and with this EV spread he has great longevity which most people are surprised at because it’s Aerodactyl.
Pressure is better than Rock Head but since I mega-evolve immediately it doesn’t matter what the initial ability is and I didn’t want to waste time breeding.
Hippowdon @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 140 Att / 100 Def / 12 Spdef
- Ice Fang
- Rock Slide
Also a Pokémon that is not seen often at all, in fact I have not run into it even once in my time playing VGC. He is my definitive answer to Mega Kangaskhan and to a lesser extent Mega Mawile, and boy does he put in work. As you can see from the usage stats, there were so many Mega Kangaskhans around. You might wonder why I didn’t run Slack Off; it’s because I’m an idiot and didn’t realise that Slack Off is an egg move until it was too late (I stayed up completing my team on the DS until 5am the morning of the tournament). So, I had to settle for this. Funnily enough, I didn’t get into any situations where I needed to Slack Off during the tournament anyway so it worked out. Switching this guy into Mega Kangaskhan’s Fake Out is one of the best things ever. Sandstorm damage also finished off a surprising number of KOs and also gives Aerodactyl more bulk. More often than not I found myself just spamming Earthquake while tanking hits.
Rotom-H @ Choice Specs
EVs: 252HP / 4 Def / 92 Spatk / 148 Spdef / 12Spe
- Sleep Talk
- Volt Switch
Well, we all know what this guy does. There are so many viable ways to run Rotom-H though that this set still deserves an explanation. He provides insurance against so many threats with his typing, bulk and power – Talonflame, Aegislash, Charizard Y, Ferrothorn and Amoonguss to name a few. He also takes the Thunder Waves and Will-O-Wisps that Aerodactyl and Hippowdon don’t like. The Special Attack EVs allow me to OHKO the standard Charizard Y with Thunderbolt guaranteed. Honestly I think a physically defensive variant might be better but I didn’t have time to test it, plus I liked the extra bulk against Aegislash anyway. With its survivability and Choice Specs, the constant damage output from STAB Thunderbolt really put pressure on my opponents and was my go-to move when I wasn’t trying to make big predictions. Volt Switch was mainly for Perish Song and when I predicted a switch.
Amoonguss @ Black Sludge
EVs: 252 HP / 188 Def / 68 Spdef
- Giga Drain
- Rage Powder
I hate this Pokémon. But if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I needed an answer to rain teams and half of my team is weak to water which is why I ran him. Amoonguss counters Rotom-W and Azumarill which can both often bring the match to a bad end for me. I was going to run a Bold variant with Speed EVs to outspeed Quiet Aegislash to get the Spore off before they can use Substitute but didn’t have time.
Amoonguss also encourages people to choose Talonflame in team preview, which I absolutely love because my team destroys Talonflame quite handily.
Hydreigon @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Spatk / 252 Spe
- Draco Meteor
- Dark Pulse
Hydreigon was a big deal in Perth regionals for me. Once their Fairy-type is gone, Hydreigon is pretty much free to come in and apply constant pressure with STAB Dark Pulse from his high base Special Attack.
Modest is better than Timid. Why run Timid when Scarf Salamence is going to outspeed you anyway? U-turn is handy for momentum and an answer to Perish Song. I pick him as a lead pretty often because of this option.
Salamence could easily fit in this slot but I chose Hydreigon because although he lacks Intimidate and is slower he is more bulky, has more power, has U-turn, and has access to STAB Dark Pulse which helps against Aegislash and is just an overall good move for mopping up mid to late-game.
Also, consistency is better than power any day of the week. Even moreso in Doubles than Singles as it is better to deal a guaranteed big chunk of damage than risk an all or nothing. This is why I chose Flamethrower over Fire Blast.
Gardevoir @ Lum Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 124 Def / 104 Spatk / 12 Spdef / 4 Spe
I’m convinced this is the best EV spread for non-Choice Item Gardevoir. It survives Brave Bird from Adamant Choice-Banded Talonflame (yes, I’m bringing up Talonflame again) amongst many things. Lum Berry was there mainly for more insurance in the Smeargle and Amoonguss matchup, particularly teams that run Smeargle and Salamence in the same team. The Special Attack EV investments allows a guaranteed OHKO on Salamence.
I originally chose Gardevoir because I struggled against Mega Venusaur. Unfortunately, if Mega Venusaur runs Sludge Bomb he still wins out because Psyshock only deals ~50% of Mega Venusaur’s HP. Thankfully I didn’t have to face any Mega Venusaurs in the tournament.
Here’s a rundown of how my matches went on the day; I don’t remember some names and teams so forgive me:
Round 1 vs Tzar
Seeing that he was probably going to run Perish Trap, I started Aerodactyl/Hydreigon which was a favourable matchup for me thanks to U-Turn. I U-turn out to Hippowdon who is now free to Earthquake since Gengar mega evolved. Aerodactyl and Gengar both died to Perish Song but it was worth the trade since I could now just focus fire the Pokemon that weren’t Meowstic as Meowstic wasn’t much of a threat.
Round 2 vs Cam Lazic
I knew Cam from a previous Perth Pokemon event I went to with Trav but didn’t enter. Trav and Cam played in the finals so I knew Cam was a solid player. I started Aerodactyl/Rotom-H because I expected Kangaskhan/Smeargle lead from Cam but he opened with Kangaskhan/Amoonguss. We were talking about our teams after round 1 and when selecting my first move with Aerodactyl I remembered that Cam didn’t run Fake Out on his Kangaskhan. Not sure if that was actually true or not but whatever the case it lead me to Sky Drop Amoonguss instead of Protecting first turn. I think he Returns my Rotom which does a decent chunk, and then dumb stuff happens…I crit his Kangaskhan with Thunderbolt dealing ~80%. If that wasn’t enough, the following turn Aerodactyl crits with Sky Drop OHKOing Amoonguss (sorry Cam). I switched Rotom-H for Hippowdon into a Power-up Punch which nets the kill on Kangaskhan thanks to Rocky Helmet. I got disgustingly lucky this game and what should have been a close match became a dumb victory for me.
Round 3 vs ???
I really don’t remember this match all too well but it was really close. It came down to a 2v2 between my Hydreigon and Rotom-H against his Mega Manectric and Talonflame. He Brave Birds Hydreigon and Hydreigon survives on 18 HP – talk about a close call. I actually hadn’t done a damage calc for that situation so my fingers were crossed hard throughout the entire Brave Bird animation (which takes freaking ages). This meant Hydreigon could then deal 90% to Mega Manectric with Dark Pulse, and if that wasn’t enough it actually caused Manectric to flinch. Not that it mattered because Rotom was on full health and had KO’d Talonflame and would have killed it next turn anyway.
Lady Luck smiled yet again and I got a bye this round. I don’t know how I got a bye this late into the bracket but I certainly wasn’t complaining.
Top 4: Round 5 vs David –
I spent pretty much the whole allocated 90 seconds in team preview thinking about who I should choose because David’s team was so solid. I actually knew about David because we had talked online years ago so I knew he was a good player. I brought Aerodactyl/Hydreigon/Hippowdon/Rotom-H I think. Well the first 3 Pokemon are definitely correct. I don’t remember the exact details of the match but it was close. The whole time I was thinking that because I didn’t choose Amoonguss my best answer to Rotom-W was Hydreigon – but Wigglytuff counters the living daylights out of Hydreigon. The match was really close. Rotom-W was putting a lot of pressure on me until I managed to KO Wigglytuff with a series of Rock Slides and Earthquakes from Aerodactyl and Hippowdon. Once I scored the KO, the match shifted into my control and I could bring in Hydreigon who was now free to constantly Dark Pulse. Honestly I think I got a bit lucky with team selection this time round. Winning this round meant I was in Winners Finals and I couldn’t believe it.
Winner’s Finals vs Cory
I go up onto the big screen excited to play and turn on my game, only to find out that my save had corrupted. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?! I don’t know. Nobody knows. This is probably the first time this has ever happened in any Pokémon tournament ever. Nothing I did was able to bring my save back so my team was gone. I explained to the judges what happened and we came to the conclusion that the only choice I had left was to play it out with a friend’s team – thankfully Cory let me use the team that my friend Trav entered the tournament with (I could write about his team but I’ll leave that to him, plus this writeup is too long already anyway). I understand if there’s controversy considering that if this was nationals or worlds I would almost certainly disqualified but I owe a lot to the understanding of the judges/staff as well as Cory’s sportsmanship.
Trav’s team is Smeargle/Kangaskhan/Salamence/Azumarill/Rotom-H/Aegislash. He had just played Cory and lost to him because of some crucial Rock Slide flinches. I was nervous because I had never used this team before, and my opponent had already just faced this team so he knew what was coming. Cory also ran smeargle and Trav told me that his only answer to smeargle is his own smeargle… so I start Smeargle/Kangaskhan, the classic. Surprisingly enough Cory did not pick Smeargle and instead opted for a Salamence/Aegislash lead. I deduced that he had no way of preventing a turn one Dark Void from going off so I just do it and from there I had complete control the entire match – Smeargle was then free to Tailwind and then Encore King’s Shield and basically just keep momentum on my side.
Grand Finals vs Cory
Cory defeats Marcus in what was a really tight losers finals match – I was watching the big screen intently and taking notes on Marcus’ team but Cory managed to clutch it out. Since I was still in Winners Bracket it meant I could afford to lose a game, plus I had just beaten Cory in Winners Finals so I had the upper hand in terms of mindset. Despite this I was still nervous. I decided that I might as well try and go for a repeat – I start Smeargle/Kangaskhan but this time round so does Cory. Trav runs inner focus on his Kangaskhan so I opt to not Mega-Evolve and go for the Fake Out on his Smeargle. I predicted that he would Fake Out my own Kangaskhan (since Trav runs bulky Kangaskhan) knowing that he would outspeed but Cory outplays me turn one and Returns my Smeargle, KOing it immediately. Turn 2 I think I bring in Aegislash and Mega-Evolve Kangaskhan. He switches in Salamence, I then switch in Azumarill to counter this. Next turn he Returns my Azumarill, which it would have survived if it weren’t for the crit from the second hit of Parental Bond… I was down 2v4 but I didn’t let that shake me – I still had Mega Kangaskhan and Aegislash, two of the best Pokemon in the format. I was just worried about how I was going to deal with Salamence without Azumarill. Things get a bit hazy but I remember Kangaskhan getting burnt by Rotom’s Will-O-Wisp not long after, but I manage to score 2 hits of Power-Up Punch to finish of Rotom’s last bit of HP equalising the attack reduction from burn. I just tried to play my absolute best, making each move without waivering and somehow I brought it down to his Smeargle/Salamence vs my Kangaskhan/Aegislash. Kangaskhan’s attack gets reduced again due to Intimidate, but then comes the turning point of the match – his Smeargle Transforms into Aegislash. I think he must have done this because he assumed that Trav’s Kangaskhan ran Sucker Punch so he if transformed into Kangaskhan he wouldn’t have been able to touch my Aegislash. Little did he know that Trav’s Kangaskhan runs Crunch (The most genius thing ever), because it is incredible in the Aegislash matchup. My Aegislash eats a Fireblast from Salamence in Shield Forme and survives, then I manage to take out his transformed Smeargle, leaving me with a 2v1 against his Salamence where either of my Pokemon could KO the next turn.
At that moment I couldn’t believe that I had just won the tournament, I stand up and take off the headphones and bury my face into my hands in relief.
Shoutouts to Nintendo Australia for hosting this fantastic event – I was impressed with the venue being the Duxton Hotel and just the way everything ran. I would definitely come to an event like this again.
Shoutouts also to my friends Pete, Trav and Marteh. Pete didn’t even have a 3DS and still came to support and cheer me and Trav on, not to mention reminding us whenever we had a match. Thank you Marteh for supporting me in the tournament, giving me stuff to complete my in-game team as well as keeping me in the loop with things. Thank you Trav for lending me your team, the Travister is unstoppable.
Written by Vlade