Top Players, Top Pokemon #1: Sam Pandelis (ZeldaVGC) and Talonflame


Lads and Ladies, I (Cappa) present to you a new segment we’re working on here at PokeAus, where we interview successful Australian players and ask them to talk about their favourite competitive Pokémon and how it’s utilised. Today, I chatted to 2-time Melbourne Regional Champion and NB Circuit veteran Sam Pandelis (@ZeldaVGC, hit him up on twitter) about his favourite competitive Pokémon, Talonflame.

Hey Sam, why do you like to use Talonflame? What’s the hype?

I like to use ­­­­Talonflame competitively because it fits in well with my playstyle. I’ve always had success using hyper offense Pokémon, and the set I developed with Talonflame is a set that is able to give high offensive pressure, and setup for quick KO’s, which is how I like to play.

Sam’s Talonflame

Talonflame @ Choice Band
Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Flare Blitz
– U-turn
– Sleep Talk

Care to explain the set?

There’s no need for a fancy EV spread with this Pokémon, given that the bulk it has is fairly non-existent, it’s much more logical to just invest it fully into attack and speed. This set utilizes the Gale Wings ability, along with Brave Bird, giving it +1 priority on Flying-type moves to deal out massive damage thanks to the Choice Band item in combination with Brave Bird. With this set, it can do massive priority damage to a whole range of threats in the game, KOing some Charizard-Y, doing 70% damage to Kangaskhans, but more importantly it is able to function as per usual under an opposing Trick Room or Tailwind thanks to its ability (as priority brackets override speed control), which is what makes it special.

U-Turn is a great move to be able to switch out of bad situations, such as perish trap, or generally just to do quite significant damage and replace your Pokémon to get into a better position. The last move may seem questionable to most, since it is Choice locked, but Sleep Talk has definitely held its weight in battle for me. Countless times I have predicted the Spore of an opposing Amoonguss, switched my Talonflame into the slot and have been able to one-hit KO Amoonguss the next turn thanks to Sleep Talk. It’s highly situational, but can honestly win battles if used correctly.

Have any favourite moments with this Pokémon?

I placed 1st in the 2014 Melbourne Regional Championships, achieved top cut in the 2014 National Championships, 3rd place in the 2015 Sydney Regional Championships, and won two large grassroots events within Australia using this set. It’s a Pokémon and set that I have become known for, and an out that I have continually stuck to over multiple formats. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t build teams without it, purely sticking to just what works for me. A favourite moment I have using this Pokémon is any given moment where Sleep Talk has worked for me successfully, which is sometimes, but not too often. The look on your opponent’s faces when it activates is priceless.

How effective do you think Talonflame is in the Australian metagame, Sam?

To be honest, I don’t think this Pokémon is very good in the Australian metagame. Pokémon that are common such as Landorus-T, Cresselia, Thundurus, Salamence, Tyranitar, etcetera, all are a huge struggle for this Pokémon to defeat, since a simple Intimidate can almost shut down all the functions of Talonflame immediately. However, I believe if it is used correctly with good support from its teammates, it can be used to a lot of success. Proof of that is my continued success using this Pokémon this year, regardless of it being quite mediocre in theory. I don’t think everyone can pull it off, but feel free to give it a try. After all, you should only play VGC with the Pokémon you feel you are comfortable with; otherwise you’re just destined to not do your best.

A huge thank you to Sam for taking time out of his busy schedule to write this for us, and we at PokeAus wish him continued success in his quest to become a Pokémon master!

About Cappa

Nathan is really, really bad at Pokemon, despite having played for a fair time. During the week, he spends lots of time with sick people and learning about why they are sick. Nathan is supposed to enjoy VGC, and pretends not to enjoy Love Live and distasteful memes. To listen to Nathan complain about life regularly, follow on Twitter @CappaVGC.
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