Nintendo Connection Tour (VGC) - South Australia's winning team


This was the team I entered in the South Australian Pokemon tournament, held on 1st May 2011. The rules were pretty much the same as regular VCG, except you only had 4 Pokemon in your party and you use all 4 of them (not 6 and choose 4 of them). No team preview. Wonder Launcher was on. Best of 1. And a few other small rule changes that are negligible to mention. This was the very first real-life tournament I entered. I practiced on PO with this team prior to the tourney. It did not disappoint, I won the tourney.

The goal of this team is to deal as much damage to the opponent as quickly as possible, often aiming to KO a Pokemon on the very 1st turn, whilst preventing them from counter-attacking and setting up their plans. If the opponent tries to set up Tailwind or something, they will have to pay the price with heavy damage to their team, and if I need to, it’s not hard to stall out Tailwind or Trick Room should I need to thanks to Protect and predicted switches, as my teammates cover each others resistances fairly well. When Tailwind etc runs out, I’m back on the offense. Should I mispredict, I can still make a comeback, and I’m not reliant on using any support moves like Tailwind, so I can continuously be on the offense.

The team:

Chandelure @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, - Atk)
- Heat Wave
- Overheat
- Shadow Ball
- HP Ice

With a Choice Scarf, Chandelure outspeeds everything except Accegolar and other Choice Scarf users, and this works excellently alongside its brilliant SpA and dual STABs, getting a quick, strong hit on many Pokemon. Heat Wave is spread damage and generally used when I can KO an opposing Pokemon with it or activate their Focus Sash. Overheat OHKOs many Pokes, including the Genii. Shadow Ball is for secondary STAB and Trick Room teams, seeing as most of the Pokemon who use Trick Room are weak to it. 100% accuracy also helps, as 90% accuracy can be a bitch. HP Ice is filler, but is the best move against Hydriegon, who resists Chandelure’s STABs and is very common. Chandelure’s bulk is also suprising, as it survived some super-effective hits like Scrafty’s Crunch and Scarf Darmintan’s Rock Slide. Sometimes, but not usually, I switch out Chandelure so I can reset its move choice. Modest > Timid, because it doesn’t need the extra Spe, whilst the extra power guarantess certain KOs, like Overheat on Landorus and Shadow Ball + Mach Punch on Haxorus (I could use HP Ice, but that’s not a good move to be locked into). Flame Body > Flash Fire, because in my PO practise matches, Flash Fire never got activated, and I overall found Flame Body to be more useful, though mostly useless.

Conkeldurr @ Flame Orb
Ability: Guts
EVs: 152 HP / 252 Atk / 104 SpD
Adamant Nature (+Atk, - SpA)
- Mach Punch
- Rock Slide
- Drain Punch
- Protect

Mach Punch and Rock Slide are both great for finishing off Sashes or Sturdy users, one has priority, and the other hits the ally too (and bypasses Rage Powder). This is especially helpful with Chandelure, who often forces foes to activate their Focus Sash. Drain Punch is reliable STAB to heal damage dealt from Flame Orb. Guts activated Drain Punch gives an absurd damage output. It’s easy to activate Guts with Protect, though I often attack with Conkeldurr first turn; I normally don’t find myself needing the Guts boost on first turn. Normally. Sometimes, I wish I used Life Orb + Sheer Force sometimes for the boost on turn 1 + more Rock Slide damage and not taking damage when I use Protect. But I never got around to testing it. It is rare for Conkeldurr to faint due to Burn damage, as my games are often quick due to the highly offensive nature of this team. I don’t know why 252 HP is the standard on Conkeldurr; this spread gives better overall durability and enables me to heal a greater % of my HP with Drain Punch.

Conkeldurr and Scarf Chandelure as the leads:

Conkeldurr and Chandelure form a great combo. They can KO many Pokemon together. Some Pokemon are OHKOed by either of them individually, and they can pick off Focus Sashes easily. Other times, they combined damage is great for netting an early KO. For example, Mach Punch + Shadow Ball always OHKOs Haxorus and Terrakion. Also, because Chandelure is Ghost-type, Fake Out users always use Fake Out on Conkeldurr, so it’s easy to use Protect first turn to stop it and activate Guts whilst not worrying about the Fake Out user targeting Chandelure. Trick Room users are hit hard by Chandelure on first turn, possibly OHKOed. If not, Conkeldurr works well in Trick Room, acting as an anti-Trick Room Pokemon to a small extent (this is mainly useful against Tail Room teams as opposed to full Trick Room teams). Also, I never lose all my Pokemon before Trick Room runs out thanks to Protect. Wonder Launcher could help as well. Tailwind is even easier to stall out. Chandelure also OHKO the main Tailwind users, Whimiscott and Tornadus. Trick Room and Tailwind, unfortunately, make Chandelure pretty much useless after the 1st turn, but it still gets one strong hit in. My leads may also trick my opponent into thinking that I’m using a Trick Room team, surprising them when Chandelure outspeeds their leads. These were the 1st two Pokémon I made when developing my team, as they have the potential to beat so many different lead matchups.

Hydreigon @ Chople Berry
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (-Atk, +SpA)
- Dragon Pulse
- Dark Pulse
- Flamethrower
- Protect

Hydreigon was the next Pokemon I thought of when creating the team. I wanted a Pokemon who could take most of my leads’ weaknesses, so that if I needed to make a switch (especially with Chandelure if I want to reset its move choice or to remove Overheat’s –SpA effect), I could do so more easily. Hydreigon does that very well, being immune to Psychic attacks, which is very helpful for a switch to stall out Trick Room time. It resists Chandelure’s Ghost, Dark, and Water weaknesses, whilst being immune to its Ground weakness, and can take Jellicent’s Water Spout if need be (if Chandelure isn’t locked into Shadow Ball).

Dragon Pulse is STAB, and I usually don’t find myself needing Draco Meteor’s extra power, whilst the side-effect would often be detrimental. 90% accuracy is also a turn-off. Dark Pulse is secondary STAB that I surprisingly don’t find myself using much, but I never really found myself wishing that I had another move instead of it. Flamethrower grants neutral coverage on everything when combined with Dragon Pulse and nets super-effective hits on many things, mainly Steel-types who resists its STABs. Protect is Protect. I used to have Life Orb, but I often found that I didn’t need the extra damage and that Hydreigon commonly killed itself with LO. Chople Berry worked better for me, especially seeing how common Fighting-types are. Hydreigon is easy to fit in on many different teams, and it was even easier to fit it on this team due to its strong offensive potential, good Speed, many resists, and good bulk.

Thundurus @ Focus Sash
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (-Atk, +SpA)
- Thunderbolt
- HP Ice
- Taunt
- Protect

I wanted my last Pokemon to have a strong offensive potential and be effective at finishing off weakened Pokemon: so it either needed to be fast or have reliable priority. Thundurus fitted this role the best. It also has a Flying-resist, which no one else on the team has.

Thundurus outspeeds everything except Whimsicott, Zebstrika, Serperior, Scolipede, Swoobat, Cinccino, and Accelgor. All are handled well by my team, and the only common one of these is Whimsicott, whom outspeeding means nothing thanks to Prankster and Tailwind. Thunderbolt + HP Ice grants great coverage and is self-explanatory. I have considered HP Flying, but the imperfect Speed IV means Thundurus can be outspeed by opposing Thundurus, which is bad, and HP Ice gives better coverage and does enough damage to Grass-types. Protect is Protect. Taunt is filler, and I generally find that I’m better off attacking then using Taunt, especially seeing that most of the Pokemon I would want to use Taunt on often hold a Mental Herb, and if the Pokemon is holding it, I’m always better off attacking. I have tried Thunder Wave on PO instead, but I also found myself never using it. I would be saying the same for any move that I placed in the last slot. Focus Sash because no other Pokemon has it. I often find that it doesn’t get activated, even against Rock Slide. Charti Berry would have been better for my tourney, as Focus Sash never activated in it, and if I continued using this team, I would consider swapping Sash for it. However, Focus Sash acts as insurance against very strong attacks, Ice-type attacks, and critical hits; I would hate to lose the tournament to a critical hit! Wonder Launcher is also on, so I can use a Hyper Potion to restore its HP to max if need be to give Focus Sash a second chance of working, but that’s situational.

Additional comments:

This team requires a lot of prediction, especially on the first turn because I’m using a Choiced lead. Mispredicting commonly costs me Chandelure first turn. Against the ever common Terrakion and Whimsicott matchup (which I faced in my finals), Whimsicott usually uses Tailwind or Charm first turn, so Chandelure starts off with Heat Wave. Whimsicott usually holds a Focus Sash though. What I do next depends on if I think the Terrakion will attack or use Protect. If I think the former, I will Drain Punch it, which should KO when combined with Heat Wave. If I expect the latter, I will Mach Punch Whimsicott, removing it from the game combined with Heat Wave. However, even if I mispredict, I find that Conkeldurr, Hydreigon, and Thundurus always do something useful thanks to their general utility: great offensive potential, good type coverage, bulk (Thundurus has Focus Sash), good speed (great in Thundurus’ case, and priority in Conkeldurr’s). They rarely disappointed on PO, and didn’t in any of my tourney matches, whilst Chandelure was usually great and netted a quick KO, if not more. Practise on PO helped me to master this team, especially the prediction side of it, and I did find my team to be well-suited for the VCG metagame.

Semifinals: Opponent sends out Terrakion and Amoongus

Turn 1:

Amoongus used Protect

Chandelure used Overheat. Amoongus protected itself.

Terrakion used Rock Slide. Chandelure was OHKOed.

Conkeldurr used Drain Punch on Terrakion. Did heavy damage but didn’t KO

If I had used Mach Punch + Shadow Ball to KO Terrakion, Chandelure would not have fainted, and I started the match down. Not too bad though, and the game was far from over.

Call outs:

Tommo. He helped me breed my Pokemon for me, and he continuously soft-resetted to get a wonderfully IVed Thundurus and traded it to me. He saved me LOTS of time, and if not for him, I wouldn’t have entered this tournament. It’s a shame you couldn’t enter the tournament.

Sheshi. He was the first person to point me out to this tournament, and he entered with me. Having close friends with you makes events like this so much more enjoyable. It’s a shame you didn’t get to enter the team you wanted to, but at least one of us won.

Sklez. For being a worthy finals opponent. It was a shame that hax (crit + double miss with Heat Wave) made the match less enjoyable, but that’s what you get for using the tabooed Terrakion + Whimsicott combo! I’m looking forward to our match next year.