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By martha, Jordy, and Lyd. Released: 2018/11/17.
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Art by Bummer

Art by Bummer.

Introduction

Smogon runs several annual tournaments, covering a range of different metagames and generations. Each tournament has so much to offer, so let's see how they've been progressing!

Official Ladder Tournament

The fifth iteration of Smogon's Official Ladder Tournament concluded recently, finishing with an exciting finals matchup of Ojama vs Zuchtrest. Zuchtrest took the pink trophy, but the tournament saw more than just one series of games. It also saw the rise of an extremely potent OU threat in Mega Mawile.

OLT Spotlight: Mega Mawile

Mega Mawile
  • Mawile @ Mawilite
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • EVs: 180 HP / 164 Atk / 164 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Swords Dance
  • - Play Rough
  • - Sucker Punch
  • - Knock Off / Thunder Punch
  • Mawile @ Mawilite
  • Ability: Intimidate
  • EVs: 180 HP / 164 Atk / 164 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Play Rough / Iron Head
  • - Thunder Punch
  • - Ice Punch
  • - Fire Fang / Focus Punch / Brick Break

With the most recent OLT, Mega Mawile has cemented itself as one of the best Pokémon, and the best Mega Evolution, in the OU tier. Thanks to its good bulk and defensive typing for an offensive Pokémon, it gets many opportunities to switch into Pokémon like Clefable, Ferrothorn, Tapu Bulu, Tornadus-T, and Tangrowth, which were really common throughout the tour. Additionally, stall saw a decent amount of usage, which Mega Mawile excels against because of the free turns that the archetype tends to create, though a few answers were being experimented with, such as Mega Aggron and Avalugg. An archetype that came to be during OLT in Glare spam makes use of Zygarde and Serperior to use Glare to slow down checks for other threats in the back like Mega Mawile, which also helped it rise in usage. Mega Mawile takes perfect advantage of this because a lot of Pokémon like Heatran and Landorus-T rely on outspeeding Mega Mawile to check it. Lastly, Mega Mawile has many different coverage options, allowing it to break through would-be checks like Landorus-T, Heatran, Mega Scizor, and Toxapex.

Volcarona Tapu Koko Mega Mawile Tangrowth Celesteela Ash-Greninja Kickasser vs Insult Tapu Lele Greninja Tornadus-T Garchomp Magearna Tangrowth

After a few turns, Kickasser manages to get Mega Mawile in on Tangrowth, allowing it to KO Insult's Garchomp. The chip damage Garchomp left on Mega Mawile gets it into range of Insult's Tapu Lele's Hidden Power Fire, so Insult tries to take advantage of this by sending in Tapu Lele, knowing that Kickasser can't afford to lose his Mega Mawile right here. Kickasser then sends in his Tangrowth to scout what Tapu Lele will use, and it used Hidden Power Fire; assuming it's Choice-locked, Kickasser sends in his Greninja to pressure Insult's team. Kickasser tries to use this opportunity to remove Stealth Rock from the field with Tapu Koko. However, Insult expects this and doubles into Magearna, allowing it to set up with Shift Gear. Assuming Insult's Magearna has Ice Beam and Focus Blast as coverage moves, Kickasser sends in his Volcarona and tries to set up on Insult's Magearna with Quiver Dance, only to be weakened and forced out by Electric Terrain-boosted Gigavolt Havoc. Kickasser then sends Tangrowth in to take a Thunderbolt, weaken Magearna with Earthquake, and take an Ice Beam after. He then switches to Tapu Koko, knowing that it cannot be KOed by Ice Beam from that range, which allows Tapu Koko to heal up with its Iapapa Berry, avoiding even the 2HKO from Magearna to KO it back in return. After a few turns, Kickasser sends in his Tapu Koko against Tornadus-T, sacking it to get in his Greninja safely, which he sacks to Tangrowth to heal Volcarona up with Roost. Kickasser then pivots to his Celesteela to bait Knock Off from Insult's Tornadus-T to send in Mega Mawile and claim a KO. Knowing that Kickasser still cannot afford to lose his Mega Mawile, Insult sends in his Tapu Lele to force it out into Celesteela, at which point Insult's team cannot handle Celesteela anymore.

Mega Medicham Toxapex Landorus-T Ash-Greninja Celesteela Clefable Empo vs Simia Mega Mawile Rotom-W Magearna Landorus-T Kartana Tapu Lele

After trading Stealth Rock with Simia, Empo manages to Knock Off Magearna's Assault Vest to weaken it with Ash-Greninja more easily. After that, Simia manages to get his Mega Mawile in for free against Empo's Clefable. Knowing that nothing really wants to be crippled by Knock Off, Simia decides to go for the move with his Mega Mawile, effectively crippling Toxapex. After that, he uses Swords Dance, knowing that Empo's Toxapex will not be able to recover enough HP to stop Mega Mawile. After using Recover, Empo's Toxapex uses Haze to remove Mega Mawile's Attack boosts to safely pivot into Landorus-T. However, Simia knows that anything that is likely to switch in does mind taking a Knock Off, so he uses it instead of trying to get another Swords Dance boost to beat Empo's Toxapex, which cripples Empo's Landorus-T. Anticipating Simia's Rotom-W to switch in, Empo doubles out into his Mega Medicham to claim a KO. However, Simia knows that this is a possibility and also knows that Kartana can take any hit from Landorus-T at the range it's at, so he decides to switch into his Kartana instead, keeping the momentum in his favor. Empo, fully expecting Simia's Kartana to use Knock Off, switches into Clefable to take the Knock Off and force out Kartana. However, Simia expects this and chooses to use Knock Off once more, removing Choice Specs from Empo's Greninja. Empo knows that Kartana will be forced out now, though, so he makes a smart double into Mega Medicham on the expected Rotom-W switch-in from Simia. He then uses Ice Punch to 2HKO the incoming Landorus-T and sends in his Kartana to threaten out Empo's Mega Medicham. Empo switches into his Clefable, anticipating Knock Off once again. Simia tries to capitalize on this by switching into his Mega Mawile; Empo expects this and doubles into his Greninja to force Mega Mawile out. Simia then sends in his Rotom-W, knowing that it can take any two hits and KO Greninja with Volt Switch, which Empo decides to block with Landorus-T, creating momentum in his favor. He then sacks his Landorus-T to Simia's Rotom-W, creating an opportunity for his Mega Medicham to switch in, knowing that Simia will have to sack Magearna as he can't afford to lose his Rotom-W yet. After a few turns and losing his Rotom-W, Simia manages to get in his Mega Mawile on Toxapex to set up with Swords Dance and KO Clefable. He then predicts Empo's Greninja to use Water Shuriken instead of Hydro Pump, to try and avoid any Sucker Punch mind games and KOes it with Knock Off instead. After that, Empo tries to stall Simia's Mega Mawile out of Sucker Punch PP, but unfortunately he mispredicts the fifth time, losing any chance to still win.

Smogon Grand Slam

The eighth iteration of Smogon Grand Slam recently ended, resulting in UU Tier Leader Pearl walking away with the trophy after a long series of tough Opens and playoffs against the best of Smogon's lower tiers. His victory over Teddeh in the finals of the tournament (1 2 3 4) marked the end of a great experience for all the players. Here's what Pearl had to say about the experience.

Why did you sign up for the tournament, and what were your expectations going in?

As I briefly mentioned in my shoutout post, I wasn't keen on the idea of playing Grand Slam this year. I ended up doing it on a whim in the end, though I wouldn't say that there was a specific event that compelled me to do so. As far as expectations go, those were actually pretty low at first. I've been playing in Grand Slam for a while now, and I ended up barely missing out on playoffs for the last couple years, which set my morale at a pretty low level.

What tiers did you enjoy playing the most, and which tiers did you enjoy the least?

As much as some individuals would like to see me do a bunch of tier roasting right here, I have to admit that I somehow ended up finding some appeal in every single tier that makes up this tournament. However, the highlight was definitely venturing into Ubers territory and experimenting with so many Pokémon that only need a free turn to run away with the game. It was pretty intimidating at first, but I ended up finding my groove, and even though I did end up losing Open as I was starting to feel comfortable, the knowledge truly came in handy after all, netting me a 3-1 record in Ubers during playoff series. The tier I enjoyed the least was probably RU during playoffs, as I just wasn't feeling as confident as I was throughout RU Open, but it's not like I downright disliked it. Special mention to NU and LC for turning out to be my strongest tiers by the end of the tournament in spite of how poorly I did in their respective Opens.

What was your favorite playoffs series to play?

For what it's worth, all of my opponents were pretty challenging, but if I had to point out a favorite series, it'd probably be the one against FlamingVictini, as this user and I go way back as far as our Smogon "stories" go, and all of our games turned out to be really clean and interesting to play/rewatch (1 2 3 4 5). I'll admit that I was pretty much expecting my run to end with that series's NU game, since I was off to a very rocky start, but things ended up going my way in the end as I was able to predict Heliolisk's Choice Specs Volt Switch and then elevate my level of play with a very convincing showing in LC.

What was your favorite part of the tour as a whole?

It's sort of tough to pinpoint a specific moment that I would call my absolute favorite, but if I really had to give an answer, it would probably be all of the times where my less orthodox team choices ended up working out for me: my game 3 vs. Lycans in UU Open ended with a Linoone sweep, my NU game against SoulWind in the first round of playoffs had Masquerain snowballing out of control, and some of the things I used in RU Open were also fun to pilot: my own version of dual screens offense worked out perfectly against rozes, and the RU stall team we spent time perfecting in the Terminus Taipans team chat made an appearance in my RU Open finals series against g to the b, which turned out to be a perfect showcase of how the playstyle isn't as bad as some players make it out to be. Aside from those, there's also that one time in which I almost got knocked out of Ubers Open by a team that had Mandibuzz + Cofagrigus as its defensive backbone, which ended up turning me into laughing stock in my Smogon Snake Draft team chat, but that's just how life goes sometimes.

Now that you've won Grand Slam, how do you feel, and what do you think is next for you in Pokémon?

I was really happy once I became able to rationalize the fact that I had just managed to achieve something I once perceived to be next to impossible. I still feel that way as I am putting my thoughts together, except now that feeling is mixed with hunger to push myself to the next level. I'll admit that I've been making a habit out of looking at my profile whenever I start to doubt my ability to get things done, and my motivation is currently driving me to stay in top shape and start preparing for SPL X. SPL is basically the tournament that initiated this long journey, and I don't see myself quitting this game until I have that coveted win under my belt (and even then, who knows if I will actually leave for good after that).

Smogon Snake Draft

The second iteration of Smogon Snake Draft ended recently. With an impressive performance, the Shinto Ruin Serpents earned themselves a bye straight to the finals while the Leviathans and the Nagas battled it out for the other spot. While the finals were pretty close and had plenty of buildup, one of the more interesting matches was the semifinal match between Hiye and craing, so we'll take a closer look at that one instead! That being said, you can check out this thread for all the replays.

Greninja Tornadus-T Gliscor Mega Mawile Toxapex Magearna Hiye vs craing ;_; Clefable Greninja Landorus-T Ferrothorn Mega Latias Heatran

Attempting to scout Hiye's Greninja set, craing lets his Mega Latias stomach a hit with the intention of Roosting afterwards. However, a flinch left Mega Latias unable to heal itself back up. From there Hiye went to Mawile on an expected Ferrothorn switch-in and afterwards Gliscor on Landorus-T. Most importantly, this move gave the impression that Mega Mawile lacked Ice Punch and allowed Hiye to get up Stealth Rock, as otherwise, only Landorus-T would have had this opportunity.

Down the line, Mawile switches in on Ferrothorn, and—seeing it coming—craing commands his Ferrothorn to Thunder Wave Mawile. It may not seem like much at face value, but this lets craing's rather unorthodox Clefable set outrun Mega Mawile with ease. To gain some ground on his opponent, however, Hiye also pulls a big move and strikes down craing's Landorus-T with an Ice Punch. Landorus-T would have been a massive threat to Hiye's defensive backbone, and getting rid of it also means no Stealth Rock for craing. craing then sends Mega Latias expecting Gliscor to Roost up with it, but it gets hit with a Toxic as Hiye expected the Roost play. Clefable then comes in covering both the scout with Toxapex and anything else Gliscor could go for. A Thunderbolt greatly weakens Toxapex while it Hazes, expecting a Calm Mind set. Assault Vest Magearna then switches in only to take a Fire Blast. craing's Clefable truly has a glorious matchup against Hiye's team. It hits five Pokémon super effectively, and Gliscor can't do anything to Clefable anyway.

Courtesy of Protect, Heatran later scouts a Dark Pulse from Greninja and decides to put it on a timer with Toxic. This costs some of craing's reliability against Mega Mawile, but Ash-Greninja could prove itself as a bigger issue, especially if it managed to stack Spikes against craing's team. Expecting Clefable to switch into Gliscor, Hiye sends out Tornadus-T to threaten it out with a Supersonic Skystrike. However, expecting a U-turn, craing's Clefable stays in to Thunderbolt Magearna and get an unfortunate paralysis, which led to it getting outrun and, consequently, KOed. Greninja then comes in to lay some Spikes, but that gives an opening to Clefable, which now comes in and forces out Mega Mawile. This time, U-turning with Tornadus-T pays off, as Hiye gets to keep the momentum and eventually take down a weakened Heatran with Mega Mawile; however, this invites in Clefable once again. Gliscor is sacrificed to give Tornadus-T an opportunity to come in, and Mega Latias gets sacrificed to the combo of Supersonic Skystrike into Knock Off, neither of which any member on craing's team was quite willing to stomach. craing's Greninja comes in to bait the Toxapex, and that gives Clefable yet another opening. Hiye goes to Greninja on a Soft-Boiled and then to Mega Mawile on Ferrothorn, but Swords Dancing instead opens leeway for Greninja to come in. Hiye sacrifices his own Greninja expecting a switch on craing's part. Then this time, Toxapex stays in on Greninja, and Clefable comes in. Mega Mawile has to stomach a Thunderbolt at that point, and then it does some big damage to Ferrothorn with Ice Punch. While the freeze may look unfortunate, it actually isn't a big issue, as Ferrothorn would have to stay in on Tornadus-T's Hurricane anyway, as nothing else on craing's team would have appreciated the hit. From there. Greninja forces out Tornadus-T into Toxapex. Expecting Clefable to come in, Hiye promptly sends out Tornadus-T, but a miss ends up shattering most of Hiye's hope. Hurricane hitting there probably wouldn't have changed the outcome. But from there a slow and steady 1v1 of Toxapex and Clefable leads to the former winning the whole match.


Closing Words

Following these exciting conclusions to highly anticipated tournaments, more opportunities open for everyone. The playoffs of Smogon Tour 26 have begun, and the managers have also been selected for SPL X. 2019 also promises some amazing tournaments, so why not join one?

Planned by martha | HTML by The Dutch Plumberjack.
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