Hi guys! So this was my first year playing VGC and competitive Pokemon in general. I was having a tough time in college, I was lonely, bored, sad, etc, and my buddy raikoo told me I should come down to the Houston regionals. Houston was a good 12 hour drive from me, and I would be going alone, but I did it anyway. And I had a fucking blast. I fell in love with VGC right then and there, even though I only went 5-3 and made top 64. I've made so many great friends playing Pokemon and I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. I felt so blessed to be invited to and be able to make the trip to the 2016 World Championships, and I had a lot of fun building and playing with my team. I didn't have a great finish, as I dropped after going 2-3, but the trip was a ton of fun and I would do it all over again if I could. Anyway, on to the team!
The Core:Rayquaza does a few great things for Xerneas: It's one of the best Groudon checks in the game, it controls weather, it OHKOS Kangaskhan, and it has incredibly strong priority that outspeeds Brave Bird. Xerneas helps Rayquaza by killing Salamence and forcing the opponent to click spread moves in order to get Xerneas in range of Double-Edge and Brave Bird, which in turn keeps Rayquaza alive, which is huge.
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
EVs: 244 HP / 140 Def / 12 SpA / 36 SpD / 76 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
- Dazzling Gleam
This is an incredibly standard Xerneas spread, one that was popularized by Conan (@conanyk on Twitter). It lives 2 max Attack Primal Groudon Precipice Blades, speed creeps the 127 speed tier, and lives 2 max Special Attack Water Spouts from Primal Kyogre when Xerneas is at +2 Special Defense.
Rayquaza @ Life Orb
Ability: Air Lock
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
- Dragon Ascent
- Extreme Speed
This Rayquaza set is pretty standard aside from Waterfall. Some Rayquaza players did indeed do well with this, see Kamaal Harris who made day 2 (@FonicFrog on Twitter). Waterfall did really well for me in truth, but I think I would've used Focus Sash with Swords Dance in hindsight.
There are 3 main issues with this core: opposing Xerneas, Steel-types, and Thundurus'.
How do you deal with Thundurus?Raichu knows how to deal with Thundurus! Thanks to Lightning Rod and Fake Out, Thundurus becomes useless against my team! Raichu creates mindgames with my opponent at turn 0, because when they see Raichu, they might not even bring Thundurus! So I always have to keep that in mind when selecting my four pokemon. I used Assault Vest Raichu, similar to Wolfe Glick, but I opted for a set with Volt Tackle and Feint over Volt Switch and Endeavor: (I also think his was bulkier than mine)
Raichu @ Assault Vest
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
- Fake Out
- Volt Tackle
Endeavor honestly never crossed my mind when building, and maybe it should have. I'm a much more offensive player than somebody like Wolfe, so I probably wouldn't have been able to play with something like Switch + Endeavor Raichu. Volt Tackle does killer damage, and I love being able to Paralyze everything with Nuzzle.
W-Wait! What about Xerneas?!Crobat is the staple Xerneas stopper, and Ferrothorn is a great check to both Xerneas and Kyogre. I've used Ferrothorn throughout my VGC season, as it's just so easy to use if you need to beat Xerneas and Ogre. Granted, I also used Kyogre throughout my season, so maybe I should've stuck to my guns entirely. Anyway, here are my sets:
Ferrothorn @ Metal Coat
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 84 Atk / 172 SpD
IVs: 0 SpA / 0 Spe
- Power Whip
- Gyro Ball
- Leech Seed
This is the bulkiest Ferrothorn set I've ever used, and it's insane. It lives 2 max Special Attack Kyogre Water Spouts in the 1v1 and Metal Coat gives it a favorable roll to kill most boosted Xerneas' with Gyro Ball. And if you don't kill it, well, that 172 Special Defense means it's not killing you.
Crobat @ Lum Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 20 HP / 236 Def / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 SpA
- Super Fang
So, here's another spot where I think I went wrong. I used almost max defense Crobat, which lives a Mega Kangaskhan Double Edge, but I think I needed more Special Defense. I know it would've come in handy a few times. This is a super standard Crobat set, it just tries to stop Xerneas in as many ways as possible, and has a few tools to stop things like SD Groudon, PuP Kang, and Smeargle as well.
Okay, but... Don't you just lose to Steels?Here is where I go off track. Arcanine was supposed to be so good! It beats every steel! It has Intimidate, Safeguard, Roar, even HP ICE!!! On paper, even in practice, this thing did really well. Unfortunately, in games, it just didn't do enough. I remember in one game vs a Big C team, I got up Safeguard, Roared out a Xerneas, HP Ice'd a Mence, and STILL LOST. What the hell, Arcanine? Anyway, here's the set:
Arcanine @ Expert Belt
EVs: 156 SpA / 156 SpD / 196 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
- Hidden Power [Ice]
So, this OHKOS Naive Salamence with HP Ice (Everyone brought Hasty), Lives 2 Hyper Voices from any Salamence, and outspeeds Smeargle. It just wasn't good enough. Against Big 6 variants without Bronzong, I got put in a position where I would go: "Okay, lead Crobat Xerneas, Ray in the back, and... what the fuck else do I bring? I guess Arcanine?" And it wouldn't really do enough for me in those match-ups. It really shined against Big B, but I only got to play that once.
So, anyway, I guess that's it. I know I only went 2-3, and if you want to just ignore what I wrote here because of that, that's fine. I still got to go to worlds and have an awesome experience. I want to give a quick thank you to all of my friends who have helped make VGC one of the greatest parts of my life. I honestly don't know where I'd be without some of you guys. MajorBowman SamVGC avos5 PacoTaco DaWoblefet raikoo Dawgie thank you all!