Team Report Defrosting - NPA X Season Report

zee

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VGC Leader
For the third season in a row, I had been drafted to the Malie City Monarchs for NPA. After a rough 4-5 season in NPA 9, I was really looking to bounce back and finish positive at the least this time around. I sat out the first two weeks due to being busy with school in addition to general insecurity around my skill in the format, but I finally got my act together and asked to start week 3, where I was paired against Len of the Hams.

week 3 vs Len (Hams)
I used: :calyrex-shadow: :regieleki: :thundurus: :whimsicott: :urshifu-gmax: :indeedee:
they used: :kyogre: :tornadus: :incineroar: :amoonguss: :kartana: :mamoswine:

I made this hyper offense team and used this to mess around on the Battle Stadium ladder. It was the second team I took to top 10 on the ladder, the first being my Solgaleo / Spectrier variant that was a sample team in the VGC room for a while. I knew that while my playing abilities weren't super sharp, it would be best to stray away from balances and try to end games quickly, maybe even hopefully on matchup. This team used two strong spread users, Calyrex-S and Indeedee, in order to lay down damage either early or late, and complement it with hits from my Electric-types or Urshifu. Kyogre was still really big at this time so having two Electric-types to pressure it enough was nice, as well as having Whimsicott + Regieleki for plenty of speed control. My opponent brought standard Kyogre with a Mamoswine, which I imagine was to help his sun and Dialga matchups.

game 1
I was totally fine trading my Calyrex for spread damage and the speed advantage, and his Mamoswine Dynamaxed just like I expected. No Tailwind from him was helpful, since my Urshifu-S could come in and get to work. It cleans the game with help from my Dynamaxed Thundurus in the end.

game 2
I was ahead at lead (though I definitely should've clicked Tailwind instead of Taunt) but the Icy Wind miss pretty much won me this game on turn 1. Urshifu-S kept the Kartana in check and won me the game quite comfortably.

week 4 vs Sefranek (Islanders)
I used: :groudon: :charizard-gmax: :venusaur-gmax: :grimmsnarl: :porygon2: :incineroar:
they used: :yveltal: :entei: :metagross: :regieleki: :rillaboom-gmax: :grimmsnarl:

I was still not entirely comfortable with a balanced build yet, but I knew that after my win last week and two aggressive teams with my name on them public, I had to build a bit differently. Instead of building, I just decided to use a Groudon sun team made by ck49. The decision to use sun over something like a Calyrex-Ice balance or building my own team can pretty much be attributed to the fact that I still needed more time to grasp to the format.

game 1
This one sucked really hard for me as you can see off that turn 1. Navigating Entei + Screens + Yveltal seemed really tough from preview though, so I decided to be disciplined and take game 1 to see how he would approach and figure out a plan for the rest of the set. I actually think I was in a point to mount some sort of comeback toward the end with Charizard + Groudon but I lose the speed tie to Entei. Can't really complain, I deserved to lose this.
game 2
I set up a really good sequence here to get the Weakness Policy activation on my Venusaur to KO the Rillaboom, weaken the Entei, and effectively set up Trick Room in order to win Groudon. I'm really happy this game worked out exactly like I wanted it to, thinking is broken.
game 3
I got pretty fortunate that the turn 1 Sleep Powder miss didn't set me back too far. I was able to force the Eleki to protect turn 2, as I assumed the Yveltal needs to max instead, and get the kill on Rillaboom to ensure I can TR to take the game. I end up Dynamaxing Venusaur to ensure I can remove the Regieleki and getting the G-Max Vinelash chip damage also turned out to be useful. I win with Groudon and Porygon2 to advance to 2-0.

week 5 vs Wacka (Hatters)
I used: :kyogre: :metagross: :tornadus: :grimmsnarl: :torkoal: :venusaur-gmax:
they used: :calyrex-ice: :incineroar: :tapu fini: :urshifu-gmax: :mimikyu: :thundurus:

Wacka is a good friend of mine and I know his building tendencies. In 2019 he preferred the bulky Trick Room offense that Lunala + Groudon provided so I was really really sure Calyrex-I was coming, hence my utilization of Weakness Policy Metagross. I hit the nail pretty much on the head, as I pulled the 6 mons that my friend deishu had used the week prior. This is another team built mostly by me, but it's just a spinoff of the dual weather teams that were popping up around this time. This variant doesn't really have Calyrex-S plans and if I had to do it over I'd probably run AV Grimmsnarl or at least an offensive one with Sucker Punch.

game 1
I Dynamax my Tornadus to avoid the flinch from Fake Out and guarantee the KO on Mimikyu, denying his Trick Room. Calyrex-I can't set Trick Room when it comes in, meaning it has to Dynamax and be slower than my Kyogre, so I clean this up easily.
game 2
This was an unfortunate game to say the least. Wacka puts himself in a good position to force my Metagross into using Max Guard, and I completely ignored the fact that G-Max One Blow can bypass Max Guard but, thankfully for me, he forgot to make his Urshifu-S G-Max in the teambuilder. I think I would've still won this game but because of this the game ended right there. I move on tod 3-0 now despite my rust and was feeling pretty good.

week 6 vs Glum (Cruisers)
I used: :zacian-crowned: :torkoal::venusaur-gmax: :incineroar: :porygon2: :thundurus:
they used: :yveltal: :coalossal-gmax: :urshifu-rapid-strike-gmax: :rillaboom-gmax: :incineroar: :dragapult:

I had gotten pretty positive on Zacian-C being the best restricted option at this time, and I also hadn't brought it to any weeks yet so I thought it natural to use a team like this. I had pretty good test results when I played a few sets with Animus so all in all I felt comfortable. I didn't know anything about my opponent ahead of time but I was a little scared to see G-Max Coalossal when I first opened the games.
game 1
I pull way ahead on this Turn 1 as I called the Fake Out properly, was able to Special Defense boost, get damage on the Coalossal, and get my Zacian-C in for free. I get a Substitute up to ensure I can beat the Coalolossal and stall the Incineroar, and the game is pretty much done from here since the Coalossal is too low on HP to get boosted by Urshifu-R.
game 2
I get the Eerie Impulse off on Coalossal turn 1 to ensure my Venusaur's safety, and he can't really touch me after that. After that it was pretty simple, and I click the safe buttons to ensure I can finish the week 4-0.

week 7 vs NikyuAlex (rollouts)
I used: :kyogre: :metagross: :tornadus: :grimmsnarl: :torkoal: :venusaur-gmax:
they used: :kyogre: :dragapult: :zapdos: :grimmsnarl: :ferrothorn: :incineroar:

I remember being a bit busy this week so I sort of tuned out of the team chat and brought this team again when it was time to play, which was probably not the best decision as you'll see when watching the games. I think this was playable from my end too, but I just got beat down bad.

game 1
I play this really poorly. I think not accounting for the end-game Ferrothorn plan and instead trying to secure an early lead in terms of remaining Pokemon was a bad decision.
game 2
Turn 1 started out strong as I correctly assumed the Kyogre would play passively and Sleep Powder the Grimmsnarl instead. However, turn 2 I let my Metagross and Venusaur get hit with a full-power Water Spout, as I thought my Venusaur was faster than Alex's Kyogre. The game ends pretty quickly after this and I take my first loss of the season.

week 8 vs Yzan (United)
I used: :regieleki: :clefairy: :glastrier: :rillaboom-gmax: :urshifu-rapid-strike-gmax: :entei:
they used: :dragapult: :porygon2: :glastrier: :amoonguss: :coalossal-gmax::incineroar:

The team I used this week was my take on the Clefairy + Regieleki offenses, with the tech being Weakness Policy Entei, an option I considered quite powerful thanks to being immune to Intimidate and Fake Out. Yzan brought a balance team with a Coalossal mode which isn't too far off from what I expected.

game 1
I was super greedy this game with Sing and Swords Dance to try and take advantage of his passive team, but I missed most of the times I clicked Sing and my Glastrier was contained by the duo of Incineroar and Amoonguss.
game 2
I called his Coalossal play off turn 1 and get a huge lead with Weakness Policy Entei Dynamaxed and ready to go. The game pretty much ended on turn 1 because of this.
game 3
The opening Helping Hand-boosted Stone Edge turn 1 miss set me back a lot. After a lot of turns of back and forth good plays from us both, I lose in the end due to a lack of resources, with my season currently standing at 4-2.

week 10 vs 45mice (puppies)
I used: :charizard-gmax: :venusaur-gmax: :torkoal: :grimmsnarl: :landorus-therian: :porygon2:
they used: :regieleki: :clefairy: :glastrier: :dragapult: :ferrothorn: :urshifu-rapid-strike-gmax:

After not using Venusaur sun for a while I decided it was time to return. The six Pokemon I used were pretty common at the time, but I believe the team originated from a player named BanFox. 45mice showed up with a team I saw them post on their Twitter earlier in the week. I liked my matchup, as his Fire-resistant Pokemon didn't like Charizard at all.
game 1
I knew he had to lead Clefairy + Lum Glastrier to deal with any Venusaur leads, so I put the Clefairy to sleep and set up a double KO with Heat Wave on turn 2. This gives me a lead that he can't really overcome and I swiftly win game 1.
game 2
I decide to lead the more passive Venusaur + Porygon2 this game expecting Regieleki to deal with my Charizard, which is exactly what happens, but my Porygon2 gets put to sleep turn 1 and he gets in Glastrier safely. The Glastrier snowballs pretty quickly, and I'm unable to contain its rampage.
game 3
I go back to my game 1 lead and am met with Glastrier + Regieleki, knowing one of them has to Dynamax. I decided he'd go for the more aggressive route and max his Regieleki, so I did the same with my Venusaur to match and get chip down with G-Max Vinelash. I bait the Max Guard on turn 2 knowing that he's scared of me switching in Torkoal for the Speed boost from Chlorophyll, so I delay my attack until Turn 3 where I setup a double KO in trade for my Venusaur. Clefairy and Urshifu-R can't close it out and I break my losing streak.

Week 11 vs Dandy (Blizzards)
I used: :regieleki: :clefairy: :glastrier: :spectrier: :rillaboom-gmax: :urshifu-rapid-strike-gmax:
they used: :zapdos: :incineroar: :tapu fini: :kartana: :porygon2: :mudsdale:

I wanted something simple to bring to this match since the week's result had already been decided. Winning this game guaranteed me a positive record though, so I was definitely trying. I've played Dandy a few times and expected something with a lot of spice factor, so I was pretty relieved to see a simple balance team at team preview.

game 1
I got turn 1 right on this game which gave me a huge leg up on the game as a whole. Since Zapdos was chipped and at neutral Speed overall, I could easily outspeed and KO it with Helping Hand Max Lightning. I have too many offensive resources from this point forward for Dandy to catch up to me.
game 2
Dandy let me get away with clicking Swords Dance on Glastrier multiple times. It was well supported and snowballed too hard for him to really gain footing in this battle.

Semifinal vs Mike D'Angelo (Blizzards)
I used: :regieleki: :gothitelle: :rotom-heat: :urshifu-rapid-strike-gmax: :rillaboom-gmax: :togekiss:
they used: :grimmsnarl: :porygon2: :entei: :moltres-galar: :metagross: :rotom-wash:

D'Angelo had been on the comeup recently and I was very ready to take on someone who I'd consider one of the better Gen 8 builders and players. I went with a spinoff of the Gothitelle + Regieleki builds with a lot of help from maovgc in prep. I was shocked to see this team in preview, because my Regieleki usage is very high and D'Angelo's team has no Electric-resist. As you're about to see though, this wouldn't be easy.

game 1
I definitely got too comfortable with my good matchup here. I took the line of letting RNG play the game for me as I went for Hypnosis multiple turns in a row, and I got rightfully punished looking back. This wasn't all bad, though, as now I had some valuable insight as we progressed in the series.
game 2
I called him out on leading Grimmsnarl and Porygon2 again and am able to get a lot of early game ground with Gothitelle and Togekiss. My Togekiss does go down early to an unfortunate critical hit, but ultimately I had enough resources to close the game safely, even with missing two Hypnosis later in the game.
game 3
I played the opening of this game a little suboptimally and got my Urshifu-R punished with a burn as a result. However, D'Angelo's unwillingness to Dynamax in these first few turns showed me pretty clearly that Metagross was hiding in the back, so I started thinking of how to close the game with Rotom-H. Ultimately we trade blows on both sides, but my minimum Speed Rillaboom and preservation of Rotom-Heat are enough for me to win and take the series.

Finals vs Willy (Puppies)
I used: :charizard-gmax: :torkoal: :landorus-therian: :regieleki: :urshifu-gmax: :clefairy:
they used: :coalossal-gmax: :dragapult: :rillaboom: :incineroar: :urshifu-rapid-strike-gmax: :togekiss:

In my preparation for the match, I realized I wanted to bring an offensive style of team that focused on Dynamaxing early game and closing out with strong finishers, those being Regieleki and Urshifu-S. Unfortunately I really didn't prep as hard as I should have for the finals of a major tournament, and I feel like it was especially prevalent in these replays that I didn't have much of an idea of how to approach the matchup. Use a double Fire-type core and running into Dragapult and Coalossal was certainly a rough matchup, but I don't think it was close to an autoloss or anything in retrospect.

game 1
game 2

I sort of talked about it in the match overview, but I really don't have a lot to say about these games, they're unimpressive at best. Willy beat me pretty cleanly in some swift matches, and sometimes you're just going to have tournament games like that: you just get rolled.

And that's my season! Thanks a lot to Spurrific and MajorBowman for picking me up after last season, I know we've already talked about it but I hope really did make you proud of your purchase. The team rocked this year, shoutouts to everyone who I played with, I truly do not think I've had such a fun team tournament experience in years.

For most of generation 8 I've felt quite jaded, longing for the better days of gen 7 to return. However, part of maturing and developing as a top VGC player is to realize that you don't really have any control over the metagames you find yourself playing, so it's best to just keep moving forward. I started out this season as someone who was virtually undetected and irrelevant, but my work on Smogon and my solid season record seem to have changed that, which means we're making progress I guess. Until next time!
 
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