Team Report New Blood (Smogon VGC PL Report)

Helios of Sun

The End of the Line
is a Pre-Contributor
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Hello everyone! I am Helios, and I am a fairly new player to VGC (restarted in late January this year, after a short stint in 2013). In the time, I was able to meet many new people and improve at the game at a fairly quick rate. By April/May, I was hitting 1750s on ladder when I pushed myself, and I was really proud of myself. Around this time, zee (still, thanks so much) invited me to The Boys, and by meeting everyone there, I was able to push myself and become an even better player. In this time, I participated in the APAC Draft League for Series 9, and went undefeated there, which is how I think zelda and Dawg noticed me.

Smogon VGC PL is the second big Draft League tournament I've ever played (first being PGL). With so many signups and people from other tiers playing, I wasn't even certain that I would ultimately get drafted for the Smogon VGC PL. I ultimately went for 3k to the Seven Island Stoutlands, who are led by Zelda and Dawg.

For the Series 9 weeks, I was ultimately benched for most of this time, and I wasn't sure if I was going to play or not. I thought it was quite a pity because I was quite confident in my ability at Series 9, but oh well. For this time, I just sat out the weeks and helped out my team with their prep.

TEAMS: https://pokepast.es/bd11331c0cac834e

Week 3

Wheen Week 3 came, I found out that my name was on the list to be playing! I was so excited, until I found out that my opponent was... well... yuki..., who was a friend of mine. I really hate playing against friends. I was aware of yuki's tendencies and ideation and I knew that trying to counterteam them would be a horrible idea, so I thought to just find a team that I was comfortable with and go from there.

Over the week, I got myself familiarized with Torviv's Kyogre team and a Zacian Latias team that I believe top cut Battle Frontier. When asking my team what kind of team they would recommend for me to use, they recommended that I chose the team that I was most comfortable on, which is why I ultimately settled on the Zacian Latias team (which I was 1450~ on ladder with [bear in mind, this was when ladder wasn't fully developed yet]). With this, I went into the match, for Calyrex-Shadow to greet me at Team Preview. I was slightly scared as I was not fully familiarized with my lines for this matchup, but it was too late, and I had to play my game.

FINAL TEAM:
:Zacian-Crowned: :Regieleki: :Rillaboom: :Incineroar: :Urshifu Rapid-Strike: :Latias:

OPPONENT'S TEAM:
:Calyrex-Shadow: :Rillaboom: :Incineroar: :Mienshao: :Weezing-Galar: :Regieleki:

Game 1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1378702909
Game 1 was over at Turn 1 when I got the Fake Out prediction wrong. Not much else to be said here.

Game 2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1378703004
Game 2 I opted to just let both my mons take the Astral Barrage Turn 1, as it seemed much better as compared to just losing to a Fake Out, but yuki switched out Calyrex-Shadow and let me kill Mienshao with 2 Grassy Glides. This ultimately won me the game as too many resources has to be allocated to kill my Incineroar. Game 2 also gave me crucial Information that yuki's Incineroar was Specially Defensive, meaning that my Zacian's Sacred Sword was a one shot on it.

Game 3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1378703122
Game 3 I went for the same plan Turn 1, and managed to get very nice chip on the Calyrex-Shadow. With Turn 2 letting me get a free knockout on the Mienshao, my Incineroar was completely safe and I was able to close out the game eventually.

Week 4

When Week 4 rolled around, I was terrified when I saw who my opponent was. It was THE Wilfire70, THE man who won Victory Road Winter, and I was meant to beat this guy. I knew instantly that I had roll a good matchup or I was not likely to beat him on even terms. With that, I looked through the teams I had available to me, and I decided to try two teams for the week: the Italian Calyrex-Shadow team or Zacian Suicune.

On the Friday before I was due to play Wilfire for our match, I did some research on him, and it seemed like he used a whole lot of Zacian in general? With that information in mind, I solidified my idea of playing Calyrex-Shadow and opted to play that for our match. On that day, I racked up a 79% GXE playing this team to hit top 500, so I felt really confident before going into the match.

FINAL TEAM:
:Calyrex-Shadow: :Rillaboom: :Incineroar: :Urshifu Rapid-Strike: :Nihilego: :Regieleki:

OPPONENT'S TEAM:
:Zacian-Crowned: :Incineroar: :Urshifu Rapid-Strike: :Volcarona: :Regieleki: :Rillaboom:

Game 1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1383136590
Game 1 was generally just me trying to get a feel for how Wilfire was going to play the matchup. I however threw on many occassions, making many mistakes where it was unnecessary. It ultimately came down to a scenario where Wilfire threw on Turn 10 by double protecting, meaning that I was able to clean up Regieleki with Grassy Glide and win Game 1.

Game 2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1383136676
Game 2 was a scenario where I thought I was good when I managed to kill his Rillaboom on switchin, but I threw the game after that. Not a game I'm proud of, and I was really kicking myself hard after the game ended.

Game 3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1383136778
From the first two games, I got a feel for how Wilfire liked to play the game, and I made a very ballsy read to try to win the game then and there on turn 2, but doubling into the Zacian slot and killing it. From then on, I knew the game was mine if I didn't throw. I very nearly did by not being ballsy enough to bring Calyrex-Shadow in earlier (I think), but I still managed to pull it out.

Week 6

... We do not talk about this week. Okay kidding, but boy was this messy.

I wasn't intended to play in the first place, but as a result of Coconut having sudden problems at the scheduled time, I was selected to sub in for VGC 2018 as we didn't have anyone who could play it in the bench. So I spent the last 2 or 3 days before the match doing research on VGC 2018, as even if I didn't win the match, I didn't want to look like a complete fool. So I asked some of my friends who were way more experienced in VGC 2018 (MisterGX, Kendrink, Yuichi) to help me with my prep. I originally planned to bring Yuree's Metagross team, but after playing some test games and finding Mega Gengar way too tricky to handle, I opted to ultimately bring Kommo-o instead.

When it came time for the original scheduled time, the opponent wasn't around, so the Magmas opted to sub in lax for the match instead, and he brought the same Kommo-o team I did. It ended up becoming utter chaos, where I got lucky by winning more speed ties with Mega Gengar. The games I probably can't explain well to do the chaos justice, just give them a watch.

FINAL TEAM:
:Gengar-Mega: :Kommo-o: :Tapu Bulu: :Incineroar: :Azumarill: :Clefairy:

OPPONENT'S TEAM:
:Gengar-Mega: :Kommo-o: :Tapu Bulu: :Incineroar: :Azumarill: :Clefairy:

Game 1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-1392601680
Game 2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-1392601843
Game 3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-1392601911


Week 7

From the previous week, several problems had started to crop up on my end. Weeks of playing of S10 and my anxiety issues had started to prop back into my life. So, this is when I started to have some problems playing in the Smogon VGC PL. I am sure my friends in the Pokemon community and my team had noticed that I started to be more grumpy and irritable. To this group of people, I really want to apologize for my behavior.

Anyways, I knew that TTT x was a monster in draft leagues, so I was terrified to go up against him. From what my teammates were saying in the Stoutlands chat, he was a player who was good at playing more unusual picks, so from then on, my strategy was to play the team I was most comfortable with. In this week, I tested quite a few teams, and I got 3 accounts (I think?) to the top 500 of ladder. Some teams I tested included mao's Calyrex-Shadow team but with Life Orb Calyrex-S instead, a more unconventional Zacian-C team with several techs to beat the mirror and have a more favourable matchup against Groudon Entei, and Regikitty's team.

After testing a bunch, I just realized that my experience in Week 4 came in handy as I found Regikitty's team the one I was most comfortable with, and ended up rolling with that for the week. Huge shoutout to frogtypebeat for helping me a lot with prep this week.

Before the match was set to be played, TTT told me that he couldn't play and was going to be subbed out, and the player who ended up being subbed in was LuckyPiper. I didn't know much about LuckyPiper (other than the fact that he gave me 1st place in the avatar contest <3), so I was a bit afraid coming into the match, and my nerves racked up.

FINAL TEAM:
:Whimsicott: :Calyrex-Shadow: :Urshifu Rapid-Strike: :Incineroar: :Rillaboom: :Nihilego:

OPPONENT'S TEAM:
:Calyrex-Shadow: :Tornadus: :Mienshao: :Rillaboom: :Incineroar: :Stakataka:

Game 1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1396810201
In team preview, I was terrified of the opponent's team. This is because once he gets Trick Room up, my Calyrex-Shadow is essentially useless. So I went with a gameplan to get rid of the Stakataka as soon as possible, and when I realized that I didn't kill with Close Combat, I thought I lost the game. But since he didn't set up Trick Room, I was able to eventually clean up the game with Calyrex-Shadow.

Game 2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1396810313
I followed the same game plan here, clearing the Stakataka on game 1. I played my cards right from here, and I was able to clean up the game eventually. I made a misplay on the 2nd last turn, where I should have Surging Strikes with Urshifu instead to have a 100% chance to win the game, but I was thankfully not punished for that as I won the final speedtie.


Semis

When the pairings for Semis came out, I honestly freaked out when I found out it was z0mOG. From having played practice games against him, my record against him was horrible.

However, I looked through most of his replays and thought that most of his teams were weak to Groudon, so I locked in that restricted for the week and slowly went from there. From scouting Tuesday's Mt. Silver tournament, I learnt that he was using a Zacian team, so I was secretly hoping that he would end up playing that as Groudon teams naturally had a fairly decent matchup into Zacian teams. With that, I built my team, which was based around a core that Animus and mao used the week prior, and I added a Stakataka instead of Nihilego as I thought that it would give the team a better Trick Room mode. I also teched Hurricane into the Charizard so as to have a better matchup against Rain Dance Eleki teams, as this Charizard outspeeds standard Adamant Scarfed Urshifu. Helping Hand Venusaur was also something I teched in order to kill Zacian Incineroar leads if they try to lead that against my Venusaur Groudon.

On that week's Wednesday or Thursday (I believe it was), the VGC chat was memeing about how it was my man Masto's birthday party, so I started a tournament whilst I was in call with HobbitVGC, 0riginalName, Luigi and I think ResidentUnleashed for Australia's World Cup Preparation. But for this tournament, we all decided to enter the tournament under alts and use a team with Scarf Mewtwo for the fun of it. Anyways, I met z0mOG in the tournament's semi finals and although I lost to him, I saw the team that he was using.

When it came to the day when we were to play our match, I saw that he had played PGL whilst I was sleeping, and I saw that he was using the team that he was using in the room tour the other day. With that, I immediately called on my man clippers1235 in order to help me with prep, and I figured out my lines for the matchup, finding out that the matchup was disgustingly in my favour if it wasn't Rain Dance Thundurus. All I was worried about was Rain Dance Thundurus...

FINAL TEAM:
:Groudon: :Charizard: :Venusaur: :Tsareena: :Porygon2: :Stakataka:

OPPONENT'S TEAM:
:Volcarona: :Thundurus: :Rillaboom: :Dragapult: :Zacian-Crowned: :Urshifu Rapid-Strike:

Game 1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1400795545
Game 1 I just went with my default Zacian gameplan, trying to scout out whether the Thundurus had Rain Dance or not. His lead quickly tells me that he had no easy answer to the Zacian Charizard lead, so I played my cards and prayed that I did not miss a move. I didn't miss anything, and even got a burn on the Dragapult, so I won game 1.

Game 2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8vgc2021series10-1400795608
Game 2 he opts to try Thundurus for his gameplan, which in practice I found out dies to a Heat Crash from my Groudon. So on that end, I opted to kill Thundurus in that manner and went from there. I played my cards right, and I eventually managed to win the set.


Finals

From this point on, I knew that I could not go on with mentally breaking, with Asia Players Cup happening on the weekend and my anxiety issues at its maximum. With that on the table, I told Sam that I couldn't play finals, and I told him why. With the explanation, he thankfully gave me time off to work on my mental, but I was still full in on helping my team win the finals.

So on that end, I did whatever I can to help the team win. As the week went on, I was extremely confident in how the team was prepping, and our chances to win the week. Nothing really was better than seeing the team accumulate W after W. And when I saw the Gyro Ball from Sam's Stakataka go off into the Tapu Lele, I popped off in typical Helios fashion, and was so extremely happy. The Stoutlands had won!

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(Credits to Asuya)​

Shoutouts and Thanks:

Firstly I would like to shoutout Zelda and Dawg for drafting me. I really appreciate you two giving me the chance to prove myself in the draft league environment, and putting faith in me for the important matches.

I would also like to shoutout my teammates for doing well in their matches, and give several individuals shoutouts:

<shoutout redacted by moderation>

Asuya: This PL might have been very unlucky for you, facing bad matchup after bad matchup into getting crit multiple times, but you are also one of the best players I've been able to talk to. I can say that I learnt a lot about playing Calyrex-Shadow and goodstuffs in general from watching how you pilot the team.

OriolPlaza: Your work ethic is very inspiring. I do not know many people who work as hard as you for matches, and I am very happy that you are able to get 2 dubs in the semifinals and finals to end off the season. AldrichYan says that it is about time that you won a Draft League, and I definitely agree with him!

Memoric: I don't even know how you do it man. No one interesting really put it nicely: "You provide him the teams, he provides the wins". Passing you over teams and then seeing you just win your matches is crazy, and I am honestly fascinated at how you do it. Going 6-0 in VGC21 sets is crazy, and If APAC League happens again, you better bet I'm letting you know about it!

Jag: My man Jag, the member I was most familiar with, and a good friend I had made from The Boys and VGC. I am very happy to see you get your groove back in the later stages of the VGC PL, seeing you struggle in the middle of the PL didn't make me feel good, and I am so proud of how you performed in the later weeks of the PL. Definitely one of the non-standard teambuilding GOATs and I can't wait to begin teambuilding more with you and The Boys again!

Eeveon7: Don't underestimate yourself as much as you do! You are a good player and you can hold your head up high as a VGC Player. I can't wait to see you do well when future events come around!

Evelyie: I know you want to do well at VGC, and you have the work ethic to do so. You can definitely get better, and come back doing better in future events and draft leagues!


Other people I would like to shoutout are the people who helped me out throughout the season with prep and teambuilding, notably frogtypebeat, clippers1235, z0mOG, Mr.GX and Yuichi. Seriously, thank you all for everything! I would not be able to win the matches that I was able to without the help of you all.
 
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