The era of the legends have arrived! A lone trainer rides the north wind yet again, to find a place in this forsaken world. "Bring it on!", said the trainer, and off he rushes to battle the powers of the Primal beasts. to battle the eternal darkness of the Dark Void... to get through the defense of the Life Pokemon...
Artwork belongs to Exileden
Welcome, Smogon-ers! Hope you had a fun VGC 16 season. I'm here today with my VGC 16 seasonal report, about the various teams I used, the new people I met, and how much fun I had! This season was one of the more difficult and inconsistent format in Pokemon history, with the high usage of the hated Smeargle, and the overly popular Primals. How did I tackle this season? Let's find out!
So, we were all waiting in the Showdown VGC room, waiting for the VGC 16 rule set to be announced. I was certain it would be a non-pentagon national dex, but surprisingly, it was not. The Pokemon Company decided to release the most dangerous Pokemon this time: Box art legends and their kind. Everyone jumped into the team builder to find out their restricted Pokemon, while I decided to go with a variant of Dialga Groudon, like the team I used in Enter The Dragon tournament. Lajo and I experimented on it for a while, until I decided it wasn't good enough and made up my mind to use a variant of the now popular Big 6, with Cresselia over Salamence. The team was really powerful, with Scarf Smeargle and Quick Guard Talonflame. I made no 1 on Showdown ladder with ease (C'mon, it was day one!). I only got to play the format for 2 days, as I had to leave to India, where we had no stable internet. After a couple of months, I decided to get back into the game, went into my net cafe, and opened Showdown. To my surprise, Big 6 was the meta, with Dual Primal with a Bronzong picking up popularity. I had never ever imagined to see Bronzong used effectively. RayOgre was used to some extent.
I talked with floristthebudew, and tried out Big 6, but got bored quickly. I wanted to use something more suited for my play style, and that's when a guy named sejunparkvg topped the ladder with a RayDon team (I had used Raydon with a Duicune, but ditched it because I thought it wasn't good enough). Immediately, I remade my old RayDon, with Suicune instead of Cresselia and Role Play Thundurus to reset weather (It was so good against Dual Primals), and found out my team wasn't perfect...yet. I swapped out Thundurus for Talonflame, and Suicune for Cresselia. Yes, my team became sejunparkvg's team. I decided I need to play his team, in order for me to find out how it works. Around this time, Baz Anderson told me Crobat is a better choice over Talonflame, as it helps tremendously against Big 6 match ups, and he was right. Kangaskhan-Smeargle lead gave me trouble, so I decided to run a unique Crobat set with both Taunt and Haze.
The Team Breakdown
Black Mamba (Rayquaza) @ Life Orb
Ability: Air Lock
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
- Extreme Speed
- Dragon Ascent
- Draco Meteor
The Mega of the team. He is my most powerful attacker, and can OHKO anything that doesn't resist it with a Helping Hand boost from my Sylveon. I used to run Jolly, but it failed to pick up OHKO's on fast Groudon consistently, which made me swap over to Naive. After an Eruption from Groudon, Rayquaza can pick up the required KO's with Extreme Speed, which is also quite useful for getting rid of Talonflame and Smeargle. Draco Meteor was my answer to Mega Salamence and fast Primal Groudon. Dragon Ascent OHKO's Mega Kangaskhan most of the time, and Helping Hand boosted Dragon Ascent OHKO's Xerneas, Ferrothorn and bulky Primal Kyogre. This Pokemon easily became one of my favorite Pokemon of the format.
The EV's were standard, and I went with Life Orb over the popular Focus Sash to pick up KO's more often, as my team doesn't have much opportunity to set up with Swords Dance.
Black Mamba was chosen as nickname, because Shiny Rayquaza looks too cool.
Godzilla (Groudon) @ Red Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power [Ice]
The beast of the team. I went with a Special Primal Groudon here, because I believed there should be a balance between Physical attackers and Special attackers when picking your restricted Pokemon. Rayquaza was my most powerful Physical attacker, and I need to make sure I don't lose to Intimidate.
As I run an offensive team, I need to make sure my Pokemon are fast. Eruption got about 30% chance to OHKO Mega Kangaskhan, and Earth Power OHKO most fast Groudons easily. Hidden Power Ice was added after I witnessed sejunparkvg destroying Mega Salamence and Rayquaza with it on Showdown, as it now gave me a good coverage against the dragons. Hidden Power Ice Groudon was also used by my friend Hamstermania in Italy Nationals with which he placed at Top 8.
The EV's are simple and straight. With max speed Timid, I speed tie with non Mega Kangaskhan, along with other fast Groudon. It also made me out speed Modest Xerneas, allowing me to spam Eruption before it can use Geomancy, dealing quite a chunk of damage to the deer.
This monster was named Godzilla. Lets face it, he look like one.
Angel Mirinda (Sylveon) @ Pixie Plate
EVs: 68 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def / 172 SpA / 12 SpD
- Hyper Voice
- Quick Attack
- Helping Hand
This was the strangest addition of all. With my old team with Suicune, I struggled a lot against Yveltal and Dark Spam.. until I saw sejunparkvg using Sylveon to get rid of them. It suddenly made sense to me. Fairy and Dragon-type always goes well together (Like mustard and pickle?). Helping Hand was really useful to power up Extreme Speed and Dragon Ascent. In Trick Room, Sylveon under sped the Primals and Cresselia, allowing me to Hyper Voice first. This became quite useful against Dialga teams, with Sylveon and Smeargle quickly destroying their restricted. The duo of Sylveon and Smeargle also worked perfectly against Ray Ogre team. Quick Attack was a strange tech, and it helped KO the weakened Kangaskhan usually hit by an Eruption, as well as break the Focus Sash on Rayquaza.
The EV's were given to my by Hamstermania. The defensive EV's helped me live Jolly Salamence Double Edge, allowing me to KO it back with Hyper Voice. My Sylveon also survives Focus Sash Rayquaza Dragon Ascent, which was a huge benchmark to hit, considering Sylveon's physical frailty. The rest were dumped into Special Attack, with the last few remaining split between Special Defense and Attack.
Angel Mirinda was chosen as nickname for Sylveon, based on the popular VGC player, Angel Miranda.
Da Vinci (Smeargle) @ Focus Sash
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
- Dark Void
- Wide Guard
- Follow Me
- Crafty Shield
The most hated Pokemon of the format. Why did I use it then? To beat other Smeargles. Smeargle gives my team redirection with Follow Me, allowing Groudon to spam Eruption safely. Wide Guard protected my from Gravity Spam Kyurem, and Crafty Shield to block opposing Dark Void, Hypnosis, Taunt etc. I didn't run Spiky Shield like most users would. My Smeargle was Anti-Smeargle. Dark Void came in handy against Ray Ogre teams. A lead of Rayquaza and Smeargle usually gives my opponent a lot of trouble. More importantly, Smeargle created lots of mind games, which I loved.
The EV's were simple. It's a smeargle, c'mon, there can't be a Pokemon more simple than this. A combination of Wide Guard and Inner Focus in my team gave me a lot of defensive options.
This dog was named Da Vinci, because he is probably my favorite painter.
Ulquiorra (Crobat) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 236 HP / 20 Def / 252 Spe
- Super Fang
This spot originally had a Talonflame, but Inner Focus just became too important on this team, to fight against Kangaskhan Smeargle leads. The mere presence of Crobat made my opponent think twice before hitting that Fake Out. The bluff was great, and even if they do Fake Out, I can get off a Tailwind before retaliating with a Sun powered Eruption. Super Fang was great in this format, weakening the restricted Pokemon greatly before I finish them off with my legends.
Why did I run Taunt and Haze? Crobat survives Geomancy boosted Xerneas Moonblast, and Haze can reset the stat changes, including the unwanted Moody boosts. Taunt was a necessity against the vast number of Smeargles, and Tailwind was added as a form of Speed control.
The EV's allowed me to survive a Jolly Kangaskhan Double Edge, which was a good benchmark to hit in this format.
Ulquiorra is a character in Bleach, and he got wings exactly like that of Crobat.
Roast Duck (Cresselia) (F) @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 244 HP / 132 Def / 4 SpA / 128 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk / 8 Spe
- Icy Wind
- Thunder Wave
- Skill Swap
- Trick Room
Last but not least, Cresselia. Levitate users are great, and in Trick Room, I can swap it on to my Groudon to make it immune to Ground-Type moves. This Pokemon runs three forms of Speed control, as I cannot always rely on Crobat in every match ups. Cresselia is usually brought in mirrors and against Dual Primals, against which it does an excellent job. Icy Wind gave Salamence Primals team big trouble, and usually works against most Dual Primal variants. Thunder Wave can be good against Xerneas, but is rarely used. Because of this, I often changed it to Grass Knot, so my Cresselia doesn't become a sitting duck inside Trick Room. Skill Swap was great to reset the weather in my favor, and to pass down Levitate to my Groudon, which can be devastating at times.
The EV's allowed me to take two Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent with Sitrus Berry, and under speed minimum Speed Primals by 1 point, which was extremely useful when facing against Trick Room teams. This came in handy when I face Bronzong and other minimum speed Cresselia, as my Skill Swap will go after they move.
Cresselia was basically a Roasted Duck in Sun.
This team was really powerful, it easily destroyed everyone on the ladder. I met a guy who would later become one of my ladder rivals: Alister. He used the sejunparkvg team, with Talonflame. It was evident Crobat did a much better job, and so, I shared my sets and EV's with him. Later on, he went on to win Perth Regionals with this team. On the Showdown Ladder, I peaked at 1795 ratings rank 3rd, with about 77% gxe, which was great in my opinion.
At the time I used this team, RayDon was rare, and most people thought it to be a core that doesn't go well with each other. Using Rayquaza with Groudon can be tricky. You cannot simply switch in Rayquaza when Groudon is on the field, it would make hitting your Groudon with a Water move much easier. The team works by using powerful spread moves right off the beginning, using Rayquaza to clean up the remaining Pokemon with Extreme Speed. Smeargle can be a powerful partner, redirecting Ice-Types from Rayquaza, and using Wide Guard to block Precipice Blades from opposing Groudon. If you predict a Kyogre switch in to your Groudon Eruption while they have a Bronzong on the field, switching in Rayquaza could deal some major damage to the bell Pokemon.
Return of the North Wind?
So, there you have it. I used this team for a couple of months, and it was good. But as more people learned about its existence and weakness, it became hard to play with it. Or maybe it's because I got bored with using the same team, and I wanted to try something different. It was around this time someone topped a Nationals with a Suicune RayDon... a team I ditched a few months ago. He used four of the same Pokemon, with Gengar and Kangaskhan filling the last two slots. So, I went back to the drawing board. This time, Human (Enosh Sachar) and @pwny person (Paul Chua) were with me. Paul wanted to build a team for worlds, and Enosh was an accomplished RayDOn user. I spoke to both of them, and Paul and I decided to use Suicune. We decided Suicune was really good against other RayDon users, and decided to use Hidden Power Ice Groudon just like before.
We needed a solid way to beat Xerneas, especially in XRay team, which started to pick up popularity around the time. Ferrothorn was chosen for that purpose. Smeargle as added again because of how good it did with Groudon and Rayquaza. And we found ourselves struggling against Yveltal, just like before. I wasn't particularly a fan of running dual Mega, so we decided to run Sylveon instead of Kangaskhan in the last slot. Most of the set were same, with Suicune and Ferrothorn being different. Me and Paul took turns in ladder (fear of facing each other in pool), and we both climbed past 1700, with Paul peaking at really good ratings (I don't exactly remember how much), and me making it up to 1780+.
Mew Mew (Suicune) @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
- Icy Wind
People who know me must know I'm a Suicune fanatic. It was the first legend me and my bro caught in a Pokemon game, way back in Crystal, and I just love his design. Icy Wind serves the same purpose it did when it was used in Cresselia. Chip damage and Speed control. This was great against opposing RayDon teams, and I believe I have won most of the RayDon matchups after I made this change. Scald OHKO's Groudon in Air Lock, and Tailwind was added for more speed. Roar became a tech to get rid of Bronzong and Cresselia before they set up Trick Room, and also works on Xerneas after they use Geomancy. Good thing is it goes through Protect.
The EV's are fairly standard, survives Helping Hand Dragon Ascent from Mega Rayquaza. 100 SpD EV's allows me to take more special hits like Kyogre Water Spouts well. After adding this Pokemon, I found RayOgre match up fairly easy, including the World Champion Wolfe's team. Suicune stays for a long time, resists both Primals, hits Rayquaza hard, and provides Speed control. Guess this is why Paul decided to go with it.
Mew Mew was given as a nickname because Suicune's obviously a cat.
Beyblade (Ferrothorn) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 200 Atk / 4 Def / 52 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
- Gyro Ball
- Leech Seed
- Power Whip
My original Suicune variant had a Ferrothorn, and I knew how much it worked in this team. I had a good FWG and Dragon-Fairy-Steel Core, in 1 team. It game me good switch in options, and works well against Dual Primals. This Pokemon could wall most of the non restricts, and can OHKO a Kyogre. Gyro Ball was my move of choice. It can OHKO a boosted Xerneas, can hurt Mega Gengar hard, and kills Scarf Smeargle in 1 hit. Leech Seed was my only means of recovery, and it can stall out Trick Room on its own once I get rid of their Groudon.
The EV's are strange, I needed special Bulk to tank Water Spouts from Kyogre. The Atk EV's make sure I hit hard, and OHKO's most Kyogre that isn't too bulky. I ran a Lum Berry because I didn't have a Crobat anymore to deal with Khan-Artist, and this helped my XRay match up tremendously, as they often run Scarf Smeargle.
Seriously, he looks like a Beyblade.
One of my favorite leads against Big 6, if you predict them to lead Smeargle + Xerneas or Kangaskhan + Xerneas. Smeargle can just do Dark Void while Groudon uses Eruption. Opposing Smeargle can Wide Guard or Crafty Shield, but not both. This lead also does decent against RayDon mirrors, and against the Big B and C teams, and does great against Dialga Groudon teams.
This lead has a hard time against RayOgre teams as well as against Duel Primal and Kangaskhan + Smeargle leads, which brings you to my second lead option.
This is the lead I usually use when facing a RayOgre team. Switching out Smeargle turn 1 to a Groudon puts your opponent in a difficult position. They are usually forced to bring in Rayquaza which gets defeated by a combination of Eruption and Hyper Voice, dealing quite a bit of damage to Kyogre in the process.
This is my usual lead against Wolfe teams, Dual Primals and RayOgre at times. Suicune tanks both Primals, making it a formidable opponent against Dual Primal. Roar takes out Trick Room, and Icy Wind beats Salamence. With this, my opponent wouldn't dare bring out Groudon.
Prior to the Changes
My Anti-Big 6 lead. This lead easily counters Khan-Artist leads, and does a great job setting up a Speed control and getting rid of Moody boosts. Super Fang + Eruption can take out Kangaskhan, while their Smeargle becomes obsolete after a Taunt.
This is my usual lead against Dual Primal. Icy Wind and Trick Room works against faster opponents like Mega-Salamence, and I can switch into my Groudon if my opponent decided to use Trick Room. With my Cresselia's Speed, It puts me in a good weather advantage.
I didn't have much of an accomplishment, but Alister won Perth Regionals with the Crobat variant. Guess I should thank Baz Anderson for it. I made top 256 in my first IC, and made top 10 Showdown Ladder numerous times, as well as win some Room tours. I played in some NB Lives, and beat some notable players, like Hibiki and LightCore. And I recall making top 8 in a couple of them.
I wouldn't say I had a big successful season, I couldn't go to any events just like last format, and I wasn't that good either. But I did have fun, met lots of new people.
So, this format wasn't quite what I expected it to be. It was inconsistent, centralized, and filled with RNG. But I had lots of fun. I met a lot of people, made new friends, improved my skills, and helped people with their teams. I would say the format would have been great if Smeargle was banned, but sadly it wasn't. This limited our team building options, but in the end, the format was worth it.
@Hamstermania: My good ol' Ladder rival from VGC 15. I'm glad you could make top 8 at Italy Nationals, sooo.. good job! You were a good friend, and helped me with EV's every time I'm stuck. And thank you for being my partner in Dodrio Cup, even though we lost round 1. Building teams together was fun. Hope we can have more fun in VGC 17!
@leimin: Lemon boy! I was thrilled to hear you went to worlds! Thank you for teaming up with me and Hamster in Dodrio Cup. Speaking of which, I haven't seen you in a long while. Hope you will be back by VGC 17
FloristtheBudew: After I got back after my 2 month hiatus, you helped me with the meta. Thank you for that.
Mindape: We fought a lot on ladder, it was fun. You were a good friend, and thank you for introducing me to Smogon Doubles OU. Hope we can battle again the next format.
Baz Anderson: Baz, you never battled me after all! I would like to thank you for helping me with RayDon. The Crobat tech was really good, and I liked it. You better battle me next format, boy.
@pwny person: It was great to team up with you when building teams. You were fun to talk to, and we play similarly. It sucks you couldn't top cut worlds, as the meta was completely different there. Lets build more fun teams together, and hopefully, maybe you can top next time
Human: Enosh, I found you on Showdown, and it was totally fun battling you. We fought each other on ladder, and you played good. Lets play again, my friend.
@PM649: Remember me? We fought in NB Lives, and we encouraged each other. It made NB Lives fun. Join more lives, and next time, I'll get the Invitational!
@mudhiman: You beat me with Dual Primal if I recall correctly? We fought a lot, we raged a lot, and we had fun a lot. See ya next season!
DeagleBeagle: The one man who explains his whole games to me, it was fun. But you were wrong about Ferrothorn it seems.
?????: All the people who supported me and made this season fun for me, Thank you!