Tournament OMPL VIII - Week 7

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a loser's MAMP's OMPL BH Review: Week 6
Better late than never and I'm here to give the people what they need (which is someone posting a weekly review after a loss). This might be long so get ready.

a loser vs abriel gabram
At preview, the matchup looks interesting with both sides sporting Zacian-C, Toad, a base forme dog, and a slow breaker. Depending on the roles of each mon, it looks pretty evenly matched so far other than the fact I have no solid switch-in to his Dawn Wings.

We both lead Zacian-C and both double out, me going to FC Reshiram to stomach a hit and him going to Dawn Wings, likely to get momentum on a potential switch to Toad. After pivoting around a bit, we both get our PH mons activated and I set webs to help Excadrill do damage. The first big moment of the game comes on turn 10 when my Excadrill is out against his Darm-Zen. At this point, it has shown that it at least has boots on and isn't FC because of the chip damage from U-turn. I suspect it is Prankster because Toad and Umbreon are FurScales, so I U-turn out expecting a switch from him. The fact that he stayed in and went for Lava Plume should have tipped me off, but after burning my Toad I go for Earth Power and find out he's Levitate Darm. Going for Scald could have kept momentum on my side momentarily, but hindsight shows me a Max Geyser there would have worked wonders. After that, we trade pivots, I survive a hit from Specs Dawn Wings and get a Blue Flare burn on Umbreon. I then gamble on a 25% roll to try to KO Toad with Horn Leech but come up short. After more pivots, he gets his Dawn Wings in against my Toad and I decide to go for the aggressive Scald and get KOed while landing a burn. I wanted to keep Zacian alive so I could Taunt Umbreon from recovering or defogging, but losing Toad pretty much paved the way for his win with Levitate Darm. I manage to get its health really low a number of times and even made it burn all its recovery PP but still lost to it in the end.

Alternatif vs sugarhigh
From the preview, it looks like sugarhigh recycled the sun offense that he brought vs PDT and that it has potential to do some damage unless Alternatif is packing a FF or PrimSea mon. Alternatif's Zeraora is looking a little mismatched going up against Hippo, Eternatus, and potentially a couple Chlorophyll strikers.

Sugarhigh reveals a pretty cool set in mixed Growth Chlorophyll Boots Reshiram (that's a mouthful) that dents a FF Zama-C heavily before falling to a crit on Spectral Thief. Alternatif sacks Zama-C after this which seems like a questionable call with DGZ still on the sidelines, but ends up wisping sugarhigh's Growth Dusk Make, which then wastes its Dynamax trying to eliminate a Prankster Eternatus. Alternatif's Specs Lunala pokes some big holes in sugarhigh's team over the next couple of turns, but sugarhigh sets sun again and goes to work with DGZ, picking up 2 KOs and lots of momentum. Zeraora gets a chance to come in after two V-creates from DGZ and reveals to have Fishious Rend to hit Hippo hard, but sun is still up so it tanks it. For some reason, Alternatif uses his Dynamax against what is pretty obviously a Prankster Hippo. I guess he could have predicted Destiny Bond and maxed to bypass it, but with sun still up and Rend going second after priority recovery, sugarhigh didn't really need to waste Destiny Bond and makes a good call to deal with Zeraora head on. I think Alternatif would have been better off switching to Lunala to deal with Hippo and potentially get rid of Eternatus in the process. Instead, Zeraora is stuck spamming Fishious Rend and KOs Eternatus while it sets sun. DGZ comes in for its last stand and Alternatif has to decide who gets sacked because everything is in range of sun-boosted V-create. Alternatif decides to stick with Zeraora and likely follow with Eternatus to heal up and KO DGZ, but DGZ proceeds to whiff on the V-create and get KOed. After this, Alternatif can heal up Eternatus and has the option to burn Hippo to help it take EQ but choose to go down fighting and brings in Lunala and then Zeraora to clean up the rest.

The early crit on Reshiram was certainly a big bummer for sugarhigh because Reshiram likely would have picked up another KO after Zama-C or at the very least force a desperation Dynamax from Alternatif to stop the momentum. I think if sugarhigh had cut his losses with Dusk Mane and saved the Dynamax for DGZ, he would have had a great chance to win at turn 20 with a maxed Chloro DGZ, who cleanly KOs Zera with sun-boosted Max Flare and had good odds to KO whoever was brought in next.

MAMP vs dimrah
Preview shows us that both players brought their bread and butter; Specs/Band Balance from MAMP and odd semi-stall from dimrah. MAMP's Zamazenta is looking pretty good here since dimrah only has one mon in Dragapult that can really switch in on its STAB but other than that it seems evenly matched.

After just three turns, four Toxic Orbs are activated with MAMP repping PH Toad and Zamazenta while dimrah shows PH Coalossal and Toxic Orb Imposter. MAMP is running a pretty cool Zama set with SD, Low Kick, and Glare and dimrah decides to take it on with Imposter but is forced out by Spectral from Toad. dimrah sneaks in his Snorlax to activate its Toxic Orb while MAMP pivots out to get rocks up with Reshiram, which is surprising not Poison Heal. Instead, its a cool FC phazer with Dragon Tail and dimrah gets his Melmetal pull into battle. Maybe he was bluffing FF, but dimrah goes for Rapid Spin and takes a chunk from Lava Plume, only for Resh to get rocks up the next turn as Melmetal is forced out. A key play comes when dimrah bring out Intrepid Sword Pult against Reshiram and gives it a Choice Scarf in exchange for boots, heavily crippling the Reshiram. MAMP brings in a mixed SF Mewtwo with Close Combat to do some big damage to Scales Zama-C before being forced out by Pult. Resh comes back in only to be crippled even more, this time by Baneful Bunker, and spams Dragon Tail to bring Melmetal back in. In another key play, dimrah risks another spin as MAMP brings in, wait for it, ANOTHER PH mon in Lunala to block the spin. But MAMP tosses this good play in the garbage when they reveal Rapid Spin Lunala and die to Spectral from Melmetal. A couple turns later Reshiram is put out of its misery and MAMP brings out Scarf Sword Solgaleo to surprise revenge kill Pult. Now MAMP is showing some signs of life, especially when dimrah brings in a worn down Snorlax. dimrah scouts with Bunker as MAMP Dynamaxes Solgaleo and boosts its defense with Max Steelspike. Anticipating a switch to Imposter, MAMP goes for Max Flare only to tickle a Coalossal switch for 11% and be forced out. In a nice play, dimrah bluffs Spiky Shield to waste the last Dynamax turn and goes for an aggressive Lava Plume that ends up KOing a MAMP's incoming Mewtwo thanks to the sun that was setup earlier. As poorly as things had been going for MAMP, their Zama comes in and has a real chance to clean up with Pult out of the picture. Unfortunately Zama loses a speed-tie in a kick-off against Imposter and dimrah is able to close out the game by wearing down MAMP's PH Toad with Dynamaxed Imposter.

This was a really entertaining game to watch, as both sides brought some cool sets and it came down to the wire in the end. If Mewtwo hadn't fallen to the surprise Plume it could have had a chance to do some more damage and pave the way for Zama to clean up. If MAMP's Zama hadn't lost the speed tie to Imposter, then dimrah's only way to play around it would be dodging Low Kick with Dynamax but MAMP likely would have ended up the winner.

Chessking345 vs PinkDragonTamer
Team preview shows a pretty evenly matched battle, with both sides using Zacian-C and Incineroar. PDT's success likely hinges on Zacian-C's moveset and how well his Zekrom and Reshiram can play around Chessking's Steelix/Corviknight core. Chessking's team looks like it might be on its heels until Mewtwo and Gyarados get safe switches to do some damage.

The battle starts out slowly with each team getting established successfully; Chessking going with PH Incineroar and Gyarados while PDT shows PH Zekrom. Chessking reveals Gyarados as his spinner, which is an interesting choice as Gyarados is weak to rocks and spin is practically free this gen with the lack of Ghost-types. But he spins away rocks and finds out that Zama-C is Fur Coat. PDT brings Reshiram back in to setup rocks, which is an interesting play seeing as we don't know the full moveset of Gyarados, but Resh gets rocks up and Chessking flees to Incineroar while Resh reveals Quiver Dance. Both players dance around pivoting without much happening until Steelix stays in to Teleport on Hippowdon, taking some nice EQ chip in the process. Reshiram is able to get rocks up for free but Gyarados stays healthy enough to keep spinning for free. Then PDT makes a really risky play, keeping his Incineroar in to Knock Off Gyarados even though it is outsped and annihilated by Fishious Rend. Chess plays it safe though and spins, expecting a switch, to keep rocks off so Gyarados can keep coming in. Chess then has a chance to heal up Steelix but chooses to pivot into a neat Mold Breaker Mewtwo set, packing Sap and Earth Power, and starts applying pressure to PDT's walls. PDT makes a nice guess and brings in Zacian-C against Mewtwo even though Chessking had used Earth Power three out of the last four attacking turns and easily takes a Moonblast. Zacian-C gets up a spike to make things worse for Steelix. Here's where things get interesting: PDT brings in Reshiram to force out Steelix and then starts setting up in PrimSea Corvi's face, despite Spectral and Baton Pass being revealed already. Chess, staying conservative, doesn't expect these aggressive plays and pivots around taking hazard chip until Resh is at +2. While lucky to have knocked off Resh's Life Orb earlier, Chess is still forced to Dynamax Corvi, revealing it is Gigantamax and at least clears the hazards with Wind Rage before going down. Chessking, without a Prankster, brings out Mewtwo and chips Resh with Psystrike before dying to LO recoil. Chess proceeds to nicely play around Reshiram's STABs with Zacian-C and Incineroar until V-create drops it speed enough to lose momentum and PDT switches out. Things go back to normal for a while after this and Chess is able to heal up Steelix, but it starts looking grim for Chess when PDT reveals Prank Sap Hippo. Chess gets some momentum when he stays in on Reshiram's potential V-create to bounce back rocks and Nuzzle Reshiram, but Zekrom just comes in later and uses Court Change to get rid of them. After that, Chess just has no real way to pressure Hippo and PDT takes the win.

This game was interesting because PDT made some really bold plays that ended up paying off due to said plays just being unexpected. I think Chess could have kept things from spiraling if he had gone with Spectral on turn 37 instead of Baton Pass. I don't think Baton Pass was necessarily a bad play there, but Spectral should have been used considering how PDT QDed in the same situation two turns prior and Reshiram was only getting tougher to deal with.

Metagame Observations
Poison Heal is King. 25% of the mons used last week ran Poison Heal (I'm counting dimrah's Toxic Orb Imposter here). Poison Heal is just so easy to slap on mons like Zekrom, Reshiram, and Zamazenta giving them great longevity and utility at the same time. The ability has been great all generation, but I feel the lack of Core Enforcer hasn't been more apparent than now. Running moves like Worry Seed and Gastro Acid is much more costly than Core Enforcer and that means wearing down PH users is really difficult unless you happen to bring the appropriate counter.

Prankster is fading. In the past two weeks of OMPL since the Shell Smash ban, Prankster mons are becoming less and less common. In eight games, only half of them featured a Prankster, which is a big step back from the previous belief that Prankster was pretty much a mandatory slot on any team. I still think Prankster is a really good ability and can put in a lot of work, but I expect the use of passive Pranksters like Umbreon and Aegislash to really fall off going forward.

Potential Playoff Matches
It's hard to tell who will play who at the moment, but I'll look at two potential matchups below. Surprisingly, I have the exact same thing to say about both of them.

highlighter vs MAMP
Gurpreet Patel (Sent you a Friend Request) vs PinkDragonTamer

HL/SL42 taking the week off this last week means this won't be a rematch if the Krows/Tyrantrums play the Corviknights/Spindas. It will be awesome to get to see these players battle once and it makes me wish I could get to see them play twice. Here's to hoping that everyone decides to man up and do a bo3 each round for the playoffs.
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