Who let marco in here????
Name’s Alvin. I got top 32 at worlds. Not the most notable accomplishment, but worlds was fun so I’ll write something up.
Bit of history: I started playing competitive Pokemon in 2005. Played JAA in 2006 (which had restricted mons), and spent most of my time playing Singles, and primarily playing Ubers. There’s just a lot of thrill playing the game’s strongest Pokemon, and it’s something that I’ve continued to believe in for more than a decade.
For those asking where my username came from: Selfdestruct was my favorite move to spam in JAA. Selfdestruct is Jibaku in Japanese.
I watched some VGC in 2009 and 2010, but never stepped into the scene until 2011. I got top 4 at some Virginia regional which I don’t remember, but this was Wolfe’s breakout if I recall (top4 was Wolfe/IPS/Tyler/me iirc). Thank you Ruben for the team! I spent more time playing 2012 but ultimately ended up 22nd in some 51-man regional at the virginia barn. Oh and Wolfe lost to a Cryogonal. Stopped playing for a while, though I attended 2014 worlds as a spectator as it was 1.5 hrs away from home. I didn’t start playing again until the end of 2015 where I went 5-4 at Lancaster which highlighted how rusty I was. During this time I played Generation Showdown, a Battle Spot online competition that was pretty much a precursor to VGC2016. I got 9th in the world/1st in the US with a team I built primarily using Singles Ubers knowledge more than actual doubles knowledge. It was really fun, and reminded me how much I regretted not playing in 2010.
For the record, here was the team I used during Generation Showdown
The team building process was the simplest I’ve ever done. Groudon/Xerneas felt like an immediately synergistic duo, and I threw in hot supports for Groudon (Cress) and Xerneas (Kangaskhan). I added Salamence somewhat of a discount Mega Ray as a way to check Groudon and opposing Rayquaza, and Aegislash because I wanted a good steel type and it learns Wide Guard/can bonk Cress. I gave Cresselia Skill Swap because I overheard somebody in Nuggetbridge IRC mention that Skill Swap was an underrated move in VGC and that many Pokemon relied on their abilities. What better way to use Skill Swap than to reset the sun and give Groudon Levitate?
I hadn’t planned on continuing to play Pokemon in general and was going to go back to playing League of Legends. When the 2016 rules came out, I immediately got off my couch and knew that I was going to commit to this VGC ruleset. I mentioned before that I love Ubers, so I was extremely ecstatic. Having missed 2010, I could not miss this opportunity to use them once again in competitive play/
The transition from Singles and some VGC2015/basic doubles knowledge to VGC2016 was one of the toughest metagame transitions I’ve had to go through. Despite playing in Generation Showdown and performing well, I really underestimated how much of a chokehold Smeargle had on the metagame with these powerhouses. Getting above 1500 was a true struggle. Like most people, I started with Groudon/Xerneas. After finally somewhat fixing my Smeargle issues, I got top 4 at the first International Challenge, but I never really liked the team because Xern felt mediocre without proper protection. I stumbled upon Double Primal near the end of January and stuck through with that for most of the season.
Double Primal immediately became my favorite archetype, although my offline event records were mediocre with it. I fared poorly in Virginia regs (i went barely above 50% again i think), and my midseasons haven’t been great (got t8 in a 12 man midseason though!). Most of my accomplishments were through online stuff. Top 8 at the March IC, and 8-1 at the NPA (I used various archetypes for this, but mostly played primals). When it got close to Nats, there were so many anti Double Primal techs that I just ditched the archetype and went back to Groudon/Xerneas. Except I sucked at Groudon/Xerneas in general so I went 5-4 and barely got my worlds invite. I considered dropping at X-3, but I am really glad I didn’t. I squeaked in at 122nd place to finalize with 396 CP and with a worlds invite.
I watched the Kalos League to amp myself up for worlds. I can’t say this works for everyone, but it did for me. It reminded me how exciting battling can be, and quite honestly spending too much time prepping and not finding the perfect solution was really starting to drain my motivation. That is not the mentality I wanted going into worlds. I wanted worlds to be a great experience, and I did not want to stress too much while battling.
Let me explain a little something that’s probably unique to me, and that something other people might be weirded out by. I sometimes visualize battles in action form (as opposed to how they look like ingame). That basically means that I visualize my ingame battles like if it’s in the anime. By this, I can create effects in my head that make matches so much more hype and epic than they are, and it really helps me with enjoying them, especially in this year where restricted mons are allowed. Precipice Blades is already incredibly epic ingame - imagine if you can add your imagination onto that and tweak it into something a lot more. Extra hype -> extra fun at worlds. Extra fun -> less stress. Less stress -> better performance.
Ok I hope that didn’t uh...weird people out too much.
After failing to make Day 2 at Nats I immediately committed to not running Groudon/Xerneas for the rest of the format, or at least until the end of worlds. I guess this is a bit of a silly train of thought, but I felt that Groudon/Xerneas didn’t really have positive matchups and my knowledge of the archetype/general metagame isn’t good enough to prepare me for various anti G/X techs that’ll come about at worlds. Furthermore, the mirror matches aren’t something I felt confident with. I opened myself up to Double Primal once again, realizing that the archetype possesses some of the best pieces to take down the omnipresent Groudon/Xerneas. At this point of the format, people have gone through the depths to protect their Xerns, rendering most of the original Zong DP squad mostly outdated (Kang/Mence/Zong/Thund/Ogre/Don). While I’ve considered just bringing that to worlds, I realized that Double Primal will probably need quite some adjustments.
What actually got me interested in DP once again is when I ran into Gavin on the ladder using an interesting squad of Gengar/Bronzong/Kyogre/Groudon/Manectric/Talonflame. You may recognize this squad as the same six that Jon Evans took 2nd place at worlds with. Gavin smashed me (and I also played badly) so it piqued my interest. Gavin allowed me to use the team, and I liked it for the most part except that it kinda gets bopped by Gravity blades so I had to be extra careful around that. The core of Gengar/Zong/Kyogre/Groudon was something I’ve mostly stuck with for the remainder of worlds prep.
Meet my friend blarajan, or Rajan if you want to say hi to him irl because he gets triggered if you call him blara irl but I do it anyways. You probably recognize him as the Indian Smogon dude who can’t stop talking, and also as the 12th place player at Nats. He’s the brains behind the Mega Gengar/Zong/Kyogre/Groudon core (or actually, just MGengar/Zong/Ogre, but Groudon was a natural fit for the 4th slot). The core was intended to give an efficient and playable set of mons to fight against Groudon/Xerneas teams, maximizing the chances of beating the most common archetype. Our worlds call is that Groudon/xern will by far be the most dominant archetype, and we are committing to covering that more than anything else. As I’ve promised myself to not run G/X, I had to take that route. Or I could go with the Nails route and 50/50 matchups and stick with a protect the deer comp, but I have strong preference towards more balanced teams/defensive teams. Taking the Mega Gengar route instead of the usual Kang/Mence route does pose some issues as MGengar isn’t a catch-all mega unlike those two, but its ability to threaten top mons and dismantle enemy board positioning with Shadow Tag is incredibly valuable. Rajan and I decided to work on the worlds call together given our similar playstyles.
TEAM BUILDING PROCESS
We started with Gengar/Zong/Ogre/Groudon. Actually that’s a lie. I started with Gavin’s 6, giving it a run on ladder to get a handle of its weaknesses and its strengths. Abusing Mega Gengar and Primal weather lockdown was the basis and it was something that didn’t take me long to get comfortable with, although I had some doubts (and I still do) of Mega Gengar’s overall effectiveness. Ironically, double primal was the toughest team to abuse Shadow Tag + primal weather against, because the archetype is heavily based around field control and it’s hard to do that against Trick Room and Skill Swap.
For worlds practice I mostly threw several alts into the 1500-1600 area. Too high on the ladder and I’ll get scouted. Too low on the ladder and I’ll get memes. Nats taught me that comfort is extremely important, and I made sure I got some games on the ladder to ensure that I went to worlds without having to overthink my options and get timered out. I want to be able to play my own game and not worry too much about protecting myself from what my opponent might do. I wanted to be proactive, and less so reactive. I also practiced some bo3s with Aaron Traylor and Rajan, and Aaron often brought the Groudon/Xerneas variant that would give the team the greatest issues, which was really helpful to us. Except for the part where we could never really find a solution around that. In return, Aaron got a lot of practice against Mega Gengar, which were surprisingly rather common by Day 2.
The immediate issue I found was the team’s staggering inability to take Gravity Blades, having 5 mons weak to it and 4 of them being outright OHKOed. It was manageable with Kyogre + Safeguard, but I still felt unsafe. There are certain setups that can bypass the team’s limited barriers, so I decided to look for replacements. Furthermore, while tanky Talonflame was actually solid, Manectric felt mediocre. It is worth noting that I can’t find a better replacement for Manectric alone, as Manectric checked a number of important Pokemon that no other mons could. Thus, I had to remove Talonflame if I wanted changes. I asked Enosh for help as I think he’s one of the few people who is actually bold enough to test virtually everything in this meta. We ended up with something like this
If you saw the NY/NJ invitational, you’ll see that Jon Evans rocked this team at the tournament. While we don’t know which side got the team first, it didn’t matter (his had different sets too). The Venusaur option was incredible vs. most Groudon/Xerneas teams, and Groudon/Venusaur/Zong/Ogre was for the most part relatively safe vs Big6 teams (though Smeargle/Groudon is a bit tricky to handle). So I liked Venusaur but Togekiss was pretty mediocre. However, certain issues arose when the team needed a Kangaskhan check that wasn’t Gengar if I can’t bring Venusaur. I also struggled vs primal mirrors in theory, though it was slightly easier in practice because Venusaur was something people were not quite familiar with. I replaced Togekiss with Zapdos as a catch all check to primals/Rayogre/Yveltal, although it’s not super good at any of those.
But we didn’t limit ourselves to Gengar/Zong/Ogre/Groudon + 2 mons. We looked into various other restricteds over Groudon. Some options included Rayquaza, Giratina-O, Yveltal, Xerneas, etc. I suppose that’s not a ton of options but we thought that Groudon was the most fitting (nevermind the part where Rayquaza won worlds with the Gengar/Zong/Ogre core!). Also yes, Giratina-O was close to being my Worlds call. Gengar/Hitmontop was also a combo we considered (but we didn’t have Eject Button).
I never ditched Gavin’s team during this part of the process, however. It served to me as a base of comparison. Whatever I wanted to use must be compared to Gavin’s six, which I was willing to fall back on if I can’t think of anything better. Here were some other variants that we were testing
- Salamence/Thundurus/Amoonguss -Bronzong (this setup got several accs to Top10 on Showdown ladder - not mine ofc - and I wanted to test it out)
I’m also going to say this right now that offensive Cresselia was the bane of our teambuilding. And even with our finalized product, Cresselia is still a pain.
Also what’s a khan artist counter???
Part of me still doubted Gengar during those times. I looked into CressZong primals for a bit, but it either often suffered from too many Yveltal issues or I couldn’t fit a good 4 against Big6 variants. Enosh was convinced that Gengar wasn’t good and to some extent I agreed. I left myself open to options to replace Gengar with for a little bit, before moving back to Gengar anyways because part of me really felt that it was the worlds call.
2 Days before worlds I began to really see cracks in Gavin’s squad vs Big6 variants. Not to say that Gavin’s team was bad of course. I actually was pretty comfortable with running it for the most part and it gave me a breath of fresh air to a playstyle which I was beginning to doubt before using the team. But I wanted to be more secure vs Big6 variants. The Venusaur squad was helpful for that purpose, but its matchups vs other archetypes left quite a bit to be desired. At that point I stopped worrying about the gravity blades issue on Gavin’s squad. I’m not going to detail these issues, however. I think Gavin’s squad is still a really good team and Jon came 2nd at worlds as proof. It was more of a personal discomfort and I personally just wanted something a little bit more secure, and there’s nothing wrong with that I hope.
Anyways, I began to panic. On the flight to worlds I was thinking of just using my old double primal squad (Mence/Cress/Bat/Kang/Primals). Rajan was also stuck figuring the last two because he really disliked Manectric on the team. In the end, we consolidated Manectric and Talonflame into Zapdos and threw in Smeargle as a catch-all of some sort. However, by this time we no longer had the time to test Zapdos/Smeargle and did everything with those two based off theory. Despite that, I had a good amount of comfort with Gengar/Zong/Ogre/Groudon, and I was willing accept the theory-based play with Smeargle and Zapdos. I was also considering Mence/Thund/Zong/Smeargle/Kyogre/Groudon, but ultimately went with Smeargle/Zapdos. Basically I played worlds with a relatively unpolished team and learned how it works on the spot.
Me and Rajan ran the exact same squad. He'll be writing his own report later
Gengar-Mega @ Gengarite
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 44 HP / 240 Def / 4 SpD / 220 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def / 30 SpA
- Sludge Bomb
- Hidden Power [Water]
Meet Mega Gengar, the star of the show. Mega Gengar provided the team with an answer to the game’s most popular Pokemon such as Mega Kangaskhan, Primal Groudon, and Xerneas. But more than that, Shadow Tag made it easy to let it achieve that goal. Combined with the primal weathers and the primals’ own ability to just destroy stuff, Gengar ensured that there was no escape to their wrath, and no way to reset board position (hey this is a cool buzzword). Gengar served as a way to dismantle cores, punishing improper board positioning and sealing games early. It’s a bit hard to explain what Gengar does in its entirety, but Shadow Tag is a really strong ability in this format despite things dying quickly enough that you aren’t switching around much anyways. Being able to exploit the weather dependencies of the primals by locking down a favorable position grants me so much control as long as I can manage my KOes effectively so I don’t end up making my trapping useless by giving them a “free” switch by recklessly clicking Eruption or something.
Sludge Bomb is self explanatory, Will-O-Wisp is there to weaken Kangaskhan and Rayquaza, primarily, and HP Water removes Groudon. Protect is a necessity imo so Gengar can lengthen its trap duration. There are like 17 or so viable moves Gengar can run, but overall we (me/Rajan/Gavin/Jon, at least) felt that this particular set was the most punishing to the most common team in the format. I really wish we could fit Shadow Ball, and removing HP Water was an option since Groudons have started to become wary of HP Water Mega Gengars and often fled the scene before I could Mega Evolve and trap it. However, the insurance vs early game Groudon was crucial to how the team functioned, and wasn’t really replaceable IMO.
Most of you are probably wondering why I have so much Defense on it. The point of having that much defense is that I have an 80%ish chance to survive Jolly MKang Sucker Punch, which is useful in cases where I can’t burn it (ahem Crafty Shield). This much Defense was more useful than I thought, as it allowed Mega Gengar to survive Mega Ray Dragon Ascent most of the time (without extra boosts), and most Mega Mence actually can’t OHKO it. During the tournament, it lived every Kang Sucker Punch thrown at it (barring one which was Helping Handed. It survived the first hit which bothered me as it revealed how much defense my Gengar had lol). Most importantly, having that much defense allowed me to confidently Sludge Bomb in the face of Kangaskhan so I was never really pressured to make reads against it when Wisp was an unsafe move to go for. I can’t stress how useful the physical bulk was.
The Gengar is shiny and in a Dusk Ball for a small competitive edge - it ensured that Sludge Wave was a possibility.
Bronzong @ Lum Berry
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Def / 188 SpD
IVs: 0 Spe
- Gyro Ball
- Trick Room
- Skill Swap
The posterchild for blind Hypnosis.
Still don’t like Zong as I feel that it’s basically half a Pokemon, but Xerneas has made it almost a necessity on teams that want Trick Room as the sole Trick Roomer that can actually beat it. Set isn’t really anything special, except I had the forbidden Skill Swap + Hypnosis combo. Skill Swap is crucial to the functions of double primal imo. I had Safeguard over Hypnosis initially (Safeguard + Gengar is pretty fun vs Smeargle!), but I missed the pressure and Swagger-esque panic button that Hypnosis offered. It also gave me an out vs Gravity to some extent. I’m not going to get in depth for Bronzong since it’s kinda obvious what it does (Groudon+Xern check when paired with Kyogre). EVs allow it to survive Kyurem-W Fusion Flare in the sun or something. I’m done losing to Kyurems. Regardless of my dislike for Zong, it did what it was supposed to do.
I suppose blind Hypnosis isn’t really a satisfying way to clutch me out of matchups, but it’s like a 60% accurate OHKO move in this meta.
Why can’t this slot be Cresselia instead
Groudon-Primal @ Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
EVs: 36 Atk / 220 SpA / 252 Spe
- Precipice Blades
Groudon itself needs no new introductions. Strong Pokemon. Also my 2nd favorite mon in the whole game. What probably needs introduction is the set. I’ll say this right now that I’m not a fan Special Groudon and glass cannon Groudon in general. I’ve always felt that Groudon should be a tank rather than a sweeper, but I decided to not go with my beliefs and instead run something a bit wild. Unlike Gavin’s/Jon’s team, I was more comfortable with having a split fast/slow primal in double primal (ironically due to Gavin himself as his original February squad featured fast Groudon and slow Kyogre and I got used to having split speeds for flexibility). Being fast allowed Groudon to be a better lead vs Big6 variants, outpacing fast Smeargle and bulky Xerneas. At the same time, however, I felt that Max Speed was a bit excessive and I just wanted to blow stuff up. I don’t care much about Groudon speed ties as I have two HP Waters and Zong/Ogre anyways. I also feel that most Xerneas won’t be hitting 142+ speed if they’re not running 156+ anyways. So I decided to use a +SpA nature.
Eruption = win. Expecting an upsurge in Groudon/Xerneas teams, I made my Groudon more specially based to leave behind the biggest trail of destruction upon them if given the chance. Eruption with +SpA allowed Groudon to just flat out OHKO Mega Kangaskhan if given the chance (and it happened twice I think). Overheat also did a ton of damage, once again OHKOing Kangaskhan and wiping out glass cannon Cress with a little bit of chip damage. This is important as Cresselia was a major pain, and having the option to just blast it away is really strong. I opted for Precipice Blades over Earth Power because I hate full Special Groudon and I still think PBlades is Groudon’s best move. The 36 Atk EVs were mostly cosmetic and I wanted a tiny bit more punch to PBlades.
I opted for Mild instead of Rash because I didn’t want to just get dunked on by Ogre Ice Beams/Mence HV/Xern Dazzles.The chance to get OHKOed by PBlades was annoying (though potentially useful), but I never got OHKOed by one except by a crit.
Kyogre-Primal @ Blue Orb
Ability: Primordial Sea
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Origin Pulse
- Ice Beam
The 2nd part of Double Primal. Actually no - this is a Kyogre based team, but I didn't feel like fixing the team's ordering. Kyogre in conjunction with Bronzong and Mega Gengar applies heavy pressure to Groudon/Xerneas teams as they have a difficult time taking its extremely powerful Origin Pulses, and the constant threat of Shadow Tag+HP Water and Trick Room+Skill Swap between the two non restricteds gives me outs vs both fast and slow modes. I opted for Origin Pulse/Thunder/Ice Beam to maximize coverage (really, this is just hitting opposing Kyogre, but I think this is important because of Double Primal’s natural weakness to RayOgre. Also mirrors) at the price of being able to blast through Wide Guard more easily. I’ve also always used that set on Ogre, except against Randy in NPA because I knew he’d run some Big6 stuff.
I’ve used Modest with max physical bulk for pretty much the entire season (with some speed creep here and there), but for this one I opted for Bold to give myself a really good chance of surviving a Gyro Ball + 2x PBlades. Another relevant calc is surviving Kangaskhan Double Edge + Timid Groudon Earth Power. I also expected most people to be calcing for Modest, so Bold’s extra bulk can throw people off for a bit. Being Bold has been really clutch overall and I don’t regret it, though the drop in power is somewhat noticeable and annoying. I opted for 0 Speed because I wanted to underspeed most Groudons in BigB, while maintaining a Speed advantage against Mega Salamence in Tailwind. However, it appeared that BigB Groudons have slowed down even more for the most part so I never really outsped anything in Trick Room. I’ll have to re evaluate.
Zapdos @ Sitrus Berry
EVs: 28 HP / 224 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def / 30 SpA
- Hidden Power [Water]
#TeamInstinct. One of my favorite nonrestricteds in the whole game too. Too bad it’s always a bit in the shadow of Thundurus...
Ahem...ok. One of the two last minute techs on the team, Zapdos was mostly there because the team likes Tailwind and that it could be used as a soft check to primals/Yveltal/Rayquaza/Salamence. It doesn’t do a particularly good job at any of these (and it especially doesn’t beat Rayquaza, although it can set up Tailwind in front of it, fearing nothing but LO Draco), but it’s not bad either. Tbolt and HP Water are standard. Don’t tell me 2 HP Waters is excessive. Substitute was clutch and helped out vs Salamence/Smeargle leads. A Zapdos under a Substitute is difficult for the core of Salamence/Smeargle/Bronzong/Groudon to deal with, and forces Salamence to Double Edge the Sub away if it wants to stop Zapdos from wreaking havoc. This is great because this burns Sleep turns from my Groudon, and Zong/Groudon required some setup so it was difficult to take advantage of Zapdos’s sleeping turns. Essentially, Zapdos gave me a gameplan that allowed me to tank sleep in certain scenarios, and played a role against BigB where the team’s lack of Xerneas protection combined with my multiple anti-Xern measures deterred Xerneas from being used. The Sub Zapdos + Groudon setup vs BigB would have been a bit better if Groudon had HP Ice. If I can snipe the Salamence, then Sub Zapdos would have been super hard to break with Smeargle Zong, and Groudon has to fear HP Water and requires Gravity and TR setup, which means that Zapdos will get a solid amount of free hits.
Anyways, Zapdos’s use vs BigB was mostly theoretical and it worked out better than I expected at worlds. I hadn’t really considered its use to burn sleep turns from its partner before actually playing it, and I want to look more into this. Zapdos is also not awful vs Khan Artist because nobody wants to Fake Out the Zapdos so I feel like I can often get a free Sub. Zapdos’s performance wasn’t superstar-level, but it did what it had to.
Smeargle @ Chesto Berry
IVs: 0 Atk / --- Spe
- Wide Guard
- King's Shield
- Dark Void
- Crafty Shield
“If you think you have a bad matchup, just bring Smeargle” - blarajan 2016
Public enemy #1. Smeargle set isn’t mine so I’m blanking out several aspects until I’m allowed to post them. Tbh Smeargle’s role on this team wasn’t quite clear. It was quite abstract, or so to speak, giving me a general utility and also a universal panic button to virtually every matchup because Dark Void + Moody is just straight up silly. Smeargle offers immense team preview pressure and is the reason why this meta feels flowcharted sometimes. Slapping a Smeargle on various team archetypes can mess with these flowcharts and leave opponents confused. The set is for the most part standard, but the combination of King’s Shield + Chesto Berry gives me an out vs Khan Artist. This set is extremely Taunt bait and lacked Focus Sash so I had to be careful.
You know you’ve done something horribly wrong to the meta when your name is also used as a verb. There were a few opponents who were Smeargled by me and I apologize (especially Tommy). Anyways, it is what it is. Smeargle wa overall a fantastic performer. Chesto didn’t get used Day 1, but came in handy for Day 2, though it didn’t matter too much I guess, because every time Chesto came into effect I was facing another Chesto Smeargle. I really did not expect Chesto Smeargle to be a thing outside of me and Rajan, but I guess it is now.
Team’s goal: Make my opponent just as clueless against my team as I am at piloting it. Then have Smeargle do its thing. Use Groudon to weaken things early game, then clean up with Bronzong + Kyogre.
I came into this with not a lot of expectations. All I set for myself was not to go negative at worlds. That does not mean I’m not aiming for the top! But I want to keep my expectations low so I don’t stress myself. One hurdle at a time! Keeping calm and playing comfortably is incredibly important if I want to go far, but I had to mentally set myself to short goals to ensure that I’m not pressured in my later rounds.
Round 1: Luke Dunscombe
Round 1 quickly punched a hole in the team. Weavile + Primals is a really hard matchup, and I don’t have a lot of outs to that. What’s more is that I found out that the Weavile is Life Orbed, OHKOing Zapdos with a single Ice Punch. At the end of Game 1 he sealed away my chances of winning with Role Play Thundurus, and his fast Special Groudon gave me no chance of a comeback. Game 2 went similarly, except I tried to dance around the Weavile using Gengar and the primals while saving Zapdos for later. But this led to an issue where his Salamence got a Tailwind off while I couldn’t match it as Weavile was very threatening. I was able to Gengar lock his Groudon in, but Gengar was in no position to take down Groudon due to Tailwind being up. Origin Pulse also missed, which sealed away my hopes of winning. Needless to say this was not the kind of start I wanted.
In the meantime Rajan got Mark McQuillan round 1 and it was streamed near the entrance. He had to reveal basically every tech to win that round. This put both me and him in danger as we are running the same team, and a lot of people watched that match due to its length and convenient placement.
Round 2: Alberto Lara
Round 1 got me a hard matchup and Round 2 got me a Day 2 player from US Nats. Kangaskhan + Whimsicott scared me, and Cresselia was not something I wanted to face. I led Gengar Zong into Kangaskhan Cress. I really shouldn’t have led Gengar Zong, but I did, and it worked somehow. Kangaskhan Fake Outted the Zong and Cresselia Icy Winded. Gengar burned the Kanga while Zong flinched. I switched Gengar out to avoid the potential Psychic and set up Trick Room as Kangaskhan deals no damage thanks to the burn. Fearing the reverse Trick Room, I threw a blind Hypnosis at the Cress and it hit. Then I OHKOed it with crit Eruption. Game was pretty much over from there as he had no way of handling Zong Ogre. Alberto adjusted to Salamence/Cress lead game 2 while I went with Gengar/Groudon. Salamence Protects but I nuke Cress with Sludge Bomb Overheat. The rest of the game went downhill for Alberto as Bronzong was able to wall the rest of the team.
Round 3: Tyler Bennett
Another Groudon Xerneas. This match isn’t something that I fully remember the details of, but Groudon was able to deal immense amounts of damage with Eruption. I led Smeargle Groudon into Salamence Scrafty. I don’t remember what exactly happened but Tyler went straight for the OHKO on Smeargle with Double Edge if I recall. I also probably crit Scrafty with Eruption and the game just went downhill for him from that point. Game 2 he led Smeargle/Mence while I went for Zapdos/Groudon. I was able to get a Sub up and put him in a horrible position, but almost threw the game when I went too greedy for the HP Water on Groudon as it Protected while Kyogre got Dark Voided. I was in such a good position that doing that going for that kind of play was really risky. I should’ve just KOed the 1 HP Smeargle. Regardless, the match was fairly close and a lot of switches happened, but I was able to take it in the end. After the battle he revealed that his Groudon’s OT was mine. I gave away Groudons at the start of this format (took me 3 weeks to soft reset for one…). I thought that was cute and wished Tyler the best of luck in the rest of the tournament
Round 4: Panyamut Noijan (???)
Sorry, my handwriting sucks so I don’t remember his first name. Anyways, Dialga Groudon is an interesting combo and is certainly not a bad one. Dialga is quite annoying to my team as I don’t have a good way to dent Dialga outside of Groudon. Luckily, my Groudon had Eruption so I had no issues getting past this wall of Intimidates from both Mence and Lando, so my plan was to get Groudon to spam that. Game 1 he led Landorus-T and Dialga while I led Smeargle/Groudon. I pressed Wide Guard + Eruption while Lando Protected and Dialga dented Smeargle with Dragon Pulse. Smeargle got a Speed boost and I spent the rest of the game clicking Dark Void and Eruption. Sorry about that.
Game 2 I decided to go Zapdos/Groudon to improve my matchup vs Salamence, but he led genies instead. I could go for Tailwind/Protect into Eruption spam, but I predicted the Taunt on Zapdos and Earthquake on Groudon. Instead he Tbolt Rock Slides the Groudon and put me in a rather tough spot. But Smeargle comes in and gets a Speed boost. After a successful Wide Guard vs Crafty Shield prediction, I was able to take over the game once again with Dark Void + Eruption. Again, I’m sorry.
Round 5: Jonathan Neville (TMGold)
More genies. Jonathan was sporting the hugs and kisses archetype, and I was a little scared facing him as my team doesn’t fare too well vs Kangaskhan + Thundurus + Kyogre in back. Game 1 he led Thundurus/Ferrothorn while I led Gengar Zong. I immediately attempted to Gengar lock him + Groudon but I was a little impatient and didn’t scout out his Ferro’s Protect like I should have. This enabled me to get only a single KO on Thundurus while Ferro shields itself and kyogre comes in. This wasn’t good but I was able to turn the position around again as I attempt to reset the sun by switching around. Kyogre dodged a Power Whip, but survived the next one (good to know that Water Spout + Power Whip doesn’t KO mine). Sun comes back up and I win.
Game 2 started by him leading Kang/Thund while I led Gengar/Kyogre. Bit of a nasty lead matchup but I was able to somehow set the tone for this game. But I tried to overreach somewhere and my Bronzong got KOed early. Whatever the reason, I ended up losing control of the weather and lost game 2
Game 3 was him leading genies. By this point, I know that his Thundurus is bulky life orb and his Lando is Choice Band. Kyogre hangs on to Thunderbolt + EQ with 2 HP thanks to Bold but double misses Origin Pulse. I don’t remember what happened but Kyogre was useful as a death fodder so I can reset the sun. Game came down to Zong/Groudon vs Kyogre, and I hit a couple of PBlades to win the game.
Round 6: Aline Kleinschnitz
On team preview, this looked like the team that Phil used to win Australia Nats. This one was a bit bothersome as I figured out that the Xerneas was speedy and therefore weakened my Eruption game 1. She appeared to not have Wide Guard however, as I was able to spam spread moves repeatedly to take down Xerneas. With Xerneas down, the rest of the game fell from there. I don’t remember what she brought game 2 but I adjusted my lead from Smeargle/Groudon to Gengar/Groudon. Xerneas was moved into the backline which also helped make things a bit easier for me. Not a whole lot I can actually say in this series. She ended up shutting off her DS because she didn’t want to see the defeat screen, although she didn’t look like she ragequit.
Round 7: Tommy Cooleen (Tman)
I really didn’t want to have to face Tommy for Day 2 qualification, and once again Dialga was a tricky matchup as Groudon was my only actual out against it. Anyways, Tommy had a really neat team featuring the Groudon mode from BigB and a Dialga to patch several Kyogre related issues, and I was honestly surprised that he didn’t bring Groudon/Xerneas like he would to big events. I recommend others to look at this team, given that Rayogre won worlds. Although Tommy told me he lost to Wolfe but let’s be real Wolfe probably knows how to play against Dialga more than anyone else + timer is still a thing.
For Game 1 I led Smeargle/Groudon into Scrafty Dialga and I OHKOed Dialga with crit Eruption and the game was over for him from there. Tommy made the smart adjustment to move Dialga into the back and led with Salamence Scrafty so that my Groudon can’t just destroy it. I didn’t play well in this match, but my Smeargle got some evasion boosts and proceeded to become a pain. I ended up winning the match later at the back of my own primals. I wished Tommy the best of luck in for his final round.
At this point Rajan was 6-0, taking down James Baek to qualify for Day 2.
Round 8: Nobody
Thank you, autodrop. That round I just had to sink in that I survived Day 1. Tommy didn’t make it which made me really sad. Spent the night deciding on whether I should change my team or not. Chesto Smeargle was useless (but was useful for Rajan), and I'm still feeling a bit uncomfortable. In the end, I made the final decision to not change a single thing.