Tournament SCL Ubers Discussion Thread

OP taken from https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/scl-i-doubles-ou-discussion.3689963/, stolen from emma
Approved by Fc and Aberforth


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Welcome to the Smogon Champions League 1 Discussion Thread -- Ubers edition! This thread will be used to discuss Ubers in SCL I related topics, whether it’s about the players, general metagame trends, matches, predictions and so on. Teams, Replays, and Usage Stats can be found [coming soon].

Commencement Thread
Schedule
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Ubers Potential Player Cores (manager support is italicized) -

Orange Islanders -- TJ, Exiline, FatFighter2, Staxi, Stone_Cold
Indigo Platoon -- Poek, Tony
Power Plant Dynamos -- TrueNora, The Strap, Lunala
Uncharted Terrors -- Icemaster, March Fires
Technical Machines -- SoulWind, SiTuM
Arena Spartans -- 64 Squares
Showdown Shoguns -- Manaphy, Reje
Mount Silver Foxes -- M Dragon, Aberforth
Circuit Breakers -- byronthewellwell, a rabbit
Studio Gible -- Fc, London Beats, Garay Oak

Team and Player Power Rankings:

Keep an eye out for it once Week 1 official starts. Also, a reminder that Teams, Replays, and Usage Stats can be found [coming soon] while this thread will only be used for predictions and discussion.

Here's to a fun SCL! -BasedWhat?​
 
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Fardin

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ive gotten to know the ss playerbase pretty well during upl, so i wanted to give it a shot and make a personal pr. no hate pls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


1. Studio Gible -- Fc, London Beats, Garay Oak

this #1 rank entirely comes down to how involved garay will be with helping FC prepping and just brainstorming ideas. they are both great builders so if they work together, I don't see them losing to anyone really. fc might not be as solid as some of the other players playing wise, but teams and mu are carrying ubers rn so being a great builder is a huge advantage.

2. Orange Islanders -- TJ, Exiline, FatFighter2, Staxi, Stone_Cold

Exiline is imo as good as anyone in the pool, and this team has some really solid support with Staxi, ff2 and TJ. If the helpers stay active and motivated throughout the tour, they can do extremely well.

3. Uncharted Terrors -- Icemaster, March Fires

not sure if march fires will be much of a help to ice since I dont think he is that familiar with ss as far as building goes, but i dont think thats a huge deal. Ice is the one the best builders in ss rn, and he plays extremely good too. i can't see him not going positive.

4. Indigo Platoon -- Poek, Tony

i know poek is an extremely good player, and if tony trusts him to play, that just gives me another boost of confidence to place them in 4th. not much to be said, tony is a really good builder and poek is a a really good player, nice combo.

5. Technical Machines -- SoulWind, SiTuM

similar to above, i just think tony edges situm out as far as builds go.

6. Power Plant Dynamos -- TrueNora, The Strap, Lunala

heat trio. lunala and truenora match extremely well. im hyped to see the builds they'll make thruout the tour, i just believe nora lacks a tad bit as far playing goes compared to the rest of the starters in the list, but he is good enough to win games vs anyone still.

7. assuming manaphy starts, Showdown Shoguns -- Manaphy, Reje

2 very solid and good builders. im not sure if reje will stay motivated thruout the tour tho, but if he does, that will be a huge help for the team. i have them ranked 7th cause, altho they are both great, the rest of the people above just edges them out with their builds, and for a few, the plays as well.

8. Mount Silver Foxes -- M Dragon, Aberforth

m dragon is a super solid player but with not much of an experience in ss. aber is a nice support, but i think he is still unproven compared to the rest of the people in the list as far as support/building goes in a setting where you play the best of ubers every week where everyone try hards (ik he did well in upl, but i assume scl will be even more competitive). this does not mean that he isnt as good as anyone above, its just i have yet to see it. this could be the darkhorse for ubers this year

9. Circuit Breakers -- byronthewellwell, a rabbit

both solid players. not sure how much byron been involved with ss but ik a rabbit is up to date with most stuff. will be interesting to see the stuff they'll bring, especially week 1, but i just cant put them above the others on the list right now. neither have proved much in ss.

10. Arena Spartans -- 64 Squares

interesting choice to draft 64 without support. i know he is a good player, but from wat ive seen, ss has never been his forte and he also isnt that familiar with building in this gen either if im correct. not sure what to expect but he defo can get a win if his teams are on point.
 

Katy

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Orange Islanders -- TJ, Exiline, FatFighter2, Staxi, Stone_Cold
Indigo Platoon -- Poek, Tony
Power Plant Dynamos -- TrueNora, The Strap, Lunala
Uncharted Terrors -- Icemaster, March Fires
Technical Machines -- SoulWind, SiTuM
Arena Spartans -- 64 Squares
Showdown Shoguns -- Manaphy, Reje
Mount Silver Foxes -- M Dragon, Aberforth
Circuit Breakers -- byronthewellwell, a rabbit
Studio Gible -- Fc, London Beats, Garay Oak
Orange Islanders:
TJ Sticks out to me as a capable Uber player. He knows how the tier works and has always an incredible gameplan in mind. He for sure is a great addition to the Orange Islanders and compliments Exilines capability in the tier. Both are very strong players and this is reflected by past Uber records.

Indigo Platoon:
No one is a stranger to Poek and Tony, both are incredible players and together they are a capable duo of prepping for the games. Poek is an outstanding player in pretty much every tier and Uber is no different for him.

Power Plant Dynamos:
TrueNora and The Strap (please change your name bro!) are superb in this tier. Together they always have some creativity in mind to catch their opponents off guard, be aware of them!

Uncharted Terrors:
Icemaster is the UbersTL and one of the best players in SSUbers, He should be capable to get a clean record in this teamtour.

Technical Machines:
Soulwind is in a similar vein like Poek, no stranger to every tier, they can play whatever and perform great, same result will go for him in this tour.

Showdown Shoguns:
Manaphy is very capable and should be watched out for.

Mount Silver Foxes (imho the best teamname in this tour):
M Dragon also stands out here, same with Aberforth, Aberforth showed in recent tours that he can be a dominant Ubers Player and he can put out a good record!

Circuit Breakers:
byronthewellwell will make the wellwell games here. He definitely is a great and creative player. Keep an eye on him, as he will be wellwell to show a good eprformance.

Studio Gible:
FC the new UbersCOTL is making a name for himself here, he'll be able to show how he has his tier in his hands, alongside another great player London Beats and the great input from Garay Oak. never underestimate this trio.
 
This thread has just become a predictions competition compilation, there's very little actual discussion of the games, so here we go! I'll be talking about each of the non-Mdragon games each week.

Soulwind Vs Manaphy

SW vs MANA Team Preview.PNG


Soulwind brought what looks like a relatively standard Marshadow/Groudon Bulky Offence build. The fat 4 of NDM/Yveltal/Eternatus/DefensiveXern gives a lot of room to play around opposing balance and offensive teams, while Groudon and Marshadow synergise well and can both open up holes for the other to take advantage of, depending on the physical wall of choice.

Manaphy meanwhile brought perhaps the most 'Manaphy' team I've ever seen, even if he hasnt used these exact 6 before (I didnt check). Dugtrio traps Eternatus and opposing Blissey to in theory allow Kyogre to dominate any bulkier, stallier builds, while Blissey + Buzzwole blanket checks both sides of the attacking spectrum, while Yveltal and NDM do their usual stuff.

In my opinion, Manaphy's team looks like a great choice for a ladder run, meant to cover a wide variety of threats well and relying on superior skill to get the wins. However, Soulwind remains Soulwind, and while I've been called a simp for him in the Ubers Discord, the fact remains that relying on being a better player than Soulwind to win a game without any neat "tech's" or unexpected teambuilding options is a bizarre choice.

Indeed in the game Manaphy seemed to be pretty much constantly on the backfoot, not helped by an unfortunate crit on his main way of dealing offensive pressure, before the Overheat from Groudon claimed the kill on Buzzwole, allowing Bulk Up Groudon to clean house. Realistically, even without the Kyogre crit, a Precipice Blades is going to badly sting an incoming Kyogre and it would have been significantly limited in its ability to exert offence again later on in the game, while the Fire Move Groudon would have eventually always killed Buzzwole as it did and allowed for Marshadow to have a pretty simple sweep lategame.



Icemaster vs Byron

icemaster vs byron.PNG


Icemaster has brought CalyDon with a pivoting angle, Lando-T and Yveltal both bringing U-Turn to allow for ease of entry for the dangerous breakers. Lando is quite customisable on this build and aside from U-Turn and Earthquake, its difficult to tell what it's running from preview. It could be a Rocks Setter, freeing up NDM and even possibly Groudon to run a more offensively inclined set if he so chooses, it can run Defog to synergise well with Yveltal at keeping hazards off or free Yveltal to have a bit more moveslot variety, it can run Toxic for generally wearing down the opposing team quicker, and it can run Knock Off because that's possibly the best move in the game this gen. It really just depends on what Icemaster is wanting to do with the rest of his team, and it doesnt really give away anything about the other mons.

Byron meanwhile has brought Double Dark, with both Yveltal and Dada coming. This can potentially free Yveltal to run a more offensive set if SpDef Zarude is the mon of choice, and it provides better Groudon insurance between both Zygarde and Zarude. The main focus of this team looks on preview to be Zygarde, with Ho-oh covering for the weaker matchups Zygarde has fairly reliably, switching comfortably into standard Xerneas and Buzzwole while shutting down most of the Grass Type options the tier has for dealing with Zygarde. My main criticism of this team from preview is that it looks rather passive/reactive, and it isnt fully committed to a stall approach while not committing to a more offensive approach either. Just as an example, Offensive Eternatus is really difficult to continuously pivot around, while Meteor Beam straight up gets a Kill if NDM can be reliably weakened beforehand. I imagine piloting this team vs HO would be quite difficult.

Important to note on preview is that the lack of Calyrex from Byron means Icemaster is far more free to utilise his Yveltal than Byron is, as its health and Status are much less impactful over the long game. This actually is a pivotal part of the game itself, the opening few turns have Byron's Yveltal at 64% and without its Boots, and while Byron plays rather well around Icemaster's Groudon initially, using Zygarde to soak up the Heat Crash aimed at Zarude, this proves pivotal in the long game dealing with Ice's specs Calyrex, as Zarude just barely avoids being in range of a 2HKO from Calyrex, with Jungle Healing not taking it out of range of that 2HKO for the next opportunity. Byron plays well around its threat, trying to make sure he is never in with a mon that it can freely let loose against, but ultimately it is not enough, with the Zarude being put into range by the U-Turn Yveltal and Calyrex cleaning house. It was however a very respectable showing from Byron against one of the strongest Mainers in the tier.



MDragon vs Exiline

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We won this game and that's all I'll talk about it. I'd be too biased otherwise.


FC vs 64 Squares

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FC has brought a team that is seemingly designed to beat down an opposing balance team really hard, with Calyrex-S, Zygarde and Kyogre all very frustrating to deal with in their own ways, while all 3 help plug defensive holes against some of the offensive threats 64 might have chosen to employ. Zygarde and Kyogre both help with the Groudon counterplay, and Aromatherapy from Calyrex can be crucial in tricky situations. The Calyrex is revealed in game to be Choice Specs, which makes it more likely to be Nasty Plot as opposed to Aromatherapy (although aroma remains an option), which is probably FC's most desired wincon in most games, chipping Yveltal into range of +2 Astral Barrage with his teammates and going to town.

64 Squares meanwhile brought double-ground, and based on this game I doubt it'll be the last we see of that particular combo this tour. His cleric of choice was Scarf Xerneas, which I also like as a pick given the current meta, while the remainder of his team is the standard trio. The logic of Zygarde + Groudon should be self-evident, but I'll say it explicitly for the people coming here out of wanting to do the cash predictions thing: Groudon and Zygarde's checks naturally overlap a lot, and so each of them can reliably break for the other with small moveset customisations. Indeed in the game we see that Groudon has Toxic and Overheat, both giving it a way of reliably wearing down the Defoggers (as this Groudon was Stealth Rock) but also potentially Lunala for Zygarde.

This Zygarde is an excellent bring on 64 Squares's end, bringing Resto Chesto DD Zygarde with Outrage. While the set falls flat against a defensive Xerneas, that mon is passive as hell right now and as a mon Xerneas is probably worse right now than it has ever been, and Rest + Chesto Berry shuts down the more passive ways of trying to deal with Zygarde fairly reliably, while for at least one occasion not having the drawback of the 2 passive turns Rest forces. It would still be shut down very hard by Ferrothorn and Leech Seed, but that's one of the hopeful targets of Overheat Groudon.

I was in call for this game in the Ubers Discord, and the people in there can tell you about laughing at me saying I didnt think it was Demon Eternatus turn 1 (because of the increased trouble with the Marshadow matchup) into the Turn 1 Meteor Beam. Oops. In my defence at the time I thought it was Offensive Groudon, a more defensive set makes that matchup quite a bit easier. FC didnt look to have the rhythm much this game, and while his Kyogre got high-rolled on Zygarde (according to him, I trust his calcs), I dont believe that he was in a good spot even if he did get an attack off there, as Zygarde was not in range of Surf and Zygarde still had its Chesto Berry available. If confusion had gone his way and Zygarde never got the rest off, its possible that his own Zygarde could have counter-swept from the position he was in, but those were never odds that were particularly in his favour and I feel like 64 walked away the deserved winner from this one.

An impressive showing from someone I thought would struggle in the teambuilder with limited support, while he ended up bringing the most innovative team of the week and he played it very well.



Poek vs TrueNora

Nora vs Poek.PNG


Poek has brought the only team this week that I think can be outright called Offense as opposed to Balance. Rayquaza breaks like not much else in the entire tier, and Darmanitan-G is close behind it while also being one of the best scarfers in the tier. Darm also allows for easy pivoting into the Banded Ray, and Zekrom can be a Volt-Switch user too. On this team it turns out to be Defog, which makes sense given its ability to Defog on TWave NDM, the most common rock setter, and that enables Darmanitan to be a lot more free to reak havoc. Yveltal also gives the same pivoting potential, while NDM and Xern are both nice options to regain momentum against pokemon that can threaten offensive teams like this, such as Marshadow and Eternatus.

Nora's team on the other hand is Fat. Blissey Buzzwole makes its second appearance of the week, with Yveltal and NDM rounding off the defensive core much like it did on Manaphy's team. However instead of Dugtrio and Kyogre, Nora opted to go for Groudon and Zekrom. I feel this is a much less "All or Nothing" approach from the previous team example, and it has a similar synergy offensively to the 64 Squares team from before, in that Groudon and Zygarde have a tendency to share checks, so one can break for the other rather reliably. I still prefer the 64 squares build of all the other teams shown this week, but this one has the longevity to win long games and the offense to capitalise on openings given.

In saying that, this is a horrific matchup for Nora. Rayquaza straight up has 0 switch-ins, and can come in repeatedly on Buzzwole/Blissey through the pivots on Poek's team to smack something and retreat, while Nora's rocks aren't going to stay up for long given Zekrom defogs on it comfortably. Nora proceeds to play a very very good game, trading his half health Yveltal for Rayquaza's choice Band, neutering it in its effectiveness throughout the game, while catching Ray trying to come in later in the game with his Groudon. He even pivots in Blissey on the Zekrom initially out of fear of the Tony special: SpecsKrom. He continually gets the play around Darmanitan correct, and is able to capitalise on the frailty of Poek's offensive team by claiming kill after kill with his Groudon, until Poek's Darm + Necrozma-DM cannot break through Nora's own Necrozma, and seals him an incredibly impressive win against one of the strongest pilots in the field, while at a team disadvantage.


Final Thoughts
By far my favourite set this week is 64 Square's Zygarde, as I think I made pretty clear in this write up, while I think he also gets the award of my favourite team. Its either his team or Icemaster's team for that one, his is definitely the more creative and proactive but I feel like Ice's would probably be more consistent. As a fun fact, in the clash of the weather duo, both are diametrically opposed: Groudon is undefeated, having won all 5 games, and tops the kill chart having nailed 16 kills by itself, meanwhile Kyogre didnt win a single game, and in the 3 teams it was used on not, only did it not get a single kill, nothing on its entire team managed to get a single kill.
 
Oops nearly forgot to post a recap this week.

Soulwind vs 64 Squares
Soulwind vs 64 squares.PNG

Soulwind has gone for an interesting team, but dropping Eternatus for the use of Ferrothorn and Xerneas to fill the two most notable niches Eternatus fills, in acting as the preliminary switch in for Yveltal and Kyogre respectively. CalyDon and ZyDon are both established team structures, synergising offensively while helping the defensive matchup against things like Zekrom. Meanwhile, and much less frequently, Soulwind dropped Necrozma-DM from the standard structure. While Spdef Ferrothorn is probably alright against Xerneas, given how unpopular GeoXern is these days and how unpopular Focus Blast is on those sets anyway, it does open up the Eternatus matchup quite uncomfortably, as if it opts for an offensive poison move, Eternatus can feasibly 1v1 4 of Soulwinds 6, and the other two dont appreciate switching hard in on a Toxic. In general, Spikes + Sub Dragon Tail Zygarde is a structure I personally love, but I feel this team would be rather difficult to pilot in a lot of matchups, especially if there is an Offensive Eternatus in play.

64 Squares meanwhile has gone down the route of Magic Sun, going for a more classically offensive structure than Garay Oak or Pohjis took in their shots at the style. Xatu and Ho-oh are obvious given that those are the two the style is named for, Groudon sets the sun to make Ho-oh's Banded Sacred Fire really sting even resists, while Yveltal and Eternatus patch up their usual roles and providing necessary switch-ins vs Kyogre and Calyrex. Lunala is an interesting final mon, especially as the team doesnt look to be passive enough to fix the weaknesses of the standard defensive Lunala, such as a cleric and spikes support, so this Lunala is likely an offensive variant from preview. In the game it shows itself to be Meteor Beam, lovely for dealing with teams who's only Ghost answer is a Yveltal, but I was considering the possibility of it being a Calm Mind variant from preview as well. Ultimately I do prefer the Meteor Beam version, but once again 64 Squares has brought a team I really really like. Even opposing SubSeed Calyrex can be dealt with via Taunt from Yveltal, not having to run Defog with Xatu on the team. Credit to him, I really think he's adapted much quicker to SS Ubers than I assumed he would.

In the game itself, I think 64 Squares got off to an impressive start against one of the most impressive pilots in the field, but Soulwind ended up outplaying the Sucker Punch turns in the endgame with his Calyrex to seal the win. I think the turn that 64 messed up the endgame was switching Groudon out of Calyrex into Lunala, ultimately giving Calyrex the opportunity to be behind a sub and at +3 before Yveltal came in, while Groudon wasnt actually necessary to preserve at that point. Even if Groudon stays in and attacks, Calyrex isnt dead, but that lack of a Sub makes all the difference in the world, as then Yveltal would be able to come in and live the hit (as it does in the game) and simply KO Calyrex into a rather simple endgame between a (seemingly) Scarf Xerneas and a Groudon, with a Choice Band Ho-oh that probably outspeeds the Groudon too.


Exiline vs TrueNora

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Exiline has brought a nice looking Balance team featuring Blissey over Eternatus, with Xerneas taking the role of primary Yveltal-answer. Blissey provides a much more solid Kyogre answer for Exiline, while his offense is mostly centred around abusing the two Ground Types lack of consistent counterplay. Barring a Lunala, the two Grounds should be able to muscle past most potential checks to them, while the other 4 team members (as well as Zygarde to an extent) can provide Exiline longevity and the ability to take his time in games and avoid rushing.

Nora meanwhile is using Rayquaza + Pivots, much like Poek the previous week. Lando-T and Yveltal U-Turn into Choice Band Ray, which does not have many safe switch ins at the best of times. Kyogre synergises nicely with Ray, limiting the recovery of Necrozma-DM in the event that it safely comes in on Ray, and easing prediction a little bit. Lando-T pivots in to Groudon decently, more importantly freeing Necrozma from needing to run Rocks, while intimidate is rarely not useful.

The game is worth a watch, as Exiline pilots around the threat of Band Ray really well and Life Orb DD Zygarde ends up denting Nora's team hard, ultimately leaving Nora in the place where he couldnt break down the remaining defensive core from Exiline. This was a relatively tough matchup for Nora, given that Blissey was a big problem for his team to deal with if Rayquaza couldnt catch it. While on Preview, Rayquaza 2hko'd/ohkod everything, being locked into V-Create gave Exiline the exact opportunity he wanted to take the initiative back from Nora. A good second game after his rather lackluster performance vs MDragon.

Byronthewellwell vs Poek

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Byron brought a somewhat standard double Ghost offense, with CalyDon synergising well at denting Yveltal, while Marshadow takes advantage of essentially all other Ghost resists the tier offers. MarshDon is also fairly good at synergising with each other, given the rather limited number of mons that take on Physical attackers in the tier, of whom even fewer want to take on Fire Move Groudon. The other 3 mons provide the normal defensive and offensive utility, hazard setting and removal, ect.

I find it uninspiring to write about the team Poek brought, because it is literally a recreation of the Icemaster team from the first week. You can read what the team does by scrolling up. The lack of Umbrella Zekrom from Tony disappoints me, hopefully he pulls some Teapot-level stuff for future weeks.

The pivotal move in this game, in my opinion, was Byron letting his Marshadow get toxic'd by the Lando-T. We had already seen Eternatus take 34% from Shadow Sneak, and letting what looked like his best lategame sweeper take that toxic made the endgame far too tricky to pilot through. And the Lando-T was at 9%, it wasnt able to pivot out and come back in again, so yeah really not a fan of that turn. Poek also risked a crit a few times unnecessarily in the endgame, but was able to pull out of this with a win.


Manaphy vs FC
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Manaphy continues to run exactly what you picture when you think of Manaphy-Teams. Another Blissey + Buzzwole, this time with a Zygarde to sure up his Fire-Move Groudon matchup. Marshadow + Zygarde operates on a similar idea of Groudon + Marshadow in wearing down the physical walls of the tier, but with Zygarde offering more longevity than Groudon against opposing offense. This team is very functionally similar to the one Manaphy brought week 1, so read there for a more in-depth breakdown on the roles.

Fc meanwhile has gone with Darmanitan-Offense. Pivoting into the Double Ground offensive duo is a decent offensive strategy, and the three of them will normally break down most physically defensive walls again. This was a very common theme among these teams, with most teams this week going for the strategy of overwhelming on the physical side. FC also revealed that he was Shuca Berry on his Eternatus, in response to the insane groudon usage and winrate in Week 1.

This game shows Darmanitan's flaws in this meta, finding it very difficult to actually enter the field without being worn down very quickly, especially with Flare Blitz forcing it to take a lot of recoil. It only gets to fire off two attacks in the entire game, and that was FC's most potent offensive tool against Manaphy.

MDragon vs Icemaster

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We won again, yay!


Will do more proper posts for this week but I'm posting this midway through Nora vs 64 Squares.
 
Soulwind vs Icemaster
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Soulwind has brought Lando-T, Groudon and Ferrothorn, a very solid team structure that looks to maximise Groudon's effectiveness by minimising the occasions Groudon is taking hits. By delegating Groudon's early-game defensive niche to Lando-T, Soulwind can play much more aggressively with his Groudon if he needs to, or he can opt to preserve Groudon for lategame scenarios where it being at full (or near full) can allow it to clean through teams. Spikes just synergise fantastically with all breakers, Groudon is no exception, and potential pivoting from Lando can try to force spikes chip quickly. Ferro also helps somewhat in the Kyogre matchup, and this team is desperately needing everything it can get on that front, as Groudon, Lando and NDM all are forced out by Kyogre. With Lando and Ferro, Necrozma-DM is almost certainly going to be a bulky setup variant, and likely with Knock Off to try to remove as many Boots as possible.

Icemaster has dropped Eternatus for the combination of Xerneas and Ferrothorn, allowing Calyrex to run a Nasty Plot variant without giving up on cleric support, while still having a preliminary switch in for Yveltal, Marshadow and Kyogre. Aside from this team hating the concept of facing a Ho-oh, its a solid structure that simply tries to overload Groudon/Calyrex answers by way of each other and spikes.

Both teams seem very content to allow spikes to go up in this matchup, with both teams having rocks and 3 spikes on the field by turn 8. Both Ferrothorns take each other down very low, effectively meaning that as soon as either player defogs, spikes will never return to the field. Icemaster and Soulwind are both of the perspective that spikes helps their own gameplan more than their opponent though, so it creates an interesting dynamic where, once the spikes are up, both feel like they are in the drivers seat with their offensive tools. Icemaster trades sacks with Soulwind, with Soulwind's Eternatus forcing Ice into increasingly uncomfortable positions, while Ice gets as much value out of his Calyrex as possible, KOing Lando-T and removing Yveltal's item in the process. Soulwind then forces Icemaster to lose his Yveltal, with Eternatus left at 2% as Necrozma comes out. NDM already revealled it was a Dragon Dance variant, so Eternatus isnt safe to keep in lest it be set-up fodder, so Soulwind goes into his full health Groudon, the first time it came in the entire game thus far. Rocks and Spikes take it down to 76% after lefties recovery, meaning Soulwind just needs to hit Necrozma with Dragon Tail to deal with it, as it would then come in so low that it couldnt set up again, but Icemaster plays to his out and dodged the Dragon Tail, with DD Necrozma KOing the Groudon and Yveltal, before SD Necrozma from Soulwind started to take it on 1v1, as Icemaster's Necrozma had Stone Edge and Sunsteel Strike as its only two attacking moves. Unfortunately for Soulwind, Icemaster's NDM was able to leave Soulwind's NDM weakened enough that Groudon could outspeed and KO with Precipice Blades, to give Ice the win in a very entertaining back and forth game.

MDragon vs Bluebird252

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Zygarde won.

LondonBeats vs Byronthewellwell

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So FC was benched after going 0-2, meaning Garay shall forever be cursed with negative Karma for not doing this after week 4. Fc0-4 jokes write themselves. But what that means is a season debut for London Beats, under some furry name I dont care to google the reference for, against Byron who hasn't had the most hot of seasons thus far. The team he brought seems rather solid, if a little standard. Actually it looks standard enough that I'm not entirely convinced I havent seen these 6 before, perhaps in FC's match against 64 squares in this same tournament. I doubt this was intentional, but it did amuse me to see it. The theme remains similar to that team, with Zygarde and Kyogre helping the Groudon matchup while being difficult to deal with for opposing balance teams, and Calyrex providing a fast cleric and significant speed control for offensive teams. The Kyogre in game was Lum Berry CM Water Spout, Origin Pulse and Ice Beam. While I like the concept of this set, I think I would prefer a Rest-Chesto combination on Kyogre over Water Spout, unless bluffing a Choice Scarf is an important aspect of the set for the user.

Byron's team meanwhile is a Lunala-based balance, with Lunala acting like a huge bat shaped 'FUCK YOU' button to most of the most dangerous breakers and sweepers in the tier. Clefable is a sturdy cleric who can actually switch in to almost everything that threatens out Lunala (aside from Calyrex-S of course) and it can also take the rock-setting duty away from Necrozma. Clefable also provides Eternatus with more backbone, operating as an initial switch in to most Yveltal and some Marshadow sets and allowing Eternatus to be free from some of the role compression it is constantly providing, allowing it to more effectively check Kyogre and spread status without fear of being overloaded. Clefable is also a rock-setter that can frustrate Yveltal, the most common defogger in the tier. So why isnt Clefable used more often? Well, it kinda sucks. Being a cleric that isnt as exploitable as Blissey is nice, but the only reason to use it over the (awful) defensive Xerneas set is that it can set rocks and has instant recovery. The BST is just not there to do the other things you're wanting your defensive fairy type to accomplish. As an example: Marshadow is never OHKO'd by Moonblast, while Banded Poltergeist will 2hko Clefable in return. Clefable can deal with Life Orb variants well enough, as well as Jolly Banded sets (70% of the time, Spectral is a roll to 2HKO), but the most reliable check in the world, Clef is not. I got sidetracked there a bit, but byron's other team members of note are Yveltal to do exactly what it always does, setup Necrozma Dusk-Mane, Dragon Dance if I had to guess given the relative lack of speed control on byron's team, and Calm Mind Rest Kyogre, a killer for opposing balances that rely on Toxic from Eternatus to do most of the heavy lifting against Kyogre.

In the game itself, byron ends up behind fairly early due to London's Kyogre amassing a fairly huge lead for him, taking down both the Eternatus and the Yveltal very early on before being forced out due to toxic recoil adding up too much. Taunt Yveltal then tried to 1v1 Clefable, which it can feasibly do in a lastmon scenario, but doing so was very odd on London's part considering the Necrozma-DM wasnt actually useful for anything else on Byron's team at that point. This turns into a pivotal mistake from London, as a timely crit from Byron's own Yveltal, now rocking a Scarf curtesy of Calyrex, means that the most useful-looking Yveltal's that I remember seeing goes down far earlier than it should have. Taunt was incredibly useful in this matchup, and after this turn it looks almost likely that Byron will simply win with Kyogre, nothing will actually damage it much on the physical side of the spectrum and it can feasibly rest on Zygarde, Eternatus and Necrozma-DM. Indeed, that's what ends up happening, with Byron capitalising on his admitted luck to win the game with Kyogre after his Yveltal goes down. Yveltal actually revealled itself to be quite offensively inclined at the same time, doing 48% to an incoming Eternatus with Knock Off. A very interesting building choice, and one that also recontextualises that Crit mentioned before, as London's play was actually safe from a crit from a more standard Yveltal ev spread.

Poek vs Exiline
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Everyone and their dog has build the same 6 as Poek's team before, and I dont mean that as an insult. It is probably the most consistent 6 for Magnezone teams to try to use, filled with threats that can exploit the lack of Steels (most obviously Necrozma-DM) that Magnezone enables. Indeed, last week we saw MDragon use this exact 6 against Icemaster to success.

Exiline has loaded double-steel types into Magnezone. I imagine he felt the same way on preview as someone who loads HO into Ditto would feel. The team itself goes for Lunala patching up the Ground-Type weakness of the balance-ish style that Exiline wanted to use, with Lunala also wearing down checks for Calyrex via status. The rest of the team tries to force switches to let Spikes wear down the opposing team, and it gives Exiline a long time to try to wear down Yveltal (or other Dark Types) for a Calyrex sweep.

Exiline leads Calyrex on the standard Darmanitan lead, bluffing Scarf and nabbing a big hit on Yveltal in the process... which is immediately healed off. By turn 10, the Necrozma is trapped and this is looking like a wrap, with all of Eternatus (which revealed Eject Button, a nice tech from Tony to try to get Mag in on the Steel types easier), Darmanitan and Xerneas looking very threatening. Poek removes the rocks from play, meaning Necrozma's sacrifice was entirely in vain, and then chooses to heal up his Eternatus rather than put pressure on Exiline with his Xerneas. I feel like this is the big misplay on Poek's end, as Xerneas was looking incredibly threatening there, given that Ferrothorn often doesnt run a move that can effectively touch it and the rest of Exiline's team folds to GeoXern. Indeed, taking the game slower like this allowed Exiline to heal off his Eternatus from 6% all the way to 97%, and allowed Eternatus to dodge Icicle Crash to win the game. Still, take nothing away from Exiline, this was a close-to impossible matchup and he ended up winning it.

TrueNora vs 64 Squares

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I wont lie, I got both teams badly wrong from preview, as those who were in call can testify. For Nora's team, I thought for sure that he was running ScarfDarm, whereas for 64's team, I assumed that both Ghosts were offensive, with Lunala being some Meteor Beam Power Herb set. Neither of these were accurate.

Nora's opted for the sheer breaking power of Choice Band Darmanitan, which is capable of nuking from the Physical side like almost nothing else in the tier, with only Dracovish and Caly-I having higher immediate damage on neutral targets. Unlike those two, and like the only slightly weaker Banded Rayquaza, Darmanitan actually has a decent amount of speed behind it. Based on the sheer power of Darmanitan, Nora has opted for Marshadow, Life Orb Bulk Up to be specific, to clean through teams that try to pivot around Scarf Darm only to have their Physically Defensive mons manhandled. The remainder of the team provides the defensive core of the team, with Double Dark to prevent Calyrex-S (and Lunala!) from realistically accomplishing much, and NDM/Etern doing their usual thing.

64 Squares did not opt for the offensive Lunala like I assumed. I wont lie, part of the reason that was my assumption was that they were the first two pokemon on the team, so I assumed he had put those two on as an offensive duo and then built from there. Given the rest of the team, perhaps that seems obvious, as it seems to be very much catered to defensive Lunala's strengths, with Blissey providing the second half of the passive duo that together wall the entire metagame barring Yveltal, Marshadow and Calyrex. The issue I tend to have with this sort of build is that it is very reactive, and can allow a lot of time for your opponent to basically do whatever they want to do. Geomancy Rest-Talk Xern does alleviate this somewhat, acting as a solid wincon in its own right while also being capable of forcing out Yveltal consistently, even if it has to take a Knock Off in the process, and it acts much like Defensive Xerneas in matchups where that is needed, simply delegating the cleric duties to Blissey.

Nora sees very early on that his Yveltal (with U-Turn) outspeeds 64 Square's Xerneas, allowing it to very consistently make progress against 64 Squares's team. This is the biggest issue with Blissey over Eternatus, as it means Yveltal can be a lot more free to punish the opposing team. Darmanitan misses and Icicle Crash early against Xerneas, before Nora decides that this matchup is too much in his favour, and decides to switch his Eternatus in on the specs Calyrex, as opposed to either of his Dark Types. I feel like avoiding being tricked with the Dark Types was a pretty big misplay on Nora's part here, he has 2 of them (and the Zarude is revealed to be SpDef as well) so its not like Calyrex is even a threat if it does get the trick off, and Eternatus by far Nora's best answer to 64's Yveltal. Nora is then forced to waste PP on Necrozma trying to beat the Yveltal 1v1, before sacking his own Yveltal to 64's SD Necrozma, and allowing Marshadow to claim its first KO of the game.

We then see why Nora didnt use Knock Off with his Yveltal, in spite of how much it pressured 64 Squares's team, with Poltergeist from Life Orb Marshadow. Its very possible that the Yveltal was Foul Play for the SD Groudon matchup, and thus couldnt remove items even if it wanted to. Darmanitan then shows it is Choice Band by doing 37% to Necrozma, dying in the process and making everyone watching realise that the Xerneas would be dead if the Icicle Crash that missed all those turns ago had hit, Ice Punch for life! Zarude then tries to make progress via Bulk Up, but Xerneas forces it out and then burns its item to make Marshadow less of a threat. 64 Squares is then able to give Necrozma the Choice Specs, and Necrozma is only left with 2 Sunsteel Strike PP to try to beat Xerneas with, looking very dicey. Nora wastes one Sunsteel killing Calyrex, and then tries to go for the Sleep Talk rolls against Xerneas, missing a Power Whip into a Rest from Sleep talk, but ultimately leaving Xern at 56% after it dies. Xerneas then switches into Yveltal on the Necrozma, as Nora doubles hard into Marshadow to try to set up on the Yveltal. Marshadow kills Yveltal, but Xern gets the sleep talk roll it needs to win the game, hitting Moonblast on Marshadow and being able to rest on the 1 PP remaining on Sunsteel Strike. But wait! Sunsteel Strike crits, just barely leaving 64 Squares in range of 2 Struggles from Necrozma, and giving Nora the closest win of the season, by far.

This is possibly the most entertained I've been by a game for a long time, and watching live the entire call was hyped as hell for it, as we all saw the Crit from Sunsteel fail to kill, thinking the game was over, only to realise that Struggle, which Nora was now forced to do, would 2HKO before the Xerneas could awaken.

Final Thoughts
I feel like we're far enough into the season to start discussing some trends in the teambuilding so far. First of all Tony is being lazy and literally copying teams from people every week, copying Icemaster in his Week 2 team and Mdragon in his Week 3 team. My betting is that we see him Copy Exiline for Week 4, then 64 Squares for Week 5, although if he proves me wrong that'd be better, its hard to talk about teams that we've already seen -_-.

Eternatus is the one of the big 3 that is most frequently being dropped, seeing 5 uses less than Necrozma-DM and 8 less than Yveltal. Largely this boils down to Eternatus being very good at role compression, meaning if you have a duo such as Xerneas + Ferrothorn/Blissey, it can be redundant to include Eternatus for its defensive niche. Interesting however that these teams dont take advantage of this with offensively inclined Eternatus sets that enjoy the fact that it no longer has to check half the metagame.

Groudon and Xerneas are both having fantastic tournaments thus far. Groudon won literally every single game week 1, but Xerneas is right behind it on winrate, with Scarf and Geomancy Xerneas both rising in popularity so far this tour. While Necrozma is on almost every team this might seem weird, but the scarf set's utility is nothing to scoff at, while Geomancy sets havent managed to sweep yet, but their threat has been felt throughout the battle. I find Xerneas to be the most interesting of these two when it comes to their winrate, given that collective consensus going into the tournament seemed to be that this was one of the lowest points for Xerneas since its introduction in Gen6, but the freedom it gives Calyrex to run Choice Specs sets with Nasty Plot while still having a teammate with a fantastic matchup against opposing offensive teams and a fast cleric is really being felt.

On the flip side, Kyogre has done pathetically this tournament so far, only managing to be on the winning side once, and that was in a game where both teams had Kyogre so it literally had no chance to keep its 0% winrate. Part of this comes from the rest of the meta not being favourable to it, there is an Eternatus or a Blissey on almost every team and Ferrothorn is seeing fairly significant usage too, however the other aspect of this is that the most frequent ways of making progress tend to be physical attackers that Kyogre hates switching in on. Kyogre also isnt an ideal partner for Necrozma-DM given that its hindering Necrozma's own recovery.

Given that this thread looks like me ranting to myself right now I'll end this post by asking everyone else instead, what have you been noticing the most in the SCL games thus far? What's taken you by surprise, and what has been as you expected? And what's the real order Tony will copy teams in?
 
Welp, I committed to doing a recap every week, so I'm doing it even if nobody else wants to discuss the games. You guys could at least discuss the M Dragon games that I'm not covering :( .

Soulwind vs Byronthewellwell

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Soulwinds team features Kyogre, Landorus and Calyrex-S alongside the Big 3. I've spoken at length in this thread about how useful Lando-T is at role compression, being useful in almost every matchup with the combination of Intimidate + U-Turn + Ground immunity, and also letting NDM still do its defensive duties without forcing it to also provide hazards for the team. Kyogre makes a solid duo with Lando-T, able to come in thanks to the slow pivot and force out every Groudon in the current meta. Calyrex-S is one of the most fearsome breakers in the meta, with Yveltal having to be played well to keep it in check. Kyogre synergises nicely with Calyrex in that if Kyogre can force its way past Eternatus, Yveltal can be best remaining line of defence against it, potentially putting Yveltal in Calyrex range.

Byron meanwhile is the first player to bring outright HO this tournament, opting for a standard Webs structure which is probably the best HO build in the current meta. He's opted for Shuckle over Slurpuff, given that Shuckle isnt so easily beaten by Substitute Kyogre/Xerneas that can outspeed and set up on it as a Webs lead, as well as putting both hazards on the single pokemon. The remainder of the team is fairly standard for a Webs build, with Lando-I and Taunt Yveltal preventing Defog, Calyrex-S as a wincon & spinblocker, Dragon Dance Necrozma and Meteor Beam Eternatus. The idea of the team is that you never give a turn for your opponent to remove the hazards, while Nasty Plot Calyrex is a fierce wincon against faster Yveltal structures, with +2 Draining Kiss 2HKOing Yveltal while Focus Sash means it doesnt die in a single hit.

This is a tricky matchup to play if you haven't played it before, and Soulwind clearly hadnt played it before. He allowed the rocks and webs to go up, and then thought Yveltal would be able to defog on the Lando-I. He got boom'd on, and from that moment on the game was basically lost. He might have been able to manage something by Defogging on Calyrex with Yveltal instead of roosting, but that is a very diffiult move to click in that situation, as if Byron attacked on that turn going for a roll, Calyrex-S won on the spot.


Manaphy vs Exiline

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Manaphy continues to bring very Manaphy-looking teams, with Blissey being partnered with Tangrowth this time instead of Buzzwole. He remains the only person so far this tournament with 100% Blissey and 0% Eternatus usage. Along with his standard bulky 4, he has Zekrom and Calyrex to operate as wincons, with the Zekrom revealing itself to be Haban Berry in the game as a neat wincon option that can potentially set up on Eternatus and check opposing Zekrom well.

Exiline meanwhile clearly prepped knowing Manaphy's tendencies in the builder, having built the team around a Life Orb Zekrom designed to set up on Blissey and nuke the physical walls that Manaphy favours pairing with Blissey, with Draco Meteor hitting both Tangrowth and Buzzwole. Lando-T is a very nice pick against Manaphy given his preference for Groudon as a breaker, and the other 4 do what they normally do. I would assume that the Necrozma-DM is SD Knock Off to break through a potential Lunala as a Blissey partner on Manaphy's teams.

I should mention before I go into the game itself, I actually tend to quite like the style that Manaphy builds, I feel like in neutral matchups these teams feel good to pilot and you have a lot of longevity to outplay your opponent's standard offensive tools. But. In a tournament setting like this where people are trying to make sure their teams have a good matchup vs people's "trends", using essentially the same structure every week is not ideal, especially when that structure is rather weak to mixed offensive attackers.

Exiline gets his rocks up while sacrificing his Eternatus to sleep from Tangrowth, then goes into the Zekrom set that 6-0s Manaphy's team. He even has Scale Shot Zekrom, and I actually somewhat hope that it is Hone Claws instead of Dragon Claw, and Scale Shot into Draco Meteor kills the Tangrowth, Bolt Strike misses into crits to kill Necrozma-DM, and then Scale Shot bypasses the (neat) Haban Berry Zekrom to put Exiline in an unlosable position, and he pilots an easy endgame without choking.


Icemaster vs 64 Squares

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Ice has opted to go with Ho-oh, Zygarde and Groudon to partner the big 3 this week. Ho-oh has had a quiet tournament thus far, but the fundamental qualities it has are still there. It is a fantastic pivot on Calyrex-S and non-Meteor Beam Eternatus variants, Sacred Fire (especially in the Sun) and Brave Bird are really difficult to switch in to without using Zygarde, while Thunder Wave cripples Eternatus, which is just about the only thing in the tier that actively wants to come in on those two moves. As a result, it actually forces Eternatus to be Status'd quite frequently, which can then be taken advantage of with Yveltal and Necrozma-DM in particular. Ho-oh naturally pairs fantastically with Groudon, giving its Sacred Fires that extra Umph against neutral targets, so that Brave Bird doesnt wear into Ho-ohs quite considerable bulk. Zygarde + Groudon then pair together nicely to wear away at the Ground Type responses of the tier like Lando-T and Buzzwole for each other to take advantage of.

64 Squares meanwhile has gone with possibly my favourite structure in the tier at the moment: Rain Spikes. I have a very similar team I use to ladder with, and used a very similar structure against BasedBurner in UPL. Almost all of Kyogre's checks are weak to hazards, and Kyogre itself is problematic for balance-structures to deal with if it has any form of longevity. And lo and behold, 64 Squares is using Rest Kyogre, which in this matchup really struggles to actually die, with Ice really struggling to switch into it comfortably if the Kyogre is capable of beating Eternatus. I would love 64 Squares to say if the Kyogre is Roar, or Ice Beam as it's last move. I personally love Roar paired with Ferrothorn as it effectively shuts down Blissey as a Kyogre check and it provides good relief to opposing setup mons like Demon Eternatus, opposing CM Kyogre and Bulky Zygardes, but both Ice Beam and even Sleep Talk make sense on the build too. I doubt it was Sleep Talk in this match but this team of 6 can run it. Ferrothorn also takes advantage of some of the few things that can really abuse this type of Kyogre, effectively countering Zekrom and coming in freely on Blissey on many occasions.

The rest of the team has to go for patching up the other holes in this style of team, with Scarf Calyrex being almost necessary speed control for an otherwise scarily slow team, and Yveltal having Foul Play to keep SD Groudon variants that can outspeed Kyogre or take advantage of a sleeping Kyogre in check. Eternatus and NDM do their usual thing, with NDM running Knock Off to try to remove boots from anything like Yveltal or Ho-oh wanting to come in on it, and then Eternatus can take on Marshadow and opposing Yveltal that the team would otherwise struggle with.

Overall I'd say this is actually a fairly neutral matchup. Rest Kyogre has a lot of longevity, but it isnt particularly keen on taking hits from many of Icemaster's mons, while Ho-oh is annoying to play around in long games if it can keep its item for 64 Squares.

Nothing on Ice's team is particularly fond of taking a Knock Off, and he ends up sacrificing Zygarde's item early on when forced to choose which item to lose first. Zygarde reveals Toxic, which explains why Ice was so willing to part with its item, as it struggles to beat down the Ferrothorn that 64 Squares has. 64 Squares plays well around Icemaster's Ho-oh, keeping it in check with Kyogre's rain, and Necrozma catches it with a Knock Off early, which cripples the Ho-oh's long-term effectiveness because Necrozma is good at maintaining rocks in this matchup. Indeed, Icemaster lets the Ho-oh go on turn 15, because it would be too much of a liability to preserve out of the hope of making it useful, because it would come in at 4%. Groudon then trades its Leftovers to KO 64 Squares's Yveltal, putting Groudon on a fast moving timer. At this point in the game, if the Kyogre can rest, it is fairly likely to win because Icemaster's team will struggle to match its longevity with the mons he has that can actually hit it for respectable damage. Indeed, Kyogre manages to rest on the DD Necrozma-DM, and from there 64 Squares has a fairly comfortable path to victory, with Kyogre setting up on Eternatus and nothing else capable of effectively checking it. 64 then manages his health with his Ferrothorn carefully, preventing the Dusk Mane from ever really getting enough steam going to beat it, and pilots his way to a win against the young tier leader.


M Dragon vs TrueNora

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We won.


London Beats vs Poek

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London Beats has brought a cool Heatran based team with Groudon support, along with 3 mons that appreciate something shutting down Eternatus hard. Dada's big issue (aside from Groudon remembering it can use Fire Moves) is that Eternatus can deal with almost every Zarude set quite comfortably, Yveltal's most common initial switch-in of the tier is Eternatus, and Xerneas (the #2 most common switch-in) also gets sat on by Heatran. Even Calyrex doesnt like Eternatus forcing it to waste precious Astral Barrage PP, while Groudon breaks well for Calyrex and powers up Heatran's Magma Storm. Zarude and Eternatus combine to be sturdy Kyogre checks to make up for the weakness sun has as a playstyle to them.

Meanwhile Poek (and by proxy, Tony) has brought Situm stall from the Zacian-H Meta. I was wrong with my prediction of it being 64's team at least, but I really hope that Tony starts showing the creative side to his building that we all know is there. It's plausible that this is just a coincidence, as these 6 do go together well to make the most of Shedinja/Lunala/Clefable as a trio, with Toxapex there to force progress by way of Rocky Helmet and TSpikes, and Necrozma-DM is there to avoid losing on preview to offensive Eternatus and provide a wincon.

This game is almost entirely decided at team preview. Poek has almost no way to prevent London's Heatran from beating his team down, and London doesnt choke. The sun boost shows it's value in this game with it doing 90% to a Yveltal (subsequently killing with Magma Storm damage), and annihilating a Clefable desperately trying to survive, but the only other games I've seen that have been this decided from team preview in all of SCL are TJ vs Bruno and Finchinator vs Bihi.
 
Finally we are in the middle of the SCL and i think is time to drop some thoughts about the meta so far and i think i just found the perfect word for it: Hell. I want to clarify that im not the best SS player, in fact i have always been honest about how much i dislike SS but i didnt have any evidence to prove this until this moment. For the past weeks the amount of YEN core has been painful to see, most part of the teams have this 3 guys and explore the diversity with the tier with just 3 random win cons or a celeric+ 2 breakers. Builds tend to be really fat balance and honestly i cant figure it out how in the past people told me that SS is better than USM when i cant see any variaty in the teams. Sure i see some cool techs in Chesto berry Zygarde, Darmanitan-G+Magnezone or even Scale Shot Zekrom but those sets are focus to abuse meta tends like YEN and the teams are most likely build with YEN plus those new strategies. The games are boring to see and so far i have more fun reading the recaps by Aberforth. i mean just take a look to the usage % Yveltal have 100% usage so far and Dusk mane have 90%

Outside of that topic i want to point out some really cool mons that are having a good result in the tournament or just are interesting so far:

:Groudon: Groudon: A start that just shine with the sun that bring to the field. Groudon show the power of the third gen with the impressive Bulk Up set that act as a scary late game cleaner that is almost unkillable for the most part of the metagame, i wouldnt be surprise if we see more usage for the next weeks since is an amazing win con that put in trouble a lot of teams.

:Magnezone: Magnezone: Being able to eliminate both DM and Ferrothorn is amazing for certain parthners like Calyrex-I or Darmanitan-G both or them are almost imposible to handle with defensive counterplay once Magnezone have trap theirS Steel checks, i will like to see a Magnezone+Calyrex-I combo since i think ice rex is pretty underrated on this metagame.

:Heatran: Heatran: This stallbraker can put in trouble certain teams that cant kill this guy fast, Magma Storm is an amazing stat and can eliminate important walls like Eternatus or Blissey and open the path for Kyogre, Zarude or even Xerneas to and extend, i think this guy is really underrated and i will be happy to see more usage for the next weeks.

Thats pretty much all i want (have) to say about the tournament, hope they bring more cool HO teams or some underrated breakers like Calyrex-I or Dracovish, anyway i will not try to discuss how the enemy Yveltal uses Knock Off and Roost for the fifth time in the twentieth game, srry Aberforth you are the truly savior from SCL :)
 
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Thought 64 vs Ice was a good showing last week so kudos to them for a good watch on the replay, I've enjoyed watching both their games. I know I talked about the Mdragon vs TrueNora game with Snowy a bit on discord, but I kind of hated both their teams. Mdragons looked so weak to opposing Ogre, different variations of it, and I think Zarude is an overhyped mon on Nora's end that got a lot of bandwagon praise in a previous meta. Nora had a pretty tough matchup against the Ddance Duskmane once Don was out and it lived the Calyrex's Astral Barrage though so it was an uphill battle to really win his game.

Manaphy would've been in a better position had he attempt to scout the somewhat obvious mixed Zekrom that Exiline was using by going into Duskmane on the Draco Meteor designed to break his standard structures. Anyone teching for Manaphy will use something similar, physical mon with special attack to break defensive core. The crit on Duskmane did suck though but long term the outcome looked to be pretty much the same.

London pretty much won on matchup barring any chokes, with the interesting Heatran use that I personally haven't seen before in SS. I would've been kind of shocked if he lost this game. Poek seems to be getting fed older teams which is costing him in some matchups that he can't make up for in play.

I agree with above this meta looks a bit awful to prep/build for which I think is a symptom of Calyrex-S and a couple of other mons constraining teambuilding to a high degree and no arceus available to keep things a bit in check.
 
You guys could at least discuss the M Dragon games that I'm not covering :( .
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Ok. M Dragon/Aberforth prepped an offense core against Nora who typically opts for fatter (see: "SS Ubers Balance") team structures (and therefore would not bring, say, a Scarf Ogre, which otherwise is a serious issue for the team, with reasonable gambler's confidence), who this week brings a standard variation of Don + Caly to boot. M Dragon has quality Zygarde insurance in Lando-T + Kyogre + Xerneas which he was fatefully introduced to in the week before. TrueNora is about as weak to Magnezone + Darm-G as any other team is, and anyone would be crazy to Magnezone two weeks in a row.

The game opens honorably, as it remains tacitly understood amongst SS Ubers best (see: don't get 6-0'd in SCL) to lead Yveltal, figuring out which one's faster, and clicking one of U-Turn (or rare hard switching, depending on the order reveal of Dark Aura), Knock Off, or the rare Toxic (though, no one runs Block + Toxic Yveltal except me). Nora knocks because he has a Caly-S in the back; M Dragon U-Turns because of the combination of not knowing general procedure and wanting to get the offense ball rolling.

M Dragon sets Rocks up anyway into the Life Orb Etern, which unwelcomingly presents Life Orb Draco Meteor on Yveltal (NDM was not the switch-in, and it's sort of clear by a Kyogre + Lando-T + Marsh that it's setup on such a team, anyway). With a -2 Etern, the offense begins to snowball, turning from a +1 Marshadow into an NDM about to setup on Eternatus. This is maybe an accidental bluff, but it would seem like M Dragon asserts his NDM at +1 speed is faster than Eternatus as otherwise:
  • 252 SpA Life Orb Eternatus Flamethrower vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Prism Armor Necrozma-Dusk-Mane: 193-228 (48.4 - 57.2%) -- 93.4% chance to 2HKO
NDM's bulk is never determined, however. Calyrex-S fails to get a KO on what is likely not an NDM with 0 bulk:
  • 252 SpA Calyrex-Shadow Astral Barrage vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Prism Armor Necrozma-Dusk-Mane: 328-387 (97.9 - 115.5%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO
Nora finishes by reluctantly knocking out NDM with Eternatus, giving way for Xerneas to set up for free and win.

I agree with above this meta looks a bit awful to prep/build for which I think is a symptom of Calyrex-S and a couple of other mons constraining teambuilding to a high degree and no arceus available to keep things a bit in check.
It is. Even in like, Byron vs. SoulWind, the game came down to whether or not to boom on the Yveltal with Lando-I. The fact that a game can be decided so early on such an action (that does not recede until SoulWind runs out of mons to switch into Lando-I's Earth Power as a prediction, or the Lando-I finally decides to boom) says everything about how stale Ubers is right now.
 
And we're back again with another week down. 4 more weeks of regular season to go, then Semis and Finals. Hopefully if there are tiebreaks required, Ubers will be one of the tiers selected. I'll just touch on the discussion that was had after my post last week, in that I actually disagree quite strongly with the opinions posted that the metagame is stale, impossible to build in, or too restricted. I'm still enjoying the teambuilding and prepping side of things significantly, and I like seeing the little optimisations that are in each team. We have definitely seen the meta develop over the course of this SCL already, with things like NDM frequently dropping Rocks, Eternatus being less used, Draco Meteor on Eternatus and the rise of Xerneas again, and I'm really looking forward to each game and what they bring. While the teams look somewhat similar on preview, there are a lot of smaller details that focus in on how teams try to execute their gameplans, and seeing 4 Yveltal, all running different EV spreads and moves, while still performing similar functions as well as the ones they are customised to do, is something I dont find dull to watch at all. I plan to post something expanding on those thoughts in the overall Metagame Discussion Thread at some point, but I'm personally still finding the meta a lot of fun.

Soulwind vs M Dragon

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We Won!

London Beats vs Icemaster

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London beats has opted for Rayquaza, Lando-T and Calyrex-S to accompany the big 3. Pivoting into a powerful breaker is a very reliable strategy, and Lando-T's intimidate + role compression should never be underestimated. The Calyrex in this instance covers a bevvy of setup sweepers that could become issues in longer games for London, given his Lando-T (aka his best answer to Groudon/Zekrom) has no reliable recovery and needs to come in to slow pivot into Rayquaza as intended. Indeed, Zekrom, especially mixed Zekrom sets, could be a real issue to London's team, and having something to outpace even a +2 Zekrom and finish it off after the hits it takes setting up, makes that matchup far less scary. The big 3 reprise their usual roles compressing checks to big metagame threats as well as offering good utility by themselves, but this is week 5 so you should really know what a Yveltal does by now.

Icemaster has switched things up, going from Standard.Caly-S to Standard.Caly-I. Jokes aside, while Ice isnt whipping out any Block Salac Berry Kyogre nonsense, his teams aren't easily exploitable because essentially every pokemon he uses, does its job very well. With this team, the aim is to overload on Necrozma-DM via Calyrex-Ice and GeomancyXerneas. Necrozma-DM is essentially the only switch in that Calyrex-I has in the tier at the moment, and Calyrex-Ice can force out a fair number of staple pokemon that cant afford to take a hit. Most obviously, Eternatus, Groudon, Zekrom, Lando-T, Rayquaza after using V-Create, and of course, Zygarde without Substitute. While Caly-I is uncommon, that is almost entirely down to the fact that its a tad too slow, and using it means you cannot use Calyrex-S. Even Agility variants hate Calyrex-S, as at +2 Speed, Calyrex-I is STILL outsped by Calyrex-S. Even 1 base speed more, and it would be a monster. Alas. While Calyrex-I and Xerneas are obvious in their synergy, they are rather tricky to position, as by its very nature the team will start on the back foot, trying to find an opportunity for Calyrex-I to come in safely. Given this, Icemaster has opted for Zygarde and the Big Three, giving him a lot of bulk to have room to play around with being initially on the back foot, while Dragon Dance Zygarde gives his team some much needed speed.

Very early in the game, London capitalises on Calyrex-I being locked into High Horsepower to fire off a Draco Meteor on the incoming Zygarde, dropping it from full and giving London an incredible lead. Rayquaza is incredibly difficult for Ice to pivot around, and rather than healing the Necrozma, he opts to seize the momentum, trusting that he can recover up with his Necrozma later in the game. Indeed, by turn 10, London has pivoted the Necrozma back in on a Mystical Fire Eternatus, for an insignificant amount of HP on Yveltal by comparison. Without Calyrex-S from Ice, London can play much more aggressively with his Yveltal, and its pivoting capabilities show their use here. After this point, turn 10, things are looking fairly horrible for Ice, as his useful Zygarde is out for the count, while London's team is without meaningful damage so far. Eventually, Ice goes for the Geomancy with Xerneas, hoping that London's Necrozma might have Iron Head, and manages to KO the Eternatus before being forced out by Scarf Calyrex. Calyrex-I then manages to get its trick off, on Yveltal, before dying to the now Choice Band Knock Off. Ice then goes Eternatus to PP Stall all of Yveltal's Knock Off PP, but London's Necrozma is able to set up on that afterwards and finish the game with +2 EQs.

One thing notable from not just this game but the entire tournament, is the uptick in use of Draco Meteor Eternatus, which was on both Eternatus this game. The extra power to KO threats like Marshadow, get bigger hits on Lando-T and Calyrex entering the field, and the larger damage output to opposing Eternatus has made Draco Meteor far more popular now.

Poek vs Reje

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Poek's team is still standard, but at least this week it was not a reused team from this SCL or Situm Stall. Theme of the team is to outplay with your long lasting backbone and pivot into your breaker(s) with Lando-T. Marshadow and Kyogre can beat down opposing balance structures, and there is almost no overlap in their checks. Eternatus thinks it can check both, but if it takes a hit from Kyogre, it can no longer check Marshadow at all, and vice versa. Marshadow also takes advantage of Blissey like almost nothing in the tier, making progress against the rest of the team on the turns when Blissey is forced to recover from Kyogre's assault.

Reje meanwhile has gone paraspam along with the most evil Marshadow set known to man. I mentioned above Eternatus thinking it can check Marshadow, but a paralysed Eternatus (courtesy of Ferrothorn) trying to hit through both Paralysis and Confusion against a Sub Marshadow, it gets out of hand very quickly. You do sacrifice a lot of Marshadow's offensive utility with this set, as it becomes unable to revenge kill Calyrex or get damage on setup sweepers with a Shadow Sneak, but in the right matchup it can be brutal. The Zygarde also spreads Paralysis through Glare, while Reje has opted for a Necrozma set essentially unable to touch Xerneas. Unless the Ferrothorn was Gyro Ball (which I doubt, but it could be), this would have made Xerneas an incredibly difficult matchup for Reje, but fortunately for him Poek did not bring one.

In the game, reje manages to get a lot of progress on Poek's team through his hazards and Ferrothorn being incredibly frustrating doing what it always does, and he manages to paralyse the Yveltal and get a spike up while wearing down at Poek's team. Poek's Lando-T is both Rocks and Defog, not something I'm a huge fan of but it does stop him from just being continuously worn down by the hazards Ferrothorn laid earlier. Poek trades a Twave on Eternatus for a Toxic on his Kyogre, and then Zygarde from Reje paralyses the Lando-T. Reje is playing to his gameplay, wearing down and paralysing the checks to Marshadow, while Poek is on the backfoot. Reje has controlled the tempo for much of the game, and Kyogre killing itself in exchange for the Ferrothorn being unable to set any more spikes shows that. Poek then responds by trying to force progress with his Dragon Dance Necrozma-DM, as the Marshadow revealing leftovers makes it incapable of KOing Necrozma as a result, while Marsh is looking a huge threat to Poek's team at this point. The Sunsteel Stike here activates the incoming Zygarde's Power Construct, and the following turn Necrozma sets up in Zygardes face, activating its weakness policy. The Sunsteel does not do enough to Zygarde for Poek's liking though, with Zygarde managing to Glare Necrozma-DM in exchange for its life 2 turns later. Marshadow then comes in on the very mon that forced it out, and forces it out in return, as a +3 Attack +1 Speed Marshadow is simply winning instantly. Reje then reveals both Substitute on the incoming (Paralysed) Lando-T, and Swaggers it, making it hit itself in confusion and forcing it to switch out lest Marshadow win on the spot. Reje continues this pattern, with Para Swagger as effective as ever, with Marshadow knocking out 4 of Poek's mons. He is ironically KO'd by Poek's own Marshadow clicking Shadow Sneak. Marshadow is still a big threat to Reje's remaining mons, eating a Knock Off pretty comfortably after he Bulk'd Up, while Low Kick and Ice Punch are revealled as his final 2 moves. I dont really like Bulk Up Marshadow without Spectral Thief, but I see the logic behind the move choice at least. Reje then says wp gg as he loses his Necrozma and Eternatus before revealling he had Sucker Punch on Yveltal the whole time! Even if Poek knew he had Sucker Punch there, +2 Sneak is doing minimal damage to Yveltal, so Poek would need to get the 50/50 correct for several turns to win.

It might sound odd given that he lost, but I significantly prefer Poek's team of the two. Reje's team seems weak to a fair amount of the metagame, with Specs Kyogre, Marshadow, and Eternatus all giving the team significant trouble, not to mention that Xerneas almost literally 6-0's turn 1 if it has Aromatherapy and Focus Blast (such as was used by Icemaster this week). Earthquake Necrozma-DM doesnt actually beat Eternatus reliably, given Pressure from Eternatus limiting its PP so, while Poek's team was more well rounded, but ran into a fairly difficult matchup. Reje definitely played the game better IMO and walks away with a deserved victory as he is forced off the bench, and in particular Reje had complete control over the early game here, which set him up very nicely to blow through Poek's remaining pokemon. While the team isnt to my liking, he played it a lot better than most could have.

TrueNora vs Byronthewellwell

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In this Australian Derby, we see the only the second game of the tour with neither player having brought Eternatus. The first also involved Nora, back in his Week 1 game against Poek. Eternatus has been the clear choice to drop from the Big 3 this season, with Lando-T, Kyogre and Xerneas essentially combining to fulfil all of Eternatus's defensive roles, while synergising well offensively with Calyrex-S. This sort of structure, with neither Blissey nor Eternatus, can struggle against opposing Kyogre in particular, with the only water resist on the team being one's own Kyogre. Counterplay to Kyogre comes mostly from offensive pressure from Nora's faster mons as a result.

Byron meanwhile has gone for a very similar team structure to Nora, with his Ground-Type being Groudon instead of Landorus-T. Groudon's significant increase in damage output shows byron's focus in the builder here, utilising Groudon more as an offensive breaker to support its team. Its also a more reliable rock setter than Lando-T, if Byron has chosen to go down that route.

We see turn one that byron's Xerneas outspeeds Nora's, and the two exchange moonblasts as Nora's Xern has to eat its Sitrus Berry. Nora goes into Necrozma after this, to set rocks and force the Xerneas out. Yveltal comes in and then eats a Toxic while it Defog's away the rocks Nora set. A massive net benefit for Nora, the toxic on Yveltal will cripple its long term effectiveness at checking Nora's Calyrex. A few pivots later and we see Kyogre vs Kyogre. Nora outspeeds and fires off a Thunder, doing 54% to byron's Kyogre, and getting Twave'd in exchange. Byron doesnt want to risk his Kyogre's health for nothing, so he goes into his Groudon on the expected follow up Thunder, getting a bit lucky as it sets rocks and fires off an EQ, while Kyogre only manages to get off one Ice Beam. Nora goes into his Landorus and reveals it to have Swords Dance, scaring away the Kyogre that just came in. Byron was assuming that Nora was about to get his rocks up to not be behind, and Nora's innovation puts him on the back foot, bringing the Groudon back out and sacked to the Landorus. Calyrex comes in for byron afterwards, scaring out the Landorus with the prospect of Specs Astral Barrage, and byron manages to trick Nora's Yveltal.

Nora opts to defog with his Yveltal on the incoming Xerneas, because the rocks that would otherwise cripple his now Specs Yveltal cannot be reset by Byron with Groudon dead. Xerneas doesnt actually want to stay in on Nora's Necrozma though, as Byron pivots into his Kyogre. Nora reads this well and goes his own Kyogre to threaten big damage on it with the Thunder, getting a paralysis on Byron's Kyogre at the same time. Both Kyogre exchange damage until Nora's is the only one alive, while Byron takes advantage of the paralysis with his Dragon Dance Necrozma, KO'ing the Kyogre with a +1 EQ and being forced out by the specs Calyrex, which proceeds to do 43% to Byron's Yveltal. Nora could go for game here with an Astral Barrage, but if Byron has sucker punch it could also cost him his main breaker, so Nora instead goes into Xerneas, knowing he can repeat that process again later in the game if needed. Indeed, Byron roosts and then goes into Necrozma to take the hit from Xerneas, doing 51% to the incoming (clearly bulkless) Lando-T and losing his Necrozma.

At this point, the game is looking very favourable for Nora. Byron goes into his Calyrex, trying to force some progress with Nasty Plot on a predicted roost after he hits it with Astral Barrage on the switch in, but Nora's Yveltal just clicks Knock Off and Byron's Calyrex dies. Turn 32, I wonder if Nora knew his Yveltal was slower than Byron's Xerneas, as I feel potentially clicking Knock Off there would be better if he was a faster Yveltal. Nora did know the Xerneas was at least no slower than his own. Instead of attacking, Nora switches into Necrozma on the Xerneas, a very natural play. Very very unfortunate luck comes into play here, with Necrozma taking the first Thunder, failing to KO back with Iron Head, and then being crit from the second Thunder. Staying in and attacking with Yveltal would have actually done the 8% more needed for Xerneas to die to the same roll from Necrozma, but when you have a 99% Necrozma, you do normally expect it to be able to deal with Xerneas. Nora gets unlucky and gets swept from Geoxern from there, in a game he was generally in control of.

64 Squares vs Exiline

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64 Squares has gone for a team that tries to make the most out of Ho-oh both defensively and offensively. Groudon giving it sun support is obvious, but Marshadow really appreciates Ho-oh as an offensive partner for how well it can both Paralyse Eternatus, and severely weaken the walls that Marshadow has the most trouble with. Ho-oh is also a fantastic answer to defensive Xerneas, and gives 64 Squares a lot of room to play around pokemon like Calyrex-S and Mewtwo. Indeed, between the combination of Ho-oh, Yveltal and Marshadow, Calyrex-S has a terrible matchup, and will essentially never sweep. Trick can only remove boots from one of Ho-oh or Yveltal, and Ho-oh will often act as the primary (scouting) switch in initially, letting Yveltal do its job fantastically. While this can technically be a double-defog style of team, I find it unlikely, as offense is quite simply not common enough for it to be important, and Marshadow improves that matchup further.

Exiline has gone for a similar style, with Ferrothorn over Necrozma-DM and Calyrex-S over Marshadow. Its a slightly more reactive approach to the teamstyle, with Ferrothorn's spikes being annoying for most teams but ultimately the team falling back on its defensive core to wear down teams until Calyrex can try to clean up. Ho-oh and Groudon can definitely offer some offensive presence, but the Groudon is almost certainly the rocker on the team, and Ho-oh here looks to be taking on a more defensive role from the off, with it being a more reliable initial answer to Xerneas than Ferrothorn.

Off the bat we see 64 Squares lead with his Eternatus on Exiline's Groudon. Normally Eternatus would flee from this matchup, but 64 shows off his Shuca Berry and does 41% to Groudon in the meantime. 64 was almost certainly looking to capitalise on what he saw as an easy rocks turn from Exiline, so Precipice Blading there was a very heads-up move from Exiline given that 64 Squares had 2 Ground Immune mons he could have gone into instead. Exiline continues with the good play, setting rocks as Eternatus switches out, and leftovers have meant he has recovered his Groudon to 72% while facing a Ho-oh that cant be sure it isnt about to eat a Stone Edge. 64 scouts for this, going into his Groudon, as Exiline goes into his own Ho-oh to take on 64's. This then happens in reverse, as Exiline scouts for the same rock move that 64 did the previous turn, and Ho-oh comes in on the incoming Groudon. 64 then fires off a Brave Bird with his Ho-oh, badly damaging Exiline's incoming Ho-oh and getting good damage off on the Groudon that comes in the turn after.

Ho-oh then dodges a Toxic from Exiline's Groudon and puts Groudon into range of another Brave Bird. Rather than lose his Groudon for nothing, Exiline goes into his Xerneas, then tries to bring his Ho-oh in on a Sacred Fire again. 64 Squares has none of it though, and continues firing away with Brave Bird, only switching out of his Ho-oh to avoid dying to Brave Bird recoil. 64 eats a Knock Off with his Yveltal and removes rocks from the field, before going back into Ho-oh on the Xerneas to repeat the process. Here we see a fundamental advantage of the two team styles, with 64 Squares's team beign much more initially proactive, as he hasnt lost the momentum since turn 2, despite Exiline not really misplaying in that time period. As a result, Exiline's team is already significantly weakened. Exiline flees the situation again, not wanting to lose his Groudon for no reason, and goes into Yveltal to Roost off the Brave Bird damage taken. 64 responds to this with his Eternatus, where he exploits the lack of Eternatus from Exiline's end by setting T-Spikes, threatening to put Groudon and Calyrex on a permanent timer, while all chip damage on Xerneas is potentially useful for Marshadow in the lategame. 64 Recovers with his Eternatus to bring it back up to good health to continuously check the Yveltal, taking a Thunder Wave in the process, before he gets a bit lucky by dodging the second TWave, as Exiline predicted the Ho-oh's entry point. Another 56% on Yveltal as it comes in on Brave Bird again, before Foul Play picks off Ho-oh from 52%.

64 Squares goes to his Marshadow on the Yveltal, forcing it out with the threat of either Rock Tomb or Close Combat. Recognising that his Ferrothorn isnt actually very useful in this matchup, Exiline goes into it on the Marshadow, getting significant chip on it as it goes for Spectral Thief, trying to catch an incoming Ho-oh or Xerneas for more damage. Ferrothorn actually lives 2 Spectral Thiefs, and chips away further at Marshadow with Leech Seed. 64 then decides he doesnt want to waste Marshadow's health like this, and goes into Groudon to catch either the incoming Ho-oh or Xerneas. The leech seed would have let either of them be relatively free switch ins for Exiline, and Groudon covers both while threatening to do hefty damage back at the same time. Groudon then reveals Bulk Up as Exiline once again tries to sack his Ferrothorn, and then Substitute comes out to avoid a Knock Off. Ferrothorn clicks Bullet Seed next, very useful against Sub variants of Kyogre in particular, but it only succeeds at breaking the sub after 3 hits, as Groudon is now at +2 Defence. Its a free Sub here for Groudon, as Exiline goes into Yveltal, not wanting to risk only hitting twice or getting an unfavourable roll with 3 Bullet Seeds, not to mention that Bullet Seed is hardly threatening Groudon from that position.

Bizzarely, 64 clicks Precipice Blades this turn. I'm not sure why, maybe he was expecting a Roost from Yveltal or a sack, but it ends up just being a wasted turn somewhat, as Exiline then uses this last opportunity to Defog away the TSpikes that would otherwise annoy his remaining mons, with Groudon revealling Heat Crash as its final move here. That effectively means that this Groudon cant hit Ho-oh hard at all, meaning Exiline doesnt need to fear it in the Groudon/Ho-oh interactions later in the game. Nonetheless, Exiline doesnt want to go Ho-oh here, because if Groudon is faster and can get a sub up against it, Ho-oh is not breaking that sub initially and Groudon can actually set up on Ho-oh. Without the defence boosts and with the sun, Sacred Fire and its burn chance is enough of a deterrent to greedy Groudons going for this, but for the time being, Exiline forces the Groudon out with his Calyrex. 64 takes the Astral and roosts it off on the incoming Xerneas, before getting a tad greedy and going for Foul Play, hoping to catch Exiline being aggressive. It doesnt work, and suddenly his only switch in to Calyrex is at 18%.

This aggressive play from 64 Squares has put the game significantly into Exiline's favour now. Its now a numbers game between Calyrex and Marshadow, as Exiline can claim a kill every time he is in with his Calyrex now, and Marshadow can only force it to retreat while taking chip from Life Orb. I feel like if Exiline read the switch from Yveltal into Necrozma this turn and went into his Calyrex, the game might just be over on the spot, but he doesnt risk it and instead Moonblasts again on the Necrozma. Exiline proceeds to go into his Ho-oh, which KO's Necrozma in exchange for rocks being set on Exiline's side and the removal of its item, but then he allows 64 Squares to recover off the damage he took with Yveltal earlier. He attacks it once with Brave Bird and does 54%, but then tries to be cheeky and catch 64 Squares clicking Foul Play to KO the Ho-oh, before Yveltal taunts the Ferrothorn and recovers back to full. I feel continuing to attack with Ho-oh had no real downside here, even in the event Ho-oh goes down it isnt necessary to check anything left on 64's team, and preventing the Yveltal from recovering puts him in a much better offensive position. He also no longer had boots on Ho-oh, nor any way of removing the rocks that 64 set earlier. Bullet Seed leaves Yveltal at 63%, but thats now enough to revenge kill Calyrex, surviving any hit even at +1, and it means Marshadow is no longer struggling for health to sacrifice to Life Orb.

Eternatus is then able to come in on the taunted Ferrothorn, clicking Flamethrower and KO'ing the incoming Groudon, trying to gain momentum on Tspikes or a full para. Instead, that happens on the following turn, as 64 sets up his Tspikes on Xerneas clicking rest. Xerneas is now threatening to 64's team though, with the two pokemon he most wants to answer Xerneas with being out of commission, and nothing that is going to be able to really outdamage its rest turns. 64 Squares decides to take it on by PP Stalling its moves with his paralysed Eternatus, with Exiline eventually going into his Ferrothorn on the Etern after enough special attack drops means Flamethrower will barely tickle him. He leeches the incoming Groudon, before Ho-oh comes in to eat the Heat Crashes... but due to the lack of Boots and the existance of Stealth Rock, its actually 2HKO'd by Heat Crash. Calyrex then uses 2 Astral barrages to KO Eternatus, leaving it with 3 more Astrals with which to pressure 64's team. Yveltal comes in, forcing Calyrex out, before Taunting the Xerneas to prevent it from getting a rest off. Yveltal dies in the process, but Xerneas is left at 38%, and is forced out by Groudon as Exiline sacks his Ferrothorn. Calyrex KO's Groudon, but its not enough, as 64 Squares's Marshadow manages to pick off Calyrex and Xerneas and win the game.

This endgame was honestly kind of sloppy from Exiline in my opinion, and he doesnt have the excuse of low timer to fall back on. He preserved Xerneas with no need, and in sacking the Ferrothorn actually completely destroyed his own chance of winning the game. If Exiline sacks Xerneas on those final turns, and still revenge kills Groudon with his Calyrex, he then forces 64 Squares into a 50/50 regarding Iron Barbs recoil + Life Orb recoil. Sneak into Calyrex wins, but Sneak into Ferrothorn loses, while CC into Ferrothorn wins, while CC into Calyrex (obviously) loses. The Marshadow is at 44%, while the recoil from Iron Barbs + Life Orb does 45% over 2 turns. Still, overall this was a good game to watch. Both sides misplayed at points, but in the end 64 Squares recovered from a (rather horrible looking) position from the midgame to win, after somewhat dominating the early game proceedings.
 
Another week down, another M Dragon win, and another post of mine taking a lot of words to describe the ubers games this week.

Soulwind vs London Beats

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Soulwind has opted to go with HO. Shuckle is the lead of choice, putting both Rocks and Sticky Web on the same mon. Yveltal and Necrozma-DM are here to both provide their undoubtable offense, but also provide a sturdy backbone to Calyrex-S, Eternatus and Xerneas, which can otherwise be a big issue for HO builds to handle. Calyrex provides a spinblocker for emergencies against a random Excadrill (hey FC is on London's team, you cant rule it out) or Cloyster HO or something, but its mainly here to act as as a wincon, with Nasty Plot shenanigans sometimes letting it muscle past Yveltals. This is more conditional than it sounds, with Sucker Punch and Snarl Yveltal both making that task near impossible, and it will still always be revenge killed by Marshadow or an oppoing scarf Calyrex-S. Rayquaza and Urshifu here look to overload on the physical spectrum with Necrozma, collectively smacking their way past any Tangrowth, Skarmory or Buzzwole that might try to blanket check them. Urshifu also plays an important defensive role as a backup check to Calyrex, letting Yveltal act more freely in preventing defog in the early game, while Ray provides a breaker that is essentially impossible for most teams to comfortably switch in to, as well as strong priority to keep threats like Xerneas and Zekrom from getting out of hand.

Meanwhile London has gone for more of what we're somewhat used to this SCL, with Lando-T + Kyogre + Marshadow. It is very similar to the team Poek brought last week, overloading a (theoretical) Eternatus as a soft check to both Marshadow and Kyogre, while relying on Lando-T and the big 3 to last for long enough to outplay with his offensive mons. That bulk is necessary in this matchup to withstand the hefty offensive pressure Soulwind is looking to put on him.

Looking at the matchup, if Soulwind can keep his hazards up, he looks to have a fairly good time, with the webs making Eternatus and Marshadow unable to revenge kill Rayquaza or Urshifu, Yveltal getting overloaded, and Necrozma/Kyogre not actually beating anything on Soulwind's team 1v1 aside from the suicide lead. This all flips if the hazards can be removed though, as suddenly Eternatus and Marshadow will beat down Soulwind's team fiercely, and Soulwind doesnt have the bulk to take the game slowly at all. Marshadow's Sneak is also a very useful tool, even when Sticky Web is on the field, as it stymies Soulwind's Calyrex and Necrozma-DM's sweeping ambitions.

In the game itself we see Spout Kyogre being forced out by Red Card Shuckle, bringing in Yveltal. Lando-T comes in on the Encore, before revealling itself to be the Defogger. It gets Encore'd into this, with Soulwind deciding to capitalise on the Defog to try to force progress with Rayquaza. Personally, I dont agree with this, I feel like the Webs were too valuable considering that Defog would run out of PP long before Sticky Web, and as discussed before, without Webs up, London's team looks incredibly threatening to Soulwind. Anyway, Rayquaza SD's on the switch to Yveltal, before Yveltal shows itself to be very fast and U-Turns out of the dangerous situation, breaking what is likely to be a Sash on Rayquaza. Without Sash, Rayquaza fears a fast Foul Play destroying it, and Sash Ray is used as a stopgap on these sort of teams to prevent opposing setup sweepers from getting out of hand.

The Necrozma-DM is sack'd to the V-Create from Rayquaza, given that it is clearly the least useful of London's mons, before Kyogre comes out to threaten Ray with the idea of a Scarf Ice Beam. The Shuckle is sacked to the Ice Beam before Urshifu finds out the hard way that this Kyogre is actually not Choice'd, and it dies to Origin Pulse while doing 70% to Kyogre. Yveltal clicks Knock Off onto Eternatus, removing the Rocky Helmet and chipping itself slightly in the process, before going into Necrozma to exploit the Eternatus as it simply recovers back to full health. Soulwind doesnt want to just be easily responded to, and doubles to Rayquaza, but instead of going to Lando-T, London opts to go via Yveltal, which is now able to U-Turn again freely. Instead of taking needless chip with his Rayquaza, Soulwind goes back into Yveltal, and London chooses to go to Marshadow to punish this, with Yveltal now in range.

London has gone for Low Kick over Close Combat on Marshadow. I didnt talk about it much when Poek brought it last week, but the reason for Close Combat over Low Kick appears to be mostly inertia. Close Combat was the clear superior choice when Marshadow was first introduced to the meta with the DLC release, with things like Quagsire and Mandibuzz being used frequently, as well as Dynamax still being allowed (Low Kick, and all other weight based moves, fail on Dynamax'd mons), and after it was the standard for a long time people didnt bother changing the 120 base power STAB move. But in the current meta, there is almost nothing taking less than 120 base power Low Kicks that you wouldnt rather use your Ghost Stabs against anyway.

Anyway, knowing that the Fighting STAB was coming out, Soulwind goes into his Calyrex and forces out the Marshadow. Sneak will prevent Caly from ever sweeping, but Marshadow is too useful for London to let it go just to bring Calyrex down to its sash. Knowing this, and knowing how behind he is in the matchup, Soulwind goes to Necrozma to catch a plausible Eternatus pivot. Instead he is forced to go Yveltal on London's own Yveltal, getting further chipped by U-Turn as Marshadow does the same dance again, Low Kicking on the Calyrex switch in and going into Yveltal, as Calyrex reveals it isnt actually Sash by clicking Sub. SubSeed Calyrex-S is less of an immediate wincon than Sash-Calyrex, it doesnt blow through teams quite so franticly, but the it can kill balance teams that rely on purely Yveltal to take on Calyrex.

London's Yveltal then reveals it is Scarf, making Subseed Calyrex almost pointless, as it will always be outsped and KO'd unless the Sub is up. Seeing this, Soulwind goes into his own Yveltal to recover some health back and not instantly lose to Marshadow, KOing the Kyogre and revealling it to be a Metronome Kyogre. London then goes into Marshadow, before going into Eternatus, trying to force out Yveltal. I'll come back to why this didnt work the way London thought it would, but it comes down to timer trouble and the calc.

Etern then Sludge Bomb's uselessly on the Necrozma switch, before he loses his Yveltal to the Necrozma, allowing Marshadow to come in on Necrozma and set up with Bulk Up and threaten to sweep, depending on rolls and Life Orb recovery. Soulwind tries to Pivot around a little and rack up Life Orb recoil, trying to force Marshadow to make predictions regarding what was coming in. It proves enough and Marshadow dies to recoil taking out the Yveltal, leaving Calyrex to clean up the endgame.

One of the key turns in this sequence was Marshadow clicking Low Kick to KO 34% Yveltal instead of Spectral Thief. Yveltal took 29% from the previous turn's Sneak, and that extra turn of Life Orb recoil from failing to KO Rayquaza in one hit was what Soulwind needed to take home the W. But why Low Kick instead of Spectral there? Long story short, London was in significant timer trouble, frequently going down to sub 20 seconds throughotu the game, and he trusted the calc to not mess up. This comes back to when he tried to force Yveltal out despite it being at 84% and took the extra damage on Eternatus and letting Yveltal recover back up to full. This is what he was seeing in the calc.

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Close Combat above it shows the real roll, but due to an error in the way the calc applies Technician, he believed that he was threating Yveltal with a guaranteed KO. On Rayquaza? Spectral Thief and Low Kick look like they do basically the same damage.

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An unfortunate way for him to lose the game, I believe he would have played it very differently had he realised the calc was applying an extra modifier to his moves, and that he was actually weaker than he thought he was. All props to Soulwind though, if he got one of those Life Orb turns wrong, he lost on the spot.

Poek vs M Dragon

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We won again!

TrueNora vs Icemaster
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Nora has brought a bulky balance build, with Xerneas and Zekrom providing him the offense. Ho-oh is great at covering a wide variety of underrated threats, and it just says alive forever while dishing out respectable damage and normally forcing status onto its targets with either T-Wave or Sacred Fire. Nora has dropped Eternatus again, with this game marking the 3rd time he has been involved in a game without Eternatus in the tour.

Icemaster meanwhile has gone for a HO team, opting for Sticky Webs as well, but with Slurpuff over Shuckle. Slurpuff is generally more reliable at getting up the webs and maintaining them, but can be exploited more easily than Shuckle through things like sub Xerneas and Ho-oh. The rest of the team is very standard looking for a HO team. Upon writing that sentence I thought 'wait it looks incredibly standard' and went to see if it was a sample, but no, the webs in the Sample teams has an Eternatus instead of a Groudon. Groudon doesnt pressure the Defogers quite as well initially as Eternatus, with Meteor Beam threatening to outspeed and OHKO both Ho-oh and Yveltal, but Groudon isnt stopped from threatening them if its item is used up, and it provides a different type of offense for Nora to have to play around.

This HO matchup looks... incredibly in Icemaster's favour. Lando-I outspeeds all of Nora's team and either OHKOs or 2HKOs all of them, leaving Nora with very little wiggle room to play around it. Yveltal can live a hit, but in doing so would be so weakened that Calyrex-S would almost instantly win, and Nora's Groudon response appears somewhat sketchy. Meanwhile, Nora's team is also very slow. Ice cant tell for certain on preview that it isnt Scarf Xerneas, but if it is Geomancy (which it is), all of Calyrex, Yveltal and Lando-I all outspeed Nora's entire team, and even Groudon has decent odds of doing so with enough speed investment, given Nora's propensity for slower Yveltal.

Ice switched up his style and got fully rewarded for it in a game where Nora couldnt really do much from preview. Yveltal crit the Ho-oh to KO it at one point, but at that stage of the game it was mostly over anyway. I wont do a turn by turn recap of this one, because this matchup is so skewed in Icemaster's favour that I dont really think its worth going over. Very good prep on his end, and a very solid win as a result.

64 Squares vs Reje
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64 has opted for HO too! 1 single use of HO all tournament, then 3 in the same week. He has gone for Shuckle over Slurpuff, and I'm going to cheat a little bit here and explain why based on what he was talking about after the game. He made Weavile Focus Sash with the intent of leading off with it in every game. From that framework of "I'm going to counter-lead what they want to lead expecting my suicide lead with my Weavile", Shuckle makes a lot more sense than Slurpuff, as it has the bulk to take one hit from most mons even if rocks are up, to try to get Webs up later on in the game. It also compresses both Rocks and Sticky Webs to the same mon, while Red Card I prefer here (with it not being 64 Squares's actual lead choice) because Mental Herb doesnt matter as much, with the mons that would taunt you being forced out by Weavile, and it prevents something like Zekrom or double dance Groudon from sweeping in a pinch. The rest of the HO team looks normal, Yveltal and NDM mean you dont get swept easily by Calyrex-S and Etern/Geoxern respectively, Calyrex is a dedicated wincon, as is Zekrom.

Reje felt like going for a very similar team to Byron, who played before him in real time but whose replay we are covering next. While it was the same 6, not all of the sets were the same, and I'm not sure if the Xerneas in particular is the same innovation that Byron brought so I'll save talking about that for his game where it was revealed, but the idea is that you have a very sturdy defensive backbone, then run Magnezone + Xerneas to trap NDM and sweep with Xerneas. Instead of Darmanitan on the usual Magnezone build, reje (and byron) have opted for the extra defensive security of Lunala, shutting down the Ground Types that otherwise have a decent matchup against that structure.

With this HO Matchup, Shuckle will be able to get and maintain the Sticky Webs in all but the most dire of cases, giving 64 a lot of room to try to execute his offense. In saying that, 64's Lunala and Magnezone are both annoying to his team, with Magnezone potentially shutting down Necrozma depending on moves, and most likely beating Zekrom 1v1. Lunala and Yveltal also being boots means Reje has the tools to survive the offensive onslaught. Weavile is also cursed, it relies on the damage provided by Triple Axel, which is unreliable at the best of times. If it hits every Axel in this game, 64 Squares wins almost on preview, but it would need to get 3 hits on Triple Axel against 3 seperate mons, while being at +2 attack and having webs up. Not an enviable position to be in.

Interestingly on turn 1 we see that 64 Squares has gone for Pickpocket as his ability of choice on Weavile. Personally, I dislike the danger of Pickpocket, especially with a Sash Weavile that he intends to be his lead. Picking up the Black Sludge from an Eternatus while clicking Triple Axel just means Weavile dies for almost nothing, and the same applies to other items like Choice Scarf/Choice Specs which limit Weavile's effectiveness. Anyway, 64 sees the Magnezone lead and flees, as he doesnt want to eat the Body Press or Paralysis for no reason. Magnezone clicks T-Wave on the Shuckle and Iron Defences on the full para. Body Press then activates the Red Card and Lunala comes out, forcing Yveltal in from 64 squares after he manages to get the Webs up. We see Hex from Lunala on the Yveltal, doing negligible damage on the switch, before Reje eats the Oblivion Wing with his Lunala to burn the Yveltal. It is Life Orb Yveltal, probably mixed with Rock Slide to prevent Ho-oh from defogging, but the threat of a Life Orb Dark Pulse brings in Eternatus, just barely avoiding the 2HKO. 64 tries to suicide his Shuckle away with Final Gambit, to get lasting chip on something, but Reje goes Lunala, knowing that the worst that can happen to him in that situation is rocks going up. Indeed Rocks go up as Lunala gets back to full health, Shuckle takes a hit trying to die, and then 64 goes into his Yveltal, preserving his Shuckle for death fodder later, but taking 31% from hex, leaving it at just 16% after that and burn damage. Enough that a single Life Orb + Burn turn would knock it out.

Recognising this, and recognising that his Necrozma doesnt really matter in this matchup, reje goes into Necrozma on the expected Oblivion Wing to deny Yveltal any recovery, while 64 Squares just accepts his Yveltal's death and fires off a Dark Pulse, doing 62 to the Necrozma. Weavile comes in and picks Necrozma off with a Knock Off. Xerneas comes out, confident in its ability to take on Weavile, as 64 knocks off the Power Herb on the first Geomancy turn, and SD's on the second. The Knock Off damage actually reveals this Xerneas is incredibly physically bulky, but once again I'll talk about why with Byron's game. 64 then misses the Triple Axel, not even getting a single hit off in the process, while being outsped by Xerneas firing off a Moonblast. That Axel was a roll to KO unless I've recreated the EVs wrong, but even 3 hits does not look like a roll in Weavile's favour. Weavile then switches out, trying to be useful later on against the still alive Lunala/Etern/Yveltal, and Shuckle is finally let go.

Necrozma-DM then comes in and immediately KOs Xerneas with Sunsteel Strike in exchange for half of its health. Life Orb weakens it further, and rather than preserve it 64 Squares lets it go against Lunala. Weavile forces Lunala out, because losing its item would effectively lose reje the game against the Zekrom on the spot. 64 doesnt take advantage of this with an SD, but that is a very hard move to click when you dont KO Lunala. It could have won him the game if every Axel hit, but that relies on every Axel hitting, and knowing Lunala wont die its an incredibly risky thing to go for, when Reje might just attack with Lunala anyway if he recognises he loses if Weavile SD's. Knock Off was guaranteed progress against something for 64, SD was not. After Eternatus goes down, Magneton kills the Weavile, taking a huge chunk from Low Kick in the process.

With the Magnezone weakened so, 64 Squares opts to go into his Zekrom to try to beat it down, not wanting his Calyrex to eat a Thunder Wave. A healthy Magnezone has a decent chance of 1v1ing Zekrom thanks to Iron Defence, but this is not a healthy Magnezone so Reje goes immediately into Lunala, with Bolt Strike breaking Shadow Shield. 64 DD's up, with Zekrom poised to sweep... and Bolt Strike misses and Zekrom dies. Lunala then prevents Calyrex from Nasty Plotting, and Yveltal takes on the sash Caly 1v1 pretty comfortably to seal the win.

64 did not get the rub of the green in this game. He played it very well, and put himself in a winning position, only for Bolt Strike to do Bolt Strike things. Luck tends to even itself out over time though, so he'll probably bounce back next week against Poek imo.

Exiline vs Byronthewellwell

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Exiline has opted for an offensively inclined balance build, with Rayquaza breaking for Zygarde to try to clean up lategame. Xerneas provides a cleric and another wincon, with GeoXern firmly back in vogue. Xerneas itself has been unleashed to a certain extent this tour, despite opinion of it being low at the time of SCL starting. The VR hasnt updated since then, and Xerneas is sitting sandwiched between Ho-oh and Blissey, below a fair number of mons that it has thoroughly outshone so far this SCL. On the rest of Exiline's team, the Eternatus is heavily SpDef invested, and likely has some form of counterplay to the Kyogres that try to exploit Eternatus, because the rest of Exiline's team folds in half at the sight of a Kyogre. Zygarde offers the defensively solid wincon it always has, while suring up the Marshadow matchup and spreading Paralysis for Rayquaza to exploit.

Byron's team, like Reje's, has Magnezone + Xerneas as well as a lot of fat. He has opted for a very sturdy defensive core to support the somewhat cheesy Magnezone + Xerneas. For most of the team, read what I said about Reje's team. Darmanitan was dropped because, in a blast from the ORAS past, Byron (and probably Reje) have opted for Block Xerneas as the partner. This ensures that if Necrozma-DM is the switch in, it cannot double switch out to avoid being trapped by Magnezone, and it can potentially trap other things that try to pivot in on Xerneas, attempting to dodge the Magnezone that could come in. Block Physically Defensive Xerneas can also trap weak attackers and set up to full on them, unless they are a ghost type and can switch out but its not like Xern would try to set up on them anyway.

Byron leads Yveltal and removes Exiline's Zygarde's leftovers, with Zygarde exchanging this for a Glare on Yveltal. Byron then slow pivots in Xerneas, before going into Marshadow to see what Exiline's initial response would be and baiting that he will be trying to catch NDM on the switch in. Eternatus appears to be Exiline's first response, with Byron going into Necrozma-DM to absorb literally any hit from Eternatus, and to scout out and see what set it might be. Exiline doubles into Ray, unwilling to cede the momentum in a game like this, because if he doesnt play proactively around Byron's threats, he will lose. He's actually had to play the Magnezone matchup already this season, and won a terrible matchup due to him having the momentum in that game.

Unfortunately Lunala is the sturdiest check around to things like Banded Ray, and Exiline Dragon Ascents for damage on Lunala. Seeing Dragon Ascent, instead of roosting and ceding momentum, Byron opts to go into Necrozma to paralyse the initial switch, get his rocks up and start making progress on that front. I'm surprised he clicked Twave first instead of Rocks, with Zygarde well out of range of being 2HKO'd by any of Byron's moves, but it works out and Yveltal gets paralysed for Exiline too. A quick back and forth happens, with Exiline removing Necrozma's Leftovers and the rocks it set up, before he tried to go Rayquaza on the turn Byron set them back up only to eat a Sunsteel Strike for his troubles, putting Ray on even more of a timer. Exiline V-Creates on Eternatus, bouncing off of it and forcing Rayquaza out again, and highlighting the biggest flaw that Ray has.

As a breaker, Ray has few equals. Staring down a Rayquaza with something slower than it is terrifying unless you have a full health Lunala, or are a maniac and are running something like Lugia. However the user of Ray must use the correct breaking move to actually make progress. V-Creating a Necrozma-DM makes it drop, but V-Creating a Kyogre puts you on one hell of a back foot. Same in reverse with Dragon Ascent. And its speed is not quite enough either, with Eternatus almost always able to take one hit and force Ray out. Dragon is a terrible type to lock yourself in to compared to Fire or Flying, after all.

Anyway, Eternatus forces Rayquaza out, as Exiline's Eternatus comes back in, expecting Recover so that Byron's Eternatus can do exactly what it did again later on. Byron absorbs the Mystical Fire with Xerneas, before scouting for Sludge Bomb with Necrozma. Mystical Fire sures up Exiline's weakness to Kyogre somewhat, letting him deal with it via dropping its Special Attack enough that Exiline can force it out with Ray + Yveltal. But Mystical Fire and Sludge Bomb is not a very common set, with Toxic being a lot more common to force passive damage on mons like Yveltal, Marshadow, Kyogre and Calyrex. Indeed, Mystical Fire + Sludge Bomb Eternatus will lose to SubCM Kyogre fairly consistently. But now with that information, Byron is feeling confident that Xerneas can win, as he recovers health with his Necrozma and goes into his Yveltal on the Zygarde, trying to get the slow U-Turn into Xerneas. He gets this, hits Eternatus with Block, and Geomancies up to +6 and wins the game, avoiding losing to full paras from a desperate Necrozma-DM. Because its Physically Defensive Xerneas, Sunsteel Strike into Extreme Speed would not have KO'd Xerneas.


0 Atk Necrozma-Dusk-Mane Sunsteel Strike vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Xerneas: 236-282 (51.7 - 61.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Choice Band Rayquaza Extreme Speed vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Xerneas: 108-128 (23.6 - 28%) -- 91.1% chance to 4HKO

Technically Xerneas was a little less bulky than that, but not to the extent that the rolls were different enough to be impactful.

Closing thoughts for the post, HO had a really good week. It was in a very favourable position in 64 Squares vs Reje, and it won in both of the other games it was used in. I'm of the opinion HO is quite weak in this meta as a whole, but SCL has seen a lot more Specs Calyrex-S than it has Scarf, and Scarf is the set that murks HO more than any other set. I find HO to be a lot fishier than any other playstyle right now, so I tried to break down the matchup itself more than normal. It strikes me that that would be a good thing to do in every match, but I'm already 17,000 words deep in this thread only doing it three times, so thats a No from me. I'm trying to break down the teambuilding and to a lesser extent the in-game decisions, not write a thesis for my PhD to graduate from Smogon University.
 
Soulwind vs TrueNora
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Soulwind has brought Dracovish + Kyogre to game, with Dracovish not having come at all in previous weeks. Dracovish's niche is somewhat self-explanatory to be honest, if it hits you first you die. In Rain, CB Dracovish literally KOs everything in the tier, with even max phys def Ferrothorn and Tangrowth getting comfortably 2HKO'd. The one exception is bulky Eternatus, and even that is a roll, even without rocks. The other option for Dracovish is a Choice Scarf set, turning the tables on some offensive mons that want to get the jump on you by outspeeding you, and substituting the extra damage of the Banded set with Rain support. Kyogre is almost always seen partnering Dracovish, regardless of which Choice item it holds, both for Twave Support on things like Eternatus that try to deal with Kyogre, as well as setting up the rain that turns Fiscious Rend into the most powerful attack in the game. That isnt an exaggeration, it outdamages such weak hits as Modest Specs Kyogre's Water Spout. The rest of the team is built to support this, with Spikes from Ferrothorn to wear down grounded answers, Lando-T to come in comfortably on physical attackers, most notably Groudon (while it cant come in on Dracovish, the sun effectively cuts Fiscious Rend's power into a third of what it is in Rain), while pivoting in to Kyogre and Dracovish for them to reap havoc on Balance Builds. Xerneas and Yveltal then patch up the defensive holes that are too big to ignore otherwise.


Nora has gone for HO, seeing how well it did last week. His lead of choice is Slurpuff, the one that is more consistently capable of setting and maintaining Sticky Web. Technically Galvantula is a little bit better at guaranteeing Sticky Web goes up, but that has other drawbacks that make it less consistent than Slurpuff (most notably giving super free turns to the ground types of the tier). Beyond that, the webs team is fairly standard, relying on a mix of Marshadow and Yveltal to keep Calyrex-S and other dangerous setup sweepers in check, and just focusing on maintaining the webs for as long as possible. So long as the webs are up, Nora can offensively pressure everything that threatens his team.

On preview, Nora's Eternatus looks like a massive threat if it can get a free turn of setup against the Yveltal, as unless it is a Scarf Dracovish, it outspeeds Soulwind's entire team and threatens them all with hefty damage. If the Webs get up, its hard to see a turn where Yveltal can manage to get rid of them, although Landorus-T might be capable of it if it is the defogger of choice for SW. But in the event that Webs are up, Nora's Eternatus and Yveltal both look like massive threats.

Nora leads his Webs setter, gets frozen turn 1, and almost automatically loses on that turn. The rest of the game isnt really worth explaining any more unfortunately, Nora's odds of winning plummet instantly, and getting full para'd with his Geoxern turn 3 doesnt help matters. The rest of the game plays out with Nora going for his odds of winning, but never getting the rub of the green.


64 Squares vs Poek
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64 Squares has brought full trick room, and in doing so is the first person to drop Yveltal in the entire tour. The idea is that Porygon2 will keep Calyrex-S in check, as well as trying to never not have Trick Room up between Magearna, Cresselia and Calyrex-I in the event that Porygon somehow isnt around. You also dont need a long term defensive answer to Calyrex-S on such a hugely offensive team, because if the game gets dragged on for long enough that P2 dies to Calyrex, the game has been lost regardless. Trick Room as a whole tries to end games quickly through overwhelming offense. In this spirit, 64 has brought the 3 of the hardest hitting mons in the format, between Dracovish (as we covered in SW's team), Kyogre (most likely specs) and Calyrex-I, who doubles as a setter of Trick Room too. Normally Necrozma-DM finds a way onto the team, but 64 has decided that that would make him too weak to opposing Yveltal unless he wanted to drop DracOgre. Magearna thus fills the Steel type roll, trying to answer Yveltal offensively and set Trick Room in doing so, while also resisting hits from things like Eternatus and Xerneas like NDM normally would. Cresselia provides the bulky TR setter, as well as the exceptionally valuable Lunar Dance, especially with the change to Lunar Dance (and Healing Wish) implemented as of Gen8, where they can effectively "Hang" in the air waiting for an injured teammate to come in if you go immediately into a full health mon.

Poek has brought a decently standard looking team, with Marshadow, Zygarde and Groudon accompanying the Big 3. I actually thought we had seen that specific 6 come before this SCL, but it turns out it has not so I cant actually just be lazy and say "look here" to describe it. In saying that, all three of them have been partnered with each other multiple times, and the same idea holds true: they break for each others physically defensively capable checks, with Poek essentially able to analyse from preview which need to be preserved for lategame scenarios and which should be used to offensively blow holes open in the early game. The two offensive Ground types obviously share a lot of checks, while Zygarde and Marshadow appreciate the other one getting good damage on Xerneas. All 3 also have notable defensive niches, and Groudon can choose to run rocks to free up Necrozma for a more offensively inclined set. If I had to guess from preview, I'd assume that Zygarde has Glare to try to slow down Groudon/NDM and Marshadow's checks, while also helping out in the opposing Groudon matchup, but its a very customisable slot that I dont think can be accurately deduced immediately from team preview.

While its not HO in the classical sense of a suicide lead, Trick Room cannot be called anything other than a Hyper Offensive style, so I'll cover the matchup here. Its kinda terrible for 64 Squares. Trick Room having such limited turns makes it really difficult to effectively get up and keep up, and Marshadow/Eternatus are both very annoying to deal with. While Dracovish/Caly-I do get a kill every free turn they gets under trick room, Groudon (and therefore setting the sun) into Eternatus will mean Dracovish is limited to the one KO each time, Necrozma-DM can somewhat stall Calyrex out of turns and specs Kyogre effectively forces 64 to give up a mon to get it in with only 3 turns to break, and an Eternatus staring at it that will waste at least a turn. This is the problem I always have with Trick Room in singles, there are simply not enough turns to effectively break before the momentum fundamentally switches to your opponent, and being on the backfoot with HO is a death sentence.

64 Squares leads Magearna into Marshadow, getting the Trick Room off immediately as Poek doesnt want to risk his Marshadow so early, going hard into Groudon as Magearna sacrifices itself to get in its teammate. Poek then misses an Overheat on Calyrex-I as it uses SD. Valuable chip missed, meaning after Groudon goes down to Calyrex, Poek cannot just go into his Marshadow and threaten to kill with Shadow Sneak. Poek then tries to bait a Ground move by going into his Dusk Mane first before trying to pivot in Yveltal, but 64 just Glacial Lances instead, knock Yveltal right out. However, despite the +4 Calyrex, 64 Squares now stares at Marshadow in the face and has to decide what mon he is letting go right here because he cannot risk giving a Life Orb/Bulk Up Marshadow +4 Attack. It would literally end the game on the spot. Porygon2 is 64's sack of choice, dropping to 2 Banded Low Kicks. Marshadow is then forced out by a Kyogre that looks to not actually be Choice Specs given the damage it did with Surf to Eternatus. The very next turn it outspeeds Eternatus, revealing ScarfKyogre webs.

The idea behind Scarf Kyogre on this build is that it can potentially shine in cleaning up lategame after the trick room turns have forced sacks from Poek. A neat idea, but in practice Trick Room is too short lasting to leave enough of an imprint on teams for it to work consistently imo.

Anyway, Cresselia comes out on Eternatus, setting up the Trick Room and Lunar Dancing on the Marshadow, using the opportunity for a free switch into Dracovish. With 3 turns left and 4 mons remaining on Poek's field, this could be an issue, but Rain is not up, so Poek is capable of wasting the Trick Room Turns with Eternatus and Zygarde, before Poek's combination of Eternatus and Necrozma-DM manage to 2v2 the Kyogre and Calyrex on the other field.64 actually gets a freeze, giving him a shot at the game if he gets lucky enough, but Necrozma thaws early in the sequence, and unless he got another freeze on Eternatus, with very limited PP remaining, it still would not have been enough. Barring Crits he would have had 2/3 Ice Beam left to hit an Eternatus who's best play is always to simply recover, eventually leading Kyogre to its death.

A neat idea? Yes, but Trick Room is seen as incredibly gimmicky in singles for a good reason, and I doubt we'll see it brought to a serious game again.


Exiline vs London Beats

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Exiline has brought what I think is now actually the single most reused 6 of the entire tour, with Poek, London Beats and Exiline now all bringing this, with Poek also bringing a version of this but with Solgaleo over Necrozma-DM. The theme remains the same as the other times, with Kyogre Nuking things, potentially including Eternatus for Marshadow to appreciate, Marshadow taking advantage of Blissey as Kyogre's only really used counter, Lando-T getting them in easily, and the Big 3 doing their normal business.

London has meanwhile opted for Blissey + Xerneas to do their normal defensive rolls over Eternatus, who admitedly sometimes pretends to do them at best, while also opting for Ho-oh + Groudon. Xerneas also removes one of Blisseys very cramped moves off of it, taking the cleric role and letting Blissey do other things instead. Ho-oh and Groudon have obvious synergy, Sun powering up Ho-oh's fire moves, and Groudon switching in to Zekrom fairly reliably. Xerneas also partners Ho-oh well, coming on on some of the best Ho-oh answers in the tier, most notably Zygarde.

Exiline exchanges a Knock with his Ho-oh turn 1 before U-Turning out of there, leaving his Yveltal at 65%. I cant stress enough that I really dislike this interaction from him, as his Yveltal is now Bootsless and at 65% by turn 2, with London still having a full health Calyrex in the back. Marshadow revenge killing Calyrex should not be the first choice when it comes to defensive counterplay, and with both Knock Off and U-Turn, its highly unlikely the Yveltal has Sucker Punch. A 65% Yveltal is within a reasonable roll to be KO'd by 2 Astral Barrages now (approx 1/6 if its 252/252+ Yveltal), and with Rocks Up its not even a question.

Anyway, pet peeves about people playing (IMO) overly aggressively with their Yveltals in the early game aside, Kyogre is what comes in from Yveltal's pivot, Origin Pulsing Blissey for 18%, as London correctly deduces that Exiline doesnt want to smack into the side of Blissey for no real reason and doubles into Groudon on the Necrozma switch. Groudon catches both Necrozma and Marshadow there, but Exiline doesnt want to risk Marshadow eating a surprise move like Thunder Wave or Toxic, especially with his Yveltal now itemless. He cant afford to play recklessly with Marshadow. Groudon goes for a Toxic, trying to catch an incoming Yveltal on a Stealth Rock turn, but instead forcing Kyogre to eat its Lum Berry. Lando-T comes in on the Blissey switch, and Swords Dances on the Yveltal coming in... and immediately dying without firing off a single attack to a Foul Play Yveltal that outsped him.

At this point London is significantly in the lead, no questions asked. Between Xerneas and Blissey he has very sturdy answers for Exiline's threats, His Yveltal is more free to be used clearing hazards and annoying Exiline due to Exiline not having his own Calyrex, and as covered before, London's Calyrex can potentially put in a lot of work given Exiline has no more boots and has to try to continuously be reactive with his Yveltal. And that's not even going into the Ho-oh matchup, which looks really good for London right now.

Exiline takes this opportunity to heal up his Yveltal, dissuading Calyrex from being too much of a threat for the time being, while London takes it slow and recovers the damage off himself. London then goes into his Air Balloon Xerneas, popping it and potentially ruining Poltergeist Marshadow's day, although Spectral Thief is still more standard right now. Groudon comes in on the ensuing Necrozma, but Exiline isnt a bad player and knows he cant play this passively, bringing in Kyogre on the Groudon switch before doubling again into Marshadow on Blissey, clicking Spectral Thief and doing a decent whack of change to Xerneas, forcing Xerneas to rest or risk being 2HKO'd by Marshadow in the following sequence. Exiline pulls the exact same switch again, going Necrozma on the Xerneas and doubling in Kyogre on the Groudon, this time choosing to set up a Calm Mind on the Blissey. He doesnt want to pull the exact same Marshadow switch again lest London call him out on it, especially with Marshadow being by far his most potent offensive tool left.

Exiline Calm Minds again, as Blissey reveals Thunder Wave. I'm not honestly sure I get quite why he did this, Blissey doesnt exactly lose to Calm Mind Kyogre in any but the most dire of circumstances, and after the Confide Origin Pulse is barely 4HKOing. Exiline does however manage to bring in his Marshadow on a Softboiled turn from Blissey, this time opting to respond to Marshadow via his Groudon. While Groudon cannot rest and last forever like Xerneas, from full it has more than enough physical bulk to take Marshadow on and preserve Xerneas for later, while simultaneously chipping Marshadow down with Life Orb recoil. He manages to get his Rocks up on the incoming Yveltal, and goes hard into Xerneas rather than risking a Knock Off trying to Toxic Yveltal. Going for Toxic there would have been greedy, trying to punish an anticipated Defog, but London is wanting to avoid playing recklessly with his Groudon, with leftovers being very useful on it throughout the course of the game. Case in point, he's now recovered almost half the damage he took from that Spectral Thief, and Groudon can come in repeatedly on Necrozma and Marshadow as it stands.

Yveltal flees the sleeping Xerneas as we see it Sleep Talk into Moonblast, doing a healthy chunk to Eternatus and dropping its Special Attack... activating its eject pack! This shows that the Eternatus definitely has Draco Meteor, trying to gain momentum while doing huge damage to some of Eternatus's initial responses. Exiline opts to go into his Necrozma and double into Yveltal on the Groudon switch, as Yveltal does opt to Defog away the rocks this time instead of Knocking Off uselessly into a Xerneas. We see a familiar pattern here, as Exiline goes into his Necrozma-DM and doubles into Kyogre on the Groudon, then goes into Marshadow on the Blissey switch, this time opting to Bulk Up as the Groudon came in. +1 Low Kick does 61 to Groudon as it roars the Marshadow out, dragging in Kyogre, which is proably literally the last mon that London wanted to call in. Naturally, we see the exact same move again, as Exiline goes into Marshadow on the somewhat forced Blissey turn, this time being forced out by the (no longer) sleeping Xerneas as it Moonblasts the NDM. This time Exiline does not opt to switch out, Twaving into the Groudon slot and then getting chip on Groudon with Iron Head as Groudon lays the rocks back up. Yveltal comes in on a Precipice Blades, but its now at 51% and is forced to Roost as the Xerneas comes back in.

London tries to call Exiline out on the very expected switch in to Groudon, but Exiline is able to get a Twave off on the Calyrex, which London needs to somehow remove with Xerneas in order to have Calyrex be nearly so threatening. London does decide to trick away his Calyrex's Specs though, catching the Yveltal and putting it in an annoying situation, but I feel like the Specs were more valuable for him than they were tricking them onto an already itemless Yveltal was. Yveltal locks itself into Defog as London goes into his own Calyrex, Foul Playing the incoming Eternatus for damage that is immediately recovered off on the Groudon switch. Groudon is however in range of Draco Meteor, so London goes into Blissey trying to absorb it, with Groudon only coming in before for the sake of leftovers recovery. Ho-oh comes in on Marshadow and we see it take 63% from a Spectral Thief, bringing in Xerneas almost immediately afterwards and resting, before we see a familiar sequence as Exiline goes into a powerful special attacker and doubles immediately into Marshadow to take advantage of the Blissey switch, getting some chip on Xerneas and retreating to begin the whole process anew.

This exact sort of situation is why I have been disliking Blissey personally. There's no denying its quality in putting a stranglehold on half of the attacking spectrum, but playing on the backfoot like this is really not a comfortable position to be in. In the following few turns, Blissey tries to catch Marshadow coming in on it with a Twave, and eventually manages to do so, effectively crippling it long term.

I'm going to skip ahead a bit to the endgame and just summarise these intermeding turns briefly because I dont want to literally type out every move in a game. Marshadow actually manages to KO London's Yveltal, using Blissey as an entry point and then managing to catch London being greedy and catching Yveltal on the switch in, designed to either take a weak Sneak or cover Exiline's Yveltal coming in. London then sacks his Calyrex to a Knock Off from Yveltal, never managing to get the aromatherapy off from Xerneas that would have allowed it to be effective. Based on the way London played his Xerneas, its actually plausible that he was 3 moves with Xerneas, as it never called anything other than Moonblast or Rest from Sleep Talk, and he might ahve been paranoid about the Marshadow/Zygarde interaction with Xerneas and wanted to up his odds of calling Moonblast in a pinch.

Groudon then dies setting up rocks, and Ho-oh comes in nearly killing the Yveltal with the aid of Sun, and then recovering on the defog, before revealing Curse! Curse Ho-oh has been something I've tried to play around with in the builder and it is very difficult to get it to work consistently due to the speed drop, so big props to London for using it in SCL. The biggest issue I tend to run into with it is that lowering your own speed and being forced to take the hits with Ho-oh that you have to makes it very unreliable, with things like Rock move Groudon, Spectral Thief Marshadow, Calyrex-Ice, and similar such things annoying to take hits from, not to mention the huge problem with Kyogre (unparalysed) and status in general like Toxic from Eternatus. For this reason I really do believe Xerneas must have just never rolled aroma from Sleep Talk, as otherwise Toxic just cripples this Ho-oh set too much.

Anyway, Curse Ho-oh takes out the Kyogre and proceeds to clean up through the rest of Exiline's team, eating a poison as it takes down Eternatus while trying to not be too whittled away by poison + brave bird recoil. Well, thats what I thought would happen, but Exiline gets a little rub of the green, flinching the Ho-oh into poison range with Iron Head and then sweeping past Blissey and Xerneas by itself. London could have switched Ho-oh out there to regen health back and be much healthier to 1v1 Necrozma-DM, but going for Sacred Fire there is a very natural move to click. Necrozma doesnt die to an unboosted Sacred Fire either, and its still running a flinching risk, so I can get why London clicked Sacred Fire there, especially since, if he's running a Curse Ho-oh its probable he isnt investing heavily in speed, so there is a risk Necrozma outspeeds and flinches anyway. Given the Iron Head did 8 to a +3 Defense Ho-oh, that actually means that a single flinch from a one-turn regen with a slow Ho-oh still loses, so he needs to sack 2 mons to force Iron Head to go from 1 flinch to 2 flinches as Exiline's wincon.


Byronthewellwell vs M Dragon
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Byron won.


Reje vs Icemaster
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Reje appears to have brought whatever the fuck he felt like. Klefki sets spikes and has Fairy stab to deter the main defogger of the tier, and spikes are obviously nice at wearing down answers to breakers. That looks to maybe be an Offensive Lunala given the lack of cleric or stallier build from Reje, plausibly a set focused around Hex from Lunala given the potential status infliction on his team, while Zygarde can abuse spikes with Dragon Tail and the Big 3 do Big 3 things.

Add Icemaster to the list of people who have brought Marsh/Lando/Ogre/Big3. Please see the Exiline, LondonBeats, or Poek descriptions from the weeks they have brought this team (including this week for Exiline) to read what it does because it is 1:42 am and I just finished talking about this exact structure, its far too late for me to reword it to say the same thing differently and if I dont do this now I'm not sure when I'll get the time to this week.

Reje leads Lunala, forced out by the Yveltal immediately as he sacrifices his Zygarde's Item to the Knock Off. Zygarde Glares the Lando-T before Lunala comes back in to clear the rocks that Lando set with defog, making my prediction of an offensive Lunala seem unlikely now, but with defog on this it maybe means he's gone for a more offensively inclined Yveltal set. Zygarde comes back in on the Yveltal, getting Knocked again before Reje goes into his own Yveltal and removing Ice's Yveltal's boots. Zygarde eats the toxic and activates power construct, as reje doubles into his Yveltal on the Lando-T, trying to threaten to remove its long term effectiveness with Knock Off, before getting momentum with U-Turn and setting up hazards with Klefki. The change to Prankster that happened in gen7 means that Klefki doesnt actually really beat Yveltal 1v1, with Play Rough doing just barely over half, and Yveltal not being threatened with a Para/Toxic or Fairy Lock that Klefki might feel like going for. Nonetheless, Reje is able to get up a spike as Lando comes in, getting fully paralysed on the turn Necrozma switches in. Reje then sets up his rocks as ice goes into his Kyogre, revealing leftovers and getting a scald burn on reje in exchange for losing those leftovers.

Eventually, after a bit of weird pivoting around, Reje goes into Eternatus and clicks Meteor Beam, forcing out the roosting Yveltal and showing itself to be the Cosmic Power set, a favourite of Reje's. Ice forces it out initially with the threat of a Para from Necrozma and manages to get rid of the rocks and spikes that are punishing his switches with Yveltal a few turns later. Lando-T from Icemaster gets rocks up as Klefki switches into Lunala, with reje valuing hazards being off his side of the field more than keeping his own spikes up. Reje then tries to get Spikes up on the full health Yveltal, with Klefki taking 22% and going out into Yveltal, probably trying to catch Lando-T on the switch in, instead just having his Spikes removed for nothing. He tries to repeat this with Klefki, getting 2HKOd without getting any spikes up trying to go for Play Rought, and Reje then starts trying to go for game with Cosmic Power Eternatus, hoping that Marshadow is Poltergeist. But it is Spectral Thief, and Bulk Up, and a +2 Attack Marshadow just cleans through the rest of Reje's team without much trouble. An interesting game to end on I suppose, but weird would also work as a descriptor.

We're in the endgame now, with only 2 weeks of the regular season to go before playoffs. In the event that two players meme, I wont be covering the game in much detail at all, just because 4 teams are out of the playoff running, and 2 teams are (effectively) guaranteed in. Some of these players might be saving techs for playoffs, or just not be taking the tour so seriously with the games now just going to The Sheet for some of us. But I'll be doing in depth coverage of each playoff game, so I look forward to that and will leave you all by saying Happy Halloween.
 
I know I said I'd cover all the non-MDragon games, but I am including myself in that since I did just mean my team's games, not only MDragon. This is the second to last week, and next week the ubers games will potentially decide some teams fates in the tour. I'll not be covering teams in quite as much depth, in either week, if its a low stakes game for both parties.


SiTuM vs Exiline

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Situm has brought a team that loses to Focus Blast Geoxern.

Exiline has brought a Focus Blast Geoxern.

Focus Blast hit.


Byronthewellwell vs 64 Squares

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Byron brought Marshadow + Kyogre + Zekrom to accompany the big 3 this week, trying to make up for the shortcomings each of them have individually. Eternatus can sometimes struggle to check Kyogre, so Kyogre joins as a backup water resist and check to itself while exerting offensive pressure, potentially breaking down Eternatus for the team's own Marshadow. Speaking of Eternatus checking Marshadow, its shaky and Zygarde at least helps a bit against ones without Ice Punch, and it provides a sturdy physical catch-all to setup sweepers like Ndm/Groudon and even Zekrom, depending on the set, that the more standard builds sometimes struggle with. Marshadow meanwhile helps the HO matchup with powerful priority, keeping Calyrex-S somewhat in check in the event that Yveltal goes down, and synergises well offensively with Kyogre and Zygarde. Frankly, Byron's team is boring but really really solid. There's nothing on the team that isnt standard as hell, and it relies a lot on him just being good and knowing how to pilot it.

64 Squares has brought Tyranitar, which is used to allow Yveltal the freedom to be played much more offensively and with a more offensive set, while also relieving some of the pressure from NDM by both setting rocks and pivoting nicely into most Eternatus sets. This probably means both his Necrozma-DM and Yveltal are more offensively inclined, and makes the Ferrothorn inclusion obvious, with Spikes wearing down the answers to offensive NDM/Yveltal quickly, and both could feasibly be running Knock Off. Calyrex-S appreciates Ttar being a decent option against Yveltal that dont run U-Turn, and the big 3 are taking on slightly more offensive versions of their usual roles, but still doing their usual jobs.

In the early game, Byron is able to remove Ferrothorn's recovery with leftovers in exchange for a Spike after the two players traded rocks. Byron then removed the Spikes that were laid by defogging on the Ferrothorn as 64 went into Eternatus, which is free setup for Byron's rocks again. Another Spike exchanged, although Byron hasnt got Rocks to deal with at the same time, and he goes Marshadow and tries to hit the Eternatus with a Spectral Thief that Yveltal absorbs instead. Eternatus loses its item, but Byron is able to recover that off and go into Kyogre to start exerting pressure now that Ferrothorn has been Knocked Off, losing its leftovers too in the process. 64 Dragon Tails the Kyogre out, but Kyogre paralyses it and gets a big Ice Beam off in the process, leaving Eternatus at 52% for the following cycle. Dragon Tail drags in Eternatus, and Byron captialises on the expected Necrozma switch with his Yveltal, removing the Tyranitar's item and then getting a free entry point for his Zygarde. Byron is using Sub Coil Glare Zygarde, and it proceeds to do the things that Zygarde does over the next few turns, setting up on an Iron Defense Ferrothorn to +6, thanks to the aid of some Paralysis shenanigans, before ending up behind a Sub at 88% when the Ferrothorn goes down. Yveltal then Foul Plays in exchange for Byron's sub, and the game looks fairly over. Byron has a full team left essentially, while 3 of 64 Squares' remaining mons lose 1v1 to Zygarde, and the only way it doesnt end up winning is if he lets it die to Calyrex's Astral Barrage on this turn.

Naturally, Byron switches out into Yveltal on a SubSeed Calyrex-S, with 64 playing to his wincon at this point by clicking Sub and KOing the Yveltal with it, but Calyrex is then forced out by Marshadow and Byron has cleared the field of the hazards that were giving him an issue as well. Ferrothorn is now dead and Tyranitar cant set rocks against anything aside from Eternatus from Byron, which he only ever needs to go into as a sack at this point. Indeed, Tyranitar is KO'd by Two Shadow Sneaks from Marshadow, and 64 then goes into his Necrozma to try to play for his outs. Zygarde is byron's initial response, out of fear of a Dragon Dance Zygarde that could otherwise pose a threat, but gets a Glare off and 64 Squares then is laughed at by Lady Luck, getting fully Paralysed 7 turns in a row as Zygarde sets up both Coils and Subs to put the game beyond all doubt, with Byron coiling up as much as he did to guarantee the kill on Calyrex-S. A solid showing from Byron, who's Zygarde was always an issue for 64 to deal with, but he piloted it well and didnt take any needless risks like potentially losing his Zygarde to a Specs/Crit Astral Barrage from Calyrex.


Manaphy vs The Strap

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Manaphy has decided to not bring his normal bulky style, instead opting for a bulky offensive style with Weavile, Lando-I and Calyrex-S in the flex slots. I love Weavile as a pokemon and have ever since gen4, when I would constantly lose in local battles against a kid at my school who would use it, who looking back probably used Smogon back in the day, and seeing 2 brought in the same game made me very happy. But while I fondly remember not understanding what it did or why it kept outspeeding my Infernape, it doesnt have the same niche in SS Ubers as it did in Diamond/Pearl OU. In this tier, Weavile has almost entirely unresisted STAB coverage. The one mon that resists both, Zamazenta-C, has yet to be brought this SCL, although FC has been unleashed in the final week when his team are out, so I'd not be too surprised to see it come in that game next week. Anyway, because it has unresisted STAB coverage, it looks very appealing as a breaker for opposing Balances to deal with, and it hits all the Big 3, as well as other influential and common mons like the Calyrex's, Groudon and Zekrom, super effectively too. Lando-I meanwhile is annoying for a lot of teams to deal with, as can be seen in the Nora vs Icemaster game from a few weeks ago. It outspeeds a lot of balance staples and annoys them greatly, making it look like Manaphy was really expecting a balance build from The Strap. The other 4 you should know what they do by now.

Strappy has gone for an Aerodactyl HO, also with Weavile. Weavile continues doing the same things from the above paragraph, while Rayquaza uses a Sash setup set, both to soft check things that can set up on the Aerodactyl lead as well as break teams in the early game. Calyrex does its normal sash shenanigans for HO, while Yveltal and NDM both make sure The Strap doesnt lose to opposing Calyrex-S or Xerneas from preview.

Manaphy's matchup is really not great here. Weavile hits everything on his team for super effective damage with just its STABs aside from Weavile itself, which is hardly the sturdiest mon around. Meanwhile, nothing will actually prevent or even effectively deter Aerodactyl from doing what its meant to do as a suicide lead. His best victory chance is essentially playing perfectly and utilising every drop of bulk from his team until the point where Weavile can try to clean up, especially as Strap's only Dark/Ice resist is his own Weavile too.

Manaphy leads Calyrex to break Aerodactyl's sash, showing Draining Kiss. This actually shows he is a Sash set, normally a HO staple, this time on a hybrid offence, but he didnt want to waste any more valuable pp with Astral Barrage. Strap goes for a Tailwind, sacrificing his Aerodactyl in exchange for the rocks, before Strap is able to KO Manaphy's Calyrex with his Yveltal, which is very difficult to switch in to under Tailwind. The sash lets Manaphy stall out the tailwind turns and the Eternatus is able to KO Yveltal, activating its Eject Pack in the process as Manaphy goes into his Necrozma.

At this point in the game, Manaphy is looking really fragile against the Weavile and he needs to deny it turns or try to trade 1 for 1 against it. As a result, he could not go into his Lando-I nor Yveltal, in fear of giving Weavile the free setup, and checking Weavile with itself just sounds wrong in every possible way.

Rayquaza is Strap's answer, trying to force Necrozma into Weavile range, and does so with the +1 V-Create before being picked off with Manaphy's own Weavile. Strap then forces a KO with his Necrozma, with Weavile being sacrificed by Manaphy in exchange for 71% of Necrozma's health, potentially enough for Eternatus to get something done. Yveltal revenges before Strap goes into Calyrex-S to try to force damage onto Yveltal that means he doesnt need to rely on 3 Axels hitting. Eventually he gets this damage off, but only gets the first Axel hit off, letting Manaphy go for the roll with his Eternatus, but he doesnt get it and Strap's Weavile walks away the victor.


Icemaster vs Poek


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Ice has brought Ferrothorn + Zygarde balance, not showing too much creativity, but his team are first in the entire tour and I believe are locked on for first place at this point, so he can afford to recycle standard and protect any innovative sets he might have for later on in the tour. Not much to say on this team I havent covered a fair few times already especially since:

Poek has brought the exact same 6 as Icemaster. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the first time this has happened in the entire tour where we have a literal mirror match.

Saying that is a little disingenuous though, the mons on both teams are all incredibly customisable and aside from the Necrozma having Rocks, and the Ferrothorn Spikes, both teams can customise each mon to be different sets very feasibly. The basic idea is that Spikes from Ferrothorn wear down Zygarde's limited pool of checks really effectively, with only Lunala being immune to them thanks to HDB.

Ice tries to lay hazards up early but is quickly forced out by Eternatus, as it shows that it is also using T-Spikes as well as Dragon Tail. I love Hazard Stack + Phazing as a strategy, and that he's using it on Eternatus probably means that the Zygarde has Dragon Tail too. Tspikes + Dtail on Eternatus is nice to spread the poison around as opposing Etern hates switching in on Dragon moves, and an early-game poison on something like Calyrex-S or Zygarde, or in other matchups things like Kyogre or Groudon, is really nice for long game effectiveness. Poek doesnt drag in either of the Poisonable mons from Ice's team initially, and Ice is able to absorb them eventually with Eternatus, before bringing his Zygarde in on Necrozma and setting up both sub and DD. The Calyrex breaks Zygarde's sub, but gets Dragon Tail'd into Necrozma, showing that both teams are going in on the Phaze + Hazard Stack route.

Unfortunately for Poek this is almost the worst possible mon for him to be forced into, as Zygarde can very freely sub up again until he activates Power Construct, and does a significant chunk to Yveltal too. Knock Off Breaks the sub but Ice sees an opportunity and DD's again, sacrificing his leftovers for the threat of KOing Yveltal, which he does before being forced out by the scarf Calyrex-S. Eternatus cant set up so easily again, but with Ice having a Specs Calyrex against Ghost Resist Eternatus now, Ice feels confident in the remainder of the matchup, and it ends up being a fairly simple route to victory for him, with Calyrex picking off all of Poek's mons, and meaning Ice goes to a very respectable 5-3 record. Poek has been having a tough time this tour, in spite of pre-season expectations that he and Tony would combine very well as a duo. Still, nobody can fault him as a player, this is likely just a blip in a strong field in a tier he isnt very familiar with, he remains a winner of an Individual Trophy Tour, something on M Dragon and Soulwind can say of the rest of the field.


Me vs London Beats

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I won, with a little aid from Stone Edge accuracy.
 
Final week of the regular season and we had the first unplayed game this tour, my own vs 64 squares. I was somewhat hoping that our game could be important, but after his team was confirmed out he didnt feel like playing, quite understandable really. Congratulations to the Ubers representatives in these playoffs, go and showcase our tier again.

Situm vs Gondra

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Situm has brought a Thundurus. You're guess is probably as good as mine, its a fast electric type attacker that isnt stopped by the Grounds at least. The rest of his team is fairly standard, although the water resist is... Yveltal? Likely the plan for Kyogre is: "Scarf Kyogre doesnt exist right now, and I can outspeed the others and hit them hard first." There is something to be said positively about this way of thinking regarding counterplay to offensive threats, you dont need fat teams that can take every hit in the game if you have your own offense that is capable of taking them on effectively. On preview I would assume that Thundurus is Thunder Wave to give it some utility in the event of emergencies, and making it not nice to try to answer offensively with things like Calyrex-S, Darm-G and Marshadow.

Gondra meanwhile has brought a more normal looking team, with Dada re-emerging after not being seen for 5 weeks, last seen in Nora's hands. It fell out of favour with the rise of fire coverage on Groudon, but it is Tony's mascot for a reason, and it remains solid as a Calyrex-S check that effectively handles all SubSeed shenanigans, and combined with Yveltal should absolutely shut down Calyrex, and allows the Yveltal to be much more generally useful.

The Thundurus actually manages to KO Gondra's Eternatus, making the endgame a lot nicer for Situm's Yveltal, which he had made bulky enough to take on the Sub CM Kyogre that Gondra brought. Without Eternatus, Yveltal ended up outspeeding the rest of Gondra's team and was able to offensively pressure Gondra too much to come back from, taking out Kyogre and Zekrom before Situm was able to clean up with Xerneas + Lando-T.

The Strap vs FC

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The Strap has brought a variation of HO, with Cloyster as the lead of choice. Rapid Spinners have a good matchup against Slurpuff HO, and Spikes-HO is a relatively underexplored style, with this variant hoping to catch FC off guard. The other mons are relatively standard for HO, setup sweepers with marginal defensive utility to avoid being immediately counterswept by some of the more threatening mons in the tier, with Groudon over Eternatus to aid in the Marshadow and Zekrom matchups that can be dice-y.

FC has brought a more standard looking bulky offense. Kyogre Xerneas and Calyrex-S might all want to avoid seeing a Blob from the opposition, but The Strap was unlikely to do so in the first place, and unless there is a Blissey the Special Offense from these 3 will normally break through teams. HO is an odd matchup for this team to face, as it very much depends on what mons are on the HO, and the name of the game becomes going more than 1 for 1 with his mons. FC will start this game on the back foot for sure, but this game will come down to whether or not he has the survivability to avoid getting overloaded by Strap's Offense.

Kyogre goes ham at the start of this game, with Water Spout effectively preventing Cloyster from getting more than a single layer. Strap is unaware as to what Kyogre this is, but Water Spout would suggest Choice'd and the idea of it being Scarf Kyogre is honestly terrifying, so he goes into his priority user in Yveltal to try to avoid losing another pokemon to Water Spout. Eternatus stonewalls Yveltal for a bit before being taken out by Lando-I, which is promptly removed thanks to Calyrex-S. The Strap's Yveltal is then able to take out Necrozma-DM, being forced out by Xerneas. Ndm sets up on the Kyogre Switch, and it reveals itself to be Choice Specs by being slower than NDM, OHKOing it with Origin Pulse in the process. At this point, FC is at a huge advantage, he has the pokemon advantage and his remaining 3, Yveltal Xerneas and Scarf Calyrex, take on Strap's remaining 3, Groudon, Yveltal and sash Calyrex-S, very effectively.

Strap goes for his only realistic winpath now. He cannot make the obvious move each turn or he will lose, so he takes the Moonblast damage on his Calyrex, then immediately doubles out into his Yveltal trying to weaken the opposing Yveltal enough for Sash Calyrex to maybe break through. Life Orb Oblivion Wing is also not very comfortable for Xerneas to hard switch in on, even defensive variants, and can possibly break through with the aid of either a crit or, more likely, a Groudon sack into Calyrex-S into a lastmon Yveltal vs the world scenario. Its a feasible winpath, but FC slow U-Turns into his full health defensive Xerneas to effectively shut that idea down too, giving FC his first win. Oh well, he will always be Fc04 in our hearts.

64 Squares vs Aberforth

Game didnt happen idk what you expect me to put here.

Fatfighter2 vs Lax

ff2 brought Ice Resist Xatu into Trick Room Caly-Ice. This game was over turn 0, and didnt matter at all, so I dont think we saw super serious teams from either participant.

Byronthewellwell vs Reje

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Using some insider information (aka: being from the future and having watched the game) I can tell you that Byron's team is HO that is designed to look like it could be a balance team. Suicide lead Lando-T to get a surprise advantage early-game, into 5 extremely dangerous setup sweepers, trying to catch the opponent off-guard with the early unexpectedly fast tempo.

Reje meanwhile has brought a Sun build, designed to try to use Ho-oh as effectively as possible. Ho-oh switches in fantastically on almost all the best defensive counterplay to what is likely an Ice Punch Marshadow, sun boots the damage Ho-oh can deal, and the other 3 do their usual jobs.

This game, things go essentially perfectly for Byron, with the extremely quick tempo catching reje obviously off-guard, and too much damage is dealt to his team too quickly, with him facing an unwinnable deficit, he forfeits turn 10.


Relatively short analysis this week, given that there was a game that literally didnt matter, one game that was an activity win, and there's only so much to say about a 10 turn game. Join me next week to go into too-much detail of the playoff games this SCL, and I hope to god that if there's a tiebreak, that Ubers is chosen.
 
I've grouped Semis and Finals into the same post, and I'll even pretend it was out of fear of the post being too short for finals instead of me just being busy with work and uni.

Exiline vs TrueNora

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Exiline has opted for Darmanitan based Bulky Offense. Darmanitan itself is an incredible mon in the current meta, being both fast and very difficult to wall, with physical Ice STAB backed by good countermeasures to NDM being very threatening to a lot of teams. With the Choice Scarf it almost certainly has, it outspeeds much of the meta as well, and its even got pivot capability to boot. Exiline has leant in to this directly, opting for three mons that combine to shut down essentially every variant of NDM, between Ferrothorn, Ho-oh and Groudon. Ferrothorn also punishes switching around Darmanitan with spikes, always appreciated by any wallbreaker, but its main function on this team is to stop opposing Kyogre, one of the few things that can deal with most Darmanitans relatively well. With a Necrozma in this slot instead of Ferrothorn, the Kyogre matchup becomes almost unplayable. Groudon gives Darmanitan sun support, letting Darmanitan be capable of OHKOing Necrozma by itself with Flare Blitz if he so chooses, while also giving Exiline Rocks. Yveltal is obvious to not lose to Calyrex-S, likely with U-Turn to try to allow Darmanitan more frequent entry. Finally, Xerneas sures up Exiline's matchup against opposing Marshadow and Yveltal, while also providing good cleric support.

Dropping Necrozma has meant that Exiline cannot afford to let Xerneas set up ever, lest he have what he did to Situm happen to himself, and the rest of his team doesnt really give Xerneas the time or space to ever set up. Ho-oh and Ferrothorn should, between them, keep most Xerneas in check, and its a brave Xerneas that sets up on a Groudon. The biggest opportunity it has to set up is against Darmanitan itself, actually, which should be largely manageable for Exiline unless his opponent has positioned Xerneas well.

Much like how Exiline built around Darmanitan, Nora built around Marshadow. Marshadow's biggest annoyances are Zygarde and Xerneas, while Eternatus is a nuisance that can often be dealt with most of the time. For this, Nora has Ho-oh, likely suggesting that the Marshadow has Ice Punch. Nora's other counterplay to Zygarde appears to be that Exiline wont use Zygarde, so I'd expect 4 Attacks Life Orb Marshadow from Nora, you cant really fit Bulk Up and Ice Punch on the same set, after all. Ho-oh comfortably deals with any Xerneas that fancies coming in on Marshadow, Groudon can help break down general physical walls, and the remaining mons fulfil their normal niches. There's only so many ways to describe what NDM, Eternatus and Yveltal do, and I think I ran out of them a month ago.

Turn 1 Exiline removes Nora's Marshadow from the game entirely, in exchange for just over half of its health, as Nora was clearly expecting Groudon to go for something else with his two flying pokemon in the back. Exiline's extra-aggressive play early on gives him a significant advantage, given that without Marshadow, Nora's team can struggle to exert offensive pressure, but Nora proceeds to show exactly why Lunala valued him at 12k, despite his woes this season, and plays an excellent game from the backfoot, managing to get pretty much every turn after turn 1 correct. He identifies that Exiline's Ho-oh is a problem and manages to catch it with status and an aggressive whirlwind to remove it from the game, correctly identifies the Darmanitan aiming to snipe at Ho-oh, and systematically is able to outlast Exiline's offensive pressure with his defense.


Icemaster vs Byronthewellwell

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Icemaster has brought a Marshadow+Kyogre-based balance build. Ice has brought balance almost every week, and there's a good reason for that. He'll almost never trip over himself in the builder, bringing something overly creative and weak to something very relevant. This is another example of this, with Kyogre and Marshadow accompanying the usual 3 as well as a Xerneas to provide the extra defensive solidity, as well as a cleric and status absorber. This sort of balance build is very self-explanatory, and leans heavily into Ice's skill in battle.

Byron meanwhile has brought a standard looking team with Groudon and Landorus-T. The 'trick' with this team comes with Calyrex-S, being Trick + Ring Target, with a Choice Band Groudon. It's not very common for teams to run multiple flying pokemon these days, and with Yveltal on essentially every team that means if it can get hit by Ground type moves, there's unlikely to be another immunity. +2 Psyshock also OHKO's Yveltal after Rocks, but the main idea from this team is tricking the Ring Target and breaking things open with the surprise factor of Banded Groudon. Lando-T is here to provide easy entry for Calyrex, who needs to be more careful than normal to not burn its trick. In most cases if you trick the wrong target, it still at least cripples them with a Choice item, but in this case it could be literally useless if it was tricked onto Kyogre.

Ice knocks off the Groudon's Choice Band almost immediately, putting him in a very commanding position from early on. The surprise factor and now the power of Banded Groudon is gone. I think I would have gone into Groudon there too in Byron's position, trying to play aggressively on an expected Stealth Rock turn with his surprise wallbreaker, but Ice's play was his best midground, catching both Groudon and Lando-T if they came in, while making guaranteed progress. In spite of there being no Choice Band on Groudon, its still capable of bringing Yveltal down to 25%, very dangerous territory with an unrevealed Calyrex. However, Ice is able to nativage this tricky situation, clearing Yveltal of its status before using it to KO the Groudon, and then recover up to enough to consistently check Calyrex again. Dodging Thunder Wave was helpful for him in this sequence, but he was still finishing it at high health. Ice is able to dodge another toxic before using his Eternatus and Calyrex to successfully take home the game, and effectively putting his team in SCL finals.


Exiline vs Icemaster

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On preview, it look slike Exiline brought Weavile Bulky Offense. Weavile's dual STAB hits almost everything hard, and the few mons that wall it are ones that Ice is unlikely to ever use (Zamazenta-C and Magearna). Pairing up with Weavile Exiline has gone for multiple entry points, with Lando-T and Yveltal giving it potential pivot support to enter the field easily, while the rest of the team fulfils their usual defensive duties. In the game itself, we see that Exiline has actually opted for a similar strategy to Byron a few weeks back, going for HO that looks like it could be fatter than it is, trying to catch the opponent off guard with the fast pace of the HO team.

Icemaster has gone for a more offensive build himself, opting for Darmanitan-G + Xerneas as an offensive duo, and Groudon providing rocks to let NDM go for an offensive Dragon Dancing set. Based on Dragon Pulse from Eternatus, it was probably Demon Etern as well. The idea of this team is that exactly nothing wants to take on Banded Darmanitan-G, and Xerneas is really good against the teams that outpace Darm-G, while also not being as prepped for as Calyrex-S is. The rest of the team provides good offense while doing their normal defensive niches, and synergise naturally well together.

The final game, not just for the Ubers section of the tournament, but the tournament as a whole, is a difficult one to talk about. Icemaster was put very far behind by a turn 1 miss that would have taken Lando down to its sash, and with Lando chunking Xerneas and revenge killing Groudon in the process. Ice keeps up with the relentless pressure pretty well, but he gets no luck whatsover, having all 3 Triple Axels hit, into getting burnt twice by Eternatus, once on Yveltal, and once on Necrozma to remove any real chance that Ice had from the game. Exiline won, and in doing so guaranteed the win for his team in SCL, and the Green Trophy that goes with it.

I've truly loved watching almost all of the games this tour. The teambuilding and creativity has been on point across the board, and I'm glad to have seen the meta pushed this way with the best Ubers minds of the generation optimising strategies each and every week. From the rapid rise of Fire Move Groudon, to the setup NDMs, to the rise of HO and Darmanitan teams, and even Weavile shining when its been brought, I've truly enjoyed every single week of this season and I hope these recaps have helped some of you reading enjoy them too. Stay tuned for some of these teams becoming the new Samples, as well as the upcoming Survey & VR Update.
 

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