Smogon Tour Season 28 Playoffs - Finals [Won by ABR]

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McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis an Administrator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis the 5th Smogon Classic Winneris the Smogon Tour Season 14 Championis a Past SPL Champion
As per requested, I'll do the same things and follow ABR's format, starting with the first round vs Finch.

Game 1 - ORAS

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen6ou-466145
Team: https://pokepast.es/26e6c89a799856dd

Team choice: Couldn't really settle on anything new to use for this particular game. I ended up altering an old team of mine that I was comfortable with with sets I wanted to use in PlayOffs (in this case, all out MTtar and offensive RotomW). Solid defensive basis with an emphasis on hazards. Excadrill acts as speed control and hazard removal so I can abuse MTtar to break holes longer. Offensive Rotom would also help me to switch gear when needed and would give me oppurtnities to get MTtar in safely.

The thing that jumped to me the most at preview was Serperior. I didn't like my matchup against it depending on its partners and moveset. Heatran was my only answer and I had to be especially cautious about Sub sets, especially SubSeed. He also had his Clef to potentially Twave/Knock me to make my life harder. On my hand, Rotom could do a solid work especially with hazards. He was quite weak to Spikes and Excadrill isn't impossible to deal with long term, especially with my whole team pressuring it in some ways. Also, MTtar had coverage for all his Pokemons so it could blow some holes if needed.

As for the game itself, the early game is pretty much us fighting for board control with our hazards and spinners. Paralyzing Clef was definitely welcomed because it was the best TTar check on his team. I'm a bit relieved when he reveals Glare on turn 24 with Serperior because it doesn't threaten Heatran as much as a result, especially without Spikes support to deplete my HPs should the game last. Once my board is advantageous (hazards up, his cleaned), I decide it's time to be as aggressive as possible. The best way to do so is using Excadrill to bait in Slowbro and double on Tyranitar to just fire some hits off, which is first done on turn 51. His first sack is Serperior, which was his main and only true way to open me up. I then try to go for midgrounds where I don't want to give him an opportunity to spin (Slowbro on Uturn for example the turn after). He tries to come back in the game on turn 56 by getting Drill on Rotom double and that's where the offensive set pays off because I'm faster than him and forces him out. After that point it's all about putting pressure without allowing Excadrill back in.

Game 2 - SM

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-466161
Team: https://pokepast.es/2e1def417bbb87cd (shout-out ben gay)

Team choice: I consider myself much less versed than Finch in SM so I wanted to use a high tempo offense with instant threats so I could just use my exprience to position myself into wallbreaking positions with big nukes and open the game to a win. That's why I went with a Mawile/Kyurem teams as I feel those twos hit just too hard to be truely walled, especially with Koko's terrain.

First thing I see at preview is that he has a Magearna, most likely bulky which means Kyurem has to get past that before truely going to town (pretty strong vs the rest). Mawile as expected is met with 0 hard counter so I can also use it to get things going. I lead Koko out of satefy because scarf U-turn is free and helps me scout stuff, such as the Magearna set based on the U-turn damages, now confirmed defensive. I get my rocks up on it and he decides to get his own by going Kommo-o on my Drill. I see this as an oppurnity to get Mawile in on the predicted up and start the breaking. I kill his Mawile thanks to the speed creep and Fire Fang coverage and that's where things start getting wild.

He goes Lando-T on my Mawile which is now double intimidated. I wasn't sure yet if he would Z or Scarf, and I thought: unless he's Z Rock, he would be in such a shit position if EQ on Zapdos here, I'm just gonna expect him to abuse that switch in some way (Uturn/SD/Defog) and attack him to figure out his set and get some damages. I also thought, if I go Zapdos, take 25% and then die to Z-Rock, I'll be without ground switch-ins with Drill/Koko inviting the Lando in all day. Pretty clicky play overall I know and now I've lost my Mawile which coulda done some more work for sure. At least now I have Kyurem in and can do some damages, but Magearna eats EP like its nothing and I take the opportunity to spin. Lando-T is back soon after and this time I have no choice but to go Zapdos. I make a super greedy play by Volt Switching because well, he could be Z-Fly maybe and wouldn't risk dying then right... So now I'm in a very bad spot after a solid early game. I then make some plays to get Kyurem in with Elec Terrain to kill stuff before I lose this battle lol. But I get paralysed so now Landorus-T is truely threatening. The next turns are sorta natural, I do manage to get a Toxic off on Kommo-o and Finch is back at the helm with LandoT.

The tides change because I get lucky and dodge an Edge, which allows me to weaken Lando and it's now at 23, only able to switch in twice with Rocks up. Now Koko becomes my wincon, because it's free to blast Tbolts if this thing dies, especially with Magearna limited recovery and Kommo-o poisoned. What happened afterwards is a series of turns where I try to pressure him as much as I can with Koko/Drill without ever allowing Lando-T in, who would always kill something with EQs. That's why I'm going Fini on Tornadus on turn 32 for example. There is also a board fight where I try to keep my rocks up so LandoT cant come in for free. One of my "big play" is on turn 47. After Tbolting to weaken Magearna, I predict him to LandoT because it'd be able to kill something by coming on another Tbolt or the Excadrill switch that I was doing for the past ~10 turns. As a result I go to Fini to prevent this from happening, which also allow me get 12 more % off the Lando-T, making it unable to switch in with Rocks up again, all the while keeping my 3 Pokemons. After some more doubling between Exca and Koko, I secure a position where Koko becomes threatening with Brave Bird even, and the endgame plays out with him trying to get back in the game with Lando on a switch but I just keep trying to weaken the Magearna with Fini to clean with BB, which makes me catch Lando, sealing the game.
 
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Grats ABR and Roro for offering us amazing games, Smogon Tour is my favorite individual tournament and series like this one are what makes it so great.

Although late, I'm congratulating with SoulWind as well because I believe he's the most iconic player in this tournament. I mean, when I think about Smogon Tour, I can hardly think at it without SW getting in playoffs so I hope that he will still try to get this trophy he deserves so much, despite his main generation won't be played. No individual trophy doesn't mean you're not a great player, but you sure deserve one and this should be the one you deserve more. Hope you will eventually get it!
 

Rubyblood

Fighting Demons.
is a Tiering Contributor
Congrats ABR ,well deserved.
You have been a source of motivation and inspiration for many of us in recent years especially in the BW / ORAS / SM levels, I have always loved the way you play, your builds which have always allowed me to advance serenely in each metagame. It was a very nice bo3, glad that this last smogon tour bw / oras / sm was to win by you even if obviously I would have liked mcmeghan to take it, which is my favorite player in Smogon, I wish you good luck spl
Well done also at McMeghan who was impressive as usual. Gl too in SPL.
 

McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis an Administrator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis the 5th Smogon Classic Winneris the Smogon Tour Season 14 Championis a Past SPL Champion
Quarters.

Game 1 - ORAS

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen6ou-467135
Team: https://pokepast.es/7082b6af9fdfb9b3

Team Choice: Looking at John W's games, he seemed to be the kind of guy to use recent and popular teams, leaning toward the fat side. As a result, one of the thing I wanted to use was that specific Gliscor set and I had some experience with that team from the regular season so I went with it.

Looking at preview, I felt like I had a pretty good shot there. Tornadus-T was gonna be annoying long term. Gliscor was a big threat once Latios is pursuited and if the Slowbro isn't Ice Beam. Keldeo can also do work if I burn Slowbro. Had to be warry about hazards because Excadrill doesn't really have an easy time spinning and Heracross can obviously do numbers to me if I give it too much free turns.

I lead Keldeo because it's pretty safe vs everything and would put some pressure early. On the first turn, it already shows me that his Lando is scarfed and that Slowbro is mixed def. The Slowbro is expected and I try to burn it for Gliscor and Keldeo itself but it doesn't happen, quite the contrary as it cripples Rotom on its first Scald. On Turn 5, I try to go Tornadus-T to cover a potential Heracross double and Scald repeat, because I didn't feel like he'd like to give my Rotom a free switch to give me momentum back, instead I get paralysed and I'm already hating how this game is going because now Heracross becomes much more fearsome, and Tornadus-T isn't quite as scary anymore either. A similar series of turns happen later with me going Rotom on Slowbro and this time John W plays the sequence better because he gets Latios in on a Pain Split, forcing my hand with a potential Spec set, especially with Tornadus-T now paralyzed. I go to Drill as a sort of midground but honestly Surf was kinda free for him and I now lose my spinner. I manage to get rid of Latios as a result and I'm hoping Gliscor can do it all for at this point. I stay in with Ttar vs Heracross because I don't want it to try to Sub on me. Unfortunately the Slowbro reveals Ice Beam and I don't see myself winning this exchange by constantly doing the right calls with Gliscor. The rest of the game is pretty hopeless from my part and John W doesn't absolutely butcher it so he takes it home. Although it looked like I got destroyed, and I kinda did, it could have been much different if the Scald odds went differently. Gliscor was gonna be insane with Slowbro burned, while unburned Rotom would give me much more leeway against Slowbro early game, but it is what it is, and I probably should have tried to Pursuit Slowbro with TTar as soon as it was revealed to be mixed def early instead of going for the odds.

Game 2 - BW

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-467140
Team: https://pokepast.es/badcbe6e44996b78

Team Choice: Much like ORAS, John W was mostly using super classic meta teams, and I had a lot of experience against them with that team that I made and spammed throughout the season, which had a lot of tools vs the popular trends of the moment, so that's why I went with it. I did go with Magneton over Magnezone because it gives me some more room for a potential Alakazam, which he had used quite a lot.

Based on preview, I mainly have to watch out for Terrakion, expecting CB or Rock Gem variants as those are the only one worth using atm. Gotta watch out for SD Gliscor too so I have to keep Gastrodon healthy. On my side, Gliscor is looking great long-term, especially if I can get rid of Starmie and if Amoonguss isn't HP Ice.

I lead Gliscor to active the Orb early but I go Gastrodon because I don't want him to potentially SD and put a lot of pressure on me. It reveals Ice Fang which I have to keep in mind because a SD variant would have the upperhand on mine now. Turn 2 I expect a switch out so I go for the Orb activation. I've played this team a lot and I know I need to burn Amoonguss to make good progress so I start going for Scald plays, which I get on turn 14. On turn 18 he reveals Taunt on Gliscor, which makes it a non-threat at this point, so I feel pretty secure on the long-term. On turn 22, his Gliscor is revealed to be faster than mine, which makes the duel awkward because I don't wanna risk flinches or crits and Posion Heal makes it hard to beat it through Facades. However, he gets a bit careless and I snipe it on turn 29 with Gastro's IB. Now the game is open, and I feel confident with my Gliscor and Excadrill now that his ground switch is gone.

Turn 30, Terrakion comes in. I don't have a particulary good switch if he SDs so I'm gonna scout his set by staying in and going for a Scald. If he's CB, then I know how to handle it later, and if he's SD, he needs to boost to get something going. SD is revealed and my Scald doesn't burn. I decide to sack Amoonguss as I value my other members much more, it also allows me to force defense drops so Magneton can revenge kill it. He makes a good play by going Ttar because it is the one mon that doesn't allow me to pick a kill with Excadrill should it be Scarf. He plays even better by going Starmie on me trying to make a middle ground out of this turn. I went Gliscor to scout Ttar and get a free EQ and he played perfectly around that. We then both played a pretty controlled game until I decide to let him get his rocks in exchange of me weakening and eventually burning Jirachi.

At this point, I'm thinking about setting up Gliscor and just staying in vs Starmie on a Scald, or trying to find any opportunities I can get to get Excadrill in safely and kill something with Earthquake, but John W plays most situations just right and never allows me to kill anything (his Ttar switch and Terrakion switch on turns 57 & 59 are a testament to that). It is also a bit annoying for me that I often get fully paralysed on +1 Ice Beam Gastrodon to get damages on Amoonguss such as turn 64 and 79.

I reach a point where I feel like playing the long game isn't at my advantage. I don't have Rocks while he does, and Starmie is pressuring me by trying to get key full paras or spdef drops vs Gastrodon. I decide to go TTar on a predicted Recover and force a 50 50. Thinking he'd stay in because he had the Scald burn factor, I Crunch as he goes Terrakion. I go Gliscor on CC and then completely forget about the Justified boost. SE was gonna kill and I get completely bailed by this play, which pretty much gives me the game, that was likely gonna be his with his Amoonguss free to sleep something now. I could have just sacked something else and Volt Switch the turn after too. Complete oversight and brainfart on my part there...

Game 3 - SM

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-467165
Team: https://pokepast.es/60da7cf8df5bf639 (shout-out ben gay)

Team Choice: Much like vs Finch, I know I wanted to go on the offensive here. I just played average with balance twice and I also had gotten destroyed vs John W himself during the reagular season while wielding a balance so it was time for me to for the instant nukes again. Decided to use Medicham to break paired with Volcarona as it can just win games on its own sometimes, which is always tempting.

But, as it has happened to me everytime so far when I use Volcarona, I run into one of its hardcounter, at least with the set I was using. I don't really know how to approach the game because he has answers to everything I possess. Maybe his Tran won't be Toxic? Medicham can also do work if I get it in safely. I know I need chip vs Tornadus-T for Kartana to blow it away too. I decide to go with Rotom because it's safe vs everything but Bulu.

John W sees right through it and leads said Bulu, which forces my hand out. He even goes Tran on Volc immediately to catch me and here I think, well my Volc won't win anyway, so I'm gonna try to force him out by setting up, especially if he decides to be greedy by Magma Storming or Rocking. My only switch was Rotom anyway, and I thought Nature Power was a possibility; I didn't want to run into it or start scouting for that after a potential Rocks as I'd be way too far behind. John poisons Volcarona and then damage me on a second QD, which I've done because HP Ground wouldnt OHKO spdef Tran anyway. By QDing twice, I'm kinda saying "look I wouldnt do that with no reason so you're gonna have to play around HP Ground or lose half your team". It all works out and I get to take Gliscor out of the game, giving me free HJK and Volt Switch if need be. At this point, the bluff has run its course and I go Rotom on potential Rocks/Magma. Predicting the Bulu to come on Volt Switch, I see it as an opportunity to Twave, which would be crucial should it be Scarfed or makes my life easier for Rotom later in general. After saccing useless Volc, I get my Rocks up, which I know will allow me to tear through him with Medicham now, because I have Bullet Punch to kill Tornadus with SR+HJK damages. This is what happens on Turn 12 and now Medicham is looking incredible, and so is Kartana. However Mawile is dangerous and I'm currently in Sucker Range so I go Lando, which is pretty safe. However I get crit and now the game is gonna be dangerous because I can't Intimidate Mawile anymore to be safe with Medicham and well, I lost my switchin to it for the next Medicham-Mawile face off.

On turn 15, John W plays amazing by covering my midground and going for Fire Fang, which reveals my Magearna set and allows him to safely kill it without risking taking chip. My decision at this point is to go Kart, force a switch because Mawile low would make him die to Bullet Punch, and get Medicham him for more kills. Even better, he goes Bulu and the grassy terrain means I will be out of Sucker Range by getting two health recovery before Mawile comes back, which I get from Faking Out first. At this point, the deal is done as long as accuracy doesn't fail me overall and it doesn't.
 
Quarterfinals

Game 1 - ORAS

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen6ou-466989
Team: https://pokepast.es/ac5e88f813878e38

Preview analysis: I'm feeling great about my matchup here. I have Zone + removal for Skarm, Gastro Torn for Glisc, Clef Drill for Clef, Clef Gastro for Slowbro, etc. I expected sr Tran + cm Clef but him being different didn't really mess with my plan too much either. For leads I expected him to start off with Gliscor or Clef as solid leads vs my Diancie, and Torn doesn't really have bad leads vs his team either.

I uturn to Diancie just to get my mega off to prevent hazards later on, and go Clef instead of Gastro vs Slowbro as to not risk toxic or anything. As soon as he gets Glisc in I try to beat it with Torn instead of Gastro for a much more proactive plan, but I unfortunately get crit and have to go Gastro after all. I get my rocks up on his revealed toxic Clef so I know I'll have to be careful with my Gastro. As he goes Skarm, Diancie seems totally free to me as ihead is basically nonexistant atm and I didn't want him getting spikes on my Zone switch. Everything works out perfectly and turns 10-13 put me in a great spot. He goes Slowbro to revenge my Diancie but honestly at this point it seems like my Clefable just plainly 6-0s due to Glisc being so weak. Unfortunately he reveals metal sound Tran which scares my Clef out and so I go Diancie in case it can threaten toxic on Gastro still. He goes Clef, I go Exca, and he makes a nice play going to Ditto here but what he doesn't know is that my Exca would eat its own eq and thus I'm free to stay in and kill Ditto. Fast forward a bit and he reveals the full flame tox Clef set as I permanently get my rocks back up and find out my Dia walls his Clef. I try to just burn softboiled pp but even better, I was able to fully KO it due to him leaving Clef in dstorm range. From here my Gastrodon sweeps unless Slowbro crits very early and so I just moonblast to give my Gastro 1 less turn to risk said crit. I didn't need to make any real aggressive plays here, just followed the path in front of me with my matchup advantage and it worked out.

Game 2 - SM

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-466991
Team: https://pokepast.es/366a619510160392

Preview analysis: SD Gliscor seems like a massive threat, and will be my main focus in winning this game. I'll have to scout ice moves on Clef Tar Tran + z Torn, but overall it can apply lots of pressure with free turns vs Amoong and co. From a defensive standpoint, I just needed to be careful about surprise Tran sets and make sure Torn doesn't overwhelm Rotom too hard. For leads, there is absolutely 0 downside to leading Rotom and so I do just that.

He leads Amoong and I go Ditto to scout its set; he reveals giga hpfire spore stun at this point and I know my overcoat Kommo fully walls it and can use it for free rocks. When he goes Clef I just go Sciz to get my mega off and I really don't expect flame with hp fire Amoong + Heatran. After he brings in his Amoong again, I realize just how great of a position I'm in. He gets fully pp stalled by Kommo Ditto swapping on my end and in the turns I have Ditto in I can threaten to spore the non-Amoong mons. I toxic on turn 11 in case he tries to go for the Torn midground but then just go back to the spore spam cycle. He lets me sleep his Exca and this is a prime opportunity to start applying pressure with Gliscor. I immediately facade instead of sd to just chip Torn instead of being scared out by Z immediately. I go Zone, he goes Tran, and my volt damage signals he's very offensive so I go Ditto to scout out his set instead of risking Gliscor or Kommo to ice/tox + I don't really think he'll epower here. Ditto reveals to me that his Tran indeed has hp ice + toxic (and is faster than my Glisc due to the nonexistant bulk).

So at this point, I know I have to be careful with my Tran answers and I can't play fully reactively or he will win first. I also notice that my scarf Magnezone is a big threat with Exca asleep and volts on Amoong giving Gliscor more turns. On turn 32 I sorta question this play but I go for flash cannon to cover Clef and to do >0 vs Exca while not giving Tran flash fire, but in reality I probably should've just volted as it trapped Drill and I got to go Gliscor afterwards. As he gets Tran in I decide to just embrace Kommo getting toxic'd as Gliscor and Ditto are both too valuable and I can afford some chip anyway. He fortunately overpredicts with magma and I get to chip Tran to a super low amount. On turn 36 I go Ditto to finally find out what this Clef is and I see that its cm twave. I go Rotom instead of Glisc on exca because if he woke and spun I wanted to remove hazards as well instead of giving Torn room to come in with rocks not being up anymore. I go rotom on drill again to pain split for Torn but he makes some nice plays and heals up his tran a bit. I'm still playing fairly safe at this point, but I double in Rotom on a predicted Torn switch to pain split back a bit more and I get rocks by copying his Tar which reveals sr crunch fire suit. I get them up but as I'm locked he makes a nice play and goes for the free heat wave on my Zone switch. He uturns and I catch Tar with pump to KO it. At this point I have no choice but to go for dodge because either I dodge it and pursuit (as it occurs) or he just kills me and I go for canes with Ditto to put it into suit range. Suit seemed abundantly free here because in his mind I can just BP safely vs the super low Tran and he has no real reason to expect pursuit either so he can save the valuable Torn.

Once Clef is in I decide to go to Rotom because I expected one of CM / Tran there and CM = I volt to Sciz anyway and Tran = Rotom > Sciz so I at least have an easier Ditto pivot option. He ends up killing my Kommo and I use Ditto to go for the safe EP to revenge kill it, which brings his Clef in. Gliscor poses more of a threat than Scizor while they both beat it so I bring my Gliscor in and try to 1v1 his Clef. I can do this 100% unless he goes for the +2 2hko on my next sd so I condition the softs a bit and then finally go for the +4 to safely 2hko. On turn 79 I'm just sacking Rotom but I know once he eps there that hes gonna waste no time and expect me to further sack and go for magma so I preserve it again and go Ditto to scare it out. From this point on my plan is just to double switch in a 100% predictable fashion until my Gliscor is out of ice range (at 92%) so I can safely go for the eq.
 
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McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis an Administrator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis the 5th Smogon Classic Winneris the Smogon Tour Season 14 Championis a Past SPL Champion
Semis.

Game 1 - SM

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-468232
Team: https://pokepast.es/565d0056cfa2c138 (shout-out ben gay)

Team Choice: For this match, I wanted to cover two things in particular: Rain & Serperior. Serperior because it is a good meta pick that Quaze seemed to favor, and Rain because of my offense usage in Playoffs so far. That's why I wanted to use Amoonguss to combat both of those things. After looking at the teams ben gay had shown me, this was the one that I liked the most that featured Guss, and even had extra defense for Rain in Mantine.

At preview I recognize the Aggron/Gastrodon/Clef core that had been showcased in some tour games and I assume the Clef is a Wish variant. As a result I'm not too scared of anything on his team, but unfortunately I'm lacking in the breaking department with Gastrodon/Slowbro solidly walling my offensive options. I will play it out and maybe I'll find some opportunities to win by playing the longcon with Tornadus/Charizard.

I don't exactly recall why I leaded Zard, but it might have been because I wanted to get my mega off early to use the lack of dual SR weakness and bulk for later. It'd also not give a free turn to Tornadus. He decides to go with Victini and I'm totally expecting a Scarfed variant on this team, which are often used to Gambit turn 1 to trade. I don't wanna lose a Pokemon turn 1 if I can so my options are going Amoonguss or Hippowdon. I'm tempted to go Amoonguss because it'd be easy to heal with Regenerator but Hippowdon would cover both Gambit and U-turn and I know I can heal it on three of his Pokemons if needed, one of them being a safe heal (Aggron/Slowbro/Gastrodon). Turn 1 goes as planned as he Gambit and my Hippowdon is alive, although it'll be hard to heal and as a result I'll have to play without Rocks most likely. Not a problem though as Rocks are more problematic to me than to him and I was gonna spend my time Defogging them urgently anyway.

So once this first turn is done and the board is set, he sends Clefable immediately. I go Mantine because I expect it to be a Wish/SR variant (those Aggron team in the past had 4 atk Aggron and Clef would be the only Rocker available on this team) but he reveals FT on the switch. I calc the damage and immediately spot the LO boost. Tbolt/FT variant is gonna be very troublesome and I'll have to pivot around it with my Magearna/Zard/Amoonguss. Turns 4 & 5 get me some chip on Aggron which is welcomed as it's the confirmed rocker now with LO Clef revealed. Fortunately, Mantine has a perfect hazard matchup vs Aggron and that means I can safely remove the rocks whenever he'll try to get them up, which is needed as Clefable would obliterate me otherwise. Everytime, he uses this sequence as an opportunity to pressure with Clefable though. Turn 7 para on Amoonguss is both annoying and welcomed, it means I won't ever be burned, but Amoonguss was one of my only way to pressure Clefable.

Turn 8 I get to Spore the Tornadus and I try to use the opportunity to mega Zard as it will be needed to pivot into Clef FT/TB to force it out. He does immediately switch out tho, which I remember for later as I can use the Tornadus lack of sleep burnt turns to heal Hippo. Up until turn 23, it's him pressuring with Clefable as I pivot around it and try to keep my members healthy through Regenerator/Pain Split and I get to mega my Zard on Turn 24. I then try to scout the Slowbro set but he burns my Mantine. I was fearing Toxic and now I don't wanna have to Scald later when I'll come on Aggron and fortunately he misses it on my thaw turn. Could have maybe avoided that though, not gonna lie. Even though my Amoonguss doesn't have a grass move, I'm using it scare off Slowbro & Gastrodon and I get to damage Clefable. However quaze doesn't back down and play aggresively, which make him catch my Tornadus on turn 34. I use the next turn to status one of Gastrodon/Slowbro with Zard although I know it's not gonna be terribly useful but I don't have much better options at this point. His Clef is back to safety a few turns later on turn 40.

Starting turn 40, we are both playing our board and I'm using double switches to create favorable match-up for Amoonguss. With the threat of Sludge & Giga Drain, he's forced to go to Aggron or Tornadus on it, and I know I can use these two to heal Hippo, which I manage to do on Turn 74. At this point I hope I can keep doing this while keeping Clefable at bay, and eventually I'll have my Rocks up while his Aggron will eventually go down, which may open a way to win this game for me.

However, Quaze double down on the Clef pressure and even make some nice aggro play with Clef in front of my Zard to force my hand. My Magearna and Amoonguss are dangerously in FT range now. This happens once again later and it keeps getting worse for me.

On Turn 94, the situation is critical and I honestly think the game is over at this point. Everything is too low, I won't be able to heal Magearna out of FT range most likely, and Zard is as risk of dying to Moonblast even if I get a Roost off so I just think it's time to throw a hail mary and Blitz, and for some reason it works! Clef is dead and so is my Zard, but I think I can force a tie or win longterm with Rocks vs noRocks. On the following turns, I notice he plays very desesperate with his Slowbro and I have a sense he kinda gave up so I just attack with Amoonguss/Magearna and kill it, which prompts him to forfeit. A game I don't think I should have won but it is what it is.

Game 2 - ORAS

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen6ou-468257
Team: https://pokepast.es/4f2bc7b40d4cf481

Team Choice: Quaze had made a good job hiding most of his replays in the past few months, but after a bit of digging and some extra help, I was aware he killed the ORAS season with Stall & Webs. I knew that a solid option vs Webs was Quagsire, and this team also had two Pressure users to fight off Stall. As a result, I went with it, especially considering I was in the driver seat with the SM victory, and could afford this risk (yes I consider Stalling a risk).

The game starts and well, if it isn't a Webs team, as I was expecting. Scarf Magnezone + Quagsire eats it alive and I mainly have to watch out for Serperior/Manaphy as long as I get the Webs off, which should be fine with Zapdos in this match-up.

Admittedly, the first few turns are a bit messy. I remove Shuckle Red Card as he gets the Webs down, he doesn't make the greedy play of Rocking as I go back to Zapdos but Final Gambit doesn't do enough to put in the kill range of anything so I just stay in Defog. Thundurus won't get out of hand with Magnezone and Chansey available anyway. It is revealed to be a LO variant, which is even better as it'll quicker be in Volt Switch range, and the Webs go off, now I just have to play it carefully and it should be mine.

I play it safe from there, even getting rocks up on turn 5. The Serperior doesn't use Glare vs Altaria so it can't go out of hand either and I just need to keep attacking it so it is in Magnezone range. Eveyrthing is straight forward until Turn 14 where I don't wanna risk getting doubled on Quagsire so I go Cune once. At some point I notice my Recover are getting low and a crit could happen so I just sack the useless Zapdos and kill the Scizor with Magnezone, especially now that I put it in Volt Switch range, which allows me to not give him any breathing room should he be some weird set on Manaphy. After the match I've been told I took some unnecessary risks with Quagsire vs Scizor and probably should have taken the Magnezone kill earlier, which is probably true.

Anyway, I Volt Switched to Cune because I can just roar Manaphy and use rocks damage to guarantee a Tbolt kill from Zone. Once that's the case, I just keep roaring because I want him to kill Suicune with Manaphy which would allow Magnezone and Quagsire to finish the game. He realizes this and forfeit, ending our series.
 
Semifinals

Game 1 - ORAS

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen6ou-467947
Team: https://pokepast.es/30eed4b4ad6c37c2

Preview analysis: Gliscor is how I'm going to win this game. I'm adamant so all Clef are 2hko'd even if ice (as long as no orb but unboosted hits still do a lot); I'm ice fang so he can't go to his own fang Glisc and win; Skarmory is either trapped by Zone or it's shed shell and is easily chipped by rocks + repeated ice fangs over time. I also don't view anything on his side as much of a threat as I have great long term answers to both Gliscor and Clefable. As for my lead, Latios' choice scarf won't be very useful here and nothing ohkos it so I want to lead and at least threaten the immediate trick vs his team.

I fortunately do get the trick off and this totally invalidates his Clefable from being a threat at all, and thus I can fully reserve my Amoong and Slowbro for his Gliscor. I take this as an opportunity to get my toxic orb activated and just immediately start applying pressure with Gliscor to see how he'll handle it. He goes Venu and surprisingly curses but switches out once he finds out I'm adamant and he can't beat it anymore. I just grab another SD as he goes Skarm and I figure I might as well see what item he is before going Zone. He reveals shed shell, but I end up freezing the Skarm and this seals the game as he can't whirlwind or anything. I'm not going to get too into it but I'm fairly certain I was going to win this game long term regardless of that freeze, given his sets and the fact that I already got to trick his Clef.

Game 2 - BW

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-467955
Team: https://pokepast.es/a9aac975e754ef17

Preview analysis: I'm expecting scarf Lando, specs Lati, chople Tar. I'd prefer to face boltbeam Reuni but in my mind I can use Tar/Exca for boltbeam and Glisc for psy focus should it be needed. Rotom Exca is usually pretty good at beating Ferro and I have Amoong for his Rotom as well. For leads, I just go with the standard Gliscor + protect combo to get my orb active and have it deal with potential knock Ferro more easily.

On turn 2 I simply don't see any reason for him to pump. He's not scared of the Gliscor right now as I'm unboosted and I don't think he'll expect me to stay there and risk my Glisc either. Additionally, pump into the obvious Amoong is quite terrible and so he'd opt to wisp or volt. I decide wisp is more likely because he doesn't have good post-volt options vs unburned Amoong and not really much to go to vs Tran either. I read this and am able to get my Heatran in vs his Rotom. Now, I don't really see much use for my Tran besides chipping Rotom with rocks and toxic throughout the game. I decide to immediately use both of these moves and fully commit to Exca or Glisc (both walled by Rotom otherwise) winning the game due to Tran's toxic. Since I'm hp ice and not epower I figure I might as well just try to start chipping his Tar with toxic as well. After Tran dies I have a free Exca as Rotom is burned and iron head can do a lot to the other ground resist in Lando.

Now, he actually reveals lefties Lando and this explains why he didn't opt for rocks with Tar either. I don't want to play the Gliscor on ice games so I just go Rotom to deal with this. I thought here he would go Ferro but chipping his rotom with rocks and toxic was plenty fine too. I go Amoong as he makes a nice wisp play and subsequently giga drain as I expected his otherwise unneeded Tar but sporing Lati doesn't do much good either if it's talk which it almost definitely is. I sack Rotom because everything else is way too valuable and both Glisc / Tar are faster than Lando with their own ice moves. I get to trap Latios (which reveals scarf from outspeeding my scarf Tar) and he then brings in his Lando. This situation is a bit tricky for me but I figure he'd uturn or ice for a few reasons. The first reason is that I think he's going to assume my Tar is scarf when I have rocks on Tran and a very slow team otherwise. I also have a history of lots of scarf Tar usage in this tier. From this point, he is not threatened by my pursuit lock and would want to go for something that messes with my Gliscor, which is uturn or hp ice.

He goes for uturn to bring in his Ferrothorn and I have no choice but to eq this with my adamant sand force Exca. It threatens the 2hko on him and I subsequently go for rapid spin to cover the Lando or Rotom switches. He goes rotom, and I get to protect to force even more chip on it. Pain split is a guaranteed play from him here so I don't risk much by fishing for the iron head flinch. I then iron head on the Lando switch because I expect him to fear a protect and even more residual on his valuable Rotom. From the damage here I also calc and determine that his Lando must be slower than my Exca which lets me go for another iron head. Now, I contemplated eq on the Ferro switch but I didn't want to risk my Drill when also considering that he may expect to scare me out with Lando regardless. I manage to get a high enough roll on his Ferro this time which makes the endgame a bit easier.

He brings in Reuniclus vs my -1 Exca and this is where the crucial turns begin. As I said before, I needed one of Tar/Exca for boltbeam and Gliscor for psychic focus. He could still be either at this point but I decided Amoong was still helpful vs Rotom and that Exca was more valuable than Tar vs his remaining mons. I go Tar and he makes a nice read with the hard Focus. This lets me bring Gliscor in and I can try to fully end the game here. To my surprise, he actually reveals life orb and the potential ability to 2hko my Glisc. I'm still not sure if he's cm or trick room but either way I expect him to go for one of those on the tect and even if not, Exca can clean up vs a low Reuni at this point. I eq but he goes Lando which is nice because I get to poison heal outside of psychic range, and he also can't intimidate Exca anymore. He then brings Reuni back in and I'm going to eq to scout out the damage but between the psychic and eq rolls I'm still not able to get a concrete idea of his spread. He psychics, and I have no reason not to eq this again into Exca range.

The next few turns 27-29 are entirely straightforward from us both, and turn 30 is where I need to decide how I'm going to close this game. I go Amoong because if he volts he's still in Exca range, and he might try to go for pump on a choke. There were also the odds of him needing to 1) wake up immediately; 2) avoid flinch + crit; 3) hit focus, which combined for an 85% win chance on my end. He stays asleep and I win due to the overall odds but after the game Charmflash pointed out to me a different 100% win path which I'd like to outline. What I could have done on turn 34 was to go for sludge bomb which puts him in guaranteed eq range and also lets him burn 1 turn of sleep. However, I can simply go for spore the next turn and secure the win because Amoong would have died to sand/burn at this point. This means that he'll either stay asleep and stay in eq range or he'll recover and have burnt 0 turns on my re-spore. I didn't realize these combined factors in the heat of the moment but it reminded me just how careful I had to be in finals if I wanted to stay sharp and avoid any minor odds that could get in my way.
 

McMeghan

Dreamcatcher
is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis an Administrator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnusis the 5th Smogon Classic Winneris the Smogon Tour Season 14 Championis a Past SPL Champion
Final post, hope you don't mind the length because that's where I have the most to say. I thought a lot about those games since they happened, and I decided I would not spend time talking about what I should have done (or at least not in details) otherwise this would be way too long to read.

Game 1 - SM

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-469932
Team: https://pokepast.es/5adf9136fc3c4886

Team Choice: As per usual with my SM deciding process, I wanted something with a lot of offensive options to force my opponent's hand. After considering a lot (too many) options, I settled for this triple setup team. I had seen Tace almost beat ABR with it in Snake final, and the team line-up had been used in the past to good success, which solidified my choice. However, I wanted to use all of SD Chomp, DD Ttar and SD Drill, which would leave me without Rocks or without Sub Chomp, and I really wanted to use a Sub setupper against someone like ABR to give me more security with predictions. Right before the game, I ultimately decided I would play without Rocks and rely on aggression/positionning entirely. A very odd choice but I had spent so much time preparing those games that day already, I had to make a decision at some point.

Looking at preview, I first got a bit hopeful because he brought a defensively oriented balance, which is what I was expecting. However, I felt like he had good tools vs my team, especially because of Gastrodon hard countering Tyranitar, which was meant to be a big asset in this kind of matchup. Drill was covered by Gliscor/Scizor and Chomp by Clef + revenge killers. However, it wasn't impossible to break though this, and he'd definitely expect SR on one of my dude, which could catch him slipping at some point. I started thinking about how I could break his team and I remember I decided Excadrill would be the first guy I had to set-up with. I felt like Chomp was never gonna work first because of Clef + Scizor handling it quite well, which would still leave him with Gastrodon + Gliscor for my TTar/Exca combo. Meanwhile, a full life Drill can get past Gliscor and kill/something else, which would open the game up. I also decided I'd go on the offensive as soon as possible, because I can't really play a long game without Rocks, and Gliscor can outlast my whole team anyway, especially if it's a SD variant, I wouldn't want to give this set too much room.

I went with Tangrowth lead because I can status something before Gliscor activates its Orb. I am met with Koko lead and his most likely play is a switch to Clef. I can't sleep anything in elec terrain so Paralysis it is, and I get it. I immediately realized this could be useful for Chomp to abuse with Sub later on, but I didn't think about changing my plan. Maybe setting up Chomp first and Exca second would be better now, since Exca is more useful defensively. That's a post-game hindsight, because at this point, I was still set on setting up Drill first. I go Excadrill on the Clef and with its full para, I know I can execute the plan I had at preview, so I set up.

He goes Gliscor as expected and well, Iron Head feels safe, I won't die from EQ, IH is a 2ko forcing his hand on the next turn, and I can even flinch. On the following turn, his Gliscor is too valuable so I predict a switch and EQ, further forcing ABR's hand. I play it safe by going Tangrowth and HP Firing to keep the Scizor low. So far so good, the Scizor can't really pivot into Chomp anymore, and Gliscor is weakened for future Drill or Chomp down the line.

The Gliscor now has to heal and I keep going with my plan, now that Clef is paralyzed and Scizor low, it's time to go off with Garchomp. SD forces Gliscor out and it's a perfect opportunity to Sub. So far so good, everything went according to my plan, and I just need to kill one or two things to open him up. I probably felt too safe here and I thought ABR would just sack a thing or two to revenge kill Garchomp. After some good maneuvering from his part, I'm without a sub and without kills. I wonder how I'm gonna win now and I'm looking for a way to set up Tyranitar, especially as he'll expect Rocks. After some obvious turns with Garchomp, I try to setup Ttar on Clef, expecting him to waste a turn getting rocks up since he killed Drill. ABR stays disciplined though, and I'm unfortunately without coverage for Gastrodon, which stops my TTar in its track. I'm so focused on the breaking and offense that I didn't even realize that Blace is probably gonna sweep me now.

With Gastrodon low, Celesteela could turn out to be annoying so I use the opportunity to set-up Chomp and still get some kills. I manage to get rid of Clefable without him getting his Rocks, so I stop and realize I can maybe win this endgame with Tangrowth/Celest, depending on the Blace set, but Shadow Ball does 3 million to Pex and I know I'm gonna lose as soon as he gets a SpDef drop. A few turns later, ABR plays well and exploit my fear of SD Gliscor to get his Koko in safely on Pex. I try my best to survive without dropping any Mons but I can't really do much against it and it's putting a lot of pressure on me. I get to toxic it on 40 and I try to heal through Regen as soon as possible so Blace doesn't win. Unfortunately, ABR gets the SpDef drop with the next Blace appearance and that spells doom to me.

I thought a lot about this game since then, and I think something I could have done is setting up Garchomp before Drill since I got the para on Clef early. Excadrill would have been more useful for Koko and Spinning. I also had no reason to be afraid of Gliscor with Celest + Tangrowth at my disposal after all, so I could afford waiting a bit before going aggro. Finally, I overlooked Blace's sweeping potential with Ttar gone. With Gastrodon around, I shouldn't have tried to sweep with it and keep it to make ABR think twice before clicking anything with Blace, especially considering he had all the reasons to believe I was SR (+ Pursuit?) given Chomp & Exca sets.

Game 2 - BW

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-469991
Team: https://pokepast.es/50ec1937a8829e9c

Team Choice: I'm not gonna lie, I was very angry with myself after the SM game. I felt like I had a perfect start and then fucked it up with my Chomp play. It was still clouding my mind after the game and it was hard to get back in the zone. I almost told ABR to play ORAS second, which would have probably been disastrous. I calmed myself a bit and despite the bad position of being 0-1 down, I went with my strong tier and picked a team structure I was used to, rather than some of the "wackier" options I had in the builder. My team was a standard looking Rain offenses with a few techs here and there that I think are good in the meta. Lando-T hits like a nuke and can bluff Scarf. Breloom can lure Amoonguss/Latios out for Keldeo. Jirachi can give a second life to anything out of nowhere, and Keldeo has tech HP Flying for the popular SpDef Loom.

The game starts and the first thing that jumps to my eye is that Landorus-T can run a train on him. Breloom is also a threat if I play it right, and I have Jirachi to potentially revive them. I have to play aggressively though, because I don't want to give Rotom/TSpikes Tenta too much room as I don't really have adequate answers myself.

I lead Lando-T because I expect him to lead Loom and Protect to activate its Orb. This way I'm gonna really make him believe I'm Scarfed which could prove handy later. However, he decides to go Rotom and U-turn damage already tells me something is off, and that's an offensive Rotom. I go Latios, and predicting a choice Rotom or Jirachi switch, I go back to Lando to keep the momentum. It works out for the best as I'm slower on the next turn and he decided to stay in, now he really has nothing to switch into Uturn/EQ later. I do the same sequence afterwards and I decide to EQ the Jirachi this time. On turn 6, I thought he'd switch out to Latios/Rotom and it was the right time to reveal my lack of Scarf, but he Protected. On the following turns, I decide it's better to keep breaking with Lando rather than getting rocks up with Jirachi. He would probably use the opportunity to get his own Rocks and he has a Spinner while I don't, so I feel like it's better to keep the board state as is.

On turn 10, I get my Breloom in his Politoed, revealed bulky from the U-Turn damages. I didn't really know what to do here, but I ultimately decided to SD as his best switch to SD was Latios that would be kept in check with my Jirachi anyway. Rotom dies on the next turn, further giving my Landorus free reign. The next few turns are a repeat of what's been happening so far. On Turn 15, I decide to use Stealth Rock instead of Uturn because with Latios are 24% and Rotom dead, Landorus is really close to just spamming EQ for the win, so I don't mind trading Rocks now. ABR realizes this and goes to his Spinner instead. I don't have a really good switch to Scald so I go Toed because I'm Refresh+Encore to control the situation. He reveals Sub on the switch and by using Encore, I can bluff a Scarf set and prevent a Spin, which I do. After some obvious turns, I'm in a position where my LandoT kills his Toed, Latios can't come in because of Rocks and ABR sends Tentacruel.

Here I thought, surely he has speed on his Tenta to make this play, but it can't be THAT fast right? I'm literally max speed Naive, he's just desesperate now. Much like in SM, I probably felt too ahead and didn't think it through completely, and now I just lost my best win-con, especially if I could get a Rock Polish on Jirachi. The problem now is that I don't have many good options vs a healthy Tentacruel, so I go Breloom. Unless he burns me early, I should damage it to the point where Keldeo will brute force through it. However, I keep getting 2 hits and he crits then burns me, so Breloom is dead and Tenta is still dangerously healthy. Once again, some obvious turns follow and after my Latios' Spa is dropped vs his Jirachi, I decide to risk my Keldeo because I don't want him to heal his Jirachi or Tentacruel on my own Jirachi. He gets the para with Body Slam and it's looking really bad from there, but still doable if I kill Jirachi with Keldeo. Latios+ my own Jirachi should win afterwards. After a few flinches, ABR plays in such a way that my Keldeo is in Iron Head range for his Jirachi. It's time bounce back in the game and my Jirachi manages to heal Keldeo, which is now poised to do some damages. I kill his Breloom and try to bruteforce through Tentacruel afterwards. Without Breloom, I feel like Politoed + Latios should win anyway, and that's eventually what happens.

Game 3 - ORAS

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen6ou-470052
Team: https://pokepast.es/b206a73e4d687ff1

Team Choice: With ORAS being the tiebreaker, I knew I could trust that team I had made and tested the day before. It had a weak match-up against Stall, but I felt like ABR wouldn't risk it in a decider against me. This team is meant to deconstruct most balance through the double kills enabled by Final Gambit Victini + Clef. From there, Mew can get Rocks up while weakening something, and the last three Pokemons are good 1 on 1 vs a lot of things, with Serperior potentially enabling some bullshit through Paralysis. I also constructed the team in such a way that he wouldn't be able to see through it right from the start. Charizard could be Y with Victini in the back, Mew should be Defog with a Charizard in the wings, and Clef should be Rocks with Mew defogging.

So the game starts and well, I know I'm not gonna be able to play my team like I meant to given what I'm facing. He has a Sturdy mon and two other with more than 404 HPs, thus preventing Victini from getting a sure kill, and Clef to follow up. I've played against a Skarm in testing and I know I can't just lead Victini. At this point, I decide it's better to lead Mew, and Clef will prob do a better job by Healing Wishing something later. On the other hand, Zard looks good, especially if I give it a second life, and so does Azu for the same reasons.

Given my lack of Spin/Defog, I can't possibly risk him setting Rocks ever, so I start with a Taunt. From there, I get my Rocks up and weaken Skarm through recoil and Endeavor, which enables Victini Gambit later if need be. On Turn6, I didn't know if I should switch out to keep Mew sack or not, but given than all my setup sweepers were frail and he had tools for all of them, I wanted to start from full health. I setup Charizard vs Skarm because it's already looking great and his switch-in is Gastrodon. I don't expect anything fancy here, probably him EQing to put me in recoil range, or Toxic to grind me out, but that's where Clef will come in handy. There comes the first and biggest problem, he reveals Clear Smog, which throws me off my plan and also means Azu can't hope to set up on it. On the next turn, I go for another Claw, I can crit and if he doesnt Recover, he won't be able to check Zard later, he needs his Gastrodon very healthy for this anyway. It's not working though and it's time to do something else, time to go Serperior.

Serperior is a threat to him and he decides to go Clef instead of Latias. Thanks to the reveal of Sub in the face of Twave, my Serperior is in a very good position and I get past Clef while being healthy, which means Zard won't have to Flare Blitz later. He goes Latias and I don't wanna risk getting paralyzed into Recover spam so I decide to paralyze it, which should be helpful for Azu and Zard later. If Serperior turns out to be the wincon, I can always Healing Wish it with Clef anyway. Now I just need to find an opportunity to set up Azu and I should win.

I go Zard on Lati, expecting a Boltbeam variant and setup on the Gastro switch. Wanting to force a similar situation as earlier wih Serp coming on a Recover, I Dclaw again, but ABR reveals yet another tech here, Counter, blowing my Zard out and now it's getting dire, because Zard was looking good, especially with HWish backup. Victini/Clef can't possibly finish the game, and I'm even at a numerical disadvantage, so I can't just brainlessly Gambit. Even though Serperior is a threat, he has a very probable Scarf Ttar to take care of it, not to mention I won't have enough PPs to get past Latias with the rest now. Azumarill will have to clean this somehow, which is looking doable with Skarm/Gastro low and Latias paralyzed.

My only option vs Gastrodon there is to go Serperior. I force it out as he goes Latias and with a new Leaf Storm being used, I'm struggling to see a way out of this. I'm gonna have to Final Gambit with Victini and formulate a plan based on what he sacks. Victini takes down Latias, so now I have Clef who only has this turn window to take something down with Gambit, a Serperior in Ttar range and Azu. Since I want the option to Copycat Gambit, I go Clef and I'm met with Tyranitar. Now I don't have Moonblast, so this isn't an option to finish off Skarm/Gastrodon. I also can't let Reuniclus setup as otherwise, I won't be able to setup my Azu. I think a lot about what to do there. TWave is useless, Trick I don't think is the play, especially if he decides to stay in with Tyranitar for some reason. My options are HW and CopycatGambit. It was hard to think of what ABR would do here, as I feel like he had a lot of options at his disposal. I decided to ultimately Copycat Gambit to take something out and Azu would probably find a way to win, esp with Serperior backing it up. It's honestly a bit cloudy to remember.

So he does Gastrodon and I think at this point, Azu is looking good. Skarm dies, Reuni should allow me setup and Ttar has to crit Edge to prevent a setup. Admittedly, I didn't think about Helmet + Sand, something I should have taken into account long before setting this endgame up, but there were so many factors to take into consideration throughout the game, it didnt come to mind. So he decided to go Reuni, which probably should have tipped me out. I briefly thought about a Thunder set, and honestly even to fight this possibility off, I probably shouldn't have Drummed. I was so focused on winning through BD that I didn't think of other possibilities. KO + PR there had a chance to kill Reuni depending on rolls. From there, Sitrus Berry could have put me out of Helmet + SE range and give me a better shot at winning the game. I assumed a Standard Reuniclus set, and right after the Drum, I see GK and my Azu is now at 22%, which means it's gonna die to Helmet + Sand. At this point my only option is to get past Skarm with Serperior behind a Sub, and I go for it. Unfortunately, I miss a Leaf Storm, which means I won't have enough PP to kill Reuniclus, despite all the full paras keeping me in the game. The end is obvious, I don't get one last full para and his Reuniclus seals the deal.

All in all, I think I fought this game valiantly given the match-up. I assumed a standard Reuniclus and never thought my Azumarill couldn't set-up in front of it. However, when he sent it instead of Tyranitar vs Azumarill, I should have realized something was up and go for a non-BD endgame. Hindsight is a 20/20 as they say though, I adapted as well as could after all his techs hit which continuously set me back and forcing me to think of a different path. Something else I maybe could have done is that he wouldn't have risked allowing a potential CM Clef to setup vs Scarf Ttar, and as a result I maybe should have relied on a PRough roll to kill Gastrodon (38-45% vs 40% Gastro after Rocks), allowing me to Trick or HW with Clef there instead of CopyGambit. There is also the fact I maybe should have preserved that Leaf PP earlier by doubling Victini into Latias, but it couldn't foresee that endgame.
 
Finals

Game 1 - SM

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-469932
Team: https://pokepast.es/7eeaba8d1ad8408b

Preview analysis: I'm expecting a triple dance core on Tar Chomp Drill. I predict Chomp to be the rocker because it can use rocks + dance, unlike Tar and Drill which need to choose between the two. I don't know the intricacies of the Pex Tang movesets besides the fact that Tang is 100% helmet alongside Z Chomp. As for leads, I don't want him getting off a free sleep powder with Tang so I lead Koko to set the terrain.

He does indeed lead Tang, and I uturn into Clef to get my immediate rocks. Unfortunately he reveals stun spore, and I full para as he goes Exca. It's not an ideal start but I still have my Gliscor to check this and I'm positive its not Z on this team. The game is fairly straightforward and I make all the predictable plays until turn 9, with Glisc vs Chomp. I eq before uturn or anything because the damage is required for Blace / Koko range. On turn 10, I predict any of: rocks, +2 Z outrage, or another sd for +4 Z edge. Koko covers all of these options, but he reveals sub instead. After he reveals sd Drill + sub Chomp, my automatic assumption is that Tar is the rocker (and by extension has pursuit). Because of this, I did not want to ice to break the sub and rely on Blace to revenge Chomp, as it could always be pursuit trapped. So, I uturn to Gliscor on what I expect to be a safe eq. On turn 12, I felt like I was too far behind to deal with Z edge and sub is virtually always paired with outrage, so I get the nice read on him and waste his Z as I go Koko. I manage to come out of this scenario without losing a mon and the game turns from bleak to hopeful very quickly.

Everything is fairly straightforward again until turn 22, with Clef vs Tar. Now, I go for the safe moonblast because I don't want to go Gastro on a potential crunch set, and I didn't expect it but I considered DD on a rocks-less team to be a minor possibility, just knowing Roro and who he's friends with. I get my two moonblasts off and I'm faced with a decision on turn 24. My options of revenging the +2 Tar are Scizor and Gastro. In terms of what I could sack: Clef was still useful vs Tang Pex Chomp; Gliscor Gastro combo was needed to safely stall leech seed; Blace and Koko were both huge offensive threats; and all that's remaining is Scizor itself, which was at 6% and could die to Tang's helmet. So, I decide to keep my advantage and sack Sciz even though it meant risking a freeze on my Gastro. On turn 28 I opted to go Gliscor because it covered the immediate eq, let me heal out of +2 outrage after 1 more switch in, and even if he danced I had the pivot option afterwards. I still feel ahead and try to sack Clef but make 1 more Glisc switch just because it is absolutely free.

I bring in Blace to revenge and it's time to see what kind of damage it's doing. It does a massive 47% and I know with one drop or crit I'll be able to close out the game, and I have many opportunities to fish for one. I go Gastro one time to get it out of heavy slam range but then go Gliscor to avoid getting toxic'd. I uturn expecting a switch but going Koko on haze works out as well. I mostly attack in front of me with Koko, get to weaken Celes into sball range, and pivot to get the clown in once again. On turn 46 I get my first drop and the game is guaranteed over. It was a turbulent one with the pressure from his triple dance core but being patient with my offensive threats let me come out on top in the end.

Game 2 - BW

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen5ou-469991
Team: https://pokepast.es/ca217ca15e31a187

Preview analysis: I'm assuming his sets to be bulky Toed, poison heal Loom, specs Lati, scarf Lando, rocks Jirachi, and specs Keld. I predict him to either lead with his own Breloom or one of Jirachi / Lati to counter lead mine.

He leads with Lando and I play it safe with the Rotom switch turn 1. I figure he knows I'm scarf regardless so I might as well get my volt chip on Lati regardless, and if he goes Lando, I can just slow volt on his faster uturn the next turn. He throws a wrench in my plan however as he reveals the non choice Lando and gets chip + momentum yet again. I don't want to volt again but I also don't want to overpredict his Lando as he dracos, so I just go to my Jirachi. He makes the Lando play again and really is just not taking his foot off the pedal here. He brings in Loom and I sack Rotom to bring in my Latios. Normally I'd have doubled to my own Jirachi here but I feared him going for the +2 mach damage in order to chip me to ease a scarf Keld sweep (after he revealed non scarf Lando).

Fast forward a bit and I go Tenta vs Rachi instead of my own because it can threaten Lando on a uturn or get a free sub after rocks. He goes Poli after uturn and I tect to see what he wants to do as he encores. At this point, I shift to thinking Poli is scarf with him going for encore to stop my rapid spin, and so I go Jirachi to get my own rocks and bring Lando into Tenta range. He fortunately ends up sacking it to my fast Tenta and then brings in Breloom. I get quite lucky and crit into burn him as he gets 2 hits with bullet seed each time. I go Jirachi on Lati and go for my free body slam on the switch as I manage to para Keld and get 3 flinches on top of that. I go for the uturn on turn 35 because he is not quite in body slam range yet and I can afford my Lati sack. I try to flinch down his Jirachi as well but he reveals healing wish to revive what I assume to be a specs Keldeo.

He reveals scarf in fact and after my Loom goes down I have to bring in Tenta. At this point though, I still believe Toed is scarf and that he is running a double scarf team. I contemplated the immediate protect here but did not want him to go Toed and threaten encore, so I just decide to Scald. He stays in and at this point I just commit to killing the Keld in front of me with the plan of subbing on Toed later if I can para it with Jirachi. On turn 55 I have my potential chance to set this up with a protect into Sub on full para but I predicted him to go Latios to circumvent this cycle altogether. My only real out at this point was to crit and/or burn as he went Latios and I got multiple protects afterwards. He unfortunately stays in and does not para, which effectively seals the game. I feel with this one he just had way too much early momentum and kept it up to a point where I was really too far behind to come back. I got close due to some luck but the healing wish and unexpected sets kept him afloat until the end.

Game 3 - ORAS

Replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen6ou-470052
Team: https://pokepast.es/c6bd470f760d6242

Preview analysis: I know Charizard is X, Victini is gambit, Azu is drum. Aside from that, I know Serp is glare but I'm not sure if sub or screens. Mew Clef are hard to predict overall but overall rocks Mew + cm Clef is what I'm expecting most. I don't want to lead with Lati for the synchronized twave para as I'm still planning to keep it for Azu and Serp, and I want to preserve Tar's speed as well. My least useful mon is Skarmory and It can brave bird Mew down into Tar range. Additionally, if he decides to lead with his gambit Victini I can survive with sturdy and get a spike off.

Skarm vs Mew is the lead matchup, and I go for spikes turn 1 because it's low risk and can potentially catch him clicking something else. On turn 4 I go for roost because I'm expecting something like explosion last and I want to kill Mew as taunt wears off. He brings in Zard and I go Gastro because in this type of fast paced game preserving sacks will be essential and it is a hard counter to Zard X. I considered the immediate counter on turn 8 but I was fearing something like a 2nd dragon dance into outrage and smog on claw was still safe. He brings in Serp and I go Clef before Lati because at this point I still intend to keep Lati for Azu. Turn 12 was perhaps a bit greedy but I didn't expect him to waste hp for nothing on an expected attack and so it seemed perfectly free. He subs however and I flame to break sub but this requires a shift in plan.

I have to go Latias and embrace the glare while I get Serp into Tar range. This is crucial because it means I lose my only way of surviving a +6 Azu hit. From this point on, I have to be able to damage Azu enough on drum to get it into range of Skarm's helmet and potential rounds of sand. This means that Tar can never crunch or pursuit, and must always stone edge. This means that Reuni can't have its special attack dropped or be without orb. In the following turns I make all the straightforward plays and am able to surprise his Zard with counter. I bring Latias in on Serp and recover as he goes Victini. Turn 21 is a pivotal moment in the game and from this point on I will outline my turn by turn thought process, accompanied by all relevant calcs.

8 SpA Life Orb Reuniclus Grass Knot (60 BP) vs. 92 HP / 0 SpD Azumarill: 166-198 (45.6 - 54.3%)
8 SpA Life Orb Reuniclus Psyshock vs. 56 HP / 0 Def Serperior: 142-169 (46.5 - 55.4%)
8 SpA Reuniclus Grass Knot (60 BP) vs. 92 HP / 0 SpD Azumarill: 128-152 (35.1 - 41.7%)
8 SpA Reuniclus Psyshock vs. 56 HP / 0 Def Serperior: 109-130 (35.7 - 42.6%)

252 Atk Tyranitar Stone Edge vs. 92 HP / 0 Def Azumarill: 202-238 (55.4 - 65.3%)
252 Atk Tyranitar Crunch vs. 56 HP / 0 Def Serperior: 141-166 (46.2 - 54.4%)

252+ Atk Huge Power Azumarill Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 252 HP / 248+ Def Reuniclus: 224-264 (52.8 - 62.2%)
252+ Atk Huge Power Azumarill Play Rough vs. 252 HP / 248+ Def Reuniclus: 156-184 (36.7 - 43.3%)
252+ Atk Huge Power Azumarill Aqua Jet vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tyranitar: 150-176 (43.8 - 51.4%)
252+ Atk Huge Power Azumarill Play Rough vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Gastrodon: 163-193 (38.2 - 45.3%)

200 SpA Serperior Leaf Storm vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Skarmory: 46-55 (13.7 - 16.4%)
200 SpA Serperior Leaf Storm vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tyranitar in Sand: 186-222 (54.3 - 64.9%)
200 SpA Serperior Leaf Storm vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Reuniclus: 160-190 (37.7 - 44.8%)
+2 200 SpA Serperior Leaf Storm vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Reuniclus: 321-378 (75.7 - 89.1%)
+6 200 SpA Serperior Hidden Power Fire vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Reuniclus: 197-232 (46.4 - 54.7%)

+1 0 SpA Clefable Moonblast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Gastrodon: 172-204 (40.3 - 47.8%)

21 - His options are uturn or final gambit. If he uturns as I switch to any other pokemon, Azu gets a kill for free, without even needing to drum. If I stay in on uturn, I can get a twave off on whatever he decides to bring in. If he gambits, I'm technically best off sacking Gastro, as Reuni Skarm Tar all play a crucial role in this endgame and preventing my loss to Azu or Serp. Keeping Lati would offer the bonus check vs Serp, but I did not want to throw away my current advantage on a potential uturn, and I still felt favored even if I stayed on gambit.

22 - I wanted to go Tar for the immediate sand chip on either Serp or Azu so they would be potentially out of range otherwise. Additionally, I felt confident enough in preserving my Reuni for his Clef. He sends in Clef. His options, in my mind, are moonblast or cm. I must keep Skarm for Azu. I don't want to keep Tar in because it can still revenge Serp and Azu at this point, and chipping Clef offers me virtually nothing. I could go to Reuni technically but that would risk the special attack drop I referenced beforehand. An early recover on an Azu switch could also force an awkward scenario where I have to stay in to prevent drum but then I also risk losing my Clef answer. Gastro, meanwhile, not only covers the immediate moonblast better, but also has a solid chance to live the +1 moonblast. Taking all these factors into account, I make the Gastro switch as he reveals the copycat final gambit. This was a surprise to me but nonetheless a pleasant one, as it meant Clefable no longer posed a threat and I got to keep my Reuniclus at full health.

23 - His options are Serp or Azu. My options are Tar or Reuni. Tar vs Serp means I have to hit two edges. Tar vs Azu means I have to hit one edge. Reuni vs Serp means I go for psyshock on the glare and either need to break through 2 paras or just 1 of 2 vs Serp and then I'd need to either dodge leaf storm or survive the leaf storm + knock roll, which is still in my favor. Reuni vs Azu means I can either gknot on the drum to almost always win, or I can survive the favorable knock into play rough roll and win that way. If he gets the roll, I still have a shot to hit 2 edges afterwards and get rolls on my end. All in all, Reuniclus makes for a more statistically likely win. He sends Azu, drums, and I grass knot him down to 22%, which dies to helmet + sand as intended.

24 - The game is nearly sealed at this point. His options are to stay in or switch to Serp. My options are to stay in and psyshock Serp, or to make the Skarm switch. Psyshock vs Serp and going Skarm on Azu are both 100% wins. If I stay on knock I can lose to Skarm para'ing vs Serp. If I go Skarm as he goes Serp, I can only lose to para on sub -> para on leaf (while living) -> as well as him hitting all 4 leaf storms. If leaf storm kills my Skarm right away then I can use Reuni to eat the +2 hit and win with Tar's crunch. He was very low on time so I wasn't sure if he was considering the recoil kill, and I also was confident enough in my odds to play it as safe as possible from here. I go Skarm as he does opt to go Serp.

25 - Brave bird is the only play.

26 - ^

27 - ^^

28 - ^^^

29 - If I go Reuniclus, he kills me with Leaf storm, glares Tar, and Azu wins with play rough. So, I go Tar to break the sub.

30 - I would likely die from +6 hp fire into knock off, so I calm mind to end with as much hp as possible vs Azu.

31 - He reveals leech seed as his last move which means my Reuniclus remains at 100% as Serp dies regardless.

32 - There is no need to delay this further as I psyshock to take out the Serp.

33 - I can win the tournament on this turn. The only way I lose at this point is either by consecutive paras or by a single para alongside an unfavorable knock into play rough roll. I fortunately break through on this turn and my "YES" illustrates the release of emotion perfectly.

Thank you for reading and for all the kind words shared in this thread.
 
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