Team Report The Gunner Turtle and The Dragonic Shark (Top 16 Victory Road Qualifier 4)

Approved By: zeefable

Hey everyone, I'm Helios of Sun (though I prefer to just be referred to as Helios) and I recently got Top 16 at the first major event I participated in, the Victory Road Qualifier 4. As a quick introduction to myself, I played a small amount of VGC in 2013, then stopped for the next 7 years. Once 2021 rolled around, I came back to VGC in late January and kept spamming the Showdown Ladder and watching replays to see how I could improve at the game. Maybe you know me, maybe you don't, but if you do, it's probably because I'm an annoying prick that can't stop talking in VGC chat.

Funny enough, I originally did not intend to play in this Victory Road qualifier, but since quite a few of my APAC League Teammates and several of The Boys were playing, I thought it might be a good idea to try it out, and see how far I would go.

With that, now, after about 4 months into VGC, I entered my first major event (frankly, by pure chance) and managed to get Top 16, so today I'll be writing this Team Report about the team I used in the tour.


So, before I get into the teambuilding aspect, I would like to give a disclaimer that the first teams that I build while teambuilding are often not too great. So whenever I see a cool core that my friends built, I normally go one way around before realizing that the teams I build are not good, and just end up using the ones they built in the first place.

To begin the teambuilding, one of my friends, ApronVGC, was talking about this really cool Registeel team that he got from another one of my friends, clippers1235. When I asked Apron more about it, he explained that it was a team that was similar to the Blastoise team that JoeUX9 built as one of his Series 9 Rentals, but with Garchomp on it instead of Landorus. For reference, the video that Apron was talking about is below here:

With that, I entered a few room tours with that team, not thinking much about it, and was top 4 or better in all the tours. From then on, my immediate thought was "Wow, this team is not that bad, I'll probably only use it in room tours, but not much else", and then I went to try out new teams, such as the ChompSteela core that was really rising in popularity.

A few weeks later, I was supporting ColdingLight in his run through Rose Tower, and watched PinkSylvie's stream as she was battling him. For reference, her pokepaste, as I can extract from Victory Road, is shown here:

When I saw her play the team, I was very much impressed by both the way she was playing and how the team worked, and I was inspired to make a team that built around the core of Registeel and buffing it up with Max Quakes from Landorus-Therian. With that in mind, I built the first iteration of the team, as shown below:

:Incineroar: :Landorus-Therian: :Blastoise: :Regieleki: :Rillaboom: :Registeel:

With this team, I entered a Mt. Silver tour for the week, and went 2-0 before dropping for the week (primarily because it was 1am my time). After that, I just rested on this team iteration, and just kept laddering with it.

However, as I kept playing the team more and more, I just realized something very crucial with the team: This team just autoloses to Defiant Thundurus. With that in mind, I just kept testing iteration after iteration... to not much success. Some time later, and maybe about 20 hours before the VR tour itself, I talked to clippers and Apron and got their thoughts on the team, where they all recommended me the 6 that I ultimately chose for the tournament in the end. After testing it in maybe 10 ladder matches and winning a large majority of them, (rose from 1350 to 1500 in a quick session) I just decided to use this team and enter the tournament with it.

So without further ado, here is the six:

:Blastoise: :Garchomp: :Rillaboom: :Registeel: :Grimmsnarl: :Rotom-Heat:
Let's take a further look at the team now:

Blastoise-Gmax @ Life Orb
Ability: Torrent
Level: 50
EVs: 148 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 100 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Water Spout
- Scald
- Blizzard
- Protect​

Blastoise-Gmax is quite possibly the star Pokemon on the team. I led this along with Grimmsnarl in nearly 60-70% of the games I played, and the amount of work it has put in with Cannonades and Hailstorms are immense, and the team really does not work without it.

For its pairing with Grimmsnarl, it works extremely well due to how bulky Blastoise is in general, so with Screens, Blastoise really does not take much damage from most non-supereffective attacks. This means that Blastoise often gets off 3 Max moves before going down, which is extremely valuable. It also gets Fake Tears support from Grimmsnarl, which is very useful when trying to deal with dynamax threats.

Garchomp @ White Herb
Ability: Rough Skin
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Rock Slide
- Earthquake
- Protect​

Garchomp is another one of the team's main sweepers. It is a fairly standard build, barring the fact that it has White Herb instead of Life Orb (because Blastoise is already holding the Life Orb).

What it achieves in this team is twofold. It is able to give Registeel Special Defense boosts, and it is also a strong Dynamax threat that is able to deal massive amounts of damage in general, in case Blastoise does not have a great matchup against the enemy team.

Rillaboom-Gmax @ Miracle Seed
Ability: Grassy Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 172 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 44 SpD / 36 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Grassy Glide
- Wood Hammer
- Protect​

This mon has been so valuable through my run throughout Victory Road. Rillaboom, as most people are aware of, is one of the strongest late game threats in the game, and it particularly holds its weight in this team as great cleanup for after Blastoise deals chip with Cannonade.

The team in general also struggles with water-types in general, so Rillaboom also does a great deal of work there, doing massive amounts of damage to mons such as Rotom-Wash, Urshifu Rapid-Strike, and some others.

Registeel @ Leftovers
Ability: Clear Body
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 180 Def / 76 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Iron Defense
- Body Press
- Flash Cannon
- Protect​

Now we have reached the fun part, Registeel, the original reason why this team was built.

It ended up not coming in many of the games that I played, but in the games where it was brought, it played a huge role in winning crucial endgames for the team. With the Special Defense boost coming from Garchomp's Max Quakes and Defense Boosts coming from Iron Defense, it became a nearly unkillable mon, and could clean up with powerful Body Presses.

Grimmsnarl (M) @ Light Clay
Ability: Prankster
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 204 Def / 52 SpD
Careful Nature
- Reflect
- Light Screen
- Spirit Break
- Fake Tears​

If a mon had to take EVP for the entire run, I would definitely pick Grimmsnarl as one of them. The amount of annoyance this mon caused to other players during the run was immense.

Reflect, Light Screen and Spirit Break does what they normally do, but the pick of Fake Tears was something that ended up coming huge in the run. I came in not expecting to face too much Trick Room (which thankfully was the case), so I thought that Fake Tears would come in very useful considering that I had Blastoise and Rotom-Heat on the team, that really benefitted from the move.

Rotom-Heat @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Levitate
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 12 Def / 108 SpA / 4 SpD / 140 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Overheat
- Thunderbolt
- Protect​

Rotom-Heat is really here just as an answer to sun, though it also held its weight in some other matchups such as the Glastrier one, where it is able to max reliably without drawbacks. In the matches where it came in however, it was a crucial member of the team that was really clutch in several specific matchups.

Similarly to Blastoise, it also pairs with Grimmsnarl, and is able to abuse Fake Tears in order to hit opposing mons way harder than you normally are supposed to. There were several instances where this was crucial, as you thus do not need to have a Nasty Plot boost if you want to hit something hard.


Do note that the tournament was quite a bit ago, so I may not remember every single turn detail to the dot. Though, I'll summarize what I did.

Swiss Rounds:

Game 1 vs InkVG (InkVGC) - Match Score: 2 - 0

Opponent's Team:
:Spectrier: :Togekiss: :Urshifu Rapid-Strike: :Landorus-Therian: :Regieleki: :Incineroar:

This matchup I considered fairly even, though Garchomp did fairly well against most of his team. In game 1, I lead Garchomp Grimmsnarl and was able to rip through his team quite easily with the power of it, but in game 2, I used Blastoise instead predicting him to try to lead something against my Garchomp. As he led Spectrier instead, it made my life a little harder, but he was unable to break through Blastoise, and I was thus able to win the second game.

Game 2 vs Pint0 - Match Score: 2 - 0

Opponent's Team:
:Cobalion: :Clefable: :Dragapult: :Tapu Fini: :Porygon2: :Marowak-Alola:

This matchup was quite good for me. In both games, I maxed Blastoise, and it did an immense amount of work in the games. As he was unable to efficiently take down my Blastoise after screens went up, it was quite easy for me to do cleanup lategame, and won because of it.

Game 3 vs Alberto - Match Score: 2 - 0

Opponent's Team:
:Incineroar: :Amoonguss: :Tapu Fini: :Glastrier: :Dusclops: :Moltres-Galar:

Game 1 was Rotom-Heat paradise. Looking at his team, there was nothing that could stop my Rotom-Heat if I got Fake Tears up on Glastrier, and I won because of that. In game 2, I do believe I led Blastoise predicting a Moltres-Galar and Incineroar lead to stop my Rotom-Heat, and since I got it right, I was able to take two clean games and advance to R4 with a 3-0 score.

Game 4 vs SenorCamikasa (seniorcamikasa) - Match Score: 1 - 2

Opponent's Team:
:Garchomp: :Celesteela: :Grimmsnarl: :Amoonguss: :Incineroar: :Rotom-Wash:

I remember walking into this match thinking it was doomed based on matchup alone. I lost game 1 quite handily as I was unable to break through Rotom-Wash (carelessly let Rillaboom go). In Game 2, I managed to claw back by bringing Rotom-Heat instead of Registeel, while in game 3, I remember being in a situation where I lost because my Rillaboom got flinched by Garchomp's Rock Slide as I attempted to KO it with Wood Hammer. Oh well, hax is hax.

Game 5 vs PokeAlex (PokeAlex_) - Match Score: 2 - 1

Opponent's Team:
:Landorus-Therian: :Regieleki: :Grimmsnarl: :Registeel: :Moltres-Galar: :Spectrier:

Looking at this game, I knew that Blastoise was going to be MVP of this match. PokeAlex led Spectrier Moltres the first two games, while I led Grimmsnarl Blastoise trying to ensure that Spectrier does not become too big an annoyance. I remember losing game 1 to a good read by PokeAlex (protecting Regieleki as I tried to Spirit Break it), and while he tried to play out the game the same way in game 2, I did not take the bait and won because of it. Game 3 was an awkward game, as he led Registeel instead of Spectrier. Here, I managed to pull out the game with my Garchomp, making some good reads in the process.

Game 6 vs Mogar (MogarChu) - Match Score: 2 - 0

Opponent's Team:
:Chansey: :Shuckle: :Liepard: :Hatterene: :Indeedee: :Spectrier:

Never knew that all my practice against oldcigarette would come in handy one day. From watching oldcigarette play Chansey a good number of times, I slowly was able to learn the weaknesses of the team, so I was rather prepared coming into this matchup. As this team did not naturally have a great matchup into Chansey, I had to rely on a bit of luck in order to win the game. As my Registeel was able to land Body Press when I needed it to, I was able to eventually win the game. With this, I managed to Top Cut my first big tournament!

Game 7 vs Torviv (TorvivVGC) - Match Score: Didn't Play
So frankly, I was really tired after 6 rounds of Swiss, so I gave the match to him and focused on preparing for Top Cut.

When top cut was announced, I was very sad. I was up against Arekusabi R1, one of The Boys and a friend of mine. As we lamented about how unlucky we were, it was quite late, so I went to sleep and decided to do prep the next day.

Before top cut, I talked to Melvin about what my gameplans in top cut was going to be. We played quite a few test games and we were able to more accurately pinpoint what my win conditions each game was going to be.

Top Cut:

Top 32 Match vs Arekusabi (AlexavierAlvar3) - Match Score: 2 - 0

Opponent's Team:

This matchup was very much in my favour. If I took down any one of Venusaur, Stakataka or Torkoal, the game was mine, with Blastoise, Rotom-H or Registeel. With this gameplan, I went into both games. I led Rillaboom Rotom-H game 1 while he led Porygon2 Venusaur, meaning that I was able to get a free Nasty Plot off after Faking Out the Porygon2. With that Nasty Plot, I was able to plough through Areku's Venusaur, meaning that my Blastoise was able to clean up the late game quite handily. I unfortunately do remember him missing one crucial Rock Slide with Stakataka, which most definitely mattered, making my gameplan to clean up the game much easier. In game 2, I led Grimmsnarl Blastoise predicting a Stakataka switchup on his end, but he continued leading Porygon2 Venusaur and my plan somewhat falls apart. I was however, able to pivot in Rotom-H safely, and killed his Venusaur with Fake Tears Overheat, meaning that my Blastoise was able to very easily clean up the rest of the game from then on.

Top 16 Match vs AuraRayquaza (AuraRayquaza) - Match Score: 0 - 2

Opponent's Team:

So the gods of hax decided that I had enough hax, and rained down hax upon me. If anyone was listening to me complain after the match, you know that I was quite emotional and I really did think that I deserved to win that game.

Game 1 was a toss and turn as he maxed Togekiss against my Garchomp Grimmsnarl lead, and I managed to get enough chip to ensure that Fake Tears Max Lightning killed the Togekiss on the following turn. Afterwards, we played towards an endgame scenario where my Rotom-H got 3 turn slept and afterwards missed a crucial Overheat on the opposing Rillaboom, meaning that it can take out my Garchomp. This eventually cost me Game 1. In Game 2, he led Regieleki instead and I had the same leads, so I was able to get up a Swords Dance and was in a fantastic position. However, I ended off in an endgame scenario where I foolishly tried to set the stage for Garchomp to do cleanup against his low HP Togekiss and Urshifu-Rapid Strike, but I missed a crucial Rock Slide (that would kill his Togekiss), and lost because of it.

My run in Victory Road came to a rather bittersweet ending, and although I was able to Top Cut my first big tournament, I was sad as I definitely could've made it further. Oh well, I'll do my best at the next event I enter!


Really, more of a shoutouts section, because there are many people I want to shoutout.

Shoutouts to JoeUX9 for building the original variant of the team and giving me advice for dealing with long tourneys such as VR, Shaman for helping me with gameplans against my top cut opponents, zeefable for inviting me to The Boys (which was really what started to propel my ability at Pokemon), all of The Boys for giving me advice along the teambuilding stages, and my APAC League teammates for helping me practice and also teaching me gameplans and such.

Special shoutouts to clippers1235 and ApronVGC for helping me with teambuilding, and AaPokemon, in cineraire, AldrichYan, Arekusabi and zeefable for playing along in the VR tour with me, or just accompanying me during my run in general! The support from these guys were definitely fantastic!
Good games! Great run and cool team, Blastoise is something I've found really neat. Game 1 I will admit the overheat miss was fortunate though i believe i had odds to win if my hypnosis hit the same turn. Game 2 I actually remember the because I was praying for no flinch, but this is the calc (I was at 91 hp on Togekiss):

252 Atk Garchomp Rock Slide vs. 196 HP / 0 Def Togekiss: 68-80 (36.7 - 43.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
(68, 68, 68, 70, 70, 72, 72, 72, 74, 74, 76, 76, 76, 78, 78, 80)

And in fact i protected urshifu that turn to get a second turn of grassy terrain healing for this:
252 Atk Garchomp Rock Slide vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: 16-19 (9.1 - 10.8%)
Good games! Great run and cool team, Blastoise is something I've found really neat. Game 1 I will admit the overheat miss was fortunate though i believe i had odds to win if my hypnosis hit the same turn. Game 2 I actually remember the because I was praying for no flinch, but this is the calc (I was at 91 hp on Togekiss):

252 Atk Garchomp Rock Slide vs. 196 HP / 0 Def Togekiss: 68-80 (36.7 - 43.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
(68, 68, 68, 70, 70, 72, 72, 72, 74, 74, 76, 76, 76, 78, 78, 80)

And in fact i protected urshifu that turn to get a second turn of grassy terrain healing for this:
252 Atk Garchomp Rock Slide vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: 16-19 (9.1 - 10.8%)
I may have remembered the game wrongly.
I was admittedly feeling a little emotional after missing the Rock Slide as it looked like it was in a range where Rock Slide would definitely kill. Maybe I was wrong, and I apologize if so. It was a fun set though, and thanks for clarifying!
Amazing team report my guy! It's quite shocking to me that u got top cut in only 4 months of playing vgc 2021, but I never ladder so I don't know if you can really make that much improvement

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