Tournament The World Cup of Pokemon 2020: OU Discussion

TPP

White Knight
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TPP

White Knight
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RMT Leader
Round 1:

SS OU #1:

[LAT] Gtcha vs Tamahome [BRA]
[LAT] Gtcha vs Samqian [USS]
[LAT] Gtcha vs Stallion [OCN]
[USS] Samqian vs Tamahome [BRA]
[USS] Samqian vs Stallion [OCN]
[BRA] Tamahome vs Stallion [OCN]

SS OU #2:
[SPA] reiku vs Evigaro [CAN]
[SPA] reiku vs Mysterious M [GRE]
[SPA] reiku vs mind gaming [GER]
[CAN] Evigaro vs mind gaming [GER]
[CAN] Evigaro vs Mysterious M [GRE]
[GRE] Mysterious M vs mind gaming [GER]

SS OU #3:
[USW] jake vs dice [USM]
[USW] jake vs Altina [ASI]
[USW] Vaboh vs Welli0u [FRA]
[USM] dice vs Altina [ASI]
[USM] dice vs Welli0u [FRA]
[ASI] Altina vs Welli0u [FRA]

SS OU #4:
[ITA] Lopunny Kicks vs Void [EUR]
[ITA] Lopunny Kicks vs robjr [USN]
[ITA] Lopunny Kicks vs Floss [IND]
[EUR] Void vs robjr [USN]
[EUR] Void vs Floss [IND]
[USN] robjr vs Floss [IND]

SS OU #5:
[LAT] Raichy vs M Dragon [SPA]
[LAT] Raichy vs Sjneider [USW]
[LAT] Raichy vs -Niko- [ITA]
[SPA] M Dragon vs Sjneider [USW]
[SPA] M Dragon vs H.M.N.I.P [ITA]
[USW] Sjneider vs -Niko- [ITA]

SS OU #6:
[OCN] 199 Lives vs Malekith [SPA]
[OCN] 199 Lives vs Tace [USM]
[OCN] 199 Lives vs bro fist [USN]
[SPA] Malekith vs Tace [USM]
[SPA] Malekith vs bro fist [USN]
[USM] Tace vs bro fist [USN]

SS OU #7:
[USS] jacob vs Bobby Dagen [SPA]
[USS] Christo vs devinn [ASI]
[USS] Christo vs Rexus [ITA]
[SPA] Bobby Dagen vs Sweepage [ASI]
[SPA] Bobby Dagen vs Rexus [ITA]
[ASI] devinn vs Rexus [ITA]

SS OU #8:
[BRA] Luigi vs SoulWind [SPA]
[BRA] Luigi vs BIHI [FRA]
[BRA] Luigi vs Finchinator [USN]
[SPA] SoulWind vs BIHI [FRA]
[SPA] SoulWind vs Finchinator [USN]
[FRA] BIHI vs Finchinator [USN]

SS OU #9:
[LAT] Flamita vs watashi [CAN]
[LAT] Flamita vs Luthier [USM]
[LAT] Gondra vs Pohjis [EUR]
[CAN] watashi vs Luthier [USM]
[CAN] watashi vs Pohjis [EUR]
[USM] Luthier vs Pohjis [EUR]

SS OU #10:
[OCN] March Fires vs Jrdn [CAN]
[OCN] March Fires vs Analytic [ASI]
[OCN] March Fires vs SANJAY [IND]
[CAN] Jrdn vs Analytic [ASI]
[CAN] Jrdn vs SANJAY [IND]
[ASI] Analytic vs SANJAY [IND]

SS OU #11:
[USS] FMG vs tokyo tom [CAN]
[USS] FMG vs Cdumas [FRA]
[USS] FMG vs Bloody alfa [EUR]
[CAN] tokyo tom vs Cdumas [FRA]
[CAN] tokyo tom vs Bloody alfa [EUR]
[FRA] Cdumas vs Bloody alfa [EUR]

SS OU #12:
[BRA] ggggd vs Hayburner [CAN]
[BRA] ggggd vs Valentine [USW]
[BRA] ggggd vs Blimax [IND]
[CAN] Hayburner vs Valentine [USW]
[CAN] Hayburner vs Blimax [IND]
[USW] Valentine vs Blimax [IND]

SS OU #13:
[LAT] xImRaptor vs [GER] Relous
[LAT] xImRaptor vs ShinyAzelf [ASI]
[LAT] xImRaptor vs Gilbert arenas
[GER] Relous vs ShinyAzelf [ASI]
[GER] Relous vs Gilbert arenas [USN]
[ASI] ShinyAzelf vs Gilbert arenas [USN]

SS OU #14:
[OCN] Ninjadog vs [GER] xray
[OCN] Ninjadog vs [FRA] Sacri'
[OCN] Ninjadog vs [ITA] Empo
[GER] xray vs [FRA] Sacri'
[GER] xray vs [ITA] Empo
[FRA] Sacri' vs [ITA] Empo

SS OU #15:
[USS] FlamingVictini vs [GER] Dragon Claw
[USS] FlamingVictini vs [USW] blarghlfarghl
[USS] FlamingVictini vs [USN] ABR
[GER] Dragon Claw vs [USW] blarghlfarghl
[GER] Dragon Claw vs [USN] ABR
[USW] Waylaid vs [USN] ABR

SS OU #16:
[BRA] Nintendi vs [GER] AdvanceShip
[BRA] Nintendi vs [USM] UltraBallz
[BRA] Nintendi vs [ITA] Raiza
[GER] AdvanceShip vs [USM] UltraBallz
[GER] AdvanceShip vs [ITA] Raiza
[USM] UltraBallz vs [ITA] Raiza

SS OU #17:
[LAT] Leo vs [GRE] Astamatitos
[LAT] Leo vs [FRA] Kickasser
[LAT] Leo vs [IND] J0RIS
[GRE] Astamatitos vs [FRA] Kickasser
[GRE] Astamatitos vs [IND] J0RIS
[FRA] Kickasser vs [IND] J0RIS

SS OU #18:
[OCN] GypsyKing vs [GRE] CBU
[OCN] GypsyKing vs [USW] lax
[OCN] GypsyKing vs [EUR] Twixtry
[GRE] CBU vs [USW] lax
[GRE] CBU vs [EUR] Twixtry
[USW] Boat vs [EUR] Twixtry

SS OU #19:
[USS] d0nut vs [GRE] roudolf13
[USS] d0nut vs [USM] Nails
[USS] d0nut vs [IND] Winterains
[GRE] roudolf13 vs [USM] Nails
[GRE] roudolf13 vs [IND] Winterains
[USM] Nails vs [IND] Winterains

SS OU #20:
[BRA] Century Express vs [GRE] BluBirD252
[BRA] Century Express vs [ASI] Xiri
[BRA] Century Express vs [EUR] frisoeva
[GRE] BluBirD252 vs [ASI] Xiri
[GRE] BluBirD252 vs [EUR] frisoeva
[ASI] Xiri vs [EUR] frisoeva

SS OU #21:
[USS] Eo Ut Mortus vs [BRA] mncmt
[USS] Eo Ut Mortus vs [USW] ima
[USS] Eo Ut Mortus vs [USM] SPACE FORCE meeps
[BRA] mncmt vs [USW] ima
[BRA] mncmt vs [USM] Mannat
[USW] ima vs [USM] Mannat

SS OU #22:
[CAN] Kev vs [ITA] Santu
[CAN] Soulgazer vs [GRE] Ace-11
[CAN] Kev vs [USN] Insult
[ITA] Santu vs [GRE] Ace-11
[ITA] Santu vs [USN] Insult
[GRE] Ace-11 vs [USN] Insult

SS OU #23:
[ASI] Alpha Rabbit vs [FRA] Corazan
[ASI] Alpha Rabbit vs [LAT] ZDen
[ASI] Alpha Rabbit vs [OCN] false
[FRA] Corazan vs [LAT] ZDen
[FRA] Corazan vs [OCN] false
[LAT] ZDen vs [OCN] false

SS OU #24:
[SPA] Garay Oak vs [EUR] TonyFlygon
[SPA] Garay Oak vs [GER] Ewin
[SPA] Garay Oak vs [IND] Serene Grace
[EUR] TonyFlygon vs [GER] Ewin
[EUR] TonyFlygon vs [IND] Serene Grace
[GER] Ewin vs [IND] Serene Grace

SS OU #25:
[USS] TDK vs [CAN] Jytcampbell
[USS] TDK vs [ASI] Sharow
[USS] TDK vs [ITA] Tricking
[CAN] Jytcampbell vs [ASI] Sharow
[CAN] Jytcampbell vs [ITA] Tricking
[ASI] Sharow vs [ITA] Tricking

SS OU #26:
[BRA] Eternal Spirit vs [GRE] the pharoah
[BRA] Eternal Spirit vs [FRA] Fairy Peak
[BRA] Eternal Spirit vs [USN] Star
[GRE] the pharoah vs [FRA] Fairy Peak
[GRE] the pharoah vs [USN] Star
[FRA] Fairy Peak vs [USN] Star

SS OU #27:
[USW] rozes vs [GRE] Savouras
[USW] rozes vs [LAT] beatiful
[USW] rozes vs [ITA] Kebab mlml
[GRE] Savouras vs [LAT] beatiful
[GRE] Savouras vs [ITA] Kebab mlml
[LAT] beatiful vs [ITA] Kebab mlml

SS OU #28:
[USM] Loki vs [CAN] Splash
[USM] Loki vs [OCN] byronthewellwell
[USM] Loki vs [USN] teal6
[CAN] Splash vs [OCN] byronthewellwell
[CAN] Texas Cloverleaf vs [USN] teal6
[OCN] byronthewellwell vs [USN] teal6

SS OU #29:
[USS] TPP vs [SPA] Trosko
[USS] TPP vs [FRA] RedEmption
[USS] TPP vs [EUR] Eeveeto
[SPA] Trosko vs [FRA] RedEmption
[SPA] Trosko vs [EUR] Eeveeto
[FRA] RedEmption vs [EUR] Eeveeto

SS OU #30:
[BRA] Ash KetchumGamer vs [GER] Lord_Enz
[BRA] Ash KetchumGamer vs [LAT] Feliburn
[BRA] Ash KetchumGamer vs [IND] OminousDraco
[GER] Lord_Enz vs [LAT] Feliburn
[GER] Lord_Enz vs [IND] OminousDraco
[LAT] Feliburn vs [IND] Raj.Shoot

SS OU #31:
[USW] z0mOG vs [GER] Gefährlicher Random
[USW] z0mOG vs [OCN] Snowy
[USW] z0mOG vs [EUR] Quaze
[GER] Gefährlicher Random vs [OCN] Snowy
[GER] Gefährlicher Random vs [EUR] Quaze
[OCN] Snowy vs [EUR] Quaze

SS OU #32:
[USM] John W vs [SPA] Axel
[USM] John W vs [ASI] pj
[USM] John W vs [IND] So Noisy
[SPA] Axel vs [ASI] pj
[SPA] Axel vs [IND] So Noisy
[ASI] pj vs [IND] So Noisy

Quarterfinals:
:urshifu:1. Germany vs 8. Greece:latios:

[GER] Gefährlicher Random vs the pharoah [GRE]
[GER] Lord_Enz vs BluBirD252 [GRE]
[GER] xray vs Mysterious M [GRE]
[GER] Ewin vs CBU [GRE]
[GER] Relous vs Astamatitos [GRE]
[GER] mind gaming vs Ace-11 [GRE]
[GER] Steve Angello vs roudolf13 [GRE]
[GER] AdvanceShip vs Laz [GRE]

:alcremie:2. Italy vs 7. Latin America:Ho-oh:

[ITA] H.M.N.I.P vs Gtcha [LAT]
[ITA] Tricking vs Lets In The Sun [LAT]
[ITA] Alexander. vs beatiful [LAT]
[ITA] Raiza vs Feliburn [LAT]
[ITA] Santu vs Leo [LAT]
[ITA] Kebab mlml vs Raichy [LAT]
[ITA] Empo vs Javoon [LAT]
[ITA] Rexus vs xImRaptor [LAT]

:Mewtwo:3. US West vs 6. France:Empoleon:

[USW] Boat vs MS3D [FRA]
[USW] z0mOG vs Cdumas [FRA]
[USW] Valentine vs RedEmption [FRA]
[USW] rozes vs Fairy Peak [FRA]
[USW] Vaboh vs BIHI [FRA]
[USW] ima vs 0NI[FRA]
[USW] Sjneider vs Sacri' [FRA]
[USW] Hockey1 vs Corazan [FRA]

:Luxray:4. Europe vs 5. US Midwest:Landorus:

[EUR] Pohjis vs Tace [USM]
[EUR] TonyFlygon vs John W [USM]
[EUR] Twixtry vs Luthier [USM]
[EUR] Mana vs Loki [USM]
[EUR] Quaze vs Nails [USM]
[EUR] frisoeva vs Groudon [USM]
[EUR] Eeveeto vs dice [USM]
[EUR] MetalGro$$ vs SPACE FORCE Meeps [USM]

Semifinals:
:urshifu:1. Germany vs 4. Europe:luxray:

[GER] AdvanceShip vs Mana [EUR]
[GER] Ewin vs Eeveeto [EUR]
[GER] Steve Angello vs TonyFlygon [EUR]
[GER] xray vs frisoeva [EUR]
[GER] Lord_Enz vs Quaze [EUR]
[GER] Gefährlicher Random vs Bloody alfa [EUR]
[GER] Relous vs Pohjis [EUR]
[GER] mind gaming vs Twixtry [EUR]

:alcremie:2. Italy vs 6. France:empoleon:

[ITA] Lopunny Kicks vs Kickasser [FRA]
[ITA] Santu vs Corazan [FRA]
[ITA] Rexus vs BIHI [FRA]
[ITA] Empo vs Sacri' [FRA]
[ITA] Kebab mlml vs RedEmption [FRA]
[ITA] Raiza vs Cdumas [FRA]
[ITA] Tricking vs Fairy Peak [FRA]
[ITA] -Niko- vs Welli0u [FRA]

Finals:
:luxray:4. Europe vs 2. Italy:alcremie:
[EUR] TonyFlygon vs Kebab mlml [ITA]
[EUR] Bloody alfa vs Santu [ITA]
[EUR] frisoeva vs Empo [ITA]
[EUR] Mana vs H.M.N.I.P [ITA]
[EUR] Pohjis vs Lopunny Kicks [ITA]
[EUR] Quaze vs Raiza [ITA]
[EUR] Twixtry vs Tricking [ITA]
[EUR] Eeveeto vs Rexus [ITA]
 
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Gross Sweep

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Edit: Originally made this post for the metadiscussion thread, so the first couple paragraphs represent opinions being thrown around and discussions taking place in that setting for a reference.

Recently there have been a handful of posts about the offensive forces in the tier being too much. The usual targets of Urshifu and Magearna have come up, but a newish face when it comes to this discussion has started to come up. That new face is Cinderace, who while admittedly a very solid Pokemon doesn’t seem all that broken to me. I feel like there are also some misconceptions by a few players in the thread when it comes to Hyper Offense dominating the tier using Pokemon like Cinderace. While Hyper Offense can definitely work, it’s really not being used super often/performing amazingly well at the highest level. The teams that are utilizing Cinderace at the highest level actually tend to have a solid defensive core, with the teams usually culminating in more balanced / bulky offense builds.

Now seeing as Smogon as a whole has been hurting over the last few days. I need to do something to get my mind off it for my own sake, and remind myself why I love this site – which means throwing myself into Pokemon. In this post I’ll be looking at every game from the first real round of WCOP that uses Cinderace, and breaking down the team composition a bit and discussing the role Cinderace plays in the match itself and how effective it is. I won’t break down the entire game (as I don’t have that much time), just aspects of the game directly influenced by Cinderace at a very basic level. Finally, a little note that I will only be showing the replays from the first 16 days of round 1, as that’s what the replay thread was updated through when I looked through all the replays.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508258

At team preview we see a pretty cool team from Lax that would probably best be described as bulky offense. The team also contains a pair of Fire-types in Cinderace + Rotom-Heat which seem to pressure CBU pretty well at preview seeing how their resists are Talonflame + Hydreigon. Talonflame is the only opposing mon that naturally outpaces Cinderace, and thanks to Slowbro + Rotom-H lax more than likely won’t feel too much pressure from Talonflame coming in attempting to revenge kill.

In the game itself Cinderace is used well by Lax early on to pick up KOs on Hydreigon and Talonflame. On turn 22 CBU reveals a pretty cool tech with Occa berry Amoonguss that allows Amoonguss the chance to Stun Spore the Cinderace. A really cool tech by CBU that definitely helps the team better deal with threats like Cinderace and Volcarona given how iffy the teams Fire resists are. Following the Para Cinderace is able to pick up another KO onto Jirachi as CBU sacks it to preserve Amoonguss who is still obviously slower than even a Cinderace that is paralyzed. A few turns later lax is able to get Cinderace in vs Magearna and snag another KO as CBU is forced to sack Amoonguss as Magearna doesn’t carry a move to KO Cinderace from full health. Later on after sacking their Clefable to Magearna (who is left at -3) lax brings their Cinderace back into the game to try and claim another kill. Unfortunately for Cinderace the Stun Spore from early culminates with a full para. Cinderace is switched out and not seen again as lax is able to finish out the game with Hydreigon, making the debut of Cinderace in WCOP a W. Overall this was a very good showing of the power Cinderace can have vs underprepared teams as it grabs 4 Kos on the way to a nice win.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508406

At team preview we see Cinderace + bulk. It should be stated that the opponent has a Volcarona meaning Cinderace will be heavily replied upon in this matchup if the Mandibuzz ends up not being Brave Bird to help alleviate the stress of that match up. That said Cinderace seems like a monster against the opposing teams with the right moves it could be a dominating win for Cinderace. That said Electro ball is far from common, so Mantine seems like a solid switch in, but it’s worth noting.

Early on in the game the opposing Volcarona tests Cinderace + Mandibuzz. The Volcarona ends up being a Roost variant which means it has potential to PP stall Cinderace’s Pyro Ball. Seeing this Raichy ends up getting in Mandibuzz on a Roost. Mandibuzz ends up U-turning as the Volcarona switches out fearing the Brave Bird. A few turns later Volcarona is able to come in again and set up a QD against clefable. Raichy brings in Mandibuzz, but this time the opposing Volcarona doesn’t fear Brave Bird since it’s very likely if it had Brave Bird it would have gone for it initially to be safe. And as we’ve seen the Volcarona is a Roost variant, so it could likely try and Roost itself out of trouble if the Mandibuzz ends up being Brave Bird. Due to this call Volcarona is able to further set up to +4 while stalling Cinderace out of Pyro Ball. Effectively ending the game in a 6-0.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508431

In this game we see Mannat using a pretty cool team that a definite speed advantage at team preview with Cinderace and Dragapult being faster than than the entirety of Ima’s team. It should be noted that the opposing Krookodile is probably the Scarf Anger Point set that has been running around to help deal with Urshifu while providing some speed control on a team as fat as this one.

Early in the game Mannat uses Cinderace to U-turn around keeping up momentum, while slowly witling down the immediate switch in Slowbro. The Slowbro is a Heavy Duty Boots variant so the chip is minimal (averaging about 10 percent per U-turn), but it’s fairly effective. However, on the third fairly obvious incoming U-turn Ima takes a chance and goes into Volcarona, which actually gets the Flame Body to activate burning Cinderace greatly hindering it for the rest of the match. After the burn we don’t see Cinderace tell much later where it’s used as a sack to the opposing Krookodile. Overall this was a pretty rough outing for Cinderace, but I don’t know how common Flame Body burns from Volcarona are going to turn out to be.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508472

In this matchup we see Cinderace being paired with Dragapult again, however the opposing team has a Zeraora meaning the speedy core will not be able to run as unchecked when it comes to natural speeds. We also see an Excadrill being used without sand, something that has been seemingly growing in popularity thoughout WCOP, so I feel it’s worth pointing out.

Cinderace never actually comes into the game, so there’s not much to say. Thought about leaving this section out, but want to showcase all teams with Cinderace and visualize what types of teams are using Cinderace as accurately as possible. One interesting thing to note is that this was the third instance of Cinderace being run with Sticky Barb Clefable in four games, which was a cool thing to see. In this game the Sticky Barb was tricked to Toxapex, which would potentially help Cinderace break through it later.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508471

Here we see Malekith using a pretty cool team utilizing Urshifu + Cinderace + Zeraora and three fatties. Personally I’m more interested in his opponent’s team, as I haven’t seen a ton of rain this generation yet. While rain probably isn’t Cinderace’s best match up Cinderace still looks fairly decent given the Amoonguss and Magearna on the opposing team, and the fact Cinderace can walk through opposing team, barring Barraskewda, late game if Malekith manages to get rid of Pelipper.

Cinderace is brought in against Magearna turn 2, and proceeds to U-Turn out against the incoming Pelipper and is never seen again. The most interesting tech of the game was Rain Dance Amoonguss, which was kinda cool. It was also interesting to see the rain team using Dark Urshifu while Malekith ended up bring the Water variant, as you’d usually expect the opposite to occur. Not much to report on here when it comes to Cinderace, except confirming that Rain isn’t the best match up for Cinderace. That said Malekith dealt with opposing rain really well with Slowbro + Ferrothorn, so maybe Cinderace will get a chance to shine in this match up a bit more later on.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508501

After falling victim a bit earlier in the tour, we see CBU using a Cinderace of their own. This also marks the first game we’ve seen of Cinderace Hyper Offense, so it will be interesting to see how the game plays out. The team takes advantage of Psychic Terrain with Indeede, Alakazam, and Psychic Seed Hawlucha. Honestly not the biggest fan of the team, but some of that probably stems from preferring RillaLucha varients of Terrain Ho since mons like Alakazam just always seem to underperform on Ho like this for me, but it should be interesting. Twixtry brought some fairly standard Sand Balance type team. Two Steel types and two Dark types, so a fairly good matchup at a glance for Twixtry.

In the early game Cinderace does Cinderace things by U-turning around. We also see what I believe is the first instance of Court Change on Cinderace in the tour, which was cool to see. However, CBU ends up being Pyro Ball / U-turn / Zen Headbutt / Court Change, and can’t make progress as Clefable sits in front of cinderace multiple times throughout the game. Honestly the match up here was just too rough for CBU to ever really get anything going, as Pex even ended up being Payapa berry. Even in a game where I think Cinderace did its desired job for the most part its teammates really let it down. This was also a good game when it comes to showcasing how useful coverage options like Gunk Shot and HJK are on Cinderace, and showcases a bit of 4MSS Cinderace struggles with from time to time.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508716

Ominous Draco is using a pretty cool team. Looks like it will rely on Cinderace + Hydreigon and possibly Magearna for offensive pressure. The opposing team looks like a fairly tough matchup for Cinderace with Alakazam and Dragapult outpacing Cinderace and the defensive core of Rhyperior, Mandibuzz, and Toxapex more than likely having the ability to keep Cinderace in check.

Cinderace continues to do Cinderace things early game U-turning around. Ominous Draco however starts to fall behind early on as the opposing Heracross is a bit too much for their defensive core to handle. As their only Fighting resist doesn’t appreciate a Guts Façade. This leaves Draco’s core broken down and cinderace ends up being the last mon standing. It ends up being a sucker Punch variant, which lets it get by Dragapult. However, after showing Sucker + U-turn + Zen it becomes pretty obvious it won’t be able to break past Rhyperior given Pyro Ball is a fairly obvious last. That said the opposing Zam ends up being Sash and KOs Cinderace with Counter. I think this match was a good example that while Cinderace has great offensive potential and flexibility it definitely lacks some of the pure breaking power of something like Heracross vs fatter teams.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508847

Joris brough a pretty cool team making use of Cinderace + Rotom-H. This is the second instance of the double fire core in this tour, which once again seems to have a pretty solid match up given that Leo’s Fire resists aren’t amazing (or more not amazing for dealing with these two). Especially since the opposing Rotom-H is also tasked with keeping the Zeraora in check, wearing it thin defensively.

So this replay is a good example of what great matchup looks like, and Joris uses this matchup to achieve a convincing win. While aided by a Fleur Cannon miss it becomes apparent Cinderace was going to go in this game after Leo let’s Rotom-H get Knocked and chipped heavily in the first couple of turns of the game. Leo basically had to rely on Slowbro, which was getting weaker and weaker everytime having to take Gunk + U-turn several times throughout the game. Once Joris finally managed to get Slowbro weakened to the point it was no longer a good switch in it was basically gg. That said Joris still made some solid plays along the way, like catching the incoming Magearna with Pyro Ball after missing Gunk Shot into Clefable preserving pp on Gunk Shot (only has 8 total) and getting the KO.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508905

Here we see The Pharoah bringing some sun offense with Chansey. Not much else to say about the makeup of the team. Star’s only Fire resist is a Dragapult, so between Weather Ball from Venusaur and Pyro Ball in the sun this game looks amazing for The Pharoah.

The first time cinderace gets into the game it picks up a pair of KOs with Pyro Ball, as The Pharoah makes a nice play predicting the Volt Switch from Zeraora (or just realizing he eats any one hit) and doesn’t get scared out by the potential revenge killer. This was a good example of realizing that health on Cinderace isn’t all that important thanks to Heavy Duty Boots in a matchup where Cinderace exerts as much pressure as it does. Later on Venusaur gets into the game and just wins. Cinderace put in some solid work in this game, but I feel this was more an example of Star’s team being unable to handle Sun than anything else.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508972

Here we see a pretty cool team from mncmt using Cinderace + Urshifu as a strong offensive core. We also see a Krookodile, which I’m assuming will be scarfed. This will be an interesting matchup as EO actually brought an opposing Urshifu, and honestly I would really like to see Anger Point Krook actually boost up at some point and not just act as a deterrent. That aside EO also brought a Mantine, so seeing how Cinderace deals with that matchup is always something interesting to watch out for.

This was a pretty dominating win for mncmt. The Cinderace ends up being a Gunk Shot variant meaning it takes on the opposing Mantine well. EO was also running Scarf Magearna, which could have helped out vs Cinderace. However, predicting a second Gunk Shot on a weakened Mantine, Cinderace is able to catch Magearna on switch in with Pyro Ball. After that play EO’s ability to handle the Cinderace was greatly diminished, as well as EOs speed control in general outside of a potential Grassy Glide. In the end that sequence really was a turning point and allowed mncmt to grab control that they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game. At this point I think it’s becoming more and more obvious that Cinderace should be running Gunk Shot on most every set, as it has proven useful in pretty much every game it has been a part of.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508980

Not a lot to break down here as Garay Oak is running a fairly common looking team that we’ve all grown accustom to at this point. It is the first time we have seen a Seismitoad partnering with Cinderace this WCOP though, which is interesting. Ewin brought a team with a very ORAS vibe + Urshifu. Thanks to Sand + Talonflame Ewin also has the speed advantage this game, which seems a bit annoying at preview for a team with Cinderace + Dragapult.

At this point we can all imagine what Cinderace does in the early game U-turning around. Ewin does make the mistake of letting Clefable sit in front of Cinderace for a turn, and pays the price with a Gunk Shot KO. Ewin does however take advantage of Rocky Helmet Hippo + Sand to chip down Cinderace as it spams U-turn throughout the game. Chip Cinderace usually doesn’t have to deal with thanks to Heavy Duty Boots. After the KO on Clefable Cinderace manages to get into the game a few more times, but some great reads by Ewin keeps the damage done minimal. On multiple occasions Ewin brings Talonflame into the game the same play Cinderace is brought in, scaring out Cinderace. On the few occasions Cinderace did get into the game freely helmet Hippo kept it in check for the most part coming in on U-turn. At one point Cinderace does come in Vs Excadrill as it KO’d Clefable right as sand ran out, and Ewin is forced to sack Urshifu, but overall Ewin did a great job in suppressing cinderace’s opportunities in this game, and greatly showed how to play around Cinderace well with a less than perfect matchup defensively.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-508993

Here we see Fairy Peak utilizing the reoccurring double fire core of Cinderace + Rotom-H against a team that looks to rely on Hippowdon as the fire resist. As long as this team can keep the opposing Excadrill in check this should be Fairy Peak’s game to lose. Especially, if it ends up being something like Toxic Rotom-H.

Not much to say about this one. Fairy Peak controlled the game, and won handily. However, it this matchup is a good one to see as a worst case scenario for Cinderace. Cinderace missed a pair of Gunk Shots and a Pyro Ball. 3 of the 5 times it attacked were misses, with one of those being U-turn. Outside of U-turn basically every move regularly used by Cinderace has a chance to miss, which is definitely something to take note of from a consistency stand point as there are no safe options.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8ou-1145245531

First of all leave it to Canada to be a part of the WCOP game that wasn’t on SmogTours. Secondly Valentine brought a really cool team. Dragmag with 3 dragons. Using Magnezone + Cinderace to pressure steels, and then there is a Skarmory thrown on. Their opponent has some basic Aurora Veil HO, though there is no Hawlucha which is a less than usual choice for HO from what I’ve seen.

Valentine leads off with Cinderace and Taunts the opposing Terrakion preventing Rocks. We’ve seen Taunt on Cinderace a few times before, and while it does mean you have to drop some coverage movie it works out for Valentine in this matchup. Valentine shows off some pretty cool techs with the double Steel Beam, and Cinderace is able to pull through in a kind of sloppy end game as Cinderace misses a Gunk Shot on Rillaboom and Terrakion misses a Stone Edge into Cinderace.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-509121

In these game we see another Greek bringing the Chansey Sun team from earlier. Their opponent brought some Sticky Webs HO, so it should make for an interesting fast game. Venu in the sun will still be effectively +1 in the sun with webs up, and the Webs team has a Talonflame so speed control as a whole will be interesting to see play out this game.

Cinderace is brought into the game early and does 65% to Shuckle before being red carded out. A few turns later WinterRains times out while being stared down by a Shift Gear Magearna. Not much to say.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-509125

Here we see another type of Cinderace build that has become fairly common at this point in WCOP. It makes use of the Cinderace + Rotom-H combo that I’m liking more and more, and Ferrothorn who we haven’t seen that much at this point as Amoonguss has been the more common grass type up to this point on Cinderace builds. I also don’t think we have seen a Tangrowth, which is really interesting.

I’m not going to break down this game from a turn by turn standpoint when it comes to Cinderace’s contributions since it did Cinderace things early on. That said I think how Axel played around Cinderace was pretty incredible. Using Amoonguss as the initial switch in a lot of the time, taking advantage of Cinderace users’ tendency to just click U-turn. I think just based on the way the game played out Noisy didn’t have HJK which really hindered Cinderace’s ability to pressure Hydreigon at full without having to leave the field due to U-turn, which is what really gave Axel a shot in this game. Another example of Cinderace struggling a bit with 4MSS when it comes to the matchup at hand. In the end this was a really great game and in the end Axel had put themselves into a good enough position to have the sacks to deal with Cinderace at the end as it started to pick up KOs. Honestly one of my favorite games from the WCOP thus far.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-509216

Here we see Prajpran using a team that Joris brought earlier this tour in a W. It uses the ever popular Rotom-H + Cinderace core, and this team also uses Zeraora that helps apply extra pressure to mons like Hippowdon and opposing Rotom-H, which is some really nice synergy. As long as Prajpran can stand up to sand with the combo of Rillaboom and Mandibuzz as their main answers, this should be their game to lose off preview.

Cinderace did Cinderace things this game U-turning around getting some decent chip throughout the game. Now even though Prajpran was able to get rid of Hippo and avoid losing to sand things still didn’t work out for them unfortunately. The combination of Cinderace and Clefable late game ran into serious trouble with Mandibuzz and Excadrill. John W used their Mandibuzz well, and managed to get their Excadrill in safely vs Clefable pretty much sealing the deal. As cinderace didn’t have the power to break through the Mandibuzz at the end of the game.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-509254

Alright Robjr has a pretty cool team here, and Cinderace has an amazing matchup where it almost gets a KO or does major damage every time it comes in, and the only thing Void has to threaten it out is Dragapult. We’ve seen this type of matchup a lot throughout this post with Dragapult getting kills and doing damage in return to Cinderace, but Robjr has a great anti-Dragapult team with Magearna, Clefable, and Mandibuzz. Honestly just looking at Void’s lack of reliable answers to Fire-types in general this seems like Rob’s game.

Rob ends up making safe plays throughout and picks up a rather easy W. Cinderace racks up the damage throughout while getting some kills, and then Robjr’s defensive backbone stands firm and Void is left with few options. This is kind of short, but in a game like this there isn’t much to say.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-509302

Here we see Finch making use of the Rotom-H, Cinderace, and Zeraora offensive core that has been starting to turn up a lot. The core works well doubling up on Rotom-H, but that won’t work against Luigi who is without a Rotom-H. Luigi is actually kind of well off with Tangrowth that can wall Zeraora all day, while they use other resources to deal with the Fire-types. Luigi’s only Fire resist is Dragapult though, and Finch does have Mandibuzz + a couple other decent defensive checks in Ferrothorn and Clefable alongside the speed of Zeraora. All in all this matchup isn’t awful for Finch.

This ended up being a really good game, and Cinderace ended up once again doing its thing early on wearing down the opposition while keeping up momentum. I think the loss for Finchinator can be attributed here to the decision not to scout for Sucker Punch here, which lead to Cinderace being lost to soon. Overall the team was doomed to struggle with Urshifu a bit since Clefable was paralyzed and Mandibuzz had a lot on its plate this game. Especially since Urshifu was knocked early game allowing to switch up moves. That said I still think if Cinderace had been saved that turn this game goes very differently since the game really came down to finch not being able to break past an incoming Tangrowth that Cinderace would of helped with. Basically too much weight was placed on a low hp Zeraora. A good game none the less.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-509296

AdvanceShip has a pretty cool sand team here. In terms of offensive pressure they have a big advantage here. Nintendi’s best answer to sand is Mandibuzz and Rotom-H, meaning Excadrill and Cinderace can apply on those two for eachother, and potentially open up a lane for the other to win if AdvanceShip plays well.

Cinderace ends up having the right moves to pressure the opposition with Zen Headbutt to hit the opposing Toxapex. Overall this comes down to Nintendi not having near enough offensive pressure to really threaten Advanceship, and Advanceship took advantage of a decent enough matchup and took it to Nintendi. To me at least this game was more an example that bulky offense is alive and well right now. It is also to see a game of SS OU with two Clefable where neither is Wishport.


vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-509670

I’m a little bored of writing these at this point so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Corazan has a fairly interesting team that’s going to rely on Cinderace + Rillaboom to really work through the opposing team. Also even with a Rillaboom and Mandibuzz on both sides, Excadrill seems pretty decent for Corazan.

Honestly one of the best played Cinderaces I have seen this tour. Talk about getting basically call every right, this is the kind of replay talk about when they try to paint Cinderace as a monster. Coupled with Teleport Slowbro Corazan plays this game really well and was a very deserving winner. Cinderace puts in about as much work as it could, and I highly recommend you watch this replay. I didn’t break this game down a lot since I honestly think the replay is that good and I think people should spend the time to watch it a few times for themselves.


Overall I think Cinderace is a very strong Pokemon, but I really don't know if it's deserving of being called broken at this point in time. I hope it's also clear that at this point HO isn't really broken at the moment. If anything this little exercise makes it more clear that high end players are still preferring more balanced teams overall.

There are 2 partners from this post that have stuck out to me, that I want to take a second to emphasize with this post. First I want to talk about Rotom-Heat. Didn't expect to see the pizza oven putting in work alongside Cinderace, but teams have been woefully prepared thus far when it comes to strong Fire resists, so I say go wild. The other partner is Sticky Barb Clefable. In the 20 games I quickly went over there were like 5-6 of these. I see it working especially well when paired with Zen Headbutt Cinderace, as Toxapex is able to just avoid the 2hko otherwise. Also when it comes to Cinderace itself a few things I have learned is that while status move options like Taunt, Bulk Up, and Court Change can be options I really prefer 4 attacks as lucking into that perfect coverage is key to Cinderace's success. Gunk Shot also feels pretty mandatory at this point, not being able to just slap Clefable really hinders Cinderace's success, so that's something to keep in mind. In conclusion I think Cinderace is a very strong Pokemon right now, but I don't feel it's broken based upon a good number of revenge killers being present, the 4MSS preventing Cinderace from being an unstoppable in a good amount of games, inconsistencies with move accuracy, and there being plenty of defensive cores that can keep Cinderace at bay. sorry this post was so long, I honestly didn't think Cinderace had been used this much when I started writing this post.
 
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gastrodon.PNG


Hi with the end of round 1 for WCOP over I wanted to discuss an underappreciated pokemon in the meta with a quite an interesting ability for the current meta based on the trends found in WCOP. That pokemon being Gastrodon. We found over many teams in was the use of trick scarf or trick sticky barb clefable on many balance teams. Many teams throughout WCOP used many balance cores with toxapex, clefable, mandibuzz, or rotom-heat. Trick clefable not only provides utility pokemon that checks many pokemon as well as sets rocks, but also neuters the opposing pokemon on balance teams. Other trends found in WCOP teams was the rampant use of the offensive core of heavy duty boots volt switch zeroara and u-turn cinderace.
Upon these considerations of the meta as Analytic was building his last team he found issue with the bulky water he wanted to use, slowbro. He found his team weak to zeroara overall but also needed a defensive water to be able handle many of the pokemon in the tier. Upon this dilemma I suggested to him gastrodon with the ability sticky hold:

Gastrodon @ Leftovers
Ability: Sticky Hold
EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 SpD
Bold Nature / Relaxed Nature
- Scald
- Recover
- Toxic
- Clear Smog / Earthquake

Gastrodon with the ability sticky hold is able to completely prevent knock off as well as most importantly prevent the move trick from working. This essentially allows trick scarf clefables to become complete dead weight and allows trick barb clefables to not be able to neuter balance teams. Furthermore it provides a decent check if not counter to cinderace, volcarona, zeroara, rotom-heat, toxapex(knock scald variant or scald bunker variants), and many other pokemon. It also provides great longevity due to its inability to be knocked off.

Replays in WCOP showcasing gastrodon:
Analytic's replay: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-510514
In Analytic's replay the matchup is quite favorable for him as gastrodon+corviknight+clefable essentially walls march fire's team however due to
unfortunately not knowing the sticky barb mechanics resulted in an unfortunate ending.

Dice's Replay
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-510841
Dice also used gastrodon and it has a great matchup here as well as it cannot be knocked off by the clefable, and walls the cinderace/zeroara core the opponent has. Unfortunately he times out, however, was in a very favorable position before his timeout and most likely winning.
Both replays overall show the great matchup spread of gastrodon against much of the meta.

Overall this is a spotlight on an underappreciated pokemon in the current meta but has a fantastic ability for the current meta and a great matchup spread to many of the major threats of the tier currently based on trends found in WCOP!

Clefable (F) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 136 Def / 120 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock
- Moonblast
- Trick
- Soft-Boiled

Dragapult @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 68 Atk / 188 SpA / 252 Spe
Mild Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Dragon Darts
- Hex
- U-turn

Gastrodon @ Leftovers
Ability: Sticky Hold
EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Recover
- Toxic
- Clear Smog

Hydreigon @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Draco Meteor
- Flamethrower
- Roost

Zeraora @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Volt Switch
- Plasma Fists
- Knock Off
- Close Combat

Corviknight @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 140 Def / 116 SpD
Impish Nature
IVs: 27 Spe
- Iron Head
- Roost
- Defog
- U-turn
 
I found round one of WCOP to be interesting with how the SS metagame changed seemingly every week.



The qualifying matches were the last games to be played before the DLC was introduced so we saw the normal top tier pokemon Dragapult and Corviknight. It was also the last time we would see Seismitoad and Aegislash be prevalent along with the departure of Dracovish from the tier.



The first week of WCOP saw a nice usage of Mantine, for good reason. Mantine has a variety of niches including stopping Volcarona cold, sitting on most rain teams, stopping double dance Magearna in its tracks, and also providing pretty decent hazard removal. We also saw Alolan Marowak enjoy brief usage, as users took advantage of its newfound move poltergeist, which allowed it to break through the metagame while having very nice abilities like rock head to avoid recoil while spamming flare blitz or lighting rod to slow down the volt switch Magearna based cores. Urshifu was all the rage due to its fantastic attack along with great ability and pretty fair typing w priority in sucker punch combined with two effectively 120 base power stab attacks in wicked blow and close combat.



Throughout week two, several things became apparent, namely the dominance of Cinderace, Magearna and sun. Cinderace is on a different level of threat compared to the rest of the metagame, and has very little reason to run jolly. Specs has quickly risen as the best magearna set, blowing everything away w fleur cannon while also having trick/volt switch to cripple its checks and bring in another threatening mon respectively. In addition to the domination of sun teams, fire types dominated this week. From Volcarona to Cinderace to Rotom-H, fire types truly took advantage at the metagame being in their favor. The popular clef, mandi, and pex core dominated play and was very prevalent and covered most of the metagame. Additionally, sand was heavily used, as excadrill and hippowdon, in general, were extremely appreciated in being able to apply pressure to the aforementioned core well. Hippo was one of the best switch-ins to Cinderace, being able to chip it down and tank all of its attacks effectively. Hippo also was a counter for opposing Excadrill's and Zeraora. Excadrill fulfilled a variety of roles well, including a rock setter, a revenge killer, spinner, and sweeper.



In the final week of competition heavy-duty boots saw a surge in usage. During this timeframe, overtime players started to realize there is little drawback to having boots on your Pokémon. Even the ones that aren’t weak to rocks such as zeraora and dragapult, benefit from these items. Boots are mostly useful to prevent these mons that bring momentum and pressure their opponents from being worn down over time by hazards. I personally feel like this timeframe showcased how uncompetitive boots can be at times with it being simple to fit on knock off absorbers that aren’t particularly extremely pressured by losing their item such as clef and pex. Trick also saw an uptick in usage, with Magearna and especially Clefable forcing players to use their own Clefable as the switchin to opposing tricks. Building on the second week, sun claimed its title as the best weather with multiple victories from different teams. Additionally, block Toxapex completely won some games for whatever mon the team was crafted to take advantage of its trapping ability. I feel this week Cinderace confirmed to some doubters that it needs to be suspected or quick banned and opened people’s eyes to how good heavy-duty boots are, with some teams having half their members carrying that item.



So, to recap I found it fascinating how the metagame developed so rapidly during this period of time. Corviknight went from a staple in the metagame, to barely any usage, to players remembering why we spammed it in the first place. Seeing the rise and fall of certain mons during round 1 was something I felt should be highlighted.

Thank You For Your Time
 
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Finchinator

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I feel like this WCOP was the first time I could contribute as a bit of a leader on my WCOP team due to the format allowing me to play the current generation; despite my team falling short, it was still really fun to build and play as much as I did. I think some of the things I came up with are impacting the metagame. I feel like I am finally one of the stronger tournament players in the main generation after some high highs and low lows throughout SM while being seen as more of a BW player. A 1-2 record is obviously not ideal, but I feel really great about my grasp on the metagame and I'm very excited to get a larger sample of big games in during Snake.

Teams I Used

:Clefable: :Rotom-Heat: :Ferrothorn: :Mandibuzz: :Zeraora: :Cinderace: vs Luigi
import hyperlinked to the mini-sprites

I was not too sure how to approach Luigi as there still is not a ton of SS OU data, but I figured he would take a more offensive approach in order to counteract my bulkier teams I showcased recently given his overall playstyle, so I wanted to make sure I had sufficient speed control and I also did not want to fall into an overly predictable structure as I thought he would try to abuse my beloved Toxapex. It was pretty easy to find replays of me using Toxapex + Mandibuzz + SR + Dragapult every other game on my YouTube channel repeatedly since DLC came out, so I knew a change of pace for my first game would be ideal. I honestly expected him to use something a bit less conventional here on the offensive end, too. I was skimming through lists of fringe viable Pokemon that could get some surprise value against me, but I never quite got to pinpointing anything because in these volatile, newer metagames I try to focus mostly on being solid and less so on taking risks that are simply not possible to fully calculate until we know more about the tier and players in the tier.

The offensive core dubbed "Double Furry" -- aka Cinderace + Zeraora -- was what felt optimal to me after some considerations I will outline below. This was a little before it became super mainstream, but just from a raw teambuilding standpoint I will break down my thought process in deciding to use it here.
  • I wanted to use Zeraora because it combined being a fast, anti-offensive weapon with being immune to Volt Switch, meaning I was not compressed into using a Ground type Stealth Rock setter like many of the builds I previously used had.
  • Zeraora currently uses Volt Switch as a way to circumvent its inability to break through new Grass types like Tangrowth and Amoonguss.
  • I proceeded to make a list of Pokemon that took advantage of these Pokemon being lured in by Zeraora so that I could use Volt Switch and gain an advantageous position.
    • That list included Cinderace, Rotom-Heat, Alakazam, Volcarona, Gengar, and SubCM Magearna.
    • I then took a look at how I would be able to follow through with the team given each possible option, covering all of the necessary components of a consistent team.
  • Of that list, I decided that Cinderace was the most dynamic option that still allowed for a strong overall team, so I slotted it onto my team with the 4a pivot set that was increasingly common and effective.
I do not want to credit this team as the coming out party for the core or as the team that helped invent the core singlehandedly because that simply is not the case. Other people came up with it on their own and it was a pretty plausible conclusion for any analytical builder to jump to when crafting teams. However, this team did showcase the core nicely and a few people used it later on in the first round as well, which was cool. Unfortunately, I was not at my best during this game, but that is not to take credit away from Luigi, who handled it better despite my Zeraora and Cinderace posing a threat later on in the game. He got the crucial turns right and I made some unnecessary risks that compromised my odds of winning. For more insight on the game itself, feel free to check out my personal narration of the match here.

Games this six was used in (saying six because others can plausibly create the same team by coincidence and I think our community has a silly complex with taking ownership of teams/sets -- I respect the creative minds of each of these players and am not trying to step on their toes):
The team is also usable with Toxapex over Rotom-Heat; this adaptation allows for a more durable and less Wish reliant resist check to Choice Specs Magearna while slightly improving the match-up with Cinderace. The main issue with this is that Zeraora, opposing NP Rotom-Heat, and Volcarona become marginally more problematic with this change, but it helps with longevity and you really cannot go wrong using Toxapex in this metagame. SANJAY used Toxapex over Rotom-Heat with Brave Bird Mandibuzz in his win against Analytic and xray used Toxapex over Rotom-Heat with a slew of different sets, showcasing some great ideas like Trick Clefable and Toxic Ferrothorn. I believe that this variant of the archetype that these two built (likely independently of each other) is similarly effective and may even be stronger so long as Magearna is present in the tier.

:Hippowdon: :Mandibuzz: :Toxapex: :Magearna: :Cinderace: :Dragapult:
import hyperlinked to the mini-sprites

SoulWind was my second opponent and obviously he is one of the best players out there, so I knew I had to be on the top of my game in order to come out of this one with a victory. His approach in newer generations tends to be split into two different categories: metagame extremes (aka cheese, but mostly in live tour settings than team tour settings, which I personally do a lot myself, so I get it) and standard balance. SoulWind is not the type to reinvent the wheel or push metagame boundaries in pursuit of innovative structures in modern generations, but he is the type to use consistently solid teams at a high level. I think that stalling me would make absolutely no sense given how much longevity I tend to include on my teams and the fact that I have a lot of experience playing with stall, which has helped me naturally know how to handle it better than the average potential stall target. Given this, I figured I was most likely going to face a standard team, likely balance. The prospect of him using Hyper Offense crossed my mind as I recently fell to it in SmogonTour playoffs, but that seemed like more of an outlier match than anything else and I had no real reason to believe SoulWind would use that besides his fondness for Sticky Webs in ORAS, which would be a stretch to apply to SS OU WCOP preparation.

Because of this, I knew I wanted to be prepared to both break through offensively and have the necessary longevity to welcome a prolonged match without feeling pressured by the presence of things that spread status, Knock Off, or can pivot around easily like Toxapex or Slowbro whatsoever. In a sense, this was me accepting that I would be playing "his game" against him, but honestly I am completely fine defaulting to less immediately pro-active playstyles myself, so this was a non-issue. After some thought, I decided that I definitely wanted Toxapex as my defensive anchor, specifically one with Knock Off in order to essentially force incremental bits of progress in many match-ups, and Choice Specs Magearna as my offensive anchor, simply because it is the best Pokemon at forcing progress if you are able to play aggressively to even the slightest extent.

Once I arrived at this conclusion, I knew I wanted a partner to Magearna that handled Regenerator poison types like Toxapex and Amoonguss as I figured they would likely be used by SoulWind and coming in on Volt Switch. Cinderace and Alakazam came to mind, but the latter was a bit too fragile and Focus Blast reliant for my liking, so I went with Cinderace as it took out Toxapex after Specs Volt Switch damage and obviously obliterates Amoonguss after any chip. I also knew I wanted a partner to Toxapex that handled some offensive weapons that had potential to abuse it like Alakazam, Rillaboom, and even Hex Dragapult if I am status'd, so a specially defensive Mandibuzz that lived a +2 Life Orb Dazzling Gleam from Alakazam and 2 Choice Specs Modest Draco Meteors from Dragapult seemed like an optimal partner. Once I had these four Pokemon -- Magearna, Toxapex, Cinderace, and Mandiuzz -- I was able to finish the team out easily with Hippowdon, a physical wall that gave me a Volt Switch immunity and Stealth Rocks, and Dragapult, a form of speed control that synergized well with my other offensive options and even worked well with Toxapex's status options thanks to Hex.

This is probably my favorite team in the current metagame right now. I submitted it to Sample Teams and people have been spamming it a lot on the ladder since then. I must admit that this team is nothing remarkable or creative though. Just about anyone could make a similarly standard build and generate respectable results, so it really only caught on because of my name and platform honestly. What I will say is that this team serves as a prime example of the current metagame state, specifically highlighting controversial Pokemon like Libero Cinderace and current suspect Magearna.

As for the game I used it in, I was very happy with how I played most of my game against SoulWind (pretty much the entire game besides going Cinderace on the Knock Off). My personal narration of the game can be found here and I try to give my thought process some justice throughout it. I think this game does a great job showcasing the importance of packing a Volt Switch immunity, but this is not meant to be a shot at SoulWind, who used a team lacking one that was still pretty solid overall and he made some great plays.

Games this six was used in (not much since I first used it during the last weekend of the first round):
Countless possible alterations can be made to this team seeing how standard it is.

:Clefable: :Hippowdon: :Mandibuzz: :Hydreigon: ( or :Alakazam: ) :Magearna: :Cinderace: Alakazam version
import hyperlinked to the mini-sprites

I was working with robjr for his game for void and we wanted to make Nasty Plot Alakazam work. The issue with Alakazam is that it does not have much of a defensive presence, not even doing so well against Pokemon it supposedly abuses like Toxapex if it runs Knock Off. Because of this, we wanted to pair it with momentum to let it get in safely and we felt a balanced team gave us the best ability to make this possible with any semblance of consistency.

The main thing we were struggling with during earlier parts of teambuilding was the strong special attackers of the tier; this was before Heavy Duty Boots Blissey took off, so we were quite paranoid of opposing Kyurem, Alakazam, Dragapult, and Hydreigon. Initial builds I made relied mostly on trading with these Pokemon and that's not the most reliable mode of play for balanced builds in a metagame of this pace. Anyway, for this one we actually had a pretty well-done process in the chat when it came to building the initial team, so let me disclose my personal contributions to that without leaking much from my team chat that I didn't say because I actually think this type of perspective helps people understand a lot and I always enjoy sharing my thoughts.



Rob indicated he thought Rillaboom and Cinderace could be good additions given my list.




At the time, I had a vision of this team being a bit more bulky-offense oriented and also both of these Pokemon fit onto my above lists while also being capable Stealth Rock setters. Later on, Hippowdon made it onto the final cut of the team, but every process involves a certain level of trial-and-error until you find the optimal team.



After going through possible routes in my head, it became clear that Mandibuzz was likely going to be needed unless we wanted to not use a Ghost resist, which wasn't the best idea for this particular team. It also gave us insurance for Excadrill at the time as we did not have Hippowdon at this point. However, as the round went on, it also became a nice secondary check to Cinderace's increasingly common 4A set, too, so that it + Hippowdon would be sufficient in the long haul.



At this point, I was leaning in favor of the Cinderace variants, but wanted to follow through for the sake of due diligence and because Grassy Glide is a ridiculously practical move.



A Fairy type seemed virtually necessary at this point in order to cover a handful of defensive holes that remained present given the first four on the team.



And then I came up with the AV Magearna + Wish PDef Clefable core, which helped us cover virtually everything we were worried about while decompressing the entire remainder of the team.

Later that morning after people woke up and before robjr played void, we decided upon Hippowdon > Kommo-O on the "ZamCind2" final variant we made and tested out because it gave us a Volt Switch immunity and made us better off against Cinderace (s/o ABR for coming up with that idea specifically).

---

The variant of the team that bro fist and I used had NP Hydreigon > Alakazam as that version was less vulnerable to Rotom-Heat, which was troublesome for the original. The NP Hydreigon variant does struggle with Toxic Toxapex a bit more than the Hydreigon variant, however. It also is slower overall (and tends to want to run a Jolly Cinderace over the initial Adamant Cinderace), so you can easily justify both variants and different move options on Magearna (Flash Cannon for hitting Clefable vs Ice Beam for hitting Amoonguss and freeze fishing in the Reuniclus / stallier MUs to find openings, Focus Blast for power vs Excadrill and the 2HKO on Ferrothorn vs Aura Sphere for reliability, and the prospect of Explosion for Volcarona crippling and Recover Alakazam OHKOing). The team can be edited in a number of ways EV wise as well, but the concept of AV Magearna + Wish PDef on Clefable definitely allows for a lot of longevity both defensively and offensively on certain balances, which I was excited to create. robjr's dominant win with the team honestly was one of the best feelings of WCOP because of it.

Unfortunately, I did not have fisherman Ice Beam and got shredded by Focus Blast Reuniclus in my game against BIHI (upload here). This is a legitimate weakness to the team, but Thunder variants are a tad more common and Reuniclus in general is not too common due to the prevalence of Trick (specifically on Magearna) and Urshifu. It is definitely a viable option though, so proceed with caution or alter the team as you wish.

Games this six (the one rob used or the one I used with Hydreigon > Alakazam) was used in:
Other Teams

I will not be sharing the import of these at all because they are not teams I used, but rather teams my teammates used, and I do not feel like it is my place to share the details about them fully, but I do want to comment on the processes because I helped a few teammates prepare for their games and I think some of the things we came up with can do well in this metagame.

:Excadrill: :Mandibuzz: :Toxapex: :Dragapult: :Magearna: :Clefable:

robjr used this 6 here and it did really well. The idea was that we did not have much info on the opponent in official capacities, so focusing on Specs Magearna, having sufficient speed control, and a durable defensive backbone would all go a long way. This covered those bases and was really solid overall. Obviously a more standard build, but it worked wonders in the game.

:Volcarona: :Toxapex: :Mandibuzz: :Excadrill: :Dragapult: :Clefable:

A bit hesitant to include this one as while I also built this 6, someone else used it previously and definitely came up with it on their own as well. I hate trying to seem like I'm taking ownership of someone else's work, so major props to Christo here of course. Christo used this 6 before robjr used it in his game or anyone else afterwards -- a lot of people used this throughout the last week of WCOP. I swear on my life I came up with the same 6 that week myself when trying to help robjr prepare, but I want to give credit where it is due and Christo rocked this for a victory well before anyone else did. This 6 is pretty standard and Volcarona is limited in what it can work with, so Christo showed a lot of attention to detail himself. With this said, my teammates came up with a Volcarona spread that allowed you to live: Mandibuzz Foul Play, Rotom-H Discharge when you have +1 SDef, and Toxapex Scald when you have +1 SDef behind Substitute with a Modest nature so +1 Fiery Dance got a 2HKO on common Mandibuzz spreads. That was the main focus of the team due to how common Toxic was used as a way to handle Volcarona -- Substitute is able to circumvent that, but now people are using Safeguard, as we saw in quarterfinals, due to Toxic being particularly common on Chansey and Blissey (meaning you need Roost + Safeguard to win the 1v1, but if you have both it can go a long way in those MUs). Star deserves a lot of credit for the Volcarona idea in particular in NE's camp iirc. The only other differences between what Christo and robjr used is that Christo's variant had Knock Off Mandibuzz and Trick Clefable, but I find that a bit redundant, so rob had U-turn Mandibuzz and Knock on Clefable with no Trick. And we had Specs Dragapult to work well with status whereas they had Hex TWave standard Dragapult to help soft check Cinderace -- both sides have their advantages here, so I can see either being used routinely. Either way, I really do not want to take credit for a 6 that Christo used first, so all the credit in the world goes to him and his win against Rexus was super impressive. It has been very cool seeing Volcarona adapt to the metagame -- everyone started with 3A, then people began using Roost for longevity, eventually people started using Substitute for Toxic, and now people are using Roost + Safeguard for pink blobs with Toxic and other Toxic users. This adaptability is pretty amazing in my eyes and not many other Pokemon can pull this off.

:Hippowdon: :Excadrill: :Toxapex: :Mandibuzz: :Clefable: :Dragapult:

MarcoP wanted an LO Clefable team for his game against relous and I thought Sand with status spread complimented it really nicely due to how easy it is to wear out Toxapex and lure in typical set-up fodder for CM LO Clefable. Specs Dragapult also worked very nicely with all of the status support and the need for a secondary breaker alongside Excadrill, which was able to function as one with SD + Toxic (super underrated Excadrill set for the handful of teams that can fit it, btw). I think there was some hasty gameplay here, but all-in-all I still really loved this team and even used it in some smaller tours since then. Rest of the sets are pretty self explanatory and standard, so I won't go into much more detail on them.

:Alakazam: :Rillaboom: :Mandibuzz: :Clefable: :Rotom-Heat: :Excadrill:

This was a leftover team I built for robjr initially that MarcoP ended up using against xImRaptor. Unfortunately, we had NP + Dazzling Gleam Alakazam against a Max+ SDef Mandibuzz, so it was not a friendly awakening when it barely hung on to prevent an Alakazam sweep, but I do want to go into some detail on the build as I quite liked it and MarcoP played his outs nicely in the game. Overall, Alakazam is in an awkward spot due to it being fast, but incapable of really functioning as speed control due to being slower than the Zeraora/Dragapult range. Because of this, I wanted to try Alakazam and I also wanted to not have to be limited to one of those Pokemon for speed control purposes, so I slapped on CB Grassy Glide Rillaboom to give another method of revenge killing. The rest was all really standard and just fit together optimally. Rotom-Heat with Toxic is great at forcing progress and it pairs so well with Wish Clefable, too, to give it longevity, so this was a particularly effective part of the team for me personally.

:Clefable: :Crawdaunt: :Ferrothorn: :Mandibuzz: :Cinderace: :Rhyperior:

MarcoP's last game was against ShinyAzelf (keep going if you see this btw, read your comment in the WCOP survey and I appreciate you a ton! Hope Asia has an even better year next WCOP) and he wanted to use Crawdaunt, so I suggested we pair it with Teleport due to how fragile it is and then this beauty was born. I really love how WishPort Clefable functions with a lot of Pokemon that lack recovery -- Crawdaunt, Cinderace, Ferrothorn, and Rhyperior in particular on this build. It enables teams closer to bulky-offense than outright balance to function. Rhyperior and LeechPress Ferrothorn are amazing at forcing hazards up, Cinderace and Crawdaunt are great at forcing progress through direct offensive means, and Clefable is great at keeping them alive for long enough. Another element of this team is the non-dedicated speed control Pokemon one, meaning I lacked Dragapult or Zeraora or a choice scarf user on this team, much like the team right above this. Instead, we used a fast Pokemon like Cinderace that is not overwhelmingly fast itself and paired it with strong priority from Crawdaunt and a bulky backbone. I like how teams like this enable different structures in the builder and I hope people do not force themselves into limited builds moving forward when there are ways to circumvent repeated structures to the point of predictability right now. Oh and Rhyperior is great on the right builds in a metagame where non-GK Zeraora, non-HJK Cinderace, and even non-WoW Rotom-Heat are all quite common. It also is able to force up Stealth Rock in a lot of match-ups, which goes a long way, especially if you have Knock Off support for opposing HDB Pokemon.

:Gengar: :Dragapult: :Clefable: :Mandibuzz: :Toxapex: :Rhyperior:

Last one is a bit of a split build as it was Insult's idea and I just threw together the specific sets and then did a lot of fine-tuning over the course of that day. After a handful of battles testing it out, EV spread alterations, and some quick check/counter list assessment, it became clear this was the closest to ideal 6 you could get for Dual Ghost. Dual Ghost is never going to be perfect rn because Gengar present very little defensive utility, but it's still pretty cool and I like this build a lot. NP 3A Gengar is a phenomenal Pokemon and it shredded a lot of bulkier teams we saw during the later stages of WCOP R1. Also, Rhyperior gang! But yea, rest is super standard and if I type anymore I might actually get blisters on my fingers, so that's a wrap. Thanks to everyone for reading.

PS: I uploaded over 35 games from WCOP and you can check them all out in my playlist here. I plan on uploading more games from the playoffs in the near future, too! Thanks for all of the support.
 
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/the-world-cup-of-pokémon-2020-usage-statistics.3665240/post-8549967

Link to the post about the quarterfinals' usage rates. I'll comment on some trends later.

Edit:

So the usage of the current S tiers interested me a lot. Predictably, most had high usage, as Clef, Pex, and Cinderace went 1-3 in usage. 60% of teams brought Clef, while the latter two had about 40% usage. Needless to say, that's really high, and they had solid win rates despite the amount of times both opponents brought them. Magearna was only on ~10% of teams, with a trash win rate of ~28%. That's really odd. Ladder players, tour players, and the OU council all agreed it was dominant and centralizing enough to warrant a suspect, and many players think it's bullshit and impossible to counter. However, those stats don't reflect those views at all. Low usage and a low win rate is not what one would expect for what many argue is the best mon in the tier. This could be because of a new threat: Boots Blissey.

Blissey, which in my experience in mid-ladder is a complete unmon, was dominant in quarters. It boasted a 30% usage rate and a 63% win rate, with its win rate being the highest among the top 20 most used mons. As far as I know, it basically does what Wish+ Teleport Clef did before the DLC dropped, but with the bonus of checking Magearna (until it gets tricked obv). Still, I'm confused. Blissey is really passive, can get its Boots knocked off easily, and does nothing to stop top threats like Cinderace, Zeraora, and Urshifu. I'm curious if its high use and win rate will continue in semis.

Some other things were close usage among Defoggers: Mandibuzz, Corviknight, and Skarmory went 8-10 (steel birds tied for 9th) in usage. Magnezone was only used in 4 games and lost every time, so maybe the steel birds are safer to use than we expected? The fat grasses, Ferrothorn, Amoonguss, and Tangrowth, all had good win rates. Special breakers like Hydreigon and Gengar badly underperformed, probably due to Blissey's dominance. Rotom-H and Excadrill didn't fare too well either. Seems like Blissey balance and pivot-heavy bulky offense are the most consistent team archetypes right now.

As a final note, I was happy to see some lower-tier reps in the battles, some of which even put in work. They used Toxtricity 3 times? Fuck yeah that's epic. Other examples of spicy mons include Galarian Weezing, Galarian Slowbro, Talonflame, Dracozolt, Golisopod, and Grimmsnarl.
 
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Century Express

we all have our own confusion
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@ Finch | I was running Substitute + Dragon Dance Dragapult in my tiebreaker game because I wanted a doable match-up against unorthodox strategies or Pokémon (e: by stalling Sun / Rain / TR turns with the aid of Substitute & Phantom Force), and I didn't wanted to be weak against Sun sweepers vs. Greece in particular, while DD on itself gave me a backup plan against Volca and Rotom-H (my R1 teams were sort of weak against Offensive Fire-types). DD was cool with my defensive backbone as well, cuz I ended facing a lot of Mandibuzz or Hippowdon mirrors, and luring them with Toxic and / or Knock Off were super helful to give Dragapult more set-up opportunities.

Funny thing is that I didn't notice that this team was yours (and by coincidence) the same thing happened when I was brainstorming about Rillaboom & Magearna in one of my R1 games, but Empo used the same six mons in one of his matches literally one day before my game... I guess great minds think alike :clown:
 
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TPP

White Knight
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Congrats to Italy for winning the 2020 wcop! Now that the tournament is over, I'll go ahead and tag every player involved. Feel free to share whatever you'd like, whether it's thoughts on the metagame, a set/team you used, or something else. If you were a sub or a helper then you're also more than welcome to post here.

mind gaming Relous xray Dragon Claw AdvanceShip Ewin Lord_Enz Gefährlicher Random Lopunny Kicks -Niko- H.M.N.I.P Rexus Empo Raiza Santu Tricking Kebab mlml jake Vaboh Valentine Waylaid lax Boat ima rozes z0mOG Void Pohjis Bloody alfa Twixtry frisoeva TonyFlygon Eeveeto Quaze dice Tace Luthier UltraBallz Nails Mannat SPACE FORCE meeps Loki John W Welli0u BIHI Cdumas Sacri' Kickasser Corazan Fairy Peak RedEmption Gtcha Raichy Flamita Gondra xImRaptor Leo ZDen beatiful Feliburn Mysterious M Astamatitos CBU roudolf13 BluBirD252 Ace-11 the pharoah Savouras Tamahome Luigi ggggd Nintendi Century Express mncmt Eternal Spirit Ash KetchumGamer Altina Sweepage devinn Analytic ShinyAzelf Xiri Alpha Rabbit Sharow pj reiku M Dragon Bobby Dagen SoulWind Garay oak Trosko Axel Malekith Stallion 199 Lives March Fires Ninjadog GypsyKing false byronthewellwell Snowy robjr bro fist Gilbert arenas ABR Insult Star teal6 Samqian Christo jacob FMG FlamingVictini d0nut Eo Ut Mortus TDK Floss SANJAY Blimax J0RIS Winterains Serene Grace OminousDraco RaJ.Shoot So Noisy watashi Jrdn Tokyo Tom Hayburner soulgazer Kev Jytcampbell Splash Texas Cloverleaf Mana Steve Angello Laz Prinz Javoon MetalGro$$ 0NI MS3D Lets In The Sun Hockey1
 

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