Sunday, 11 June 2017

Top 8 Birmingham Regionals Report

Gave em the snip: A Top 8 Regionals Report

Hi I'm Matt and I recently placed top 8 in the Birmingham regional championships in the UK. I also wear a beanie now and get judges told off for laughing at me almost ruining the stream!
I've been playing competitive Pokemon for far too long, my first event being 2012 nationals in which I lost to a Regigigas R1. I only started taking it more seriously towards the back end of VGC14 and taking off towards the midseason of VGC16. 

After the London International didn't reward me too many points despite making day 2 I kind of gave up on the worlds invite, instead deciding to help others and restrict myself to local events to remind people that I'm very much not dead and can still play well sometimes. I skipped Sheffield regionals to hang out with friends which was the nail in the coffin for my season which I was fine with as I had already accepted worlds was lost. But then the CP bar was lowered to 400 and making worlds was actually 'doable'. I would have to win a Regionals and cap on my PC's. I'm not the greatest player but I like having a goal; however ludicrous; and setting out for it.  

The PC's were the easy part. I would always use the same team of Ninetales/Tapu Koko/Tapu Fini/Arcanine/Garchomp/Metagross but use silly items on Metagross (Snowball). It was at my last PC in Liverpool about a month before Regionals however that I lost a very winnable game to Metagross being blind and Ninetales being straight up useless. I needed a change and for a while I was very stuck on what I was going to do. I knew roughly what I wanted to use but no idea how to translate it into a team. And that's where the story of the final team begins.

I used to build pretty extensively and exclusively with my friend Jade. We've probably built around 700 teams this format and about 3 of them have been viable tournament options. One of those 3 happened to be the team I used. I was approached with the idea of a Scizor team with dual terrains to bypass Tapu Lele and I raised an eyebrow at first. But after getting consistently crushed by her using it, I took it and threw it in my own teambuilder where it proceeded to gather dust as I was too busy blindly using Ninetales because FREEZE HAX. Jade also made almost all the spreads present in the final build so send credit her way. I'm just the hapless pilot! 

Mono Fire is the best team

Just after Metagross missed his attack at that PC I decided enough was enough and I needed an accurate steel type Pokemon and Ninetales to depart forever. I was left with a husk of a team being, Tapu Koko/Tapu Fini/Arcanine/Salamence. I got a bit stuck and had literally no idea what to do till I scrolled down in my teambuilder to see a certain Scizor team. Then everything just clicked. This is what I would use at regionals. I spruced up the item choices and fiddled a little with move-sets to update it to fit the current state of the metagame and there I went, head first into this big event I had to win to have a chance at worlds with little to no optimism, but if everything fell apart, At least I was using a friends team and having good fun with it. 

The team:

I'll list the team and describe the members a little here since that's what everyone wants. I'll go in order of how they were in my Battle Box. I will also not be including nicknames because they were a bit rude and I don't want anyone to judge me too hard. 

Hariyama @ Assault Vest  
Ability: Thick Fat

Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 180 Atk / 156 Def / 164 SpD / 4 Spe
  Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Close Combat
- Bulldoze
- Heavy Slam

One of my favourite Pokemon to use this format. Its absurdly high HP stat combined with an Assault vest allows Hariyama to take attacks it really shouldn't. In my top 8 game against Rachel it took a Life Orb Psychic from Tapu Lele out of terrain and ohko'd it straight back with a Heavy Slam. A play which we have coined 'The Daddy Slam.'

Hariyama was chosen over other Fighting type options like Buzzwole,Pheromosa and Bewear for numerous reasons. One of which was access to Fake out which gave a ton of options when approaching a game in team preview. It was also reminiscent of how I used to play Kangaskhan in vgc16, often preserving it on 3% HP just for a late game Fake Out, something I did numerous times throughout the tournament. It also has access to Thick Fat, which on a team where the main offence stems from Salamence and Scizor, both being 4x weak to Ice and Fire respectively, makes Hariyama a fantastic switch in for them both should I ever need one. Bulldoze was the last move chosen and for good reason. I originally had Knock off but I felt it would clash with Thief on Arcanine so opted for Feint instead... which I never really used so I threw Bulldoze on as a joke and was using it an alarming amount. Typically used on Garchomp as I switch into Salamence to exert massive pressure of either an OHKO or a Dragon Dance, backing opponents into an unexpected corner early on. Immensely useful against Tapu Koko and Scarf Pokemon as well, aiding my own Koko in scoring ko's safely. Being a fighting type in the current FAKEPG 'dominated' metagame is pretty nice as they often stack fighting weaknesses. Hariyama also pressures Porygon 2 which is a huge roadblock for Salamence.

I brought Hariyama to the majority of my swiss games and it worked just how I wanted it to.
Was often led with Tapu Koko as it provided a lot of options and limited my opponents making prediction far easier.

252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 164 SpD Assault Vest Hariyama: 187-221 (85 - 100.4%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO

252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 4 HP / 164 SpD Assault Vest Hariyama: 174-211 (79 - 95.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

180+ Atk Hariyama Heavy Slam (120 BP) vs. 164 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele: 152-180 (91.5 - 108.4%) -- 50% chance to OHKO

180+ Atk Hariyama Heavy Slam (120 BP) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 170-202 (116.4 - 138.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Tapu Koko Twinkle Tackle (160 BP) vs. 4 HP / 164 SpD Assault Vest Hariyama: 176-210 (80 - 95.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

252 Atk Garchomp Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 4 HP / 156 Def Hariyama: 186-219 (84.5 - 99.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

252+ Atk Metagross Zen Headbutt vs. 4 HP / 156 Def Hariyama: 186-222 (84.5 - 100.9%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO

252+ SpA Golduck Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. 4 HP / 164 SpD Assault Vest Hariyama in Rain: 168-198 (76.3 - 90%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Tapu Koko @ Electrium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Protect
- Volt Switch
- Dazzling Gleam

This Tapu Koko was the biggest accident. Prior to the event I decided to use Life Orb as the damage output from unboosted Koko is nothing short of embarrassing. However I changed from Electrium in-game on the train to the venue in the morning and forgot to save the game so it reverted to Electrium... though i'm honestly so glad it did. Whilst I was fairly unfamiliar with the damage calcs from it, I could guesstimate to some degree. I mainly used it to evaporate enemy Arcanine to allow Scizor more legroom in its attempt to set up and go to town. I also used it to remove Tapu Fini after a Calm Mind boost or those that feel they are safe in Misty terrain. The damage output from Gigavolt Havoc is absolutely crazy, even when the Koko is Timid. It has to be very well timed however as blowing it early can cause massive issues. (See my top 8 Game) The rest of the set was fairly standard. Gleam is weak spread and can finish weakened Chomp, Tbolt is respectable damage and Volt switch provides momentum and is the best move in Koko's arsenal in my opinion. 

There were a lot of teams just inherently weak to Tapu Koko in this tournament. My own included but that happens when you lack Lightningrod. Having a double intimidate core was very inviting to Pokemon like Milotic and Braviary which Tapu Koko can score a free KO on which was very useful. While that scenario never came into play during the main tournament I'm glad I went with Koko. 
It's also one half of the terrain duo aiding Scizor by removing the Pokemon it cannot deal with.
Very simple EV's as I felt I didnt need to mess with them. Using Modest would result in the team struggling greatly against Salazzle. Whilst an uncommon Pokemon, I didnt want to lose to it in the early rounds. Timid was also nice for speed tying with Aerodactyl and possibly blowing them up before a tailwind is set up with a priority + electric attack combo.

252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Arcanine in Electric Terrain: 217-256 (110.1 - 129.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 44 SpD Tapu Fini: 186-222 (105 - 125.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Celesteela in Electric Terrain: 242-288 (118.6 - 141.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Tapu Koko Gigavolt Havoc (175 BP) vs. 12 HP / 124 SpD Kartana in Electric Terrain: 162-191 (119.1 - 140.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Arcanine @ Misty Seed  
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 84 HP / 164 Atk / 52 Def / 100 SpD / 108 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Protect
- Flare Blitz
- Thief
- Extreme Speed

This Arcanine is my favourite, despite being another victim of not saving. The spread shown there was the one I used in the tournament but it was far from the one I wanted to use. Its probably awful but it got the job done so I cant complain. I say its awful because its the only spread I made independently. It was to out-speed Pelipper but it lacked Wild Charge so I have no idea what I was thinking. The actual spread will be in the Pastebin at the bottom so you don't have to use this faker. 

Anyways, Misty Seed Thief is something we used to laugh at in January when I first pitched the idea to Jade. However, my eyes have been opened as it often results in having an Assault Vest and a Super Sitrus all in one. You can steal some really silly items as well. Snatching an Assault Vest on top of a Misty seed boost turns Arcanine into Blissey. You can also use it to take Thick Club away from Marowak neutering it, or even Eviolite from P2. It has so many practical applications and I'm very glad I used it. Even for the item scouting you can do in BO3 sets which was something I did in swiss. 

I opted for Flare Blitz over a special fire move since I don't like getting frozen and I also like to do some form of damage. Recoil chipped me into stolen berry range multiple times as well which is pretty hilarious and adds to the fun factor of the team. (If you arent having fun using a team then you wont do well!) 

Again, the EV's are bad but it was supposed to be able to KO most Koko with Flare Blitz + Extremespeed. If I used this team in future I'd try and improve the spread to actually have a goal and not just guess damage output on everything.

164+ Atk Arcanine Flare Blitz vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 108-127 (73.9 - 86.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

164+ Atk Arcanine Extreme Speed vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 48-57 (32.8 - 39%) -- 99.8% chance to 3HKO

Tapu Fini @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Muddy Water
- Moonblast
- Protect

THE FINI! I love this thing, I have no idea what the EV's do (and neither do you) but they are Jade's creation and I love them to bits. It has a habit of taking random attacks on 1HP, healing up and then winning the game. Despite this happening a few times across the tournament I feel like it was the weakest performing member of the team. It was a very useful terrain bot but its damage output felt so much lower than the rest of the teams. I needed a Calm mind or 2 to actually pose much threat to opposing teams which I never really focused on as a win-con, instead opting to blow through teams with Salamence or Scizor. CM did provide a decent way of getting over Gastrodon however which threatens both Scizor and Salamence with its bulk and ability to recover.

Whilst it was the weakest performing mon on the team I wouldn't ever replace it as the Misty Terrain is just too useful in aiding Scizor and Hariyama. It also turns off Psychic Terrain which the team doesn't like an awful lot now that it lacks Metagross. 

Muddy Water is an awful move and whenever I clicked it I missed. I would be tempted to run Scald in future but the spread damage is just too nice. Calm Mind was also fairly subpar so it could probably run something like Taunt or Natures Madness to have more of a presence on the field. 

Salamence @ Groundium Z
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 20 HP / 116 Atk / 20 Def / 132 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Protect
- Dragon Claw
- Earthquake

Salamence was by far the strongest Pokemon I used on the team. Despite being one I always raise an eyebrow too when I look at it. Groundium seems bad, Salamence in general seems bad. But it was so strong against so much. I brought it to almost every game where it could just wreak havoc. Salamence has the benefit of being both a ground immunity (meaning Garchomp cant just blindly Tectonic Rage and score free ko's) and having Intimidate. Which in this format is something I thought would be explored into more outside of Bulu Toed teams. 

I chose to use Physical Salamence because Special hits about as hard as a stem of grapes and access to Dragon Dance can turn Salamence from a 'bad Garchomp' into 'oh dear' very quickly. Having a team that is mainly based around physical set up Pokemon and Scizor will often result in Arcanine being brought against it. Salamence is a fantastic switch in to Arcanine that lack Will-o Wisp (I played 0) as it intimidates it, resists its fire attack and can easily set up on it or opt to KO it outright.

Forcing your opponent to bring Pokemon to what seems like a fair matchup and then sniping them seemed to be the aim of the game in swiss. Everyone brought Arcanine to me and most got blown up by this Pokemon. This was the reason for using Groundium, along with patching up my godawful Muk matchup with an unexpected OHKO, it dealt with most of the fire types that prevented Scizor from doing its job. It also OHKO's Nihilego through protect at neutral which I sadly never got to do but was an option. 

The bulk on Salamence is the result of Jade deciding to get Salamence to take on Nihilego and Specs Tapu Koko. I was fairly un-optimistic about Salamence living anything as I'd always seen regular Mence as a bit of a joke. But oh boy did the spread actually work. It can take on non LO Nihilego in a pinch and can take anything up to Specs Thunder from modest Koko. (not including Twinkle Tackle)

My favourite mon by far!

252 SpA Nihilego Hidden Power Ice vs. 20 HP / 132 SpD Salamence: 140-168 (80.9 - 97.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

116+ Atk Salamence Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Nihilego through Protect: 189-223 (102.7 - 121.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Hidden Power Ice vs. 20 HP / 132 SpD Salamence: 151-182 (87.2 - 105.2%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO

252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunder vs. 20 HP / 132 SpD Salamence in Electric Terrain: 153-181 (88.4 - 104.6%) -- 31.3% chance to OHKO

252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Dazzling Gleam vs. 20 HP / 132 SpD Salamence: 151-179 (87.2 - 103.4%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO  (Single Target)

116+ Atk Salamence Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 188 HP / 44 Def Muk-Alola: 250-296 (122.5 - 145%) -- guaranteed OHKO

116+ Atk Salamence Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 254-300 (128.9 - 152.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+1 116+ Atk Salamence Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. 164 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele: 177-209 (106.6 - 125.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+1 116+ Atk Salamence Dragon Claw vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Garchomp: 218-260 (119.1 - 142%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Scizor (F) @ Iron Plate
Ability: Technician
Level: 50
EVs: 220 HP / 188 Atk / 52 Def / 44 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Bullet Punch
- Swords Dance
- Protect
- Brick Break

Scizor is a cool Pokemon. Its been hideously overlooked as a result of Kartana existing and a lot of Pokemon running fire moves to tackle it will naturally cook Scizor as well. Random HP fire Pokemon built to ko only Kartana will struggle to KO Scizor however since it isn't a literal piece of paper. Tapu Lele's presence also scares Scizor from using Bullet Punch as often as it would like. This can easily be resolved with some terrain wars. If Scizor is looking at a Tapu Lele and you have a terrain in the back, chances are Lele will flee for its life allowing for a free Swords Dance. Having 2 terrains stops Lele from coming back in freely as well giving Scizor all the room it needs whilst keeping up offensive momentum with Koko spamming Volt Switch or even Gigavolt havoc to destroy problems to the team. Both terrain setter's threatening Arcanine was also good for keeping the pressure up. Scizor was also great against Porygon2 Gigalith which found itself thrown on the end of a lot of  teams haphazardly, as neither Pokemon could really do much damage to Scizor and it could get an easy boost and KO Gigalith and beat out Porygon with ease.

I chose to run Brick Break as a means to hit Kartana when boosted but it really didn't do too much. In future I would run Iron Head as there were countless times I played Lele and couldn't act on in it obviously switching in. I also had to run Iron Plate as it boosts the power of Bullet Punch to the point where it can cleanly ohko most Koko at +2 which it cannot do unboosted. You also KO most Lele without a Swords Dance as well which was really nice. I could of run Life Orb but the recoil would be annoying and it wasn't really necessary.

The defence allowed it to take Garchomp Fire Fang should it be hit by one. You would likely be ko'd next turn to Rough Skin but one big hit is better than no hit at all.

188+ Atk Iron Plate Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 164-194 (113.1 - 133.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252 Atk Garchomp Fire Fang vs. 220 HP / 52 Def Scizor: 140-168 (80.9 - 97.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

252+ SpA Tapu Koko Hidden Power Fire vs. 220 HP / 44 SpD Scizor: 140-168 (80.9 - 97.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

+2 188+ Atk Iron Plate Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 4 HP / 4 Def Tapu Koko: 147-174 (100.6 - 119.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 188+ Atk Scizor Brick Break vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kartana: 144-170 (106.6 - 125.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 188+ Atk Scizor Brick Break vs. 68 HP / 188 Def Snorlax: 198-234 (81.1 - 95.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Gluttony Figy Berry recovery

+2 188+ Atk Iron Plate Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 228 HP / 52 Def Gigalith: 200-236 (105.8 - 124.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO

228+ Atk Gigalith Continental Crush (180 BP) vs. 220 HP / 52 Def Scizor: 160-190 (92.4 - 109.8%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO

+2 188+ Atk Iron Plate Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tapu Bulu: 228-270 (128.8 - 152.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO

188+ Atk Iron Plate Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Nihilego: 234-276 (126.4 - 149.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO

188+ Atk Iron Plate Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Pheromosa: 136-162 (92.5 - 110.2%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO

188+ Atk Iron Plate Technician Scizor Bullet Punch vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Mimikyu: 152-182 (93.8 - 112.3%) -- 75% chance to OHKO

The Tournament

Despite Birmingham being my home city, getting to the NEC proved tricky at that time in the morning. Regardless of travel difficulties I arrived with no food or drink in me and stressed as anything. We faffed around for a while till player meeting where we got our COOL HATS and all the Matt's in the tournament didn't get a goody box because obvious discrimination from TPCI. R1 pairings were posted soon after which was a pleasant surprise given the history of UK events in the NEC and things got rolling quickly.

Note: I didn't take in-depth notes on each game and I'd rather not go off memory and get turns completely wrong and potentially upset players so I'll just list teams and how I approached the game and what ended up winning/losing it for me.

R1: Stephanie

This is a set I'd rather forget but alas here we are digging up repressed memories.

Her team:

I tried to forget about this but I will take this to the grave. I saw my life flash before my eyes as a Kartana used Air Slash on my Arcanine and flinched it a few times before I finally break through just to miss Flare Blitz. This was the ultimate in-game team, that I really didnt want to lose too so I just went in with Salamence as fast as possible and scored a quick 2-0. Thankfully I won before my eyes and brain melted through my ears. It was too early to be flinched by a Kartana! Whilst I was happy taking the 1-0, I wasn't really warmed up for the day ahead. Which is a shame given what was about to happen to poor me.

R2: Alex Gomez (Pokealex)

Oh heck, its still too early for this, maybe in R6 or something sure but not now. Oh well! I gotta try my best anyways. Win or lose I would be honoured to play such an esteemed player.

His team:

Oh hey what a cool team. Looks like something I've been using almost all year. Still, even though I had a rough idea of what was going on I had to be careful. Scizor was looking really nice if I could keep Arcanine under control with Salamence. This would require me dealing with Ninetales which led to quite the interesting matchup. I felt it was very winnable however if I juggled my resources correctly. I managed to clinch G1 and I figured that to better combat Scizor + Salamence, Alex would bring Celesteela. I decided to bring Arcanine this time over Tapu Fini as an extra way to attack Cele should Koko go down early to a poor play or a snipe. This worked as Cele was brought to the game. It was far from an easy win though and it was one of the best games I played on the day. I barely clinched it out with Arcanine Hariyama vs -1 Speed Garchomp. Great set Alex! Cant wait to play you in the future.

So I just beat Pokealex and was on a good buzz. I'd woken up from the depression that was Air Slash Kartana and knew I could beat anyone if I just played well. Though the pairings were mean to me again and I had another hill to climb.

R3: Ben Kyriakou (Kyriakou)

Well then... Just who I wanted to see next to my name on pairings. I had to laugh though since this tends to happen at bigger events. Oh well, I beat Ben at worlds I can beat him here in a format he's much more experienced in and has much better finishes under his belt. (Send help)

His Team:

FAKEPG eh? This is a game of 'make the Arcanine go away with a Z move of my choice and get Scizor Hariyama to go crazy on the rest.' G1 was my first use of Gigavolt Havoc which I used to turn Fini into a steamed clam in a seafood restaurant. I also used Thief Arcanine in this game to steal his own Arcanines Mago Berry, making dealing with Kartana much easier later on in the game.
G2 I blew up Arcanine with Salamence and let everything else do its thing. The FAKEPG matchup is one of the strongest the team has so it was hard for Ben to get any kind of foothold on the game. Still a great game as always and I love playing one of my old vgc idols (and winning ofc) Maybe we'll play again in Liverpool and see what happens. This time on stream!

So I just had to beat 2 of the most accomplished players in VGC. I would really like a break. Maybe? Please? No absolutely not!

R4: Lukas Muller (KnappiKing)

SIGH. Another great player who ended up finishing second. We were also staying together for the regional which made this much funnier. All I knew was that Gastrodon had Fissure and I really didn't want to be playing with that. My luck with OHKO moves had yet to be tested but if I lost to them I would likely tilt off the side of the earth and it would be the end of my run. But that's not going to happen right?

His Team:

A very winnable match-up if Arcanine is fainted early (There's a pattern here) but I still have to be careful around Gastrodon as it walls Scizor and can possibly Ice Beam Salamence. And Fissure everything lets not forget about that. G1 was much rougher than G2 was simply because of the Gastrodon and being forced to dodge 2 Fissures to get into a position to KO it and the rest of his team. Thankfully someone was watching down from the stars and allowed me to dodge the 2 Fissures I needed to win the game. G2 Gastrodon wasn't brought to the game in favour of Gigalith, which just made Scizor so much stronger and able to set up after Arcanine was KO'd early on. Great set Lukas and congrats on your final placement. Also a really lovely guy to hang around with. Might have to room again for future events!

So I'm 4-0 now and I haven't dropped a game yet. All I'm thinking is 'It's happening again' The buzz of winning against so many great players was offsetting the fact that I hadn't eaten or drank anything all day and NEC prices were extortionate. I was going to start getting a headache soon. Especially after all I hear from people is 'Matt you're playing Jamie B.' I really really didn't want to play Boyt after all the previous nonsense but it was actually another Jamie B! Doesn't mean I was any less relieved. We were both 4-0 after all, we were doing something right.

R5: Jamie Butterworth (???)

I hadn't a clue what I was getting myself into with the first player I hadn't heard of all day (we do not speak of Air Slash Kartana) so I was cautious. We were both 4-0 so I had to be careful. Hopefully the team was weak to Scizor.

His team:

Scizor was a viable way to approach the game but Salamence was the much more attractive option given Hariyama could pressure P2 Gigalith enough to give Mence some room to manoeuvre around everything else. That's exactly what I did and it worked a charm in G1 despite some heavy resistance. A team of Hariyama Salamence Koko Arcanine seemed to be able to check everything decently so I stuck with it. I lost my first game in this set because I used Dragon Claw on Celesteela to catch Garchomp when it was already on the field. If I had attacked the Garchomp and Thunderbolted Cele I would win instantly but I guess my brain straight up stopped working for a second. After an embarrassing misplay I went into G3 with the same plan but opted to not be silly this time and attack straightforwardly as no real switch could offset the pressure I was putting out. I made no really hard  predictions outside of smart protecting and managed to come out on top.

I was 5-0 and incredibly happy (and thirsty) All I needed was to win one more game and I was guaranteed cut. (kinda not really thanks tpci)  There were four 5-0's left: Myself, Rachel Annand, Jamie Boyt and Lega. I didn't want to play any of them but it was going to happen like it or not. I secretly hoped for Boyt as I've never actually played him before. Would of been nice...

R6: Mathias Suchudolski (Lega)

It wasn't Boyt but it was okay. All I had to do was beat one more mountain and I would be in with a chance at worlds. Unfortunately it didn't quite go down that way as I was about to learn from team preview.

His Team.

Yeah I kinda had to accept defeat here. There was very little I could do in terms of forcing leeway. I needed Hariyama to stop Porygon2 from walling out the team but  Scarf Lele was a pretty nasty stop to that with an Arcanine Intimidate thrown on it. For all my options he had 2 more and I got beaten up very quickly. Had I had more time for a game-plan I could probably of worked something out but it wasn't the ideal match up to find at this point in the tournament. Still very well played from Lega, completely shutting any option I had to get into the game down with swiftness.

Despite losing I was still feeling okay. The stress of it now being a single elimination tournament for me had kicked in but I was thankful I only had to deal with it for one round. Should I lose the next round I would be immeasurably upset after having such a great run, I just had to hope for FAKEPG or something.

R7: Matt Dorrell (Matt Dorrell)

Well, It's a Matt off! There can be only one etc etc. This set should of been streamed just for the comedic purposes but it didn't end up being. Oh well! I don't like being on stream anyways.
I have literally zero idea what Matt is using but I have to win for my tournaments sake and to prove I'm best Matt. Win or lose it would be a fun set that I looked forward to.

His team:

Now this was a cool team. It seemed very Metagross centric with both of the Tapu's terrains helping it in some way. Also a Hariyama mirror which was something I didn't expect. Milotic was a hindrance to my Salamence and Arcanine's ability to KO Metagross but I felt I pressured it enough with Tapu Koko for it to be okay.

G1 I play 'ko the Arcanine' and I manage to pick it off early with a risky Bullet Punch + Gigavolt havoc combo which gave Scizor the legroom it so desired. If Arcanine had protected texpecting the Gigavolt it might of been an icky situation for me but I felt I had to try and remove it on that turn if I wanted to win. Then endgame of G1 was long and drawn out, a result of Matt's strong play clinging onto his last remaining win cons brilliantly. I managed to pull it out in the end though luckily and we moved to G2.

G2 I decide I want to use Hariyama as more of a driving offensive force as I suspected the Lele to be scarf (meaning it cant KO Hariyama if I remove Psychic Terrain) so that's what I did. I end up using Heavy slam on Matt's Hariyama expecting Lele to come in to block my Scizor and it gets flattened by Hari's big old behind. From there I play cautiously whilst maintaining as much offence as I can to prevent Matt from coming back. I manage to do this, eventually Ko'ing Tapu Bulu with Scizor and I finish swiss at a 6-1 record.

From that set I got a strong opinion of Matt's play. A very strong underrated player that seems to of been forgotten about after all the commentating he's been doing. Don't sleep on him, he's a threat and a solid player. I hope I don't play you at x-1 in future because that was a hard set. It was a great set however and I want another one at some point!

With my status as best Matt backed up now and the fact that I had cut, I had the biggest smile on my face. (wow) I heard from people that an X-1 had missed cut which made my heart stop for a while. Thankfully it wasn't me but that simply can't be happening in tournaments nowadays. Horrible fate for David who missed cut. Unfair isn't the word.

This isn't a post about broken results though, I celebrated with a drink and a night of not really preparing hard for my match against Rachel as I had a terrible matchup and only two real gameplan's. I regret not preparing harder for this match as I knew it was going to be hard. I can only learn from this mistake and vow to not make it again in future.

You can see my gameplans go to the dogs here

I just straight up lost this set. G1 I never felt safe launching an attack with Scizor when I really should of tried to set up an SD. I could blame stream nerves as I had a general feel of what was going to happen each turn but was afraid of acting on them and looking a fool in-front of everyone but what can you do. That crit in G2 was like a punch in the chest but that's Pokemon for you. I'm not even upset, I was outplayed by the eventual winner and I played some amazing games across the weekend. I also looked awful on stream which is something I never thought possible. 8) 8) 8)

The team in a nutshell:

Since my experience with this team was limited to remembering how I always lost to it, I had to either; Come up with something new; or try and emulate how it was used before. I went with the latter because I'm lazy like that. The old way was geared around setting up for Scizor to just come in lategame and click Bullet Punch to clean off weakened targets. Obviously this wasn't always going to happen so I often found myself aiming for a position where the opponent couldn't KO the Scizor and going for a Swords Dance and attempting OHKO's on numerous Pokemon. The same was true for Salamence, a Pokemon I added to the team myself (but still stole a spread for) Find a position where the opponent cannot KO Salamence and use Dragon Dance. Let carnage ensue.
In the swiss rounds I often pivoted around to get in Hariyama in the mid to lategame to provide a Fake out for a potential free set up or KO. Hariyama management was arguably the most important part of the team next to terrain juggling. In games where Hariyama is completely useless the team can stutter a little but smart play forcing a free turn can make up for having a 'free turn button'

Final thoughts:

The week prior to the event I always asked myself  'Is this team too janky?' 'It has 3 weird mons so it cant be viable surely, it'll be seen as a meme'
I eventually answered myself with 'So what? It works so I shouldn't care what anyone else thinks, I think this can win regional's and that's all that matters'
Whilst it didn't win regionals, I honestly think it could of done. This is by far the best team I've used all year and I'm so glad I decided to take it to the event. I'm glad Metagross kept missing its attacks to force my hand to use a different steel type. I'm glad Jade used to crush me with late game Scizor effectively teaching me how to use it. I'm very thankful for everything and everyone that helped and supported me throughout the day. I know I'm not a super established player and I cling to that worlds performance a bit too much. But having people support you and players who are much better than you say they respect your play means so so much and makes me want to continue. Whilst I cant make worlds this year due to me skipping a regional thinking I was lost anyways and TPCI lowering the bar with no real notice effectively shafting me up the behind. I will definitely try my best in next years format and return to worlds next year, hopefully with my friends in tow.
This team is my favourite and the fact the lil god squad me and my friend worked on months ago could come this far puts a smile on my face. Big huge thanks to everyone I've interacted with this year, You made all the difference and I'm very grateful.
Don't forget to credit Jade (EPD) as well, she made the original concept build/spreads and consistently beat me with it and probably could now! (Deserves more credit than I can fit in here but I'm trying!)  Strong player/builder and friend. <3

Paste/QR stuff:


-Matt Carter

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