Hey, everyone! I recently won the Midseason Showdown that was sanctioned in Hawaiʻi, and I’d like to share how I was able to accomplish that. The turnout was a sad amount, being eight people, which was like the Premier Challenge that was sanctioned in January. As a result, swiss went on for three rounds, but thankfully, we played best-of-three instead of best-of-one, which is a huge step in improvement of VGC.
For the tourney, I’ve wanted to try a dual primal team after watching Cybertron and PokéAlex do so well with this core at a regional level, and I thought maybe I can enjoy using this core myself. Dual primal can deal with the Big 6 effectively with a Bronzong in the team, and Salamence is probably my favorite mega evolution to use in the format because of its coverage and ability. I’ve been aware that dual primal is becoming a thing, so of course, I had to make my twist of things to deal with mirror matches, even though the team would end up as standard as it would be.
I started off with this composition, which had quite a lot of color synergy. I liked it for a while, but I eventually realized my match up against the Big 6 wasn’t the greatest. I also found Ferrothorn to be quite underwhelming for me to utilize because it usually sits there doing nothing, and Groudon is practically everywhere because it is arguably the best restricted Pokémon of the format. I even tried a set with Sitrus Berry, but it still wasn’t enough for me to fully enjoy it, although I like using it more than the standard Leftovers set.
I took a liking to the dual primal core with Salamence and Thundurus, which makes a strong set of four Pokémon. To improve the Big 6 match up, I decided to swap Cresselia for Bronzong to deal with Xerneas, and have Smeargle to deal with opposing Smeargle. Pretty much similar to the team Cybertron used for the Anaheim Regionals, but with Thundurus over Mawile.
I decided to play with my first composition for a few games, then I randomly ran into LightCore on Showdown, who used this exact composition. I became interested in this composition because Kangaskhan provides Fake Out support along with good offensive pressure. I found Smeargle to be underwhelming to utilize like Ferrothorn, so, I decided to have a dual mega option in Salamence and Kangaskhan, along with the dual primal core since swiss would be best-of-three at the MSS.
I never thought I would need to use Mawile, but then I eventually realized why those two had Mawile on their teams: Yveltal. Yveltal can be quite a terrible match up for dual primal teams as it can deal a lot of damage with Foul Play to most of the team, and it can also threaten any viable Trick Room setter of the format with a very powerful Knock Off, as well as a Dark Pulse, which happens to have a 10% chance to flinch the target. Yveltal could also spam Snarl, which is another annoying move it can use. Additionally, it has the strongest Sucker Punch in the game, which provides pressure in Trick Room. In practice, Mawile has been an amazing addition because not only it deals with Yveltal, it can also deal with Xerneas, it can make the RayOgre match up a bit easier, and it also has Intimidate as its ability before it mega evolves, which is a very nice thing to have. Kangaskhan is a solid fit for this core, but I actually haven’t used it very much in practice, so I’m actually very glad I swapped it for Mawile.
Held Item: Blue Orb
Ability: Primordial Sea
Base Forme: 207-94-136-193-161-111
Primal Reversion: 207-139-136-226-181-111
EV: H252 B204 C44 D4 S4
Moves: Scald / Ice Beam / Water Spout / Protect
I know this sounds crazy, but yes, I used a very physically defensive Kyogre with minimal offensive investment. I wanted Kyogre to take hits well since I could take advantage of its bulk thanks to intimidate support, as well as its typing. Although I didn’t invest much into special attack, it’s been worthwhile for me to use this spread both in practice, and during the tourney. I know many people are running physical Groudon currently, so I wanted Kyogre to be able to take at least two Precipice Blades after the opposing Groudon gets intimidated. I know people are also putting more investment in speed for their primals, which is getting a bit annoying. Since I am running Trick Room on my team, I decided to make minimal investment in speed on both of my restricted Pokémon as they outspeed many uninvested or slow variants, while still being able to underspeed many other primals out there. As for special attack, I just dumped those EV’s there since I didn’t feel the need to invest more into bulk. The reason why I chose Scald and Water Spout is because they don’t miss, and Scald can bypass Wide Guard, which is now being more commonly seen on Smeargle. Scald also has that nice 30% burn chance which did happen in one of my matches. I personally despise the accuracy of Origin Pulse as it’s a 72% chance for it to hit both targets, and I also don’t like using Thunder as I feel it’s too situational for the Kyogre mirror match. Plus, its accuracy gets reduced to 50% when the sun goes up, which really makes me not want to use it at all.
- -1 A252 Mega Kangaskhan’s Double Edge is a 0.5% chance to 2HKO
- -1 A252+ Ferrothorn’s Seed Bomb is a guaranteed 3HKO
- A252 Primal Groudon’s Precipice Blades is a guaranteed 3HKO
- -1 A252 Primal Groudon’s Precipice Blades becomes a miniscule chance to 3HKO in spread damage, and a guaranteed 3HKO in single target damage
- -1 A252+ Primal Groudon’s Precipice Blades is a guaranteed 3HKO
- -1 A252 Mega Rayquaza’s Dragon Ascent is a guaranteed 3HKO
- A Life Orb boosted Dragon Ascent can 2HKO this spread 90% of the time at -1
- -1 A252 Mega Salamence’s Double-Edge is a guaranteed 3HKO
- -1 A252+ Mega Mawile’s Play Rough is a guaranteed 3HKO
- Also survives a Choice Band boosted Explosion from A252+ Landorus-Therian
Held Item: Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
Base Forme: 189-218-161-xx-130-112
Primal Reversion: 189-251-181-xx-130-112
EV: H108 A228 B4 D156 S12
Moves: Precipice Blades / Fire Punch / Rock Slide / Protect
Groudon is my more offensively built primal as it is trained to survive only an Earth Power from timid Groudon. Otherwise, it’s a coin flip for it to survive an Earth Power from more specially offensive Groudon. I originally used a max HP spread, but I realized how not many people are using modest or quiet Groudon, and I wanted to have a bit more firepower from the team. To be completely honest, you can only do so much for Groudon’s bulk since it is already naturally defensive on the physical side, and its typing already has a crippling weakness to water. Plus, you would actually want to invest more into attack anyway since there’s intimidate support everywhere, and Precipice Blades can miss, so you want to pick up those KO’s as quickly as possible. I wish there were a better alternative to Precipice Blades, but sadly, there isn’t any. I invested 12 EV’s into speed because I wanted my Groudon to be the faster primal as it can function in rain, and I also wanted it to benefit from Trick Room as well.
- Guaranteed to survive an Earth Power from C252 Primal Groudon
- 50% chance to survive an Earth Power from C252+ Primal Groudon
Held Item: Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate → Aerilate
Base Forme: 171-156-101-161-90-167
Mega Evolution: 171-166-151-171-99-189
EV: H4 A4 B4 C244 S252
Moves: Hyper Voice / Double-Edge / Tailwind / Protect
I remember the time I lost a lot of momentum in Game 1 of the final round during January’s PC because I missed a Draco Meteor. I never wanted to experience that again, and I also wanted to have speed control over opposing Groudon in case I couldn’t set up Trick Room since Thundurus outright can’t touch it. As a result, I decided to use Tailwind, and I haven’t regretted this decision one bit, although I haven’t used this move a single time in the tourney. In practice, it’s been very effective to take advantage of, and I think this is a move to consider if you don’t want to use Draco Meteor anymore. My EV spread looks a little odd, but it’s because I wanted a little more bulk on Salamence. Surprisingly, Salamence ended up as my least used Pokémon throughout the whole tourney, being brought to only two games.
Thundurus ♂ (Incarnate Forme)
Held Item: Focus Sash
EV: H4 B20 C228 D4 S252
Moves: Thunderbolt / Thunder Wave / Taunt / Protect
The item of choice for Thundurus is pretty much a huge debate as of now since Thundurus is the bulkiest Prankster of the format. I think Sitrus Berry is a great item on Thundurus, but I would personally prefer Focus Sash over Sitrus Berry any day. I wanted the speed advantage for shenanigans, and I also wanted to provide offensive pressure towards the likes of opposing Kyogre, which can be an issue for dual primal teams. This particular spread is not max special attack because I wanted Thundurus to survive a Double-Edge from a Kangaskhan that is intimidated since it is easily the only Pokémon that can easily rip through the Focus Sash.
- -1 A252 Mega Kangaskhan’s Double-Edge is a guaranteed 2HKO
Held Item: Mental Herb
EV: H252 B124 D132
Moves: Gyro Ball / Skill Swap / Gravity / Trick Room
The secondary star of the team! One of my main forms of speed control, which can actually fight back against Xerneas with its Gyro Ball! I remember when Jeremy Whipple (ClassyCobra) beat me with a Bronzong and won the PC with it. Funny how I ended up winning a tourney with it. The difference between our Bronzong is he had Protect rather than Gravity, but that’s because he didn’t need Gravity. My EV spread is also different than his. In fact, I actually have no idea what his spread does to be completely honest. A Fire Punch from Groudon is the only benchmark I could think of, so I did damage calculations for that. Another difference is that mine is shiny, and his isn’t. Clearly, the difference would be obvious. Anyway, Bronzong has been doing a lot of work in the tourney, and I’ve brought it to most of the games in the MSS.
- -1 A252+ Primal Groudon’s Fire Punch is a guaranteed 2HKO
- C252+ Primal Kyogre’s Water Spout is a guaranteed 2HKO
- C252+ Primal Kyogre’s Origin Pulse is a guaranteed 2HKO in single target damage
Held Item: Mawilite
Ability: Intimidate → Huge Power
Base Forme: 155-130-105-xx-96-49
Mega Evolution: 155-152-145-xx-136-49
EV: H236 A108 D164
Moves: Iron Head / Play Rough / Sucker Punch / Protect
Here she is! The real MVP of the team! Mawile’s actually the last member of the team specifically to deal with Yveltal, and she’s done a lot more work than I expected. It turned out not many of my opponents had an effective answer to Mawile, and I also happened to steamroll one of my opponents with Mawile. This Mawile is minimum speed because it wouldn’t make sense to optimize the EV spread for TailRoom, and it was just something I would start with. I haven’t had much problems in practice, so I just kept it at minimum speed. My first benchmark was for Mawile to survive two Dazzling Gleams from +2 C252 Xerneas, then I made calculations for an Origin Pulse from C252+ Primal Kyogre. Having Intimidate and Huge Power as its abilities makes Mawile something you don’t want to stare down in a Trick Room.
- C252+ Primal Kyogre’s Origin Pulse is a guaranteed 2HKO
- +2 C252 Xerneas’s Dazzling Gleam is a guaranteed 3HKO
- +2 C252 Xerneas’s Hidden Power Ground is a guaranteed 2HKO
Midseason Showdown Match Summary
Round 1: Alec Sodetani (NightsValor) – Win 2-0
Round 2: Brandon Tong (stek) – Win 2-1
Round 3: Morgan Wynne (j80) – Win 2-0
Finals: Brandon Tong (stek) – Win 2-0
The Issue with Attendance
If there were better promotion and planning for VGC events ahead of time, as well as better prize support, maybe people would actually show up. People would also probably show up if VGC events didn’t conflict with TCG events as well. Brandon and I actually did not get prizes in the end, but we didn’t really care to be honest since VGC prize support is usually pretty ill for the most part. I’m sure some of you can relate to what I’m talking about.
A Premier Challenge back in 2015 had roughly 20 people, which is the biggest attendance I’ve heard of for any VGC event in Hawaiʻi, although I wasn’t able to attend that one. That PC was sanctioned at our anime convention, also known as Kawaii Kon. Many people did play VGC in Hawaiʻi back in the day when Worlds would be sanctioned in the islands, but then it sort of just died down. I’m still doing the best I can to improve the competitive scene in Hawaiʻi. Believe me, it’s going to be a LOT of work to pull that off, but it’s doable! I just feel like us VGC players don’t get enough appreciation in the community, and I’m trying to fix that here.
Despite that I won the Midseason Showdown, I wasn’t expecting the turnout to be this low, and the fact most of my matches ended up as dominating wins really doesn’t sound as exciting as you think. Not to sound arrogant or anything like that, but my level of play compared to almost everyone else’s at the tourney had a huge gap, and I know there are a lot of players out there who are better than I am. It’s a shame how not many people in Hawaiʻi are interested in playing VGC. Nonetheless, I’m still very happy I won the tourney, and I’m very glad I spent a lot of time practicing for the MSS. Now, I should have 110 CP, even though there’s zero chance I’ll earn a Worlds invite.
Thanks for reading, and to close this off, this exact dual primal team I used could potentially be the new Big 6 since I’ve been seeing a lot of them lately. Be prepared to face those! Shoots, buggahs!