Can 244 Be the New 252? An In-Depth Look into the 244-Tech

Hey, everyone! I decided to bring up a tech that has been widely used by many players out there, including myself. However, not many people know exactly how this tech works, or even the purpose of it in general. This article will give an in-depth look into what I call the “244-Tech”.

What is the 244-Tech?

It is a type of EV spread that is similar to the standard 252/252 spread, but provides a slight bit more bulk with the slight cost of damage output.

When is this Tech Normally Used?

It is normally used for a Pokémon with a jolly or timid nature, but in some cases, a naive or hasty nature as well.

Standard Sweeper Spread:

  • Physical: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
  • Special: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

244-Tech:

  • Physical: 4 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Special: 4 HP / 4 Def / 244 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

How Useful is this Tech?

Although it’s not meant to guarantee a Pokémon to survive certain moves, it can lower individual damage rolls, which can be very helpful as it increases the chances of survivals by a margin. The 244-Tech works on most moves, but sometimes, it doesn’t make a difference on some moves.

Let’s take a look at the most commonly used Pokémon in VGC 2016, Groudon, and the damage rolls from a Mega Salamence’s Draco Meteor associated with each respective EV spread.

Standard 252/252 Spread:
groudon-primal
Groudon @ Red Orb
Jolly Nature
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Damage Calculation:

  • 252 SpA Mega Salamence Draco Meteor vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Primal Groudon: 115-136 (65.3-77.2%)
    • Rolls: {115, 117, 118, 120, 120, 121, 123, 124, 126, 127, 129, 130, 132, 133, 135, 136}

Using the 244-Tech:
groudon-primal
Groudon @ Red Orb
Jolly Nature
4 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Damage Calculation:

  • 252 SpA Mega Salamence Draco Meteor vs. 4 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 114-135 (64.7-76.7%)
    • Rolls: {114, 115, 117, 118, 120, 121, 121, 123, 124, 126, 127, 129, 130, 132, 133, 135}

Quick Note: Hyper Voice made no difference for the 244-Tech, and it’s common for certain moves to make no difference for this tech.

Comparing the Two Sets of Damage Rolls:

4 HP / 0 SpD:
{115, 117, 118, 120, 120, 121, 123, 124, 126, 127, 129, 130, 132, 133, 135, 136}
4 HP / 4 SpD:
{114, 115, 117, 118, 120, 121, 121, 123, 124, 126, 127, 129, 130, 132, 133, 135}
Differences:
{1, 2, 1, 2, 0, 0, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1}

  • 2/16 damage rolls made no difference
  • 7/16 damage rolls have a difference of 1
  • 7/16 damage rolls have a difference of 2

Looking at the comparison, you’ll see two individual rolls having no difference, which is quite common when using this tech. However, you’ll also notice the rest of the damage rolls improving. Almost half have a difference of 1, and almost half have a difference of 2. It doesn’t seem like much of an improvement, but after looking at the damage rolls themselves, this is actually a very nice tech to consider. I’ve used a max speed Groudon with the 244-Tech, and it was able to hang on with a sliver of HP a few times. I can safely assume it’s all thanks to this tech. It doesn’t do as much damage as the 252/252 spread, but this slight touch of bulk might have been able to save me for a few games.

Making Improvements on this Tech

Maybe you decided to use this tech as a starting point, and you want to make adjustments to the EV spread for specific calculations in the future. Let’s take a look at a slight tweak at the 244-Tech Groudon EV spread, which was shown to us by Kyle Cole in this YouTube video.

groudon-primal
Groudon @ Red Orb
Jolly Nature
12 HP / 236 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Damage Calculations:

  • +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Dazzling Gleam vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 75-88 (42.3 – 49.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • +2 252 SpA Xerneas Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 149-176 (84.1 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • +2 252 SpA Xerneas Hidden Power Ground vs. 12 HP / 4 SpD Primal Groudon: 150-178 (84.7 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

As you can see here, this EV spread allows Groudon to survive two Dazzling Gleams from a timid Xerneas after a Geomancy boost. In addition to this, Groudon can also survive a +2 Grass Knot, as well as a +2 Hidden Power Ground 15/16 times. As DaWoblefet said, one point can make a difference when it comes to EV training, and this is a great example by increasing the HP stat by one.

Other Ways to Use this Tech

Pokémon with a Naive Nature

Salamence and Rayquaza are the best known Pokémon in the meta to have a naive nature. Let’s take a quick look at Jaime Boyt (MrJellyLeggs)’s Mega Rayquaza set he used to win the Wakefield Regional Championships:

rayquaza_xy_mega_icon
Rayquaza @ Life Orb
Naive Nature
4 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpA / 252 Spe

Notable Damage Calculations:

  • 252 Atk Cloyster Icicle Spear (5 hits) vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza in Strong Winds: 140-200 (77.7 – 111.1%) — approx. 93.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252 Atk Cloyster Icicle Spear (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Mega Rayquaza in Strong Winds: 140-200 (77.3 – 110.4%) — approx. 6.3% chance to OHKO

As silly as this sounds, Boyt said the 4 EV’s in HP significantly increases Rayquaza’s chances of surviving a 5-hit Icicle Spear from a Choice Scarf Cloyster. Because of this calculation, I honestly don’t feel safe without this particular investment whenever I would utilize a Rayquaza. Since he made this investment in HP, he was able to make slight investments in defense as well as special attack, which helps Overheat to have a slightly better damage output, as well as increasing Rayquaza’s chances of surviving a Double-Edge from an adamant Mega Kangaskhan by 7%, although that can still KO a bit over half the time.

Bulky Kangaskhan That’s Not Too Slow?

Maybe you want to use a Kangaskhan in a TailRoom team, but you don’t know where to start. Commonly, players would go with 252 HP / 252 Atk and choose one defensive stat for the remaining 4 EV’s, but if you want to use this tech, this might be a good starting point:

kangaskhan-mega
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Adamant Nature
252 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 4 Spe

With this spread, you don’t have to worry about choosing between two defensive stats for those 4 EV’s because why not invest in both? In addition to this, you also have a slight investment in speed, which can help Kangaskhan outspeed any uninvested base 90’s before mega evolution, as well as any uninvested base 100’s after mega evolution. Because Kangaskhan’s speed is a bit mediocre with this spread, it can function in Trick Room, and it can also outspeed most Pokémon in the metagame under Tailwind.

When Not to Use this Tech

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to use this tech on very frail Pokémon like Weavile and Gengar, two Pokémon that commonly carry the Focus Sash. This tech would only work on Pokémon with natural bulk. I would say the stats should be at least around base 90 for defensive stats, along with a reasonable base HP (usually, most of these Pokémon would have a base HP of around 100 at the least).

Would Everyone Use this Tech?

This really depends on the player’s style. If you would want as much damage output as possible, the 252/252 spread would be your best bet, but if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of damage output for a slight touch of bulk, this tech is the way to go. There are several top players out there who use this tech, and I was actually influenced to use this tech by Daichi Kumabe (Scar). According to Scar’s analysis of his 2015 Worlds Team, he decided to utilize the 244-Tech for his Landorus during the morning of Day 2, which helped it survive a Life Orb boosted Hidden Power Ice from a Thundurus 15/16 times while carrying an Assault Vest. As simple and last minute as it may have seemed, it was also a very effective tech for him to utilize in order for him to do so well.

Closing Thoughts

Although the 244-Tech is something not all players would use, it’s still an increasingly popular choice for those who would appreciate just a bit more bulk on their fast Pokémon, and this tech definitely makes a great starting point. I would personally recommend utilizing this tech, but there are others out there who would prefer the simpler and more offensive build. I only wrote this article because this tech has been widely used for quite a while; yet, no one has really ever went in depth into this subject. If you ever want a bit more bulk on your fast Pokémon, try the 244-Tech!

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Bi-Polar Weather? Oh, That’s Normal Here: 1st Place Hawaiʻi Midseason Showdown Report

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.

Team Building

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.

kyogre-primalgroudon-primalsalamence-megathundurus_xy_iconferrothorncresselia_xy_icon
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.

kyogre-primalgroudon-primalsalamence-megathundurus_xy_iconbronzongsmeargle
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.

kyogre-primalgroudon-primalsalamence-megathundurus_xy_iconbronzongkangaskhan-mega
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.

kyogre-primalgroudon-primalsalamence-megathundurus_xy_iconbronzongmawile_xy_mega_icon
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.

The Team

PKyogre ORAS

Kyogre
Held Item: Blue Orb
Ability: Primordial Sea
Nature: Modest
Base Forme: 207-94-136-193-161-111
Primal Reversion: 207-139-136-226-181-111
EV: H252 B204 C44 D4 S4
IV: 31-00-31-31-31-31
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.

Defensive Calculations:

  • -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

PGroudon ORAS

Groudon
Held Item: Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
Nature: Adamant
Base Forme: 189-218-161-xx-130-112
Primal Reversion: 189-251-181-xx-130-112
EV: H108 A228 B4 D156 S12
IV: 31-31-31-xx-31-31
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.

Defensive Calculations:

  • Guaranteed to survive an Earth Power from C252 Primal Groudon
    • 50% chance to survive an Earth Power from C252+ Primal Groudon

MSalamence ORAS
Salamencite
Salamence 
Held Item: Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate → Aerilate
Nature: Naive
Base Forme: 171-156-101-161-90-167
Mega Evolution: 171-166-151-171-99-189
EV: H4 A4 B4 C244 S252
IV: 31-31-31-31-31-31
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_xy_animated

Thundurus  (Incarnate Forme)
Held Item: Focus Sash
Ability: Prankster
Nature: Timid
Stats: 155-108-93-174-101-179
EV: H4 B20 C228 D4 S252
IV: 31-00-31-31-31-31
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.

Defensive Calculations:

  • -1 A252 Mega Kangaskhan’s Double-Edge is a guaranteed 2HKO

bronzong_xy_animated_shiny   ShinyVIStar.png

Bronzong
Held Item: Mental Herb
Ability: Levitate
Nature: Sassy
Stats: 174-109-152-xx-168-34
EV: H252 B124 D132
IV: 31-31-31-xx-31-00
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.

Defensive Calculations:

  • -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

mawile_xy_mega_animated
Mawilite
Mawile 
Held Item: Mawilite
Ability: Intimidate → Huge Power
Nature: Brave
Base Forme: 155-130-105-xx-96-49
Mega Evolution: 155-152-145-xx-136-49
EV: H236 A108 D164
IV: 31-31-31-xx-31-00
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.

Defensive Calculations:

  • 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
groudon-primal716kangaskhan-megasalamence-mega663smeargle

Round 2: Brandon Tong (stek) – Win 2-1
kyogre-primalrayquaza_xy_mega_iconraichu_xy_iconscizor_xy_icon

Round 3: Morgan Wynne (j80) – Win 2-0
kyogre-primal717kangaskhan-megaferrothornthundurus_xy_icon6567f-488

Finals: Brandon Tong (stek) – Win 2-0
kyogre-primalrayquaza_xy_mega_iconraichu_xy_iconscizor_xy_icon

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.

Closing Thoughts

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!

First Premier Challenge, Close to First Place: 2nd Place Da Planet Premier Challenge Report (1/30/2016)

hawaiitoomuchwater
Photo courtesy of Dat-Mudkip on Deviantart. #TooMuchWater

Aloha, everyone! It’s Kasoman, and I’m excited to share my accomplishment of 2nd Place at the first Premier Challenge in Hawaiʻi of the 2016 season, which also happens to be my first PC ever in my life! I understand it’s a bit overdue, but now, you finally have the chance to see how the metagame in Hawaiʻi is like! Well, sort of…

General Overview
The number of players who attended, including myself, was eight, which is the bare minimum for a Premier Challenge to officially be sanctioned. In Hawaiʻi, turn outs tend to be low because of the financial obstacles of airfare when it comes to bigger events like Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds, and people are just not interested in VGC in general, which is a bit disheartening. Luckily for me, I found a group of friends who play this format, and about half of them attended the same PC. Because this PC was so small, we only had three rounds of swiss, and top cut only included the top two players after round three.

The Team
I hate to admit it, but I didn’t have much practice before the tourney, and I was panicking on what I would use. In the end, I decided to use the most standard team (as of now), known as the “Showdown Special”, but I had a couple tricks up my sleeve, which helped me a bit.

Primal Groudon
Groudon @ Red Orb
Ability: Desolate Land
H4 B4 C244 D4 S252 (Timid)
– Earth Power
– Flamethrower
– Eruption
– Protect

Groudon is the most popular primal to use, and I also feel comfortable using it, so I decided to use Groudon as one of the restricted Pokémon. It has great coverage, decent physical bulk, and its ability, Desolate Land, also shuts down water type moves if it has the weather advantage. I decided to opt for a special attacking variant because I wanted a way to deal with the mirror match of opposing Groudon, and my Groudon is timid nature instead of modest, which makes speed ties less of a concern for me. This spread is not max special attack as it provides Groudon a bit more bulk, which isn’t much, but does help in the long run.

Battles Used In: 6/6 (100%)
Lead Ratio: 0/6 (0%)
Win Ratio: 4/6 (66.67%)

Xerneas
Xerneas @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
H4 C252 S252 (Timid)
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Geomancy
– Protect

Xerneas is my other restricted Pokémon because it pairs up with Groudon excellently. It usually picks up a knockout on fast Kyogre, as well as many other things after a Geomancy boost. The combination of Geomancy and Power Herb are insane, as it allows Xerneas to have +2 Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. Under Tailwind, Xerneas can’t be outsped by anything as it would have quadruple speed after the Geomancy boost. It can also pick off sleeping Pokémon one by one if paired with Smeargle. I wanted both of its attacking moves to provide STAB coverage, so Moonblast for single target, and Dazzling Gleam for spread damage. That way, Xerneas wouldn’t get shut down by Wide Guard.

Battles Used In: 4/6 (66.67%)
Lead Ratio: 2/4 (50.00%)
Win Ratio: 3/4 (75.00%)

Kangaskhan-Mega
Kangaskhan @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy –> Parental Bond
H4 A244 B4 D4 S252 (Jolly)
– Double-Edge
– Low Kick
– Sucker Punch
– Fake Out

Here she is again! The Queen of the Megas! A self-explanatory set, which provides Fake Out pressure, as well as offensive pressure with its ability, Parental Bond. I opted not to go for max attack because I wanted a bit more bulk on Kangaskhan, although it isn’t much. I opted for Double-Edge and Low Kick instead of Return and Power-Up Punch because with all of the restricted Pokémon around, you want Kangaskhan to deal as much damage to them as much as possible, and I feel it is difficult to set up Power-Up Punch in this format.

Battles Used In: 2/6 (33.33%)
Lead Ratio: 1/2 (50.00%)
Win Ratio: 1/2 (50.00%)

Salamence-Mega
Salamence @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate –> Aerilate
A44 C212 S252 (Naive)
– Hyper Voice
– Double-Edge
– Draco Meteor
– Protect

Salamence became popular in 2015, and it became even more popular than before. Intimidate support, and the fact it outspeeds Mega Rayquaza is why people opt for Salamence as their Dragon/Flying Mega Pokémon. The EV spread is what Aaron Zheng (@CybertronVGC) used at the 2015 US Nationals, and from what I’ve experienced, this spread still works. Most of the time, I would just use Hyper Voice repeatedly because there is a huge risk factor involved when using Draco Meteor or Double-Edge, and I have to carefully decide whether or not it is the right time to use one of those moves as they cause recoil to Salamence.

Battles Used In: 3/6 (50.00%)
Lead Ratio: 2/3 (66.66%)
Win Ratio: 1/3 (33.33%)

Talonflame

Talonflame @ Life Orb
Ability: Gale Wings
A252 D4 S252 (Jolly)
– Brave Bird
– Flare Blitz
– Quick Guard
– Tailwind

Talonflame also became more popular than previous seasons due to its access to Quick Guard, and its offensive pressure with priority Brave Bird thanks to its Hidden Ability, Gale Wings, which prioritizes flying-type moves. Flare Blitz and Brave Bird are its STAB coverage attacks, and they deal a lot of damage thanks to the Life Orb, but of course, the major drawback is the excessive recoil damage. Tailwind is there for speed control, and thankfully, it is a flying-type move. Many run adamant for maximum damage output, but I opted for jolly to prevent speed ties as much as possible.

Battles Used In: 5/6 (83.33%)
Lead Ratio: 3/5 (60.00%)
Win Ratio: 2/5 (40.00%)

Smeargle
Smeargle @ Focus Sash
Ability: Moody
H252 B4 S252 (Jolly)
– Dark Void
– Wide Guard
– Crafty Shield
– Spiky Shield

Everyone’s least favorite Pokémon, Smeargle. Causing trouble since Dark Void became allowed. However, because it’s so popular, Dark Void is pretty much a staple of any Smeargle moveset, despite all the salt that goes on about it. Alongside that, I also developed a couple tricks up my sleeve. Usually people run moves like Fake Out, Follow Me, or even Transform, but I decided not to use any of those moves. Instead, I opted for Wide Guard to check spread moves, and I opted for Crafty Shield because Smeargle is an easy target for potential taunt users, which gives me a better match up against Pokémon that have Prankster as their ability. Crafty Shield also helps me deal with opposing Smeargle, especially those that carry a Choice Scarf. Thankfully, I have not run into any opposing Smeargle, although someone else in the tourney used the same exact composition as I did. Nonetheless, Dark Void is such a disheartening move, and I would be pleased if that move were banned sometime in the future.

Battles Used In: 4/6 (60.00%)
Lead Ratio: 3/4 (75.00%)
Win Ratio: 2/4 (50.00%)

Premier Challenge Match Summary
As I mentioned earlier, since there was only eight players, swiss went on for three rounds, and top cut only included the top two players. Here, I’ll give a rundown on what happened every round, and since the PC had a small turnout, it wouldn’t be such a long read.

Round 1: Morgan Wynne (@SnoBolVGC)

His team:
groudon-primal249kangaskhan-mega4db57-510145ferrothorn

He brought:
4db57-510kangaskhan-mega249groudon-primal

I brought:
716smearglesalamence-megagroudon-primal

I never thought my first opponent at my first PC would end up being my good friend, Morgan. Before the tourney, he also had no idea what to use either, so he ended up utilizing his Lugia team. At team preview, he was actually a bit surprised that I brought the Showdown Special, and he immediately knew my Smeargle was going to be a problem. Nonetheless, I still opted to lead with Xerneas and Smeargle because I knew he was going to lead with Liepard and/or Kangaskhan to thwart Smeargle’s antics. As a result, I lead Smeargle with Xerneas to provide offensive pressure. I thought Lugia was a fascinating choice as it’s not very prominent in the format like Groudon and Xerneas, and it definitely stood out on his team. Morgan brought Lugia in the match-up to potentially PP stall my Xerneas and Salamence, but it didn’t do very much against my team in the end. I was able to seal up the game after Lugia took enough damage, and my Groudon out sped his own Groudon, which helped me out a lot.

Win (1-0)

Round 2: Jeremy Whipple (@m0NtE_Cristo_)

His Team:
kyogre-primal717kangaskhan-mega663bronzong454

He Brought:
kangaskhan-megabronzongkyogre-primal717

I Brought:
salamence-megasmearglegroudon-primal663

This was when I first met Jeremy, and our systems were going through a hack check, so we had a pretty nice conversation, finding out we are both Eagle Scouts and Arrowmen, which made me feel some sort of connection with him. Once team preview opened up, I was immediately fascinated with his team. Bronzong and Toxicroak stood out on his team, and Yveltal, a legendary not commonly seen, is usually paired with Groudon rather than Kyogre. I had no idea what I was facing, so I was a bit worried. When we played, my confidence went a bit downhill when I got caught off guard with his Bronzong using Skill Swap on my Talonflame. After that point, I played this round pretty badly, and he won the round because the weather war shifted to his favor in the late game.

Loss (1-1)

Round 3: Alec Sodetani

His Team:
groudon-primal484kangaskhan-megalandorus-therian6567f-488amoonguss

He Brought:
landorus-therian6567f-488kangaskhan-megagroudon-primal

I Brought:
663smeargle716groudon-primal

For Round 3, I got paired with another friend, and he didn’t have a team in-game before the PC, so I lent him my version of Cybertron’s Trick Room team that revolved around Groudon and Palkia. He lead with Landorus and Cresselia, and because of the intimidate on Talonflame, and the Rock Slide pressure, I switched it out for Xerneas. Luckily for me, the Rock Slide missed my Smeargle, so I got a free Dark Void on his side of the field, missing Landorus, but at least I prevented a potential Trick Room set up. Because I knew he would go for another Rock Slide, I went for Wide Guard to get a free Geomancy boost, and that turn worked out perfectly for me. For the rest of the round, I basically trampled over his team with Xerneas’s attacks and a plethora of Dark Voids from Smeargle. I probably gave him the most demoralizing loss I’ve ever seen, and I felt slightly bad about it since I practically 4-0’d him. Like I mentioned earlier, playing with and against Smeargle is usually never fun for many people, and this is one of the reasons why Dark Void should be banned.

Win (2-1)

Swiss Results
After swiss was over, I found out three of us finished swiss 2-1, while Jeremy went undefeated. Morgan was one of them, and the other was the guy who used the same team as I did. It turned out I was the one who got 2nd seed in top cut, and I felt a bit relieved and concerned at the same time since I lost to Jeremy in swiss, but the other guy who used the same team as I did also lost to Jeremy in Round 3. Nonetheless, I felt good making it to the finals in my first official tourney.

januarypcseeding

Finals: Jeremy Whipple

Game 1

He Brought:
bronzong9be41-115kyogre-primal717

I Brought:
salamence-megasmearglegroudon-primal663

The reason why this part says he brought a regular Kangaskhan was because he forgot to mega evolve it, and he did not go for Fake Out. As a result, my Salamence fired off a free Double-Edge on the Kangaskhan and actually picked up a knock out with a critical hit. I also got a free Dark Void on his Bronzong, which prevented a Trick Room set up. I was in an excellent position until the turn I fired off an Eruption to knock out the Bronzong. I wanted Salamence to damage his Yveltal with a Draco Meteor, but unfortunately, it missed, and it brought Jeremy back in the game. If it had actually hit, I might have won the game, but his reads were good in the late game, so this was a deserved win for Jeremy.

Loss (0-1)

Game 2

He Brought:
bronzongkangaskhan-mega717kyogre-primal

I Brought:
716663groudon-primalkangaskhan-mega

I decided Bronzong wasn’t as threatening as I thought it would be, so I decided to bring in Xerneas for more offensive pressure, and I also thought Kangaskhan would do better against his team than Salamence would. Because he went with the same lead as last time, I decided to switch out Xerneas for Groudon, and I went for a Flare Blitz on the Bronzong, but he was smart enough to Fake Out my Talonflame as he needed the Trick Room set up. At that point, I figured I needed to make hard reads in order to bring myself back into the game. I predicted his Kyogre to switch in to prevent Groudon and Talonflame from using a fire-type move since Bronzong can’t touch them, so I decided to double target Kangaskhan with Brave Bird and Earth Power as he knows I have Quick Guard, and he also wanted to conserve his Bronzong for the late game. This turn went exactly as I planned, and I was able to pick up the knock out on his Kangaskhan. The next turn, I decided to switch in Xerneas, and I had Kangaskhan Fake Out the Bronzong in case Jeremy predicted the switch in by going for a Gyro Ball, but Kyogre protected anyways, so it went perfectly. In the late game, it was his Yveltal staring down Groudon and Xerneas, but he used Swagger on my Xerneas, which was a bit annoying to deal with. Foul Play ended up dealing a lot of damage to my Xerneas, and the game ended in a nailbiter. Fortunately, Xerneas hit through the confusion and knocked out his Yveltal, giving me the win for Game 2.

Win (1-1)

Game 3

He Brought:
663kangaskhan-megakyogre-primal717

I Brought:
kangaskhan-mega663groudon-primal716

The final game of the final round had an awkward start with the Kangaskhan and Talonflame mirror match, and the pressure was very high for both of us. I haven’t seen his Talonflame before, and he doesn’t know what I can do with this lead either. It started off pretty badly for me when he protected Talonflame, and he got a Low Kick on my Kangaskhan, picking up a free KO, but I also had a free tailwind up for speed control. His Talonflame using Protect caught me off guard, and it made things trickier for me. In turn two, he was able to read my Quick Guard play and get a free tailwind of his own, which put me behind even further. Jeremy was then able to knock out my Xerneas, which was unfortunate for me. However, it still wasn’t over as I haven’t revealed my Groudon yet. I made a hard read on him by going straight for the Brave Bird on his Talonflame, picking up the knock out. I also went for an Eruption, and that picked up the one-hit KO on Yveltal as well. In the late game, it all came down to what RNGesus decides. Just Groudon and Kyogre in the heavy rain, and Kyogre was also damaged to the point where two Earth Powers from Groudon would knock it out. Because an Earth Power would bring it down to the red, the game would be decided on whether or not Origin Pulse would connect on my Groudon. Fortunately for Jeremy, it did, and he took home the 1st place win, while I finished 2nd. Regardless, it was an amazing game played by the both of us, and I can at least say that Jeremy’s team was cooler than mine!

Loss (1-2)

Closing Thoughts
Even though this was a small tourney, it was still a big deal for us, the few players in Hawaiʻi, with most of the participants being a part of the Mānoa Milotics, which is the International Collegiate Pokémon Association (@ICPA_Pokemon) team of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I’m trying my best to improve the competitive scene in Hawaiʻi, and mentioning accomplishments like these is one way to draw more attention for newer players.

My Haul
gengarbox

  • A deck box featuring Mega Gengar on the front side and Mega Manetric on the back side for my 2nd place finish.
  • 20 Championship Points! Not like I’ll go to Worlds when I live in Hawaiʻi! (Hah!)

 

Shout-outs

  • All those pros who inspire me to do good in playing Pokémon VGC!
  • The VGC Community for being friendly and awesome!
  • My buddies in the Mānoa Milotics for their time and commitment in improving their skills and their willingness to represent UH Mānoa in Pokémon of all things! You guys are the closest people who make me want to do better because we are a team!
  • Anthony Akahoshi, who hosted this tourney. Looking forward to more in the future!
  • Jeremy for having the coolest team!
  • The Showdown Special for pulling through to the top cut!
  • Of course, you, as a reader, for your time and support for my blog! Thank you for that!

januarypcteam

 

I’ll continue to improve my game, and I don’t see a Worlds invite in myself or anyone else here in Hawaiʻi since there’s too much water. If only there’s an easier way to get to Worlds. Other than that, I had a great time at the PC, and hopefully, I’ll do good at other tourneys! Shoots, buggahs!