Alternative warstory title: ?She Wants to Play With Fire?
Hey everyone! My name is Aaron Traylor, and I just won the Dallas Regional Championships in Pokmon VGC, the official format for Pokmon battles. I played 15 rounds in a pool of 540+ players across 2 days and won 3000$, and I also secured 200 Championship Points (half an invite to the World Championships). This is a brief writeup about the team I built and used alongside Wolfe Glick (@WolfeyGlick) and Justin Carris (@AzazeL_the_God).
We began teambuilding for this event several weeks in advance. We thought about the team cores that we were likely to run into, even though we acknowledged that most teams we would face would deviate from the metagame:
- Solar Power Charizard / Sunny Day Whimsicott
- Togekiss / Dragapult / Excadrill
- Sand Rush Excadrill / Tyranitar
- Dusclops / Torkoal / Rhyperior (with Butterfree option)
- Whimsicott / Justified Arcanine or Lucario
- Indeedee / Gigantamax Snorlax
- Own Tempo Mudsdale / Grimmsnarl / Arcanine
We also took into account Pokmon that demanded respect when a team was built around them:
- Togekiss @ Weakness Policy
- Intimidate Arcanine with Will-o-Wisp and Snarl
- Dracovish @ Choice Scarf
We aimed to build a team that would give us powerful lead options no matter what strategy our opponent tried. We quickly settled on the combination of Fake Tears Whimsicott and fast Life Orb Duraludon (thanks to Justin Ramirez @LukamirPB and Aaron Zheng @CybertronVGC for selling us on them respectively), and added G-Max Charizard and Conkeldurr to round out the offense. Later, we added Togekiss and Jellicent to give the team the defensive backbone it needed to go from gimmicky to great. I have experience with using both Tailwind and Trick Room on the same team from VGC 2011, 2016, and 2019, so I was excited that we worked this combination onto our team as it felt very fluid and dynamic in a way other teams didn?t.
made by my sister 🙂 follow her at @art_tray
Information about what a ?mark? or ribbon is and how to equip them: https://www.serebii.net/swordshield/marks.shtmlhttps://www.serebii.net/swordshield/ribbons.shtml
Spirit of | the Galar Champion
Charizard-Gmax @ Charti BerryAbility: BlazeEVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 SpeTimid Nature- Protect- Blast Burn- Solar Beam- Air Slash
Blast Burn is necessary to pick up a knockout on non-Dynamaxed bulky Togekiss in combination with Fake Tears. Even if Togekiss is left on the field, G-Max Wildfire will take it out by the end of the turn. We considered a bulkier slower variant but Snarl Arcanine with maximum Speed was so prolific that we didn?t even try it. We liked Life Orb Duraludon better than Life Orb Charizard in practice.
The Fast and | the Furious
Whimsicott @ Focus SashAbility: PranksterEVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 SpeTimid NatureIVs: 0 Atk- Tailwind- Moonblast- Charm- Fake Tears
Charm is necessary to combo with Charizard?s Charti Berry and hamper offensive Dynamax Pokmon such as Excadrill, Mudsdale, and Durant. Fake Tears gives this team the offensive potential it needs.
I was supposed to get Jellicent | the Mist Drifter but I accidentally caught a shiny
Jellicent (F) @ Kasib BerryAbility: Cursed BodyLevel: 50EVs: 140 HP / 236 Def / 124 SpA / 4 SpD / 4 SpeModest NatureIVs: 0 Atk- Water Spout- Strength Sap- Trick Room- Shadow Ball
Jellicent was added the Thursday before the tournament so we didn?t get much time to test with it, but it felt like the most important member of the team. The 4 Speed EVs are so that Jellicent in Tailwind can outspeed maximum Speed Arcanine. Kasib Berry makes Dragapult nearly useless versus Jellicent, because Jellicent can always set Trick Room up in its face and then come after it with Shadow Ball alongside an offensive partner Pokmon. I wish I had run more Special Attack, because Jellicent missed crucial KOs by a hair in 3 of my games over the day, and the stat points make a lot of difference.
Scaling | the Tower Master (aka Swingline)
Duraludon @ Life OrbAbility: StalwartEVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 SpeTimid NatureIVs: 0 Atk- Protect- Draco Meteor- Flash Cannon- Thunderbolt
There are few counters to fast Duraludon with Fake Tears support. Thunderbolt is important so that Duraludon can prevent sleep by Dynamaxing and using Max Lightning. The offense and Speed ties into the theme of dealing damage quickly, and Assault Vest or Weakness Policy would be much less effective.
Bundle | the Humble
Conkeldurr @ Assault VestAbility: GutsEVs: 156 HP / 204 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 44 SpeAdamant Nature- Close Combat- Mach Punch- Drain Punch- Rock Slide
All three Fighting-type moves are important for Conkeldurr. There are situations where it needs to deal as much damage as possible, where it needs to deal Fighting-type damage without drawback and heal, and where it needs to deal priority damage . Rock Slide was our coverage move of choice because it hits both targets and deals super effective damage to Chandelure, Charizard, Gyarados, and Togekiss, but Ice Punch might have worked alright. The Speed EVs allow Conkeldurr to always outspeed Modest Duraludon in Tailwind.
Power of | the Great Friend
Togekiss @ Babiri BerryAbility: Super LuckLevel: 50EVs: 252 HP / 116 Def / 4 SpA / 28 SpD / 108 SpeBold NatureIVs: 0 Atk- Follow Me- Yawn- Helping Hand- Dazzling Gleam
Togekiss has extra Speed points to outspeed Adamant Tyranitar and other Togekiss so that it can Yawn before theirs uses Safeguard. The defensive EVs are dumped pretty randomly after we hit the Speed point we wanted, don?t worry too much about them.
Here is the paste: https://pokepast.es/a488945af309d411
This team is missing 4 Special Attack EVs on Togekiss but if you believe in your Pokmon you don?t need 4 Special Attack EVs.
Matchups and Counters
Good rules of thumb for this team are to never bring Charizard unless you intend to Dynamax it, to never bring Whimsicott and Togekiss to the same game unless you absolutely know what you?re doing, and to rarely lead Conkeldurr.
Solar Power Charizard / Sunny Day Whimsicott
This matchup gets messy fast, but our Charizard always threatens a knockout on their Whimsicott immediately and theirs never does. The situation becomes dangerous if they Max Airstream and then send in a Pokmon that threatens our Charizard.
Togekiss / Dragapult / Excadrill
All of these Pokmon are very sad versus combinations of Whimsicott, Charizard, Togekiss, and Duraludon. Jellicent and Conkeldurr can easily pick up the pieces once Togekiss is gone ? if it?s offensive, it won?t survive Duraludon, and if it?s defensive, it can?t remove it quickly enough.
Sand Rush Excadrill / Tyranitar
Conkeldurr shines versus this duo, because Mach Punch picks off either component and Close Combat knocks out Dynamaxed Tyranitar. Whimsicott?s Charm allows us to slow Excadrill?s damage output to the point of uselessness.
Dusclops / Torkoal / Rhyperior (with Butterfree option)
There isn?t a lot that this team can do versus a Jellicent/Duraludon lead. If there?s a sleep option, Max Lightning?s Electric Terrain removes any danger, and none of their Pokmon threaten Jellicent without a smart switch and Trick Room. Nothing here ever wants to take a Water Spout (except Lapras). Jellicent slows down Rhyperior with Strength Sap even if somehow it activates its Weakness Policy.
Whimsicott / Justified Arcanine or Lucario
Togekiss helps by redirecting the Beat Up, but Whimsicott can also slow down the Justified Pokmon?s offense with Charm.
Indeedee / Gigantamax Snorlax
It?s necessary to bring Togekiss for Yawn and Conkeldurr as it?s the only Pokmon that can really take a crack at Snorlax. Remove Indeedee quickly and pray. G-Max Wildfire damage will add up quickly.
Own Tempo Mudsdale / Grimmsnarl / Arcanine
The ?superhorse? team can?t stop Whimsicott from using Charm/Fake Tears until Mudsdale (or whatever central Pokmon) is useless or knocked out.
Durant is definitely a problem Pokmon because of its speed and access to Max Rockfall, but Charm helps a lot. Tailwind means that Duraludon becomes more helpful versus Durant as well, but a lot of Durant run Max Quake. Furthermore, many Durant teams are built in an offensive style similar to ours, so games become intense quickly. The goal is to eventually let Charizard take a crack at it, no matter the cost.
Inteleon is another Pokmon that requires speed control to handle, because it also naturally outspeeds Charizard. Jellicent can turn the tables if they have more resources for Speed than we do, but it?s important to let Duraludon or Charizard attack it.
Togekiss @ Weakness Policy
Either G-Max Wildfire or Duraludon with Fake Tears will end this matchup quickly. It demands respect, though, especially with the fragility of this team.
Intimidate Arcanine with Will-o-Wisp and Snarl
Conkeldurr and Jellicent make Arcanine sad, but it can quickly rack up debuffs with its speed and bulk. The game becomes a race to knock out Arcanine?s partner Pokmon through the debuffs, because Arcanine has no immediate impact on the game state. Luckily, Will-o-Wisp is worse than useless versus our team.
Dracovish @ Choice Scarf
Togekiss, Jellicent, and Duraludon mean we don?t have to worry about the fish, even if it is well supported.
Here are additional Pokmon that we learned are problematic:
Fake Out means Whimsicott is threatened on turn 1, and Thunder Wave means that Charizard and Duraludon can?t take advantage of their speed. I was worried about Grimmsnarl in general but Wolfe and Justin didn?t think it was as much of a problem.
If we forget about Sylveon and it comes in after Duraludon?s Dynamax turns are over, it does an overwhelming amount of damage. No Pokmon other than Charizard and Duraludon can threaten it and Conkeldurr, Whimsicott, and Duraludon are 2HKOed by Hyper Voice.
With Assault Vest, Goodra survives Duraludon?s high damage output even with Fake Tears support, and it deals special damage quickly which our team has no way to limit.
Made by Zach Carlson aka @profshroomish 🙂 Whimsicott helps Charizard triumph over Excadrill with the power of flirting. After a Charm, including Charti Berry, two Max Rockfalls don?t take out G-Max Charizard.
Round 1: Thomas DeRosa Win (1?0)
I was nervous about Inteleon and Indeedee + Snorlax so early in the tournament. I took a game because Safeguard doesn?t block Yawn if it?s used afterwards. His Torkoal outsped my Conkeldurr which surprised me but I overpowered him in the third game.
Round 2: Greg Rowson Win (2?0)
I have no idea what his team was, he cancelled participation so I was given a match win.
Round 3: Patrick Donegan Win (2?0)
Patrick kept trying to Hypnosis my Pokmon without setting Gravity, a strategy popular in 2016. Jellicent and Duraludon did work.
Round 4: Justin Carris Loss (3?1)
Justin outplayed me in the perfect mirror and came up with smart game plans. This was the only set of the tournament where I lost in Game 1.
Round 5: Alex Pharo Win (4?1)
My Whimsicott made it impossible for his Mudsdale to deal damage, and Charizard?s G-Max Wildfire meant he couldn?t counter with his own Whimsicott.
Round 6: Eric Ault Loss (4?2)
I took the first game, but the combination of Goodra and Aegislash with some smart switching made this team a challenging matchup. Once my Dynamax ran out I couldn?t damage Goodra enough to take the win. Next time, I would gain momentum before using Dynamax.
Round 7: Randall Segnar Win (5?2)
Similarly to my games vs. Alex Pharo, Whimsicott and Duraludon did damage that his Pokmon couldn?t keep up with.
Round 8: James Eakes Win (6?2)
He had Indeedee + Snorlax which made the matchup worse than against Patrick?s team in Round 3. However, he relied on Mudsdale which couldn?t prevent the offense of my team.
Round 9: Jon Hu Win (7?2)
He had little with which to respond to G-Max Wildfire and Duraludon in Tailwind.
Round 10: Will Marks Win (8?2)
This was a close set in which I relied on my Charizard and Whimsicott. In the third game, he expected me to switch it up to use Trick Room, but I changed nothing and walked away with the win.
Day 2 (Top Cut)
Top 32: Dawei Si Win
Fun fact: we?re in the same year at the same school and we hadn?t met before! I expected to see the best players running Grimmsnarl, but this was the first one I had played. I surprised Dawei with fast Jellicent Water Spout in game 3.
Top 16: Nathan Ortiz Win
I got offense off quickly with my Togekiss and Charizard which was challenging for him to match.
Top 8: Justin Crubaugh Win
Grimmsnarl next to his Togekiss was terrifying, but once I got past I simply had more offense. You can see these games here (battles start at 0:26:12).
Top 4: Justin Burns Win
Justin?s team was very similar to Justin?s, and it was clear he had information from my stream games earlier. You can see these games here (battles start at 1:49:19).
Finals: Binjie Wang Win
I finally faced my worst nightmare: Durant. You can see these games here (battles start at 2:35:32)I didn?t get a picture with Wolfe and Justin sadly 🙁 I did get a picture with some great friends that I?ve had since 2011 and 2012 though, happily! Love these guys!
I had a blast at this tournament ? leading up to the tournament was probably the most excited I?ve ever been to get to an event and play Pokmon. As I said several times on stream, this team is fantastic and I wanted to give it the respect it was due with a win. A question I frequently received was: how did it feel to win? In the moment, it was great, but it also felt natural and expected. I think from the minute we put the team together I knew that one of us would win the tournament, so I wasn?t too surprised. I call my shots. Thanks again to my collaborators Wolfe and Justin, as well as to Jonny, Aaron, and Danny for a fun weekend. See you next time!