VGC April 2020 Rank 1 Team Report

VGC April 2020 Rank 1 Team Report

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Twitter: @AlcadeiasVGC

Hey everyone, I?m here again with yet another team report. This time however the whole idea behind the team is not really my own. The sets are however inspired a lot from other people?s teams, especially the team Edu used to place second at the Champions Cup earlier this month.

I was first unsure if I even should make a team report, considering the fact that this team wasn?t super original. However, since Edu never made a team report (yet) and this team is actually somewhat different, I thought that I might as well just make one, and talk about my own experiences. It could also prove to be some valuable insight for those of you who are interested in this type of team composition in general. In the next section, I will also explain the thought process I had while bulding this team, which I?m hoping could be useful for thse who want to know more about how I build my teams.

Image for postGot #1 on the in game ladder with this team:)

So as you can see this is more or less the most standard team you can find out there. It has 6 of the top 8 most popular Pokemon featured on the team, and I assume most of you know the gist of this type of team, but I?ll talk a bit about the background of the team anyways.

There were actually several steps involved in the progress of me making this team. I was originally very interested in using Tyranitar and Excadrill due to the sheer power those two provides. Afer toying around on Pokemon Showdown a bit, this was my first version of the team:

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I was generally very happy with this early version. I thought Braviary was good with Tyranitar and Excadrill, having the ability to provide speed control and more importantly I wanted something to make it way less tempting to bring Intimidate against my team.

I felt like Follow Me support was needed on this team, because I wasn?t planning on adding that much speed control anyway. That?s why I went with a supportive Togekiss, one of the best mons in the game, and a Follow Me user. I liked Hitmontop to switch on in big physical hits, especially from Rock-Types to protect Togekiss and Braviary. I also figured I needed a special attacker, with my team being so physical. I therefore opted to go with Rotom-Wash, which brought Water and Electric coverage as well.

I was very happy with the team at this stage, however it lacked some of the tempo and offensive capability that I originally had wanted.

Even though I am a fan of Hitmontop in general, especially for the work he puts in against Rock-Types, I do feel that it often can lack offensive capability, and end up being a sitting duck after Intimidate is activated and Fake Out is used. I therefore decided switching Hitmontop out for Incineroar, which proved to have more tools up its sleeve, along with a considerably bigger offensive presence. I also tried Arcanine in this position, but found myself missing a Fake Out user.

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After I switched in Incineroar, I found myself to be a bit too weak against Rock and Ground types. I therefore saw myself in need of swapping out Braviary, as it was in my opinion the least ?essential? piece of this team. Although its speed control via Tailwind and Max Airstream very much came in handy, I valued Togekiss over it.

Now that I decided Braviary had to go, I felt in need of something that could provide at least some speed control, while also not being affected by Initmidate. Dragapult was the first thing that came to mind, due to it being already a great partner with Togekiss. It can also provide some speed control, with its fast Max Airstreams, and is also not affected by Intimidate either, making Dragapult a fine substitution.

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Even though Dragapult can?t be intimidated, it doesn?t really push the opponent to not bring intimidate against my team like Braviary?s Defiant does. That?s why I wanted a mixed Tyranitar set which doesn?t get affected by intimidate nearly as much. I also thought that a Swords Dance Excadrill with Weakness Policy wasn?t nearly as hurt by intimidate either.

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This was around the time when Edu just had gotten second place in the Champions Cup with a team also utilizing Weakness Policy Excadrill . His team was fairly similiar to mine, and considering he already had made good sets, I though ?Hey, why not just some of Edu?s sets?. So that?s excactly what I did.

So this team doesn?t really have a particular gimmick or a main strategy like some other teams have. It?s more of what some people would call a balanced ?good stuff team?. It consists of essentialy 6 solid mons, that all work well both together with the rest of the team, and also on a more individual basis. The team doesn?t really rely heavily on any speed control, due to mainly having middling to already high speed stats, while also being generally tanky at the same time. Although more speed controll definitely wouldn?t hurt the team, it?s not as dependent on it as a Trick Room or a more Hyper offensive team would be.

Like I said, the team doesn?t have a main strategy or gimmick, and can be played with different style and strategy in mind, due to having a pretty versatile cast of team members. You could play more setup oriented and patiently, or you could go with a more offensive approach. This versatility is honestly why these 6 are so strong, especially together in a team. Speaking of the team, let?s take a closer look at each individual team member.

Image for postDragapult @ Life Orb Ability: Clear Body EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly Nature – Phantom Force – Dragon Darts – Fly – Protect

Dragapult?s biggest strengths are speed, power and fast Max Airstreams. Allowing it to boost the speed of team members to usually ensure that both of your mons move first.

Dragapult sits in a sweeper role for this team, often brought with Togekiss and often Dynamaxed when brought. Not being affected by any stat drops, especially intimidate makes Dragapult one of the most formidable offensive threaths in the meta game. It?s often very crucial in this team, due to countering Conkeldurr pretty hard, which threatens several of the other team members.

There is really not a lot to be said about the moveset or the EV spread as it is fairly generic. Being max speed allows you to outspeed the majority of bulk invested Weakness Policy Dragapults, and dealing massive damage to them. Which comes in handy against the ever so prevalent Triple Ghost teams.

Image for postTogekiss @ Babiri Berry Ability: Super Luck EVs: 228 HP / 196 Def / 12 SpA / 12 SpD / 60 Spe Bold Nature IVs: 0 Atk – Dazzling Gleam – Yawn – Follow Me – Safeguard

Okay, so this is one of the sets I just completely copied from Edu. I usually use my own bulky Togekiss sets, but I figured I might as well just use Edu?s set here. This is a very bulky and supportive Togekiss, that pretty much functions excactly as you would have thought.

Togekiss serves a very important role in this team by supporting the big heavy hitters like Excadrill and Dragapult. Due to this teams lack of general speed control, Togekiss is central in matchups where you need to ensure the protection of your team members, even though they don?t move first, mainly with Follow Me.

One of its main tasks like I said is providing follow me support, but both Yawn and Safeguard have proven to be very useful as well. Yawn can be used on your opponents dynamax to put them in an awkward position, of whether to stay in and sleep or switch out and lose their Dynamax. Safeguard also comes in handy with all the sleep and status in general, being everywhere in the meta. You could consider using Helping Hand or something like Heat Wave instead of either Yawn or Safeguard, however I have found the current move set to be very good.

As you can see, this Togekiss is very bulky and will survive a lot of stuff. Babiri Berry lets it survive any Steel move out there, including Max Steelspike head on from Life Orb Durant. I usually run a bit more speed on my Togekiss sets, which I did miss with this set at times, truth be told. However the set was overall solid, and the extra bulk also came in handy.

Image for postTyranitar @ Assault Vest Ability: Sand Stream EVs: 52 HP / 76 Atk / 116 SpA / 12 SpD / 252 Spe Timid Nature – Rock Slide – Dark Pulse – Fire Blast – Earth Power

So this Tyrantitar set is probably the most ?unique? aspect of this team. I originally started getting interested in a mixed Tyranitar set after being frustrated about the fact that Tyranitar?s max moves often doesn?t give any helpful benefits other than damage. Max Rockfall will usually do nothing, considering that Tyranitar already sets up Sandstorm when switched in. Max Darkness also does nothing for physical Tyranitar, due to lowering Special Defense.

With a mixed set however, Tyranitar can take advantage of the Special Defense drops and effectively power up it?s somewhat mediocre base Special Attack. Another big bonus is that burn and intimidate no longer bother Tyranitar all that much, which is something Tyranitar usually is a magnet for. This will often make your opponent waste their turns on trying to cripple Tyranitar physically.

Tyranitar serves almost as utility in this team, helping the team by filling certain gaps the team normally isn?t filling. It does this with good type coverage on both the special and physical side. It can be very good in certain matchups like against Durant, Corviknight, Ferrothorn, Duraludon and Arcanine. It functions very well both as a potential dynamax candidate and also outside of dynamax. This Tyranitar being max speed allows it to outspeed a majority of the meta game, which is a big advantage against other Tyranitars and most Togekiss sets.

While looking for the best ways to use a mixed Tyranitar, I remembered James Katsaros?s mixed Tyranitar from Oceania Internationals. He was nice enough to give me his set, so I had something to go off. His set originally had a Weakness Policy, so I thought I would change some stuff to make it suit an Assault Vest better. Funnily enough, just slapping an Assault Vest on James?s orginal set actually worked out great, and it showed some great promise while I was doing calcs. While I?m not completely sure on what the offensive investment James did is for, I?m gonna list some of the defensive calcs I did with this Assault Vest Tyranitar.

+2 252 SpA Rotom-W Hydro Pump vs. 52 HP / 12 SpD Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 144?170 (79.1?93.4%)?-?guaranteed 2HKO+2 208 SpA Lapras Max Geyser (140 BP) vs. 52 HP / 12 SpD Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 152?180 (83.5?98.9%)?-?guaranteed 2HKO252+ SpA Life Orb Venusaur Max Overgrowth (140 BP) vs. 52 HP / 12 SpD Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 127?151 (69.7?82.9%)?-?guaranteed 2HKOCritical Hit 252+ SpA Togekiss Max Starfall (130 BP) vs. 52 HP / 12 SpD Assault Vest Tyranitar in Sand: 152?182 (83.5?100%)?-?6.3% chance to OHKO

Keep in mind that these calcs are for Tyranitar when not Dynamaxed. While Dynamaxed, Tyranitar becomes close to unkillable by any Special hit out there.

Image for postExcadrill @ Weakness Policy Ability: Mold Breaker EVs: 60 HP / 28 Atk / 164 Def / 4 SpD / 252 Spe Jolly Nature – High Horsepower – Iron Head – Swords Dance – Protect

So this is another set that?s not made by me. This is also made by Edu, and like I said earlier, if there is a Weakness Policy Excadrill set out there that is proven to be good, why not use it.

Excadrill is one of the main damage dealers in this team, and is brought in a lot of games. Often in the lead together with Togekiss. Excadrill is an excellent Dynamax candidate, but also functions great outside of it. Having both Weakness Policy and Swords Dance, makes it very easy to get this Excadrill to +2 Attack, giving it the power to deal massive amounts of damage.

The moveset is fairly standard, although it doesn?t have Rock Slide in favour of Swords Dance. This makes Excadrill?s matchup against things like Gyarados and Corviknight very bad, but they were never very good to begin with either way. Edu originally ran Earthquake on his Excadrill, however I like High Horsepower personally.

As you can see I have Mold Breaker on Excadrill over Sand Stream. Although the speed boost would be much appreciated at times, the ability to destroy Rotom and Mimikyu are very important for this team. Especially Rotom, due to not having a grass move or any other reliable way to deal with it. If you decide to build a similiar team to this, feel free to try Sand Storm though. Mold Breaker was just what I felt was the right call for this team.

As you can see, Edu invested a lot into physical defense. This investment combined with Excadrill?s already solid HP stat, makes it surprisingly bulky. I will list some of the calcs I found notable with this set below:

Defensive: 252+ Atk Rhyperior Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 60 HP / 164 Def Excadrill: 306-362 (79.2 – 93.7%) — guaranteed 2HKOCritical Hit 252+ SpA Togekiss Max Flare (130 BP) vs. 60 HP / 0 SpD Excadrill: 326-384 (84.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO180 SpA Gastrodon Earth Power vs. 60 HP / 0 SpD Excadrill: 162-192 (83.9 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKOOffensive:+1 28 Atk Excadrill High Horsepower vs. 252 HP / 132 Def Incineroar: 204-240 (100.9 – 118.8%) — guaranteed OHKO+2 28 Atk Excadrill Max Steelspike (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 52 Def Togekiss: 384-452 (100 – 117.7%) — guaranteed OHKO+2 28 Atk burned Excadrill Max Quake (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 140 Def Arcanine: 198-234 (100.5 – 118.7%) — guaranteed OHKOImage for postIncineroar @ Aguav Berry Ability: Intimidate EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 100 Def / 124 SpD / 28 Spe Careful Nature – Flare Blitz – Fake Out – Parting Shot – Darkest Lariat

Incineroar serves an important role in this team with the ability Intimidate and also with Fake Out support. It is generally brought in the back when I know the opponent has a very physical team, particulary against other sand teams. It is also good for further increasing Excadrills survivability, making it easier to get away with taking a Super Effective attack and activating Weakness Policy.

This moveset is probably the most standard move set for Incineroar out there. Both Parting Shot and Darkest Lariat are flex moves. U-turn, Snarl, Taunt, Will-O-Whisp and Throat Chop could all be used instead. Flare Blitz and Fake Out are probably more ?mandatory? moves I would say. My personal rule for Incineroar is to at least always include Flare Blitz, Fake Out and a pivoting move. I decided to go for Darkest Lariat as well because it lets Incineroar put in some work against Dragapult.

Because Incineroar already has Intimiate to help with the physical moves, I usually opt for a more specially invested Incineroar personally. This Incineroar is designed to live a plethora of different attacks, which I will list below:

-1 252+ Atk Conkeldurr Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Incineroar: 156-186 (77.2 – 92%) — guaranteed 2HKO-1 252+ Atk Rhyperior Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Incineroar: 168-200 (83.1 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO252+ SpA Lapras Max Geyser (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 124+ SpD Incineroar: 170-204 (84.1 – 100.9%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO252+ SpA Life Orb Duraludon Max Wyrmwind (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 124+ SpD Incineroar: 142-168 (70.2 – 83.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO-1 252 Atk Life Orb Hustle Durant Max Rockfall (130 BP) vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Incineroar: 166-198 (82.1 – 98%) — guaranteed 2HKOImage for postRotom-Wash @ Sitrus Berry Ability: Levitate Level: 50 EVs: 252 HP / 12 Def / 36 SpA / 28 SpD / 180 Spe Modest Nature IVs: 0 Atk – Thunderbolt – Hydro Pump – Nasty Plot – Protect

Rotom-Wash doesn?t need much of an introduction. It has grown very rapidly in popularity over the last month I would say, and for good reason. The water and electric coverage is very good, and the fact that you can set up Nasty Plots makes Rotom even more deadly.

The move set is the most standard Nasty Plot set out there. Hydro Pump and Tunderbolt are mandatory. I personally like protect on Rotom a lot, especially with Nasty Plot. The only issue with this move set is if you end up in a 1 vs 1 against a Gastrdon. In this situation you become litteraly unable to do any damage to it. Some people run stuff like Dark Pulse for situations like that, however I personally think both Protect and Nasty Plot is too good on Rotom to let go of, for that specific match up. Although it would also be good in other matchups like vs a Dragapult.

The EV spread is pretty standard as well. You hit 129 speed with this investment, which lets you outspeed the majority of the meta game. Max HP investment and a bit thrown into both defenses makes Rotom bulky enough to survive a lot of things, and also lets you eat your Sitrus Serry to regain some health. Which synergises well with Nasty plot. Like you can see, this set doesn?t have a lot of investment in SpAtk. It only has +36 to get over the stat gain ?bump?. If you manage to set up a Nasty Plot however, Rotom becomes a lot more threatening.

Strategy and matchups

Like I said earlier, this team doesn?t really have a gimmick or main strategy like say a Coalossal team would have. This team is generally focused on just overpowering your opponent with well timed stat boosts, protects and powerful coverage moves. It is definitely a team with very versatile team members, which allows you to play in different styles when needed.

One of the more common leads and cores I go with personally is Togekiss and Excadrill. This gives you a lot of options, where you can for instance use Follow Me with Togekiss while you?re setting up Swords Dance with Excadrill. Or you can go with a different route, setting up Defense and Spdef boosts with Excadrills max moves while yawning and generally annoying your opponent with Togekiss.

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Like I said, these two are one of the more common leads I will go with, just due to how versatile and effective this is against against a lot of different teams. I will go over some matchups I find worth explaining below as well.

Triple Ghost

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This is a matchup where I tend to lead Dragapult and Togekiss. I know that a big majority of Triple Ghost teams have a slower Dragapult than me, due to being bulk invested. This lets me outspeed and do massive damage to any Dragapult out there.

Ufortunately, most Weakness Policy Dragapults are built to survive at least one hit from Life Orb Dragapult, so what I will often do is Max Airstreaming the Dragapult turn 1, to ensure that I?m faster next turn and to leave them in KO range. I do that while using Follow Me with Togekiss. This ensures that the opposing Dragapult will not get its Wakness Policy activated, because a Follow Me will redirect any Shadow Sneak they may go for. This is probably the safest route in this matchup.

Alternatively you could not Follow Me and let the opposing Mimikyu/Aegislash/Dusclops go for the Shadow Sneak into their own Dragapult to activate Weakness Policy, which would also leave them in KO range for your own Dragapult to immidiately pick it up the opposing Dragapult before they move. However this is a lot more risky, due to the fact that you?re gambling on them being slower than you, and that they?re even going for the self activation at all. I usually always go for my first approach for this excact reason.

Coalossal

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So this is a pretty straight forward matchup I would say. Both Excadrill and Rotom-W are able to do massive amounts of damage to Coalossal. Pair one of these with a redirector and the Dragapult + Coalossal lead should be easy to handle. I tend to go with Excadrill and Togekiss for this matchup, due to Dragapults surf also activating Excadrills Weakness Policy, in the cases where they actually go through with the Surf + Steam Engine gimmick.

The only annoying thing about this matchup is that many players will often either not bring Coalossal at all, or simply just put it in the back. Potentially making the lead you thought were great, into a bad one. Luckily for this team, Togekiss and Excadrill is such a versatile and solid lead against a lot of teams, so you?ll rarely be in a terrible situation regardless of what they have.

Venusaur / Sleep

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Sleep can at times be a bit tough to deal with for this team. I did try Safety Goggles on Togekiss for this reason, but I ended up going for Babiri Berry, just because it came into use a bit more than Safety Goggles did. Setting up a safeguard with Togekiss before they have the chance to sleep your whole team, obviously helps. It?s not a perfect solution by any means, due to Venusaur being faster than Togekiss, and able to put Togekiss to sleep before you can even set up Safeguard.

So like I said, the matchup can be a bit tough. It becomes dramatically easier if Venusaur isn?t in sun, due to both Dragapult and Excadrill outspeeding it. Using Tyranitar?s ability to remove the sun with its own weather, can be very useful for situatiosn like these. Fake Out on Incineroar can also be very helpful, especially if Venusaur isn?t paired up with a Follow Me user, allowing you to flinch it with Fake Out, break its sash, and pick up the KO with Dragapult or something else.

Sand mirror

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These matchup as well, can be a bit tricky. Mainly because I?m not running Superpower on my Tyranitar and Excadrill wil be slower than a lot of opposing Excadrills, because I have Mold Breaker over Sand Stream. It?s in these situations where a Hitmontop would be very good, however Incineroar is still central for winning this matchup with well timed Intimidates, smart switches and protect. Once you have been able to weaken the opponents attacks and preferably also stalled out their dynamax, you should be able to clean up nicely with Excadrill + Follow Me support from Togekiss.

Durant

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The Durant matchup shouldn?t be too hard. With Tyranitar packing Fire Blast, you completely obliterate dynamax Durant, and this is made even easier with Follow Me support from Babiri Berry Togekiss, as well as with Intimidate support from Incineroar. Tyranitar is very usefull against a lot of steel types in general, as I already talked about in Tyranitars section.

Trick Room

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As you can probably tell, this team doesn?t really have a clear answer for trick room, like an Imprison user or something to reverse Trick Room. Because of this, the matchup can be a bit tough and grindy at times, particulary in the Dusclops/Rhyperior matchup. Most of the time you have to accept that trick room is coming up, and the name of the game in that situation is damage control and stalling. Intimidate, Parting shot and Fake Out from Incineroar, Protects, Phantom Force from Dragapult and Follow Me from Togekiss are all tools you have at your disposal to stall out the opponents Trick Room/Dynamax turns, while minimizing damage taken.

Your end goal should probably be to have a big threat able to Dynamax + something else for support left after Trick Room is done. I often try to preserve Rotom-W for this, being able to delete Rhyperior after its Dynamax is done, and it?s usually able to clean up the rest of the opponents team, with a Nasty Plot boost in Dynamax form.

This matchup may sound a bit rough, and may even dishearten less experienced players from using this team at all. However, it really isn?t as bad as it sounds, when you learn to play the matchup smart and patiently. Which will come with enough practice. I was very reluctant to try teams that didn?t have a clear way of stopping Trick Room myself for the first couple months I played. However, I think learning to play through Trick Room without relying on the safety net that something like an Imprison user provides, is a very helpful and useful thing to learn in the world of competitive Pokemon.

My point being that having the absolute need of putting something to stop the opponent from setting up Trick Room, like an Imprison user on every team you run, is gonna be very suboptimal in the long run and will also stunt your growth as a player. That?s my two cents anyways 😉

Conclusion

So this concludes my thoughts I had for this team. I tried to make this report as thorough as possible, but if there?s anything that wasn?t clear, you could always pop me a question on twitter @AlcadeiasVGC.

This is probably the best team I have used so far, and I definitely think it can compete with all the top teams out there. I would probably have taken it to the Berlin Internationals (which I would have gone to later this week if not for its cancellation due to the virus). It?s a shame that I won?t get to compete in the VGC 2020 format, but I?m excited for the VGC 2021 format at the same time. As always, I hope you enjoyed this rather lenghty read and I hope you enjoy the team if you end up trying it out.

cya 🙂

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