Post Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:41 pm

Worlds Championship Last Chance Qualifier 2013

Greetings, forum readers!

My name is Eugene Tan, and I was one of the 7 trainers that represented Singapore in the 2013 Pokemon World Championships Video Games Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQ), in hope of securing a spot in Worlds.

I started my preparations for the VGC2013 season just a week after the new rules were released on 27th November 2012. As much as I could help it, I wanted my team to be as original as possible. I didn’t want my team to resemble any other teams that could be found on websites like Nugget Bridge, or those used by popular players. I built a total of 6 teams from December 2012 till June 2013, though I eventually found myself settling on the one I’ve outlined here. Without further ado, let’s get to the team building process! :D

Team Building!


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Scrafty(CurtConnor)
Item: Chople Berry
Gender: Male
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Careful(+Sp.Def, -Sp.Atk)
EVs: 252 HP/244 Attack/12 Sp.Def
IVs: 31/31/31/X/31/18

- Protect Detect
- Crunch
- Fake Out
- Drain Punch

Scrafty was used in almost every single battle during the event, and for good reason. Scrafty and Hitmontop are both excellent support Pokemon with Fake Out and Intimidate. Compared to Hitmontop, though, Scrafty is bulkier and has the advantage of being able to take Cresselia on and come out on top thanks to his :dark: typing. The only downsides of using Scrafty are his additional, crippling :fighting: weakness, low speed and lack of power, lacking a powerful and reliable nuke like Hitmontop’s Fighting-Gem boosted Close Combat.

The moveset is pretty much the standard Scrafty set. I ran Protect initially, mainly out of sheer laziness and since the Imprison/Protect combo was essentially non-existent. Closer to Worlds though, I decided to be slightly more cautious and switched to Detect, since just about anything could show up in such a varied playing field.

I originally ran an EV spread of 252 HP/180 Attack/76 Sp.Def with a Careful Nature. The spread guarantees Scrafty would survive a Dragon Gem boosted Draco Meteor from a Modest Hydreigon. However, I soon realised that most of the Hydreigons I encountered ran Timid natures, rendering the additional Sp.Def redundant. The additional attack EVs also helped me to deal slightly more damage.

You probably are wondering why I ran a speed IV of 18 on Scrafty. The Speed IV allows me to underspeed a Quiet Heatran with 0 Speed IV, letting me move before Heatran in Trick Room. During my practice, I faced many Heatran running Eruption usually paired up with Cresselia to setup Trick Room and Sunny Day, allowing Heatran to dish out an insane amount of damage. (Much like the strategies employed by Aaron’s and Ryosuke’s teams) Though I was fairly convinced that Eruption wouldn’t be seeing much use due to its rarity (Which actually turned out wrong in the end), I needed a way to deal with it. So I gave Scrafty a Speed IV of 18 to outspeed Heatran in Trick Room and Drain Punch it to decrease Eruption’s damage since the base damage of Eruption is dependent on the amount of HP you currently have when the move is used.

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Cresselia(Luna)
Item: Sitrus Berry
Gender: Female
Ability: Levitate
Nature: Bold(+Def, -Attack)
EVs: 216 HP/180 Sp. Atk/108 Sp.Def/4 Speed
IVs: 31/1/31/31/31/31

- Psyshock
- Ice Beam
- Skill Swap
- Thunder Wave

Cresselia is the most-used Pokemon in the game, according to Smogon’s usage statistics. It's the bulkiest support Pokemon available and has a beautiful array of support moves at its disposal, including Helping Hand, Icy Wind, Thunder Wave, Trick Room, Skill Swap, Light Screen, Reflect, Sunny Day and Swagger. Offensively, Cresselia is still able to deal a decent amount of damage, despite her lacklustre coverage leaving her walled by Steel-types and Tyranitar, unless you are running Hidden Power[Fire] to hit Steels.

Scrafty complements Cresselia well, being able to hit the above threats for Super Effective damage with his STAB Fighting moves, and Intimidate helps to reduce the damage done to Cresselia, making her slightly less chewy (she’s often targeted by Bug Bite and Crunch). No free omnomnoms here.

Psyshock and Ice Beam may not provide the best coverage in the world, but on a Pokemon like Cresselia it's definitely enough. Ice Beam decimates Dragon-types, along with Landorus. Skill Swap supports Heatran by bestowing her with Levitate to remove her biggest weakness: :ground: -type moves. Skill Swap also has plenty other uses aside from supporting your partner, as said by Wolfe. You can steal abilities that grant immunities to certain attack types such as Storm Drain, Dry Skin, Volt Absorb, Lightningrod and Flash Fire, or even re-activate Intimidate to further cushion Cresselia from physical attacks. I chose Thunder Wave over Icy Wind to help against Kingdra. If Kingdra isn’t able shield itself with a Substitute before Thunder Wave connects, it will find itself crippled for the entire match. If it does get its Sub up, I’ll simply steal Swift Swim instead. Lastly, I'm not afraid of being Taunted by Thundurus as my Cresselia has a bit of offense.

You might be wondering why I’m running a Bold nature. Back in November 2012, I still played Singles on occasion and wanted to be able to use my Legendaries in both Singles and Doubles. So I RNGed my Cresselia with a Bold Nature, since physically defensive Cresselia was far more applicable and revelant to the Singles metagame. I eventually realised that most Cresselias in the VGC metagame ran Calm/Sassy nature instead, though I remained stuck with this Bold Cresselia, so I decided to run Ray Rizzo's Cresselia spread with slight modifications to accommodate the different nature. 180 Sp.Atk EVs allow me to OHKO 4 HP EVs Salamence and Landorus 100% of the time. However, instead of investing EVs on Def, I pumped 108 EVs on Sp.Def. This gave my Cresselia the exact same amount of Def as Ray Rizzo's Cresselia, with only one less point in Sp. Def, which I believe doesn’t make too much of a difference.

I gave it 216 HP EVs for an even-numbered HP (222), so Cresselia will eat her Sitrus Berry after getting hit by Super Fang. The remaining 4 EV points was dumped into speed for the off chance of outspeeding anything. As for the IVs, they help reduce the amount of damage taken from self-inflicted Confusion damage and reduce the damage done to Cresselia with Foul Play, helping against Liepard running Foul Play which has been increasing in popularity recently.

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Heatran
Item: Leftovers
Gender: Female
Ability: Flash Fire
Nature: Modest(+Sp.Atk, -Attack)
EVs: 244 HP/132 Def/28 Sp.Atk/4 Sp.Def/100 Speed
IVs: 31/30/30/31/31/31

- Protect
- Heat Wave
- Earth Power
- Substitute

As Ray Rizzo said, :steel: Pokemon are a must in this metagame. Matthew also frequently stressed the importance of having at least one strong Fire-type move on a team. This led me to choose Heatran as the third member of the team, giving me a :steel: to wall Dragon-type attacks, along with a :fire: Pokemon to hit opposing :steel: types as well. Heatran is capable of hitting Metagross for Super Effective damage, something Scrafty can’t do. Additionally, when Cresselia gives Heatran Levitate via Skill Swap, Heatran will wall Metagross completely. These three Pokemon formed the core of my team’s strategy.

Protect and Substitute help me abuse Leftovers’ HP recovery, since my Heatran is running a bulky EV spread and will be sticking around a while. Heat Wave is used to hit Steel-types hard with STAB, and Earth Power provides excellent secondary coverage, letting me hit other Heatrans and deal decent damage to most Pokemon that resist Heat Wave.

244 HP gives my Heatran a total of 197 HP, which is not divisible by four, allowing me to create at least 4 Substitutes even if Leftovers recovery is negated by Hail. 132 Def allows Heatran to always survive an unboosted Metagross Earthquake, ensures that Breloom's Mach Punch is only a 3HKO, and gives my Substitutes a decent chance of enduring a Tyranitar Rock Slide. 100 Speed lets me outspeed Hitmontop with no Speed EVs and setup a Substitute to absorb the Close Combat and burn up the Fighting Gem. With the reduction in Def/Sp.Def Hitmontop receives from using Close Combat, Cresselia is capable of OHKOing Hitmontop with Psyshock 37.5% of the time. Even should said Hitmontop survive Psyshock, Heatran would be able to outspeed it and kill it with Heat Wave or Earth Power. The remaining EVs are put into Sp.Atk for some offense and 4 Sp.Def for good measure.

As for the IVs... I RNGed Heatran ages ago, before I fully understood all the mechanics of the doubles metagame. I didn’t have the time to get a new Heatran before Worlds, but since Heatran resists Foul Play anyways I thought it wouldn’t be as much of a concern. Unfortunately the 30 Def IV cost me one point and 4 wasted EVs.

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Gastrodon
Item: Rindo Berry
Gender: Female
Ability: Storm Drain
Nature: Bold(+Def, -Sp.Atk)
EVs: 252 HP/92 Def/44 Sp.Atk/120 SP.Def
IVs: 31/0/31/31/31/31

- Protect
- Recover
- Ice Beam Earth Power
- Muddy Water

Gastrodon is my team’s fourth member, and has quite a reputation locally. I have incredible luck with Muddy Water; the move rarely misses for me, and the 30% accuracy drop tends to occur almost all the time for me, be it on the console or on a simulator (Pokemon Showdown/Pokemon Online). She's there to support Heatran by drawing Water attacks away with Storm Drain, whilst boosting her own Sp.Atk at the same time. Gastrodon is also the only member that was carried over from my VGC2012 team.

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Here's an example of what happens all too frequently.


The moveset is also pretty standard. Muddy Water is my primary STAB move and helps me lower my opponent's accuracy. I was running Ice Beam in the past, but I switched to Earth Power when I realised that most Cresselias that assist Eruption Heatran run Sunny Day which severely reduces my Muddy Water's power. Gastrodon easily underspeeds both Heatran and Cresselia, allowing me to hit Heatran hard with Earth Power before it uses Eruption or before Cresselia uses Skill Swap to give Heatran Levitate (though I have yet to experience that firsthand).

Instead of running the typical 252 HP/108 Def/28 Sp.Atk/120 Sp.Def spread, I dropped a bit of Def EVs and put them on Gastrodon's Sp.Atk. With 44 Sp.Atk EVs, Gastrodon always OHKOs 252 HP Heatran with Earth Power.

Like with Cresselia, 0 Attack IVs helps reduce the damage taken from confusion (and possibly Foul Play).

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Tornadus
Item: Flying Gem
Gender: Male
Ability: Defiant
Nature: Jolly(+Attack, -Sp.Atk)
EVs: 4HP/252 Attack/252 Speed
IVs: 31/31/31/X/31/31

- Protect
- Acrobatics
- Superpower
- Substitute

I soon realised that the rest of my team struggled against Scrafty and Volcarona, and also found that I needed something that could hit hard and fast. Enter the monster that is Tornadus! With Intimidate running amok in this metagame, Defiant is an excellent ability, giving Tornadus a boost to his attack stat when intimidated instead of having his attack halved.

A Flying Gem boosted Acrobatics OHKOs many Pokemon even without a Defiant boost. It easily OHKOs almost anything weak against :flying: attacks and does massive damage to Pokemon that do not resist it, even being able to OHKO common threats like Latios. Superpower helps obliterate the :rock: and :steel: Pokemon that resist Acrobatics, while Substitute provides insurance against status moves and (most importantly) shields Tornadus from Bisharp's Sucker Punch.

252 Attack and 252 Speed is all a fast sweeper like Tornadus needs to sweep teams effectively. The remaining 4 EVs are dumped into HP. Having an odd numbered HP value also allows me create a Substitute four times.

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Thundurus-T(Razor)
Item: Electric Gem
Gender: Male
Ability: Volt Absorb
Nature: Timid(+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 4 HP, 252 Sp.Atk, 252 Speed
IVs: 31/2/30/31/31/31

- Protect
- Grass Knot
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power[Ice]

Before putting Thundurus-T on my team, I was using Virizion as I needed something to kill :water: Pokemon. However, I soon found my team to be pretty :electric:/ :flying: (Zapdos, Thundurus, Thundurus-T) weak, and also identified an inability to deal with Togekiss effectively. So I decided to replace Virizion with Thundurus-T. I have to thank Matthew for pointing out my team’s weaknesses. =D

With 145 base Sp.Atk, an Electric Gem boosted Thunderbolt does massive damage to anything that doesn't resist it. Hidden Power[Ice] is for dealing with opposing Thundurus (both formes) and Zapdos. Grass Knot ensures that I do not get walled completely by Gastrodon, and also 2HKOs it even with Rindo Berry.

I ran 252 Sp.Atk and 252 Speed on my Thundurus due to its Timid nature, not wanting to lose to opposing Thundurus-T and Hydreigons. If I ran Modest, I would probably run a slightly bulkier set.

With 2 Attack IVs, I'm able to have a base-70 Hidden Power[Ice] – the strongest possible Hidden Power with the required type. It also reduces the damage taken from confusion and Foul Play.

NOTE: All of my Sp.Attackers (except Thundurus-T which can only be male) are female in case of a female Captivate Sableye, which would otherwise be capable of easily hindering my Sp.Attackers.

Warstory!


NOTE: I'll try my best to remember every single match I fought! I apologise for not remembering every single match. The only notes I took down were the items held by the Pokemon and their moves.

Match 1: vs Giovaine Neita

His Team -

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Round 1-
I led with Scrafty and Cresselia with Heatran and Gastrodon in the back. I can't remember what Giovaine led with but from the information I obtained from the first round, he was using a Scarfed Tyranitar, a Bulky Rotom (Will O' Wisp, Light Screen, Thunderbolt, Hydro Pump) and a Landorus-T holding Ground Gem.

Round 2-
With the information written on my notebook, I identified Landorus-T as the primary threat stopping Gastrodon from walling most of his team, and knew that I could easily take it out with Cresselia's Ice Beam, so I led with the same Pokemon. This match, he decided to bring in Cresselia and at some point, his Cresselia froze my Gastrodon with Ice Beam. Gastrodon did absolutely nothing in this match. With Gastrodon being immobile due to being frozen solid, I swapped her out for one of my other Pokemon (whose identity I’ve conveniently forgotten). It was clear that the game was mine when his Tyranitar was paralysed by Thunder Wave and Landorus-T was OHKOed by Ice Beam as it did not hold a defensive item.

Result: WIN(2-0)

Match 2: vs Bobb Nolan

His Team -

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Round 1-
He led with Excadrill and Amoonguss while I led with Scrafty and Cresselia. I was expecting him to use Rage Powder and Swords Dance with Amoonguss and Excadrill respectively on the first turn, but instead Excadrill went for a Protect. Scrafty’s Fake Out on Excadrill failed while Cresselia went for a Psyshock on Amoonguss which cut its HP down to about 50%. Cresselia was then put to sleep by Spore.

Excadrill managed to get a Swords Dance boost while I shielded Scrafty from Spore with Detect hoping Cresselia would wake up on the next turn.

He swapped Amoonguss out for Togekiss while his Excadrill used Earthquake to hit both of my Pokemon (Mold Breaker ignores Levitate). Cresselia woke up and damaged Togekiss with a Psyshock meant for Amoonguss and Scrafty used Drain Punch, dealing some serious damage to Excadrill while regaining some health.

Knowing Togekiss will use Follow Me to protect Excadrill, I double targeted Togekiss with Ice Beam and Crunch, KOing it while Excadrill went for a second Swords Dance.

He sent in Amoonguss. I needed my Scrafty to stay alive, so I swapped him out and sent out Tornadus. Amoonguss used Protect and Excadrill struck with a +3 Earthquake which was still not enough to finish Cresselia off. Cresselia used Ice Beam on Excadrill and it survived the hit.
The next turn, Tornadus used Protect. Excadrill went for a Rock Slide and Cresselia avoided the attack while KOing Amoonguss with Psyshock and I'm thankful that Rock Slide missed my Cresselia.

His last Pokemon was Politoed. Tornadus dodged a Scarfed Hydro Pump and used Acrobatics to finish Excadrill off. Since I was at a speed disadvantage, I switched Cresselia out for Gastrodon to draw that Hydro Pump away. Acrobatics 2HKOed Politoed and I nabbed the victory for Round 1.

Round 2-
This time, Bobb chose to lead with Politoed+Kingdra while I did not change my leads. In this round, I paralysed both Kingdra and Politoed. I rendered Politoed useless by sending out Gastrodon when he was locked into Scald. Thankfully, Kingdra did not have Draco Meteor, allowing Gastrodon to wall it easily. Tornadus swept Kingdra, Politoed, Amoonguss and Togekiss while Gastrodon simply sat there and dealt some chip damage with a +1 boost thanks to Storm Drain.

Result: WIN(2-0)

Match 3: vs Patrick Brodarich

His Team -

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Round 1-
I do not remember this match very well. He had four Pokemon which Tornadus could steamroll effortlessly and two Pokemon with Intimidate, making Tornadus a huge threat to his team. However, the only thing that stopped me from bringing Tornadus in is... Raikou. With Snarl he could hinder my Sp.Atkers and he had Intimidate to soften my Physical Attackers' power which made him a pretty formidable opponent. I won the match, however.

Round 2-
He led with Thundurus and Volcarona for this match. My Cresselia was Taunted and Scrafty’s Fake Out was drawn away with Rage Powder. With Gastrodon in reserve, I told myself Thundurus wasn’t the main threat on the field, so I double targeted his Volcarona. It took me around two turns to take the Volcarona down. He then sent out his Gyarados and I knew this match was pretty much mine once I sent out my Gastrodon. He was running a Dragon Dance Gyarados which would be a huge threat if I didn't take it down quickly, although Gastrodon would still be able to take boosted Returns. So I double targeted his Gyarados as well. At some point, Psyshock landed a critical hit against his +2 Atk/+2 Speed Gyarados which shifted the advantage to me even more. I can’t remember who he brought in as his last Pokemon, but I won the match.

Result: WIN(2-0)

Match 4: vs Masaki Yamamoto

His Team -

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Round 1-
Again, I forgot most of what happened in this match. As far as I know, I paralysed his Kingdra and he gave me too many Defiant boosts and allowed my Tornadus to sweep his team effortlessly. The information I gained from this round was pretty important. His Landorus-T held a Yache Berry, Thundurus-T was holding a Focus Sash and running Thunder, and Politoed held Choice Specs.

Round 2-
This round was probably the most nerve-wrecking match I'd had so far during LCQ. I was in the lead with four Pokemon (Gastrodon, Tornadus, Cresselia, Scrafty) in my team against his three of Scizor (+2 Attack), Politoed and Kingdra (paralysed) at one point.

Scizor then OHKOed my Tornadus with Bullet Punch. I sent out Gastrodon and she was about to finish Scizor and Scrafty off with a Rain boosted Muddy Water but it missed BOTH Pokemon. However, he decided to KO my Scrafty first and Gastrodon managed to take Scizor down before Politoed KOed it. Politoed was then taken out by Cresselia.

In the end, I was left with Cresselia fighting against his paralysed Kingdra. A rain boosted Muddy Water from Kingdra (without spread reduction) is nothing to laugh at even though Cresselia had not taken any prior damage. When both Pokemon were in KO range however, the paralysis effect took place on Kingdra and handed my Cresselia the initiative to win the battle. This battle was an extremely close one and had I lost, I didn't particularly fancy my chances in the third game as he had studied my team very well.

Result: WIN(2-0)

Match 5: vs Aaron Traylor

This match was featured on the TV and I'm really glad that I showed the spectators the prowess of Singapore and put on a great show for everyone to watch.

His Team -

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Round 1-
Aaron's team was pretty similar to Giovaine's team and again, Gastrodon would be able to wreak havoc since he had three :water: weak Pokemon. His team would also have serious trouble against Heatran if Rotom-W was KOed or if Cresselia managed to give Heatran Levitate, which I succeeded in executing and thus won this round.

Round 2-
He brought Tornadus-T, Rotom-W, Cresselia, Landorus-T for this round. Knowing he will Trick his Choice Specs onto my Cresselia, I switched Cresselia out for Gastrodon and knew a Choice Specs boosted Muddy Water from Gastrodon was going to be a huge pain for him. I paralysed his Tornadus-T as well for this match since he's the fastest Pokemon overall.

Muddy Water dropped the accuracy of Rotom-W, which allowed me to spam Substitute with Heatran until a Thunderbolt missed. This helped as Gastrodon had at some point been frozen by a Cresselia Ice Beam. Cresselia couldn't do anything to a Heatran behind a Sub, allowing me to stall long enough for my Gastrodon to thaw out and close it out with Specs Muddy Water.

Result: WIN(2-0)

Match 6: vs Osamu Shinomoto

His team -

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Round 1-
I'm sorry, this is the round I absolutely can't remember. >_> I won this round. That's all I can remember, However, I can remember the information I gained from this match. Togekiss was holding a Lum Berry, Metagross was holding a Choice Band, Landorus-T was holding a Choice Scarf and Tyranitar was holding a Chople Berry. Lastly... this is the second time I brought Thundurus-T for the whole LCQ... XP

Round 2-
With Togekiss having Follow Me, I can't pass Levitate to Heatran which pretty much ruined my plan. I brought Tornadus instead for this match because Thundurus-T is slower than Latios and I wanted a way to kill Latios efficiently. I managed to get rid of Togekiss by double targeting it with Acrobatics and Crunch. However, Togekiss broke Tornadus' Substitute and allowed Cresselia to KO it with Ice Beam before Scrafty Crunched that Togekiss to death. From here, I can't remember much. I lost this match and this guy ended my undefeated LCQ streak.

Round 3-
This round would determine if I qualified for Worlds through the LCQ. Realising my mistake in letting my Tornadus faint, I began to brood over the loss and lost focus. Metagross landed a critical hit on my Scrafty with a Choice Band boosted Meteor Mash and I was left with no Pokemon to check Tyranitar. I was pretty much screwed for this round and I threw it away...

Result: LOSS(1-2)

After the match, I realised Osamu's team was weak to Gastrodon as well. However, before I picked Gastrodon, I told myself that he had no Water attacks so I couldn't abuse Storm Drain, and thus there was no reason for me to bring in Gastrodon. This was a fatal error as three of his Pokemon were vulnerable to Gastrodon’s attacks.

I was feeling a little sad and disappointed but I've learned to accept losing with grace. I walked towards my friends who were celebrating because Wai Yin qualified for Worlds and I had made into the Top 8. Overall, the event was really an awesome one I'm glad that people noticed that Singapore has some great players. What made me really happy was hearing the spectators cheer for Singapore.

People that I have to thank:

Sparring partners(Low Wai Yin, Shang Loh, Skyler and many more): Thanks for all the practice sessions. I've probably learned a lot from you guys! =)

Matthew Hui: He sponsored a total of 1200SGD so I can make an appearance at LCQ. I'm really thankful. =)

Ryan Chiam: 3 weeks before LCQ, I was lazing around and somewhat cocky until you told me to practice regularly. I went to play some match and realised my skills have deteriorated. That's when I put my ego aside and started to practice regularly. Thanks for suggesting the "7 matches per day" idea because that's when I realised the ladder points on Pokemon Online and Showdown doesn't really matter. =)

Isaac: Whenever you organised a VGC2013 event at E2Max, I told myself to play seriously so I'm able to see where I'm standing. =)

Theron, Isaac, Matthew: Thanks for helping me to edit my report. My Grammar is poor. ><

The people who supported me: You guys pretty much know who you are. There's too many people to list over here. I have to thank you all for the support! Your support is my motivation. =D
Remember me when gazing at the moon. =)