A Mega Mix Up – Top 8 São Paulo Challenge Report

Hello everyone! My name is Meghan Hyman (@PinkySylvie on Twitter and PinkSylvie on here and SD). I am a player from the Midwest, USA, and started playing competitively late 2015. This was my first large (non pc/mss) cut at a tournament.

This team started out as an attempt to play something a bit slower, and test Venusaur. Venusaur was something that I thought would have a positive match up against the influx of Gardevoir and Metagross + P2 + Araquanid teams (whose usage was dramatically increased by the release of Intimidate Incineroar). The basis for the team was @templevgc’s March IC team, which he posted on Twitter the week before the Challenge. I liked the idea of double Tapu + Venusaur + Landorus-Therian. The team had some problems though.

The major issue was the lack of an offensive presence, as Venusaur is a very passive mon. The lack of offense really hurt against offensive teams such as Charizard-Y offense, and Gengar-Kommo-o stuff. In these matchups, bringing Venusaur would not work at all. Tapu Koko, Tapu Fini, and Landorus-T may be enough to deal with part of these teams (the Landorus-T, Charizard and Koko of the first, and the Kommo-o, Incineroar, Gengar of the second) some of the time. For instance, this mode has no answers if Koko loses the speed tie with Mega-Gengar, or if the opposing Charizard is paired with Scarf Landorus-T. The team was only special attackers at this point as well, which would not function well in the long run.

My next two slots needed to fill a couple roles: I needed a physical attacker that could deal massive damage to opposing threats, improve my sun matchup (fire resistance), and be able to have a decent amount of bulk or recovery. The two best Pokémon that fulfilled these criteria are Mega-Salamence and Charizard-X. Both can OHKO M-Gengar, with Double-Edge and Flare Blitz respectively.

Salamence offered another source of Intimidate, strong Flying stab, and the ability to set up with Tailwind, or Dragon Dance + Roost. However, Mence could not reliably damage opposing Celesteela, Metagross, Ferrothorn, or Aegislash. The biggest issue was Mence’s weaknesses to common attacking types, Ice and Fairy, which meant that in order for Mence to have the bulk I wanted it would have to do too little damage. I also lacked enough support to run a setup-based Salamence. Most common Salamence teams run AV Koko and Amoonguss to assist in the setup process.

Charizard-X, on the other hand, offered the same setup options, but could also reliably KO Steels, at the cost of losing the slot’s Ground immunity and only having a single Intimidate on the team. Its typing allowed it to be much bulkier, as Zard-X doesn’t have any x4 weaknesses and is neutral to Ice and Fairy (and could even be an extra Ground immunity pre-mega). Charizard could also more reliably deal with sun teams, taking advantage of the sun they set to get an effective +1 boost to its Flare Blitz damage.

This team ended up getting top 8 in the recent São Paulo Challenge, run by our illustrious Zelda.

The Team

Link to Paste
Link to QR

Sleepwalker (Venusaur-Mega) @ Venusaurite
Ability: Chlorophyll
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 4 SpA / 132 SpD / 12 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Leech Seed
– Sludge Bomb
– Giga Drain

The original Mega (on this team), Venusaur was meant to deal consistent chip damage and constant recovery to stall out games. This spread takes a Mega Gardevoir Psychic and optimizes bulk both physically and specially. The 12 speed EVs are to speed creep any opposing Venusaur, as the fastest will win the attack war (and you have the option to side-Leech Seed if necessary). Venusaur is Chlorophyll for an awkward case where I accidentally miss click and bring it against Sun, or if the opponent has manual sun (for some godforsaken reason). This never happened during the tournament itself, but this happened a couple of times on ladder. My computer has a tendency to register extra inputs, so more than once I brought both Charizard and Venusaur to sun teams (sometimes it was just me being an idiot, can’t blame my computer every time).

Important Calcs:

  • 252+ Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 108+ Def Thick Fat Mega Venusaur: 72-86 (38.5 – 45.9%) — guaranteed 3HKO
  • 252+ SpA Mega Gardevoir Psychic vs. 252 HP / 132 SpD Mega Venusaur: 156-186 (83.4 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Spark of Life (Tapu Koko) @ Electrium Z
Ability: Electric Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 28 HP / 4 Def / 212 SpA / 12 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Thunderbolt
– Dazzling Gleam
– Volt Switch

This spread guarantees that Koko takes a Moonblast from the Damage Calc’s Specs Fini, while still meeting most of its damage needs. It turns out that you only need 4 EVs in SpDef to accomplish that, so you can move that last 8 around if you wish. On this team, Koko is both a pivot and a damager. Its most important job is to deal massive damage to threats such as Zapdos, Tapu Lele, and Charizard(-Y), but Koko’s ability to move in and out of the field was invaluable. It could deal damage, reset Terrain, re-apply Intimidate with Landorus (I even sometimes went for Volt Switch and U-turn on the same turn to Intimidate twice in one turn), and give your Venusaur opportunities to get off Leech Seeds, or to let your Zard set up with the reduced damage and the threat that Z-Thunderbolt posed.

Important Calcs:

  • 164+ SpA Choice Specs Tapu Fini Moonblast vs. 28 HP / 12 SpD Tapu Koko: 124-147 (83.2 – 98.6%) — guaranteed 2HKO

End of Days (Landorus-Therian) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
– Sludge Bomb
– U-turn
– Hidden Power [Ice] – Earth Power

Landorus-T fulfils its role as a fast pivot with the ability to put pressure on opposing threats such as Mega-Gengar, Manectric, and Metagross. This set was originally a very slow and bulky Assault Vest variant, based off @Cleffy_VGC’s Landorus-T from his top 8 January IC team. However, I was having difficulties versus Gengar teams, so this was changed to Choice Scarf the night before the tournament.

Choice Scarf was a far better option. While Assault Vest gave me a lot of bulk, the bulk was not worthwhile. When Landorus was that slow, it couldn’t pivot or deal damage to the Pokémon that it’s supposed to threaten. With a Choice Scarf, I was able to U-Turn out on threats (actually increasing Landorus’s bulk, at the expense of some of my other Pokémon’s hp), actually threaten Metagross before it could OHKO me, and pressure Koko before it could Volt. The pressure on Metagross was particularly valuable, as with Venusaur clicking Leech Seed, or Koko getting off a safe Volt Switch, Metagross would quickly drop into Earth Power range, giving me better options down the road.

Choice Scarf also gave me better answers to some niche threats: for instance, I had the option to outspeed Scarf Bulu and Sludge Bomb it. This actually came up in the tournament, in my top 16 round vs Celia_Nima. While I didn’t get to in the game, the ability to do that let me plan out my games in a safer manner.

Important Calcs:

  • 252+ SpA Landorus-T Hidden Power Ice vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Landorus-T: 156-188 (94.5 – 113.9%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
  • 252+ SpA Landorus-T Earth Power vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Mega Metagross: 134-162 (85.8 – 103.8%) — 25% chance to OHKO

Deathfire Grasp (Charizard) @ Charizardite X
Ability: Blaze
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 76 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 188 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Flare Blitz
– Dragon Dance
– Roost

This spread maximizes bulk while outspeeding all max speed neutral Landorus-T and KOing opposing standard Tapu Koko and Amoonguss. Its major function is to be a hard hitter versus matchups where Venusaur would fail such as Sun, Gengar, and hyper offense. I tested other moves over Roost, but Roost came in handy in far more situations than Thunder Punch or Brick Break did.
The reasoning for Charizard was that I wanted another mega that could reliably deal with Amoonguss, Steels, and more offensive teams. I ended up choosing Charizard-X for a couple reasons:

  1. It had the potential to be extremely bulky with both its typing and Roost, so it and Aegislash can work as win conditions.
  2. With Tough Claws and Flare Blitz, it can deal massive amounts of damage without any setup needed.
  3. I could be a bit cheesy and bait my team being a Mega Charizard Y team, potentially deterring my opponent from bringing Amoonguss to a game 1.

Important Calcs:

  • 76+ Atk Tough Claws Mega Charizard X Flare Blitz vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 148-175 (101.3 – 119.8%) — guaranteed OHKO

Yuki Wata (Tapu Fini) @ Choice Specs
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 4 Def / 84* SpA / 12 SpD / 164 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Trick
– Muddy Water
– Moonblast
– Haze

Yes, this Tapu Fini is fast. I found in practice that hitting 126 speed allowed me to outspeed a ton of threats and hit them first, often surprising my opponents and getting slight advantages. For instance, this Fini outspeeds many bulky Zapdos, so I can Moonblast them before they Roost. This can be very effective if I catch them off guard. It also outspeeds the Gardevoir from TheRazer’s team (https://trainertower.com/team-analysis-therazer456s-gardevoir-zapcat/).Fini was actually crucial for this team’s Gardevior matchup. Against Gardevoir teams, because they try to set up at a relatively slow pace, Fini can often get a bunch of attacks off. This is particularly useful because Garde teams tend to have both Landorus and Incineroar, Pokémon that don’t appreciate being hit by Fini.

For the rest of the spread: the bulk lets it take a M-Gengar Sludge Bomb 15/16. After that I dumped into Special Attack to maximize damage. This set originally had Icy Wind over Haze; however, Trick was not always enough to deal with Snorlax. Snorlax + Amoonguss was a combo I occasionally had trouble dealing with on ladder, and obviously Trick does not do enough to deal with that. Haze was also frequently useful to remove accuracy drops or Calm Mind boosts (the games you play with this team take long enough to let both of those rack up).

I kept Trick despite dropping Icy Wind as Trick’s utility in messing up Celesteela, Porygon2, Snorlax (without Amoonguss), random physical mons to take their berries, and even Scarf Landorus (having Scarf could be nice and they did not appreciate having Specs) gave Trick greater utility than any other move I could have in that slot. I could also take berries after getting Knocked Off. For instance, I would Muddy Water an Incineroar, leave it at around 30%, get Knocked Off, take their berry, and then my opponent would have a 30% Incineroar with no item and I would have a berry. Fini doesn’t even get confused, as Misty terrain helps out with that.

* For the Zelda Challenge, I accidentally had 8 EVs left over that I forgot to put on Tapu Fini. This should be in either HP or Special Attack. The QR and paste have these EVs included.

Important Calcs:

  • 252 SpA Mega Gengar Sludge Bomb vs. 236 HP / 12 SpD Tapu Fini: 150-176 (85.7 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 92+ SpA Choice Specs Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 236 HP / 148 SpD Incineroar: 122-146 (61 – 73%) — guaranteed 2HKO (you never activate the berry on the first hit, so you threaten the KO through the berry with the second)

Crawling Shadows (Aegislash) @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
Level: 50
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Def / 12 SpA / 100 SpD / 100 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– King’s Shield
– Toxic
– Substitute
– Shadow Ball

The star of the team, this Aegislash goes for bulk rather than offense. Its speed lets it speed creep most Incineroar, while its bulk lets it live insane amounts of hits. In fact, this Aegislash speed ties Wolfe’s Regionals Aegislash. I did not know that at the time, but I might invest in a bit more speed creep going forward. This spread is also designed to prevent Koko Tbolt outside of Terrain from breaking a sub (turns out that that’s actually not true, as the calc below will show) The only issue with this set is that Shadow Ball cannot ohko Tapu Lele, Gardevoir, or Metagross without a critical hit, but you tank their attacks with Aegislash, and you can find the necessary chip damage in a number of ways.

Important Calcs:

  • 252+ Atk Incineroar Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 44 Def Aegislash-Shield: 140-168 (83.8 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
  • 252 SpA Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 100+ SpD Aegislash-Shield: 37-45 (22.1 – 26.9%) — possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery—– small chance to break a Substitute, or so I thought.

In order to properly calc whether something will break a substitute, as the relevant damage rolls are so close together at that range, you should put your Pokémon’s HP stat as the Substitute’s HP stat.

Looking at this, you can determine whether attacks will break Substitutes, with what odds:
252 SpA Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 100+ SpD Aegislash-Shield: 37-45 (22.1 – 26.9%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO (37, 37, 39, 39, 39, 40, 40, 40, 40, 42, 42, 42, 43, 43, 43, 45)
(or you could just check the damage numbers).

Team Play

The general playstyle of this team is a combination of a slow stall with Leech Seed + Toxic and tons of pivoting with some hard hits from mons such as Koko, Landorus, and Charizard-X. The overall goal with this team is to KO all of the mons that can potentially deny an Aegislash or Venusaur end game, or to use these stall mons as a method of chipping threats into a range for the hard hitters.

Common Leads

This lead is for starting off the game extremely slow, threatening chip from both of my mons. This lead is ideal vs slower teams such as Edu’s Porygon2 Araquanid team.

The dual pivot lead is great for dealing massive damage from the get-go, or allowing re-positioning turn 1. This lead is often used vs Zapdos Landorus-T teams in order to threaten the ko on Zapdos or Landorus-T turn 1.

The anti-sun and Gengar lead, this focuses on threatening KOs or setup at the beginning with Landorus-T able to pivot out if needed to a teammate such as Fini or Koko.

This lead threatens both Landorus-Therian and Incineroar, and is often used versus Gardevoir teams to threaten both intimidators and Gardevoir.

Core Combinations

This is the very bulky core of the team that focuses on chip damage. Tapu Fini does deny Aegislash ability to Toxic grounded mons, but makes up for it by dealing massive damage to Fire/Ground-type threats to Aegislash and denies opposing Terrain. Even though Aegislash might not be able to get its Toxic going immediately, the ability to set up a Sub and have its threats removed benefits it overall. The general goal of this mode is to be able to KO or severely weaken any threats to Aegislash or Venusaur, winning the endgame with them.

This is the extremely fast (and potentially frail) hard hitting side of the team. This side excels at dealing with more offensive teams that Venusaur cannot handle. This involves out-damaging the opponent and making sure that you can always pivot to have a good position.

Team Match-ups

In Team Preview, the most important thing for this team is to identify if the opponent has any answers to a slower game with Aegislash or Venusaur. If they lack answers to it, or have a slower team to begin with, generally going with a slow and steady approach, setting Toxic and recovering is ideal. If that isn’t possible, due to the opposing team being hyper offensive or involving Charizard-Y, the goal shifts from a stall approach to a more offensive, “outdamage the opponent” mode. Both modes involve using Landorus-T and/or Koko to pivot, deny opposing offense, and also occasionally as Terrain control for getting Toxic on opposing threats.

Good Match-ups

Tapu Koko/Mega-Metagross/Tapu Bulu/Incineroar/Porygon2/Araquanid

A near autowin for this team. If you can pressure Incineroar and Metagross using a combination of Fini and Lando, then Venusaur and Aegislash can completely stall out the end game. Generally, this matchup is approached by constantly threatening KOs with Landorus-T, while also getting Toxic up on the opposing Incineroar, Porygon2, and Araquanid. This involves keeping Aegislash behind a Substitute whenever possible and threatening Intimidates with Lando to weaken the opposing physical threats.

Gardevoir Teams

This matchup revolves around pressuring the opposing Landorus-T and/or Incineroar with a combination of Fini, Landorus-T, and Venusaur. Aegislash is generally also used to threaten the Gardevoir and any setup options the opposing team has. Conserving Aegislash or Venusaur for the end-game is key to winning this matchup.

Bad Match-ups

Rain, especially with a Steel-type Mega

Without any weather setters, defeating rain is incredibly difficult. Bringing Charizard is nigh impossible, so winning rests on making the opponent waste their Z move and KOing all the rain abusers. Venusaur and Fini as bulky damage dealers is key, but preserving them throughout the match is difficult.

Blaziken/Bisharp/Koko/Snorlax

It is extremely difficult for this team to reliably hit a team with Blaziken and Bisharp without the use of Tapu Fini or Charizard. The issue is that Blaziken usually carries Rock Slide, which can flinch and is annoying, and they have Koko to nuke Fini. Bisharp having Sash, combined with flinches and the threats of Koko’s Z-move or Choice Band Snorlax/Belly Drum Snorlax make it difficult to set up a compelling endgame.

This matchup is approached by trying to secure a knock out on both Bisharp and Blaziken without taking too much damage, while also being in a good position for denying what they have in the back. Taking a clean double knock out while taking a ton of damage can often backfire, as offensive teams like this have a backup plan ready: usually setting up +6 Lax in Trick Room easily, due to your lack of position.

Rundown of Tournament

Round 1: vs @josecinho10 WW
Team: Mega-Salamence/Weavile/Milotic/Aegislash/Zapdos/Bulu

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726178469
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726179007

Round 2: vs @Romolo27VGC WLW
Team: Mega-Tyranitar/Mega-Metagross/Landorus-T/Lele/Gastrodon/Zapdos

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726193675
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726193821
G3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726194023

Round 3: vs @HunterDWalls WW
His team: Landorus-T/Accelgor/Mega-Charizard Y/Koko/Bisharp/Kommo-o

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726213612
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726213688

Round 4: vs @DonVGC LWL (Streamed)
Team: Mega-Kangaskhan/Fini/Landorus-T/Zapdos/Volcarona/Ferrothorn

This was definitely a matchup I had zero testing against. Don played this amazingly well, and I was struggling to ko his Kangaskhan. My lack of speed control definitely hurt me here. Both losses were to me losing my Charizard too early. Without it, I was unable to reliably damage his Zapdos, Volcarona or Kangaskhan.

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726229353
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726229480
G3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726229627

Round 5: vs @Linkyoshimario WW
Team: Mega-Salamence/Koko/Fini/Aegislash/Tyranitar/Amoonguss

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726247081
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726247206

Round 6: vs @Jonotv2000 LL
Team: Mega-Metagross/Landorus-T/Koko/Fini/Entei/Amoonguss

On paper, I had a pretty decent matchup here if I could ko his Landorus-T. The big issue was doing so. Amoonguss could redirect my Landorus-T’s Hidden Power Ice, while his Landorus-T carried the Flyium Z, which could KO Venusaur from full. Going back, Charizard would have been a better Mega to bring to this matchup; with it I could have pressured/KO’d the Amoonguss and finished the game with Landorus-T.

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726259092
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726259236

Round 7: vs @Dark_Psiana LWW
Team: Mega-Salamence/Koko/Ludicolo/Politoed/Scizor-*/Amoonguss

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726275063
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726275207
G3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726275335

Round 8: vs @Cl4sHyVGC WW
Team: Mega-Metagross/Koko/Bulu/Incineroar/Porygon2/Araquanid

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726294402
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726294475

Overall Swiss record: 6-2 in sets, 13-6 in games

Top 32: vs @celia_Nima LWW
Team: Mega-Gengar/Bulu/Incineroar/Kommo-o/Clefairy/Azumarill

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726306563
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726306657
G3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726306718

Top 16: vs @13Yoshi37 LWW
Team: Mega-Manectric/Fini/Incineroar/Cresselia/Snorlax/Lurantis

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726315197
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726315259
G3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726315349

Top 8a: vs @CereeVGC LL
Team: Mega-Manectric/Fini/Landorus-T/Celesteela/Gothitelle/Snorlax

Going into this, I knew that if I could prevent Snorlax and Celesteela from setting up I could win. Game 1 I was able to Trick his Celesteela into Choice Specs, forcing it to lock itself into Heavy Slam. He was able to set up his Snorlax, but a Muddy Water accuracy drop let Fini hang around… and proceed to miss multiple Muddy Waters on the Celesteela. Game 2 went about the same way, with me KOing the Snorlax after it got a Belly Drum boost. In the final turns, he made an insanely risky play by not protecting his Celesteela in front of my Koko. I targeted the Gothitelle slot expecting the Protect, losing the set.

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726328059
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-726328132

Top 8b: vs @JustMrBurns LWL
Team: Mega-Gardevoir/Koko/Incineroar/Landorus-T/Amoonguss/Snorlax

After Ceree and wjbax’s DQs, the top 8 sets were replayed. Going in, if I KOed his Landorus-T I should win this set. Game 1 I major misplayed and let his Landorus-T run through my team. Game 2 I was able to recover and stall out the endgame. Game 3 I got extremely unlucky with a critical hit on my Fini. After that point, I attempted to reposition for Aegislash to Toxic and Shadow Ball stall out the end game, but it fell just a bit short on damage.

G1: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-727167406
G2: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-727167601
G3: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7vgc2018-727167687

Conclusion

Going forward, I would like to work on giving this team speed control and improving the Landorus-T matchup. This may potentially involve removing Venusaur or Charizard from the team. At the very least, Double Tapu Landorus-T and slower modes are threats to be prepared for in any upcoming tournaments.

Special thanks to:

Credit to NickTheReaper for the featured image

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