Carried on Wings of Fire – An 8th Place Frankfurt Report

Hey everyone! I’m Willem Geurts, otherwise known as AbsurdityVGC. I hail from the Netherlands, and have been playing VGC since 2017. My first event ended up being the Leipzig Regional in 2018. There I made a bad meta-call with my team and was plagued by the infamous freeze-glitch that frequented official events early on in that circuit. As a result, I didn’t do well. The Regional held in Frankfurt is actually only the second ever event I’ve ever attended, so I’m thrilled with my performance; placing 8th out of 236 competitors. Despite lacking many live appearances, I have topped the showdown ladder multiple times across all three of the formats I have played, and my experience there has paid off.

Having missed the 2016 circuit, I had no prior experience playing or team-building within a restricted format. Thanks to the help of my fellow countrymen Frisoeva and Jorijn I, however, settled in relatively swiftly. I was unsure whether I wanted to compete this year due to time restraints, but ended up going with those two to Frankfurt. I decided that I’d base the decision to go for a Worlds invite or not on my performance there. Guess I have to now, heh.

Jorijn and I, after some theorising, came to the conclusion that a duo of Xerneas with either Groudon or Yvetal would have the largest number of positive matchups. However, finding it difficult to build with Yvetal we settled on Groudon. With input from Sanvy, a few variants of this team took shape for Frankfurt.

Team’s Achievements

Variants of the Xerneas & Groudon archetype have made their debut across many events ranging from small to large. The following are a few achievements reached by teams similar to my own within the two Regional tournaments held to date:

  • Philadelphia Regional – 4th Place by Michael Lanzano
  • Philadelphia Regional – 5th Place by Brian Youm
  • Frankfurt Regional – 8th Place by myself

The Team

Link to Paste

Horse (Xerneas) @ Power Herb
Ability: Fairy Aura
Level: 50
EVs: 228 HP / 60 Def / 20 SpA / 76 SpD / 124 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Dazzling Gleam
– Geomancy
– Protect

Xerneas is the star of this team. An absolutely terrifying powerhouse that remains a massive threat despite having one of the most predictable movesets. This deer is here to provide you with not only an offensive threat but also a win-condition in Geomancy. This two-turn setup move boosts Xerneas’ already great speed, as well as its offensive and defensive capabilities. With a Power Herb, you’re able to obtain these huge boosts in a single turn. If not dealt with correctly by an opponent, Xerneas can end up breaking through teams with ease.

Most players opt to run a lot of speed on Xerneas, aiming to outspeed invested Groudon or Kyogre, or even other Xerneas themselves. This team, however, sports various means of speed control, and I thus chose to run a bulkier variant of Xerneas by sacrificing the usual speed investment. It can take two Smart Strikes from most Kartana after an Intimidate, as well as usually surviving two Moonblasts from opposing Xerneas:

  • -1 252 Atk Kartana Smart Strike vs. 228 HP / 60 Def Xerneas: 102-120 (44.3 – 52.1%) — 12.1% chance to 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 228 HP / 76 SpD Fairy Aura Xerneas: 102-121 (44.3 – 52.6%) — 20.7% chance to 2HKO

The speed investment guarantees you can outspeed base 130’s such as Crobat and Tapu Koko after an Icy Wind or Electroweb hit. The bulk paid off, however, I only outsped one other Xerneas throughout the tournament and discovered I undersped Smeargle. This is fine thanks to Tapu Fini’s Misty Terrain and my speed control options, however, I would consider a faster variant in the future. The bulk, in turn, did allow my Xerneas to survive various blows my opponents weren’t expecting it to.

Gordon (Groudon) @ Figy Berry
Ability: Drought
Level: 50
EVs: 196 HP / 52 Atk / 4 Def / 244 SpD / 12 Spe
Careful Nature
– Precipice Blades
– Fire Punch
– Stone Edge
– Protect

Many veteran 2016 players doubted Groudon’s viability at the start of the format. It losing its Fire-typing and ability Desolate Sun because of the ban on Primal-forms. This meant that Groudon was no longer able to absorb hits from Xerneas as well, whilst no longer nullifying Water-type moves from the likes of Kyogre whilst sun is up. Despite this, I believe Groudon to still be a powerful partner for Xerneas. This red behemoth abuses the fact that there are few Ground-immunities within the current meta-game, happily firing off Precipice Blades for big damage. Furthermore, it deals with the omnipresent Incineroar, currently the most-used Pokémon within the format, which threatens Xerneas through Fake Out pressure and Roar to phase away potential Geomancy boosts.

To make sure Groudon could still face-off Xerneas and take on Kyogre as to compete for weather dominance, I chose to run a lot of bulk. Groudon already sports a sky-high base 150 Attack, requiring little investment to hit the likes of Kyogre and Incineroar hard.

  • +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 196 HP / 244+ SpD Groudon: 168-198 (84 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 196 HP / 244+ SpD Groudon in Sun: 84-98 (42 – 49%) — guaranteed 4HKO after Figy Berry recovery

Groudon also threatens many Steel-types which resist Xerneas’ Fairy-type attacks, whilst retaliating hard with Super-Effective STAB attacks. Duskmane-Necrozma, Solgaleo, Stakataka, and Ferrothorn are all threatened by Groudon’s offensive coverage. Precipice Blades is your usual go-to attack, whilst Fire Punch allows you to hit Grass-types such as Tsareena and Amoongus. Stone Edge used to be Swords Dance but was swapped out to provide a strong option against Ho-Oh which at the time was rising in popularity.

Charlamaine (Tapu Fini) @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 76 Def / 4 SpA / 124 SpD / 60 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Light Screen
– Icy Wind
– Swagger
– Haze

Tapu Fini has received a different role when compared to earlier formats, many players will be familiar with offensive sets running Calm Mind or Choice Specs for instance. Tapu Fini struggles to deal enough damage within this format, yet finds a purpose as a supportive option. Sporting natural bulk, a varied movepool as well as an ability that sets up Misty Terrain, thus preventing statuses such as Sleep from the likes of Amoonguss or Smeargle. Tapu Fini is able to aid its partners whatever their needs may be.

My Tapu Fini runs Haze to remove opposing boosts from moves such as Swords Dance and Geomancy, also being able to neutralise any drops on my side of the field. Icy Wind provides an option to outspeed opposing Pokémon with many speed-tiers being very close to one another at the moment. Swagger is usually used to confuse opponents, however, in Misty Terrain you only boost the Attack of grounded targets without confusing them. This can be used to compensate for the lack of offensive investment on Incineroar or Groudon, giving them that extra bang for their buck where necessary. You have to be careful with this as Swagger only has 85% accuracy, and thus risks missing. Light Screen, in theory, aided my team against the variety of Special attackers such as Kyogre and Xerneas. In saying this, I saw no usage throughout the tournament. In hindsight, I would have run Gravity to increase the accuracy of moves: namely Precipice Blades, Stone Edge, and Swagger.

  • +2 252 SpA Fairy Aura Xerneas Moonblast vs. 244 HP / 124+ SpD Tapu Fini: 144-169 (81.8 – 96%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252+ Atk Groudon Precipice Blades vs. 244 HP / 76 Def Tapu Fini: 76-91 (43.1 – 51.7%) — 9.4% chance to 2HKO

Cheeto (Incineroar) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 236 HP / 236 SpD / 36 Spe
Careful Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
– U-turn
– Fake Out

This cat just won’t go away. Incineroar is able to threaten many of the Steel-types that scare Xerneas better than Groudon does, but she also lowers the damage output of all Physical Pokémon in general thanks to Intimidate. Fake Out allows partners to setup things such as Trick Room, Tailwind, or Geomancy. It can even be used to prevent just that on the opposing side of the field. Knock Off is of great utility in a format where every single Pokémon will be carrying an item due to the lack of Mega-Stones and Z-Crystals. Most Incineroar also run either one of U-turn or Roar, the former allowing Incineroar to pivot about and the latter preventing opposing setup. Already sporting enough answers to Xerneas and Trick Room I decided to pick U-turn. This allows me to stay ahead in the weather war, bringing Groudon in after opposing Kyogre have switched in. It is also a means of circumnavigating damage or Intimidate drops on a switch.

Assault Vest was chosen instead of a Pinch Berry simply because I dislike the risk of said berry not activating at awkward HP intervals occasionally, I prefer knowing how much damage I will be taking and what I can or can’t survive. It also allows me to comfortably take hits from Kyogre in Sun, boosted Xerneas, and Choice Specs Lunala. Being able to survive these hits whilst being able to retaliate is a huge boon. Lunala and Kyogre dislike the damage whilst losing their item to Knock Off. Flare Blitz also deals respectable damage to Xerneas especially if Sun-boosted.

  • 252+ SpA Kyogre Water Spout (150 BP) vs. 236 HP / 236+ SpD Assault Vest Incineroar in Sun: 60-72 (30 – 36%) — 23.2% chance to 3HKO

Gazzahs (Amoonguss) @ Occa Berry
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 50
EVs: 228 HP / 124 Def / 156 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Spore
– Rage Powder
– Grass Knot
– Clear Smog

Amoonguss is good at doing… Amoonguss things. This hideous but yet somewhat cute shroom helps this team against a number of otherwise trickier opponents. Amoonguss is able to take on most Xerneas and either put them to sleep with Spore or remove their Geomancy boosts with Clear Smog. This is thanks to his impressive bulk as well as typing, which allow it to absorb most things Xerneas can throw at it. Grassy Knot provides Amoonguss with a means to hit Groudon and Kyogre for respectable damage, whilst being able to take a number of hits in return due to the aforementioned bulk. Rage Powder is used to redirect moves you wouldn’t otherwise want going into his partner.

The EV’s for this Amoonguss are fairly standard, they are distributed as to enhance his natural bulk. What is notable however is the lack of minimum speed, I chose to do this as to outspeed opposing Bronzong and put them to sleep once any potential Saftey Goggles have been removed. The Occa Berry helps Amoongus take hits from Incineroar and Groudon, even if they are boosted by the sun. On numerous occasions I have been able to pick off a single opponent with sleep this way, my opponents being unable to pick up the needed KO.

  • 252+ SpA Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 228 HP / 156+ SpD Amoonguss in Rain: 59-69 (27 – 31.6%) — guaranteed 4HKO
  • 252 Atk Kartana Smart Strike vs. 228 HP / 124 Def Amoonguss: 87-103 (39.9 – 47.2%) — guaranteed 3HKO

Birb (Talonflame) @ Life Orb
Ability: Gale Wings
Level: 50
EVs: 84 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 164 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Brave Bird
– Tailwind
– Taunt
– Flare Blitz

Talonflame apparently saw a lot of usage back in 2016 but lost popularity after the priority-nerf which saw Gale Wings utility significantly reduced. Many wouldn’t even consider this bird as an option anymore, but I believe it has a niche within this meta-game as a sort of swiss-army knife support. Talonflame sports many support moves such as Will-o-Wisp, Quick Guard, Tailwind, Taunt, and Whirlwind for example. It also carries powerful STAB attacks with Brave Bird and Flare Blitz. Despite its mediocre base Attack stat Talonflame can hit hard under sun or if landing a Super-Effective move. I opted for a Life Orb to further compensate for his low Attack.

Talonflame serves the same sort of purpose it did in 2016, namely setting up Tailwind and pestering your opponent with status moves or attacks. Due to its frail nature and the huge amount of recoil from its moves, plus the Life Orb. Talonflame quickly drops, but this is actually what you want. Talonflame is here to upset your opponent’s plans, bring you into an advantageous situation, then bring in your own threats either after fainting or switching out. I brought him to 17 out of my 25 matches, and it proved key against the many Xerneas Groudon mirrors which frequently carried Pokémon such as Kartana and Venusaur which didn’t appreciate facing down this bird. Many of these teams also lacked speed control options, Tailwind completely taking any momentum out of their hands. I opted for taunt as to prevent Roar on my Xerneas, as well as providing a means to shut down opposing Xerneas and prevent Trick Room. Flare Blitz was picked as an option to hit Crobat and Solgaleo hard, as well as Kartana. My team has an iffy matchup against these three otherwise.

Team Play

Generally, the idea of this team is to place either Xerneas or Groudon in a position where they can win you the game. This is generally done by eliminating their checks, and utilising the various support options you have in your remaining slots. At the start of each game, you want to be looking at what your opponent can do to prevent Xerneas simply setting up Geomancy and sweeping, as well as what threatens Groudon. Try to think of ways to beat their answers or take them out, you have numerous tools at hand and thus usually can find an answer.

Xerneas generally doesn’t appreciate Steel-types, use Groudon or Incineroar to deal with those. Other Pokémon have means of shutting down Xerneas or removing its boosts, examples of these are Smeargle, Amoonguss, Tapu Fini, and Incineroar. Think up ways to counter-act this or kill them prior to firing off Geomancy. Fake Out, Taunt, and Spore can all be useful here. Due to Xerneas’ fast speed, you also want to keep an eye out for Trick Room setters such as Duskmane-Necrozma or Stakataka. Think of ways to either prevent them setting up or come up with a game plan to face them under TR. Amoongus and Incineroar are important here usually.

Groudon doesn’t appreciate Kyogre whilst the rain is up, so you want to always keep in mind your opponent’s ability to create this scenario. Keep Groudon in the back or have a means of getting him out safely at all times. The sun is your friend, rain-boosted Water Spouts aren’t appreciated by any Pokémon however.

Core Combinations and Common Leads

Lead (In Back)

+ (+//)
This is my most common lead, Incineroar providing Fake Out pressure as well as Intimidate to lower damage output. Groudon is in the back to switch in against potential Kyogre or other threats, whilst your final slot is rather flexible and will change depending on your needs or plan. This lead works against the majority of teams, but can be rather predictable and thus you need to think through your moves well. It’s also risky to lead this against some teams with Tapu Lele, its terrain blocking your Fake Out.

+(+)
Talonflame can support Xerneas with Tailwind or Taunt, whilst threatening Grass-types or Fire-weak Pokémon such as Solgaleo. This lead is slightly less reliable than the above but can prove powerful in certain scenarios.

+ (+)
I tend to lead this against Groudon teams that have Xerneas and Venusaur. Fake Out paired with Talonflame’s supportive and offensive options gives you a fairly flexible lead that can answer most things your opponent has to throw at you. Venusaur does not like the prospect of priority brave bird, and Tailwind risks taking away its ability to outspeed you. Once you’ve put yourself in a situation you feel its safe to bring in one of your restricted slots you should do so, taking an opportunity on your speed advantage or chipped opponent.

+ (+)
Some teams have a notable weakness to Amoongus, or rely on taunt to prevent Geomancy going up. If you think your opponent is going to lead something weak to Spore or Rage Powder plus Geomancy you can consider this as a lead.

+ (/+)
Swagger and Icy Wind Fini can be scary to some teams, although, this can be rather dangerous to lead against Xerneas teams. It’s also generally a bad idea to lead against teams with Tailwind.

Team Match-ups

When in a mirror with Xerneas plus Incineroar on both sides of the field you generally need to pay very close attention to when your Intimidates fire off. If your Incineroar is slower you want to trade Fake Out’s onto Xerneas, if you’re faster you want to be Faking Out the opposing Incineroar as to get up Geomancy. Scouting whether or not your opponent has Roar is also important, getting prior information helps a lot here but is not always available. Once you’ve got Geomancy you usually want to be switching Incineroar out, the safest way of doing this is to U-turn out. Often opposing Xerneas will Moonblast your Incineroar, fearing a Roar, you don’t want this chip on your switch in. The Pokémon you have in the back need to be able to deal with Geomancy Xern in case they do Roar yours out, Haze, Clear Smog, and getting your own Incineroar back in are examples of managing opposing Xern. Most of your team can take a number of hits so it is possible to simply chip an opposing Xerneas to death. If you know your opponent has roar you may want to consider leading Amoonguss or Talonflame.

Archetype (Must bring)

+ (+)
In the mirror, you’ll either have an advantageous matchup or a neutral one. Talonflame is very scary against teams that haven’t prepared for it, and many of the Venusaur teams will flat-out lose if you play well. You have a variety of options to use against your opponent, pick them based on what is supporting their Xerneas and Groudon. You want Fire-types such as Incineroar or Talonflame against Grass-types, you want Tapu Fini’s Misty Terrain or Talonflame’s Taunt against the likes of Smeargle or Amoonguss. Think each member of your opponent’s team through and try to cover them all as best as you can.

+ (+)
Yveltal Ogre can either be an easy matchup or tremendously tedious one. Xerneas is key here, mainly preserving it to take out the opposing Yveltal. You also have to make sure you are in control of the weather at all times, not wanting the Kyoge to continuously chip away at your team. Tapu Fini can put in good work here if your opponent does not have a Choice Scarfed Kyogre. Icy Wind will allow you to outspeed and threaten the majority of their team. Talonflame’s Tailwind is likewise also powerful for similar reasons.

+ (+++)
Xerneas Lunala teams do not appreciate Assault Vest Incineroar in the slightest, and often lack means of hitting Groudon properly. Amoongus is also an option over Fini if your opponent is not running Smeargle. Generally, you want to scout out the Lunala’s item and try to knock out as swiftly as possible, then work your Xerneas or Groudon into a position where you win. Make sure they don’t ever get the opportunity Geomancy without any counter-play on your end.

+ (+)
Ho-Oh can be tricky, as your only real means of hitting it is with Stone Edge. If your Groudon can’t do so your only other option is to chip it out with +2 Moonblast or Incineroar, which can be very tricky to do. This is not a great matchup, always try to preserve your Groudon so that you can fire off your Stone Edge end-game.

+ (+++)
This is a great matchup if played well. Incineroar limits the opponents’ ability to deal damage with Necrozma, whilst U-turn allows you to remain in control of the weather and thus avoid rain-boosted Kyogre under Trick Room. Amoonguss can put a lot of your opponent’s team to sleep if they have no means of preventing that with the likes of terrain, otherwise Amoonguss can still deal damage to Kyogre. You want to play to a position where Necrozma is dead or chipped to a degree you can safely setup Geomancy without them being able to set up Trick Room, once you’ve reached that spot you’ll tend to win. Be wary of Weakness Policy on Necrozma.

Rundown of Tournament

The tournament was a blast to play, and I had a lot of fun playing against and talking with my opponents. I have met some amazing people and have learned a lot from a number of them, it was an amazing experience.

Round 1 vs Jose (1-0)

At team-preview this was a somewhat concerning matchup to start off the tournament with. Solgaleo is threatening to Xerneas, and Kyogre limits both my Talonflame’s and Groudon’s ability to deal with it. The Whimsicott I knew was capable of all kinds of scary tricks, so I was rather wary of it. Game 1 he didn’t bring Solgaleo and game 2 he didn’t bring Kyogre, giving me the edge in both games. I also Flare Blitzed under sun with my Talonflame into a Solgaleo switch-in, sealing the game early on. It proved to be Weakness Policy with Fling Whimsicott.

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Win (1-0)
  • Game 2 – + (+) – Win (2-0)

Round 2 vs Mattia (1-1)

Kyogre with Yveltal is usually a fairly straightforward matchup, however, the presence of Crobat made it tremendously difficult. They revealed a Scarf Kyogre and Black glasses physical Yveltal, and Pinch Berry Crobat. I was unable to preserve my Xerneas for their Ylvetal, and Scarf Kyogre managed to score more kills than I wanted through sun thanks to Super Fang chip. I didn’t play optimally and figured out a way to deal with Crobat once the game was over whilst talking to Friso.

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Loss (0-1)
  • Game 2 – + (+) – Win (1-1)
  • Game 3 – + (+) – Loss (1-2)

Round 3 vs Judit (2-1)

I felt fairly good going into this matchup, my only concern being her Crobat. Having just dealt with one however and no longer having to preserve my Xerneas for a Yveltal I managed to win this after a game 1 loss. I must admit I did crit an Incineroar with Precipice Blades on a switch-in in game 2, but I already had the advantage.

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Loss (0-1)
  • Game 2 – + (+) – Win (1-1)
  • Game 3 – + (+) – Win (2-1)

Round 4 vs BakedVGC (3-1)

Another Xerneas and Groudon team with Venusaur. Baked played well but Talonflame proved too problematic, the Tailwind shutting him down game 1 and preventing his Xerneas from setting up Geomancy game 2 whilst I got my own up right off the bat. We talked a bit about our teams post-game, particularly about Talonflame. He’s a great guy and I’m really happy he ended up going 6-2 and earning himself some CP despite this setback, he simply had no matchup and I didn’t give him the mistakes he needed.

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Win (1-0)
  • Game 2 – + (??? + ???) – Win (2-0)

Round 5 vs Janko de Zwart (4-1)

This was an unfortunate pairing, Janko being one my fellow Dutchmen who had traveled down to Frankfurt. I was rooting for each one of them, including him, but I myself wanted to perform too so wasn’t going to go easy. He won the first game after getting a critical hit +2 Moonblast on my Incineroar, who then died to his own Flare Blitz recoil. I managed to bring him down to his final Pokémon, which turned out to be Ferrothorn against my Xerneas, my Incineroar was long dead alas. Game 2 I brought Talonflame and taunted both his Xerneas and Roar Incineroar to setup Geomancy myself, he then doubled into my boosted Xerneas with Moonblast and Flare Blitz and managed to crit both. I have never been more panicked in my life. I somehow survived though, my bulk paying off greatly. I went on to win with my Xerneas being boosted and alive, whilst his was not. It died fairly swiftly but dealt enough chip and killed Yveltal to allow my Groudon to clean up. Game 3 he adapted to Talonflame, but I brought Amoongus Xerneas as my lead and got up Geomancy with Rage Powder redirecting Knock Off and Taunt. I’m sorry Janko 🙁

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Loss (0-1)
  • Game 2 – + (+) – Win (1-1)
  • Game 3 – + (+) – Win (2-1)

Round 6 vs Eloy (5-1)

Okay, this was a cool team and a really fun game. Choice Banded Groudon was scary under Trick Room and Weakness Policy Necrozma forced me to play carefully, I managed to outstall him and set up my Xerneas to get the win game 1. Game 2 he switched to another mode of play with which he used Icy Wind Tapu Fini and Persian to control my speed levels and limit my damage output, all the while whilst Groudon kept throwing out Precipice Blades that dealt huge damage. It was a creative team and a fun round as such.

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Win (1-0)
  • Game 2 – + (+) – Win (2-0)

Round 7 vs Yuree (5-2)

Yuree and I had talked a fair bit about our teams together throughout the tournament and had joked how I would be happy to face his team without him piloting it, whilst he’d rather not face me due to how I technically have the advantage with Talonflame. Well, we ended up playing anyway heh. He played outstandingly and I was unable to gain the momentum I needed. Game 1 I accidentally switched out a wrong slot into Groudon however which lost me a very advantageous position. Game 2 he called my every play correctly, no regrets losing as he was simply the better player.

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Loss (0-1)
  • Game 2 – + (+) – Loss (0-2)

Round 8 vs OweVGC (6-2)

Okay so I had no idea what Salazzle did but swiftly found out. That thing was brought both games and had faster Fake Out priority as well as Taunt. That paired with the fact it hurt Talonflame and Xerneas a fair amount whilst surviving +2 Moonblasts made it actually quite formidable. I know Sanvy was running one too. I managed to win both games and I believe game 2 had a crit somewhere, but they were good matches.

  • Game 1 – + (+) – Win (1-0)
  • Game 2 – + (+ ???) – Win (2-0)

Having finished 6-2 along with my friend Andres we both waited anxiously for the Top-Cut standings, both not expecting much but hoping for the best. When they were put up I was stunned to see my name at 14, I was the first Dutch player to cut a Regional since Rob Akershoek at Sheffield in 2017. I went back to the hotel with Andres, Jorijn, and Friso to prepare. I had been paired against Pontus.

Now we were very concerned about the potential existence of a Rain Dance Tornadus on his team, Bram (the Senior who placed 2nd at Worlds) having received a copy of the team Pontus was running from the same guy who Pontus had given credit to it for on twitter a few days prior to Frankfurt. My best hopes against it being forced 50/50 like scenarios to try and create some situation where Geomancy could safely be set up. One idea was to turn one lead Xerneas and Talonflame, I would Protect Xerneas and then Taunt his Tornadus, then being able to nullify the rain the next turn and setup Geomancy. This proved unnecessary, he didn’t have Rain Dance to my sheer luck.

Top 16 vs Pontus

Game 1 + (+) – Win (1-0)

To my surprise Pontus did not lead Kyogre with Tornadus, I figured he was probably trying to scout my answers to said lead. I had lead Xerneas with Talonflame, who he Faked Out allowing us to trade Geomancies. I knew he had no roar so I went for Tailwind on Talonflame, which he swiftly shot out the sky with Moonblast. I then proceeded to crit a dazzling gleam into his Xerneas which sealed game 1. This was really unfortunate, even though we were both in a neutral position, I felt bad for him.

Game 2 – + (+) – Loss (1-1)

Once again he did not bring the lead I feared, and I predicted he would go for a Fake Out into my Xerneas for some silly reason and clicked Protect. I was very wrong, he setup Geomancy and went onto win swiftly.

Game 3 – + (+) – Win (2-1)

I knew from my prior scouting that his Incineroar was faster, and by now I was starting to suspect he didn’t have Rain Dance to my luck. I lead Xerneas with Incineroar, trading Fake Outs and then both setting up Geomancy whilst U-turning Incineroar out. I brought in Talonflame to set up Tailwind, going onto outspeed his team and abuse the fact I knew his Kyogre was Choice Specs. I won that game cleanly without any crits. Pontus was a great opponent, we talked a bit and he seemed to also be a great guy. It was an honour to play him.

Top 8 vs Aleksandra

Both me and Aleksandra had never been on stream or played top-cut before, and we both were feeling the heat. Neither of us had information on the other’s team, we were going in blind.

Game 1 – + (+) – Win (1-0)

Aleksandra went for Trick Room turn one, and I managed to outstall it whilst dishing out more damage than her whilst making sure Smeargle remained ineffective thanks to Misty Terrain. At one point I set up Geomancy in a safe spot under Trick Room, alas she revealed Roar on her Incineroar. I swiftly realised my best win-condition was to take out everything with Precipice Blades and Swagger. She had a +1 Groudon and Incineroar on the field against my Xerneas and +1 Groudon end-game, I miss-clicked geomancy and went for Precipice Blades. I missed her Groudon, who then went onto miss my Xerneas. I protect my Groudon knowing she couldn’t kill my Xerneas and that +2 Moonblast would win the game, she the, however,r crit my Xerneas to kill it. I luckily landed my single target Precipice Blades to seal the game. That was scary.

Game 2 – + (+) – Loss (1-1)

Game 2 she brought the same, as did I. I brought myself to a winning situation where all I had to do was land a Precipice Blades on her Stakataka to win, naturally I missed and she got Trick Room up. My only chance to win was now getting a singular double Protect and landing both Precipice Blades on Incineroar and Stakataka, the double Protect wasn’t granted however and I lost. This was painful.

Game 3 – + (+) – Loss (1-2)

I lead Incineroar + Groudon, which was a big mistake in hindsight. She setup Geomancy and I switched in Tapu Fini. Tapu Fini lost the roll to survive the Fake Out + Moonblast double-up so Haze failed to clear the boosts, by this point I simply lost. I should have gone for a safer lead, this was solely my fault.

Conclusion

This tournament was an amazing experience and I’m so thankful for all the wonderful people I met and those that ran the entire event. I would like to thank Andres, Jorijn, Yuree, Pontus, Baked, Sanvy and Friso in particular for supporting me or taking part in some really good discussions.

Now I have 100 CP and the funding to attend more events I’m actually going to be able to compete for an invite for the first time ever, I’m really excited about it. You may see me around at upcoming events in the Dutch crowd.
In hindsight I should have run Gravity over Light Screen on Tapu Fini, that would have saved me all those painful misses in my final games against Aleksandra. I chose to run Precipice Blades and thus lost.

Credit to chiakiro for the featured image

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