My name is Rob Akershoek (@ApplePieVGC on Twitter and Showdown) and I’m here to share the team that got me to top 8 at Sheffield Regionals. I finished swiss with a record of 7-1 in sets with a record of 15-4 in games. You probably know me from Showdown, which is basically where I live (yes, I spend a ridiculous amount of time there). I started going to events this season and won the Dutch Open, the first ever tournament I went to. I have however been playing VGC online since mid-2015. In 2016 I was studying in the UK and not playing a lot of Pokemon at all, however, this 2017 format really got me excited to start going to events.
After having built many teams for this format, there was one Pokemon that got my attention and seemed to fit on every team I built. I am of course talking about the best “horse” in the game; Snorlax. One of the bulkiest Pokemon in the format, combined with setup moves like Curse and Belly Drum, while also having access to recovery with Recycle makes Snorlax a monster.
In this format, I think that Trick Room is the best form of speed control. Therefore, I decided to work with the hard Trick Room core of Mimikyu / Snorlax, since Mimikyu is usually a guaranteed TR setup with Mental Herb. Initially I was using Curse Snorax earlier in the year, but it didn’t offer enough offensive pressure. I wanted to build a bulky Belly Drum set, however, I did want to incorporate Recycle. Recycle is a fantastic recovery move on Snorlax, making it all the more difficult to take down.
The rest of my Pokemon needed to also work outside of Trick Room, while supporting Snorlax and keeping it healthy so it can continue Recycling. I complimented the team with the very solid Arcanine, Tapu Fini and Kartana core, adding intimidate and terrain support for Snorlax. Finally, Persian was added to help with the non-Trick Room mode of the team and to keep Snorlax healthy. The goal of this team was not to sweep in Trick Room with Snorlax, it was to keep putting pressure on your opponent by supporting Snorlax to keep it healthy.
Snorlax @ Figy Berry
EVs: 100 HP / 244 Def / 164 SpD
IVs: 4 Spe
– Belly Drum
– High Horsepower
I decided that Belly Drum Snorlax would definitely be the call for Sheffield, since against a lot of Pokemon Snorlax can pretty safely set up. The 4 speed IVs are there to speed creep Gavin Michael’s 2 IV Snorlax (since I wouldn’t want to set up Trick Room against that team anyway). Belly Drum Snorlax will most of the times win against the increasingly popular Curse Snorlax, if you don’t set up Trick Room for them. The beauty of Snorlax is that it is also able to function outside of Trick Room by recycling that yummy Figy Berry to add to its amazing bulk. Return + High Horsepower hits most of the metagame for good damage. For my playstyle and the team, it was more important to have Recycle over Protect. The EV spread was optimised by my NPA buddy iMagikarp.
Mimikyu @ Mental Herb
EVs: 164 HP / 180 Atk / 164 Def
IVs: 0 Spe
– Play Rough
– Shadow Claw
– Trick Room
What threatens Snorlax the most are hyper offensive teams, able to out-damage my recycling. And since Snorlax has the most potential to sweep under Trick Room, I decided to add the most reliable Trick Room setter in the format: Mimikyu. The combination of Disguise + Mental Herb allowed me to get up Trick Room against most teams. The EVs allow it to survive a lot of attacks and even Z-moves, whilst still 2HKOing Pokemon like Mandibuzz and Tapu Lele. Originally I tested Psych Up Mimikyu, but it was too frail to get its setup + Trick Room off in my opinion. Taunt was a great option against other Trick Room teams, other Snorlax and to stop Haze/Roar.
Tapu Fini @ Choice Specs
Ability: Misty Surge
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Def / 124 SpA / 68 SpD / 44 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
– Muddy Water
– Dazzling Gleam
Tapu Fini was mostly added for its Misty Terrain. It lowers the damage output from other Island Guardians, while preventing Snorlax from getting burnt or poisoned. Another great thing about Fini is its bulk. In combination with Choice Specs, it was also quite offensively threatening. It also helped me against Pokemon which Snorlax struggled against, such as Marowak and Araquanid. The addition of Tapu Fini also allowed me to build the very solid core of AFK around Snorlax, giving the team great defensive synergy.
Arcanine @ Firium Z
EVs: 76 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 164 Spe
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge
– Extreme Speed
Arcanine’s main role on the team was to threaten Celesteela and Kartana plus utilise intimidate support to reduce physical damage. Firium Z was chosen to provide tonnes of damage to Pokemon like Muk, and to OHKO Tapu Lele that want to use Shattered Psyche on my Mimikyu. The offensive pressure of Arcanine often makes opponent target it down, giving me a free switch-in, while also setting Trick Room. Wild Charge was added to help deal with Araquanid a bit more, since that was definitely a problem for the team. Extreme Speed was great to finish off either Focus Sashed or weakened Pokemon in and out of Trick Room.
Kartana @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 20 HP / 220 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 164 Spe
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Razor Leaf
Oh, Japan… I remember the first time I came across a Choice Scarf Kartana on the Battle Spot ladder. I couldn’t comprehend why someone would use it until I actually used it myself. Previously, I had tested both Assault Vest and Focus Sash, but was not really convinced about any of those for my team. Choice Scarf allowed me to play more easily around other Kartana, by being able to outspeed them. Besides that, Scarf also helped me against extremely offensive fast Pokemon such as Nihilego and Pheromosa. Choice Scarf Kartana was usually great to clean up the late game, being able to outspeed most things left on the field. Razor Leaf was a cool late game option. It allowed me to occasionally clean both targets from the field while getting 2 Beast Boosts. The Choice Scarf also helped my matchup versus Tapu Koko.
Persian-Alola @ Mago Berry
Ability: Fur Coat
EVs: 4 HP / 68 Def / 4 SpA / 204 SpD / 228 Spe
– Fake Out
– Foul Play
– Parting Shot
Onto the most impressive Snorlax supporter in my team; Persian. This slot used to be an Aurora Veil Ninetales, but I did not like speed tieing with Kartana since my team was already quite weak to it. Persian added an impressive amount of support to Snorlax with both Fake Out and Parting Shot, allowing me to cycle my terrain and intimidate. This gave me a fantastic game plan versus teams I did not want to set up Trick Room against. Fake Out + Belly Drum is just so threatening to a so many teams. Taunt was there to stop Roar, Haze and other Taunts, while Foul Play gave me another good way of hitting Kartana. Persian also helped my matchup against other setup Pokemon, since I could just Foul Play them.
Using the Team
Leads and Modes
This was my most common lead during the tournament. It allowed for so much flexibility against a lot of standard teams and also played well into opposing Snorlax. Persian could Fake Out the threat to Snorlax, while Snorlax sets up a Belly Drum and next turn Parting Shot to further decrease damage taken by Snorlax.
My second most common lead throughout the event, I recognised that Snorlax in Trick Room and/or Tapu Fini could sweep some teams. Intimdate gave Mimikyu enough bulk to take almost any physical attack, while I would usually switch out Arcanine into Tapu Fini to also get my own terrain up if necessary. Against Pokemon such as Z-Move Tapu Lele, I had the option of immediately nuking it with Inferno Overdrive.
The most threatening Pokemon for my team was Kartana, able to hit everything except Arcanine for super effective damage. However, since it’s so frail, a lot of the times my win condition was to remove the Kartana from the field with a double target and just let Snorlax play out the endgame. Secondly, Araquanid was very problematic. It could wreak havoc with Hydro Vortex, while I had no way of OHKOing it (except when I got a Belly Drum off). It also has access to Bug Bite, which ruined my potential Recycle plays. Hard Trick Room teams were another poor match-up, especially with Torkoal and/or Gigalith. Both of these Pokemon under speed Snorlax and chunk it for heavy damage. Despite this, I didn’t feel like any of my match-ups were an automatic loss. All were winnable with the right game plan and predictions.
Round 1 vs. Brian Zourdani (Win 2-0)
Round 2 vs. Terence Drey (Win 2-0)
Round 3 vs. Agostini Matteo (Win 2-0)
Round 4 vs. Kieron Paradine (Win 2-1)
Round 5 vs. Tomas Bernaus (Win 2-0)
Round 6 vs. Javier Senorena (Win 2-1)
Round 7 vs. Daniel Öztekin (Loss 1-2)
Round 8 vs. Arash Ommati (Win 2-0)
Top 8 vs. Daniel Nolan (Loss 0-2)
My journey finished in top 8, losing game 1 due to a Blizzard freeze. I probably should have tried to get in Fini earlier to prevent that. Game 2 I tilted, in hindsight feel I should have gone with my Mimikyu Trick Room mode rather than the game plan I took. Definitely a lot of points for improvement, so hopefully next event I’ll return even stronger!
The team overall has been amazingly solid for me and I do think that Snorlax is a fantastic Pokemon to build around. Some people might argue that the AFK core isn’t that strong anymore, but with the right items on these Pokemon, they definitely offer a lot of offensive pressure alongside amazing defensive synergy. Don’t be surprised if you see me running another Snorlax team later this season!
Shoutouts to the amazing Dutch VGC community, we are definitely growing the game back home. A special thanks to Andres Escobosa (000aj), for introducing me to the community and convincing me to attend my first event. Thanks to my awesome NPA team (Gamblers) and Justin Crubaugh (iMagikarp) in particular for teambuilding with me. A final shout-out to my teambuilding and BO3 practice buddy Diana Bros (eshivgc), who might finally be convinced that Snorlax is, in fact, the best “horse”.
I had an amazing time at Sheffield, thanks to everyone that I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with at that Regional!