Simple is the Best! A 3rd place Portland Regional Report for 普通怪獣 (Normal Monsters)!

What is up everyone, my name is Gary and I’m here to feature the team I used in Portland Regional Championships.

I got into competitive Pokémon in 2009 because my friend Daniel Tapp won the Seattle Regional Championships that year with Shuckle. It was inspiring and I immediately wanted to do something just like that. I was obsessed with GBU and Battle Spot and started to go to local events ever since. Those online battles are the best teachers. However, I didn’t have any accomplishments until 2015, when I top cut a regional for the first time. That top cut was not isolated, as one followed another and I cut multiple regionals. I even got a Day 2 invite in 2016 after cutting Nationals with my beloved Mewtwo.

If you know me personally, you know how much I enjoy playing this game. Even if I get mad about being haxed, I’d probably get over it in ten minutes. However, I was stressed out after Costa Mesa Regionals like never before. I didn’t do well and I was only sitting at 150CP. With only Portland left, my chance of making worlds wasn’t looking too good. Then I picked up this team I used at Dallas Regionals and somehow won the after-regional MSS and got 3rd in Portland. Boom! Suddenly I’m (4CP away from) going to worlds!

Team’s Achievements

  • Dallas Regional — Top 32
  • Costa Mesa Midseason Showdown — Champion
  • Portland Regional — Top 4
  • Battle Spot Championship Ladder Season 8 — Peak at 1947 under the name (ほしぞらりん

The Team

Link to Paste
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Yosoro~ (Tapu Fini) @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 116 Def / 76 SpA / 44 SpD / 20 Spe
Modest Nature
– Moonblast
– Calm Mind
– Protect
– Muddy Water

Tapu Fini negates terrains from other 3 Tapus, so Fini’s teammates can have a better time. Water-Fairy coverage beats Incineroar and Landorus-T, two of the biggest threats for Snorlax. After Snorlax removes Fini’s biggest threat, Fini can comfortably take over the game, and vice versa.

  • 252 Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Iron Head vs. 252 HP / 116 Def Tapu Fini: 78-93 (44 – 52.5%) — 18% chance to 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Gengar-Mega Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 44 SpD Tapu Fini: 146-174 (82.4 – 98.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO

Since I have Audino to support it, I prioritize Fini’s survivability over its firepower. As you can see, it’s capable of taking hits on both the physical and special sides, which was invaluable.

未来の僕らは知ってるよ (Snorlax) @ Figy Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 4 Atk / 148 Def / 108 SpD
Brave Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
– Recycle
– Belly Drum
– Return
– High Horsepower

Do I really need to explain anything? 2018 Snorlax feels very much like 2016 Xerneas. Your opponent just can’t ignore this Normal Monster because of its setup potential. I chose Brave over Sassy or Relaxed because I want Lax to 2HKO mons like Koko and Lele before it gets a boost. This is really important, as sometimes it’s not safe to go for Belly Drum. If your opponent has Taunt, or enough firepower to stop your Belly Drum, it’s better to spread some damage on your opponent’s frail Pokémon, and only set up when you feel Lax is safe. Also, don’t be afraid of switching out +6 Snorlax if you feel it’s in a dangerous position. Putting yourself into a better position is always more important than holding on to your boost.

勇気はどこに?君の胸に! @ Salamencite
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 76 HP / 204 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SpD / 220 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Protect
– Return
– Dragon Dance
– Earthquake

Salamence was chosen for three main reasons. First, it’s the best Bulu check. Second, it can do a lot of work against the traditional Kangaskhan teams. Thirdly, Salamence’s Ground immunity is important for the team.

For instance, Salamence was useful to take ground attacks in the last round of Swiss in Oregon, when I was facing Alberto Lara. His Groundium-Z Landorus gave me problems in the first two games. My Salamence’s matchup is really bad against him so he probably didn’t think I’d bring it to the 3rd game at all. All Salamence did in that game was taking a +2 Tec Rage from Landorus, but that was enough to win me the game.

  • 252 SpA Zapdos Hidden Power Ice vs. 76 HP / 4 SpD Salamence-Mega: 148-176 (82.2 – 97.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 204+ Atk Aerilate Salamence-Mega Return vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 153-180 (104.7 – 123.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
  • +1 204+ Atk Aerilate Salamence-Mega Return vs. 252 HP / 20 Def Zapdos: 100-118 (50.7 – 59.8%) — guaranteed 2HKO

I adjusted my 2015 Salamece’s spread and gave it more attack evs because of the Aerilate nerf. It outspeeds Nilhego and puts on a lot of offensive pressure.

Sakurauchi (Incineroar) @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 124 Atk / 20 Def / 108 SpD / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Snatch
– Knock Off
– Flare Blitz

I used Incineroar before it got Intimidate, but Intimiroar is just much better. Fake Out is a good support move for Lax and Fini. Snatch is a great way to counter Belly Drum Azumarill since I don’t have a lot of tools in that matchup. It’s also the only mon on my team can hit Celesteela for super effective damage.

  • -1 252 Atk Tough Claws Metagross-Mega Stomping Tantrum vs. 252 HP / 20 Def Incineroar: 86-102 (42.5 – 50.4%) — 1.2% chance to 2HKO

With Intimidate, Incineroar can always take 2 hits from Metagross and eat its berry. This calc was very important in my MetaLele matchup.

  • 100+ SpA Tapu Fini Muddy Water vs. 252 HP / 108 SpD Incineroar: 84-102 (41.5 – 50.4%) — 0.4% chance to 2HKO
  • 212+ SpA Choice Specs Tapu Fini Scald vs. 252 HP / 108 SpD Incineroar: 170-204 (84.1 – 100.9%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

Incineroar is also capable of taking hits from Fini, so it gets more chances to switch out and go for another Intimidate + Fake Out

KanKanMikan (Audino) @ Wiki Berry
Ability: Regenerator Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 36 Def / 220 SpD
Sassy Nature
– Heal Pulse
– Trick Room
– Simple Beam
– Ally Switch

The little cute Pokémon you guys were beating on to farm experience in Black and White. It’s back as a Normal Monster and stronger than ever. I was looking for a TR setter that doesn’t lose to Aegislash for this team, and Audino immediately popped up in my head. With the nerfs to Mega Pokémon and the introduction of 50% berries, I realized this is the best stage for her.

  • 252+ Atk Landorus-Therian Superpower vs. 252 HP / 36 Def Audino: 176-208 (83.8 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO
  • 252 SpA Tapu Lele Shattered Psychic vs. 252 HP / 220+ SpD Audino in Psychic Terrain: 184-217 (87.6 – 103.3%) — 25% chance to OHKO
  • 252+ SpA Ludicolo Hydro Vortex vs. 252 HP / 220+ SpD Audino in Rain: 168-198 (80 – 94.2%)

Audino has a ton of bulk: even Hydro Vortex and Shattered Psyche, those weather/terrain boosted Z moves, can’t take down Audino.

There are two main modes with Audino: Trick Room Belly Drum / Trick Room -Simple Beam- Calm Mind

Either of those two modes are deadly and they are usually combined. Simple Beam allows Fini get to +2 +2 SpA SpD in one turn. With Audino’s Heal Pulse, setup mons can stick around much, much longer than they should. Ally Switch was originally meant to be there to protect Snorlax and Fini. However, I found that when I got used to the team, Ally Switch was more often used to protect Audino to allow it to get more Heal Pulses off.

Thriling1Way (Pheromosa) @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Protect
– Focus Blast
– Ice Beam
– Speed Swap

252/252/4, Simple is the best. I brought back my favorite Special Pheromosa from 2017 to counter the popular Intimiroar. Speed Swap to Fini and Snorlax gives me another speed control option. In Portland, Pheromosa was able to pick up KOs on Snorlax and Metagross in TR after Speed Swap. You don’t see that happen everyday. Max speed Timid Pheromosa happens to outspeed Adamant Scarf Lando, which comes in clutch in a lot of matches.

  • 252 SpA Pheromosa All Out Pummling vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Metagross-Mega: 156-184 (100 – 117.9%) — guaranteed OHKO

My 2017 Special. Yeah, no Metagross saw that coming.

Team Play

The most important thing about this team is the way you play around Taunt. If your opponent’s team looks like it has few answers for Snorlax/TR, you kinda have to expect them to have Whirlwind/Roar/Taunt. In this situation, like I said in Snorlax section, don’t go for set-up immediately. Spread damage (that’s why I had Brave Lax), scout out what your opponent’s mons have and make game plans accordingly in Bo3.

It’s also important to notice your win con. If you ever see your win con, don’t be hesitate to give up +6 Lax or +4+4 Fini. I’ve seen people give up their position just because they don’t want to swap out +6 Lax. If you watch my videos below, you’ll be surprised by how many times I switch out my +6 Lax and benefit from that move.

The last thing is to practice more and click fast. This team requires you to think about your win con and calculate damage. Don’t let that slow you down.

Core Combinations and Common Leads

If you watch the videos I posted below, you will find out I really don’t have a common lead for this team. It has always been up to my experience to decide what I want to lead with and what I want to have in the back. However, there are multiple combinations I want to talk about.

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This is the combination I personally used the most. Usually, I would use this core in G2 or 3 after figuring out my opponent doesn’t have answers for Audino. If my opponent doesn’t have enough firepower, leading Audino and setting up TR is a great choice. Otherwise, lead Snorlax + Intimidators (but don’t Belly Drum with Lax) and have Fini in the back to weaken your opponent’s terrain. Try to set up TR midgame.

Used when opponent have Bulu/Koko + Landorus + Incineroar, especially if you don’t know the Incineroar’s set. Try to protect Fini by using double Intimidate to reduce your opponent’s damage output. When Fini spreads enough damage, consider setting up late game Dragon Dance for Salamence.

This lead works in a lot of situations when your opponent is afraid of your TR. The key is to pressure your opponent with Pheromosa. Pheromosa needs to either use Speed Swap on Snorlax or take a KO with All Out Pummeling. When Phero goes for Speed Swap, make sure it faints the same turn, so you can switch in Incineroar to provide Fake Out support for Snorlax’s Belly Drum.

Team Match-ups

Against Tapu Lele/Metagross/Zapdos/T-tar

Fini + Snorlax + Incineroar + Salamence/Pheromosa (Depends on how much info you know)

Try to scout out Lele’s moveset/items (particularly whether it has Taunt) in game 1. Don’t go for Belly Drum with Snorlax, just put on some damage with Return and High Horsepower. Chip down your opponent with this team’s bulk. Bringing Salamence means you want to set up a Dragon Dance midgame. Bringing Pheromosa means you want to go for Speed Swap + Belly Drum. Choosing a mode depends on how much info you know; both are practical options. If Lele doesn’t have Taunt, go with Fini and Audino in Game 2 and try to setup Belly Drum in Trick Room to sweep.

Against Rain

Tapu Fini + Snorlax + Salamence + Audino/Incineroar (If Ferrothorn is Curse or SD)

Leading Fini means Snorlax can’t be burned by Scald. Moonblast + Return should KO most Waterium Z Ludicolo. Then you can start to play Intimidate games with their Ferrothorn and Swampert. Only set up TR with Audino if you feel safe to go for Belly Drum.

Against Trick Room

Oh dear, almost no Trick Room team can handle this team well because this team is just too bulky.

Snorlax + Salamence + Fini + Incineroar

Only lead Incineroar if your opponent is running Belly Drum mons or Sword Dance Mimikyu. Otherwise, Salamence and Snorlax is always a safe lead.

Rundown of Tournament

My Swiss went smooth: the only loss I received was due to a Muddy Water Accuracy drop on Fini, which went on to miss at least 10 +3 SpA Moonblast and Muddy Water.
My Round 6 Match and Top Cut match were streamed so I’ll link it here. I’ll also link the Costa Mesa MSS matches, because it’s essentially the same team with some twists.

Conclusion

A Top 4 in Portland just lifted the load off my shoulders. I can finally relax and play Pokemon like I wanted to. I’m currently sitting at 396 CP, so I should be seeing you all in Nashville.
This is a completely new experience for me. I’ve never been pushed so hard in my Pokémon career. But I guess you never know how strong you are until you are pushed to your limit.

勇気はどこに? 君の胸に!

Have a good day everyone.

Credit to bluemak for featured image

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