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Snarl, Roost and Repeat – a São Paulo International 10th Place Report

Hello everyone, my name is André Fumis (also known as Fumito), and I’m here to show the team I used to place 10th at the Latin America International Championships, in my hometown of São Paulo, Brazil. I started playing VGC in late 2015 after finding the 2015 World Championships on YouTube, and went to a few PCs in the first half of 2016. This has been my first season aiming for a Worlds invite, and I’m having an amazing time with the community!


TEAMBUILDING

Since January, I had been playing with different variations of the AFK (Arcanine/Tapu Fini/Kartana) core, known for its amazing defensive and offensive synergy. I eventually came across the team Markus Stadter used to win the Leipzig Regionals (AFK, Garchomp, Mandibuzz and Snorlax), which I used to win both a Mid-season Showdown and a Premiere Challenge. I spent the next month playing with only that team, but felt that, due to the rise of Garchomp/Tapu Koko/Celesteela teams, I was struggling more and more. I decided to take a Drifblim Tapu Lele team to the Buenos Aires Regional, in March, and made top cut. However, after almost missing cut at a local MSS and becoming frustrated with the Drifblim/Lele combo, I knew I wanted to go back to Tapu Fini. Together with my friend Ricardo Pinto, we made a plan against standard Koko/Garchomp teams that relied on Snarl Mandibuzz to limit the damage output of Tapu Koko and threaten Garchomp with Foul Play. While we both knew Stadter’s original six were strong, they felt outdated, so we revisited every choice in the team and used slightly different sets that change how the team functions against new threats in the meta.


THE POKÉMON

Tapu Fini @ Leftovers
Ability: Misty Surge
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 204 SpA / 60 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Moonblast
– Muddy Water
– Calm Mind
– Protect

+1 204+ SpA Tapu Fini Moonblast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 132-156 (90.4 – 106.8%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO

The centrepiece of the team, Tapu Fini was chosen together with Mandibuzz at the very start of the teambuilding process due to the good defensive stats and possibility to set up with Calm Mind. The ability to stay on the field for many turns (aided by Leftovers, the Special Defense boosts from Calm Mind and Intimidate from Arcanine) gives it a lot of opportunities to use boosted Moonblasts or Muddy Waters, preventing the opponent from switching safely. The immunity to status is also important, as it prevents the team from suffering against Will-O-Wisp and Toxic, apart from random side effects like Blizzard freezes. Fini’s Speed investment allows it to out-speed Modest Magnezone, while the HP optimises Leftovers recovery. The Special Attack EVs allow it to KO Tapu Koko at +1 after its Life Orb recoil.


Mandibuzz @ Misty Seed
Ability: Overcoat
Level: 50
EVs: 244 HP / 44 Def / 4 SpA / 196 SpD / 20 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Foul Play
– Snarl
– Tailwind
– Roost

252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. +1 244 HP / 196+ SpD Mandibuzz: 86-104 (39.8 – 48.1%) — guaranteed 3HKO

-1 252+ SpA Tapu Lele Moonblast vs. +1 244 HP / 196+ SpD Mandibuzz: 66-78 (30.5 – 36.1%) — 23.9% chance to 3HKO

+2 0- Atk Mandibuzz Foul Play vs. 12 HP / 244+ Atk / 4 Def Garchomp: 184-217 (99.4 – 117.2%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO

The tournament’s MVP, Mandibuzz’s impressive Special Defense, aided by the boost from the Misty Seed, allows it to remain on the field long enough to disrupt the opponent with Tailwind, Foul Play and Snarl. The latter is, in fact, the most important change from the original team, as it allows me to neuter special attackers and set up in their face with Tapu Fini. Foul Play does a large amount of damage against physical attackers and is a strong answer to Swords Dance Garchomp and Belly Drum Snorlax (outside of Trick Room, or by sniping it on the turn it sets it up inside of TR).  Due to the nature of Misty Seed, it is not meant to be switching out a lot. However, depending on the situation, it could be important to take it off the field, since it can sometimes become dead weight.


Arcanine @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Intimidate
Level: 50
EVs: 76 HP / 244 Atk / 4 Def / 12 SpD / 172 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge
– Extreme Speed
– Protect

252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 76 HP / 12 SpD Arcanine in Psychic Terrain: 150-177 (85.7 – 101.1%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO

252 SpA Life Orb Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 76 HP / 12 SpD Arcanine in Electric Terrain: 144-172 (82.2 – 98.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Figy Berry recovery

Arcanine, in my opinion, is the perfect Pokémon to use with Tapu Fini. Not only does it threaten Kartana, but its Intimidate ability allows Tapu Fini to take almost any physical attack, even if super effective. The move-set of Flare Blitz, Extreme Speed and Wild Charge allows it to be an offensive threat in almost any situation, while the small bulk investment, together with the berry, gives it the capability of switching in and out of the field, while crippling the opponent’s physical attackers. It is also my biggest answer to Celesteela (which would otherwise wall most of the team), as I can do chip damage and then always KO it with Flare Blitz, due to my substantial Attack investment. Extreme Speed’s versatility, thanks to the increased priority, also allows for easier endgame scenarios. The Speed investment is meant to speed creep other Arcanine and Gyarados, and threaten the latter with Wild Charge. Leftover EVs were all added into Attack, as I wanted the team to be fairly offensive.


Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Leaf Blade
– Smart Strike
– Sacred Sword
– Detect

Completing the Fire/Water/Grass core, Kartana is the fastest Pokémon on the team and is an invaluable asset when trying to maintain offensive pressure. For that reason, and due to the rise of bulky Tapu Fini and Tapu Lele, I chose to just go for max offence and not follow the heavy use of Assault Vest seen in January and February. However, since I did not want to go down to any special or Fire-type attack, as had been the case when I used Scope Lens, I decided on the Focus Sash as its item. The move-set is basic and gives me good coverage. Smart Strike is the most replaceable move, but I was very afraid of Nihilego and did not want to risk a damage roll. Having something to hit Tapu Bulu was also good, even though I didn’t expect to play any.


Garchomp @ Groundium Z
Ability: Rough Skin
Level: 50
EVs: 12 HP / 196 Atk / 4 Def / 44 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Earthquake
– Swords Dance
– Poison Jab
– Protect

4 SpA Porygon2 Ice Beam vs. 12 HP / 44 SpD Garchomp: 156-184 (84.3 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO

-1 196 Atk Garchomp Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Arcanine: 98-116 (49.7 – 58.8%) — 96.5% chance to 2HKO after Figy Berry recovery

Garchomp was chosen as a consequence of many attempted flowcharts against the Koko/Garchomp lead that relied only on Fini and Mandibuzz. Eventually, I decided that sacrificing Fini for a free switch into a Tailwind sweeper was ok, so Garchomp was chosen due to the synergy with the Flying-type Mandibuzz. It also helps against Arcanine, and you can never have enough Arcanine answers. Poison Jab was chosen to have a way of hitting the Tapus, especially Koko and Lele, without having to use my Z Move or Earthquake my own partner. Swords Dance allows me to capitalise on slow, defensive and switch-heavy play from my opponent, and gives the team a much-needed answer to opposing Curse Snorlax, since my attack rises faster than their defence. While not having Fire Fang hurt against Celesteela, the number of times I was able to use a free Swords Dance due to Snarl support from Mandibuzz made it very worth it to run the move. The EV spread, while having the problem of not always KOing 4 Def Tapu Koko with Earthquake, hit the defensive benchmarks I wanted and allowed me to run max Speed, something that helped me against opposing Garchomp since max Speed is not standard anymore.


Snorlax @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Gluttony
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 196 Atk / 244 Def
Brave Nature
IVs: 3 Spe
– Return
– High Horsepower
– Curse
– Recycle

252 Atk Garchomp Tectonic Rage (180 BP) vs. +1 68 HP / 244 Def Snorlax: 106-126 (43.4 – 51.6%) — 2.3% chance to 2HKO after Gluttony Figy Berry recovery

36+ SpA Choice Specs Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 68 HP / 0 SpD Snorlax in Psychic Terrain: 150-177 (61.4 – 72.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Gluttony Figy Berry recovery

My least used Pokémon in the tournament, but always reliable when I needed it. Snorlax gave me a strong answer to Trick Room teams and allowed for many late game win conditions during practice. With Intimidate and Snarl support, the only Z-Move that can KO Snorlax is an All Out Pummeling.  High Horsepower, when used in tandem with Curse, gives me a way of stopping Gigalith under Trick Room, and can do big damage to those pesky Arcanine trying to remove my boosts by switching in and out. Return was chosen because teaching Frustration to Snorlax is cruel. The 3 Speed IVs are meant to speed creep opposing Snorlax out of Trick Room, while still under speeding Torkoal at -1 Speed.


COMMON LEADS AND MODES

+ (+  usually in the back)

While obvious, this lead is very potent and should not be underestimated. Snarl allows for Mandibuzz to limit the opponent’s special attackers, and then Roost off any damage taken. Tapu Fini, with the Snarl support and a Calm Mind boost, can effectively take special hits 55 percent better. Since Mandibuzz is often ignored while in Tailwind, opponents can double up into Tapu Fini quite often. Take advantage of those situations by targeting Garchomp’s threats before it comes in, as it can easily sweep under Tailwind with the free switch in. Snarl also comes into play a lot in that situation, since Garchomp can safely Swords Dance if the opponents aren’t doing any damage.

It is the standard plan against most Koko/Garchomp teams, as Protect plus Tailwind should be a pretty safe play unless the opponent has Taunt or Sky Drop on Koko. Mandibuzz/Fini is also the standard lead against most Drifblim/Lele teams, as it has a very hard time dealing with Snarl spam plus Calm Mind boosted attacks, unless the opponent switches into Kartana, who is then vulnerable to Foul Play or to my own Arcanine switching in.

Tapu Fini’s natural bulk is perfectly complemented by Arcanine’s Intimidate ability, allowing the combination to put out offensive pressure from turn one without the risk of immediately losing a Pokemon (with the exception of double targets and strong super effective special attacks or Z-Moves). Switching Arcanine out quickly can be a strong option, as recycling Intimidate helps Tapu Fini stay on the field doing damage. The lead is commonly used in the AFK mirror or against teams I don’t really understand.

The two fastest and strongest Pokémon on the team are led together when I really need some big damage from the very start. If I get a favourable position from turn one, the opponent takes a lot of damage without doing any back to me. Swords Dance is amazing because, when facing Garchomp and Kartana, players tend to switch and Protect a lot. Having max speed Garchomp and Focus Sash Kartana really comes into play in this very situation, since I can usually afford to take one hit with each but not two. Intimidate is really strong against this lead for obvious reasons, though Swords Dance on Garchomp does help against that.


THREATS

The only things that can really damage Celesteela are Tapu Fini with a few Calm Mind boosts and Arcanine. It is very important to conserve Arcanine against it, especially since Celesteela teams often have things that hit Arcanine really hard, such as Garchomp or Gigalith.

As previously mentioned, Mandibuzz is crucial in this matchup, as it can OHKO Snorlax by Foul Playing it in the turn it uses Belly Drum. Kartana is also a strong choice, as it hits Snorlax hard with Sacred Sword and OHKOs Mimikyu with Smart Strike, provided the Disguise has been busted.

Toxic//

Due to the defensive nature of the team, relying on the various set-up options to exert offensive pressure, it is prone to Toxic stalling. Tapu Fini cannot set up since it needs to be switching in and out of the field, in order to keep Terrain control, and Garchomp, while EV’d to take an Ice Beam, isn’t in the best of positions against Porygon2. Basically, the possibilities to set up are slim. Setting up Snorlax without leaving it vulnerable to status is the main win condition.


THE TOURNAMENT

R1: Omar Acuña  WW

R2: Fredy Vanegas  LWW

R3: Nick Navarre usflag WW

R4: Ben Kyriakou ukflag WW

R5: Alessio Yuri Boschetto https://i1.wp.com/www.trainertower.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/italyflag.png?resize=32%2C32 WLW

R6: Markus Stadter germanyflag LL

R7: Jairo Saboya  LWW

R8: Gabriel Agati  LL

 


GOING FORWARD

The team is very strong, but the tournament showed a rise in defensive teams that use Toxic very well, such as Agati’s or Javier Señorena’s. It is a match-up that needs to be fixed, be that with a simple change in move-sets or by building a whole new team. Despite that, the AFK core is and will remain one of the strongest options in the meta, even though the supporting cast may fluctuate a lot.


SHOUT OUTS

– My bacalhau friend Ricardo Pinto, who has helped me build every team I’ve used this season and is overall a really cool guy.

– My good friends Gabriel Agati, Vinícius Souza, Felipe Ide and Hugo Nascimento for being great players and even better homies.

– All the Brazilian and Latin American players for showing up and making this tournament an amazing experience.

– My parents, for giving me full support on chasing this dream of qualifying for the World Championships.

– Carlos Agarie, our local TO, and the rest of the judges at the event. The work you guys do for the community is really underappreciated!

4 comments


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  1. Bacalhau friend… hah! Only brazilian will understand that.

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